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Sample records for functional traits longevity

  1. Effect of type traits on functional longevity of Czech Holstein cows estimated from a Cox proportional hazards model.

    PubMed

    Zavadilová, L; Němcová, E; Stípková, M

    2011-08-01

    Relationships between conformation traits and functional longevity in Holstein cows were evaluated using survival analysis. Functional longevity was defined as the number of days between the first calving and culling; that is, length of productive life. The data set consisted of 116,369 Holstein cows that first calved from 2003 to 2008. All cows used in the analysis were scored for conformation between d 30 and d 210 of their first lactation. The data included 48% censored records. Analyses were done separately for 20 linear descriptive type traits, 6 composite traits, and height at sacrum measured in centimeters. Cox proportional hazard models were fitted to analyze data. The hazard function was described as the product of a baseline hazard function and the time-independent effects of age at first calving and sire (random), and the time-dependent effects of stage of lactation and lactation number, herd, year and season, herd size, and 305-d milk production. The strongest relationship between a composite trait and functional longevity was for dairy form, followed by udder and final score. Among the descriptive type traits, the strongest relationships with longevity were found for body condition score, angularity, traits related to udder attachment, and udder depth. Foot and leg traits showed substantially lower effect on functional longevity, and the effect of foot angle was minimal. Functional longevity declined with decreased body condition score of cows. Cows with deep udders had significantly lower functional survival compared with cows with shallow udders. In addition, weak central ligament was associated with significant reduction of cow longevity. For dairy form and angularity, cows classified as very good were the worst with respect to longevity, whereas cows classified as poor were the best. An intermediate optimum was evident for rear legs rear view and rear legs set (side view), whereas cows with sickled legs had lower longevity than cows with straighter

  2. Short communication: Genetic relationships between functional longevity and direct health traits in Austrian Fleckvieh cattle.

    PubMed

    Pfeiffer, C; Fuerst, C; Ducrocq, V; Fuerst-Waltl, B

    2015-10-01

    The aim of this study was to conduct a multitrait 2-step approach applied to yield deviations and deregressed breeding values to get genetic parameters of functional longevity, clinical mastitis, early fertility disorders, cystic ovaries, and milk fever of Austrian Fleckvieh cattle. An approximate multitrait approach allows the combination of information from pseudo-phenotypes derived from different statistical models in routine genetic evaluation, which cannot be estimated easily in a full multitrait model. A total of 66,890 Fleckvieh cows were included in this study. For estimating genetic parameters, a simple linear animal model with year of birth as a fixed effect and animal as a random genetic effect was fitted. The joint analysis of yield deviations and deregressed breeding values was feasible. As expected, heritabilities were low, ranging from 0.03 (early fertility disorders) to 0.15 (functional longevity). Genetic correlations between functional longevity and clinical mastitis, early fertility disorders, cystic ovaries, and milk fever were 0.63, 0.29, 0.20, and 0.20, respectively. Within direct health traits genetic correlations were between 0.14 and 0.45. Results suggest that selecting for more robust disease-resistant cows would imply an improvement of functional longevity. PMID:26277309

  3. Applying trait-function relationships for microbial plant decomposition to predict medium longevity in pollution control biofilters.

    PubMed

    Oliver, Jason P; Schilling, Jonathan S

    2016-03-01

    Biofilters, bioreactors used for pollution control, can effectively treat a variety of odorous and hazardous emissions, but uncertain medium longevities and associated costs limit biofilter adoption. To improve medium-life estimations for biofilter end-users, litter bags were used to compare decay rates of common biofilter medium types and test the effects of nitrogen (N) enrichment and livestock production emissions on medium decay in a full-scale biofilter over a 27-month period. Generally, "by-product" media (mulch, corn cobs) decayed faster than hardwood media, with decay of softwood media the slowest. Analysis showed nutrient content was the best predictor of early-stage decay, while carbon fractions and nutrient content best predicted medium longevity. N amendments and N-rich barn emissions were found to hasten medium decay. By identifying decay rates and rate predictors specific for biofilter media, we provide biofilter engineers and farmers with a quantitative way to improve medium selection based on the trade-offs between medium cost and replacement frequency. PMID:26590583

  4. Economic weights for maternal traits of sows, including sow longevity.

    PubMed

    Amer, P R; Ludemann, C I; Hermesch, S

    2014-12-01

    The objective of this study was to develop a transparent, comprehensive, and flexible model for each trait for the formulation of breeding objectives for sow traits in swine breeding programs. Economic values were derived from submodels considering a typical Australian pig production system. Differences in timing and expressions of traits were accounted for to derive economic weights that were compared on the basis of their relative size after multiplication by their corresponding genetic standard deviation to account for differences in scale and genetic variability present for each trait. The number of piglets born alive had the greatest contribution (27.1%) to a subindex containing only maternal traits, followed by daily gain (maternal; 22.0%) and sow mature weight (15.0%). Other traits considered in the maternal breeding objective were preweaning survival (11.8%), sow longevity (12.5%), gilt age at puberty (8.7%), and piglet survival at birth (3.1%). The economic weights for number of piglets born alive and preweaning piglet survival were found to be highly dependent on the definition of scale of enterprise, with each economic value increasing by approximately 100% when it was assumed that the value of extra output per sow could be captured, rather than assuming a consequent reduction in the number of sows to maintain a constant level of output from a farm enterprise. In the context of a full maternal line index that must account also for the expression of direct genetic traits by the growing piglet progeny of sows, the maternal traits contributed approximately half of the variation in the overall breeding objective. Deployment of more comprehensive maternal line indexes incorporating the new maternal traits described would lead to more balanced selection outcomes and improved survival of pigs. Future work could facilitate evaluation of the economic impacts of desired-gains indexes, which could further improve animal welfare through improved sow and piglet

  5. Genetics of aging, health, and survival: dynamic regulation of human longevity related traits

    PubMed Central

    Yashin, Anatoliy I.; Wu, Deqing; Arbeeva, Liubov S.; Arbeev, Konstantin G.; Kulminski, Alexander M.; Akushevich, Igor; Kovtun, Mikhail; Culminskaya, Irina; Stallard, Eric; Li, Miaozhu; Ukraintseva, Svetlana V.

    2015-01-01

    Background: The roles of genetic factors in human longevity would be better understood if one can use more efficient methods in genetic analyses and investigate pleiotropic effects of genetic variants on aging and health related traits. Data and methods: We used EMMAX software with modified correction for population stratification to perform genome wide association studies (GWAS) of female lifespan from the original FHS cohort. The male data from the original FHS cohort and male and female data combined from the offspring FHS cohort were used to confirm findings. We evaluated pleiotropic effects of selected genetic variants as well as gene-smoking interactions on health and aging related traits. Then we reviewed current knowledge on functional properties of genes related to detected variants. Results: The eight SNPs with genome-wide significant variants were negatively associated with lifespan in both males and females. After additional QC, two of these variants were selected for further analyses of their associations with major diseases (cancer and CHD) and physiological aging changes. Gene-smoking interactions contributed to these effects. Genes closest to detected variants appear to be involved in similar biological processes and health disorders, as those found in other studies of aging and longevity e.g., in cancer and neurodegeneration. Conclusions: The impact of genes on longevity may involve trade-off-like effects on different health traits. Genes that influence lifespan represent various molecular functions but may be involved in similar biological processes and health disorders, which could contribute to genetic heterogeneity of longevity and the lack of replication in genetic association studies. PMID:25918517

  6. Defining Molecular Basis for Longevity Traits in Natural Yeast Isolates

    PubMed Central

    Kaya, Alaattin; Ma, Siming; Wasko, Brian; Lee, Mitchell; Kaeberlein, Matt; Gladyshev, Vadim N.

    2016-01-01

    The budding yeast has served as a useful model organism in aging studies, leading to the identification of genetic determinants of longevity, many of which are conserved in higher eukaryotes. However, factors that promote longevity in laboratory setting often have severe fitness disadvantage in the wild. Here, to obtain an unbiased view on longevity regulation we analyzed how replicative lifespan is shaped by transcriptional, translational, metabolic, and morphological factors across 22 wild-type Saccharomyces cerevisiae isolates. We observed significant differences in lifespan across these strains and found that their longevity is strongly associated with up-regulation of oxidative phosphorylation and respiration and down-regulation of amino acid and nitrogen compound biosynthesis. Since calorie restriction and TOR signaling also extend lifespan by adjusting many of the identified pathways, the data suggest that natural plasticity of yeast lifespan is shaped by processes that not only do not impose cost on fitness, but are amenable to dietary intervention. PMID:27030810

  7. Genetic analysis of sow longevity and sow lifetime reproductive traits using censored data.

    PubMed

    Engblom, L; Calderón Díaz, J A; Nikkilä, M; Gray, K; Harms, P; Fix, J; Tsuruta, S; Mabry, J; Stalder, K

    2016-04-01

    Sow longevity is a key component for efficient and profitable pig farming; however, approximately 50% of sows are removed annually from a breeding herd. There is no consensus in the scientific literature regarding a definition for sow longevity; however, it has been suggested that it can be measured using several methods such as stayability and economic indicators such as lifetime piglets produced. Sow longevity can be improved by genetic selection; however, it is rarely included in genetic evaluations. One reason is elongated time intervals required to collect complete lifetime data. The effect of genetic parameter estimation software in handling incomplete data (censoring) and possible early indicator traits were evaluated analysing a 30% censored data set (12 725 pedigreed Landrace × Large White sows that included approximately 30% censored data) with DMU6, THRGIBBS1F90 and GIBBS2CEN. Heritability estimates were low for all the traits evaluated. The results show that the binary stayability traits benefited from being analysed with a threshold model compared to analysing with a linear model. Sires were ranked very similarly regardless if the program handled censoring when all available data were included. Accumulated born alive and stayability were good indicators for lifetime born alive traits. Number of piglets born alive within each parity could be used as an early indicator trait for sow longevity. PMID:26174369

  8. The Mass-Longevity Triangle: Pareto Optimality and the Geometry of Life-History Trait Space

    PubMed Central

    Szekely, Pablo; Korem, Yael; Moran, Uri; Mayo, Avi; Alon, Uri

    2015-01-01

    When organisms need to perform multiple tasks they face a fundamental tradeoff: no phenotype can be optimal at all tasks. This situation was recently analyzed using Pareto optimality, showing that tradeoffs between tasks lead to phenotypes distributed on low dimensional polygons in trait space. The vertices of these polygons are archetypes—phenotypes optimal at a single task. This theory was applied to examples from animal morphology and gene expression. Here we ask whether Pareto optimality theory can apply to life history traits, which include longevity, fecundity and mass. To comprehensively explore the geometry of life history trait space, we analyze a dataset of life history traits of 2105 endothermic species. We find that, to a first approximation, life history traits fall on a triangle in log-mass log-longevity space. The vertices of the triangle suggest three archetypal strategies, exemplified by bats, shrews and whales, with specialists near the vertices and generalists in the middle of the triangle. To a second approximation, the data lies in a tetrahedron, whose extra vertex above the mass-longevity triangle suggests a fourth strategy related to carnivory. Each animal species can thus be placed in a coordinate system according to its distance from the archetypes, which may be useful for genome-scale comparative studies of mammalian aging and other biological aspects. We further demonstrate that Pareto optimality can explain a range of previous studies which found animal and plant phenotypes which lie in triangles in trait space. This study demonstrates the applicability of multi-objective optimization principles to understand life history traits and to infer archetypal strategies that suggest why some mammalian species live much longer than others of similar mass. PMID:26465336

  9. The Mass-Longevity Triangle: Pareto Optimality and the Geometry of Life-History Trait Space.

    PubMed

    Szekely, Pablo; Korem, Yael; Moran, Uri; Mayo, Avi; Alon, Uri

    2015-10-01

    When organisms need to perform multiple tasks they face a fundamental tradeoff: no phenotype can be optimal at all tasks. This situation was recently analyzed using Pareto optimality, showing that tradeoffs between tasks lead to phenotypes distributed on low dimensional polygons in trait space. The vertices of these polygons are archetypes--phenotypes optimal at a single task. This theory was applied to examples from animal morphology and gene expression. Here we ask whether Pareto optimality theory can apply to life history traits, which include longevity, fecundity and mass. To comprehensively explore the geometry of life history trait space, we analyze a dataset of life history traits of 2105 endothermic species. We find that, to a first approximation, life history traits fall on a triangle in log-mass log-longevity space. The vertices of the triangle suggest three archetypal strategies, exemplified by bats, shrews and whales, with specialists near the vertices and generalists in the middle of the triangle. To a second approximation, the data lies in a tetrahedron, whose extra vertex above the mass-longevity triangle suggests a fourth strategy related to carnivory. Each animal species can thus be placed in a coordinate system according to its distance from the archetypes, which may be useful for genome-scale comparative studies of mammalian aging and other biological aspects. We further demonstrate that Pareto optimality can explain a range of previous studies which found animal and plant phenotypes which lie in triangles in trait space. This study demonstrates the applicability of multi-objective optimization principles to understand life history traits and to infer archetypal strategies that suggest why some mammalian species live much longer than others of similar mass. PMID:26465336

  10. Factor Analysis of Linear Type Traits and Their Relation with Longevity in Brazilian Holstein Cattle

    PubMed Central

    Kern, Elisandra Lurdes; Cobuci, Jaime Araújo; Costa, Cláudio Napolis; Pimentel, Concepta Margaret McManus

    2014-01-01

    In this study we aimed to evaluate the reduction in dimensionality of 20 linear type traits and more final score in 14,943 Holstein cows in Brazil using factor analysis, and indicate their relationship with longevity and 305 d first lactation milk production. Low partial correlations (−0.19 to 0.38), the medium to high Kaiser sampling mean (0.79) and the significance of the Bartlett sphericity test (p<0.001), indicated correlations between type traits and the suitability of these data for a factor analysis, after the elimination of seven traits. Two factors had autovalues greater than one. The first included width and height of posterior udder, udder texture, udder cleft, loin strength, bone quality and final score. The second included stature, top line, chest width, body depth, fore udder attachment, angularity and final score. The linear regression of the factors on several measures of longevity and 305 d milk production showed that selection considering only the first factor should lead to improvements in longevity and 305 milk production. PMID:25050015

  11. Association of exceptional parental longevity and physical function in aging.

    PubMed

    Ayers, Emmeline; Barzilai, Nir; Crandall, Jill P; Milman, Sofiya; Verghese, Joe

    2014-01-01

    Offspring of parents with exceptional longevity (OPEL), who are more likely to carry longevity-associated genotypes, may age more successfully than offspring of parents with usual survival (OPUS). Maintenance of physical function is a key attribute of successful aging. While many genetic and non-genetic factors interact to determine physical phenotype in aging, examination of the contribution of exceptional parental longevity to physical function in aging is limited. The LonGenity study recruited a relatively genetically homogenous cohort of Ashkenazi Jewish (AJ) adults age 65 and older, who were defined as either OPEL (having at least one parent who lived to age 95 or older) or OPUS (neither parent survived to age 95). Subjective and objective measures of physical function were compared between the two groups, accounting for potential confounders. Of the 893 LonGenity subjects, 365 were OPEL and 528 were OPUS. OPEL had better objective and subjective measures of physical function than OPUS, especially on unipedal stance (p = 0.009) and gait speed (p = 0.002). Results support the protective role of exceptional parental longevity in preventing decline in physical function, possibly via genetic mechanisms that should be further explored. PMID:24997018

  12. The Case for Conscientiousness: Evidence and Implications for a Personality Trait Marker of Health and Longevity

    PubMed Central

    Bogg, Tim; Roberts, Brent W.

    2012-01-01

    Purpose Recent initiatives by major funding agencies have emphasized translational and personalized approaches (e.g., genetic testing) to health research and health management. While such directives are appropriate, and will likely produce tangible health benefits, we seek to highlight a confluence of several lines of research showing relations between the personality dimension of conscientiousness and a variety of health-related outcomes. Methods Using a modified health process model, we review the compelling evidence linking conscientiousness to health and disease processes, including longevity, diseases, morbidity-related risk factors, health-related psycho-physiological mechanisms, health-related behaviors, and social environmental factors related to health. Conclusion We argue the accumulated evidence supports greater integration of conscientiousness into public health, epidemiological, and medical research, with the ultimate aim of understanding how facilitating more optimal trait standing might foster better health. PMID:23225322

  13. Translational geroscience: emphasizing function to achieve optimal longevity.

    PubMed

    Seals, Douglas R; Melov, Simon

    2014-09-01

    Among individuals, biological aging leads to cellular and organismal dysfunction and an increased risk of chronic degenerative diseases and disability. This sequence of events in combination with the projected increases in the number of older adults will result in a worldwide healthcare burden with dire consequences. Superimposed on this setting are the adults now reaching traditional retirement ages--the baby boomers--a group that wishes to remain active, productive and physically and cognitively fit as they grow older. Together, these conditions are producing an unprecedented demand for increased healthspan or what might be termed "optimal longevity"-to live long, but well. To meet this demand, investigators with interests in the biological aspects of aging from model organisms to human epidemiology (population aging) must work together within an interactive process that we describe astranslational geroscience. An essential goal of this new investigational platform should be the optimization and preservation of physiological function throughout the lifespan, including integrative physical and cognitive function, which would serve to increase healthspan, compress morbidity and disability into a shorter period of late-life, and help achieve optimal longevity. To most effectively utilize this new approach, we must rethink how investigators and administrators working at different levels of the translational research continuum communicate and collaborate with each other, how best to train the next generation of scientists in this new field, and how contemporary biological-biomedical aging research should be organized and funded. PMID:25324468

  14. Placing Intelligence into an Evolutionary Framework or How "g" Fits into the "r-K" Matrix of Life-History Traits Including Longevity

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rushton, J. Philippe

    2004-01-01

    First, I describe why intelligence (Spearman's "g") can only be fully understood through "r-K" theory, which places it into an evolutionary framework along with brain size, longevity, maturation speed, and several other life-history traits. The "r-K" formulation explains why IQ predicts longevity and also why the gap in mortality rates between…

  15. Predicting communities from functional traits.

    PubMed

    Cadotte, Marc W; Arnillas, Carlos A; Livingstone, Stuart W; Yasui, Simone-Louise E

    2015-09-01

    Species traits influence where species live and how they interact. While there have been many advances in describing the functional composition and diversity of communities, only recently do researchers have the ability to predict community composition and diversity. This predictive ability can offer fundamental insights into ecosystem resilience and restoration. PMID:26190136

  16. Improved lipids, diastolic pressure and kidney function are potential contributors to familial longevity: a study on 60 Chinese centenarian families.

    PubMed

    He, Yong-Han; Pu, Shao-Yan; Xiao, Fu-Hui; Chen, Xiao-Qiong; Yan, Dong-Jing; Liu, Yao-Wen; Lin, Rong; Liao, Xiao-Ping; Yu, Qin; Yang, Li-Qin; Yang, Xing-Li; Ge, Ming-Xia; Li, Ying; Jiang, Jian-Jun; Cai, Wang-Wei; Kong, Qing-Peng

    2016-01-01

    Centenarians are a good healthy aging model. Interestingly, centenarians' offspring are prone to achieve longevity. Here we recruited 60 longevity families and investigated the blood biochemical indexes of family members to seek candidate factors associated with familial longevity. First, associations of blood indexes with age were tested. Second, associations of blood parameters in centenarians (CEN) with their first generation of offspring (F1) and F1 spouses (F1SP) were analyzed. Third, genes involved in regulating target factors were investigated. We found that total cholesterol (TC) and triglyceride (TG) increased with age (20-80 years), but decreased in CEN. Similarly, blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and blood creatinine (BCr) increased with age (20-80 years), but were maintained on a plateau in CEN. Importantly, we first revealed dual changes in blood pressure, i.e., decreased diastolic blood pressure but increased systolic blood pressure in CEN, which associated with altered CST3 expression. Genetic analysis revealed a significant association of blood uric acid (BUA) and BCr in CEN with F1 but not with F1SP, suggesting they may be heritable traits. Taken together, our results suggest serum lipids, kidney function and especially diastolic pressure rather than systolic pressure were improved in CEN or their offspring, suggesting these factors may play an important role in familial longevity. PMID:26911903

  17. Improved lipids, diastolic pressure and kidney function are potential contributors to familial longevity: a study on 60 Chinese centenarian families

    PubMed Central

    He, Yong-Han; Pu, Shao-Yan; Xiao, Fu-Hui; Chen, Xiao-Qiong; Yan, Dong-Jing; Liu, Yao-Wen; Lin, Rong; Liao, Xiao-Ping; Yu, Qin; Yang, Li-Qin; Yang, Xing-Li; Ge, Ming-Xia; Li, Ying; Jiang, Jian-Jun; Cai, Wang-Wei; Kong, Qing-Peng

    2016-01-01

    Centenarians are a good healthy aging model. Interestingly, centenarians’ offspring are prone to achieve longevity. Here we recruited 60 longevity families and investigated the blood biochemical indexes of family members to seek candidate factors associated with familial longevity. First, associations of blood indexes with age were tested. Second, associations of blood parameters in centenarians (CEN) with their first generation of offspring (F1) and F1 spouses (F1SP) were analyzed. Third, genes involved in regulating target factors were investigated. We found that total cholesterol (TC) and triglyceride (TG) increased with age (20–80 years), but decreased in CEN. Similarly, blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and blood creatinine (BCr) increased with age (20–80 years), but were maintained on a plateau in CEN. Importantly, we first revealed dual changes in blood pressure, i.e., decreased diastolic blood pressure but increased systolic blood pressure in CEN, which associated with altered CST3 expression. Genetic analysis revealed a significant association of blood uric acid (BUA) and BCr in CEN with F1 but not with F1SP, suggesting they may be heritable traits. Taken together, our results suggest serum lipids, kidney function and especially diastolic pressure rather than systolic pressure were improved in CEN or their offspring, suggesting these factors may play an important role in familial longevity. PMID:26911903

  18. Translational Geroscience: Emphasizing function to achieve optimal longevity

    PubMed Central

    Seals, Douglas R.; Melov, Simon

    2014-01-01

    Among individuals, biological aging leads to cellular and organismal dysfunction and an increased risk of chronic degenerative diseases and disability. This sequence of events in combination with the projected increases in the number of older adults will result in a worldwide healthcare burden with dire consequences. Superimposed on this setting are the adults now reaching traditional retirement ages--the baby boomers--a group that wishes to remain active, productive and physically and cognitively fit as they grow older. Together, these conditions are producing an unprecedented demand for increased healthspan or what might be termed “optimal longevity”—to live long, but well. To meet this demand, investigators with interests in the biological aspects of aging from model organisms to human epidemiology (population aging) must work together within an interactive process that we describe as translational geroscience. An essential goal of this new investigational platform should be the optimization and preservation of physiological function throughout the lifespan, including integrative physical and cognitive function, which would serve to increase healthspan, compress morbidity and disability into a shorter period of late-life, and help achieve optimal longevity. To most effectively utilize this new approach, we must rethink how investigators and administrators working at different levels of the translational research continuum communicate and collaborate with each other, how best to train the next generation of scientists in this new field, and how contemporary biological-biomedical aging research should be organized and funded. PMID:25324468

  19. Genetic parameters for digital dermatitis and correlations with locomotion, production, fertility traits, and longevity in Holstein-Friesian dairy cows.

    PubMed

    Onyiro, O M; Andrews, L J; Brotherstone, S

    2008-10-01

    Heritability of digital dermatitis (DD) and correlations between DD and type traits related to legs and feet were estimated from a linear animal model. Data comprised 93,391 national type evaluation records of pedigreed first-lactation Holstein-Friesian cows that calved from 2002 through 2006. At the time of classification, cows were housed in different housing systems (i.e., cubicles, straw yards, slatted or loafing yards) and on pasture. The type traits evaluated were locomotion score (LOCO), rear legs side view (RLS), foot angle (FA), bone quality and leg and feet composite (L&F). In addition, cows were examined for DD lesions at classification. The relationships among these type traits, lifespan (LS), production (milk and fat), fertility (calving interval and 56-d nonreturn) and DD were examined by estimating the approximate genetic correlations from sire estimated breeding values. The study also evaluated the association between DD and the housing systems as well as the general conditions of the farm flooring where classification took place. In general, cows on pasture were less susceptible to DD than cows in other housing systems, whereas the association between DD and the flooring conditions was counterintuitive. Heritability estimate for DD was 0.011 on the 0/1 scale, which is equivalent to 0.029 on the assumed underlying normally distributed scale. Bone quality, LOCO, and L&F had moderate to high negative genetic correlations with DD, indicating that flatter, more refined bones, higher LOCO, and better L&F were associated with less incidence of DD. The genetic correlations between DD, RLS, and FA were not significantly different from zero. Digital dermatitis had moderate but negative genetic correlations with LS and milk and fat, suggesting that breeding for resistance to DD will result in an increase in both longevity and production. Cows affected with DD had a slightly shorter calving interval than healthy cows, an association found to be mediated

  20. A functional trait perspective on plant invasion

    PubMed Central

    Drenovsky, Rebecca E.; Grewell, Brenda J.; D'Antonio, Carla M.; Funk, Jennifer L.; James, Jeremy J.; Molinari, Nicole; Parker, Ingrid M.; Richards, Christina L.

    2012-01-01

    Background and Aims Global environmental change will affect non-native plant invasions, with profound potential impacts on native plant populations, communities and ecosystems. In this context, we review plant functional traits, particularly those that drive invader abundance (invasiveness) and impacts, as well as the integration of these traits across multiple ecological scales, and as a basis for restoration and management. Scope We review the concepts and terminology surrounding functional traits and how functional traits influence processes at the individual level. We explore how phenotypic plasticity may lead to rapid evolution of novel traits facilitating invasiveness in changing environments and then ‘scale up’ to evaluate the relative importance of demographic traits and their links to invasion rates. We then suggest a functional trait framework for assessing per capita effects and, ultimately, impacts of invasive plants on plant communities and ecosystems. Lastly, we focus on the role of functional trait-based approaches in invasive species management and restoration in the context of rapid, global environmental change. Conclusions To understand how the abundance and impacts of invasive plants will respond to rapid environmental changes it is essential to link trait-based responses of invaders to changes in community and ecosystem properties. To do so requires a comprehensive effort that considers dynamic environmental controls and a targeted approach to understand key functional traits driving both invader abundance and impacts. If we are to predict future invasions, manage those at hand and use restoration technology to mitigate invasive species impacts, future research must focus on functional traits that promote invasiveness and invader impacts under changing conditions, and integrate major factors driving invasions from individual to ecosystem levels. PMID:22589328

  1. Relating Stomatal Conductance to Leaf Functional Traits

    PubMed Central

    Kröber, Wenzel; Plath, Isa; Heklau, Heike; Bruelheide, Helge

    2015-01-01

    Leaf functional traits are important because they reflect physiological functions, such as transpiration and carbon assimilation. In particular, morphological leaf traits have the potential to summarize plants strategies in terms of water use efficiency, growth pattern and nutrient use. The leaf economics spectrum (LES) is a recognized framework in functional plant ecology and reflects a gradient of increasing specific leaf area (SLA), leaf nitrogen, phosphorus and cation content, and decreasing leaf dry matter content (LDMC) and carbon nitrogen ratio (CN). The LES describes different strategies ranging from that of short-lived leaves with high photosynthetic capacity per leaf mass to long-lived leaves with low mass-based carbon assimilation rates. However, traits that are not included in the LES might provide additional information on the species' physiology, such as those related to stomatal control. Protocols are presented for a wide range of leaf functional traits, including traits of the LES, but also traits that are independent of the LES. In particular, a new method is introduced that relates the plants’ regulatory behavior in stomatal conductance to vapor pressure deficit. The resulting parameters of stomatal regulation can then be compared to the LES and other plant functional traits. The results show that functional leaf traits of the LES were also valid predictors for the parameters of stomatal regulation. For example, leaf carbon concentration was positively related to the vapor pressure deficit (vpd) at the point of inflection and the maximum of the conductance-vpd curve. However, traits that are not included in the LES added information in explaining parameters of stomatal control: the vpd at the point of inflection of the conductance-vpd curve was lower for species with higher stomatal density and higher stomatal index. Overall, stomata and vein traits were more powerful predictors for explaining stomatal regulation than traits used in the LES

  2. Function-valued traits in evolution

    PubMed Central

    Hadjipantelis, Pantelis Z.; Jones, Nick S.; Moriarty, John; Springate, David A.; Knight, Christopher G.

    2013-01-01

    Many biological characteristics of evolutionary interest are not scalar variables but continuous functions. Given a dataset of function-valued traits generated by evolution, we develop a practical, statistical approach to infer ancestral function-valued traits, and estimate the generative evolutionary process. We do this by combining dimension reduction and phylogenetic Gaussian process regression, a non-parametric procedure that explicitly accounts for known phylogenetic relationships. We test the performance of methods on simulated, function-valued data generated from a stochastic evolutionary model. The methods are applied assuming that only the phylogeny, and the function-valued traits of taxa at its tips are known. Our method is robust and applicable to a wide range of function-valued data, and also offers a phylogenetically aware method for estimating the autocorrelation of function-valued traits. PMID:23427095

  3. Predicting species’ range limits from functional traits for the tree flora of North America

    PubMed Central

    Stahl, Ulrike; Reu, Björn; Wirth, Christian

    2014-01-01

    Using functional traits to explain species’ range limits is a promising approach in functional biogeography. It replaces the idiosyncrasy of species-specific climate ranges with a generic trait-based predictive framework. In addition, it has the potential to shed light on specific filter mechanisms creating large-scale vegetation patterns. However, its application to a continental flora, spanning large climate gradients, has been hampered by a lack of trait data. Here, we explore whether five key plant functional traits (seed mass, wood density, specific leaf area (SLA), maximum height, and longevity of a tree)—indicative of life history, mechanical, and physiological adaptations—explain the climate ranges of 250 North American tree species distributed from the boreal to the subtropics. Although the relationship between traits and the median climate across a species range is weak, quantile regressions revealed strong effects on range limits. Wood density and seed mass were strongly related to the lower but not upper temperature range limits of species. Maximum height affects the species range limits in both dry and humid climates, whereas SLA and longevity do not show clear relationships. These results allow the definition and delineation of climatic “no-go areas” for North American tree species based on key traits. As some of these key traits serve as important parameters in recent vegetation models, the implementation of trait-based climatic constraints has the potential to predict both range shifts and ecosystem consequences on a more functional basis. Moreover, for future trait-based vegetation models our results provide a benchmark for model evaluation. PMID:25225398

  4. Predicting species' range limits from functional traits for the tree flora of North America.

    PubMed

    Stahl, Ulrike; Reu, Björn; Wirth, Christian

    2014-09-23

    Using functional traits to explain species' range limits is a promising approach in functional biogeography. It replaces the idiosyncrasy of species-specific climate ranges with a generic trait-based predictive framework. In addition, it has the potential to shed light on specific filter mechanisms creating large-scale vegetation patterns. However, its application to a continental flora, spanning large climate gradients, has been hampered by a lack of trait data. Here, we explore whether five key plant functional traits (seed mass, wood density, specific leaf area (SLA), maximum height, and longevity of a tree)--indicative of life history, mechanical, and physiological adaptations--explain the climate ranges of 250 North American tree species distributed from the boreal to the subtropics. Although the relationship between traits and the median climate across a species range is weak, quantile regressions revealed strong effects on range limits. Wood density and seed mass were strongly related to the lower but not upper temperature range limits of species. Maximum height affects the species range limits in both dry and humid climates, whereas SLA and longevity do not show clear relationships. These results allow the definition and delineation of climatic "no-go areas" for North American tree species based on key traits. As some of these key traits serve as important parameters in recent vegetation models, the implementation of trait-based climatic constraints has the potential to predict both range shifts and ecosystem consequences on a more functional basis. Moreover, for future trait-based vegetation models our results provide a benchmark for model evaluation. PMID:25225398

  5. Identifying copepod functional groups from species functional traits

    PubMed Central

    Benedetti, Fabio; Gasparini, Stéphane; Ayata, Sakina-Dorothée

    2016-01-01

    We gathered information on the functional traits of the most representative copepod species in the Mediterranean Sea. Our database includes 191 species described by 7 traits encompassing diverse ecological functions: minimal and maximal body length, trophic group, feeding type, spawning strategy, diel vertical migration and vertical habitat. Cluster analysis in the functional trait space revealed that Mediterranean copepods can be separated into groups with distinct ecological roles. PMID:26811565

  6. AVPR1A alleles are pleiotropic sources of variation in age at puberty and reproductive longevity in sows

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Age at puberty is a moderately heritable trait and an early indicator of sow reproductive longevity. Gilts that express first estrus early in life are characterized by improved reproductive longevity and lifetime productivity. These traits are dependent on the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-...

  7. An Energy-Independent Pro-longevity Function of Triacylglycerol in Yeast.

    PubMed

    Handee, Witawas; Li, Xiaobo; Hall, Kevin W; Deng, Xiexiong; Li, Pan; Benning, Christoph; Williams, Barry L; Kuo, Min-Hao

    2016-02-01

    Intracellular triacylglycerol (TAG) is a ubiquitous energy storage lipid also involved in lipid homeostasis and signaling. Comparatively, little is known about TAG's role in other cellular functions. Here we show a pro-longevity function of TAG in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In yeast strains derived from natural and laboratory environments a correlation between high levels of TAG and longer chronological lifespan was observed. Increased TAG abundance through the deletion of TAG lipases prolonged chronological lifespan of laboratory strains, while diminishing TAG biosynthesis shortened lifespan without apparently affecting vegetative growth. TAG-mediated lifespan extension was independent of several other known stress response factors involved in chronological aging. Because both lifespan regulation and TAG metabolism are conserved, this cellular pro-longevity function of TAG may extend to other organisms. PMID:26907989

  8. An Energy-Independent Pro-longevity Function of Triacylglycerol in Yeast

    PubMed Central

    Hall, Kevin W.; Deng, Xiexiong; Li, Pan; Benning, Christoph; Williams, Barry L.; Kuo, Min-Hao

    2016-01-01

    Intracellular triacylglycerol (TAG) is a ubiquitous energy storage lipid also involved in lipid homeostasis and signaling. Comparatively, little is known about TAG’s role in other cellular functions. Here we show a pro-longevity function of TAG in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In yeast strains derived from natural and laboratory environments a correlation between high levels of TAG and longer chronological lifespan was observed. Increased TAG abundance through the deletion of TAG lipases prolonged chronological lifespan of laboratory strains, while diminishing TAG biosynthesis shortened lifespan without apparently affecting vegetative growth. TAG-mediated lifespan extension was independent of several other known stress response factors involved in chronological aging. Because both lifespan regulation and TAG metabolism are conserved, this cellular pro-longevity function of TAG may extend to other organisms. PMID:26907989

  9. Genetic mapping of quantitative trait loci governing longevity of Caenorhabditis elegans in recombinant-inbred progeny of a Bergerac-BO x RC301 interstrain cross.

    PubMed Central

    Ayyadevara, S; Ayyadevara, R; Hou, S; Thaden, J J; Shmookler Reis, R J

    2001-01-01

    Recombinant-inbred populations, generated from a cross between Caenorhabditis elegans strains Bergerac-BO and RC301, were used to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) affecting nematode longevity. Genotypes of young controls and longevity-selected worms (the last-surviving 1% from a synchronously aged population) were assessed at dimorphic transposon-specific markers by multiplex polymerase chain reaction. The power of genetic mapping was enhanced, in a novel experimental design, through map expansion by accrual of recombinations over several generations, internally controlled longevity selection from a genetically heterogeneous, homozygous population, and selective genotyping of extremely long-lived worms. Analysis of individual markers indicated seven life-span QTL, situated near markers on chromosomes I (tcbn2), III (stP127), IV (stP13), V (stP6, stP23, and stP128), and X (stP41). These loci were corroborated, and mapped with increased precision, by nonparametric interval mapping-which supported all loci implicated by single-marker analysis. In addition, a life-span QTL on chromosome II (stP100-stP196), was significant only by interval mapping. Congenic lines were constructed for the longevity QTL on chromosomes III and X, by backcrossing the Bergerac-BO QTL allele into an RC301 background with selection for flanking markers. Survival data for these lines demonstrated consistent and significant effects of each QTL on life span. PMID:11156986

  10. Mapping Quantitative Trait Loci Underlying Function-Valued Traits Using Functional Principal Component Analysis and Multi-Trait Mapping

    PubMed Central

    Kwak, Il-Youp; Moore, Candace R.; Spalding, Edgar P.; Broman, Karl W.

    2015-01-01

    We previously proposed a simple regression-based method to map quantitative trait loci underlying function-valued phenotypes. In order to better handle the case of noisy phenotype measurements and accommodate the correlation structure among time points, we propose an alternative approach that maintains much of the simplicity and speed of the regression-based method. We overcome noisy measurements by replacing the observed data with a smooth approximation. We then apply functional principal component analysis, replacing the smoothed phenotype data with a small number of principal components. Quantitative trait locus mapping is applied to these dimension-reduced data, either with a multi-trait method or by considering the traits individually and then taking the average or maximum LOD score across traits. We apply these approaches to root gravitropism data on Arabidopsis recombinant inbred lines and further investigate their performance in computer simulations. Our methods have been implemented in the R package, funqtl. PMID:26530421

  11. Comparison of piecewise Weibull baseline survival models for estimation of true and functional longevity in Brown cattle raised in small herds.

    PubMed

    Jenko, J; Ducrocq, V; Kovač, M

    2013-10-01

    Piecewise Weibull proportional hazard models were used to investigate the effect of genetic and nongenetic factors on functional and true longevity traits of the Slovenian Brown cattle breed. Records of 37 908 Brown cows from 2401 Slovenian herds were used. As these herds were characterised by a relatively small average herd size starting from 6.7 in 1999 and increasing to 8.7 Brown cows per herd in 2008, milk yield classification was made within different herd size groups. The hazard rate was the lowest in the first part of each lactation and was increasing for later stages. Culling risk was lower for cows from herds increasing in size, for cows with higher milk production and for cows from a region with smaller herd sizes and tougher conditions for cattle breeding. The latter result is surprising and may be related to better attention to maintain the animals, despite their lower milk production. The introduction of the milk quota system and drought was found to have an important effect on culling policy between the last seasons of the years 2001 and 2003. Seasonal effects were not related to the milk quota year (from April to March), but to the effect of shortage in fodder during the winter time. The effect of age at first calving and the interaction between year and milk yield class were not found to be significant. Heritability for functional and for true longevity were similar at around 10% each. Inclusion of a correction for class of milk yield to approximate functional longevity increased the herd-year random effect variance by 53%, whereas the sire variance increased by only 14%. The correlation coefficient between ranks of breeding values for functional and true longevity was high (0.91), whereas genetic trends were not found to be significant. To assess their predictive ability, models were compared looking at the survival rate of 4212 second-crop daughters not included in the initial models. The average correlation between estimated breeding values and

  12. Functional Traits for Carbon Access in Macrophytes

    PubMed Central

    Pfister, Catherine A.; Wootton, J. Timothy

    2016-01-01

    Understanding functional trait distributions among organisms can inform impacts on and responses to environmental change. In marine systems, only 1% of dissolved inorganic carbon in seawater exists as CO2. Thus the majority of marine macrophytes not only passively access CO2 for photosynthesis, but also actively transport CO2 and the more common bicarbonate (HCO3-, 92% of seawater dissolved inorganic carbon) into their cells. Because species with these carbon concentrating mechanisms (CCMs) are non-randomly distributed in ecosystems, we ask whether there is a phylogenetic pattern to the distribution of CCMs among algal species. To determine macrophyte traits that influence carbon uptake, we assessed 40 common macrophyte species from the rocky intertidal community of the Northeast Pacific Ocean to a) query whether macrophytes have a CCM and b) determine the evolutionary history of CCMs, using ancestral state reconstructions and stochastic character mapping based on previously published data. Thirty-two species not only depleted CO2, but also concentrated and depleted HCO3-, indicative of a CCM. While analysis of CCMs as a continuous trait in 30 families within Phylum Rhodophyta showed a significant phylogenetic signal under a Brownian motion model, analysis of CCMs as a discrete trait (presence or absence) indicated that red algal families are more divergent than expected in their CCM presence or absence; CCMs are a labile trait within the Rhodophyta. In contrast, CCMs were present in each of 18 Ochrophyta families surveyed, indicating that CCMs are highly conserved in the brown algae. The trait of CCM presence or absence was largely conserved within Families. Fifteen of 23 species tested also changed the seawater buffering capacity, or Total Alkalinity (TA), shifting DIC composition towards increasing concentrations of HCO3- and CO2 for photosynthesis. Manipulating the external TA of the local environment may influence carbon availability in boundary layers and

  13. Functional Traits for Carbon Access in Macrophytes.

    PubMed

    Stepien, Courtney C; Pfister, Catherine A; Wootton, J Timothy

    2016-01-01

    Understanding functional trait distributions among organisms can inform impacts on and responses to environmental change. In marine systems, only 1% of dissolved inorganic carbon in seawater exists as CO2. Thus the majority of marine macrophytes not only passively access CO2 for photosynthesis, but also actively transport CO2 and the more common bicarbonate (HCO3-, 92% of seawater dissolved inorganic carbon) into their cells. Because species with these carbon concentrating mechanisms (CCMs) are non-randomly distributed in ecosystems, we ask whether there is a phylogenetic pattern to the distribution of CCMs among algal species. To determine macrophyte traits that influence carbon uptake, we assessed 40 common macrophyte species from the rocky intertidal community of the Northeast Pacific Ocean to a) query whether macrophytes have a CCM and b) determine the evolutionary history of CCMs, using ancestral state reconstructions and stochastic character mapping based on previously published data. Thirty-two species not only depleted CO2, but also concentrated and depleted HCO3-, indicative of a CCM. While analysis of CCMs as a continuous trait in 30 families within Phylum Rhodophyta showed a significant phylogenetic signal under a Brownian motion model, analysis of CCMs as a discrete trait (presence or absence) indicated that red algal families are more divergent than expected in their CCM presence or absence; CCMs are a labile trait within the Rhodophyta. In contrast, CCMs were present in each of 18 Ochrophyta families surveyed, indicating that CCMs are highly conserved in the brown algae. The trait of CCM presence or absence was largely conserved within Families. Fifteen of 23 species tested also changed the seawater buffering capacity, or Total Alkalinity (TA), shifting DIC composition towards increasing concentrations of HCO3- and CO2 for photosynthesis. Manipulating the external TA of the local environment may influence carbon availability in boundary layers and

  14. The Deubiquitylase MATH-33 Controls DAF-16 Stability and Function in Metabolism and Longevity

    PubMed Central

    Heimbucher, Thomas; Liu, Zheng; Bossard, Carine; McCloskey, Richard; Carrano, Andrea C.; Riedel, Christian G.; Tanasa, Bogdan; Klammt, Christian; Fonslow, Bryan R.; Riera, Celine E.; Lillemeier, Bjorn F.; Kemphues, Kenneth; Yates, John R.; O'Shea, Clodagh; Hunter, Tony; Dillin, Andrew

    2015-01-01

    SUMMARY One of the major determinants of aging in organisms ranging from worms to man are FOXO family transcription factors, which are downstream effectors of Insulin/IGF-1 signaling (IIS). The molecular mechanisms that actively promote DAF16/FOXO stability and function are unknown. Here we identify the deubiquitylating enzyme MATH-33 as an essential DAF-16 regulator in IIS, which stabilizes active DAF-16 protein levels and, as a consequence, influences DAF-16 functions, such as metabolism, stress response and longevity in C. elegans. MATH-33 associates with DAF-16 in cellulo and in vitro. MATH-33 functions as a deubiquitylase by actively removing ubiquitin moieties from DAF-16, thus counteracting the action of the RLE-1 E3-ubiquitin ligase. Our findings support a model in which MATH-33 promotes DAF-16 stability in response to decreased IIS by directly modulating its ubiquitylation state, suggesting that regulated oscillations in the stability of DAF-16 protein play an integral role in controlling processes such as metabolism and longevity. PMID:26154057

  15. Pleiotropic Cellular Functions of PARP1 in Longevity and Aging: Genome Maintenance Meets Inflammation

    PubMed Central

    Mangerich, Aswin; Bürkle, Alexander

    2012-01-01

    Aging is a multifactorial process that depends on diverse molecular and cellular mechanisms, such as genome maintenance and inflammation. The nuclear enzyme poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP1), which catalyzes the synthesis of the biopolymer poly(ADP-ribose), exhibits an essential role in both processes. On the one hand, PARP1 serves as a genomic caretaker as it participates in chromatin remodelling, DNA repair, telomere maintenance, resolution of replicative stress, and cell cycle control. On the other hand, PARP1 acts as a mediator of inflammation due to its function as a regulator of NF-κB and other transcription factors and its potential to induce cell death. Consequently, PARP1 represents an interesting player in several aging mechanisms and is discussed as a longevity assurance factor on the one hand and an aging-promoting factor on the other hand. Here, we review the molecular mechanisms underlying the various roles of PARP1 in longevity and aging with special emphasis on cellular studies and we briefly discuss the results in the context of in vivo studies in mice and humans. PMID:23050038

  16. SOD2 functions downstream of Sch9 to extend longevity in yeast.

    PubMed Central

    Fabrizio, Paola; Liou, Lee-Loung; Moy, Vanessa N; Diaspro, Alberto; SelverstoneValentine, Joan; Gralla, Edith Butler; Longo, Valter D

    2003-01-01

    Signal transduction pathways inactivated during periods of starvation are implicated in the regulation of longevity in organisms ranging from yeast to mammals, but the mechanisms responsible for life-span extension are poorly understood. Chronological life-span extension in S. cerevisiae cyr1 and sch9 mutants is mediated by the stress-resistance proteins Msn2/Msn4 and Rim15. Here we show that mitochondrial superoxide dismutase (Sod2) is required for survival extension in yeast. Deletion of SOD2 abolishes life-span extension in sch9Delta mutants and decreases survival in cyr1:mTn mutants. The overexpression of Sods--mitochondrial Sod2 and cytosolic CuZnSod (Sod1)--delays the age-dependent reversible inactivation of mitochondrial aconitase, a superoxide-sensitive enzyme, and extends survival by 30%. Deletion of the RAS2 gene, which functions upstream of CYR1, also doubles the mean life span by a mechanism that requires Msn2/4 and Sod2. These findings link mutations that extend chronological life span in S. cerevisiae to superoxide dismutases and suggest that the induction of other stress-resistance genes regulated by Msn2/4 and Rim15 is required for maximum longevity extension. PMID:12586694

  17. Global land model development: time to shift from a plant functional type to a plant functional trait approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reich, P. B.; Butler, E. E.

    2015-12-01

    This project will advance global land models by shifting from the current plant functional type approach to one that better utilizes what is known about the importance and variability of plant traits, within a framework of simultaneously improving fundamental physiological relations that are at the core of model carbon cycling algorithms. Existing models represent the global distribution of vegetation types using the Plant Functional Typeconcept. Plant Functional Types are classes of plant species with similar evolutionary and life history withpresumably similar responses to environmental conditions like CO2, water and nutrient availability. Fixedproperties for each Plant Functional Type are specified through a collection of physiological parameters, or traits.These traits, mostly physiological in nature (e.g., leaf nitrogen and longevity) are used in model algorithms to estimate ecosystem properties and/or drive calculated process rates. In most models, 5 to 15 functional types represent terrestrial vegetation; in essence, they assume there are a total of only 5 to 15 different kinds of plants on the entire globe. This assumption of constant plant traits captured within the functional type concept has serious limitations, as a single set of traits does not reflect trait variation observed within and between species and communities. While this simplification was necessary decades past, substantial improvement is now possible. Rather than assigning a small number of constant parameter values to all grid cells in a model, procedures will be developed that predict a frequency distribution of values for any given grid cell. Thus, the mean and variance, and how these change with time, will inform and improve model performance. The trait-based approach will improve land modeling by (1) incorporating patterns and heterogeneity of traits into model parameterization, thus evolving away from a framework that considers large areas of vegetation to have near identical trait

  18. Plant functional traits and the multidimensional nature of species coexistence

    PubMed Central

    Kraft, Nathan J. B.; Godoy, Oscar; Levine, Jonathan M.

    2015-01-01

    Understanding the processes maintaining species diversity is a central problem in ecology, with implications for the conservation and management of ecosystems. Although biologists often assume that trait differences between competitors promote diversity, empirical evidence connecting functional traits to the niche differences that stabilize species coexistence is rare. Obtaining such evidence is critical because traits also underlie the average fitness differences driving competitive exclusion, and this complicates efforts to infer community dynamics from phenotypic patterns. We coupled field-parameterized mathematical models of competition between 102 pairs of annual plants with detailed sampling of leaf, seed, root, and whole-plant functional traits to relate phenotypic differences to stabilizing niche and average fitness differences. Single functional traits were often well correlated with average fitness differences between species, indicating that competitive dominance was associated with late phenology, deep rooting, and several other traits. In contrast, single functional traits were poorly correlated with the stabilizing niche differences that promote coexistence. Niche differences could only be described by combinations of traits, corresponding to differentiation between species in multiple ecological dimensions. In addition, several traits were associated with both fitness differences and stabilizing niche differences. These complex relationships between phenotypic differences and the dynamics of competing species argue against the simple use of single functional traits to infer community assembly processes but lay the groundwork for a theoretically justified trait-based community ecology. PMID:25561561

  19. Physiological geroscience: targeting function to increase healthspan and achieve optimal longevity.

    PubMed

    Seals, Douglas R; Justice, Jamie N; LaRocca, Thomas J

    2016-04-15

    Most nations of the world are undergoing rapid and dramatic population ageing, which presents great socio-economic challenges, as well as opportunities, for individuals, families, governments and societies. The prevailing biomedical strategy for reducing the healthcare impact of population ageing has been 'compression of morbidity' and, more recently, to increase healthspan, both of which seek to extend the healthy period of life and delay the development of chronic diseases and disability until a brief period at the end of life. Indeed, a recently established field within biological ageing research, 'geroscience', is focused on healthspan extension. Superimposed on this background are new attitudes and demand for 'optimal longevity' - living long, but with good health and quality of life. A key obstacle to achieving optimal longevity is the progressive decline in physiological function that occurs with ageing, which causes functional limitations (e.g. reduced mobility) and increases the risk of chronic diseases, disability and mortality. Current efforts to increase healthspan centre on slowing the fundamental biological processes of ageing such as inflammation/oxidative stress, increased senescence, mitochondrial dysfunction, impaired proteostasis and reduced stress resistance. We propose that optimization of physiological function throughout the lifespan should be a major emphasis of any contemporary biomedical policy addressing global ageing. Effective strategies should delay, reduce in magnitude or abolish reductions in function with ageing (primary prevention) and/or improve function or slow further declines in older adults with already impaired function (secondary prevention). Healthy lifestyle practices featuring regular physical activity and ideal energy intake/diet composition represent first-line function-preserving strategies, with pharmacological agents, including existing and new pharmaceuticals and novel 'nutraceutical' compounds, serving as potential

  20. Do community-weighted mean functional traits reflect optimal strategies?

    PubMed

    Muscarella, Robert; Uriarte, María

    2016-03-30

    The notion that relationships between community-weighted mean (CWM) traits (i.e. plot-level trait values weighted by species abundances) and environmental conditions reflect selection towards locally optimal phenotypes is challenged by the large amount of interspecific trait variation typically found within ecological communities. Reconciling these contrasting patterns is a key to advancing predictive theories of functional community ecology. We combined data on geographical distributions and three traits (wood density, leaf mass per area and maximum height) of 173 tree species in Puerto Rico. We tested the hypothesis that species are more likely to occur where their trait values are more similar to the local CWM trait values (the'CWM-optimality' hypothesis) by comparing species occurrence patterns (as a proxy for fitness) with the functional composition of forest plots across a precipitation gradient. While 70% of the species supported CWM-optimality for at least one trait, nearly 25% significantly opposed it for at least one trait, thereby contributing to local functional diversity. The majority (85%) of species that opposed CWM-optimality did so only for one trait and few species opposed CWM-optimality in multivariate trait space. Our study suggests that constraints to local functional variation act more strongly on multivariate phenotypes than on univariate traits. PMID:27030412

  1. Heart-specific Rpd3 downregulation enhances cardiac function and longevity.

    PubMed

    Kopp, Zachary A; Hsieh, Jo-Lin; Li, Andrew; Wang, William; Bhatt, Dhelni T; Lee, Angela; Kim, Sae Yeon; Fan, David; Shah, Veevek; Siddiqui, Emaad; Ragam, Radhika; Park, Kristen; Ardeshna, Dev; Park, Kunwoo; Wu, Rachel; Parikh, Hardik; Parikh, Ayush; Lin, Yuh-Ru; Park, Yongkyu

    2015-09-01

    Downregulation of Rpd3, a homologue of mammalian Histone Deacetylase 1 (HDAC1), extends lifespan in Drosophila melanogaster. Once revealed that long-lived fruit flies exhibit limited cardiac decline, we investigated whether Rpd3 downregulation would improve stress resistance and/or lifespan when targeted in the heart. Contested against three different stressors (oxidation, starvation and heat), heart-specific Rpd3 downregulation significantly enhanced stress resistance in flies. However, these higher levels of resistance were not observed when Rpd3 downregulation was targeted in other tissues or when other long-lived flies were tested in the heart-specific manner. Interestingly, the expressions of anti-aging genes such as sod2, foxo and Thor, were systemically increased as a consequence of heart-specific Rpd3 downregulation. Showing higher resistance to oxidative stress, the heart-specific Rpd3 downregulation concurrently exhibited improved cardiac functions, demonstrating an increased heart rate, decreased heart failure and accelerated heart recovery. Conversely, Rpd3 upregulation in cardiac tissue reduced systemic resistance against heat stress with decreased heart function, also specifying phosphorylated Rpd3 levels as a significant modulator. Continual downregulation of Rpd3 throughout aging increased lifespan, implicating that Rpd3 deacetylase in the heart plays a significant role in cardiac function and longevity to systemically modulate the fly's response to the environment. PMID:26399365

  2. Predicting plants -modeling traits as a function of environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Franklin, Oskar

    2016-04-01

    A central problem in understanding and modeling vegetation dynamics is how to represent the variation in plant properties and function across different environments. Addressing this problem there is a strong trend towards trait-based approaches, where vegetation properties are functions of the distributions of functional traits rather than of species. Recently there has been enormous progress in in quantifying trait variability and its drivers and effects (Van Bodegom et al. 2012; Adier et al. 2014; Kunstler et al. 2015) based on wide ranging datasets on a small number of easily measured traits, such as specific leaf area (SLA), wood density and maximum plant height. However, plant function depends on many other traits and while the commonly measured trait data are valuable, they are not sufficient for driving predictive and mechanistic models of vegetation dynamics -especially under novel climate or management conditions. For this purpose we need a model to predict functional traits, also those not easily measured, and how they depend on the plants' environment. Here I present such a mechanistic model based on fitness concepts and focused on traits related to water and light limitation of trees, including: wood density, drought response, allocation to defense, and leaf traits. The model is able to predict observed patterns of variability in these traits in relation to growth and mortality, and their responses to a gradient of water limitation. The results demonstrate that it is possible to mechanistically predict plant traits as a function of the environment based on an eco-physiological model of plant fitness. References Adier, P.B., Salguero-Gómez, R., Compagnoni, A., Hsu, J.S., Ray-Mukherjee, J., Mbeau-Ache, C. et al. (2014). Functional traits explain variation in plant lifehistory strategies. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A., 111, 740-745. Kunstler, G., Falster, D., Coomes, D.A., Hui, F., Kooyman, R.M., Laughlin, D.C. et al. (2015). Plant functional traits

  3. Plant functional traits predict green roof ecosystem services.

    PubMed

    Lundholm, Jeremy; Tran, Stephanie; Gebert, Luke

    2015-02-17

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  5. Species longevity as a function of niche breadth: Evidence from fossil crinoids

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kammer, Thomas W.; Baumiller, Tomasz K.; Ausich, William I.

    1997-03-01

    High-resolution stratigraphic and taxonomic data indicate that species longevities among Paleozoic (Mississippian) crinoids (Echinodermata) were affected by differences in niche breadth. A strong positive relationship exists between niche breadth, measured as the number of environments occupied by a species, and stratigraphic range. The robustness of this pattern is verified by a variety of rarefaction and statistical techniques confirming the long-held supposition that among animals ecological “generalists” have greater species longevities than ecological “specialists.” The results also support the hypothesis that specialist clades have higher species richness.

  6. Functional Regression Models for Epistasis Analysis of Multiple Quantitative Traits

    PubMed Central

    Xie, Dan; Liang, Meimei; Xiong, Momiao

    2016-01-01

    To date, most genetic analyses of phenotypes have focused on analyzing single traits or analyzing each phenotype independently. However, joint epistasis analysis of multiple complementary traits will increase statistical power and improve our understanding of the complicated genetic structure of the complex diseases. Despite their importance in uncovering the genetic structure of complex traits, the statistical methods for identifying epistasis in multiple phenotypes remains fundamentally unexplored. To fill this gap, we formulate a test for interaction between two genes in multiple quantitative trait analysis as a multiple functional regression (MFRG) in which the genotype functions (genetic variant profiles) are defined as a function of the genomic position of the genetic variants. We use large-scale simulations to calculate Type I error rates for testing interaction between two genes with multiple phenotypes and to compare the power with multivariate pairwise interaction analysis and single trait interaction analysis by a single variate functional regression model. To further evaluate performance, the MFRG for epistasis analysis is applied to five phenotypes of exome sequence data from the NHLBI’s Exome Sequencing Project (ESP) to detect pleiotropic epistasis. A total of 267 pairs of genes that formed a genetic interaction network showed significant evidence of epistasis influencing five traits. The results demonstrate that the joint interaction analysis of multiple phenotypes has a much higher power to detect interaction than the interaction analysis of a single trait and may open a new direction to fully uncovering the genetic structure of multiple phenotypes. PMID:27104857

  7. Functional Regression Models for Epistasis Analysis of Multiple Quantitative Traits.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Futao; Xie, Dan; Liang, Meimei; Xiong, Momiao

    2016-04-01

    To date, most genetic analyses of phenotypes have focused on analyzing single traits or analyzing each phenotype independently. However, joint epistasis analysis of multiple complementary traits will increase statistical power and improve our understanding of the complicated genetic structure of the complex diseases. Despite their importance in uncovering the genetic structure of complex traits, the statistical methods for identifying epistasis in multiple phenotypes remains fundamentally unexplored. To fill this gap, we formulate a test for interaction between two genes in multiple quantitative trait analysis as a multiple functional regression (MFRG) in which the genotype functions (genetic variant profiles) are defined as a function of the genomic position of the genetic variants. We use large-scale simulations to calculate Type I error rates for testing interaction between two genes with multiple phenotypes and to compare the power with multivariate pairwise interaction analysis and single trait interaction analysis by a single variate functional regression model. To further evaluate performance, the MFRG for epistasis analysis is applied to five phenotypes of exome sequence data from the NHLBI's Exome Sequencing Project (ESP) to detect pleiotropic epistasis. A total of 267 pairs of genes that formed a genetic interaction network showed significant evidence of epistasis influencing five traits. The results demonstrate that the joint interaction analysis of multiple phenotypes has a much higher power to detect interaction than the interaction analysis of a single trait and may open a new direction to fully uncovering the genetic structure of multiple phenotypes. PMID:27104857

  8. Functional traits and root morphology of alpine plants

    PubMed Central

    Pohl, Mandy; Stroude, Raphaël; Buttler, Alexandre; Rixen, Christian

    2011-01-01

    Background and Aims Vegetation has long been recognized to protect the soil from erosion. Understanding species differences in root morphology and functional traits is an important step to assess which species and species mixtures may provide erosion control. Furthermore, extending classification of plant functional types towards root traits may be a useful procedure in understanding important root functions. Methods In this study, pioneer data on traits of alpine plant species, i.e. plant height and shoot biomass, root depth, horizontal root spreading, root length, diameter, tensile strength, plant age and root biomass, from a disturbed site in the Swiss Alps are presented. The applicability of three classifications of plant functional types (PFTs), i.e. life form, growth form and root type, was examined for above- and below-ground plant traits. Key Results Plant traits differed considerably among species even of the same life form, e.g. in the case of total root length by more than two orders of magnitude. Within the same root diameter, species differed significantly in tensile strength: some species (Geum reptans and Luzula spicata) had roots more than twice as strong as those of other species. Species of different life forms provided different root functions (e.g. root depth and horizontal root spreading) that may be important for soil physical processes. All classifications of PFTs were helpful to categorize plant traits; however, the PFTs according to root type explained total root length far better than the other PFTs. Conclusions The results of the study illustrate the remarkable differences between root traits of alpine plants, some of which cannot be assessed from simple morphological inspection, e.g. tensile strength. PFT classification based on root traits seems useful to categorize plant traits, even though some patterns are better explained at the individual species level. PMID:21795278

  9. Species identity influences belowground arthropod assemblages via functional traits

    PubMed Central

    Gorman, Courtney E.; Read, Quentin D.; Van Nuland, Michael E.; Bryant, Jessica A. M.; Welch, Jessica N.; Altobelli, Joseph T.; Douglas, Morgan J.; Genung, Mark A.; Haag, Elliot N.; Jones, Devin N.; Long, Hannah E.; Wilburn, Adam D.; Schweitzer, Jennifer A.; Bailey, Joseph K.

    2013-01-01

    Plant species influence belowground communities in a variety of ways, ultimately impacting nutrient cycling. Functional plant traits provide a means whereby species identity can influence belowground community interactions, but little work has examined whether species identity influences belowground community processes when correcting for evolutionary history. Specifically, we hypothesized that closely related species would exhibit (i) more similar leaf and root functional traits than more distantly related species, and (ii) more similar associated soil arthropod communities. We found that after correcting for evolutionary history, tree species identity influenced belowground arthropod communities through plant functional traits. These data suggest that plant species structure may be an important predictor in shaping associated soil arthropod communities and further suggest the importance of better understanding the extended consequences of evolutionary history on ecological processes, as similarity in traits may not always reflect similar ecology.

  10. Multi-taxa trait and functional responses to physical disturbance.

    PubMed

    Pedley, Scott M; Dolman, Paul M

    2014-11-01

    . Trait-function linkage differed among taxa and was sometimes diffuse, with covariance among biological traits and the mapping of individual traits to multiple ecological functions. In particular, body size responses reflected correlations with life history, susceptibility to perturbation and dispersal ability that were inconsistent between the two arthropod groups. Selection of traits for assessment should therefore be taxa specific. Generalizations of trait responses across taxa should only be conducted where functional or ecological significance of assembly-level changes can be understood. PMID:24942040

  11. Using Plant Functional Traits to Explain Diversity–Productivity Relationships

    PubMed Central

    Roscher, Christiane; Schumacher, Jens; Gubsch, Marlén; Lipowsky, Annett; Weigelt, Alexandra; Buchmann, Nina; Schmid, Bernhard; Schulze, Ernst-Detlef

    2012-01-01

    Background The different hypotheses proposed to explain positive species richness–productivity relationships, i.e. selection effect and complementarity effect, imply that plant functional characteristics are at the core of a mechanistic understanding of biodiversity effects. Methodology/Principal Findings We used two community-wide measures of plant functional composition, (1) community-weighted means of trait values (CWM) and (2) functional trait diversity based on Rao’s quadratic diversity (FDQ) to predict biomass production and measures of biodiversity effects in experimental grasslands (Jena Experiment) with different species richness (2, 4, 8, 16 and 60) and different functional group number and composition (1 to 4; legumes, grasses, small herbs, tall herbs) four years after establishment. Functional trait composition had a larger predictive power for community biomass and measures of biodiversitity effects (40–82% of explained variation) than species richness per se (<1–13% of explained variation). CWM explained a larger amount of variation in community biomass (80%) and net biodiversity effects (70%) than FDQ (36 and 38% of explained variation respectively). FDQ explained similar proportions of variation in complementarity effects (24%, positive relationship) and selection effects (28%, negative relationship) as CWM (27% of explained variation for both complementarity and selection effects), but for all response variables the combination of CWM and FDQ led to significant model improvement compared to a separate consideration of different components of functional trait composition. Effects of FDQ were mainly attributable to diversity in nutrient acquisition and life-history strategies. The large spectrum of traits contributing to positive effects of CWM on biomass production and net biodiversity effects indicated that effects of dominant species were associated with different trait combinations. Conclusions/Significance Our results suggest that the

  12. Model Adequacy and the Macroevolution of Angiosperm Functional Traits.

    PubMed

    Pennell, Matthew W; FitzJohn, Richard G; Cornwell, William K; Harmon, Luke J

    2015-08-01

    Making meaningful inferences from phylogenetic comparative data requires a meaningful model of trait evolution. It is thus important to determine whether the model is appropriate for the data and the question being addressed. One way to assess this is to ask whether the model provides a good statistical explanation for the variation in the data. To date, researchers have focused primarily on the explanatory power of a model relative to alternative models. Methods have been developed to assess the adequacy, or absolute explanatory power, of phylogenetic trait models, but these have been restricted to specific models or questions. Here we present a general statistical framework for assessing the adequacy of phylogenetic trait models. We use our approach to evaluate the statistical performance of commonly used trait models on 337 comparative data sets covering three key angiosperm functional traits. In general, the models we tested often provided poor statistical explanations for the evolution of these traits. This was true for many different groups and at many different scales. Whether such statistical inadequacy will qualitatively alter inferences drawn from comparative data sets will depend on the context. Regardless, assessing model adequacy can provide interesting biological insights-how and why a model fails to describe variation in a data set give us clues about what evolutionary processes may have driven trait evolution across time. PMID:26655160

  13. Functional trait space and the latitudinal diversity gradient

    PubMed Central

    Lamanna, Christine; Blonder, Benjamin; Violle, Cyrille; Kraft, Nathan J. B.; Sandel, Brody; Šímová, Irena; Donoghue, John C.; Svenning, Jens-Christian; McGill, Brian J.; Boyle, Brad; Buzzard, Vanessa; Dolins, Steven; Jørgensen, Peter M.; Marcuse-Kubitza, Aaron; Morueta-Holme, Naia; Peet, Robert K.; Piel, William H.; Regetz, James; Schildhauer, Mark; Spencer, Nick; Thiers, Barbara; Wiser, Susan K.; Enquist, Brian J.

    2014-01-01

    The processes causing the latitudinal gradient in species richness remain elusive. Ecological theories for the origin of biodiversity gradients, such as competitive exclusion, neutral dynamics, and environmental filtering, make predictions for how functional diversity should vary at the alpha (within local assemblages), beta (among assemblages), and gamma (regional pool) scales. We test these predictions by quantifying hypervolumes constructed from functional traits representing major axes of plant strategy variation (specific leaf area, plant height, and seed mass) in tree assemblages spanning the temperate and tropical New World. Alpha-scale trait volume decreases with absolute latitude and is often lower than sampling expectation, consistent with environmental filtering theory. Beta-scale overlap decays with geographic distance fastest in the temperate zone, again consistent with environmental filtering theory. In contrast, gamma-scale trait space shows a hump-shaped relationship with absolute latitude, consistent with no theory. Furthermore, the overall temperate trait hypervolume was larger than the overall tropical hypervolume, indicating that the temperate zone permits a wider range of trait combinations or that niche packing is stronger in the tropical zone. Although there are limitations in the data, our analyses suggest that multiple processes have shaped trait diversity in trees, reflecting no consistent support for any one theory. PMID:25225365

  14. Modulating executive functioning: trait motivational reactivity and resting HRV.

    PubMed

    Bailey, Rachel L; Potter, Robert F; Lang, Annie; Pisoni, David B

    2015-01-01

    This study assessed relationships among individual differences in trait motivational reactivity, executive functioning, and neurovisceral regulation of emotion and attention indexed via resting heart rate variability (rHRV). We derived predictions regarding these relationships according to neurovisceral neural network theory. Because lower rHRV has been suggested as an endophenotype of less adaptive behaviour, low rHRV individuals were predicted to have high aversive and low appetitive trait motivational reactivity, while high rHRV individuals were predicted to have high reactivity in both appetitive and aversive motivational systems. These predictions were supported. Motivational reactivity also was related to executive functioning deficits, although the pattern of results was not in the predicted direction. Results suggest that trait motivational reactivity scores are related to visceral responses proposed in the neurovisceral integration circuit as well as in the modulation of these responses by higher-order cognitive control systems related to executive function. PMID:24606341

  15. Longevity overfishing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beamish, R. J.; McFarlane, G. A.; Benson, A.

    2006-02-01

    Overfishing is generally considered to be a reduction in biomass below some critical level such that the remaining fish are not able to replenish the population. We propose that the removal of large numbers of older age groups by fishing is also a form of overfishing, which we identify as longevity overfishing. Longevity overfishing is a potentially important consideration for the commercial fisheries off Canada’s Pacific coast that are dominated by species that have maximum ages of 30 years or longer. Sablefish is one of the key long-lived species that is managed for biomass and not longevity. An age structured model showed that if younger fish do not have the same productivity per unit biomass as older fish, the population depleted of older fishes would not recover after a shift of carrying capacity from a prolonged period of poor productivity to a more productive ocean ecosystem. Current management of long-lived species implicitly assumes that young fish will have the same productivity as older fishes, an assumption that is not supported by a sparse literature, and is thus not precautionary. We propose that the evolved age structure is an indication that long-lived species must be managed for longevity as well as biomass, which requires a management time frame that is decades and not annual.

  16. Quantitative Trait Loci for Morphological Traits and their Association with Functional Genes in Raphanus sativus

    PubMed Central

    Yu, Xiaona; Choi, Su Ryun; Dhandapani, Vignesh; Rameneni, Jana Jeevan; Li, Xiaonan; Pang, Wenxing; Lee, Ji-Young; Lim, Yong Pyo

    2016-01-01

    Identification of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) governing morphologically important traits enables to comprehend their potential genetic mechanisms in the genetic breeding program. In this study, we used 210 F2 populations derived from a cross between two radish inbred lines (Raphanus sativus) “835” and “B2,” including 258 SSR markers were used to detect QTLs for 11 morphological traits that related to whole plant, leaf, and root yield in 3 years of replicated field test. Total 55 QTLs were detected which were distributed on each linkage group of the Raphanus genome. Individual QTLs accounted for 2.69–12.6 of the LOD value, and 0.82–16.25% of phenotypic variation. Several genomic regions have multiple traits that clustered together, suggested the existence of pleiotropy linkage. Synteny analysis of the QTL regions with A. thaliana genome selected orthologous genes in radish. InDels and SNPs in the parental lines were detected in those regions by Illumina genome sequence. Five identified candidate gene-based markers were validated by co-mapping with underlying QTLs affecting different traits. Semi-quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR analysis showed the different expression levels of these five genes in parental lines. In addition, comparative QTL analysis with B. rapa revealed six common QTL regions and four key major evolutionarily conserved crucifer blocks (J, U, R, and W) harboring QTL for morphological traits. The QTL positions identified in this study will provide a valuable resource for identifying more functional genes when whole radish genome sequence is released. Candidate genes identified in this study that co-localized in QTL regions are expected to facilitate in radish breeding programs. PMID:26973691

  17. Quantitative Trait Loci for Morphological Traits and their Association with Functional Genes in Raphanus sativus.

    PubMed

    Yu, Xiaona; Choi, Su Ryun; Dhandapani, Vignesh; Rameneni, Jana Jeevan; Li, Xiaonan; Pang, Wenxing; Lee, Ji-Young; Lim, Yong Pyo

    2016-01-01

    Identification of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) governing morphologically important traits enables to comprehend their potential genetic mechanisms in the genetic breeding program. In this study, we used 210 F2 populations derived from a cross between two radish inbred lines (Raphanus sativus) "835" and "B2," including 258 SSR markers were used to detect QTLs for 11 morphological traits that related to whole plant, leaf, and root yield in 3 years of replicated field test. Total 55 QTLs were detected which were distributed on each linkage group of the Raphanus genome. Individual QTLs accounted for 2.69-12.6 of the LOD value, and 0.82-16.25% of phenotypic variation. Several genomic regions have multiple traits that clustered together, suggested the existence of pleiotropy linkage. Synteny analysis of the QTL regions with A. thaliana genome selected orthologous genes in radish. InDels and SNPs in the parental lines were detected in those regions by Illumina genome sequence. Five identified candidate gene-based markers were validated by co-mapping with underlying QTLs affecting different traits. Semi-quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR analysis showed the different expression levels of these five genes in parental lines. In addition, comparative QTL analysis with B. rapa revealed six common QTL regions and four key major evolutionarily conserved crucifer blocks (J, U, R, and W) harboring QTL for morphological traits. The QTL positions identified in this study will provide a valuable resource for identifying more functional genes when whole radish genome sequence is released. Candidate genes identified in this study that co-localized in QTL regions are expected to facilitate in radish breeding programs. PMID:26973691

  18. Applications of spectral inversion to understanding vegetation functional trait relationships

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shiklomanov, A. N.; Dietze, M.; Viskari, T.; Townsend, P. A.; Serbin, S.

    2015-12-01

    Spectral data from both field observations and remote sensing platforms are a rich source of information for studying plant traits. Traditional approaches to using spectral data for studying vegetation have proven effective in sensor-, site-, or plant type-specific settings, but differences in model assumptions and failure to account for uncertainties have hindered efforts to synthesize observations from different sources and use spectral data in a predictive capacity. Here we present a novel approach that uses Bayesian inversion of the PROSPECT 5 leaf radiative transfer model (RTM) to investigate the ability of spectral data to inform our understanding of plant functional traits. First, we validated our method by comparing inversion results to independent measurements of relevant leaf structural and biochemical parameters. Second, we tested the accuracy and precision of RTM parameter retrieval as a function of spectral resolution and quality by performing inversions on simulated observations for a variety of common remote sensing platforms. We observed predictable increases in parameter uncertainty and covariance with declining spectral resolution, but we also found that the measurement characteristics of all sensors are capable of providing information about at least some of the parameters of interest. Finally, we applied our inversion to a large database of field spectra and plant traits spanning tropical, temperate, and boreal forests, agricultural plots, arid shrublands, and tundra to identify dominant sources of variability and characterize trade-offs in plant functional traits. We found substantial intraspecific variability in traits and explored the extent to which this variability falls along the same axes as the interspecific leaf economics spectrum. Ultimately, our results show that Bayesian RTM inversion provides a powerful framework for using spectral data to inform our understanding of plant functional traits and how they are linked with ecosystem

  19. Plant functional traits have globally consistent effects on competition.

    PubMed

    Kunstler, Georges; Falster, Daniel; Coomes, David A; Hui, Francis; Kooyman, Robert M; Laughlin, Daniel C; Poorter, Lourens; Vanderwel, Mark; Vieilledent, Ghislain; Wright, S Joseph; Aiba, Masahiro; Baraloto, Christopher; Caspersen, John; Cornelissen, J Hans C; Gourlet-Fleury, Sylvie; Hanewinkel, Marc; Herault, Bruno; Kattge, Jens; Kurokawa, Hiroko; Onoda, Yusuke; Peñuelas, Josep; Poorter, Hendrik; Uriarte, Maria; Richardson, Sarah; Ruiz-Benito, Paloma; Sun, I-Fang; Ståhl, Göran; Swenson, Nathan G; Thompson, Jill; Westerlund, Bertil; Wirth, Christian; Zavala, Miguel A; Zeng, Hongcheng; Zimmerman, Jess K; Zimmermann, Niklaus E; Westoby, Mark

    2016-01-14

    Phenotypic traits and their associated trade-offs have been shown to have globally consistent effects on individual plant physiological functions, but how these effects scale up to influence competition, a key driver of community assembly in terrestrial vegetation, has remained unclear. Here we use growth data from more than 3 million trees in over 140,000 plots across the world to show how three key functional traits--wood density, specific leaf area and maximum height--consistently influence competitive interactions. Fast maximum growth of a species was correlated negatively with its wood density in all biomes, and positively with its specific leaf area in most biomes. Low wood density was also correlated with a low ability to tolerate competition and a low competitive effect on neighbours, while high specific leaf area was correlated with a low competitive effect. Thus, traits generate trade-offs between performance with competition versus performance without competition, a fundamental ingredient in the classical hypothesis that the coexistence of plant species is enabled via differentiation in their successional strategies. Competition within species was stronger than between species, but an increase in trait dissimilarity between species had little influence in weakening competition. No benefit of dissimilarity was detected for specific leaf area or wood density, and only a weak benefit for maximum height. Our trait-based approach to modelling competition makes generalization possible across the forest ecosystems of the world and their highly diverse species composition. PMID:26700807

  20. 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

  1. Genetics, lifestyle and longevity: Lessons from centenarians

    PubMed Central

    Govindaraju, Diddahally; Atzmon, Gil; Barzilai, Nir

    2015-01-01

    Longevity as a complex life-history trait shares an ontogenetic relationship with other quantitative traits and varies among individuals, families and populations. Heritability estimates of longevity suggest that about a third of the phenotypic variation associated with the trait is attributable to genetic factors, and the rest is influenced by epigenetic and environmental factors. Individuals react differently to the environments that they are a part of, as well as to the environments they construct for their survival and reproduction; the latter phenomenon is known as niche construction. Lifestyle influences longevity at all the stages of development and levels of human diversity. Hence, lifestyle may be viewed as a component of niche construction. Here, we: a) interpret longevity using a combination of genotype-epigenetic-phenotype (GEP) map approach and niche-construction theory, and b) discuss the plausible influence of genetic and epigenetic factors in the distribution and maintenance of longevity among individuals with normal life span on the one hand, and centenarians on the other. Although similar genetic and environmental factors appear to be common to both of these groups, exceptional longevity may be influenced by polymorphisms in specific genes, coupled with superior genomic stability and homeostatic mechanisms, maintained by negative frequency-dependent selection. We suggest that a comparative analysis of longevity between individuals with normal life span and centenarians, along with insights from population ecology and evolutionary biology, would not only advance our knowledge of biological mechanisms underlying human longevity, but also provide deeper insights into extending healthy life span. PMID:26937346

  2. Quantifying species trait-function relationships for ecosystem management

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The majority of the world's ecosystems are managed to provide ecosystem functions and services on which we rely. Even with recent advances, ecosystem managers lack a clear methodology for applying basic knowledge of plant traits to meet management goals. Questions: Can we develop a methodology to a...

  3. An optimal strategy for functional mapping of dynamic trait loci.

    PubMed

    Jin, Tianbo; Li, Jiahan; Guo, Ying; Zhou, Xiaojing; Yang, Runqing; Wu, Rongling

    2010-02-01

    As an emerging powerful approach for mapping quantitative trait loci (QTLs) responsible for dynamic traits, functional mapping models the time-dependent mean vector with biologically meaningful equations and are likely to generate biologically relevant and interpretable results. Given the autocorrelation nature of a dynamic trait, functional mapping needs the implementation of the models for the structure of the covariance matrix. In this article, we have provided a comprehensive set of approaches for modelling the covariance structure and incorporated each of these approaches into the framework of functional mapping. The Bayesian information criterion (BIC) values are used as a model selection criterion to choose the optimal combination of the submodels for the mean vector and covariance structure. In an example for leaf age growth from a rice molecular genetic project, the best submodel combination was found between the Gaussian model for the correlation structure, power equation of order 1 for the variance and the power curve for the mean vector. Under this combination, several significant QTLs for leaf age growth trajectories were detected on different chromosomes. Our model can be well used to study the genetic architecture of dynamic traits of agricultural values. PMID:20196894

  4. A meta-analysis of zooplankton functional traits influencing ecosystem function.

    PubMed

    Hébert, Marie-Pier; Beisner, Beatrix E; Maranger, Roxane

    2016-04-01

    The use of functional traits to characterize community composition has been proposed as a more effective way to link community structure to ecosystem functioning. Organismal morphology, body stoichiometry, and physiology can be readily linked to large-scale ecosystem processes through functional traits that inform on interspecific and species-environment interactions; yet such effect traits are still poorly included in trait-based approaches. Given their key trophic position in aquatic ecosystems, individual zooplankton affect energy fluxes and elemental processing. We compiled a large database of zooplankton traits contributing to carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus cycling and examined the effect of classification and habitat (marine vs. freshwater) on trait relationships. Respiration and nutrient excretion rates followed mass-dependent scaling in both habitats, with exponents ranging from 0.70 to 0.90. Our analyses revealed surprising differences in allometry and respiration between habitats, with freshwater species having lower length-specific mass and three times higher mass-specific respiration rates. These differences in traits point to implications for ecological strategies as well as overall carbon storage and fluxes based on habitat type. Our synthesis quantifies multiple trait relationships and links organisms to ecosystem processes they influence, enabling a more complete integration of aquatic community ecology and biogeochemistry through the promising use of effect traits. PMID:27220222

  5. Phenotypic plasticity to light and nutrient availability alters functional trait ranking across eight perennial grassland species

    PubMed Central

    Siebenkäs, Alrun; Schumacher, Jens; Roscher, Christiane

    2015-01-01

    Functional traits are often used as species-specific mean trait values in comparative plant ecology or trait-based predictions of ecosystem processes, assuming that interspecific differences are greater than intraspecific trait variation and that trait-based ranking of species is consistent across environments. Although this assumption is increasingly challenged, there is a lack of knowledge regarding to what degree the extent of intraspecific trait variation in response to varying environmental conditions depends on the considered traits and the characteristics of the studied species to evaluate the consequences for trait-based species ranking. We studied functional traits of eight perennial grassland species classified into different functional groups (forbs vs. grasses) and varying in their inherent growth stature (tall vs. small) in a common garden experiment with different environments crossing three levels of nutrient availability and three levels of light availability over 4 months of treatment applications. Grasses and forbs differed in almost all above- and belowground traits, while trait differences related to growth stature were generally small. The traits showing the strongest responses to resource availability were similarly for grasses and forbs those associated with allocation and resource uptake. The strength of trait variation in response to varying resource availability differed among functional groups (grasses > forbs) and species of varying growth stature (small-statured > tall-statured species) in many aboveground traits, but only to a lower extent in belowground traits. These differential responses altered trait-based species ranking in many aboveground traits, such as specific leaf area, tissue nitrogen and carbon concentrations and above-belowground allocation (leaf area ratio and root : shoot ratio) at varying resource supply, while trait-based species ranking was more consistent in belowground traits. Our study shows that species grouping

  6. Mycorrhizas influence functional traits of two tallgrass prairie species.

    PubMed

    Weremijewicz, Joanna; Seto, Kotaro

    2016-06-01

    Over the past decade, functional traits that influence plant performance and thus, population, community, and ecosystem biology have garnered increasing attention. Generally lacking, however, has been consideration of how ubiquitous arbuscular mycorrhizas influence plant allometric and stoichiometric functional traits. We assessed how plant dependence on and responsiveness to mycorrhizas influence plant functional traits of a warm-season, C4 grass, Andropogon gerardii Vitman, and the contrasting, cool-season, C3 grass, Elymus canadensis L. We grew both host species with and without inoculation with mycorrhizal fungi, across a broad gradient of soil phosphorus availabilities. Both host species were facultatively mycotrophic, able to grow without mycorrhizas at high soil phosphorus availability. A. gerardii was most dependent upon mycorrhizas and E. canadensis was weakly dependent, but highly responsive to mycorrhizas. The high dependence of A. gerardii on mycorrhizas resulted in higher tissue P and N concentrations of inoculated than noninoculated plants. When not inoculated, E. canadensis was able to take up both P and N in similar amounts to inoculated plants because of its weak dependence on mycorrhizas for nutrient uptake and its pronounced ability to change root-to-shoot ratios. Unlike other highly dependent species, A. gerardii had a high root-to-shoot ratio and was able to suppress colonization by mycorrhizal fungi at high soil fertilities. E. canadensis, however, was unable to suppress colonization and had a lower root-to shoot ratio than A. gerardii. The mycorrhiza-related functional traits of both host species likely influence their performance in nature: both species attained the maximum responsiveness from mycorrhizas at soil phosphorus availabilities similar to those of tallgrass prairies. Dependence upon mycorrhizas affects performance in the absence of mycorrhizas. Responsiveness to mycorrhizal fungi is also a function of the environment and

  7. Functional linear models for association analysis of quantitative traits.

    PubMed

    Fan, Ruzong; Wang, Yifan; Mills, James L; Wilson, Alexander F; Bailey-Wilson, Joan E; Xiong, Momiao

    2013-11-01

    Functional linear models are developed in this paper for testing associations between quantitative traits and genetic variants, which can be rare variants or common variants or the combination of the two. By treating multiple genetic variants of an individual in a human population as a realization of a stochastic process, the genome of an individual in a chromosome region is a continuum of sequence data rather than discrete observations. The genome of an individual is viewed as a stochastic function that contains both linkage and linkage disequilibrium (LD) information of the genetic markers. By using techniques of functional data analysis, both fixed and mixed effect functional linear models are built to test the association between quantitative traits and genetic variants adjusting for covariates. After extensive simulation analysis, it is shown that the F-distributed tests of the proposed fixed effect functional linear models have higher power than that of sequence kernel association test (SKAT) and its optimal unified test (SKAT-O) for three scenarios in most cases: (1) the causal variants are all rare, (2) the causal variants are both rare and common, and (3) the causal variants are common. The superior performance of the fixed effect functional linear models is most likely due to its optimal utilization of both genetic linkage and LD information of multiple genetic variants in a genome and similarity among different individuals, while SKAT and SKAT-O only model the similarities and pairwise LD but do not model linkage and higher order LD information sufficiently. In addition, the proposed fixed effect models generate accurate type I error rates in simulation studies. We also show that the functional kernel score tests of the proposed mixed effect functional linear models are preferable in candidate gene analysis and small sample problems. The methods are applied to analyze three biochemical traits in data from the Trinity Students Study. PMID:24130119

  8. Advances in remote sensing of vegetation function and traits

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Houborg, Rasmus; Fisher, Joshua B.; Skidmore, Andrew K.

    2015-12-01

    Remote sensing of vegetation function and traits has advanced significantly over the past half-century in the capacity to retrieve useful plant biochemical, physiological and structural quantities across a range of spatial and temporal scales. However, the translation of remote sensing signals into meaningful descriptors of vegetation function and traits is still associated with large uncertainties due to complex interactions between leaf, canopy, and atmospheric mediums, and significant challenges in the treatment of confounding factors in spectrum-trait relations. This editorial provides (1) a background on major advances in the remote sensing of vegetation, (2) a detailed timeline and description of relevant historical and planned satellite missions, and (3) an outline of remaining challenges, upcoming opportunities and key research objectives to be tackled. The introduction sets the stage for thirteen Special Issue papers here that focus on novel approaches for exploiting current and future advancements in remote sensor technologies. The described enhancements in spectral, spatial and temporal resolution and radiometric performance provide exciting opportunities to significantly advance the ability to accurately monitor and model the state and function of vegetation canopies at multiple scales on a timely basis.

  9. Functional trait responses to grazing are mediated by soil moisture and plant functional group identity.

    PubMed

    Zheng, Shuxia; Li, Wenhuai; Lan, Zhichun; Ren, Haiyan; Wang, Kaibo

    2015-01-01

    Abundant evidence has shown that grazing alters plant functional traits, community structure and ecosystem functioning of grasslands. Few studies, however, have tested how plant responses to grazing are mediated by resource availability and plant functional group identity. We examined the effects of grazing on functional traits across a broad range of species along a soil moisture gradient in Inner Mongolia grassland. Our results showed that trait syndromes of plant size (individual biomass) and shoot growth (leaf N content and leaf density) distinguished plant species responses to grazing. The effects of grazing on functional traits were mediated by soil moisture and dependent on functional group identity. For most species, grazing decreased plant height but increased leaf N and specific leaf area (SLA) along the moisture gradient. Grazing enhanced the community-weighted attributes (leaf NCWM and SLACWM), which were triggered mainly by the positive trait responses of annuals and biennials and perennial grasses, and increased relative abundance of perennial forbs. Our results suggest that grazing-induced species turnover and increased intraspecific trait variability are two drivers for the observed changes in community weighted attributes. The dominant perennial bunchgrasses exhibited mixed tolerance-resistance strategies to grazing and mixed acquisitive-conservative strategies in resource utilization. PMID:26655858

  10. Functional trait responses to grazing are mediated by soil moisture and plant functional group identity

    PubMed Central

    Zheng, Shuxia; Li, Wenhuai; Lan, Zhichun; Ren, Haiyan; Wang, Kaibo

    2015-01-01

    Abundant evidence has shown that grazing alters plant functional traits, community structure and ecosystem functioning of grasslands. Few studies, however, have tested how plant responses to grazing are mediated by resource availability and plant functional group identity. We examined the effects of grazing on functional traits across a broad range of species along a soil moisture gradient in Inner Mongolia grassland. Our results showed that trait syndromes of plant size (individual biomass) and shoot growth (leaf N content and leaf density) distinguished plant species responses to grazing. The effects of grazing on functional traits were mediated by soil moisture and dependent on functional group identity. For most species, grazing decreased plant height but increased leaf N and specific leaf area (SLA) along the moisture gradient. Grazing enhanced the community-weighted attributes (leaf NCWM and SLACWM), which were triggered mainly by the positive trait responses of annuals and biennials and perennial grasses, and increased relative abundance of perennial forbs. Our results suggest that grazing-induced species turnover and increased intraspecific trait variability are two drivers for the observed changes in community weighted attributes. The dominant perennial bunchgrasses exhibited mixed tolerance–resistance strategies to grazing and mixed acquisitive–conservative strategies in resource utilization. PMID:26655858

  11. Floral trait variation and integration as a function of sexual deception in Gorteria diffusa

    PubMed Central

    Ellis, Allan G.; Brockington, Samuel F.; de Jager, Marinus L.; Mellers, Gregory; Walker, Rachel H.; Glover, Beverley J.

    2014-01-01

    Phenotypic integration, the coordinated covariance of suites of morphological traits, is critical for proper functioning of organisms. Angiosperm flowers are complex structures comprising suites of traits that function together to achieve effective pollen transfer. Floral integration could reflect shared genetic and developmental control of these traits, or could arise through pollinator-imposed stabilizing correlational selection on traits. We sought to expose mechanisms underlying floral trait integration in the sexually deceptive daisy, Gorteria diffusa, by testing the hypothesis that stabilizing selection imposed by male pollinators on floral traits involved in mimicry has resulted in tighter integration. To do this, we quantified patterns of floral trait variance and covariance in morphologically divergent G. diffusa floral forms representing a continuum in the levels of sexual deception. We show that integration of traits functioning in visual attraction of male pollinators increases with pollinator deception, and is stronger than integration of non-mimicry trait modules. Consistent patterns of within-population trait variance and covariance across floral forms suggest that integration has not been built by stabilizing correlational selection on genetically independent traits. Instead pollinator specialization has selected for tightened integration within modules of linked traits. Despite potentially strong constraint on morphological evolution imposed by developmental genetic linkages between traits, we demonstrate substantial divergence in traits across G. diffusa floral forms and show that divergence has often occurred without altering within-population patterns of trait correlations. PMID:25002705

  12. Floral trait variation and integration as a function of sexual deception in Gorteria diffusa.

    PubMed

    Ellis, Allan G; Brockington, Samuel F; de Jager, Marinus L; Mellers, Gregory; Walker, Rachel H; Glover, Beverley J

    2014-08-19

    Phenotypic integration, the coordinated covariance of suites of morphological traits, is critical for proper functioning of organisms. Angiosperm flowers are complex structures comprising suites of traits that function together to achieve effective pollen transfer. Floral integration could reflect shared genetic and developmental control of these traits, or could arise through pollinator-imposed stabilizing correlational selection on traits. We sought to expose mechanisms underlying floral trait integration in the sexually deceptive daisy, Gorteria diffusa, by testing the hypothesis that stabilizing selection imposed by male pollinators on floral traits involved in mimicry has resulted in tighter integration. To do this, we quantified patterns of floral trait variance and covariance in morphologically divergent G. diffusa floral forms representing a continuum in the levels of sexual deception. We show that integration of traits functioning in visual attraction of male pollinators increases with pollinator deception, and is stronger than integration of non-mimicry trait modules. Consistent patterns of within-population trait variance and covariance across floral forms suggest that integration has not been built by stabilizing correlational selection on genetically independent traits. Instead pollinator specialization has selected for tightened integration within modules of linked traits. Despite potentially strong constraint on morphological evolution imposed by developmental genetic linkages between traits, we demonstrate substantial divergence in traits across G. diffusa floral forms and show that divergence has often occurred without altering within-population patterns of trait correlations. PMID:25002705

  13. Hunting alters seedling functional trait composition in a Neotropical forest.

    PubMed

    Kurten, Erin L; Wright, S Joseph; Carson, Walter P

    2015-07-01

    Defaunation alters trophic interactions between plants and vertebrates, whichmay disrupt trophic cascades, thereby favoring a subset of plant species and reducing diversity. If particular functional traits characterize the favored plant species,.then defaunation may alter community-wide patterns of functional trait composition. Changes in plant functional traits occurring with defaunation may help identify the species interactions affected by defaunation and the potential for other cascading effects of defaunation. We tested the hypotheses that defaunation would (1) disrupt seed dispersal, thereby favoring species whose dispersal agents are not affected (e.g., small birds, bats, and abiotic agents), (2) reduce seed predation, thereby favoring larger-seeded species, and (3) reduce herbivory, thereby favoring species with lower leaf mass per area (LMA), leaf toughness, and wood density. We examined how these six traits responded to vertebrate defaunation caused by hunters or by experimental exclosures among more than-30 000 woody seedlings in a lowland tropical moist forest. Exclosures reduced terrestrial frugivores, granivores, and herbivores, while hunters also reduced volant and arboreal frugivores and granivores. The comparison of exclosures and hunting allowed us to parse the impacts of arboreal and volant species (reduced by hunters only) and terrestrial species (reduced by both hunters and exclosures). The loss of terrestrial vertebrates alone had limited effects on plant trait composition. The additional loss of volant and arboreal vertebrates caused significant shifts in plant species composition towards communities with more species dispersed abiotically, including lianas and low wood-density tree species, and fewer species dispersed by large vertebrates. In contrast to previous studies, community seed mass did not decline significantly in hunted sites. Our exclosure results suggest this is because reducing seed predators disproportionately benefits large

  14. The hunt for a functional mutation affecting conformation and calving traits on chromosome 18 in Holstein cattle

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Sequence data from 11 US Holstein bulls were analyzed to identify putative causal mutations associated with calving and conformation traits. The SNP ARS-BFGL-NGS-109285 at 57,589,121 bp (UMD 3.1 assembly) on BTA18 has large effects on 4 measures of body shape and size, 2 measures of dystocia, longev...

  15. Do key dimensions of seed and seedling functional trait variation capture variation in recruitment probability?

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    1. Plant functional traits provide a mechanistic basis for understanding ecological variation among plant species and the implications of this variation for species distribution, community assembly and restoration. 2. The bulk of our functional trait understanding, however, is centered on traits rel...

  16. Macromitophagy is a longevity assurance process that in chronologically aging yeast limited in calorie supply sustains functional mitochondria and maintains cellular lipid homeostasis

    PubMed Central

    Burstein, Michelle T.; Koupaki, Olivia; Gomez-Perez, Alejandra; Levy, Sean; Pluska, Lukas; Mattie, Sevan; Rafeh, Rami; Iouk, Tatiana; Sheibani, Sara; Greenwood, Michael; Vali, Hojatollah; Titorenko, Vladimir I.

    2013-01-01

    Macromitophagy controls mitochondrial quality and quantity. It involves the sequestration of dysfunctional or excessive mitochondria within double-membrane autophagosomes, which then fuse with the vacuole/lysosome to deliver these mitochondria for degradation. To investigate a physiological role of macromitophagy in yeast, we examined how the atg32Δ-dependent mutational block of this process influences the chronological lifespan of cells grown in a nutrient-rich medium containing low (0.2%) concentration of glucose. Under these longevity-extending conditions of caloric restriction (CR) yeast cells are not starving. We also assessed a role of macromitophagy in lifespan extension by lithocholic acid (LCA), a bile acid that prolongs yeast longevity under CR conditions. Our findings imply that macromitophagy is a longevity assurance process underlying the synergistic beneficial effects of CR and LCA on yeast lifespan. Our analysis of how the atg32Δ mutation influences mitochondrial morphology, composition and function revealed that macromitophagy is required to maintain a network of healthy mitochondria. Our comparative analysis of the membrane lipidomes of organelles purified from wild-type and atg32Δ cells revealed that macromitophagy is required for maintaining cellular lipid homeostasis. We concluded that macromitophagy defines yeast longevity by modulating vital cellular processes inside and outside of mitochondria. PMID:23553280

  17. Linking Tropical Forest Function to Hydraulic Traits in a Size-Structured and Trait-Based Model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Christoffersen, B. O.; Gloor, M.; Fauset, S.; Fyllas, N.; Galbraith, D.; Baker, T. R.; Rowland, L.; Fisher, R.; Binks, O.; Sevanto, S.; Xu, C.; Jansen, S.; Choat, B.; Mencuccini, M.; McDowell, N. G.; Meir, P.

    2015-12-01

    A major weakness of forest ecosystem models is their inability to capture the diversity of responses to changes in water availability, severely hampering efforts to predict the fate of tropical forests under climate change. Such models often prescribe moisture sensitivity using heuristic response functions that are uniform across all individuals and lack important knowledge about trade-offs in hydraulic traits. We address this weakness by implementing a process representation of plant hydraulics into an individual- and trait-based model (Trait Forest Simulator; TFS) intended for application at discrete sites where community-level distributions of stem and leaf trait spectra (wood density, leaf mass per area, leaf nitrogen and phosphorus content) are known. The model represents a trade-off in the safety and efficiency of water conduction in xylem tissue through hydraulic traits, while accounting for the counteracting effects of increasing hydraulic path length and xylem conduit taper on whole-plant hydraulic resistance with increasing tree size. Using existing trait databases and additional meta-analyses from the rich literature on tropical tree ecophysiology, we obtained all necessary hydraulic parameters associated with xylem conductivity, vulnerability curves, pressure-volume curves, and hydraulic architecture (e.g., leaf-to-sapwood area ratios) as a function of the aforementioned traits and tree size. Incorporating these relationships in the model greatly improved the diversity of tree response to seasonal changes in water availability as well as in response to drought, as determined by comparison with field observations and experiments. Importantly, this individual- and trait-based framework provides a testbed for identifying both critical processes and functional traits needed for inclusion in coarse-scale Dynamic Global Vegetation Models, which will lead to reduced uncertainty in the future state of tropical forests.

  18. Individual Cell Longevity, 'Life's Timekeeper', and Metazoan Evolution.

    PubMed

    Neill, David

    2016-01-01

    It is proposed that a primary and fundamental aspect of metazoan evolution is an ability to control and extend the longevity of individual cells. This was achieved through an intracellular oscillator, dubbed 'Life's Timekeeper', which evolved in the hypothetical ancestor of all metazoans. Slower oscillatory frequencies directed metazoan evolution towards extended longevity of individual cells, enabling generation of many specialised types of terminally differentiated cells. As the longevity of these cells was still relatively short in more primitive metazoans, stem cells, capable of differentiating into all specialised cell types, were retained in order to replace senescent cells. With increasing cell longevity, continual replacement of all senescent cells was no longer necessary. Cells such as neurons could be sustained throughout life, enabling the evolution of brains, hence, complex behaviour and intelligence. In multicellular metazoans the oscillator remains synchronised across all cells. It coordinates the timing of all cell-cell signalling systems, hence controls the timing of development and aging/senescence. In advanced metazoans, where senescent cells are not continually replaced, it controls lifespan. With regards to morphological evolution the oscillator, through alterations to developmental timing, controls change in size and shape. With regards to life history theory it functions as the key variable mediating the correlation between life history traits. This theory is compatible with a prominent role for environmental selection but, as it implicates some degree of internal mediation and direction, it is not entirely compatible with the 'modern synthesis' view of natural selection. PMID:26777340

  19. A role for seed storage proteins in Arabidopsis seed longevity

    PubMed Central

    Nguyen, Thu-Phuong; Cueff, Gwendal; Hegedus, Dwayne D; Rajjou, Loïc; Bentsink, Leónie

    2015-01-01

    Proteomics approaches have been a useful tool for determining the biological roles and functions of individual proteins and identifying the molecular mechanisms that govern seed germination, vigour and viability in response to ageing. In this work the dry seed proteome of four Arabidopsis thaliana genotypes, that carry introgression fragments at the position of seed longevity quantitative trait loci and as a result display different levels of seed longevity, was investigated. Seeds at two physiological states, after-ripened seeds that had the full germination ability and aged (stored) seeds of which the germination ability was severely reduced, were compared. Aged dry seed proteomes were markedly different from the after-ripened and reflected the seed longevity level of the four genotypes, despite the fact that dry seeds are metabolically quiescent. Results confirmed the role of antioxidant systems, notably vitamin E, and indicated that protection and maintenance of the translation machinery and energy pathways are essential for seed longevity. Moreover, a new role for seed storage proteins (SSPs) was identified in dry seeds during ageing. Cruciferins (CRUs) are the most abundant SSPs in Arabidopsis and seeds of a triple mutant for three CRU isoforms (crua crub cruc) were more sensitive to artificial ageing and their seed proteins were highly oxidized compared with wild-type seeds. These results confirm that oxidation is involved in seed deterioration and that SSPs buffer the seed from oxidative stress, thus protecting important proteins required for seed germination and seedling formation. PMID:26184996

  20. Scaling up functional traits for ecosystem services with remote sensing: concepts and methods.

    PubMed

    Abelleira Martínez, Oscar J; Fremier, Alexander K; Günter, Sven; Ramos Bendaña, Zayra; Vierling, Lee; Galbraith, Sara M; Bosque-Pérez, Nilsa A; Ordoñez, Jenny C

    2016-07-01

    Ecosystem service-based management requires an accurate understanding of how human modification influences ecosystem processes and these relationships are most accurate when based on functional traits. Although trait variation is typically sampled at local scales, remote sensing methods can facilitate scaling up trait variation to regional scales needed for ecosystem service management. We review concepts and methods for scaling up plant and animal functional traits from local to regional spatial scales with the goal of assessing impacts of human modification on ecosystem processes and services. We focus our objectives on considerations and approaches for (1) conducting local plot-level sampling of trait variation and (2) scaling up trait variation to regional spatial scales using remotely sensed data. We show that sampling methods for scaling up traits need to account for the modification of trait variation due to land cover change and species introductions. Sampling intraspecific variation, stratification by land cover type or landscape context, or inference of traits from published sources may be necessary depending on the traits of interest. Passive and active remote sensing are useful for mapping plant phenological, chemical, and structural traits. Combining these methods can significantly improve their capacity for mapping plant trait variation. These methods can also be used to map landscape and vegetation structure in order to infer animal trait variation. Due to high context dependency, relationships between trait variation and remotely sensed data are not directly transferable across regions. We end our review with a brief synthesis of issues to consider and outlook for the development of these approaches. Research that relates typical functional trait metrics, such as the community-weighted mean, with remote sensing data and that relates variation in traits that cannot be remotely sensed to other proxies is needed. Our review narrows the gap between

  1. The meaning of functional trait composition of food webs for ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

    Gravel, Dominique; Albouy, Camille; Thuiller, Wilfried

    2016-05-19

    There is a growing interest in using trait-based approaches to characterize the functional structure of animal communities. Quantitative methods have been derived mostly for plant ecology, but it is now common to characterize the functional composition of various systems such as soils, coral reefs, pelagic food webs or terrestrial vertebrate communities. With the ever-increasing availability of distribution and trait data, a quantitative method to represent the different roles of animals in a community promise to find generalities that will facilitate cross-system comparisons. There is, however, currently no theory relating the functional composition of food webs to their dynamics and properties. The intuitive interpretation that more functional diversity leads to higher resource exploitation and better ecosystem functioning was brought from plant ecology and does not apply readily to food webs. Here we appraise whether there are interpretable metrics to describe the functional composition of food webs that could foster a better understanding of their structure and functioning. We first distinguish the various roles that traits have on food web topology, resource extraction (bottom-up effects), trophic regulation (top-down effects), and the ability to keep energy and materials within the community. We then discuss positive effects of functional trait diversity on food webs, such as niche construction and bottom-up effects. We follow with a discussion on the negative effects of functional diversity, such as enhanced competition (both exploitation and apparent) and top-down control. Our review reveals that most of our current understanding of the impact of functional trait diversity on food web properties and functioning comes from an over-simplistic representation of network structure with well-defined levels. We, therefore, conclude with propositions for new research avenues for both theoreticians and empiricists. PMID:27114571

  2. Functional Traits in Parallel Evolutionary Radiations and Trait-Environment Associations in the Cape Floristic Region of South Africa.

    PubMed

    Mitchell, Nora; Moore, Timothy E; Mollmann, Hayley Kilroy; Carlson, Jane E; Mocko, Kerri; Martinez-Cabrera, Hugo; Adams, Christopher; Silander, John A; Jones, Cynthia S; Schlichting, Carl D; Holsinger, Kent E

    2015-04-01

    Evolutionary radiations with extreme levels of diversity present a unique opportunity to study the role of the environment in plant evolution. If environmental adaptation played an important role in such radiations, we expect to find associations between functional traits and key climatic variables. Similar trait-environment associations across clades may reflect common responses, while contradictory associations may suggest lineage-specific adaptations. Here, we explore trait-environment relationships in two evolutionary radiations in the fynbos biome of the highly biodiverse Cape Floristic Region (CFR) of South Africa. Protea and Pelargonium are morphologically and evolutionarily diverse genera that typify the CFR yet are substantially different in growth form and morphology. Our analytical approach employs a Bayesian multiple-response generalized linear mixed-effects model, taking into account covariation among traits and controlling for phylogenetic relationships. Of the pairwise trait-environment associations tested, 6 out of 24 were in the same direction and 2 out of 24 were in opposite directions, with the latter apparently reflecting alternative life-history strategies. These findings demonstrate that trait diversity within two plant lineages may reflect both parallel and idiosyncratic responses to the environment, rather than all taxa conforming to a global-scale pattern. Such insights are essential for understanding how trait-environment associations arise and how they influence species diversification. PMID:25811086

  3. Trait Rumination, Depression, and Executive Functions in Early Adolescence

    PubMed Central

    Wagner, Clara A.; Alloy, Lauren B.; Abramson, Lyn Y.

    2014-01-01

    Although deficits in executive functions have been linked with both depression and rumination in adulthood, the nature of the relationship between these constructs is not well understood and remains understudied in adolescence. The present study examined the relationship of rumination and depression to deficits in executive functions in early adolescence, a critical developmental period for the emergence of depression and rumination and the development of executive functions. Participants were 486 early adolescents (52.7% female; 47.1% African American, 48.8% Caucasian; 4.2% Biracial/Multiracial/Other; M age = 12.88 years; SD = .62) and their mothers, recruited through local schools. Measures included (a) a semi-structured diagnostic interview of the mother and adolescent, (b) youth self-report forms assessing depressive symptoms and trait rumination, (c) mother-report forms assessing demographic information, and (d) behavioral tests of executive function (sustained, selective and divided attention, attentional set shifting, and working memory). Gender moderated rumination-set shifting associations, such that rumination predicted better set shifting in boys only. The current level of depressive symptoms moderated rumination-sustained attention associations, such that rumination predicted better sustained attention in those with low levels of depressive symptoms and worse sustained attention in those with high levels of depressive symptoms. Rumination did not predict performance on other measures of executive functions. Likewise, depressive symptoms and diagnosis were not associated with executive functions. Implications for future research are discussed. PMID:24839132

  4. Trait rumination, depression, and executive functions in early adolescence.

    PubMed

    Wagner, Clara A; Alloy, Lauren B; Abramson, Lyn Y

    2015-01-01

    Although deficits in executive functions have been linked with both depression and rumination in adulthood, the nature of the relationship between these constructs is not well understood and remains understudied in adolescence. The present study examined the relationship of rumination and depression to deficits in executive functions in early adolescence, a critical developmental period for the emergence of depression and rumination and the development of executive functions. Participants were 486 early adolescents (52.7% female; 47.1% African American, 48.8% Caucasian; 4.2% Biracial/Multiracial/Other; M age = 12.88 years; SD = .62) and their mothers, recruited through local schools. Measures included (a) a semi-structured diagnostic interview of the mother and adolescent, (b) youth self-report forms assessing depressive symptoms and trait rumination, (c) mother-report forms assessing demographic information, and (d) behavioral tests of executive function (sustained, selective and divided attention, attentional set shifting, and working memory). Gender moderated rumination-set shifting associations, such that rumination predicted better set shifting in boys only. The current level of depressive symptoms moderated rumination-sustained attention associations, such that rumination predicted better sustained attention in those with low levels of depressive symptoms and worse sustained attention in those with high levels of depressive symptoms. Rumination did not predict performance on other measures of executive functions. Likewise, depressive symptoms and diagnosis were not associated with executive functions. Implications for future research are discussed. PMID:24839132

  5. Association analysis of insulin-like growth factor-1 axis parameters with survival and functional status in nonagenarians of the Leiden Longevity Study

    PubMed Central

    Houwing-Duistermaat, Jeanine J.; Slagboom, P. Eline; Beekman, Marian; de Craen, Anton J.M.; Westendorp, Rudi G.J.; van Heemst, Diana

    2015-01-01

    Reduced insulin/insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) signaling has been associated with longevity in various model organisms. However, the role of insulin/IGF-1 signaling in human survival remains controversial. The aim of this study was to test whether circulating IGF-1 axis parameters associate with old age survival and functional status in nonagenarians from the Leiden Longevity Study. This study examined 858 Dutch nonagenarian (males≥89 years; females≥91 years) siblings from 409 families, without selection on health or demographic characteristics. Nonagenarians were divided over sex-specific strata according to their levels of IGF-1, IGF binding protein 3 and IGF-1/IGFBP3 molar ratio. We found that lower IGF-1/IGFBP3 ratios were associated with improved survival: nonagenarians in the quartile of the lowest ratio had a lower estimated hazard ratio (95% confidence interval) of 0.73 (0.59 – 0.91) compared to the quartile with the highest ratio (ptrend=0.002). Functional status was assessed by (Instrumental) Activities of Daily Living ((I)ADL) scales. Compared to those in the quartile with the highest IGF-1/IGFBP3 ratio, nonagenarians in the lowest quartile had higher scores for ADL (ptrend=0.001) and IADL (ptrend=0.003). These findings suggest that IGF-1 axis parameters are associated with increased old age survival and better functional status in nonagenarians from the Leiden Longevity Study. PMID:26568155

  6. Shortened Intervals during Heterologous Boosting Preserve Memory CD8 T Cell Function but Compromise Longevity.

    PubMed

    Thompson, Emily A; Beura, Lalit K; Nelson, Christine E; Anderson, Kristin G; Vezys, Vaiva

    2016-04-01

    Developing vaccine strategies to generate high numbers of Ag-specific CD8 T cells may be necessary for protection against recalcitrant pathogens. Heterologous prime-boost-boost immunization has been shown to result in large quantities of functional memory CD8 T cells with protective capacities and long-term stability. Completing the serial immunization steps for heterologous prime-boost-boost can be lengthy, leaving the host vulnerable for an extensive period of time during the vaccination process. We show in this study that shortening the intervals between boosting events to 2 wk results in high numbers of functional and protective Ag-specific CD8 T cells. This protection is comparable to that achieved with long-term boosting intervals. Short-boosted Ag-specific CD8 T cells display a canonical memory T cell signature associated with long-lived memory and have identical proliferative potential to long-boosted T cells Both populations robustly respond to antigenic re-exposure. Despite this, short-boosted Ag-specific CD8 T cells continue to contract gradually over time, which correlates to metabolic differences between short- and long-boosted CD8 T cells at early memory time points. Our studies indicate that shortening the interval between boosts can yield abundant, functional Ag-specific CD8 T cells that are poised for immediate protection; however, this is at the expense of forming stable long-term memory. PMID:26903479

  7. Sugarcane Functional Genomics: Gene Discovery for Agronomic Trait Development

    PubMed Central

    Menossi, M.; Silva-Filho, M. C.; Vincentz, M.; Van-Sluys, M.-A.; Souza, G. M.

    2008-01-01

    Sugarcane is a highly productive crop used for centuries as the main source of sugar and recently to produce ethanol, a renewable bio-fuel energy source. There is increased interest in this crop due to the impending need to decrease fossil fuel usage. Sugarcane has a highly polyploid genome. Expressed sequence tag (EST) sequencing has significantly contributed to gene discovery and expression studies used to associate function with sugarcane genes. A significant amount of data exists on regulatory events controlling responses to herbivory, drought, and phosphate deficiency, which cause important constraints on yield and on endophytic bacteria, which are highly beneficial. The means to reduce drought, phosphate deficiency, and herbivory by the sugarcane borer have a negative impact on the environment. Improved tolerance for these constraints is being sought. Sugarcane's ability to accumulate sucrose up to 16% of its culm dry weight is a challenge for genetic manipulation. Genome-based technology such as cDNA microarray data indicates genes associated with sugar content that may be used to develop new varieties improved for sucrose content or for traits that restrict the expansion of the cultivated land. The genes can also be used as molecular markers of agronomic traits in traditional breeding programs. PMID:18273390

  8. Linking Tropical Forest Function to Hydraulic Traits in a Size-Structured and Trait-Based Model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Christoffersen, B. O.; Gloor, E. U.; Fauset, S.; Fyllas, N.; Galbraith, D.; Baker, T. R.; Rowland, L.; Fisher, R.; Binks, O.; Mencuccini, M.; Malhi, Y.; Stahl, C.; Wagner, F. H.; Bonal, D.; da Costa, A. C. L.; Ferreira, L.; Meir, P.

    2014-12-01

    A major weakness of forest ecosystem models applied to Amazonia is their inability to capture the diversity of responses to changes in water availability commonly observed within and across forest communities, severely hampering efforts to predict the fate of Amazon forests under climate change. Such models often prescribe moisture sensitivity using heuristic response functions which are uniform across all individuals and lack important knowledge about trade-offs in hydraulic traits. We address this weakness by implementing a process representation of plant hydraulics into an individual- and trait-based model (Trait Forest Simulator; TFS) intended for application at discrete sites across Amazonia. The model represents a trade-off in the safety and efficiency of water conduction in xylem tissue through hydraulic traits, which then lead to variation in plant water use and growth dynamics. The model accounts for the buffering effects of leaf and stem capacitance on leaf water potential at short time scales, and cavitation-induced reductions in whole-plant conductance over longer periods of water stress. We explore multiple possible links between this hydraulic trait spectrum and other whole-plant traits, such as maximum photosynthetic capacity and wood density. The model is shown to greatly improve the diversity of tree response to seasonal changes in water availability as well as response to drought, as determined by comparison with sap flux and stem dendrometry measurements. Importantly, this individual- and trait-based framework provides a testbed for identifying both critical processes and functional traits needed for inclusion in coarse-scale Dynamic Global Vegetation Models, which will lead to reduced uncertainty in the future state of Amazon tropical forests.

  9. Staying Alive: Molecular Aspects of Seed Longevity.

    PubMed

    Sano, Naoto; Rajjou, Loïc; North, Helen M; Debeaujon, Isabelle; Marion-Poll, Annie; Seo, Mitsunori

    2016-04-01

    Mature seeds are an ultimate physiological status that enables plants to endure extreme conditions such as high and low temperature, freezing and desiccation. Seed longevity, the period over which seed remains viable, is an important trait not only for plant adaptation to changing environments, but also, for example, for agriculture and conservation of biodiversity. Reduction of seed longevity is often associated with oxidation of cellular macromolecules such as nucleic acids, proteins and lipids. Seeds possess two main strategies to combat these stressful conditions: protection and repair. The protective mechanism includes the formation of glassy cytoplasm to reduce cellular metabolic activities and the production of antioxidants that prevent accumulation of oxidized macromolecules during seed storage. The repair system removes damage accumulated in DNA, RNA and proteins upon seed imbibition through enzymes such as DNA glycosylase and methionine sulfoxide reductase. In addition to longevity, dormancy is also an important adaptive trait that contributes to seed lifespan. Studies in Arabidopsis have shown that the seed-specific transcription factor ABSCISIC ACID-INSENSITIVE3 (ABI3) plays a central role in ABA-mediated seed dormancy and longevity. Seed longevity largely relies on the viability of embryos. Nevertheless, characterization of mutants with altered seed coat structure and constituents has demonstrated that although the maternally derived cell layers surrounding the embryos are dead, they have a significant impact on longevity. PMID:26637538

  10. Quantitative Trait Loci Identify Functional Noncoding Variation in Cancer

    PubMed Central

    Heyn, Holger

    2016-01-01

    The interpretation of noncoding alterations in cancer genomes presents an unresolved problem in cancer studies. While the impact of somatic variations in protein-coding regions is widely accepted, noncoding aberrations are mostly considered as passenger events. However, with the advance of genome-wide profiling strategies, alterations outside the coding context entered the focus, and multiple examples highlight the role of gene deregulation as cancer-driving events. This review describes the implication of noncoding alterations in oncogenesis and provides a theoretical framework for the identification of causal somatic variants using quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis. Assuming that functional noncoding alterations affect quantifiable regulatory processes, somatic QTL studies constitute a valuable strategy to pinpoint cancer gene deregulation. Eventually, the comprehensive identification and interpretation of coding and noncoding alterations will guide our future understanding of cancer biology. PMID:26938653

  11. Traits Without Borders: Integrating Functional Diversity Across Scales.

    PubMed

    Carmona, Carlos P; de Bello, Francesco; Mason, Norman W H; Lepš, Jan

    2016-05-01

    Owing to the conceptual complexity of functional diversity (FD), a multitude of different methods are available for measuring it, with most being operational at only a small range of spatial scales. This causes uncertainty in ecological interpretations and limits the potential to generalize findings across studies or compare patterns across scales. We solve this problem by providing a unified framework expanding on and integrating existing approaches. The framework, based on trait probability density (TPD), is the first to fully implement the Hutchinsonian concept of the niche as a probabilistic hypervolume in estimating FD. This novel approach could revolutionize FD-based research by allowing quantification of the various FD components from organismal to macroecological scales, and allowing seamless transitions between scales. PMID:26924737

  12. Plant functional traits with particular reference to tropical deciduous forests: a review.

    PubMed

    Chaturvedi, R K; Raghubanshi, A S; Singh, J S

    2011-12-01

    Functional traits (FTs) integrate the ecological and evolutionary history of a species, and can potentially be used to predict its response as well as its influence on ecosystem functioning. Study of inter-specific variation in the FTs of plants aids in classifying species into plant functional types (PFTs) and provides insights into fundamental patterns and trade-offs in plant form and functioning and the effect of changing species composition on ecosystem functions. Specifically, this paper focuses on those FTs that make a species successful in the dry tropical environment. Following a brief overview, we discuss plant FTs that may be particularly relevant to tropical deciduous forests (TDFs). We consider the traits under the following categories: leaf traits, stem and root traits, reproductive traits, and traits particularly relevant to water availability. We compile quantitative information on functional traits of dry tropical forest species. We also discuss trait-based grouping of plants into PFTs. We recognize that there is incomplete knowledge about many FTs and their effects on TDFs and point out the need for further research on PFTs of TDF species, which can enable prediction of the dynamics of these forests in the face of disturbance and global climate change. Correlations between structural and ecophysiological traits and ecosystem functioning should also be established which could make it possible to generate predictions of changes in ecosystem services from changes in functional composition. PMID:22116295

  13. Fish Functional Traits Correlated with Environmental Variables in a Temperate Biodiversity Hotspot

    PubMed Central

    Keck, Benjamin P.; Marion, Zachary H.; Martin, Derek J.; Kaufman, Jason C.; Harden, Carol P.; Schwartz, John S.; Strange, Richard J.

    2014-01-01

    The global biodiversity crisis has invigorated the search for generalized patterns in most disciplines within the natural sciences. Studies based on organismal functional traits attempt to broaden implications of results by identifying the response of functional traits, instead of taxonomic units, to environmental variables. Determining the functional trait responses enables more direct comparisons with, or predictions for, communities of different taxonomic composition. The North American freshwater fish fauna is both diverse and increasingly imperiled through human mediated disturbances, including climate change. The Tennessee River, USA, contains one of the most diverse assemblages of freshwater fish in North America and has more imperiled species than other rivers, but there has been no trait-based study of community structure in the system. We identified 211 localities in the upper Tennessee River that were sampled by the Tennessee Valley Authority between 2009 and 2011 and compiled fish functional traits for the observed species and environmental variables for each locality. Using fourth corner analysis, we identified significant correlations between many fish functional traits and environmental variables. Functional traits associated with an opportunistic life history strategy were correlated with localities subject to greater land use disturbance and less flow regulation, while functional traits associated with a periodic life history strategy were correlated with localities subject to regular disturbance and regulated flow. These are patterns observed at the continental scale, highlighting the generalizability of trait-based methods. Contrary to studies that found no community structure differences when considering riparian buffer zones, we found that fish functional traits were correlated with different environmental variables between analyses with buffer zones vs. entire catchment area land cover proportions. Using existing databases and fourth corner

  14. Exercise and longevity.

    PubMed

    Gremeaux, Vincent; Gayda, Mathieu; Lepers, Romuald; Sosner, Philippe; Juneau, Martin; Nigam, Anil

    2012-12-01

    Aging is a natural and complex physiological process influenced by many factors, some of which are modifiable. As the number of older individuals continues to increase, it is important to develop interventions that can be easily implemented and contribute to "successful aging". In addition to a healthy diet and psychosocial well-being, the benefits of regular exercise on mortality, and the prevention and control of chronic disease affecting both life expectancy and quality of life are well established. We summarize the benefits of regular exercise on longevity, present the current knowledge regarding potential mechanisms, and outline the main recommendations. Exercise can partially reverse the effects of the aging process on physiological functions and preserve functional reserve in the elderly. Numerous studies have shown that maintaining a minimum quantity and quality of exercise decreases the risk of death, prevents the development of certain cancers, lowers the risk of osteoporosis and increases longevity. Training programs should include exercises aimed at improving cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle function, as well as flexibility and balance. Though the benefits of physical activity appear to be directly linked to the notion of training volume and intensity, further research is required in the elderly, in order to develop more precise recommendations, bearing in mind that the main aim is to foster long-term adherence to physical activity in this growing population. PMID:23063021

  15. Translational genomics for improving sow reproductive longevity

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Sow reproductive longevity is a composite trait that is expressed throughout life that depends on the potential of females to resume ovarian cyclicity, re-breed, and farrow multiple parities. Approximately 50% of sows are culled annually with more than one third due to poor fertility. Age at puberty...

  16. Genetic characterization of denitrifier communities with contrasting intrinsic functional traits.

    PubMed

    Braker, Gesche; Dörsch, Peter; Bakken, Lars R

    2012-02-01

    Microorganisms capable of denitrification are polyphyletic and exhibit distinct denitrification regulatory phenotypes (DRP), and thus, denitrification in soils could be controlled by community composition. In a companion study (Dörsch et al., 2012) and preceding work, ex situ denitrification assays of three organic soils demonstrated profoundly different functional traits including N(2) O/N(2) ratios. Here, we explored the composition of the underlying denitrifier communities by analyzing the abundance and structure of denitrification genes (nirK, nirS, and nosZ). The relative abundance of nosZ (vs. nirK + nirS) was similar for all communities, and hence, the low N(2) O reductase activity in one of the soils was not because of the lack of organisms with this gene. Similarity in community composition between the soils was generally low for nirK and nirS, but not for nosZ. The community with the most robust denitrification (consistently low N(2) O/N(2) ) had the highest diversity/richness of nosZ and nirK, but not of nirS. Contrary results found for a second soil agreed with impaired denitrification (low overall denitrification activity, high N(2) O/N(2) ). In conclusion, differences in community composition and in the absolute abundance of denitrification genes clearly reflected the functional differences observed in laboratory studies and may shed light on differences in in situ N(2) O emission of the soils. PMID:22092293

  17. Resting-state functional connectivity predicts longitudinal change in autistic traits and adaptive functioning in autism.

    PubMed

    Plitt, Mark; Barnes, Kelly Anne; Wallace, Gregory L; Kenworthy, Lauren; Martin, Alex

    2015-12-01

    Although typically identified in early childhood, the social communication symptoms and adaptive behavior deficits that are characteristic of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) persist throughout the lifespan. Despite this persistence, even individuals without cooccurring intellectual disability show substantial heterogeneity in outcomes. Previous studies have found various behavioral assessments [such as intelligence quotient (IQ), early language ability, and baseline autistic traits and adaptive behavior scores] to be predictive of outcome, but most of the variance in functioning remains unexplained by such factors. In this study, we investigated to what extent functional brain connectivity measures obtained from resting-state functional connectivity MRI (rs-fcMRI) could predict the variance left unexplained by age and behavior (follow-up latency and baseline autistic traits and adaptive behavior scores) in two measures of outcome--adaptive behaviors and autistic traits at least 1 y postscan (mean follow-up latency = 2 y, 10 mo). We found that connectivity involving the so-called salience network (SN), default-mode network (DMN), and frontoparietal task control network (FPTCN) was highly predictive of future autistic traits and the change in autistic traits and adaptive behavior over the same time period. Furthermore, functional connectivity involving the SN, which is predominantly composed of the anterior insula and the dorsal anterior cingulate, predicted reliable improvement in adaptive behaviors with 100% sensitivity and 70.59% precision. From rs-fcMRI data, our study successfully predicted heterogeneity in outcomes for individuals with ASD that was unaccounted for by simple behavioral metrics and provides unique evidence for networks underlying long-term symptom abatement. PMID:26627261

  18. Resting-state functional connectivity predicts longitudinal change in autistic traits and adaptive functioning in autism

    PubMed Central

    Plitt, Mark; Barnes, Kelly Anne; Wallace, Gregory L.; Kenworthy, Lauren; Martin, Alex

    2015-01-01

    Although typically identified in early childhood, the social communication symptoms and adaptive behavior deficits that are characteristic of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) persist throughout the lifespan. Despite this persistence, even individuals without cooccurring intellectual disability show substantial heterogeneity in outcomes. Previous studies have found various behavioral assessments [such as intelligence quotient (IQ), early language ability, and baseline autistic traits and adaptive behavior scores] to be predictive of outcome, but most of the variance in functioning remains unexplained by such factors. In this study, we investigated to what extent functional brain connectivity measures obtained from resting-state functional connectivity MRI (rs-fcMRI) could predict the variance left unexplained by age and behavior (follow-up latency and baseline autistic traits and adaptive behavior scores) in two measures of outcome—adaptive behaviors and autistic traits at least 1 y postscan (mean follow-up latency = 2 y, 10 mo). We found that connectivity involving the so-called salience network (SN), default-mode network (DMN), and frontoparietal task control network (FPTCN) was highly predictive of future autistic traits and the change in autistic traits and adaptive behavior over the same time period. Furthermore, functional connectivity involving the SN, which is predominantly composed of the anterior insula and the dorsal anterior cingulate, predicted reliable improvement in adaptive behaviors with 100% sensitivity and 70.59% precision. From rs-fcMRI data, our study successfully predicted heterogeneity in outcomes for individuals with ASD that was unaccounted for by simple behavioral metrics and provides unique evidence for networks underlying long-term symptom abatement. PMID:26627261

  19. Plant geography upon the basis of functional traits: an example from eastern North American trees.

    PubMed

    Swenson, Nathan G; Weiser, Michael D

    2010-08-01

    Plant geographers have sought for decades to describe and predict the geographic distribution of vegetation types on the basis of plant function and its relationship with the abiotic environment. Traditionally this has been accomplished using categorical representations such as plant functional types. Increasingly, plant functional ecologists have sought to refine categorical functional types via quantitative functional traits in order to understand the ecological implications of trade-offs in plant form and function. Fewer works have focused upon testing whether commonly measured functional traits enhance our understanding of plant biogeography broadly and the geographic distribution of vegetation types in particular. Here we combine a continental-scale forest inventory data set containing 18 111 plots with a plant functional trait data set to ask: (1) Is there a strong relationship between the abiotic environment and the distribution of functional trait values in forest inventory plots? And (2) can different Holdridge life zones be distinguished upon the basis of their functional trait distributions? The results show geographic patterns of functional trait distributions that are often strongly correlated with climate and also show that the Holdridge life zones in the study area can be differentiated using a combination of functional traits. PMID:20836445

  20. Mitochondrial-Nuclear Epistasis: Implications for Human Aging and Longevity

    PubMed Central

    Tranah, Gregory

    2010-01-01

    There is substantial evidence that mitochondria are involved in the aging process. Mitochondrial function requires the coordinated expression of hundreds of nuclear genes and a few dozen mitochondrial genes, many of which have been associated with either extended or shortened life span. Impaired mitochondrial function resulting from mtDNA and nuclear DNA variation is likely to contribute to an imbalance in cellular energy homeostasis, increased vulnerability to oxidative stress, and an increased rate of cellular senescence and aging. The complex genetic architecture of mitochondria suggests that there may be an equally complex set of gene interactions (epistases) involving genetic variation in the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes. Results from Drosophila suggest that the effects of mtDNA haplotypes on longevity vary among different nuclear allelic backgrounds, which could account for the inconsistent associations that have been observed between mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroups and survival in humans. A diversity of pathways may influence the way mitochondria and nuclear – mitochondrial interactions modulate longevity, including: oxidative phosphorylation; mitochondrial uncoupling; antioxidant defenses; mitochondrial fission and fusion; and sirtuin regulation of mitochondrial genes. We hypothesize that aging and longevity, as complex traits having a significant genetic component, are likely to be controlled by nuclear gene variants interacting with both inherited and somatic mtDNA variability. PMID:20601194

  1. Distribution of functional traits in subtropical trees across environmental and forest use gradients

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blundo, Cecilia; Malizia, Lucio R.; González-Espinosa, Mario

    2015-11-01

    The relationship between functional traits and environmental factors contribute to understanding community structure and predicting which species will be able to elude environmental filters in different habitats. We selected 10 functional traits related to morphology, demography and regeneration niche in 54 subtropical premontane tree species to describe their main axes of functional differentiation. We derived species traits, environmental variables and species abundance data from 20 1-ha permanent plots established in a seasonal subtropical premontane forest in northwestern Argentina. We analyzed the relationship between species functional traits and environmental factors through RLQ and fourth-corner analyzes. We found an axis of structural differentiation that segregates understory from canopy species, and an axis of functional differentiation that segregates species that maximize resource acquisition from those that promote resource conservation. Environmental and forest use gradients operate hierarchically over subtropical premontane tree species influencing the distribution of demographic and morphological traits. The interaction between climatic and topographic factors influences the distribution of species functional traits at the regional scale. In addition, the history of forest use seems to operate at the landscape scale and explains the distribution of species traits reflecting a trade-off between resource acquisition and resource conservation strategies in secondary forests across different successional stages. Our results support the idea that functional traits may be used to analyze community structure and dynamics through niche differentiation and environmental filtering processes.

  2. Scaling root processes based on plant functional traits (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eissenstat, D. M.; McCormack, M. L.; Gaines, K.; Adams, T.

    2013-12-01

    There are great challenges to scaling root processes as variation across species and variation of a particular species over different spatial and temporal scales is poorly understood. We have examined tree species variation using multispecies plantings, often referred to by ecologists as 'common gardens'. Choosing species with wide variation in growth rate, root morphology (diameter, branching intensity) and root chemistry (root N and Ca concentration), we found that variation in root lifespan was well correlated with plant functional traits across 12 species. There was also evidence that localized liquid N addition could increase root lifespan and localized water addition diminished root lifespan over untreated controls, with effects strongest in the species of finest root diameter. In an adjacent forest, we have also seen tree species variation in apparent depth of rooting using water isotopes. In particular species of wood anatomy that was ring porous (e.g. oaks) typically had the deepest rooting depth, whereas those that had either diffuse-porous sapwood (maples) or tracheid sapwood (pines) were shallower rooted. These differences in rooting depth were related to sap flux of trees during and immediately after periods of drought. The extent that the patterns observed in central Pennsylvania are modulated by environment or indicative of other plant species will be discussed.

  3. Using a Multi-Trait Approach to Manipulate Plant Functional Diversity in a Biodiversity-Ecosystem Function Experiment

    PubMed Central

    Schittko, Conrad; Hawa, Mahmoud; Wurst, Susanne

    2014-01-01

    A frequent pattern emerging from biodiversity-ecosystem function studies is that functional group richness enhances ecosystem functions such as primary productivity. However, the manipulation of functional group richness goes along with major disadvantages like the transformation of functional trait data into categories or the exclusion of functional differences between organisms in the same group. In a mesocosm study we manipulated plant functional diversity based on the multi-trait Functional Diversity (FD)-approach of Petchey and Gaston by using database data of seven functional traits and information on the origin of the species in terms of being native or exotic. Along a gradient ranging from low to high FD we planted 40 randomly selected eight-species mixtures under controlled conditions. We found a significant positive linear correlation of FD with aboveground productivity and a negative correlation with invasibility of the plant communities. Based on community-weighted mean calculations for each functional trait, we figured out that the traits N-fixation and species origin, i.e. being native or exotic, played the most important role for community productivity. Our results suggest that the identification of the impact of functional trait diversity and the relative contributions of relevant traits is essential for a mechanistic understanding of the role of biodiversity for ecosystem functions such as aboveground biomass production and resistance against invasion. PMID:24897501

  4. Functional diversity and functional traits of periphytic algae during a short-term successional process in a Neotropical floodplain lake.

    PubMed

    Dunck, B; Rodrigues, L; Bicudo, D C

    2015-08-01

    Due to the lack of knowledge in periphytic algae functional diversity patterns during successional processes in floodplains, the present study aimed to analyze the dynamics of the functional traits and functional diversity of periphytic species during a short-term successional process in a floodplain lake. The functional traits analyzed were size class, growth form, strength of attachment to the substratum, and functional strategies. We evaluated the dynamics of these traits, considering richness, density and biovolume during an 18-day colonization in two hydrological periods. The functional diversity was assessed using the mean pairwise distance index (MPD). Dominant functional traits during the colonization changed in association with the flood pulse. Under the pulse effect, higher development of C-S strategist, loosely attached, filamentous and nanoperiphytic species occurred. The highest values of functional diversity were associated with the algal biomass peak during the colonization and the high water hydrological period, possibly indicating greater efficiency in the ecosystem functioning. These findings show the importance of the functional traits approach in periphyton studies and that the selection of functional traits must be performed taking into account traits that represent the species niche. PMID:26465723

  5. Water use efficiency and functional traits of a semiarid shrubland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Perez-Priego, Oscar; Lopez-Ballesteros, Ana; Sánchez-Cañete, Enrique P.; Serrano-Ortiz, Penélope; Carrara, Arnaud; Palomares-Palacio, Agustí; Oyonarte, Cecilio; Domingo, Francisco; Kowalski, Andrew S.

    2013-04-01

    In semiarid climates, water is the fundamental factor determining ecosystem productivity and thereby the capacity for carbon sequestration. Increased water use efficiency (WUE), the ratio of carbon dioxide assimilation (canopy photosynthesis, Pc) to water transpired (canopy evaporation, Ec), is assumed to be an adaptive strategy for sclerophyll shrublands to improve productivity and stress resistance in water-limited environments. However, the real complexity of WUE lies in its dependence on both plant physiological traits (e.g. stomatal resistance, photosynthetic capacity, leaf chemical composition, structure) and on environmental conditions (e.g. atmospheric CO2 concentration, vapour pressure deficit, temperature, light, soil water availability). We used a transient-state closed canopy-chamber to characterise CO2 and water vapour exchanges at the whole plant scale under different environmental conditions and phenological stages. Diurnal and seasonal variations in Pc, Ec and WUE were explained by both physiological and environmental variables. All species showed symmetric patterns in both Pc and Ec when not water limited, but asymmetry during summer drought when leaf water potential was low. During drought, grasses (Festuca sp.) showed a marked decline in functioning (Pc and Ec), whereas shrubs (Genista sp., Hormathophylla sp.) maintained spring-like assimilation rates all morning until stomatal controls shut down gas exchanges. While grasses showed the highest WUE when not water limited, their near senescence during summer drought yielded the lowest WUE. Shrubs showed reduced WUE under moderate drought stress, in contradiction to the assumptions made in global ecosystem models. The importance of the appropriate time-scale for calculating WUE (daily versus hourly), together with water use strategies and ecological functions of individual species, will be further discussed.

  6. Geographic variation in sandy beach macrofauna community and functional traits

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rodil, I. F.; Compton, T. J.; Lastra, M.

    2014-10-01

    Sandy beaches are a common ocean-dominated ecosystem along the north coast of Spain. We conducted field surveys at 39 beaches distributed between 1° and 9°W, ca. 2000 km along this geographic region to document broad patterns of macrobenthic communities, and to describe their association with variables characterising both the beach environment and the characteristics of the adjacent ocean waters. Macrofaunal functional traits are considered to be an informative measure that can be useful for many ecosystem-level questions, as they are based on what organisms do (i.e., their ecological function) rather than on their identification alone. Boosted regression-trees analysis showed that the occurrence of the main taxonomic groups and feeding guilds were differentially associated with the prevailing beach features along this coastline. The occurrence (presence/absence) of molluscs was best explained by the concentration of chlorophyll-a and wave exposure whereas those of crustaceans and polychaetes were best explained by an ensemble of variables including beach slope, sea surface temperature and grain size. A comparison of the feeding guilds demonstrated that the occurrence of suspension feeders was best explained by chlorophyll-a and wave exposure, whereas the occurrence of deposit feeders was best explained by beach slope, sea surface temperature and chlorophyll-a. The occurrence of predators and scavengers was best explained by sea surface temperature and beach slope. Based on the patterns presented here, we confirm that the upwelling events that occur regularly on this coastline are a structuring agent for beach communities. Future work needs to examine the role of the oceanographic conditions of the region for they might represent the driving forces behind large-scale shifts in macrofauna communities.

  7. Invited review: overview of new traits and phenotyping strategies in dairy cattle with a focus on functional traits.

    PubMed

    Egger-Danner, C; Cole, J B; Pryce, J E; Gengler, N; Heringstad, B; Bradley, A; Stock, K F

    2015-02-01

    For several decades, breeding goals in dairy cattle focussed on increased milk production. However, many functional traits have negative genetic correlations with milk yield, and reductions in genetic merit for health and fitness have been observed. Herd management has been challenged to compensate for these effects and to balance fertility, udder health and metabolic diseases against increased production to maximize profit without compromising welfare. Functional traits, such as direct information on cow health, have also become more important because of growing concern about animal well-being and consumer demands for healthy and natural products. There are major concerns about the impact of drugs used in veterinary medicine on the spread of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria that can negatively impact human health. Sustainability and efficiency are also increasingly important because of the growing competition for high-quality, plant-based sources of energy and protein. Disruptions to global environments because of climate change may encourage yet more emphasis on these traits. To be successful, it is vital that there be a balance between the effort required for data recording and subsequent benefits. The motivation of farmers and other stakeholders involved in documentation and recording is essential to ensure good data quality. To keep labour costs reasonable, existing data sources should be used as much as possible. Examples include the use of milk composition data to provide additional information about the metabolic status or energy balance of the animals. Recent advances in the use of mid-infrared spectroscopy to measure milk have shown considerable promise, and may provide cost-effective alternative phenotypes for difficult or expensive-to-measure traits, such as feed efficiency. There are other valuable data sources in countries that have compulsory documentation of veterinary treatments and drug use. Additional sources of data outside of the farm

  8. Intraspecific variability in functional traits matters: case study of Scots pine.

    PubMed

    Laforest-Lapointe, Isabelle; Martínez-Vilalta, Jordi; Retana, Javier

    2014-08-01

    Although intraspecific trait variability is an important component of species ecological plasticity and niche breadth, its implications for community and functional ecology have not been thoroughly explored. We characterized the intraspecific functional trait variability of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) in Catalonia (NE Spain) in order to (1) compare it to the interspecific trait variability of trees in the same region, (2) explore the relationships among functional traits and the relationships between them and stand and climatic variables, and (3) study the role of functional trait variability as a determinant of radial growth. We considered five traits: wood density (WD), maximum tree height (H max), leaf nitrogen content (Nmass), specific leaf area (SLA), and leaf biomass-to-sapwood area ratio (B L:A S). A unique dataset was obtained from the Ecological and Forest Inventory of Catalonia (IEFC), including data from 406 plots. Intraspecific trait variation was substantial for all traits, with coefficients of variation ranging between 8% for WD and 24% for B L:A S. In some cases, correlations among functional traits differed from those reported across species (e.g., H max and WD were positively related, whereas SLA and Nmass were uncorrelated). Overall, our model accounted for 47% of the spatial variability in Scots pine radial growth. Our study emphasizes the hierarchy of factors that determine intraspecific variations in functional traits in Scots pine and their strong association with spatial variability in radial growth. We claim that intraspecific trait variation is an important determinant of responses of plants to changes in climate and other environmental factors, and should be included in predictive models of vegetation dynamics. PMID:24850418

  9. Associations between STR autosomal markers and longevity.

    PubMed

    Bediaga, N G; Aznar, J M; Elcoroaristizabal, X; Albóniga, O; Gómez-Busto, F; Artaza Artabe, I; Rocandio, Ana; de Pancorbo, M M

    2015-10-01

    Life span is a complex and multifactorial trait, which is shaped by genetic, epigenetic, environmental, and stochastic factors. The possibility that highly hypervariable short tandem repeats (STRs) associated with longevity has been largely explored by comparing the genotypic pools of long lived and younger individuals, but results so far have been contradictory. In view of these contradictory findings, the present study aims to investigate whether HUMTHO1 and HUMCSF1PO STRs, previously associated with longevity, exert a role as a modulator of life expectancy, as well as to assess the extent to which other autosomal STR markers are associated with human longevity in population from northern Spain. To that end, 21 autosomal microsatellite markers have been studied in 304 nonagenarian individuals (more than 90 years old) and 516 younger controls of European descent. Our results do not confirm the association found in previous studies between longevity and THO1 and CSF1PO loci. However, significant association between longevity and autosomal STR markers D12S391, D22S1045, and DS441 was observed. Even more, when we compared allelic frequency distribution of the 21 STR markers between cases and controls, we found that 6 out of the 21 STRs studied showed different allelic frequencies, thus suggesting that the genomic portrait of the human longevity is far complex and probably shaped by a high number of genomic loci. PMID:26335621

  10. Dauer-independent insulin/IGF-1-signalling implicates collagen remodelling in longevity.

    PubMed

    Ewald, Collin Y; Landis, Jess N; Porter Abate, Jess; Murphy, Coleen T; Blackwell, T Keith

    2015-03-01

    Interventions that delay ageing mobilize mechanisms that protect and repair cellular components, but it is unknown how these interventions might slow the functional decline of extracellular matrices, which are also damaged during ageing. Reduced insulin/IGF-1 signalling (rIIS) extends lifespan across the evolutionary spectrum, and in juvenile Caenorhabditis elegans also allows the transcription factor DAF-16/FOXO to induce development into dauer, a diapause that withstands harsh conditions. It has been suggested that rIIS delays C. elegans ageing through activation of dauer-related processes during adulthood, but some rIIS conditions confer robust lifespan extension unaccompanied by any dauer-like traits. Here we show that rIIS can promote C. elegans longevity through a program that is genetically distinct from the dauer pathway, and requires the Nrf (NF-E2-related factor) orthologue SKN-1 acting in parallel to DAF-16. SKN-1 is inhibited by IIS and has been broadly implicated in longevity, but is rendered dispensable for rIIS lifespan extension by even mild activity of dauer-related processes. When IIS is decreased under conditions that do not induce dauer traits, SKN-1 most prominently increases expression of collagens and other extracellular matrix genes. Diverse genetic, nutritional, and pharmacological pro-longevity interventions delay an age-related decline in collagen expression. These collagens mediate adulthood extracellular matrix remodelling, and are needed for ageing to be delayed by interventions that do not involve dauer traits. By genetically delineating a dauer-independent rIIS ageing pathway, our results show that IIS controls a broad set of protective mechanisms during C. elegans adulthood, and may facilitate elucidation of processes of general importance for longevity. The importance of collagen production in diverse anti-ageing interventions implies that extracellular matrix remodelling is a generally essential signature of longevity assurance

  11. Plant functional traits and diversity in sand dune ecosystems across different biogeographic regions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mahdavi, P.; Bergmeier, E.

    2016-07-01

    Plant species of a functional group respond similarly to environmental pressures and may be expected to act similarly on ecosystem processes and habitat properties. However, feasibility and applicability of functional groups in ecosystems across very different climatic regions have not yet been studied. In our approach we specified the functional groups in sand dune ecosystems of the Mediterranean, Hyrcanian and Irano-Turanian phytogeographic regions. We examined whether functional groups are more influenced by region or rather by habitat characteristics, and identified trait syndromes associated with common habitat types in sand dunes (mobile dunes, stabilized dunes, salt marshes, semi-wet sands, disturbed habitats). A database of 14 traits, 309 species and 314 relevés was examined and trait-species, trait-plot and species-plot matrices were built. Cluster analysis revealed similar plant functional groups in sand dune ecosystems across regions of very different species composition and climate. Specifically, our study showed that plant traits in sand dune ecosystems are grouped reflecting habitat affiliation rather than region and species pool. Environmental factors and constraints such as sand mobility, soil salinity, water availability, nutrient status and disturbance are more important for the occurrence and distribution of plant functional groups than regional belonging. Each habitat is shown to be equipped with specific functional groups and can be described by specific sets of traits. In restoration ecology the completeness of functional groups and traits in a site may serve as a guideline for maintaining or restoring the habitat.

  12. Assessing the Importance of Intraspecific Variability in Dung Beetle Functional Traits

    PubMed Central

    Griffiths, Hannah M.; Louzada, Julio; Bardgett, Richard D.; Barlow, Jos

    2016-01-01

    Functional diversity indices are used to facilitate a mechanistic understanding of many theoretical and applied questions in current ecological research. The use of mean trait values in functional indices assumes that traits are robust, in that greater variability exists between than within species. While the assertion of robust traits has been explored in plants, there exists little information on the source and extent of variability in the functional traits of higher trophic level organisms. Here we investigated variability in two functionally relevant dung beetle traits, measured from individuals collected from three primary forest sites containing distinct beetle communities: body mass and back leg length. In doing so we too addressed the following questions: (i) what is the contribution of intra vs. interspecific differences in trait values; (ii) what sample size is needed to provide representative species mean trait values; and (iii) what impact does omission of intraspecific trait information have on the calculation of functional diversity (FD) indices from naturally assembled communities? At the population level, interspecific differences explained the majority of variability in measured traits (between 94% and 96%). In accordance with this, the error associated with calculating FD without inclusion of intraspecific variability was low, less than 20% in all cases. This suggests that complete sampling to capture intraspecific variance in traits is not necessary even when investigating the FD of small and/or naturally formed communities. To gain an accurate estimation of species mean trait values we encourage the measurement of 30–60 individuals and, where possible, these should be taken from specimens collected from the site of study. PMID:26939121

  13. Relationships between functional traits and inorganic nitrogen acquisition among eight contrasting European grass species

    PubMed Central

    Grassein, Fabrice; Lemauviel-Lavenant, Servane; Lavorel, Sandra; Bahn, Michael; Bardgett, Richard D.; Desclos-Theveniau, Marie; Laîné, Philippe

    2015-01-01

    Backgrounds and Aims Leaf functional traits have been used as a basis to categoize plants across a range of resource-use specialization, from those that conserve available resources to those that exploit them. However, the extent to which the leaf functional traits used to define the resource-use strategies are related to root traits and are good indicators of the ability of the roots to take up nitrogen (N) are poorly known. This is an important question because interspecific differences in N uptake have been proposed as one mechanism by which species’ coexistence may be determined. This study therefore investigated the relationships between functional traits and N uptake ability for grass species across a range of conservative to exploitative resource-use strategies. Methods Root uptake of NH4+ and NO3–, and leaf and root functional traits were measured for eight grass species sampled at three grassland sites across Europe, in France, Austria and the UK. Species were grown in hydroponics to determine functional traits and kinetic uptake parameters (Imax and Km) under standardized conditions. Key Results Species with high specific leaf area (SLA) and shoot N content, and low leaf and root dry matter content (LDMC and RDMC, respectively), which are traits associated with the exploitative syndrome, had higher uptake and affinity for both N forms. No trade-off was observed in uptake between the two forms of N, and all species expressed a higher preference for NH4+. Conclusions The results support the use of leaf traits, and especially SLA and LDMC, as indicators of the N uptake ability across a broad range of grass species. The difficulties associated with assessing root properties are also highlighted, as root traits were only weakly correlated with leaf traits, and only RDMC and, to a lesser extent, root N content were related to leaf traits. PMID:25471096

  14. Metabolism, longevity and epigenetics.

    PubMed

    Cosentino, Claudia; Mostoslavsky, Raul

    2013-05-01

    Metabolic homeostasis and interventions that influence nutrient uptake are well-established means to influence lifespan even in higher eukaryotes. Until recently, the molecular mechanisms explaining such an effect remained scantily understood. Sirtuins are a group of protein deacetylases that depend on the metabolic intermediate NAD(+) as a cofactor for their function. For this reason they sense metabolic stress and in turn function at multiple levels to exert proper metabolic adaptation. Among other things, sirtuins can perform as histone deacetylases inducing epigenetic changes to modulate transcription and DNA repair. Recent studies have indicated that beyond sirtuins, the activity of other chromatin modifiers, such as histone acetyl transferases, might also be tightly linked to the availability of their intermediate metabolite acetyl-CoA. We summarize current knowledge of the emerging concepts indicating close crosstalk between the epigenetic machineries able to sense metabolic stress, their adaptive metabolic responses and their potential role in longevity. PMID:23467663

  15. Long term in vitro functional stability and recording longevity of fully integrated wireless neural interfaces based on the Utah Slant Electrode Array.

    PubMed

    Sharma, Asha; Rieth, Loren; Tathireddy, Prashant; Harrison, Reid; Oppermann, Hermann; Klein, Matthias; Töpper, Michael; Jung, Erik; Normann, Richard; Clark, Gregory; Solzbacher, Florian

    2011-08-01

    We evaluate the encapsulation and packaging reliability of a fully integrated wireless neural interface based on a Utah Slant Electrode Array/integrated neural interface-recording version 5 (USEA/INI-R5) system by monitoring the long term in vitro functional stability and recording longevity. The INI encapsulated with 6 µm Parylene-C was immersed in phosphate buffered saline (PBS) for a period of over 276 days (with the monitoring of the functional device still ongoing). The full functionality (wireless radio-frequency power, command and signal transmission) and the ability of the electrodes to record artificial neural signals even after 276 days of PBS soaking with little change (within 14%) in signal/noise amplitude constitute a major milestone in long term stability and allow us to study and evaluate the encapsulation reliability, functional stability and its potential usefulness for a wireless neural interface for future chronic implants. PMID:21775785

  16. Intraspecific trait variation drives functional responses of old-field plant communities to nutrient enrichment.

    PubMed

    Siefert, Andrew; Ritchie, Mark E

    2016-05-01

    Environmental changes are expected to shift the distribution of functional trait values in plant communities through a combination of species turnover and intraspecific variation. The strength of these shifts may depend on the availability of individuals with trait values adapted to new environmental conditions, represented by the functional diversity (FD) of existing community residents or dispersal from the regional species pool. We conducted a 3-year nutrient- and seed-addition experiment in old-field plant communities to examine the contributions of species turnover and intraspecific variation to community trait shifts, focusing on four key plant functional traits: vegetative height, leaf area, specific leaf area (SLA), and leaf dry matter content (LDMC). We further examined the influence of initial FD and seed availability on the strength of these shifts. Community mean height, leaf area, and SLA increased in response to fertilization, and these shifts were driven almost entirely by intraspecific variation. The strength of intraspecific shifts in height and leaf area was positively related to initial intraspecific FD in these traits. Intraspecific trait responses to fertilization varied among species, with species of short stature displaying stronger shifts in SLA and LDMC but weaker shifts in leaf area. Trait shifts due to species turnover were generally weak and opposed intraspecific responses. Seed addition altered community taxonomic composition but had little effect on community trait shifts. These results highlight the importance of intraspecific variation for short-term community functional responses and demonstrate that the strength of these responses may be mediated by community FD. PMID:26826004

  17. Schizotypal Personality Traits and Atypical Lateralization in Motor and Language Functions

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Asai, Tomohisa; Sugimori, Eriko; Tanno, Yoshihiko

    2009-01-01

    Atypical cerebral lateralization in motor and language functions in regard to schizotypal personality traits in healthy populations, as well as among schizophrenic patients, has attracted attention because these traits may represent a risk factor for schizophrenia. Although the relationship between handedness and schizotypal personality has been…

  18. Using plant functional traits as a link between land use and bee foraging abundance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pakeman, R. J.; Stockan, J.

    2013-07-01

    Many recent studies have shown that plant functional traits can be used to predict the response of plant assemblages to management or other environmental change. A further challenge is to use them to predict changes in the assemblages of other groups. Using data from a study of the impact of land use on biodiversity, the linkages between management drivers, a range of plant functional traits and the overall foraging numbers and assemblage of bees was assessed. Bee foraging numbers were only weakly predicted by plant traits, though bee foraging assemblage was closely related to a number of different groups of plant traits (flower colour and Forage Index, as well as taxonomic group). In turn, the selected traits were significantly correlated to some of the response traits that linked the plant assemblage to management, indicating that there was a predictive pathway from management to bee abundance and assemblage structure. However, models developed with just the environmental drivers proved superior at predicting both bee numbers and assemblage. Plant traits proved to be a moderately effective predictor of bee assemblage structure. However, the use of plant traits as a link between the bees and management did not offer any improvement on models directly developed from management variables. This suggests that the bee assemblage is responding to traits that have not been quantified and that developing these trophic linkage models may have to take a different approach.

  19. Herbivores modify selection on plant functional traits in a temperate rainforest understory.

    PubMed

    Salgado-Luarte, Cristian; Gianoli, Ernesto

    2012-08-01

    There is limited evidence regarding the adaptive value of plant functional traits in contrasting light environments. It has been suggested that changes in these traits in response to light availability can increase herbivore susceptibility. We tested the adaptive value of plant functional traits linked with carbon gain in contrasting light environments and also evaluated whether herbivores can modify selection on these traits in each light environment. In a temperate rainforest, we examined phenotypic selection on functional traits in seedlings of the pioneer tree Aristotelia chilensis growing in sun (canopy gap) and shade (forest understory) and subjected to either natural herbivory or herbivore exclusion. We found differential selection on functional traits depending on light environment. In sun, there was positive directional selection on photosynthetic rate and relative growth rate (RGR), indicating that selection favors competitive ability in a high-resource environment. Seedlings with high specific leaf area (SLA) and intermediate RGR were selected in shade, suggesting that light capture and conservative resource use are favored in the understory. Herbivores reduced the strength of positive directional selection acting on SLA in shade. We provide the first demonstration that natural herbivory rates can change the strength of selection on plant ecophysiological traits, that is, attributes whose main function is resource uptake. Research addressing the evolution of shade tolerance should incorporate the selective role of herbivores. PMID:22766937

  20. Predicting Species-environment Relationships with Functional Traits for the Understory Flora of Wisconsin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ash, J.; Li, D.; Johnson, S.; Rogers, D. A.; Waller, D. M.

    2015-12-01

    Understanding the processes that structure species' abundance patterns is a central problem in ecology, both for explaining current species' distributions and predicting future changes. Environmental gradients affect species' distribution patterns with these responses likely depending on species' functional traits. Thus, tracking shifts in species' traits can provide insight into the mechanisms by which species respond to dynamic environmental conditions. We examined how functional traits are associated with long-term changes in the distribution and abundance of understory plants in Wisconsin forests over the last 50+ years. We relied on detailed surveys and resurveys of the same Wisconsin forest plots, data on 12 functional traits, and site-level environmental variables including soil and climate conditions. We then related changes in the abundance of 293 species across a network of 249 sites to these environmental variables and explored whether functional traits served to predict these relationships using multilevel models. Species abundance patterns were strongly related to variation in environmental conditions among sites, but species appear to be responding to distinct sets of environmental variables. Functional traits only weakly predicted these species-environment relationships, limiting our ability to generalize these results to other systems. Nonetheless, understanding how traits interact with environmental gradients to structure species distribution patterns helps us to disentangle the drivers of ecological change across diverse landscapes.

  1. Functional trait diversity across trophic levels determines herbivore impact on plant community biomass.

    PubMed

    Deraison, Hélène; Badenhausser, Isabelle; Loeuille, Nicolas; Scherber, Christoph; Gross, Nicolas

    2015-12-01

    Understanding the consequences of trophic interactions for ecosystem functioning is challenging, as contrasting effects of species and functional diversity can be expected across trophic levels. We experimentally manipulated functional identity and diversity of grassland insect herbivores and tested their impact on plant community biomass. Herbivore resource acquisition traits, i.e. mandible strength and the diversity of mandibular traits, had more important effects on plant biomass than body size. Higher herbivore functional diversity increased overall impact on plant biomass due to feeding niche complementarity. Higher plant functional diversity limited biomass pre-emption by herbivores. The functional diversity within and across trophic levels therefore regulates the impact of functionally contrasting consumers on primary producers. By experimentally manipulating the functional diversity across trophic levels, our study illustrates how trait-based approaches constitute a promising way to tackle existing links between trophic interactions and ecosystem functioning. PMID:26439435

  2. Pleiotropy analysis of quantitative traits at gene level by multivariate functional linear models.

    PubMed

    Wang, Yifan; Liu, Aiyi; Mills, James L; Boehnke, Michael; Wilson, Alexander F; Bailey-Wilson, Joan E; Xiong, Momiao; Wu, Colin O; Fan, Ruzong

    2015-05-01

    In genetics, pleiotropy describes the genetic effect of a single gene on multiple phenotypic traits. A common approach is to analyze the phenotypic traits separately using univariate analyses and combine the test results through multiple comparisons. This approach may lead to low power. Multivariate functional linear models are developed to connect genetic variant data to multiple quantitative traits adjusting for covariates for a unified analysis. Three types of approximate F-distribution tests based on Pillai-Bartlett trace, Hotelling-Lawley trace, and Wilks's Lambda are introduced to test for association between multiple quantitative traits and multiple genetic variants in one genetic region. The approximate F-distribution tests provide much more significant results than those of F-tests of univariate analysis and optimal sequence kernel association test (SKAT-O). Extensive simulations were performed to evaluate the false positive rates and power performance of the proposed models and tests. We show that the approximate F-distribution tests control the type I error rates very well. Overall, simultaneous analysis of multiple traits can increase power performance compared to an individual test of each trait. The proposed methods were applied to analyze (1) four lipid traits in eight European cohorts, and (2) three biochemical traits in the Trinity Students Study. The approximate F-distribution tests provide much more significant results than those of F-tests of univariate analysis and SKAT-O for the three biochemical traits. The approximate F-distribution tests of the proposed functional linear models are more sensitive than those of the traditional multivariate linear models that in turn are more sensitive than SKAT-O in the univariate case. The analysis of the four lipid traits and the three biochemical traits detects more association than SKAT-O in the univariate case. PMID:25809955

  3. Quantitative trait locus mapping and functional genomics of an organophosphate resistance trait in the western corn rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera.

    PubMed

    Coates, B S; Alves, A P; Wang, H; Zhou, X; Nowatzki, T; Chen, H; Rangasamy, M; Robertson, H M; Whitfield, C W; Walden, K K; Kachman, S D; French, B W; Meinke, L J; Hawthorne, D; Abel, C A; Sappington, T W; Siegfried, B D; Miller, N J

    2016-02-01

    The western corn rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera, is an insect pest of corn and population suppression with chemical insecticides is an important management tool. Traits conferring organophosphate insecticide resistance have increased in frequency amongst D. v. virgifera populations, resulting in the reduced efficacy in many corn-growing regions of the USA. We used comparative functional genomic and quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping approaches to investigate the genetic basis of D. v. virgifera resistance to the organophosphate methyl-parathion. RNA from adult methyl-parathion resistant and susceptible adults was hybridized to 8331 microarray probes. The results predicted that 11 transcripts were significantly up-regulated in resistant phenotypes, with the most significant (fold increases ≥ 2.43) being an α-esterase-like transcript. Differential expression was validated only for the α-esterase (ST020027A20C03), with 11- to 13-fold greater expression in methyl-parathion resistant adults (P < 0.05). Progeny with a segregating methyl-parathion resistance trait were obtained from a reciprocal backcross design. QTL analyses of high-throughput single nucleotide polymorphism genotype data predicted involvement of a single genome interval. These data suggest that a specific carboyxesterase may function in field-evolved corn rootworm resistance to organophosphates, even though direct linkage between the QTL and this locus could not be established. PMID:26566705

  4. Proteomics of red and white corolla limbs in petunia reveals a novel function of the anthocyanin regulator ANTHOCYANIN1 in determining flower longevity.

    PubMed

    Prinsi, Bhakti; Negri, Alfredo S; Quattrocchio, Francesca M; Koes, Ronald E; Espen, Luca

    2016-01-10

    The Petunia hybrida ANTHOCYANIN1 (AN1) gene encodes a transcription factor that regulates both the expression of genes involved in anthocyanin synthesis and the acidification of the vacuolar lumen in corolla epidermal cells. In this work, the comparison between the red flowers of the R27 line with the white flowers of the isogenic an1 mutant line W225 showed that the AN1 gene has further pleiotropic effects on flavonoid biosynthesis as well as on distant physiological traits. The proteomic profiling showed that the an1 mutation was associated to changes in accumulation of several proteins, affecting both anthocyanin synthesis and primary metabolism. The flavonoid composition study confirmed that the an1 mutation provoked a broad attenuation of the entire flavonoid pathway, probably by indirect biochemical events. Moreover, proteomic changes and variation of biochemical parameters revealed that the an1 mutation induced a delay in the onset of flower senescence in W225, as supported by the enhanced longevity of the W225 flowers in planta and the loss of sensitivity of cut flowers to sugar. This study suggests that AN1 is possibly involved in the perception and/or transduction of ethylene signal during flower senescence. PMID:26459403

  5. Cognitive Functions, Personality Traits, and Social Values in Heavy Marihuana Smokers and Nonsmoker Controls

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Weckowicz, Thaddeus E.; Janssen, Doug V.

    1973-01-01

    To determine the effect of chronic marihuana smoking on cognitive functions, personality traits, and social values, a group of heavy marihuana smokers was compared with a matched control group. (Author)

  6. Birth Month Affects Longevity

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Abel, Ernest L.; Kruger, Michael L.

    2010-01-01

    The authors examined the association between birth month and longevity for major league baseball players. Players born in the month of November had the greatest longevities whereas those born in June had the shortest life spans. These differences remained after controlling for covariates such as birth year, career length, age at debut, height, and…

  7. Exercise, Aging and Longevity.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Brown, Stanley P.; Cundiff, David E.

    1988-01-01

    The question of whether or not a lifelong program of exercise actually has a bearing on longevity is discussed. The effects of exercise on the aging process, and the longevity-exercise relationship are reviewed. The conflicting evidence on the subject is presented. (JL)

  8. A multidimensional functional trait analysis of resource exploitation in European ants.

    PubMed

    Retana, Javier; Arnan, Xavier; Cerdá, Xim

    2015-10-01

    The major factors explaining ecological variation in plants have been widely discussed over the last decade thanks to numerous studies that have examined the covariation that exists between pairs of traits. However, multivariate relationships among traits remain poorly characterized in animals. In this study, we aimed to identify the main multivariate trait dimensions that explain variance in important functional traits related to resource exploitation in ants. To this end, we created a large ant trait database. This database includes information on 11 traits that are important in ant resource exploitation; data were obtained for 150 European species found in different biomes. First, we examined the pairwise correlations between the traits included in the database. Second, we used multivariate analyses to identify potential trait dimensions. Our study shows that, to a great extent, resource exploitation strategies align along two main trait dimensions. The first dimension emerged in both the overall and group-specific analyses, where it accounted for the same pairwise trait correlations. The second dimension was more variable, as species were grouped by levels of taxonomy, habitat, and climate. These two dimensions included most of the significant pairwise trait correlations, thus highlighting that complementarity, but also redundancy, exists among different pairs of traits. The first dimension was associated with behavioral dominance: dominance was associated with large colony size, presence of multiple nests per colony, worker polymorphism, and a collective foraging 'strategy. The second dimension was associated with resource partitioning along dietary and microhabitat lines: it ranged from species that consume liquid foods, engage in group foraging, and mainly nest in the vegetation to species that consume insects and seeds, engage in individual foraging, and demonstrate strictly diurnal activity. Our findings establish a proficient ecological trait-based animal

  9. How plant functional traits cascade to microbial function and ecosystem services in mountain grasslands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lavorel, S.; Grigulis, K.; Krainer, U.; Legay, N.; Turner, C.; Dumont, M.; Kastl, E.; Arnoldi, C.; Bardgett, R.; Poly, F.; Pommier, T.; Schloter, M.; Tappeiner, U.; Bahn, M.; Clément, J.-C.

    2012-04-01

    1. There is growing evidence that plant functional diversity and microbial communities of soil are tightly coupled, and that this coupling influences a range of ecosystem functions. Moreover, it has been hypothesized that changes in the nature of interactions between plant functional diversity and microbial communities along environmental gradients contributes to variation in the delivery of ecosystem services. Although there is empirical support for such relationships using broad plant and microbial functional classifications, or from studies of plant monocultures, such relationships and their consequences for ecosystem services have not been quantified under complex field conditions with diverse plant communities. 2. We aimed to provide an explicit quantification of how plant and microbial functional properties interplay to determine key ecosystem functions underlying ecosystem services provided by grasslands. At three mountain grassland sites in the French Alps, Austrian Tyrol and northern England, we quantified, along gradients of management intensity, (i) plant functional diversity, (ii) soil microbial community composition and parameters associated with nitrogen cycling, and (iii) key ecosystem processes related to the carbon and nitrogen cycles including aboveground biomass production, standing litter, litter decomposition, soil organic matter and nitrate and ammonium leaching . Considering that plants strongly determine microbial communities, we used a hierarchical approach that considered first direct effects of plant traits and then effects of soil microorganisms on processes, to determine the relative effects of plant and microbial functional parameters on key ecosystem properties. 3. We identified a gradient of relative effects of plant and microbial traits from properties controlled mostly by aboveground processes, such as plant biomass production and standing litter, to properties controlled mostly by microbial processes, such as soil leaching of

  10. How functional traits, herbivory, and genetic diversity interact in Echinacea: implications for fragmented populations.

    PubMed

    Kittelson, Pamela M; Wagenius, Stuart; Nielsen, Reina; Qazi, Sanjive; Howe, Michael; Kiefer, Gretel; Shaw, Ruth G

    2015-07-01

    Habitat fragmentation produces small, spatially isolated populations that promote inbreeding. Remnant populations often contain inbred and outbred individuals, but it is unclear how inbreeding relative to outbreeding affects the expression of functional traits and biotic interactions such as herbivory. We measured a suite of 12 functional traits and herbivore damage on three genotypic cross types in the prairie forb, Echinacea angustifolia: inbred, and outbred crosses resulting from matings within and between remnant populations. Inbreeding significantly affected the expression of all 12 functional traits that influence resource capture. Inbred individuals had consistently lower photosynthetic rates, water use efficiencies, specific leaf areas, and had higher trichome numbers, percent C, and percent N than outbred individuals. However, herbivore damage did not differ significantly among the cross types and was not correlated with other leaf functional traits. Leaf architecture and low physiological rates of the inbred compared to outbred individuals imply poorer capture or use of resources. Inbred plants also had lower survival and fitness relative to outbred plants. Our results show that inbreeding, a phenomenon predicted and observed to occur in fragmented populations, influences key functional traits such as plant structure, physiology and elemental composition. Because of their likely role in fitness of individuals and ecological dynamics plant functional traits can serve as a bridge between evolution and community or ecosystem ecology. PMID:26378310

  11. Genetic association between leg conformation in young pigs and sow longevity.

    PubMed

    Le, T H; Madsen, P; Lundeheim, N; Nilsson, K; Norberg, E

    2016-08-01

    Longevity is important in pig production with respect to both economic and ethical aspects. Direct selection for longevity might be ineffective because 'true' longevity can only be recorded when a sow has been culled or died. Thus, indirect selection for longevity using information from other traits that can be recorded early in life and are genetically correlated with longevity might be an alternative. Leg conformation has been included in many breeding schemes for a number of years. However, proving that leg conformation traits are good early indicators for longevity still remains. Our aim was to study genetic associations between leg conformation traits of young (5 months; 100 kg) Swedish Yorkshire pigs in nucleus herds and longevity traits of sows in nucleus and multiplier herds. Data included 97 533 animals with information on conformation (Movement and Overall score) recorded at performance testing and 26 962 sows with information on longevity. The longevity traits were as follows: stayability from 1st to 2nd parity, lifetime number of litters and lifetime number of born alive piglets. Genetic analyses were performed with both linear models using REML and linear-threshold models using Bayesian methods. Heritabilities estimated using the Bayesian method were higher than those estimated using REML, ranging from 0.10 to 0.24 and 0.07 to 0.20, respectively. All estimated genetic correlations between conformation and longevity traits were significant and favourable. Heritabilities and genetic correlations between conformation and longevity indicate that selection on leg conformation should improve sow longevity. PMID:26578175

  12. Galactinol as marker for seed longevity.

    PubMed

    de Souza Vidigal, Deborah; Willems, Leo; van Arkel, Jeroen; Dekkers, Bas J W; Hilhorst, Henk W M; Bentsink, Leónie

    2016-05-01

    Reduced seed longevity or storability is a major problem in seed storage and contributes to increased costs in crop production. Here we investigated whether seed galactinol contents could be predictive for seed storability behavior in Arabidopsis, cabbage and tomato. The analyses revealed a positive correlation between galactinol content and seed longevity in the three species tested, which indicates that this correlation is conserved in the Brassicaceae and beyond. Quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping in tomato revealed a co-locating QTL for galactinol content and seed longevity on chromosome 2. A candidate for this QTL is the GALACTINOL SYNTHASE gene (Solyc02g084980.2.1) that is located in the QTL interval. GALACTINOL SYNTHASE is a key enzyme of the raffinose family oligosaccharide (RFO) pathway. To investigate the role of enzymes in the RFO pathway in more detail, we applied a reverse genetics approach using T-DNA knock-out lines in genes encoding enzymes of this pathway (GALACTINOL SYNTHASE 1, GALACTINOL SYNTHASE 2, RAFFINOSE SYNTHASE, STACHYOSE SYNTHASE and ALPHA-GALACTOSIDASE) and overexpressors of the cucumber GALACTINOL SYNTHASE 2 gene in Arabidopsis. The galactinol synthase 2 mutant and the galactinol synthase 1 galactinol synthase 2 double mutant contained the lowest seed galactinol content which coincided with lower seed longevity. These results show that galactinol content of mature dry seed can be used as a biomarker for seed longevity in Brassicaceae and tomato. PMID:26993241

  13. Functional traits predict relationship between plant abundance dynamic and long-term climate warming.

    PubMed

    Soudzilovskaia, Nadejda A; Elumeeva, Tatiana G; Onipchenko, Vladimir G; Shidakov, Islam I; Salpagarova, Fatima S; Khubiev, Anzor B; Tekeev, Dzhamal K; Cornelissen, Johannes H C

    2013-11-01

    Predicting climate change impact on ecosystem structure and services is one of the most important challenges in ecology. Until now, plant species response to climate change has been described at the level of fixed plant functional types, an approach limited by its inflexibility as there is much interspecific functional variation within plant functional types. Considering a plant species as a set of functional traits greatly increases our possibilities for analysis of ecosystem functioning and carbon and nutrient fluxes associated therewith. Moreover, recently assembled large-scale databases hold comprehensive per-species data on plant functional traits, allowing a detailed functional description of many plant communities on Earth. Here, we show that plant functional traits can be used as predictors of vegetation response to climate warming, accounting in our test ecosystem (the species-rich alpine belt of Caucasus mountains, Russia) for 59% of variability in the per-species abundance relation to temperature. In this mountain belt, traits that promote conservative leaf water economy (higher leaf mass per area, thicker leaves) and large investments in belowground reserves to support next year's shoot buds (root carbon content) were the best predictors of the species increase in abundance along with temperature increase. This finding demonstrates that plant functional traits constitute a highly useful concept for forecasting changes in plant communities, and their associated ecosystem services, in response to climate change. PMID:24145400

  14. Functional capacity and fertilizing longevity of frozen-thawed scimitar-horned oryx (Oryx dammah) spermatozoa in a heterologous in vitro fertilization system.

    PubMed

    O'Brien, J K; Roth, T L

    2000-01-01

    This study was conducted to determine if cryopreservation and thawing reduces the quality of scimitar-horned oryx spermatozoa and thus might be responsible for sub-optimal artificial insemination (Al) efficiency. Functional capacity of frozen thawed oryx spermatozoa was compared in a heterologous bovine in vitro fertilization (IVF) system after being prepared by four methods. Fertilizing longevity was also assessed after thawing and pre-incubating spermatozoa for 12 or 24 h before IVF. Sperm characteristics (viability, morphology, acrosomal and capacitation status) were superior for samples prepared by Percoll centrifugation and standard swim-up compared with microdrop swim-up and wash methods. Regardless of variation in sperm characteristics over time, fertilization success and embryo development were high and did not differ among treatments. Fertilization and cleavage success for spermatozoa pre-incubated for 12 h before IVF were comparable with that achieved with non-incubated spermatozoa. Even 24 h after thawing, spermatozoa were capable of fertilizing oocytes, but percentage fertilization and embryo cleavage were significantly lower than for spermatozoa pre-incubated for 12 h. Overall, functional capacity of oryx spermatozoa after thawing appears comparable with that of domestic bull spermatozoa. When used for Al, frozen-thawed oryx spermatozoa should be capable of fertilizing oocytes in females ovulating 12 or even 24 h after insemination, providing sperm transport mechanisms are adequate. The functional capacity and fertilizing longevity of oryx sperm after thawing is high, and therefore unlikely to be responsible for decreased Al efficiency in the scimitar-horned oryx. PMID:11545181

  15. Variation in trait trade-offs allows differentiation among predefined plant functional types: implications for predictive ecology.

    PubMed

    Verheijen, Lieneke M; Aerts, Rien; Bönisch, Gerhard; Kattge, Jens; Van Bodegom, Peter M

    2016-01-01

    Plant functional types (PFTs) aggregate the variety of plant species into a small number of functionally different classes. We examined to what extent plant traits, which reflect species' functional adaptations, can capture functional differences between predefined PFTs and which traits optimally describe these differences. We applied Gaussian kernel density estimation to determine probability density functions for individual PFTs in an n-dimensional trait space and compared predicted PFTs with observed PFTs. All possible combinations of 1-6 traits from a database with 18 different traits (total of 18 287 species) were tested. A variety of trait sets had approximately similar performance, and 4-5 traits were sufficient to classify up to 85% of the species into PFTs correctly, whereas this was 80% for a bioclimatically defined tree PFT classification. Well-performing trait sets included combinations of correlated traits that are considered functionally redundant within a single plant strategy. This analysis quantitatively demonstrates how structural differences between PFTs are reflected in functional differences described by particular traits. Differentiation between PFTs is possible despite large overlap in plant strategies and traits, showing that PFTs are differently positioned in multidimensional trait space. This study therefore provides the foundation for important applications for predictive ecology. PMID:26352461

  16. An index for longevity risk transfer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Denuit, Michel M.

    2009-08-01

    This paper discusses the choice of an appropriate longevity index to track the improvements in mortality in industrialized countries. Period life expectancies computed from national life tables turn out to be efficient in this context. A detailed analysis of the predictive distribution of this longevity index is performed in the Lee-Carter model where the period life expectancy is just a functional of the underlying time index.

  17. Do key dimensions of seed and seedling functional trait variation capture variation in recruitment probability?

    PubMed

    Larson, Julie E; Sheley, Roger L; Hardegree, Stuart P; Doescher, Paul S; James, Jeremy J

    2016-05-01

    Seedling recruitment is a critical driver of population dynamics and community assembly, yet we know little about functional traits that define different recruitment strategies. For the first time, we examined whether trait relatedness across germination and seedling stages allows the identification of general recruitment strategies which share core functional attributes and also correspond to recruitment outcomes in applied settings. We measured six seed and eight seedling traits (lab- and field-collected, respectively) for 47 varieties of dryland grasses and used principal component analysis (PCA) and cluster analysis to identify major dimensions of trait variation and to isolate trait-based recruitment groups, respectively. PCA highlighted some links between seed and seedling traits, suggesting that relative growth rate and root elongation rate are simultaneously but independently associated with seed mass and initial root mass (first axis), and with leaf dry matter content, specific leaf area, coleoptile tissue density and germination rate (second axis). Third and fourth axes captured separate tradeoffs between hydrothermal time and base water potential for germination, and between specific root length and root mass ratio, respectively. Cluster analysis separated six recruitment types along dimensions of germination and growth rates, but classifications did not correspond to patterns of germination, emergence or recruitment in the field under either of two watering treatments. Thus, while we have begun to identify major threads of functional variation across seed and seedling stages, our understanding of how this variation influences demographic processes-particularly germination and emergence-remains a key gap in functional ecology. PMID:26337610

  18. Gut Microbiota and Extreme Longevity.

    PubMed

    Biagi, Elena; Franceschi, Claudio; Rampelli, Simone; Severgnini, Marco; Ostan, Rita; Turroni, Silvia; Consolandi, Clarissa; Quercia, Sara; Scurti, Maria; Monti, Daniela; Capri, Miriam; Brigidi, Patrizia; Candela, Marco

    2016-06-01

    The study of the extreme limits of human lifespan may allow a better understanding of how human beings can escape, delay, or survive the most frequent age-related causes of morbidity, a peculiarity shown by long-living individuals. Longevity is a complex trait in which genetics, environment, and stochasticity concur to determine the chance to reach 100 or more years of age [1]. Because of its impact on human metabolism and immunology, the gut microbiome has been proposed as a possible determinant of healthy aging [2, 3]. Indeed, the preservation of host-microbes homeostasis can counteract inflammaging [4], intestinal permeability [5], and decline in bone and cognitive health [6, 7]. Aiming at deepening our knowledge on the relationship between the gut microbiota and a long-living host, we provide for the first time the phylogenetic microbiota analysis of semi-supercentenarians, i.e., 105-109 years old, in comparison to adults, elderly, and centenarians, thus reconstructing the longest available human microbiota trajectory along aging. We highlighted the presence of a core microbiota of highly occurring, symbiotic bacterial taxa (mostly belonging to the dominant Ruminococcaceae, Lachnospiraceae, and Bacteroidaceae families), with a cumulative abundance decreasing along with age. Aging is characterized by an increasing abundance of subdominant species, as well as a rearrangement in their co-occurrence network. These features are maintained in longevity and extreme longevity, but peculiarities emerged, especially in semi-supercentenarians, describing changes that, even accommodating opportunistic and allochthonous bacteria, might possibly support health maintenance during aging, such as an enrichment and/or higher prevalence of health-associated groups (e.g., Akkermansia, Bifidobacterium, and Christensenellaceae). PMID:27185560

  19. State and Trait Components of Functional Connectivity: Individual Differences Vary with Mental State

    PubMed Central

    Rubinov, Mikail; Cam-CAN; Henson, Richard N.

    2015-01-01

    Resting-state functional connectivity, as measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), is often treated as a trait, used, for example, to draw inferences about individual differences in cognitive function, or differences between healthy or diseased populations. However, functional connectivity can also depend on the individual's mental state. In the present study, we examined the relative contribution of state and trait components in shaping an individual's functional architecture. We used fMRI data from a large, population-based human sample (N = 587, age 18–88 years), as part of the Cambridge Centre for Aging and Neuroscience (Cam-CAN), which were collected in three mental states: resting, performing a sensorimotor task, and watching a movie. Whereas previous studies have shown commonalities across mental states in the average functional connectivity across individuals, we focused on the effects of states on the pattern of individual differences in functional connectivity. We found that state effects were as important as trait effects in shaping individual functional connectivity patterns, each explaining an approximately equal amount of variance. This was true when we looked at aging, as one specific dimension of individual differences, as well as when we looked at generic aspects of individual variation. These results show that individual differences in functional connectivity consist of state-dependent aspects, as well as more stable, trait-like characteristics. Studying individual differences in functional connectivity across a wider range of mental states will therefore provide a more complete picture of the mechanisms underlying factors such as cognitive ability, aging, and disease. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT The brain's functional architecture is remarkably similar across different individuals and across different mental states, which is why many studies use functional connectivity as a trait measure. Despite these trait-like aspects, functional

  20. Local climate and cultivation, but not ploidy, predict functional trait variation in Bouteloua gracilis (Poaceae)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Butterfield, Bradley J.; Wood, Troy E.

    2015-01-01

    Efforts to improve the diversity of seed 18 resources for important restoration species has become a high priority for land managers in many parts of the world. Relationships between functional trait values and the environment from which seed sources are collected can provide important insights into patterns of local adaptation and guidelines for seed transfer. However, little is known about which functional traits exhibit genetic differentiation across populations of restoration species and thus may contribute to local adaptation. Here, we report the results of a common garden experiment aimed at assessing genetic (including ploidy level) and environmental regulation of several functional traits among populations of Bouteloua gracilis, a dominant C4 grass and the most highly utilized restoration species across much of the Colorado Plateau. We found that leaf size and specific leaf area (SLA) varied significantly among populations, and were strongly correlated with the source population environment from which seeds were collected. However, variation in ploidy level had no significant effect on functional traits. Leaves of plants grown from commercial seed releases were significantly larger and had lower SLA than those from natural populations, a result that is concordant with the overall relation between climate and these two functional traits. We suggest that the patterns of functional trait variation shown here may extend to other grass species in the western USA, and may serve as useful proxies for more extensive genecology research. Furthermore, we argue that care should be taken to develop commercial seed lines with functional trait values that match those of natural populations occupying climates similar to target restoration sites.

  1. Evaluating Functional Diversity: Missing Trait Data and the Importance of Species Abundance Structure and Data Transformation

    PubMed Central

    Bryndová, Michala; Kasari, Liis; Norberg, Anna; Weiss, Matthias; Bishop, Tom R.; Luke, Sarah H.; Sam, Katerina; Le Bagousse-Pinguet, Yoann; Lepš, Jan; Götzenberger, Lars; de Bello, Francesco

    2016-01-01

    Functional diversity (FD) is an important component of biodiversity that quantifies the difference in functional traits between organisms. However, FD studies are often limited by the availability of trait data and FD indices are sensitive to data gaps. The distribution of species abundance and trait data, and its transformation, may further affect the accuracy of indices when data is incomplete. Using an existing approach, we simulated the effects of missing trait data by gradually removing data from a plant, an ant and a bird community dataset (12, 59, and 8 plots containing 62, 297 and 238 species respectively). We ranked plots by FD values calculated from full datasets and then from our increasingly incomplete datasets and compared the ranking between the original and virtually reduced datasets to assess the accuracy of FD indices when used on datasets with increasingly missing data. Finally, we tested the accuracy of FD indices with and without data transformation, and the effect of missing trait data per plot or per the whole pool of species. FD indices became less accurate as the amount of missing data increased, with the loss of accuracy depending on the index. But, where transformation improved the normality of the trait data, FD values from incomplete datasets were more accurate than before transformation. The distribution of data and its transformation are therefore as important as data completeness and can even mitigate the effect of missing data. Since the effect of missing trait values pool-wise or plot-wise depends on the data distribution, the method should be decided case by case. Data distribution and data transformation should be given more careful consideration when designing, analysing and interpreting FD studies, especially where trait data are missing. To this end, we provide the R package “traitor” to facilitate assessments of missing trait data. PMID:26881747

  2. Evaluating Functional Diversity: Missing Trait Data and the Importance of Species Abundance Structure and Data Transformation.

    PubMed

    Májeková, Maria; Paal, Taavi; Plowman, Nichola S; Bryndová, Michala; Kasari, Liis; Norberg, Anna; Weiss, Matthias; Bishop, Tom R; Luke, Sarah H; Sam, Katerina; Le Bagousse-Pinguet, Yoann; Lepš, Jan; Götzenberger, Lars; de Bello, Francesco

    2016-01-01

    Functional diversity (FD) is an important component of biodiversity that quantifies the difference in functional traits between organisms. However, FD studies are often limited by the availability of trait data and FD indices are sensitive to data gaps. The distribution of species abundance and trait data, and its transformation, may further affect the accuracy of indices when data is incomplete. Using an existing approach, we simulated the effects of missing trait data by gradually removing data from a plant, an ant and a bird community dataset (12, 59, and 8 plots containing 62, 297 and 238 species respectively). We ranked plots by FD values calculated from full datasets and then from our increasingly incomplete datasets and compared the ranking between the original and virtually reduced datasets to assess the accuracy of FD indices when used on datasets with increasingly missing data. Finally, we tested the accuracy of FD indices with and without data transformation, and the effect of missing trait data per plot or per the whole pool of species. FD indices became less accurate as the amount of missing data increased, with the loss of accuracy depending on the index. But, where transformation improved the normality of the trait data, FD values from incomplete datasets were more accurate than before transformation. The distribution of data and its transformation are therefore as important as data completeness and can even mitigate the effect of missing data. Since the effect of missing trait values pool-wise or plot-wise depends on the data distribution, the method should be decided case by case. Data distribution and data transformation should be given more careful consideration when designing, analysing and interpreting FD studies, especially where trait data are missing. To this end, we provide the R package "traitor" to facilitate assessments of missing trait data. PMID:26881747

  3. Interrelations between psychosocial functioning and adaptive- and maladaptive-range personality traits.

    PubMed

    Ro, Eunyoe; Clark, Lee Anna

    2013-08-01

    Decrements in one or more domains of psychosocial functioning (e.g., poor job performance, poor interpersonal relations) are commonly observed in psychiatric patients. The purpose of this study is to increase understanding of psychosocial functioning as a broad, multifaceted construct as well as its associations with both adaptive- and maladaptive-range personality traits in both nonclinical and psychiatric outpatient samples. The study was conducted in two phases. In Study 1, a nonclinical sample (N = 429) was administered seven psychosocial functioning and adaptive-range personality trait measures. In Study 2, psychiatric outpatients (N = 181) were administered the same psychosocial functioning measures, and maladaptive- as well as adaptive-range personality trait measures. Exploratory (both studies) and confirmatory (Study 2) factor analyses indicated a common three-factor, hierarchical structure of psychosocial functioning-Well Being, Social/Interpersonal Functioning, and Basic Functioning. These psychosocial functioning domains were closely--and differentially--linked with personality traits, especially strongly so in patients. Across samples, Well Being was associated with both Neuroticism/Negative Affectivity and Extraversion/Positive Affectivity, Social/Interpersonal Functioning was associated with both Agreeableness and Conscientiousness/Disinhibition, and Basic Functioning was associated with Conscientiousness/Disinhibition, although only modestly in the nonclinical sample. These relations generally were maintained even after partialing out current general dysphoric symptoms. These findings have implications for considering psychosocial functioning as an important third domain in a tripartite model together with personality and psychopathology. PMID:24016019

  4. Genetic variation and human longevity.

    PubMed

    Soerensen, Mette

    2012-05-01

    The overall aim of the PhD project was to elucidate the association of human longevity with genetic variation in major candidate genes and pathways of longevity. Based on a thorough literature and database search we chose to apply a pathway approach; to explore variation in genes composing the DNA damage signaling, DNA repair, GH/IGF-1/insulin signaling and pro-/antioxidant pathways. In addition, 16 genes which did not belong to the core of either pathway, however recurrently regarded as candidate genes of longevity (e.g. APOE), were included. In this way a total of 168 genes were selected for investigation. We decided to explore the genetic variation in the form of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), a highly investigated type of genetic variation. SNPs having potential functional impact (e.g. affecting binding of transcription factors) were identified, so were specific SNPs in the candidate genes previously published to be associated with human longevity. To cover the majority of the common genetic variation in the 168 gene regions (encoding regions plus 5,000 bp upstream and 1,000 downstream) we applied the tagging SNP approach via the HapMap Consortium. Consequently 1,536 SNPs were selected. The majority of the previous publications on genetic variation and human longevity had employed a case-control study design, e.g. comparing centenarians to middle-aged controls. This type of study design is somehow prone to bias introduced by for instance cohort effects, i.e. differences in characteristics of cases and controls, a kind of bias which is avoided when a prospective cohort is under study. Therefore, we chose to investigate 1,200 individuals of the Danish 1905 birth cohort, which have been followed since 1998 when the members were 92-93 years old. The genetic contribution to human longevity has been estimated to be most profound during the late part of life, thus these oldest-old individuals are excellent for investigating such effect. The follow-up survival

  5. Biological Co-Adaptation of Morphological and Composition Traits Contributes to Mechanical Functionality and Skeletal Fragility

    PubMed Central

    Tommasini, Steven M; Nasser, Philip; Hu, Bin; Jepsen, Karl J

    2008-01-01

    A path analysis was conducted to determine whether functional interactions exist among morphological, compositional, and microstructural traits for young adult human tibias. Data provided evidence that bone traits are co-adapted during ontogeny so that the sets of traits together satisfy physiological loading demands. However, certain sets of traits are expected to perform poorly under extreme load conditions. Introduction Previous data from inbred mouse strains suggested that biological processes within bone co-adapt morphological and compositional traits during ontogeny to satisfy physiological loading demands. Similar work in young adult humans showed that cortical tissue from slender tibias was stiffer, less ductile, and more susceptible to accumulating damage. Here we tested whether the relationships among morphology and tissue level mechanical properties were the result of biological processes that co-adapt physical traits, similar to those observed for the mouse skeleton. Materials and Methods Cross-sectional morphology, bone slenderness (Tt.Ar/Le), and tissue level mechanical properties were measured from tibias from 14 female (22–46 yr old) and 17 male (17–46 yr old) donors. Physical bone traits measured included tissue density, ash content, water content, porosity, and the area fractions of osteonal, interstitial, and circumferential lamellar tissues. Bivariate relationships among traits were determined using linear regression analysis. A path analysis was conducted to test the hypothesis that Tt.Ar/Le is functionally related to mineralization (ash content) and the proportion of total area occupied by cortical bone. Results Ash content correlated negatively with several traits including Tt.Ar/Le and marrow area, indicating that slender bones were constructed of tissue with higher mineralization. Path analysis revealed that slender tibias were compensated by higher mineralization and a greater area fraction of bone. Conclusions The results suggest that

  6. On the Relationship between Autistic Traits and Executive Functioning in a Non-Clinical Dutch Student Population

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Maes, Joseph HR; Vissers, Constance ThWM; Egger, Jos IM; Eling, Paul ATM

    2013-01-01

    We examined the association between autistic traits and different aspects of executive functioning (EF), using non-clinical Social Science and Science students as participants. Autistic traits, and associated personality traits, were measured using the Autism Quotient (AQ) and the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI), respectively. EF was…

  7. Personality predictors of longevity: Activity, Emotional Stability, and Conscientiousness

    PubMed Central

    Terracciano, Antonio; Löckenhoff, Corinna E.; Zonderman, Alan B.; Ferrucci, Luigi; Costa, Paul T.

    2008-01-01

    Objective To examine the association between personality traits and longevity. Methods Using the Guilford-Zimmerman Temperament Survey, personality traits were assessed in 2359 participants (38% women; age: 17 to 98 years, M = 50) from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA), starting in 1958. Over the duration of the study, 943 (40%) participants died, on average 18 years after their personality assessment. The association of each trait with longevity was examined by Cox regression controlling for demographic variables. Results In preliminary analyses among the deceased, those who scored one SD above the mean on General Activity (a facet of Extraversion), Emotional Stability (low Neuroticism), or Conscientiousness lived on average two to three years longer than those scoring one SD below the mean. Survival analyses on the full sample confirmed the association of General Activity, Emotional Stability, and Conscientiousness with lower risk of death, such that every one SD increase was related to about 13%, 15%, and 27% risk reduction, respectively. The association of personality traits with longevity was largely independent from the influence of smoking and obesity. Personality predictors of longevity did not differ by sex, except for Ascendance (a facet of Extraversion). Emotional Stability was a significant predictor when the analyses were limited to deaths due to cardiovascular disease, with comparable effect sizes for General Activity and Conscientiousness. Conclusions In a large sample of generally healthy individuals followed for almost five decades, longevity was associated with being conscientious, emotionally stable, and active. PMID:18596250

  8. Genetic Variation in Functional Traits Influences Arthropod Community Composition in Aspen (Populus tremula L.)

    PubMed Central

    Robinson, Kathryn M.; Ingvarsson, Pär K.; Jansson, Stefan; Albrectsen, Benedicte R.

    2012-01-01

    We conducted a study of natural variation in functional leaf traits and herbivory in 116 clones of European aspen, Populus tremula L., the Swedish Aspen (SwAsp) collection, originating from ten degrees of latitude across Sweden and grown in a common garden. In surveys of phytophagous arthropods over two years, we found the aspen canopy supports nearly 100 morphospecies. We identified significant broad-sense heritability of plant functional traits, basic plant defence chemistry, and arthropod community traits. The majority of arthropods were specialists, those coevolved with P. tremula to tolerate and even utilize leaf defence compounds. Arthropod abundance and richness were more closely related to plant growth rates than general chemical defences and relationships were identified between the arthropod community and stem growth, leaf and petiole morphology, anthocyanins, and condensed tannins. Heritable genetic variation in plant traits in young aspen was found to structure arthropod community; however no single trait drives the preferences of arthropod folivores among young aspen genotypes. The influence of natural variation in plant traits on the arthropod community indicates the importance of maintaining genetic variation in wild trees as keystone species for biodiversity. It further suggests that aspen can be a resource for the study of mechanisms of natural resistance to herbivores. PMID:22662190

  9. Individual species affect plant traits structure in their surroundings: evidence of functional mechanisms of assembly.

    PubMed

    Chacón-Labella, Julia; de la Cruz, Marcelino; Pescador, David S; Escudero, Adrián

    2016-04-01

    Evaluating community assembly through the use of functional traits is a promising tool for testing predictions arising from Niche and Coexistence theories. Although interactions among neighboring species and their inter-specific differences are known drivers of coexistence with a strong spatial signal, assessing the role of individual species on the functional structure of the community at different spatial scales remains a challenge. Here, we ask whether individual species exert a measurable effect on the spatial organization of different functional traits in local assemblages. We first propose and compute two functions that describe different aspects of functional trait organization around individual species at multiple scales: individual weighted mean area relationship and individual functional diversity area relationship. Secondly, we develop a conceptual model on the relationship and simultaneous variation of these two metrics, providing five alternative scenarios in response to the ability of some target species to modify its neighbor environment and the possible assembly mechanisms involved. Our results show that some species influence the spatial structure of specific functional traits, but their effects were always restricted to the finest spatial scales. In the basis of our conceptual model, the observed patterns point to two main mechanisms driving the functional structure of the community at the fine scale, "biotic" filtering meditated by individual species and resource partitioning driven by indirect facilitation rather than by competitive mechanisms. PMID:26820565

  10. Statistical laws for career longevity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Petersen, Alexander; Jung, Woo-Sung; Yang, Jae-Suk; Stanley, H. Eugene

    2009-03-01

    Career length distinguishes successful long tenures from unsuccessful short stints, and partially reflects the contributions of an employee to the goals of the employer. In some professions, there are well-defined metrics that quantify career longevity, prowess, and productivity, which together contribute to the overall success rating for an individual employee. In this talk, I motivate a stochastic model for career development that relies on two key ingredients, random progress within the career and random stopping times terminating the career. This model is exactly solvable, predicting the probability density function (pdf) of career longevity, characterized by two parameters, α and xc. The parameter α quantifies the power-law scaling of the pdf, which is terminated by an exponential cutoff after a crossover value xc, representing the mean career lifetime. We test the model with the large quantity of empirical data available for several professional sports leagues, American baseball, Korean baseball, American basketball, and English soccer, finding excellent agreement with the model's predictions. In all, the generality of the model suggests that there may be common stochastic forces that underly progress, success, and longevity in various professions.

  11. Variable Effects of Dispersal on Productivity of Bacterial Communities Due to Changes in Functional Trait Composition

    PubMed Central

    Severin, Ina; Östman, Örjan; Lindström, Eva S.

    2013-01-01

    Previous studies have shown variable relationships between dispersal rate and ecosystem functioning, but the reasons for and mechanisms behind variable dispersal rate – functioning patterns are currently unknown. In this study we used six bacterial lake water communities in a laboratory experiment in order to investigate how dispersal among communities influences community productivity by evaluating three different mechanisms: 1) changes in taxonomic diversity, 2) changes in phylogenetic diversity or 3) changes in the composition of functional traits. The experiment was conducted in two phases; (A) a dialysis bag experiment where the dispersal rate among six communities was manipulated and the subsequent change in bacterial diversity and growth rate was recorded, and (B) a regrowth experiment where we manipulated available resources to study how well a taxon grows on certain organic carbon resources, i.e. their functional traits. From experiment (B) we could thus estimate changes in functional traits in communities in experiment (A). Bacterial production was affected by dispersal, but not consistently among lakes. Neither change in taxonomic or phylogenetic diversity with dispersal could explain the observed dispersal – productivity relationships. Instead, changes in trait composition with dispersal, especially the communities’ ability to use p-coumaric acid, an aromatic compound, could explain the observed dispersal – productivity relationships. Changes in this trait caused by dispersal seemed especially important for bacterial productivity in waters with a high aromaticity of the organic matter pool. We conclude that the effect of dispersal on bacterial communities can affect ecosystem functioning in different ways, through changes in functional key-traits which are important for the local environment. PMID:24324633

  12. Variable effects of dispersal on productivity of bacterial communities due to changes in functional trait composition.

    PubMed

    Severin, Ina; Östman, Örjan; Lindström, Eva S

    2013-01-01

    Previous studies have shown variable relationships between dispersal rate and ecosystem functioning, but the reasons for and mechanisms behind variable dispersal rate-functioning patterns are currently unknown. In this study we used six bacterial lake water communities in a laboratory experiment in order to investigate how dispersal among communities influences community productivity by evaluating three different mechanisms: 1) changes in taxonomic diversity, 2) changes in phylogenetic diversity or 3) changes in the composition of functional traits. The experiment was conducted in two phases; (A) a dialysis bag experiment where the dispersal rate among six communities was manipulated and the subsequent change in bacterial diversity and growth rate was recorded, and (B) a regrowth experiment where we manipulated available resources to study how well a taxon grows on certain organic carbon resources, i.e. their functional traits. From experiment (B) we could thus estimate changes in functional traits in communities in experiment (A). Bacterial production was affected by dispersal, but not consistently among lakes. Neither change in taxonomic or phylogenetic diversity with dispersal could explain the observed dispersal-productivity relationships. Instead, changes in trait composition with dispersal, especially the communities' ability to use p-coumaric acid, an aromatic compound, could explain the observed dispersal-productivity relationships. Changes in this trait caused by dispersal seemed especially important for bacterial productivity in waters with a high aromaticity of the organic matter pool. We conclude that the effect of dispersal on bacterial communities can affect ecosystem functioning in different ways, through changes in functional key-traits which are important for the local environment. PMID:24324633

  13. Apparent plasticity in functional traits determining competitive ability and spatial distribution: a case from desert

    PubMed Central

    Xie, Jiang-Bo; Xu, Gui-Qing; Jenerette, G. Darrel; Bai, Yong-fei; Wang, Zhong-Yuan; Li, Yan

    2015-01-01

    Species competitive abilities and their distributions are closely related to functional traits such as biomass allocation patterns. When we consider how nutrient supply affects competitive abilities, quantifying the apparent and true plasticity in functional traits is important because the allometric relationships among traits are universal in plants. We propose to integrate the notion of allometry and the classical reaction norm into a composite theoretical framework that quantifies the apparent and true plasticity. Combining the framework with a meta-analysis, a series of field surveys and a competition experiment, we aimed to determine the causes of the dune/interdune distribution patterns of two Haloxylon species in the Gurbantonggut Desert. We found that (1) the biomass allocation patterns of both Haloxylon species in responses to environmental conditions were apparent rather than true plasticity and (2) the allometric allocation patterns affected the plants’ competition for soil nutrient supply. A key implication of our results is that the apparent plasticity in functional traits of plants determines their response to environmental change. Without identifying the apparent and true plasticity, we would substantially overestimate the magnitude, duration and even the direction of plant responses in functional traits to climate change. PMID:26190745

  14. Functional trait differences influence neighbourhood interactions in a hyperdiverse Amazonian forest.

    PubMed

    Fortunel, Claire; Valencia, Renato; Wright, S Joseph; Garwood, Nancy C; Kraft, Nathan J B

    2016-09-01

    As distinct community assembly processes can produce similar community patterns, assessing the ecological mechanisms promoting coexistence in hyperdiverse rainforests remains a considerable challenge. We use spatially explicit neighbourhood models of tree growth to quantify how functional trait and phylogenetic similarities predict variation in growth and crowding effects for the 315 most abundant tree species in a 25-ha lowland rainforest plot in Ecuador. We find that functional trait differences reflect variation in (1) species maximum potential growth, (2) the intensity of interspecific interactions for some species, and (3) species sensitivity to neighbours. We find that neighbours influenced tree growth in 28% of the 315 focal tree species. Neighbourhood effects are not detected in the remaining 72%, which may reflect the low statistical power to model rare taxa and/or species insensitivity to neighbours. Our results highlight the spectrum of ways in which functional trait differences can shape community dynamics in highly diverse rainforests. PMID:27358248

  15. Longevity of Mycobacterium bovis in Raw and Traditional Souring Milk as a Function of Storage Temperature and Dose

    PubMed Central

    Hlokwe, Tiny; Raseleka, Keneilwe; Getz, Wayne M.; Marcotty, Tanguy

    2015-01-01

    Background Unpasteurised fresh and souring dairy products form an essential component of household diets throughout many rural communities in southern Africa. The presence of milk-borne zoonotic pathogens such as Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis), the causative agent of bovine tuberculosis and zoonotic tuberculosis in humans, constitute a public health threat, especially in remote areas with poor disease surveillance in livestock and highly compromised human health due to HIV/AIDS. Methods In this study we used culture to determine the longevity of M. bovis in experimentally inoculated fresh and naturally souring milk obtained from communal cattle in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. The effect of bacterial load and storage temperature on the survival of M. bovis was evaluated by spiking mixtures of fresh milk and starter soured milk (aMasi) culture with three concentrations of bacteria (102, 104, 107 colony forming units/ml), followed by incubation under controlled laboratory conditions that mimicked ambient indoor (20°C) and outdoor (33°C) temperatures and periodic sampling and testing over time (0-56 days). Results M. bovis cultured from samples of the fresh and souring milk was identified by PCR analysis. At the highest spiking concentration (107cfu/ml), M. bovis survived for at least 2 weeks at 20°C; but, at all concentrations in the 33°C treatment, M. bovis was absent by three days after inoculation. Logistic regression analysis was used to assess the effects of bacterial concentration and time since inoculation, as well as determine the potential half-life of M. bovis in raw souring milk. Given the most favourable tested conditions for bacterial survival (20°C), approximately 25% of mycobacteria were alive after one day of storage (95% CI: 9-53%), giving an estimated half-life of M. bovis in raw souring milk of approximately 12 hours (95% CI: 7-27 hours). Conclusions This study demonstrates that M. bovis may survive in fresh and souring milk for

  16. Prediction of Daily Ratings of Psychosocial Functioning: Can Ratings of Personality Disorder Traits and Functioning be Distinguished?

    PubMed Central

    Calabrese, William R.; Simms, Leonard J.

    2014-01-01

    Current categorical and dimensional conceptualizations of personality disorder (PD) typically confound pathological PD traits with distress and impairment (dysfunction). The current study examines whether dimensions of personality pathology and psychosocial dysfunction can be psychometrically distinguished. To that end, we collected self-report ratings of personality pathology and dysfunction at baseline, along with daily ratings of dysfunctional behavior over ten consecutive days. Correlations revealed substantial overlap between traits and dysfunction measured at baseline. However, follow-up hierarchical regressions revealed that baseline dysfunction ratings incrementally predicted daily dysfunction ratings after accounting for personality trait ratings, suggesting that traits and dysfunction are at least partially differentiable. However, the incremental effects were stronger for some dysfunction domains (i.e., Self-Mastery and Basic Functioning) than for others (Well-Being and Interpersonal), suggesting that maladaptive trait measures are more confounded with the latter types of impairment. These findings suggest that distinguishing maladaptive PD traits from functioning in PD classification systems likely is more difficult than would be expected, a finding that has important implications for the competing Section II and Section III conceptualizations of PD presented in DSM-5. PMID:24730507

  17. Autistic Traits in Neurotypical Adults are Related to Cingulo-Insular Functional Connectivity

    PubMed Central

    Di Martino, Adriana; Shehzad, Zarrar; Kelly, Clare A.M.; Roy, Amy Krain; Gee, Dylan G.; Uddin, Lucina Q.; Gotimer, Kristin; Klein, Donald F.; Castellanos, F. Xavier; Milham, Michael P.

    2010-01-01

    Objective Based on the increased recognition of the dimensional nature of autistic traits, we examined their neural correlates in neurotypical individuals using the Social Responsiveness Scale-Adult version (SRS-A). The SRS-A measures autistic traits that are continuously distributed in the general population. Here, we establish a novel approach to examining the neural basis of autistic traits, attempting to directly relate SRS-A scores to patterns of functional connectivity observed for the pregenual anterior cingulate cortex (pgACC), a region commonly implicated in social cognition. Methods Resting state fMRI scans were collected in 25 neurotypical individuals (26.4 ± 5.6 y) who provided SRS-A completed by an informant who knew the participant in natural social settings. Whole brain corrected connectivity analyses were then conducted using the SRS-A as a covariate of interest. Results We found a significant negative relationship between SRS-A and pgACC functional connectivity with the anterior portion of mid-insula (Z > 2.3; p < .05, corrected). Specifically, low levels of autistic traits were observed when a substantial portion of the anterior mid-insula showed positive connectivity with pgACC. In contrast, elevated levels of autistic traits were associated with negative connectivity between the pgACC and the anterior mid-insula. Conclusions Resting state functional connectivity of the pgACC-insula social network was related to autistic traits in neurotypical adults. Application of this approach in samples with autism spectrum disorders is needed to confirm whether the pgACC- anterior mid insula circuit is dimensionally related to the severity of autistic traits in clinical populations. PMID:19605539

  18. Functional traits help to explain half-century long shifts in pollinator distributions

    PubMed Central

    Aguirre-Gutiérrez, Jesús; Kissling, W. Daniel; Carvalheiro, Luísa G.; WallisDeVries, Michiel F.; Franzén, Markus; Biesmeijer, Jacobus C.

    2016-01-01

    Changes in climate and land use can have important impacts on biodiversity. Species respond to such environmental modifications by adapting to new conditions or by shifting their geographic distributions towards more suitable areas. The latter might be constrained by species’ functional traits that influence their ability to move, reproduce or establish. Here, we show that functional traits related to dispersal, reproduction, habitat use and diet have influenced how three pollinator groups (bees, butterflies and hoverflies) responded to changes in climate and land-use in the Netherlands since 1950. Across the three pollinator groups, we found pronounced areal range expansions (>53%) and modelled range shifts towards the north (all taxa: 17–22 km), west (bees: 14 km) and east (butterflies: 11 km). The importance of specific functional traits for explaining distributional changes varied among pollinator groups. Larval diet preferences (i.e. carnivorous vs. herbivorous/detritivorous and nitrogen values of host plants, respectively) were important for hoverflies and butterflies, adult body size for hoverflies, and flight period length for all groups. Moreover, interactions among multiple traits were important to explain species’ geographic range shifts, suggesting that taxon-specific multi-trait analyses are needed to predict how global change will affect biodiversity and ecosystem services. PMID:27079784

  19. Functional traits help to explain half-century long shifts in pollinator distributions.

    PubMed

    Aguirre-Gutiérrez, Jesús; Kissling, W Daniel; Carvalheiro, Luísa G; WallisDeVries, Michiel F; Franzén, Markus; Biesmeijer, Jacobus C

    2016-01-01

    Changes in climate and land use can have important impacts on biodiversity. Species respond to such environmental modifications by adapting to new conditions or by shifting their geographic distributions towards more suitable areas. The latter might be constrained by species' functional traits that influence their ability to move, reproduce or establish. Here, we show that functional traits related to dispersal, reproduction, habitat use and diet have influenced how three pollinator groups (bees, butterflies and hoverflies) responded to changes in climate and land-use in the Netherlands since 1950. Across the three pollinator groups, we found pronounced areal range expansions (>53%) and modelled range shifts towards the north (all taxa: 17-22 km), west (bees: 14 km) and east (butterflies: 11 km). The importance of specific functional traits for explaining distributional changes varied among pollinator groups. Larval diet preferences (i.e. carnivorous vs. herbivorous/detritivorous and nitrogen values of host plants, respectively) were important for hoverflies and butterflies, adult body size for hoverflies, and flight period length for all groups. Moreover, interactions among multiple traits were important to explain species' geographic range shifts, suggesting that taxon-specific multi-trait analyses are needed to predict how global change will affect biodiversity and ecosystem services. PMID:27079784

  20. Physiological ecology and functional traits of North American native and Eurasian introduced Phragmites australis lineages

    PubMed Central

    Mozdzer, Thomas J.; Brisson, Jacques; Hazelton, Eric L. G.

    2013-01-01

    Physiological ecology and plant functional traits are often used to explain plant invasion. To gain a better understanding of how traits influence invasion, studies usually compare the invasive plant to a native congener, but there are few conspecific examples in the literature. In North America, the presence of native and introduced genetic lineages of the common reed, Phragmites australis, presents a unique example to evaluate how traits influence plant invasion. We reviewed the literature on functional traits of P. australis lineages in North America, specifically contrasting lineages present on the Atlantic Coast. We focused on differences in physiology between the lineage introduced from Eurasia and the lineage native to North America, specifically seeking to identify the causes underlying the recent expansion of the introduced lineage. Our goals were to better understand which traits may confer invasiveness, provide predictions of how these lineages may respond to interspecific competition or imminent global change, and provide guidance for future research. We reviewed published studies and articles in press, and conducted personal communications with appropriate researchers and managers to develop a comparative dataset. We compared the native and introduced lineages and focused on plant physiological ecology and functional traits. Under both stressful and favourable conditions, our review showed that introduced P. australis consistently exhibited greater ramet density, height and biomass, higher and more plastic relative growth rate, nitrogen productivity and specific leaf area, higher mass specific nitrogen uptake rates, as well as greater phenotypic plasticity compared with the native lineage. We suggest that ecophysiological and other plant functional traits elucidate potential mechanisms for the introduced lineage's invasiveness under current and predicted global change conditions. However, our review identified a disconnect between field surveys

  1. Phylogenetic Meta-Analysis of the Functional Traits of Clonal Plants Foraging in Changing Environments

    PubMed Central

    Xie, Xiu-Fang; Song, Yao-Bin; Zhang, Ya-Lin; Pan, Xu; Dong, Ming

    2014-01-01

    Foraging behavior, one of the adaptive strategies of clonal plants, has stimulated a tremendous amount of research. However, it is a matter of debate whether there is any general pattern in the foraging traits (functional traits related to foraging behavior) of clonal plants in response to diverse environments. We collected data from 97 published papers concerning the relationships between foraging traits (e.g., spacer length, specific spacer length, branch intensity and branch angle) of clonal plants and essential resources (e.g., light, nutrients and water) for plant growth and reproduction. We incorporated the phylogenetic information of 85 plant species to examine the universality of foraging hypotheses using phylogenetic meta-analysis. The trends toward forming longer spacers and fewer branches in shaded environments were detected in clonal plants, but no evidence for a relation between foraging traits and nutrient availability was detected, except that there was a positive correlation between branch intensity and nutrient availability in stoloniferous plants. The response of the foraging traits of clonal plants to water availability was also not obvious. Additionally, our results indicated that the foraging traits of stoloniferous plants were more sensitive to resource availability than those of rhizomatous plants. In consideration of plant phylogeny, these results implied that the foraging traits of clonal plants (notably stoloniferous plants) only responded to light intensity in a general pattern but did not respond to nutrient or water availability. In conclusion, our findings on the effects of the environment on the foraging traits of clonal plants avoided the confounding effects of phylogeny because we incorporated phylogeny into the meta-analysis. PMID:25216101

  2. Seed germination strategies: an evolutionary trajectory independent of vegetative functional traits.

    PubMed

    Hoyle, Gemma L; Steadman, Kathryn J; Good, Roger B; McIntosh, Emma J; Galea, Lucy M E; Nicotra, Adrienne B

    2015-01-01

    Seed germination strategies vary dramatically among species but relatively little is known about how germination traits correlate with other elements of plant strategy systems. Understanding drivers of germination strategy is critical to our understanding of the evolutionary biology of plant reproduction.We present a novel assessment of seed germination strategies focussing on Australian alpine species as a case study. We describe the distribution of germination strategies and ask whether these are correlated with, or form an independent axis to, other plant functional traits. Our approach to describing germination strategy mimicked realistic temperatures that seeds experience in situ following dispersal. Strategies were subsequently assigned using an objective clustering approach. We hypothesized that two main strategies would emerge, involving dormant or non-dormant seeds, and that while these strategies would be correlated with seed traits (e.g., mass or endospermy) they would be largely independent of vegetative traits when analysed in a phylogenetically structured manner.Across all species, three germination strategies emerged. The majority of species postponed germination until after a period of cold, winter-like temperatures indicating physiological and/or morphological dormancy mechanisms. Other species exhibited immediate germination at temperatures representative of those at dispersal. Interestingly, seeds of an additional 13 species "staggered" germination over time. Germination strategies were generally conserved within families. Across a broad range of ecological traits only seed mass and endospermy showed any correlation with germination strategy when phylogenetic relatedness was accounted for; vegetative traits showed no significant correlations with germination strategy. The results indicate that germination traits correlate with other aspects of seed ecology but form an independent axis relative to vegetative traits. PMID:26528294

  3. Seed germination strategies: an evolutionary trajectory independent of vegetative functional traits

    PubMed Central

    Hoyle, Gemma L.; Steadman, Kathryn J.; Good, Roger B.; McIntosh, Emma J.; Galea, Lucy M. E.; Nicotra, Adrienne B.

    2015-01-01

    Seed germination strategies vary dramatically among species but relatively little is known about how germination traits correlate with other elements of plant strategy systems. Understanding drivers of germination strategy is critical to our understanding of the evolutionary biology of plant reproduction.We present a novel assessment of seed germination strategies focussing on Australian alpine species as a case study. We describe the distribution of germination strategies and ask whether these are correlated with, or form an independent axis to, other plant functional traits. Our approach to describing germination strategy mimicked realistic temperatures that seeds experience in situ following dispersal. Strategies were subsequently assigned using an objective clustering approach. We hypothesized that two main strategies would emerge, involving dormant or non-dormant seeds, and that while these strategies would be correlated with seed traits (e.g., mass or endospermy) they would be largely independent of vegetative traits when analysed in a phylogenetically structured manner.Across all species, three germination strategies emerged. The majority of species postponed germination until after a period of cold, winter-like temperatures indicating physiological and/or morphological dormancy mechanisms. Other species exhibited immediate germination at temperatures representative of those at dispersal. Interestingly, seeds of an additional 13 species “staggered” germination over time. Germination strategies were generally conserved within families. Across a broad range of ecological traits only seed mass and endospermy showed any correlation with germination strategy when phylogenetic relatedness was accounted for; vegetative traits showed no significant correlations with germination strategy. The results indicate that germination traits correlate with other aspects of seed ecology but form an independent axis relative to vegetative traits. PMID:26528294

  4. Changes in Tree Reproductive Traits Reduce Functional Diversity in a Fragmented Atlantic Forest Landscape

    PubMed Central

    Girão, Luciana Coe; Lopes, Ariadna Valentina; Tabarelli, Marcelo; Bruna, Emilio M.

    2007-01-01

    Functional diversity has been postulated to be critical for the maintenance of ecosystem functioning, but the way it can be disrupted by human-related disturbances remains poorly investigated. Here we test the hypothesis that habitat fragmentation changes the relative contribution of tree species within categories of reproductive traits (frequency of traits) and reduces the functional diversity of tree assemblages. The study was carried out in an old and severely fragmented landscape of the Brazilian Atlantic forest. We used published information and field observations to obtain the frequency of tree species and individuals within 50 categories of reproductive traits (distributed in four major classes: pollination systems, floral biology, sexual systems, and reproductive systems) in 10 fragments and 10 tracts of forest interior (control plots). As hypothesized, populations in fragments and control plots differed substantially in the representation of the four major classes of reproductive traits (more than 50% of the categories investigated). The most conspicuous differences were the lack of three pollination systems in fragments-pollination by birds, flies and non-flying mammals-and that fragments had a higher frequency of both species and individuals pollinated by generalist vectors. Hermaphroditic species predominate in both habitats, although their relative abundances were higher in fragments. On the contrary, self-incompatible species were underrepresented in fragments. Moreover, fragments showed lower functional diversity (H' scores) for pollination systems (−30.3%), floral types (−23.6%), and floral sizes (−20.8%) in comparison to control plots. In contrast to the overwhelming effect of fragmentation, patch and landscape metrics such as patch size and forest cover played a minor role on the frequency of traits. Our results suggest that habitat fragmentation promotes a marked shift in the relative abundance of tree reproductive traits and greatly

  5. Longevity, Lignin Content and Construction Cost of the Assimilatory Organs of Nepenthes Species

    PubMed Central

    Osunkoya, Olusegun O.; Daud, Siti Dayanawati; Wimmer, Franz L.

    2008-01-01

    Background and Aims This study examined level of causal relationships amongst functional traits in leaves and conjoint pitcher cups of the carnivorous Nepenthes species. Methods Physico-chemical properties, especially lignin content, construction costs, and longevity of the assimilatory organs (leaf and pitcher) of a guild of lowland Nepenthes species inhabiting heath and/or peat swamp forests of Brunei, northern Borneo were determined. Key Results Longevity of these assimilatory organs was linked significantly to construction cost, lignin content and structural trait of tissue density, but these effects are non-additive. Nitrogen and phosphorus contents (indicators of Rubisco and other photosynthetic proteins), were poor predictors of organ longevity and construction cost, suggesting that a substantial allocation of biomass of the assimilatory organs in Nepenethes is to structural material optimized for prey capture, rigidity and escape from biotic and abiotic stresses rather than to light interception. Leaf payback time – a measure of net carbon revenue – was estimated to be 48–60 d. This is in line with the onset of substantial mortality by 2–3 months of tagged leaves in many of the Nepenthes species examined. However, this is a high ratio (i.e. a longer minimum payback time) compared with what is known for terrestrial, non-carnivorous plants in general (5–30 d). Conclusions It is concluded that the leaf trait bivariate relationships within the Nepenthes genus, as in other carnivorous species (e.g. Sarraceniaceae), is substantially different from the global relationship documented in the Global Plant Trait Network. PMID:18757449

  6. Relationships between Bacterial Community Composition, Functional Trait Composition and Functioning Are Context Dependent – but What Is the Context?

    PubMed Central

    Severin, Ina; Lindström, Eva S.; Östman, Örjan

    2014-01-01

    Bacterial communities are immensely diverse and drive many fundamental ecosystem processes. However, the role of bacterial community composition (BCC) for functioning is still unclear. Here we evaluate the relative importance of BCC (from 454-sequencing), functional traits (from Biolog Ecoplates) and environmental conditions for per cell biomass production (BPC; 3H-leucine incorporation) in six data sets of natural freshwater bacterial communities. BCC explained significant variation of BPC in all six data sets and most variation in four. BCC measures based on 16S rRNA (active bacteria) did not consistently explain more variation in BPC than measures based on the 16S rRNA-gene (total community), and adding phylogenetic information did not, in general, increase the explanatory power of BCC. In contrast to our hypothesis, the importance of BCC for BPC was not related to the anticipated dispersal rates in and out of communities. Functional traits, most notably the ability to use cyclic and aromatic compounds, as well as local environmental conditions, i.e. stoichiometric relationships of nutrients, explained some variation in all six data sets. In general there were weak associations between variation in BCC and variation in the functional traits contributing to productivity. This indicates that additional traits may be important for productivity as well. By comparing several data sets obtained in a similar way we conclude that no single measure of BCC was obviously better than another in explaining BPC. We identified some key functional traits for productivity, but although there was a coupling between BCC, functional traits and productivity, the strength of the coupling seems context dependent. However, the exact context is still unresolved. PMID:25380200

  7. Repetition Suppression in Ventral Visual Cortex Is Diminished as a Function of Increasing Autistic Traits.

    PubMed

    Ewbank, Michael P; Rhodes, Gillian; von dem Hagen, Elisabeth A H; Powell, Thomas E; Bright, Naomi; Stoyanova, Raliza S; Baron-Cohen, Simon; Calder, Andrew J

    2015-10-01

    Repeated viewing of a stimulus causes a change in perceptual sensitivity, known as a visual aftereffect. Similarly, in neuroimaging, repetitions of the same stimulus result in a reduction in the neural response, known as repetition suppression (RS). Previous research shows that aftereffects for faces are reduced in both children with autism and in first-degree relatives. With functional magnetic resonance imaging, we found that the magnitude of RS to faces in neurotypical participants was negatively correlated with individual differences in autistic traits. We replicated this finding in a second experiment, while additional experiments showed that autistic traits also negatively predicted RS to images of scenes and simple geometric shapes. These findings suggest that a core aspect of neural function--the brain's response to repetition--is modulated by autistic traits. PMID:24988131

  8. Functional mapping - how to map and study the genetic architecture of dynamic complex traits.

    PubMed

    Wu, Rongling; Lin, Min

    2006-03-01

    The development of any organism is a complex dynamic process that is controlled by a network of genes as well as by environmental factors. Traditional mapping approaches for analysing phenotypic data measured at a single time point are too simple to reveal the genetic control of developmental processes. A general statistical mapping framework, called functional mapping, has been proposed to characterize, in a single step, the quantitative trait loci (QTLs) or nucleotides (QTNs) that underlie a complex dynamic trait. Functional mapping estimates mathematical parameters that describe the developmental mechanisms of trait formation and expression for each QTL or QTN. The approach provides a useful quantitative and testable framework for assessing the interplay between gene actions or interactions and developmental changes. PMID:16485021

  9. Necessity of angiotensin-converting enzyme-related gene for cardiac functions and longevity of Drosophila melanogaster assessed by optical coherence tomography

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liao, Fang-Tsu; Chang, Cheng-Yi; Su, Ming-Tsan; Kuo, Wen-Chuan

    2014-01-01

    Prior studies have established the necessity of an angiotensin-converting enzyme-related (ACER) gene for heart morphogenesis of Drosophila. Nevertheless, the physiology of ACER has yet to be comprehensively understood. Herein, we employed RNA interference to down-regulate the expression of ACER in Drosophila's heart and swept source optical coherence tomography to assess whether ACER is required for cardiac functions in living adult flies. Several contractile parameters of Drosophila heart, including the heart rate (HR), end-diastolic diameter (EDD), end-systolic diameter (ESD), percent fractional shortening (%FS), and stress-induced cardiac performance, are shown, which are age dependent. These age-dependent cardiac functions declined significantly when ACER was down-regulated. Moreover, the lifespans of ACER knock-down flies were significantly shorter than those of wild-type control flies. Thus, we posit that ACER, the Drosophila ortholog of mammalian angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), is essential for both heart physiology and longevity of animals. Since mammalian ACE2 controls many cardiovascular physiological features and is implicated in cardiomyopathies, our findings that ACER plays conserved roles in genetically tractable animals will pave the way for uncovering the genetic pathway that controls the renin-angiotensin system.

  10. Aberrant functional connectivity of resting state networks associated with trait anxiety.

    PubMed

    Modi, Shilpi; Kumar, Mukesh; Kumar, Pawan; Khushu, Subash

    2015-10-30

    Trait anxiety, a personality dimension, has been characterized by functional consequences such as increased distractibility, attentional bias in favor of threat-related information and hyper-responsive amygdala. However, literature on the association between resting state brain functional connectivity, as studied using resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI), and reported anxiety levels in the sub-clinical population is limited. In the present study, we employed rs-fMRI to investigate the possible alterations in the functional integrity of Resting State Networks (RSNs) associated with trait anxiety of the healthy subjects (15 high anxious and 14 low anxious). The rs-fMRI data was analyzed using independent component analysis and a dual regression approach that was applied on 12 RSNs that were identified using FSL. High anxious subjects showed significantly reduced functional connectivity in regions of the default mode network (posterior cingulate gyrus, middle and superior temporal gyrus, planum polare, supramarginal gyrus, temporal pole, angular gyrus and lateral occipital gyrus) which has been suggested to be involved in episodic memory, theory of mind, self-evaluation, and introspection, and perceptual systems including medial visual network, auditory network and another network involving temporal, parieto-occipital and frontal regions. Reduction in resting state connectivity in regions of the perceptual networks might underlie the perceptual, attentional and working memory deficits associated with trait anxiety. To our knowledge, this is the first study to relate trait anxiety to resting state connectivity using independent component analysis. PMID:26385540

  11. The Role of Species Traits in Mediating Functional Recovery during Matrix Restoration

    PubMed Central

    Barnes, Andrew D.; Emberson, Rowan M.; Krell, Frank-Thorsten; Didham, Raphael K.

    2014-01-01

    Reversing anthropogenic impacts on habitat structure is frequently successful through restoration, but the mechanisms linking habitat change, community reassembly and recovery of ecosystem functioning remain unknown. We test for the influence of edge effects and matrix habitat restoration on the reassembly of dung beetle communities and consequent recovery of dung removal rates across tropical forest edges. Using path modelling, we disentangle the relative importance of community-weighted trait means and functional trait dispersion from total biomass effects on rates of dung removal. Community trait composition and biomass of dung beetle communities responded divergently to edge effects and matrix habitat restoration, yielding opposing effects on dung removal. However, functional dispersion—used in this study as a measure of niche complementarity—did not explain a significant amount of variation in dung removal rates across habitat edges. Instead, we demonstrate that the path to functional recovery of these altered ecosystems depends on the trait-mean composition of reassembling communities, over and above purely biomass-dependent processes that would be expected under neutral theory. These results suggest that any ability to manage functional recovery of ecosystems during habitat restoration will demand knowledge of species' roles in ecosystem processes. PMID:25502448

  12. Longevity extension by phytochemicals.

    PubMed

    Leonov, Anna; Arlia-Ciommo, Anthony; Piano, Amanda; Svistkova, Veronika; Lutchman, Vicky; Medkour, Younes; Titorenko, Vladimir I

    2015-01-01

    Phytochemicals are structurally diverse secondary metabolites synthesized by plants and also by non-pathogenic endophytic microorganisms living within plants. Phytochemicals help plants to survive environmental stresses, protect plants from microbial infections and environmental pollutants, provide them with a defense from herbivorous organisms and attract natural predators of such organisms, as well as lure pollinators and other symbiotes of these plants. In addition, many phytochemicals can extend longevity in heterotrophic organisms across phyla via evolutionarily conserved mechanisms. In this review, we discuss such mechanisms. We outline how structurally diverse phytochemicals modulate a complex network of signaling pathways that orchestrate a distinct set of longevity-defining cellular processes. This review also reflects on how the release of phytochemicals by plants into a natural ecosystem may create selective forces that drive the evolution of longevity regulation mechanisms in heterotrophic organisms inhabiting this ecosystem. We outline the most important unanswered questions and directions for future research in this vibrant and rapidly evolving field. PMID:25871373

  13. Functional Traits and Water Transport Strategies in Lowland Tropical Rainforest Trees

    PubMed Central

    Apgaua, Deborah M. G.; Ishida, Françoise Y.; Tng, David Y. P.; Laidlaw, Melinda J.; Santos, Rubens M.; Rumman, Rizwana; Eamus, Derek; Holtum, Joseph A. M.; Laurance, Susan G. W.

    2015-01-01

    Understanding how tropical rainforest trees may respond to the precipitation extremes predicted in future climate change scenarios is paramount for their conservation and management. Tree species clearly differ in drought susceptibility, suggesting that variable water transport strategies exist. Using a multi-disciplinary approach, we examined the hydraulic variability in trees in a lowland tropical rainforest in north-eastern Australia. We studied eight tree species representing broad plant functional groups (one palm and seven eudicot mature-phase, and early-successional trees). We characterised the species’ hydraulic system through maximum rates of volumetric sap flow and velocities using the heat ratio method, and measured rates of tree growth and several stem, vessel, and leaf traits. Sap flow measures exhibited limited variability across species, although early-successional species and palms had high mean sap velocities relative to most mature-phase species. Stem, vessel, and leaf traits were poor predictors of sap flow measures. However, these traits exhibited different associations in multivariate analysis, revealing gradients in some traits across species and alternative hydraulic strategies in others. Trait differences across and within tree functional groups reflect variation in water transport and drought resistance strategies. These varying strategies will help in our understanding of changing species distributions under predicted drought scenarios. PMID:26087009

  14. Plant functional traits of dominant native and invasive species in mediterranean-climate ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Funk, Jennifer L; Standish, Rachel J; Stock, William D; Valladares, Fernando

    2016-01-01

    The idea that dominant invasive plant species outperform neighboring native species through higher rates of carbon assimilation and growth is supported by several analyses of global data sets. However, theory suggests that native and invasive species occurring in low-resource environments will be functionally similar, as environmental factors restrict the range of observed physiological and morphological trait values. We measured resource-use traits in native and invasive plant species across eight diverse vegetation communities distributed throughout the five mediterranean-climate regions, which are drought prone and increasingly threatened by human activities, including the introduction of exotic species. Traits differed strongly across the five regions. In regions with functional differences between native and invasive species groups, invasive species displayed traits consistent with high resource acquisition; however, these patterns were largely attributable to differences in life form. We found that species invading mediterranean-climate regions were more likely to be annual than perennial: three of the five regions were dominated by native woody species and invasive annuals. These results suggest that trait differences between native and invasive species are context dependent and will vary across vegetation communities. Native and invasive species within annual and perennial groups had similar patterns of carbon assimilation and resource use, which contradicts the widespread idea that invasive species optimize resource acquisition rather than resource conservation. . PMID:27008777

  15. Changes in plant cover and functional traits induced by grazing in the arid Patagonian Monte

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bär Lamas, M. I.; Larreguy, C.; Carrera, A. L.; Bertiller, M. B.

    2013-08-01

    Grazing disturbance may affect the structure and functioning of arid rangelands. We analyzed the changes in plant cover and plant functional traits (plant height, SLA, N in green leaves) at the community, morphotype and species level in relation to grazing disturbance in arid ecosystems with more than 100 years of sheep grazing history. We identified two grazing areas and within each area we selected two representative and homogeneous sites located far (low grazing disturbance) and near (high grazing disturbance) from the single permanent watering point. We evaluated the plant cover at community, morphotype (evergreen tall shrubs, deciduous shrubs, dwarf shrubs, perennial herbs and perennial grasses) and species level at each site and randomly selected three individuals of modal size of each species to evaluate at them the selected plants traits. Plant cover was reduced by grazing disturbance at the community level. The cover of perennial grasses and evergreen tall shrubs decreased and that of dwarf shrubs increased with increasing grazing disturbance. Increasing cover of dwarf shrubs did not compensate the cover reduction of the other morphotypes. In contrast, plant height, SLA and N in green leaves were not affected by high grazing disturbance at community level as a consequence of positive and negative changes in these traits at morphotype and species levels induced by high grazing disturbance. We concluded that cover was the trait most affected by high grazing disturbance and positive and negative changes in other traits at plant morphotype or species level did not affect community attributes related to resistance against herbivory.

  16. Functional Traits and Water Transport Strategies in Lowland Tropical Rainforest Trees.

    PubMed

    Apgaua, Deborah M G; Ishida, Françoise Y; Tng, David Y P; Laidlaw, Melinda J; Santos, Rubens M; Rumman, Rizwana; Eamus, Derek; Holtum, Joseph A M; Laurance, Susan G W

    2015-01-01

    Understanding how tropical rainforest trees may respond to the precipitation extremes predicted in future climate change scenarios is paramount for their conservation and management. Tree species clearly differ in drought susceptibility, suggesting that variable water transport strategies exist. Using a multi-disciplinary approach, we examined the hydraulic variability in trees in a lowland tropical rainforest in north-eastern Australia. We studied eight tree species representing broad plant functional groups (one palm and seven eudicot mature-phase, and early-successional trees). We characterised the species' hydraulic system through maximum rates of volumetric sap flow and velocities using the heat ratio method, and measured rates of tree growth and several stem, vessel, and leaf traits. Sap flow measures exhibited limited variability across species, although early-successional species and palms had high mean sap velocities relative to most mature-phase species. Stem, vessel, and leaf traits were poor predictors of sap flow measures. However, these traits exhibited different associations in multivariate analysis, revealing gradients in some traits across species and alternative hydraulic strategies in others. Trait differences across and within tree functional groups reflect variation in water transport and drought resistance strategies. These varying strategies will help in our understanding of changing species distributions under predicted drought scenarios. PMID:26087009

  17. Testing functional trait-based mechanisms underpinning plant responses to grazing and linkages to ecosystem functioning in grasslands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zheng, S. X.; Li, W. H.; Lan, Z. C.; Ren, H. Y.; Wang, K. B.; Bai, Y. F.

    2014-09-01

    Abundant evidence has shown that grazing alters plant functional traits, ecological strategies, community structure, and ecosystem functioning of grasslands. Few studies, however, have examined how plant responses to grazing are mediated by resource availability and functional group identity. We test functional trait-based mechanisms underlying the responses of different life forms to grazing and linkages to ecosystem functioning along a soil moisture gradient in the Inner Mongolia grassland. A principal component analysis (PCA) based on 9 traits × 276 species matrix showed that the plant size spectrum (i.e., individual biomass), leaf economics spectrum (leaf N content and leaf density), and light competition spectrum (height and stem-leaf biomass ratio) distinguished plant species responses to grazing. The three life forms exhibited differential strategies as indicated by trait responses to grazing. The annuals and biennials adopted grazing-tolerant strategies associated with high growth rate, reflected by high leaf N content and specific leaf area. The perennial grasses exhibited grazing-tolerant strategies associated with great regrowth capacity and high palatability scores, whereas perennial forbs showed grazing-avoidant strategies with short stature and low palatability scores. In addition, the dominant perennial bunchgrasses exhibited mixed tolerance-resistance strategies to grazing and mixed acquisitive-conservative strategies in resource utilization. Grazing increased the relative abundance of perennial forbs with low palatability in the wet and fertile meadow, but it promoted perennial grasses with high palatability in the dry and infertile typical steppe. Our findings suggest that the effects of grazing on plant functional traits are dependent on both the abiotic (e.g., soil moisture) and biotic (e.g., plant functional group identity and composition) factors. Grazing-induced shifts in functional group composition are largely dependent on resource

  18. Functional Dysphonia during Mental Imagery: Testing the Trait Theory of Voice Disorders

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    van Mersbergen, Miriam; Patrick, Christopher; Glaze, Leslie

    2008-01-01

    Purpose: Previous research has proposed that persons with functional dysphonia (FD) present with temperamental traits that predispose them to their voice disorder. We investigated this theory in a controlled experiment and compared them with social anxiety (SA) and healthy control (HC) groups. Method: Twelve participants with FD, 19 participants…

  19. The role of functional traits and individual variation in the co-occurrence of Ficus species.

    PubMed

    Lasky, Jesse R; Yang, Jie; Zhang, Guocheng; Cao, Min; Tang, Yong; Keitt, Timothy H

    2014-04-01

    The processes that structure assemblages of species in hyper-diverse genera, such as Ficus (Moraceae), are not well understood. Functional diversity of co-occurring species can reveal evidence for assembly processes; however, intraspecific variation may weaken species-level patterns. We studied whether functional and phylogenetic diversity of Ficus species indicated the effects of spatial variation in filters associated with topography or niche partitioning related to resource use and biotic interactions. We also asked whether individual trait patterns supported species-level patterns. We studied six traits (leaf area, succulence, specific leaf area [SLA], maximum diameter breast high [dbh], fruit size, and latex exudation) for 22 Ficus species and 335 individuals > or = 10 cm dbh on a 20-ha forest plot in China. We found that higher elevation was correlated to changes in mean and reduced diversity of five traits, possibly due to frequent disturbances at higher elevations that favored fast-growing, poorly defended species with high SLA. Maximum dbh showed phylogenetic conservatism but high diversity among co-occurring species, suggesting adult stature is an important axis of within-quadrat niche partitioning. At the individual level, trait patterns were qualitatively consistent but were stronger than species-level patterns, especially for the leaf traits with the greatest intraspecific variation (SLA and succulence). Individual-level SLA exhibited the strongest evidence for both traits among and within-quadrat niche partitioning and indicated elevational filtering. Local niche partitioning and elevational filtering likely play an important role in maintaining species and functional diversity in the most speciose genus at our study site. Our results highlight the importance of individual variation, as it may reveal otherwise obscured niche effects. PMID:24933816

  20. Brain functional connectivity changes in children that differ in impulsivity temperamental trait

    PubMed Central

    Inuggi, Alberto; Sanz-Arigita, Ernesto; González-Salinas, Carmen; Valero-García, Ana V.; García-Santos, Jose M.; Fuentes, Luis J.

    2014-01-01

    Impulsivity is a core personality trait forming part of normal behavior and contributing to adaptive functioning. However, in typically developing children, altered patterns of impulsivity constitute a risk factor for the development of behavioral problems. Since both pathological and non-pathological states are commonly characterized by continuous transitions, we used a correlative approach to investigate the potential link between personality and brain dynamics. We related brain functional connectivity of typically developing children, measured with magnetic resonance imaging at rest, with their impulsivity scores obtained from a questionnaire completed by their parents. We first looked for areas within the default mode network (DMN) whose functional connectivity might be modulated by trait impulsivity. Then, we calculated the functional connectivity among these regions and the rest of the brain in order to assess if impulsivity trait altered their relationships. We found two DMN clusters located at the posterior cingulate cortex and the right angular gyrus which were negatively correlated with impulsivity scores. The whole-brain correlation analysis revealed the classic network of correlating and anti-correlating areas with respect to the DMN. The impulsivity trait modulated such pattern showing that the canonical anti-phasic relation between DMN and action-related network was reduced in high impulsive children. These results represent the first evidence that the impulsivity, measured as personality trait assessed through parents' report, exerts a modulatory influence over the functional connectivity of resting state brain networks in typically developing children. The present study goes further to connect developmental approaches, mainly based on data collected through the use of questionnaires, and behavioral neuroscience, interested in how differences in brain structure and functions reflect in differences in behavior. PMID:24834038

  1. Nectarine promotes longevity in Drosophila melanogaster

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Aging is associated with increased oxidative damage and gradual decline of physiology function with age, and is modulated by numerous genetic and environmental factors. Functional fruits are thought to be ideal candidates for promoting longevity and healthspan due to their high contents of polypheno...

  2. Linking suspended sediment transport metrics with fish functional traits in the Northwestern Great Plains (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schwartz, J. S.; Simon, A.; Klimetz, L.

    2009-12-01

    Loss of ecological integrity due to excessive suspended sediment in rivers and streams is a major cause of water quality impairment in the United States. Although 32 states have developed numeric criteria for turbidity or suspended solids, or both according to the USEPA (2006), criteria is typically written as a percent exceedance above background and what constitutes background is not well defined. Defining a background level is problematic considering suspended sediments and related turbidity levels change with flow stage and season, and limited scientific data exists on relationships between sediment exposure and biotic response. Current assessment protocols for development of sediment total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) lack a means to link temporally-variable sediment transport rates with specific losses of ecological functions as loads increase. This study, within the in Northwestern Great Plains Ecoregion, co-located 58 USGS gauging stations with existing flow and suspended sediment data, and fish data from federal and state agencies. Suspended sediment concentration (SSC) transport metrics were quantified into exceedance frequencies of a given magnitude, duration as the number of consecutive days a given concentration was equaled or exceeded, dosage as concentration x duration, and mean annual suspended sediment yields. A functional traits-based approach was used to correlate SSC transport metrics with site occurrences of 20 fish traits organized into four main groups: preferred rearing mesohabitat, trophic structure, feeding habits, and spawning behavior. Negative correlations between SSC metrics and trait occurrences were assumed to represent potential conditions for impairment, specifically identifying an ecological loss by functional trait. Potential impairment conditions were linked with presence of the following traits: habitat preferences for stream pool and river shallow waters; feeding generalists, omnivores, piscivores; and several spawning

  3. A Cytoprotective Perspective on Longevity Regulation

    PubMed Central

    Shore, David E.; Ruvkun, Gary

    2014-01-01

    There are many mechanisms of lifespan extension, including the disruption of insulin/IGF-1 signaling, metabolism, translation, or feeding. Despite the disparate functions of these pathways, inhibition of each induces responses that buffer stress and damage. Here, emphasizing data from genetic analyses in C. elegans, we explore the effectors and upstream regulatory components of numerous cytoprotective mechanisms activated as major elements of longevity programs, including detoxification, innate immunity, proteostasis, and oxidative stress response. We show that their induction underpins longevity extension across functionally diverse triggers and across species. Intertwined with the evolution of longevity, cytoprotective pathways are coupled to the surveillance of core cellular components, with important implications in normal and aberrant responses to drugs, chemicals, and pathogens. PMID:23726168

  4. Energetics and longevity in birds

    PubMed Central

    Furness, L. J.

    2008-01-01

    The links between energy expenditure and ageing are different at different levels of enquiry. When studies have examined the relationships between different species within a given class the association is generally negative—animals with greater metabolism per gram of tissue live shorter lives. Within species, or between classes (e.g. between birds and mammals) the association is the opposite—animals with higher metabolic rates live longer. We have previously shown in mammals that the negative association between lifespan and metabolic rate is in fact an artefact of using resting rather than daily energy expenditure, and of failing to adequately take into account the confounding effects of body size and the lack of phylogenetic independence of species data. When these factors are accounted for, across species of mammals, the ones with higher metabolism also have the largest lifetime expenditures of energy—consistent with the inter-class and intra-specific data. A previous analysis in birds did not yield the same pattern, but this may have been due to a lack of sufficient power in the analysis. Here we present an analysis of a much enlarged data set (>300 species) for metabolic and longevity traits in birds. These data show very similar patterns to those in mammals. Larger individuals have longer lives and lower per-gram resting and daily energy expenditures, hence there is a strong negative relationship between longevity and mass-specific metabolism. This relationship disappears when the confounding effects of body mass and phylogeny are accounted for. Across species of birds, lifetime expenditure of energy per gram of tissue based on both daily and resting energy expenditure is positively related to metabolic intensity, mirroring these statistical relationships in mammals and synergising with the positive associations of metabolism with lifespan within species and between vertebrate classes. PMID:19424858

  5. Hyper-longevity, a late-modern paradigm for understanding longevity, ageing and their complexities in Western developed globalised countries.

    PubMed

    Alzetta, Roberto; Cesario, Alfredo; Fini, Massimo

    2014-01-01

    If longevity is a biological and demographic indicator to determine human lifetime extension, hyper-longevity notion can represent a heuristic tool to better disentangle the complex bio-psycho-social implications of ageing and elderly in Western developed globalised countries. Departing from the assumption of a holistic approach to human condition understanding, it is possible to reveal the grounds and patterns of a multilayered and multidimensional structuring of longevity and ageing in our societies that would lead to a form of hyper-longevity. Socio-cultural processes, underlying hyper-longevity notion, rise the question of transition from modern/ latemodern societies to post-modern ones and it offers room for a cultural analysis of concepts, such as space time compression, digital capitalism, knowledge and mass information society. These are relevant ideas that can contribute to reshape and rethink the boundaries and traits of ageing experience in 21(st) century societies. To better catch the point emerging social category of Baby Boomers is presented and used to provide a concrete context related example on how hyper-longevity can better explain complex social evidences in many cultural respects and social domains. As a conclusive step some preliminary reflections, largely centered on the relation between Baby Boomers, hyper-longevity and bio-medical sciences are presented and discussed to provide a starting point for further future analyses within a trans and inter-disciplinary framework. PMID:24641235

  6. Winter severity determines functional trait composition of phytoplankton in seasonally ice-covered lakes.

    PubMed

    Özkundakci, Deniz; Gsell, Alena S; Hintze, Thomas; Täuscher, Helgard; Adrian, Rita

    2016-01-01

    How climate change will affect the community dynamics and functionality of lake ecosystems during winter is still little understood. This is also true for phytoplankton in seasonally ice-covered temperate lakes which are particularly vulnerable to the presence or absence of ice. We examined changes in pelagic phytoplankton winter community structure in a north temperate lake (Müggelsee, Germany), covering 18 winters between 1995 and 2013. We tested how phytoplankton taxa composition varied along a winter-severity gradient and to what extent winter severity shaped the functional trait composition of overwintering phytoplankton communities using multivariate statistical analyses and a functional trait-based approach. We hypothesized that overwintering phytoplankton communities are dominated by taxa with trait combinations corresponding to the prevailing winter water column conditions, using ice thickness measurements as a winter-severity indicator. Winter severity had little effect on univariate diversity indicators (taxon richness and evenness), but a strong relationship was found between the phytoplankton community structure and winter severity when taxon trait identity was taken into account. Species responses to winter severity were mediated by the key functional traits: motility, nutritional mode, and the ability to form resting stages. Accordingly, one or the other of two functional groups dominated the phytoplankton biomass during mild winters (i.e., thin or no ice cover; phototrophic taxa) or severe winters (i.e., thick ice cover; exclusively motile taxa). Based on predicted milder winters for temperate regions and a reduction in ice-cover durations, phytoplankton communities during winter can be expected to comprise taxa that have a relative advantage when the water column is well mixed (i.e., need not be motile) and light is less limiting (i.e., need not be mixotrophic). A potential implication of this result is that winter severity promotes different

  7. Anger under Control: Neural Correlates of Frustration as a Function of Trait Aggression

    PubMed Central

    Pawliczek, Christina M.; Derntl, Birgit; Kellermann, Thilo; Gur, Ruben C.; Schneider, Frank; Habel, Ute

    2013-01-01

    Antisocial behavior and aggression are prominent symptoms in several psychiatric disorders including antisocial personality disorder. An established precursor to aggression is a frustrating event, which can elicit anger or exasperation, thereby prompting aggressive responses. While some studies have investigated the neural correlates of frustration and aggression, examination of their relation to trait aggression in healthy populations are rare. Based on a screening of 550 males, we formed two extreme groups, one including individuals reporting high (n=21) and one reporting low (n=18) trait aggression. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at 3T, all participants were put through a frustration task comprising unsolvable anagrams of German nouns. Despite similar behavioral performance, males with high trait aggression reported higher ratings of negative affect and anger after the frustration task. Moreover, they showed relatively decreased activation in the frontal brain regions and the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) as well as relatively less amygdala activation in response to frustration. Our findings indicate distinct frontal and limbic processing mechanisms following frustration modulated by trait aggression. In response to a frustrating event, HA individuals show some of the personality characteristics and neural processing patterns observed in abnormally aggressive populations. Highlighting the impact of aggressive traits on the behavioral and neural responses to frustration in non-psychiatric extreme groups can facilitate further characterization of neural dysfunctions underlying psychiatric disorders that involve abnormal frustration processing and aggression. PMID:24205247

  8. Plasticity of functional traits varies clinally along a rainfall gradient in Eucalyptus tricarpa.

    PubMed

    McLean, Elizabeth H; Prober, Suzanne M; Stock, William D; Steane, Dorothy A; Potts, Brad M; Vaillancourt, René E; Byrne, Margaret

    2014-06-01

    Widespread species often occur across a range of climatic conditions, through a combination of local genetic adaptations and phenotypic plasticity. Species with greater phenotypic plasticity are likely to be better positioned to cope with rapid anthropogenic climate changes, while those displaying strong local adaptations might benefit from translocations to assist the movement of adaptive genes as the climate changes. Eucalyptus tricarpa occurs across a climatic gradient in south-eastern Australia, a region of increasing aridity, and we hypothesized that this species would display local adaptation to climate. We measured morphological and physiological traits reflecting climate responses in nine provenances from sites of 460 to 1040 mm annual rainfall, in their natural habitat and in common gardens near each end of the gradient. Local adaptation was evident in functional traits and differential growth rates in the common gardens. Some traits displayed complex combinations of plasticity and genetic divergence among provenances, including clinal variation in plasticity itself. Provenances from drier locations were more plastic in leaf thickness, whereas leaf size was more plastic in provenances from higher rainfall locations. Leaf density and stomatal physiology (as indicated by δ(13)C and δ(18)O) were highly and uniformly plastic. In addition to variation in mean trait values, genetic variation in trait plasticity may play a role in climate adaptation. PMID:24329726

  9. Heterogeneity in expected longevities.

    PubMed

    Pijoan-Mas, Josep; Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor

    2014-12-01

    We develop a new methodology to compute differences in the expected longevity of individuals of a given cohort who are in different socioeconomic groups at a certain age. We address the two main problems associated with the standard use of life expectancy: (1) that people's socioeconomic characteristics change, and (2) that mortality has decreased over time. Our methodology uncovers substantial heterogeneity in expected longevities, yet much less heterogeneity than what arises from the naive application of life expectancy formulae. We decompose the longevity differences into differences in health at age 50, differences in the evolution of health with age, and differences in mortality conditional on health. Remarkably, education, wealth, and income are health-protecting but have very little impact on two-year mortality rates conditional on health. Married people and nonsmokers, however, benefit directly in their immediate mortality. Finally, we document an increasing time trend of the socioeconomic gradient of longevity in the period 1992-2008, and we predict an increase in the socioeconomic gradient of mortality rates for the coming years. PMID:25391225

  10. Ecoregional, catchment, and reach-scale environmental factors shape functional-trait structure of stream fish assemblages

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Patterns of association between functional traits and environmental gradients can improve understanding of species assemblage structure from local to regional scales, and therefore may be useful for natural resource management. We measured functional traits related to trophic ecology, habitat use, a...

  11. Higher photosynthetic capacity and different functional trait scaling relationships in erect bryophytes compared with prostrate species.

    PubMed

    Wang, Zhe; Liu, Xin; Bao, Weikai

    2016-02-01

    Ecophysiological studies of bryophytes have generally been conducted at the shoot or canopy scale. However, their growth forms are diverse, and knowledge of whether bryophytes with different shoot structures have different functional trait levels and scaling relationships is limited. We collected 27 bryophyte species and categorised them into two groups based on their growth forms: erect and prostrate species. Twenty-one morphological, nutrient and photosynthetic traits were quantified. Trait levels and bivariate trait scaling relationships across species were compared between the two groups. The two groups had similar mean values for shoot mass per area (SMA), light saturation point and mass-based nitrogen (N(mass)) and phosphorus concentrations. Erect bryophytes possessed higher values for mass-based chlorophyll concentration (Chl(mass)), light-saturated assimilation rate (A(mass)) and photosynthetic nitrogen/phosphorus use efficiency. N(mass), Chl(mass) and A(mass) were positively related, and these traits were negatively associated with SMA. Furthermore, the slope of the regression of N(mass) versus Chl(mass) was steeper for erect bryophytes than that for prostrate bryophytes, whereas this pattern was reversed for the relationship between Chl(mass) and A(mass). In conclusion, erect bryophytes possess higher photosynthetic capacities than prostrate species. Furthermore, erect bryophytes invest more nitrogen in chloroplast pigments to improve their light-harvesting ability, while the structure of prostrate species permits more efficient light capture. This study confirms the effect of growth form on the functional trait levels and scaling relationships of bryophytes. It also suggests that bryophytes could be good models for investigating the carbon economy and nutrient allocation of plants at the shoot rather than the leaf scale. PMID:26552378

  12. Variation in habitat suitability does not always relate to variation in species' plant functional traits

    PubMed Central

    Thuiller, Wilfried; Albert, Cécile H.; Dubuis, Anne; Randin, Christophe; Guisan, Antoine

    2010-01-01

    Habitat suitability models, which relate species occurrences to environmental variables, are assumed to predict suitable conditions for a given species. If these models are reliable, they should relate to change in plant growth and function. In this paper, we ask the question whether habitat suitability models are able to predict variation in plant functional traits, often assumed to be a good surrogate for a species' overall health and vigour. Using a thorough sampling design, we show a tight link between variation in plant functional traits and habitat suitability for some species, but not for others. Our contrasting results pave the way towards a better understanding of how species cope with varying habitat conditions and demonstrate that habitat suitability models can provide meaningful descriptions of the functional niche in some cases, but not in others. PMID:19793738

  13. Neonatal body condition, immune responsiveness, and hematocrit predict longevity in a wild bird population

    PubMed Central

    Hodges, Christine J.; Forsman, Anna M.; Vogel, Laura A.; Masters, Brian S.; Johnson, Bonnie G. P.; Johnson, L. Scott; Thompson, Charles F.; Sakaluk, Scott K.

    2014-01-01

    Measures of body condition, immune function, and hematological health are widely used in ecological studies of vertebrate populations, predicated on the assumption that these traits are linked to fitness. However, compelling evidence that these traits actually predict long-term survival and reproductive success among individuals in the wild is lacking. Here, we show that body condition (i.e., size-adjusted body mass) and cutaneous immune responsiveness to phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) injection among neonates positively predict recruitment and subsequent longevity in a wild, migratory population of house wrens (Troglodytes aedon). However, neonates with intermediate hematocrit had the highest recruitment and longevity. Neonates with the highest PHA responsiveness and intermediate hematocrit prior to independence eventually produced the most offspring during their lifetime breeding on the study site. Importantly, the effects of PHA responsiveness and hematocrit were revealed while controlling for variation in body condition, sex, and environmental variation. Thus, our data demonstrate that body condition, cutaneous immune responsiveness, and hematocrit as a neonate are associated with individual fitness. Although hematocrit's effect is more complex than traditionally thought, our results suggest a previously underappreciated role for this trait in influencing survival in the wild. PMID:25505800

  14. Modalities of Thinking: State and Trait Effects on Cross-Frequency Functional Independent Brain Networks.

    PubMed

    Milz, Patricia; Pascual-Marqui, Roberto D; Lehmann, Dietrich; Faber, Pascal L

    2016-05-01

    Functional states of the brain are constituted by the temporally attuned activity of spatially distributed neural networks. Such networks can be identified by independent component analysis (ICA) applied to frequency-dependent source-localized EEG data. This methodology allows the identification of networks at high temporal resolution in frequency bands of established location-specific physiological functions. EEG measurements are sensitive to neural activity changes in cortical areas of modality-specific processing. We tested effects of modality-specific processing on functional brain networks. Phasic modality-specific processing was induced via tasks (state effects) and tonic processing was assessed via modality-specific person parameters (trait effects). Modality-specific person parameters and 64-channel EEG were obtained from 70 male, right-handed students. Person parameters were obtained using cognitive style questionnaires, cognitive tests, and thinking modality self-reports. EEG was recorded during four conditions: spatial visualization, object visualization, verbalization, and resting. Twelve cross-frequency networks were extracted from source-localized EEG across six frequency bands using ICA. RMANOVAs, Pearson correlations, and path modelling examined effects of tasks and person parameters on networks. Results identified distinct state- and trait-dependent functional networks. State-dependent networks were characterized by decreased, trait-dependent networks by increased alpha activity in sub-regions of modality-specific pathways. Pathways of competing modalities showed opposing alpha changes. State- and trait-dependent alpha were associated with inhibitory and automated processing, respectively. Antagonistic alpha modulations in areas of competing modalities likely prevent intruding effects of modality-irrelevant processing. Considerable research suggested alpha modulations related to modality-specific states and traits. This study identified the

  15. Backward multiple imputation estimation of the conditional lifetime expectancy function with application to censored human longevity data.

    PubMed

    Kong, Jing; Klein, Barbara E K; Klein, Ronald; Wahba, Grace

    2015-09-29

    The conditional lifetime expectancy function (LEF) is the expected lifetime of a subject given survival past a certain time point and the values of a set of explanatory variables. This function is attractive to researchers because it summarizes the entire residual life distribution and has an easy interpretation compared with the popularly used hazard function. In this paper, we propose a general framework of backward multiple imputation for estimating the conditional LEF and the variance of the estimator in the right-censoring setting. Simulation studies are conducted to investigate the empirical properties of the proposed estimator and the corresponding variance estimator. We demonstrate the method on the Beaver Dam Eye Study data, where the expected human lifetime is modeled with smoothing-spline ANOVA given the covariates information including sex, lifestyle factors, and disease variables. PMID:26371300

  16. Individual differences in common factors of emotional traits and executive functions predict functional connectivity of the amygdala.

    PubMed

    Rohr, C S; Dreyer, F R; Aderka, I M; Margulies, D S; Frisch, S; Villringer, A; Okon-Singer, H

    2015-10-15

    Evidence suggests that individual differences in emotion control are associated with frontoparietal-limbic networks and linked to emotional traits and executive functions. In a first attempt to directly target the link between emotional traits and executive functions using resting-state fMRI analysis, 43 healthy adults completed a test battery including executive tasks and emotional trait self-assessments that were subjected to a principal component analysis. Of the three factors detected, two explained 40.4% of the variance and were further investigated. Both factors suggest a relation between emotional traits and executive functions. Specifically, the first factor consisted of measures related to inhibitory control and negative affect, and the second factor was related to reward and positive affect. To investigate whether this interplay between emotional traits and executive functions is reflected in neural connectivity, we used resting-state fMRI to explore the functional connectivity of the amygdala as a starting point, and progressed to other seed-based analyses based on the initial findings. We found that the first factor predicted the strength of connectivity between brain regions known to be involved in the cognitive control of emotion, including the amygdala and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, whereas the second factor predicted the strength of connectivity between brain regions known to be involved in reward and attention, including the amygdala, the caudate and the thalamus. These findings suggest that individual differences in the ability to inhibit negative affect are mediated by prefrontal-limbic pathways, while the ability to be positive and use rewarding information is mediated by a network that includes the amygdala and thalamostriatal regions. PMID:26108101

  17. Genome size and longevity in fish.

    PubMed

    Griffith, O L; Moodie, G E E; Civetta, A

    2003-03-01

    The wide variety of genome sizes (measured as C-value) observed across taxa is not related to organismal complexity or number of coding genes. Partial answers to this C-value enigma have been found by establishing associations between C-value and particular phenotypic characteristics. One such controversial association has been recently suggested between genome size and longevity in birds. In order to determine whether genome size is a general predictor of longevity, we have extended the analysis to the Actinoptergyian fish, a widely divergent group in terms of both longevity and genome size. We collected data on genome size, longevity and body mass for species covering fourteen orders of bony fish. Analysis of covariance using order as a cofactor shows a significant effect of genome size on longevity (corrected for body mass), with lifespan increasing as a function of genome size. Analysis of phylogenetically independent contrasts for orders with a large number of species with a well resolved phylogenetic relationship (Acipenseriformes, Cypriniformes, and Salmoniformes) found the same trend of longer lifespan with increases in genome size but the relationship was not significant. Our results consistently show an increase in lifespan for fish with larger genomes. PMID:12581799

  18. Plasticity in plant functional traits is shaped by variability in neighbourhood species composition.

    PubMed

    Abakumova, Maria; Zobel, Kristjan; Lepik, Anu; Semchenko, Marina

    2016-07-01

    Plant functional traits can vary widely as a result of phenotypic plasticity to abiotic conditions. Trait variation may also reflect responses to the identity of neighbours, although not all species are equally responsive to their biotic surroundings. We hypothesized that responses to neighbours are shaped by spatial community patterns and resulting variability in neighbour composition. More precisely, we tested the theoretical prediction that plasticity is most likely to evolve if alternative environments (in this case, different neighbour species) are common and encountered at similar frequencies. We estimated the frequencies of encountering different neighbour species in the field for 27 grassland species and measured the aboveground morphological responses of each species to conspecific vs heterospecific neighbours in a common garden. Responses to neighbour identity were dependent on how frequently the experimental neighbours were encountered by the focal species in their home community, with the greatest plasticity observed in species that encountered both neighbours (conspecific and heterospecific) with high and even frequency. Biotic interactions with neighbouring species can impose selection on plasticity in functional traits, which may feed back through trait divergence and niche differentiation to influence species coexistence and community structure. PMID:26996338

  19. A Neuropsychological Study of Personality: Trait Openness in Relation to Intelligence, Fluency, and Executive Functioning

    PubMed Central

    Schretlen, David J.; van der Hulst, Egberdina J.; Pearlson, Godfrey D.; Gordon, Barry

    2010-01-01

    Openness is a personality trait that has been linked to intelligence and divergent thinking. DeYoung, Peterson, and Higgins (2005) theorized that trait Openness depends on dopamine function, especially in the prefrontal cortex. We tested their theory in 335 healthy adults by hypothesizing that individual differences in Openness would correlate more strongly with performance on tests of executive function than on tests of intelligence and fluency. However, Openness correlated more strongly with verbal/crystallized intelligence (Gc; r=0.44) than with executive functioning (r=0.16) and fluency (r=0.24). Further, the partial correlation between Openness and Gc increased from r=0.26 among young adults to r=0.53 among elderly adults. These findings suggest that Openness is more closely associated with the acquisition of broad verbal intellectual skills and knowledge than with executive abilities localized to a specific brain region or neurotransmitter system. PMID:20408002

  20. Plant diversity and root traits benefit physical properties key to soil function in grasslands.

    PubMed

    Gould, Iain J; Quinton, John N; Weigelt, Alexandra; De Deyn, Gerlinde B; Bardgett, Richard D

    2016-09-01

    Plant diversity loss impairs ecosystem functioning, including important effects on soil. Most studies that have explored plant diversity effects belowground, however, have largely focused on biological processes. As such, our understanding of how plant diversity impacts the soil physical environment remains limited, despite the fundamental role soil physical structure plays in ensuring soil function and ecosystem service provision. Here, in both a glasshouse and a long-term field study, we show that high plant diversity in grassland systems increases soil aggregate stability, a vital structural property of soil, and that root traits play a major role in determining diversity effects. We also reveal that the presence of particular plant species within mixed communities affects an even wider range of soil physical processes, including hydrology and soil strength regimes. Our results indicate that alongside well-documented effects on ecosystem functioning, plant diversity and root traits also benefit essential soil physical properties. PMID:27459206

  1. Functional Multi-Locus QTL Mapping of Temporal Trends in Scots Pine Wood Traits

    PubMed Central

    Li, Zitong; Hallingbäck, Henrik R.; Abrahamsson, Sara; Fries, Anders; Gull, Bengt Andersson; Sillanpää, Mikko J.; García-Gil, M. Rosario

    2014-01-01

    Quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping of wood properties in conifer species has focused on single time point measurements or on trait means based on heterogeneous wood samples (e.g., increment cores), thus ignoring systematic within-tree trends. In this study, functional QTL mapping was performed for a set of important wood properties in increment cores from a 17-yr-old Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) full-sib family with the aim of detecting wood trait QTL for general intercepts (means) and for linear slopes by increasing cambial age. Two multi-locus functional QTL analysis approaches were proposed and their performances were compared on trait datasets comprising 2 to 9 time points, 91 to 455 individual tree measurements and genotype datasets of amplified length polymorphisms (AFLP), and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers. The first method was a multilevel LASSO analysis whereby trend parameter estimation and QTL mapping were conducted consecutively; the second method was our Bayesian linear mixed model whereby trends and underlying genetic effects were estimated simultaneously. We also compared several different hypothesis testing methods under either the LASSO or the Bayesian framework to perform QTL inference. In total, five and four significant QTL were observed for the intercepts and slopes, respectively, across wood traits such as earlywood percentage, wood density, radial fiberwidth, and spiral grain angle. Four of these QTL were represented by candidate gene SNPs, thus providing promising targets for future research in QTL mapping and molecular function. Bayesian and LASSO methods both detected similar sets of QTL given datasets that comprised large numbers of individuals. PMID:25305041

  2. Explaining forest productivity using tree functional traits and phylogenetic information: two sides of the same coin over evolutionary scale?

    PubMed Central

    Paquette, Alain; Joly, Simon; Messier, Christian

    2015-01-01

    Given evidences that diverse ecosystems provide more services than depauperate ones, much attention has now turned toward finding meaningful and operational diversity indices. We ask two questions: (1) Does phylogenetic diversity contain additional information not explained by functional traits? And (2) What are the strength and nature of the correlation between phylogeny and functional traits according to the evolutionary scale considered? We used data from permanent forest plots of northeastern Canada for which these links have been demonstrated and important functional traits identified. We show that the nature of the relationship between traits and phylogeny varies dramatically among traits, but also according to the evolutionary distance considered. The demonstration that different characters show phylogenetic autocorrelation at different evolutionary depths suggests that phylogenetic content of traits may be too crude to determine whether phylogenies contain relevant information. However, our study provides support for the use of phylogenies to assess ecosystem functioning when key functional traits are unavailable. We also highlight a potentially important contribution of phylogenetics for conservation and the study of the impact of biodiversity loss on ecosystem functioning and the provision of services, given the accumulating evidence that mechanisms promoting diversity effects shift over time to involve different traits. PMID:26140194

  3. Quantitative trait locus mapping and functional genomics of an organophosphate resistance trait in the western corn rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The western corn rootworm (WCR), Diabrotica virgifera virgifera, is an insect pest of corn, and population suppression with chemical insecticides is an important management tool. Traits conferring organophosphate insecticide resistance have increased in frequency among WCR populations, resulting in...

  4. Determination of longevities, chamber building rates and growth functions for Operculina complanata from long term cultivation experiments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Woeger, Julia; Kinoshita, Shunichi; Wolfgang, Eder; Briguglio, Antonino; Hohenegger, Johann

    2016-04-01

    Operculina complanata was collected in 20 and 50 m depth around the Island of Sesoko belonging to Japans southernmost prefecture Okinawa in a series of monthly sampling over a period of 16 months (Apr.2014-July2015). A minimum of 8 specimens (4 among the smallest and 4 among the largest) per sampling were cultured in a long term experiment that was set up to approximate conditions in the field as closely as possible. A set up allowing recognition of individual specimens enabled consistent documentation of chamber formation, which in combination with μ-CT-scanning after the investigation period permitted the assignment of growth steps to specific time periods. These data were used to fit various mathematical models to describe growth (exponential-, logistic-, generalized logistic-, Gompertz-function) and chamber building rate (Michaelis-Menten-, Bertalanffy- function) of Operculina complanata. The mathematically retrieved maximum lifespan and mean chamber building rate found in cultured Operculina complanata were further compared to first results obtained by the simultaneously conducted "natural laboratory approach". Even though these comparisons hint at a somewhat stunted growth and truncated life spans of Operculina complanata in culture, they represent a possibility to assess and improve the quality of further cultivation set ups, opening new prospects to a better understanding of the their theoretical niches.

  5. Functional traits determine plant co-occurrence more than environment or evolutionary relatedness in global drylands

    PubMed Central

    Soliveres, Santiago; Maestre, Fernando T.; Bowker, Matthew A.; Torices, Rubén; Quero, José L.; García-Gómez, Miguel; Cabrera, Omar; Cea, Alex; Coaguila, Daniel; Eldridge, David J.; Espinosa, Carlos I.; Hemmings, Frank; Monerris, Jorge J.; Tighe, Matthew; Delgado-Baquerizo, Manuel; Escolar, Cristina; García-Palacios, Pablo; Gozalo, Beatriz; Ochoa, Victoria; Blones, Julio; Derak, Mchich; Ghiloufi, Wahida; Gutiérrez, Julio R.; Hernández, Rosa M.; Noumi, Zouhaier

    2015-01-01

    Plant-plant interactions are driven by environmental conditions, evolutionary relationships (ER) and the functional traits of the plants involved. However, studies addressing the relative importance of these drivers are rare, but crucial to improve our predictions of the effects of plant-plant interactions on plant communities and of how they respond to differing environmental conditions. To analyze the relative importance of –and interrelationships among– these factors as drivers of plant-plant interactions, we analyzed perennial plant co-occurrence at 106 dryland plant communities established across rainfall gradients in nine countries. We used structural equation modeling to disentangle the relationships between environmental conditions (aridity and soil fertility), functional traits extracted from the literature, and ER, and to assess their relative importance as drivers of the 929 pairwise plant-plant co-occurrence levels measured. Functional traits, specifically facilitated plants’ height and nurse growth form, were of primary importance, and modulated the effect of the environment and ER on plant-plant interactions. Environmental conditions and ER were important mainly for those interactions involving woody and graminoid nurses, respectively. The relative importance of different plant-plant interaction drivers (ER, functional traits, and the environment) varied depending on the region considered, illustrating the difficulty of predicting the outcome of plant-plant interactions at broader spatial scales. In our global-scale study on drylands, plant-plant interactions were more strongly related to functional traits of the species involved than to the environmental variables considered. Thus, moving to a trait-based facilitation/competition approach help to predict that: 1) positive plant-plant interactions are more likely to occur for taller facilitated species in drylands, and 2) plant-plant interactions within woody-dominated ecosystems might be more

  6. Association of vitamin D receptor with longevity and healthy aging.

    PubMed

    Najmi Varzaneh, Farnaz; Sharifi, Farshad; Hossein-Nezhad, Arash; Mirarefin, Mojde; Maghbooli, Zhila; Ghaderpanahi, Maryam; Larijani, Bagher; Fakhrzadeh, Hossein

    2013-01-01

    Longevity is a multifaceted trait in which variety of genes and environmental factors are involved. Newly, the role of vitamin D has been revived regarding its potential advantage on delaying the aging process. Vitamin D exerts its effect through vitamin D receptor (VDR). VDR-FokI is the only polymorphism which alters the VDR length. We examined the frequency of FokI genotypes in old age population as compared to young adults to determine the discerning genotype of FokI polymorphism leading to longer living. In addition, to highlight the position of FokІ polymorphism in quality of life; a cognitive function assessment was performed. 728 participants participated in this study of which 166 individuals were elderly residents of Kahrizak Charity Foundation. The rest were participants of Iranian Multicenter Osteoporosis Study (IMOS). Genomic DNA was extracted from peripheral blood and VDR genotype was detected by the polymerase chain reaction. The participants in the elderly group underwent a cognitive function assessment. Cognitive function was measured with the mini mental state examination (MMSE). Data were analyzed by SPSS 16.5. The prevalence of ff genotype showed 48% decrease in elderly population as compared to young adults (P=0.06). In addition, F allele was over-represented in the elderly group as compared to controls (P=0.05). Also, "FF" participants of elderly group had higher MMSE as compared to "ff" genotype (18.16Vs17.12). Our data suggest that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in FokI may be possibly involved in longevity and cognitive function. PMID:23690102

  7. Relationships between Community Level Functional Traits of Trees and Seedlings during Secondary Succession in a Tropical Lowland Rainforest.

    PubMed

    Lu, XingHui; Zang, RunGuo; Huang, JiHong

    2015-01-01

    Most of the previous studies on functional traits focus exclusively on either seedlings or trees. Little knowledge exists on the relationships between community level functional traits of trees and seedlings during succession. Here, we examine variations of the community-level functional traits for trees and seedlings and their correlations along a secondary successional and environmental gradient in a tropical lowland rainforest after shifting cultivation. The results showed that the dynamic patterns in community level functional traits of seedlings were generally consistent with those of the trees during secondary succession. Compared with seedlings, community level traits for trees were less affected by abiotic factors during secondary succession. Correlations between community level functional traits of trees and seedlings were significant for: leaf dry matter content and leaf nitrogen concentration in the 18-year-old fallow; leaf chlorophyll content in the 30-year-old fallow; specific leaf area, leaf dry matter content and leaf nitrogen concentration in the 60-year-old fallow; and leaf nitrogen concentration in old growth. However, these traits except specific leaf area for the tree and seedling communities were all significantly correlated if all the successional stages were combined. Our results suggest that the correlations between community level functional traits of trees and those of seedlings depend on the actual traits and the successional stages examined. However, if all the four successional stages are combined, then four out of five of the community level functional traits for trees could be well predicted by those of the seedlings in the tropical lowland rain forest. PMID:26172543

  8. Relationships between Community Level Functional Traits of Trees and Seedlings during Secondary Succession in a Tropical Lowland Rainforest

    PubMed Central

    Lu, XingHui; Zang, RunGuo; Huang, JiHong

    2015-01-01

    Most of the previous studies on functional traits focus exclusively on either seedlings or trees. Little knowledge exists on the relationships between community level functional traits of trees and seedlings during succession. Here, we examine variations of the community-level functional traits for trees and seedlings and their correlations along a secondary successional and environmental gradient in a tropical lowland rainforest after shifting cultivation. The results showed that the dynamic patterns in community level functional traits of seedlings were generally consistent with those of the trees during secondary succession. Compared with seedlings, community level traits for trees were less affected by abiotic factors during secondary succession. Correlations between community level functional traits of trees and seedlings were significant for: leaf dry matter content and leaf nitrogen concentration in the 18-year-old fallow; leaf chlorophyll content in the 30-year-old fallow; specific leaf area, leaf dry matter content and leaf nitrogen concentration in the 60-year-old fallow; and leaf nitrogen concentration in old growth. However, these traits except specific leaf area for the tree and seedling communities were all significantly correlated if all the successional stages were combined. Our results suggest that the correlations between community level functional traits of trees and those of seedlings depend on the actual traits and the successional stages examined. However, if all the four successional stages are combined, then four out of five of the community level functional traits for trees could be well predicted by those of the seedlings in the tropical lowland rain forest. PMID:26172543

  9. Decreased Intra- and Inter-Salience Network Functional Connectivity is Related to Trait Anxiety in Adolescents

    PubMed Central

    Geng, Haiyang; Li, Xuebing; Chen, Jie; Li, Xinying; Gu, Ruolei

    2016-01-01

    Objective: Adolescence is a critical period for the vulnerability of anxiety. Imaging studies focusing on adolescents' susceptibility to anxiety suggest that the different development trajectories between the limbic system and the executive control system may play important roles in this phenomenon. However, few studies have explored the brain basis of this susceptibility from the perspective of functional networks. The salience network (SN) consists of a series of key limbic and prefrontal regions that are engaged in the development of anxiety, such as the amygdala, anterior insula (AI), and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC). Intra- and inter-network connections in this system play essential roles in bottom-up attention and top-down regulation of anxiety, nevertheless, little is known about whether the SN-centered connections are associated with trait anxiety (i.e., susceptibility to anxiety) in adolescents. Method: Here, we applied resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to explore the relationship between intra- and inter-network functional connectivity (FC) of the SN and trait anxiety in adolescents using the amygdala, AI and dACC as the regions of interest (ROI). Results: We found that trait anxiety levels were inversely associated with both characteristic AI-dACC FC in the SN and distributed inter-network FC between the SN and multiple functional systems, which included the default mode network and the executive control network. Conclusions: Our results indicate that weaker intra- and inter-network FC of the SN was linked to higher trait anxiety among adolescents, and it may underlie altered salience processing and cognitive regulation. PMID:26834594

  10. Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBV) and Plant Functional Traits (PFT) from Hyperspectral Remote Sensing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Skidmore, A. K.

    2013-12-01

    Through the development of variables (EBVs), policy and scientific bodies such as IPBES and GEOSS seek consensus around which essential biodiversity variables could form the basis of a global monitoring program for biodiversity. It is argued that essential climate variables (ECVs) can be calculated directly or indirectly from remotely sensed data. However a number of the proposed essential biodiversity variables essential biodiversity variables are challenging to derive from remote sensing. In this presentation, the derivation of plant functional traits (PFTs) using hyperspectral remote sensing is explored. The plant functional traits are then examined as a proxy for a number of the proposed essential biodiversity variables. For example, suitable plant functional traits that may be used as proxies for essential biodiversity variables include ecosystem extent, species occurrence, cover (biomass, LAI, plant height) and leaf nitrogen content. The accurate derivation of plant functional traits from hyperspectral remote sensing using empirical as well as radiatve transfer models is described at a local scale. Radiative transfer models explain the transfer and interaction of radiation inside vegetation canopies based on physical laws, offering an explicit connection between biophysical and biochemical variables and canopy reflectance. However, specificity to local conditions limits the applicability of physical and empirical models to other regions - in other words the generalization of physical models to larger extents require information to constrain the parameter range. The generalization of physical models is a problem particularly where plant species heterogeneity limits accuracy. An emerging approach to generate essential biodiversity variables at a global level is to upscale empirical models. A possible solution to the problem of transferability and upscaling of both empirical and physical model approaches for essential biodiversity variables is to add data driven

  11. Multi-taxa approach shows consistent shifts in arthropod functional traits along grassland land-use intensity gradient.

    PubMed

    Simons, Nadja K; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Gossner, Martin M

    2016-03-01

    Intensification of land use reduces biodiversity but may also shift the trait composition of communities. Understanding how land use affects single traits and community trait composition, helps to understand why some species are more affected by land use than others. Trait-based analyses are common for plants, but rare for arthropods. We collected literature-based traits for nearly 1000 insect and spider species to test how land- use intensity (including mowing, fertilization, and grazing) across 124 grasslands in three regions of Germany affects community-weighted mean traits across taxa and in single taxa. We additionally measured morphometric traits for more than 150 Heteroptera species and tested whether the weighted mean morphometric traits change with increasing land-use intensity. Community average body size decreased and community average dispersal ability increased from low to high land-use intensity. Furthermore, the relative abundance of herbivores and of specialists among herbivores decreased and the relative abundance of species using the herb layer increased with increasing land-use intensity. Community-weighted means of the morphometric traits in Heteroptera also changed from low to high land-use intensity toward longer and thinner shapes as well as longer appendices (legs, wings, and antenna). While changes in traits with increasing mowing and fertilization intensity were consistent with the combined land-use intensity, community average traits did often not change or with opposite direction under increasing grazing intensity. We conclude that high land-use intensity acts as an environmental filter selecting for on average smaller, more mobile, and less specialized species across taxa. Although trait collection across multiple arthropod taxa is laborious and needs clear trait definitions, it is essential for understanding the functional consequences of biodiversity loss due to land-use intensification. PMID:27197401

  12. Immune Investment Is Explained by Sexual Selection and Pace-of-Life, but Not Longevity in Parrots (Psittaciformes)

    PubMed Central

    Edwards, Darryl B.

    2012-01-01

    Investment in current reproduction should come at the expense of traits promoting future reproduction, such as immunity and longevity. To date, comparative studies of pace-of-life traits have provided some support for this, with slower paced species having greater immune function. Another means of investment in current reproduction is through secondary sexual characters (SSC). Investment in SSC's is considered costly, both in terms of immunity and longevity, with greater costs being borne by species with more elaborate traits. Yet within species, females prefer more ornate males and those males are typically immunologically superior. Because of this, predictions about the relationship between immunity and SSC's across species are not clear. If traits are costly, brighter species should have reduced immune function, but the opposite is true if SSC's arise from selection for more immunocompetent individuals. My approach was to investigate immune investment in relation to SSC's, pace-of-life and longevity while considering potentially confounding ecological factors. To do so I assessed leukocyte counts from in a novel group, the Psittaciformes. Investment in SSC's best explained investment in immunity: species with brighter plumage had higher leukocyte counts and those with a greater degree of sexual dichromatism had fewer. Ecological variables and pace-of-life models tended to be poor predictors of immune investment. However, shorter incubation periods were associated with lower leukocyte counts supporting the notion that species with a fast pace-of-life invest less in immunity. These results suggest that investment in reproduction in terms of fast pace-of-life and sexual dichromatism results in reduced immunity; however, investment in plumage colour per se does not impose a cost on immunity across species. PMID:23300862

  13. Bower-building behaviour is associated with increased sperm longevity in Tanganyikan cichlids.

    PubMed

    Morita, M; Awata, S; Yorifuji, M; Ota, K; Kohda, M; Ochi, H

    2014-12-01

    We investigated the evolutionary relationship between spawning behaviour and sperm motility traits among Tanganyikan mouth-brooding cichlid species that have developed diverse mating behaviours and male sexual traits. Mouth-brooding behaviour is common among these fish, but different species demonstrate a range of spawning behaviours, bower construction, male sexual traits and timing of gamete release. We observed spawning behaviours and compared sperm motility traits of 28 Tanganyikan mouth-brooding cichlids to elucidate the evolutionary correlations between these traits. Sperm longevity was considerably longer in bower-building species that construct crater-shaped spawning sites compared with species that do not build bowers. Male bower builders released sperm in the pit of the bower prior to spawning, and the time from ejaculation to fertilization was longer. Conversely, most mouth-brooding cichlids deposited semen directly into the female buccal cavity, and spawned eggs were immediately picked up to be placed inside the cavity; thus, the time from ejaculation to fertilization was short. These observations suggest that increased sperm longevity is favoured in bower builders. Comparative phylogenetic analyses suggested that bower-building behaviour and greater time from ejaculation to fertilization are associated with the extension of sperm longevity, whereas sperm competition rank does not play a major role. In addition, bower-building behaviour preceded the emergence of increased sperm longevity. These results indicate that the extension of sperm longevity as a result of the emergence of bower builders may have acted as an evolutionary attractor for sperm longevity. PMID:25330280

  14. Power estimation for gene-longevity association analysis using concordant twins.

    PubMed

    Tan, Qihua; Zhao, Jing Hua; Kruse, Torben; Christensen, Kaare

    2014-01-01

    Statistical power is one of the major concerns in genetic association studies. Related individuals such as twins are valuable samples for genetic studies because of their genetic relatedness. Phenotype similarity in twin pairs provides evidence of genetic control over the phenotype variation in a population. The genetic association study on human longevity, a complex trait that is under control of both genetic and environmental factors, has been confronted by the small sample sizes of longevity subjects which limit statistical power. Twin pairs concordant for longevity have increased probability for carrying beneficial genes and thus are useful samples for gene-longevity association analysis. We conducted a computer simulation to estimate the power of association study using longevity concordant twin pairs. We observed remarkable power increases in using singletons from longevity concordant twin pairs as cases in comparison with cases of sporadic proband. A similar power would require doubled sample sizes for fraternal twins than for identical twins who are concordant for longevity suggesting that longevity concordant identical twins are more efficient samples than fraternal twins. We also observed an approximate of 2- to 3-fold increase in sample sizes needed for longevity cutoff at age 90 as compared with that at age 95. Overall, our results showed high value of twins in genetic association studies on human longevity. PMID:25309757

  15. Auditory Multi-Stability: Idiosyncratic Perceptual Switching Patterns, Executive Functions and Personality Traits

    PubMed Central

    Farkas, Dávid; Denham, Susan L.; Bendixen, Alexandra; Tóth, Dénes; Kondo, Hirohito M.; Winkler, István

    2016-01-01

    Multi-stability refers to the phenomenon of perception stochastically switching between possible interpretations of an unchanging stimulus. Despite considerable variability, individuals show stable idiosyncratic patterns of switching between alternative perceptions in the auditory streaming paradigm. We explored correlates of the individual switching patterns with executive functions, personality traits, and creativity. The main dimensions on which individual switching patterns differed from each other were identified using multidimensional scaling. Individuals with high scores on the dimension explaining the largest portion of the inter-individual variance switched more often between the alternative perceptions than those with low scores. They also perceived the most unusual interpretation more often, and experienced all perceptual alternatives with a shorter delay from stimulus onset. The ego-resiliency personality trait, which reflects a tendency for adaptive flexibility and experience seeking, was significantly positively related to this dimension. Taking these results together we suggest that this dimension may reflect the individual’s tendency for exploring the auditory environment. Executive functions were significantly related to some of the variables describing global properties of the switching patterns, such as the average number of switches. Thus individual patterns of perceptual switching in the auditory streaming paradigm are related to some personality traits and executive functions. PMID:27135945

  16. [Frost-resistance of subtropical evergreen woody plants: an evaluation based on plant functional traits].

    PubMed

    Xu, Yi-Lu; Yang, Xiao-Dong; Xu, Yue; Xie, Yi-Ming; Wang, Liang-Yan; Yan, En-Rong

    2012-12-01

    Evaluating the frost-resistance of evergreen woody plants is of significance in guiding the species selection in forest management in subtropical region. In this paper, an investigation was made on the functional traits (including specific leaf area, stem wood density, leaf area, leaf dry matter content, leaf relative electrical conductance, and twig wood density) of 64 common evergreen broad-leaved and coniferous woody plant species in the Ningbo region of Zhejiang Province, East China, after a severe snowstorm in early 2008, aimed to select the evergreen woody plants with high ability of freeze-tolerance, and to establish a related evaluation system. By using a hierarchy analysis approach, the weight values of the functional traits of each species were determined, and an index system for evaluating the plants tolerance ability against freeze and mechanical damage was established. Based on this system, 23 evergreen plant species with high tolerance ability against freeze and mechanical damage, such as Cyclobalanopsis gilva, Cyclobalanopsis nubium, Neolitsea aurata, and Vacciniuim mandarinorum, were selected. In the meantime, on the basis of the ordering with each of the functional traits, the ordering of the tolerance ability of the 64 plant species against freeze and mechanical damage was made, and a list for the frost-resistance ability of the subtropical evergreen woody plant species in Ningbo region was constituted. PMID:23479868

  17. Phylogenetic Distribution of Leaf Spectra and Optically Derived Functional Traits in the American Oaks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cavender-Bares, J.; Meireles, J. E.; Couture, J. J.; Kaproth, M.; Townsend, P. A.

    2015-12-01

    Detecting functional traits of species, genotypes and phylogenetic lineages is critical in monitoring functional biodiversity remotely. We examined the phylogenetic distribution of leaf spectra across the American Oaks for 35 species under greenhouse conditions as well as genetic variation in leaf spectra across Central American populations of a single species grown in common gardens in Honduras. We found significant phylogenetic signal in the leaf spectra (Blomberg's K > 1.0), indicating similarity in spectra among close relatives. Across species, full range leaf spectra were used in a Partial Least Squares Discriminant Analysis (PLS-DA) that allowed species calibration (kappa statistic = 0.55). Validation of the model used to detect species (kappa statistic = 0.4) indicated reasonably good detection of individual species within the same the genus. Among four populations from Belize, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Mexico within a single species (Quercus oleoides), leaf spectra were also able to differentiate populations. Ordination of population-level data using dissimilarities of predicted foliar traits, including leaf mass per area (LMA), lignin content, fiber content, chlorophyll a+b, and C:N ratio in genotypes in either watered or unwatered conditions showed significant differentiation among populations and treatments. These results provide promise for remote detection and differentiation of plant functional traits among plant phylogenetic lineages and genotypes, even among closely related populations and species.

  18. Disgust trait modulates frontal-posterior coupling as a function of disgust domain

    PubMed Central

    de Jong, Peter J.; Renken, Remco J.; Georgiadis, Janniko R.

    2013-01-01

    Following the two-stage model of disgust, ‘core disgust’ (e.g. elicited by rotten food) is extended to stimuli that remind us of our animal nature ‘AR disgust’ (e.g. mutilations, animalistic instincts). There is ample evidence that core and AR represent distinct domains of disgust elicitors. Moreover, people show large differences in their tendency to respond with disgust to potential disgust elicitors (propensity), as well as in their appraisal of experiencing disgust (sensitivity). Thus these traits may be important moderators of people's response patterns. Here, we aimed to find brain mechanisms associated with these distinct disgust domains and traits, as well as the interaction between them. The right ventrolateral occipitotemporal cortex, which preferentially responded to visual AR, was functionally coupled to the middle cingulate cortex (MCC), thalamus and prefrontal cortex (medial, dorsolateral), as a function of disgust domain. Coupling with the anterior part of MCC was modulated by disgust ‘propensity’, which was strongest during AR. Coupling with anterior insula and ventral premotor cortex was weaker, but relied fully on this domain–trait interaction. Disgust ‘sensitivity’ modulated left anterior insula activity irrespective of domain, and did not affect functional connectivity. Thus a frontal-posterior network that interacts with disgust ‘propensity’ dissects AR and core disgust. PMID:22258801

  19. Plant species richness and functional traits affect community stability after a flood event.

    PubMed

    Fischer, Felícia M; Wright, Alexandra J; Eisenhauer, Nico; Ebeling, Anne; Roscher, Christiane; Wagg, Cameron; Weigelt, Alexandra; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Pillar, Valério D

    2016-05-19

    Climate change is expected to increase the frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events. It is therefore of major importance to identify the community attributes that confer stability in ecological communities during such events. In June 2013, a flood event affected a plant diversity experiment in Central Europe (Jena, Germany). We assessed the effects of plant species richness, functional diversity, flooding intensity and community means of functional traits on different measures of stability (resistance, resilience and raw biomass changes from pre-flood conditions). Surprisingly, plant species richness reduced community resistance in response to the flood. This was mostly because more diverse communities grew more immediately following the flood. Raw biomass increased over the previous year; this resulted in decreased absolute value measures of resistance. There was no clear response pattern for resilience. We found that functional traits drove these changes in raw biomass: communities with a high proportion of late-season, short-statured plants with dense, shallow roots and small leaves grew more following the flood. Late-growing species probably avoided the flood, whereas greater root length density might have allowed species to better access soil resources brought from the flood, thus growing more in the aftermath. We conclude that resource inputs following mild floods may favour the importance of traits related to resource acquisition and be less associated with flooding tolerance. PMID:27114578

  20. Auditory Multi-Stability: Idiosyncratic Perceptual Switching Patterns, Executive Functions and Personality Traits.

    PubMed

    Farkas, Dávid; Denham, Susan L; Bendixen, Alexandra; Tóth, Dénes; Kondo, Hirohito M; Winkler, István

    2016-01-01

    Multi-stability refers to the phenomenon of perception stochastically switching between possible interpretations of an unchanging stimulus. Despite considerable variability, individuals show stable idiosyncratic patterns of switching between alternative perceptions in the auditory streaming paradigm. We explored correlates of the individual switching patterns with executive functions, personality traits, and creativity. The main dimensions on which individual switching patterns differed from each other were identified using multidimensional scaling. Individuals with high scores on the dimension explaining the largest portion of the inter-individual variance switched more often between the alternative perceptions than those with low scores. They also perceived the most unusual interpretation more often, and experienced all perceptual alternatives with a shorter delay from stimulus onset. The ego-resiliency personality trait, which reflects a tendency for adaptive flexibility and experience seeking, was significantly positively related to this dimension. Taking these results together we suggest that this dimension may reflect the individual's tendency for exploring the auditory environment. Executive functions were significantly related to some of the variables describing global properties of the switching patterns, such as the average number of switches. Thus individual patterns of perceptual switching in the auditory streaming paradigm are related to some personality traits and executive functions. PMID:27135945

  1. Genotypic variation in traits linked to climate and aboveground productivity in a widespread C4 grass: Evidence for a functional trait syndrome

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Growth and leaf functional trait variation among genotypes of a geographically widespread dominant species could provide insight into mechanisms of local adaptation and may be important for predicting species and ecosystem responses to environmental change. Under common garden conditions, we grew n...

  2. Internally driven alternation of functional traits in a multispecies predator-prey system.

    PubMed

    Tirok, Katrin; Gaedke, Ursula

    2010-06-01

    The individual functional traits of different species play a key role for ecosystem function in aquatic and terrestrial systems. We modeled a multispecies predator-prey system with functionally different predator and prey species based on observations of the community dynamics of ciliates and their algal prey in Lake Constance. The model accounted for differences in predator feeding preferences and prey susceptibility to predation, and for the respective trade-offs. A low food demand of the predator was connected to a high food selectivity, and a high growth rate of the prey was connected to a high vulnerability to grazing. The data and the model did not show standard uniform predator-prey cycles, but revealed both complex dynamics and a coexistence of predator and prey at high biomass levels. These dynamics resulted from internally driven alternations in species densities and involved compensatory dynamics between functionally different species. Functional diversity allowed for ongoing adaptation of the predator and prey communities to changing environmental conditions such as food composition and grazing pressure. The trade-offs determined whether compensatory or synchronous dynamics occurred which influence the variability at the community level. Compensatory dynamics were promoted by a joint carrying capacity linking the different prey species which is particularly relevant at high prey biomasses, i.e., when grazers are less efficient. In contrast, synchronization was enhanced by the coupling of the different predator and prey species via common feeding links, e.g., by a high grazing pressure of a nonselective predator. The communities had to be functionally diverse in terms of their trade-offs and their traits to yield compensatory dynamics. Rather similar predator species tended to cycle synchronously, whereas profoundly different species did not coexist. Compensatory dynamics at the community level thus required intermediately strong tradeoffs for functional

  3. Core functional traits of bacterial communities in the Upper Mississippi River show limited variation in response to land cover

    PubMed Central

    Staley, Christopher; Gould, Trevor J.; Wang, Ping; Phillips, Jane; Cotner, James B.; Sadowsky, Michael J.

    2014-01-01

    Taxonomic characterization of environmental microbial communities via high-throughput DNA sequencing has revealed that patterns in microbial biogeography affect community structure. However, shifts in functional diversity related to variation in taxonomic composition are poorly understood. To overcome limitations due to the prohibitive cost of high-depth metagenomic sequencing, tools to infer functional diversity based on phylogenetic distributions of functional traits have been developed. In this study we characterized functional microbial diversity at 11 sites along the Mississippi River in Minnesota using both metagenomic sequencing and functional-inference-based (PICRUSt) approaches. This allowed us to determine how distance and variation in land cover throughout the river influenced the distribution of functional traits, as well as to validate PICRUSt inferences. The distribution and abundance of functional traits, by metagenomic analysis, were similar among sites, with a median standard deviation of 0.0002% among tier 3 functions in KEGG. Overall inferred functional variation was significantly different (P ≤ 0.035) between two water basins surrounded by agricultural vs. developed land cover, and abundances of bacterial orders that correlated with functional traits by metagenomic analysis were greater where abundances of the trait were inferred to be higher. PICRUSt inferences were significantly correlated (r = 0.147, P = 1.80 × 10−30) with metagenomic annotations. Discrepancies between metagenomic and PICRUSt taxonomic-functional relationships, however, suggested potential functional redundancy among abundant and rare taxa that impeded the ability to accurately assess unique functional traits among rare taxa at this sequencing depth. Results of this study suggest that a suite of “core functional traits” is conserved throughout the river and distributions of functional traits, rather than specific taxa, may shift in response to environmental

  4. Acetic Acid Bacteria Genomes Reveal Functional Traits for Adaptation to Life in Insect Guts

    PubMed Central

    Chouaia, Bessem; Gaiarsa, Stefano; Crotti, Elena; Comandatore, Francesco; Degli Esposti, Mauro; Ricci, Irene; Alma, Alberto; Favia, Guido; Bandi, Claudio; Daffonchio, Daniele

    2014-01-01

    Acetic acid bacteria (AAB) live in sugar rich environments, including food matrices, plant tissues, and the gut of sugar-feeding insects. By comparing the newly sequenced genomes of Asaia platycodi and Saccharibacter sp., symbionts of Anopheles stephensi and Apis mellifera, respectively, with those of 14 other AAB, we provide a genomic view of the evolutionary pattern of this bacterial group and clues on traits that explain the success of AAB as insect symbionts. A specific pre-adaptive trait, cytochrome bo3 ubiquinol oxidase, appears ancestral in AAB and shows a phylogeny that is congruent with that of the genomes. The functional properties of this terminal oxidase might have allowed AAB to adapt to the diverse oxygen levels of arthropod guts. PMID:24682158

  5. Experimentally reduced root–microbe interactions reveal limited plasticity in functional root traits in Acer and Quercus

    PubMed Central

    Lee, Mei-Ho; Comas, Louise H.; Callahan, Hilary S.

    2014-01-01

    Background and Aims Interactions between roots and soil microbes are critical components of below-ground ecology. It is essential to quantify the magnitude of root trait variation both among and within species, including variation due to plasticity. In addition to contextualizing the magnitude of plasticity relative to differences between species, studies of plasticity can ascertain if plasticity is predictable and whether an environmental factor elicits changes in traits that are functionally advantageous. Methods To compare functional traits and trait plasticities in fine root tissues with natural and reduced levels of colonization by microbial symbionts, trimmed and surface-sterilized root segments of 2-year-old Acer rubrum and Quercus rubra seedlings were manipulated. Segments were then replanted into satellite pots filled with control or heat-treated soil, both originally derived from a natural forest. Mycorrhizal colonization was near zero in roots grown in heat-treated soil; roots grown in control soil matched the higher colonization levels observed in unmanipulated root samples collected from field locations. Key Results Between-treatment comparisons revealed negligible plasticity for root diameter, branching intensity and nitrogen concentration across both species. Roots from treated soils had decreased tissue density (approx. 10–20 %) and increased specific root length (approx. 10–30 %). In contrast, species differences were significant and greater than treatment effects in traits other than tissue density. Interspecific trait differences were also significant in field samples, which generally resembled greenhouse samples. Conclusions The combination of experimental and field approaches was useful for contextualizing trait plasticity in comparison with inter- and intra-specific trait variation. Findings that root traits are largely species dependent, with the exception of root tissue density, are discussed in the context of current literature on root

  6. Effects of grazing on leaf traits and ecosystem functioning in Inner Mongolia grasslands: scaling from species to community

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zheng, S. X.; Ren, H. Y.; Lan, Z. C.; Li, W. H.; Wang, K. B.; Bai, Y. F.

    2010-03-01

    Understanding the mechanistic links between environmental drivers, human disturbance, plant functional traits, and ecosystem properties is a fundamental aspect of biodiversity-ecosystem functioning research. Recent studies have focused mostly on leaf-level traits or community-level weighted traits to predict species responses to grazing and the consequent change in ecosystem functioning. However, studies of leaf-level traits or community-level weighted traits seldom identify the mechanisms linking grazing impact on leaf traits to ecosystem functioning. Here, using a multi-organization-level approach, we examined the effects of grazing on leaf traits (i.e., leaf area, leaf dry mass and specific leaf area) and ecosystem functioning across six communities of three vegetation types along a soil moisture gradient in the Xilin River Basin of Inner Mongolia grassland, China. Our results showed that the effects of grazing on leaf traits differed substantially when scaling up from leaf-level to species, functional group (i.e., life forms and water ecotype types), and community levels; and they also varied with vegetation type or site conditions. The effects of grazing on leaf traits diminished progressively along the hierarchy of organizational levels in the meadow, whereas the impacts were predominantly negative and the magnitude of the effects increased considerably at higher organizational levels in the typical steppe. Soil water and nutrient availability, functional trade-offs between leaf size and number of leaves per individual, and differentiation in avoidance and tolerance strategies among coexisting species are likely to be responsible for the observed responses of leaf traits to grazing at different levels of organization and among vegetation types. Our findings also demonstrate that, at both the functional group and community levels, standing aboveground biomass increased with leaf area and specific leaf area. Compared with the large changes in leaf traits and

  7. Naked Mole Rat Longevity — Possible Mechanism Identified —

    Cancer.gov

    University of Rochester researchers, who previously discovered a mechanism that may contribute to the species’ resistance to tumor formation, have announced that ribosome function may help account for the rats’ longevity.

  8. Emotional susceptibility trait modulates insula responses and functional connectivity in flavor processing

    PubMed Central

    Ebisch, Sjoerd J. H.; Bello, Annalisa; Spitoni, Grazia F.; Perrucci, Mauro G.; Gallese, Vittorio; Committeri, Giorgia; Pastorelli, Concetta; Pizzamiglio, Luigi

    2015-01-01

    The present study aimed at investigating the relationship between Emotional Susceptibility (ES), an aspect of the personality trait Neuroticism, and individual differences in the neural responses in anterior insula to primary sensory stimuli colored by affective valence, i.e., distasting or pleasantly tasting oral stimuli. In addition, it was studied whether intrinsic functional connectivity patterns of brain regions characterized by such differential responses could be related to ES. To this purpose 25 female participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging scanning, while being involved in a flavor experiment. During the experiment, flavor stimuli were administered consisting of small amounts of liquid with a different affective valence: neutral, pleasant, unpleasant. The results showed that individual differences in ES trait predicted distinct neural activity patterns to the different stimulus conditions in a region of left anterior insula that a previous meta-analysis revealed to be linked with olfacto-gustatory processing. Specifically, low ES was associated with enhanced neural responses to both pleasant and unpleasant stimuli, compared to neutral stimuli. By contrast, high ES participants showed equally strong neural responses to all types of stimuli without differentiating between the neutral and affective stimuli. Finally, during a task-free state, high ES trait appeared also to be related to decreased intrinsic functional connectivity between left anterior insula and left cerebellum. Our findings show that individual differences in ES are associated with differential anterior insula responses to primary sensory (flavor) stimuli as well as to intrinsic functional cortico-cerebellar connectivity, the latter suggesting a basis in the brain intrinsic functional architecture of the regulation of emotional experiences. PMID:26594159

  9. Emotional susceptibility trait modulates insula responses and functional connectivity in flavor processing.

    PubMed

    Ebisch, Sjoerd J H; Bello, Annalisa; Spitoni, Grazia F; Perrucci, Mauro G; Gallese, Vittorio; Committeri, Giorgia; Pastorelli, Concetta; Pizzamiglio, Luigi

    2015-01-01

    The present study aimed at investigating the relationship between Emotional Susceptibility (ES), an aspect of the personality trait Neuroticism, and individual differences in the neural responses in anterior insula to primary sensory stimuli colored by affective valence, i.e., distasting or pleasantly tasting oral stimuli. In addition, it was studied whether intrinsic functional connectivity patterns of brain regions characterized by such differential responses could be related to ES. To this purpose 25 female participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging scanning, while being involved in a flavor experiment. During the experiment, flavor stimuli were administered consisting of small amounts of liquid with a different affective valence: neutral, pleasant, unpleasant. The results showed that individual differences in ES trait predicted distinct neural activity patterns to the different stimulus conditions in a region of left anterior insula that a previous meta-analysis revealed to be linked with olfacto-gustatory processing. Specifically, low ES was associated with enhanced neural responses to both pleasant and unpleasant stimuli, compared to neutral stimuli. By contrast, high ES participants showed equally strong neural responses to all types of stimuli without differentiating between the neutral and affective stimuli. Finally, during a task-free state, high ES trait appeared also to be related to decreased intrinsic functional connectivity between left anterior insula and left cerebellum. Our findings show that individual differences in ES are associated with differential anterior insula responses to primary sensory (flavor) stimuli as well as to intrinsic functional cortico-cerebellar connectivity, the latter suggesting a basis in the brain intrinsic functional architecture of the regulation of emotional experiences. PMID:26594159

  10. 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

  11. Flow directionality, mountain barriers and functional traits determine diatom metacommunity structuring of high mountain streams

    PubMed Central

    Dong, Xiaoyu; Li, Bin; He, Fengzhi; Gu, Yuan; Sun, Meiqin; Zhang, Haomiao; Tan, Lu; Xiao, Wen; Liu, Shuoran; Cai, Qinghua

    2016-01-01

    Stream metacommunities are structured by a combination of local (environmental filtering) and regional (dispersal) processes. The unique characters of high mountain streams could potentially determine metacommunity structuring, which is currently poorly understood. Aiming at understanding how these characters influenced metacommunity structuring, we explored the relative importance of local environmental conditions and various dispersal processes, including through geographical (overland), topographical (across mountain barriers) and network (along flow direction) pathways in shaping benthic diatom communities. From a trait perspective, diatoms were categorized into high-profile, low-profile and motile guild to examine the roles of functional traits. Our results indicated that both environmental filtering and dispersal processes influenced metacommunity structuring, with dispersal contributing more than environmental processes. Among the three pathways, stream corridors were primary pathway. Deconstructive analysis suggested different responses to environmental and spatial factors for each of three ecological guilds. However, regardless of traits, dispersal among streams was limited by mountain barriers, while dispersal along stream was promoted by rushing flow in high mountain stream. Our results highlighted that directional processes had prevailing effects on metacommunity structuring in high mountain streams. Flow directionality, mountain barriers and ecological guilds contributed to a better understanding of the roles that mountains played in structuring metacommunity. PMID:27090223

  12. Development of functional trait biomarkers for trace metal exposure in freshwater clams (Musculium spp.).

    PubMed

    Schoonover, Cody M; Wieker, Jessica; Pope, Rachelle; Brown, Chelsea; Cooper, Emily; DeWitt, Jariel; Gunselman, Samuel; Jensen, Cory; Stevens, Whitney; Yri, Jenae; Nezat, Carmen; Joyner-Matos, Joanna

    2016-10-01

    Exposure to trace metals typically causes oxidative stress; these consequences are better-characterized in estuarine and marine species than in freshwater species. How cellular-level responses to metal pollution influence whole-organism and population-level traits is poorly understood. We tested whether exposure to single metals (zinc and cadmium) and to metal mixtures (water in equilibrium with sediment from a highly polluted lake) alters two ecologically-relevant traits in freshwater clams, locomotion and reproduction. Fingernail clams (Musculium spp.) from unimpacted habitats were exposed to single metals and the metal mixture for up to 49days. The single metal doses (≤5mg/L Zn and ≤20μg/L Cd) were not toxicologically meaningful as clam survival, burial, and climbing activity did not differ across treatments. Water in equilibrium with the lake sediment contained cadmium, copper, lead, and zinc. Clams exposed to this metal mixture had decreased climbing activity but no change in burial activity. Metal-exposed clams had lower fecundity (number of shelled juveniles extruded by adult clams) and patterns in metal accumulation corresponded with lake sediment dose and clam activity. In contrast to the functional traits, stress protein expression and whole-clam glycogen content did not vary across treatment groups. These results indicate that fingernail clams of the genus Musculium are appropriate for development as sentinel species for metal pollution and can serve as a model for determining how metal pollution alters metabolic allocation patterns in freshwater organisms. PMID:27085374

  13. Shifts in Functional Traits Elevate Risk of Fire-driven Tree Dieback in Tropical Savanna-forest Biomes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pellegrini, A.; Franco, A. C.; Hoffmann, W. A.

    2015-12-01

    Rising CO2 is predicted to accelerate the expansion of forests into savannas. Although encroaching forests can sequester carbon over the short-term, the carbon pools may become increasingly sensitive to fire due to a shift towards plant communities more susceptible to fire-driven dieback. We quantify how functional traits determine the ability of individual tree species to tolerate fire and subsequently determine the fire-sensitivity of ecosystem carbon across 180 plots throughout the 2.2-million km2 Cerrado region in Brazil. We find that accounting for variation in functional traits fundamentally changes fire-driven dieback predictions: savannas and forests switched from having similar amounts of potential carbon losses to forests containing substantially greater potential carbon losses when differences in functional traits were considered. In fact, we find that not accounting for variation in functional traits underestimated carbon losses in forests by ~50%, summing to an underestimation of 0.22PgC across the Cerrado region. In total, shifts in the fire sensitivity of forests due to changes in community composition and functional traits may offset a third of carbon gains during forest encroachment. These results illustrate that functional traits are critical for determining the climate-carbon-fire feedback in tropical savanna-forest biomes.

  14. Predicting Changes in Macrophyte Community Structure from Functional Traits in a Freshwater Lake: A Test of Maximum Entropy Model

    PubMed Central

    Fu, Hui; Zhong, Jiayou; Yuan, Guixiang; Guo, Chunjing; Lou, Qian; Zhang, Wei; Xu, Jun; Ni, Leyi; Xie, Ping; Cao, Te

    2015-01-01

    Trait-based approaches have been widely applied to investigate how community dynamics respond to environmental gradients. In this study, we applied a series of maximum entropy (maxent) models incorporating functional traits to unravel the processes governing macrophyte community structure along water depth gradient in a freshwater lake. We sampled 42 plots and 1513 individual plants, and measured 16 functional traits and abundance of 17 macrophyte species. Study results showed that maxent model can be highly robust (99.8%) in predicting the species relative abundance of macrophytes with observed community-weighted mean (CWM) traits as the constraints, while relative low (about 30%) with CWM traits fitted from water depth gradient as the constraints. The measured traits showed notably distinct importance in predicting species abundances, with lowest for perennial growth form and highest for leaf dry mass content. For tuber and leaf nitrogen content, there were significant shifts in their effects on species relative abundance from positive in shallow water to negative in deep water. This result suggests that macrophyte species with tuber organ and greater leaf nitrogen content would become more abundant in shallow water, but would become less abundant in deep water. Our study highlights how functional traits distributed across gradients provide a robust path towards predictive community ecology. PMID:26167856

  15. Contribution of above- and below-ground plant traits to the structure and function of grassland soil microbial communities

    PubMed Central

    Legay, N.; Baxendale, C.; Grigulis, K.; Krainer, U.; Kastl, E.; Schloter, M.; Bardgett, R. D.; Arnoldi, C.; Bahn, M.; Dumont, M.; Poly, F.; Pommier, T.; Clément, J. C.; Lavorel, S.

    2014-01-01

    Background and Aims Abiotic properties of soil are known to be major drivers of the microbial community within it. Our understanding of how soil microbial properties are related to the functional structure and diversity of plant communities, however, is limited and largely restricted to above-ground plant traits, with the role of below-ground traits being poorly understood. This study investigated the relative contributions of soil abiotic properties and plant traits, both above-ground and below-ground, to variations in microbial processes involved in grassland nitrogen turnover. Methods In mountain grasslands distributed across three European sites, a correlative approach was used to examine the role of a large range of plant functional traits and soil abiotic factors on microbial variables, including gene abundance of nitrifiers and denitrifiers and their potential activities. Key Results Direct effects of soil abiotic parameters were found to have the most significant influence on the microbial groups investigated. Indirect pathways via plant functional traits contributed substantially to explaining the relative abundance of fungi and bacteria and gene abundances of the investigated microbial communities, while they explained little of the variance in microbial activities. Gene abundances of nitrifiers and denitrifiers were most strongly related to below-ground plant traits, suggesting that they were the most relevant traits for explaining variation in community structure and abundances of soil microbes involved in nitrification and denitrification. Conclusions The results suggest that consideration of plant traits, and especially below-ground traits, increases our ability to describe variation in the abundances and the functional characteristics of microbial communities in grassland soils. PMID:25122656

  16. Functional traits determine formation of mutualism and predation interactions in seed-rodent dispersal system of a subtropical forest

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chang, Gang; Zhang, Zhibin

    2014-02-01

    Network structure in plant-animal systems has been widely investigated but the roles of functional traits of plants and animals in formation of mutualism and predation interactions and community structure are still not fully understood. In this study, we quantitatively assessed interaction strength of mutualism and predation between 5 tree species and 7 rodent species by using semi-natural enclosures in a subtropical forest in southwest China. Seeds with high handling-time and nutrition traits (for both rat and mouse species) or high tannin trait (for mouse species) show high mutualism but low predation with rodents; while seeds with low handling-time and low nutrition traits show high predation but low mutualism with rodents. Large-sized rat species are more linked to seeds with high handling-time and high nutrition traits, while small-sized mouse species are more connected with seeds with low handling-time, low nutrition value and high tannin traits. Anti-predation seed traits tend to increase chance of mutualism instead of reducing predation by rodents, suggesting formation of mutualism may be connected with that of predation. Our study demonstrates that seed and animal traits play significant roles in the formation of mutualism and predation and network structure of the seed-rodent dispersal system.

  17. Functional traits predict drought performance and distribution of Mediterranean woody species

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lopez-Iglesias, Bárbara; Villar, Rafael; Poorter, Lourens

    2014-04-01

    Water availability is one of the key environmental factors that affect plant establishment and distribution. In many regions water availability will decline with climate change, exposing small seedlings to a greater likelihood of drought. In this study, 17 leaves, stem, root, and whole-plant traits of ten woody Mediterranean species were measured under favourable growing conditions and seedling drought survival was evaluated during a simulated dry-down episode. The aims of this study were: i) to assess drought survival of different species, ii) to analyse which functional traits predict drought survival time, and iii) to explain species distribution in the field, based on species drought survival and drought strategies. Drought survival time varied ten-fold across species, from 19 to 192 days. Across species, drought survival was positively related to the rooting depth per leaf area, i.e., the ability to acquire water from deeper soil layers while reducing transpiring leaf area. Drought survival time was negatively related to species ability to grow quickly, as indicated by high relative growth and net assimilation rates. Drought survival also explained species distribution in the field. It was found that species were sorted along a continuum, ranging between two contrasting species functional extremes based on functional traits and drought performance. One extreme consisted of acquisitive fast-growing deciduous species, with thin, soft metabolically active leaves, with high resource use and vulnerability to drought. The opposite extreme consisted of conservative slow-growing evergreen species with sclerophyllous leaves, deep roots, a low transpiring area, and low water use, resulting in high drought survival and drought tolerance. The results show that these drought strategies shape species distribution in this Mediterranean area.

  18. Familial Risk for Exceptional Longevity

    PubMed Central

    Sebastiani, Paola; Andersen, Stacy L.; McIntosh, Avery I.; Nussbaum, Lisa; Stevenson, Meredith D.; Pierce, Leslie; Xia, Samantha; Salance, Kelly; Perls, Thomas T.

    2015-01-01

    One of the most glaring deficiencies in the current assessment of mortality risk is the lack of information concerning the impact of familial longevity. In this work, we update estimates of sibling relative risk of living to extreme ages using data from more than 1,700 sibships, and we begin to examine the trend for heritability for different birth-year cohorts. We also build a network model that can be used to compute the increased chance for exceptional longevity of a subject, conditional on his family history of longevity. The network includes familial longevity from three generations and can be used to understand the effects of paternal and maternal longevity on an individual's chance to live to an extreme age. PMID:27041978

  19. The functional independence of trait self-knowledge: commentary on Sakaki (2007).

    PubMed

    Klein, Stanley B; Robertson, Theresa E; Gangi, Cynthia E; Loftus, Judith

    2008-01-01

    In a recent paper, Sakaki (2007) proposed that Klein and Loftus's conclusion that semantic and episodic trait self-knowledge are functionally independent (e.g., Klein, Babey, & Sherman, 1997; Klein & Loftus, 1993a; Klein, Loftus, Trafton, & Fuhrman, 1992b) was based on questionable assumptions and not supported by the available evidence. In this paper we show that Sakaki (2007) has misinterpreted our position on the independence of self-knowledge, omitted mention of large portions of the relevant research at odds with her contention, and conducted her studies with procedures we explicitly warned against due to interpretive ambiguities associated with their use. PMID:18569684

  20. Functional group-specific traits drive phytoplankton dynamics in the oligotrophic ocean

    PubMed Central

    Alexander, Harriet; Rouco, Mónica; Haley, Sheean T.; Wilson, Samuel T.; Karl, David M.; Dyhrman, Sonya T.

    2015-01-01

    A diverse microbial assemblage in the ocean is responsible for nearly half of global primary production. It has been hypothesized and experimentally demonstrated that nutrient loading can stimulate blooms of large eukaryotic phytoplankton in oligotrophic systems. Although central to balancing biogeochemical models, knowledge of the metabolic traits that govern the dynamics of these bloom-forming phytoplankton is limited. We used eukaryotic metatranscriptomic techniques to identify the metabolic basis of functional group-specific traits that may drive the shift between net heterotrophy and autotrophy in the oligotrophic ocean. Replicated blooms were simulated by deep seawater (DSW) addition to mimic nutrient loading in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, and the transcriptional responses of phytoplankton functional groups were assayed. Responses of the diatom, haptophyte, and dinoflagellate functional groups in simulated blooms were unique, with diatoms and haptophytes significantly (95% confidence) shifting their quantitative metabolic fingerprint from the in situ condition, whereas dinoflagellates showed little response. Significantly differentially abundant genes identified the importance of colimitation by nutrients, metals, and vitamins in eukaryotic phytoplankton metabolism and bloom formation in this system. The variable transcript allocation ratio, used to quantify transcript reallocation following DSW amendment, differed for diatoms and haptophytes, reflecting the long-standing paradigm of phytoplankton r- and K-type growth strategies. Although the underlying metabolic potential of the large eukaryotic phytoplankton was consistently present, the lack of a bloom during the study period suggests a crucial dependence on physical and biogeochemical forcing, which are susceptible to alteration with changing climate. PMID:26460011

  1. Functional group-specific traits drive phytoplankton dynamics in the oligotrophic ocean.

    PubMed

    Alexander, Harriet; Rouco, Mónica; Haley, Sheean T; Wilson, Samuel T; Karl, David M; Dyhrman, Sonya T

    2015-11-01

    A diverse microbial assemblage in the ocean is responsible for nearly half of global primary production. It has been hypothesized and experimentally demonstrated that nutrient loading can stimulate blooms of large eukaryotic phytoplankton in oligotrophic systems. Although central to balancing biogeochemical models, knowledge of the metabolic traits that govern the dynamics of these bloom-forming phytoplankton is limited. We used eukaryotic metatranscriptomic techniques to identify the metabolic basis of functional group-specific traits that may drive the shift between net heterotrophy and autotrophy in the oligotrophic ocean. Replicated blooms were simulated by deep seawater (DSW) addition to mimic nutrient loading in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, and the transcriptional responses of phytoplankton functional groups were assayed. Responses of the diatom, haptophyte, and dinoflagellate functional groups in simulated blooms were unique, with diatoms and haptophytes significantly (95% confidence) shifting their quantitative metabolic fingerprint from the in situ condition, whereas dinoflagellates showed little response. Significantly differentially abundant genes identified the importance of colimitation by nutrients, metals, and vitamins in eukaryotic phytoplankton metabolism and bloom formation in this system. The variable transcript allocation ratio, used to quantify transcript reallocation following DSW amendment, differed for diatoms and haptophytes, reflecting the long-standing paradigm of phytoplankton r- and K-type growth strategies. Although the underlying metabolic potential of the large eukaryotic phytoplankton was consistently present, the lack of a bloom during the study period suggests a crucial dependence on physical and biogeochemical forcing, which are susceptible to alteration with changing climate. PMID:26460011

  2. Drivers of the composition and diversity of carabid functional traits in UK coniferous plantations

    PubMed Central

    Spake, Rebecca; Barsoum, Nadia; Newton, Adrian C.; Doncaster, C. Patrick

    2016-01-01

    Functional diversity (FD) is increasingly used as a metric to evaluate the impact of forest management strategies on ecosystem functioning. Management interventions that aim to maximise FD require knowledge of multiple environmental drivers of FD, which have not been studied to date in temperate coniferous production forests. We quantified the relative importance of abiotic (forest management) and biotic (ground vegetation community) drivers of carabid FD and trait distribution in 44 coniferous plantation forest stands across the UK. Carabid FD declined with canopy cover and carabid body length correlated negatively with the percentage of open semi-natural area surrounding a plot. We conclude that forest management could enhance carabid FD through initiatives that emulate natural disturbance regimes through gap creation. We found that neither functional nor taxonomic metrics of vegetation diversity correlated with carabid FD, suggesting that restoration of plant communities, a major goal of forest restoration efforts, will not necessarily enhance carabid FD in coniferous plantations. PMID:26865748

  3. A simple regression-based method to map quantitative trait loci underlying function-valued phenotypes.

    PubMed

    Kwak, Il-Youp; Moore, Candace R; Spalding, Edgar P; Broman, Karl W

    2014-08-01

    Most statistical methods for quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping focus on a single phenotype. However, multiple phenotypes are commonly measured, and recent technological advances have greatly simplified the automated acquisition of numerous phenotypes, including function-valued phenotypes, such as growth measured over time. While methods exist for QTL mapping with function-valued phenotypes, they are generally computationally intensive and focus on single-QTL models. We propose two simple, fast methods that maintain high power and precision and are amenable to extensions with multiple-QTL models using a penalized likelihood approach. After identifying multiple QTL by these approaches, we can view the function-valued QTL effects to provide a deeper understanding of the underlying processes. Our methods have been implemented as a package for R, funqtl. PMID:24931408

  4. Variation in Plant Traits Explains Global Biogeographic Variation in the Abundance of Major Forest Functional Types

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Y.

    2015-12-01

    Contrasting leaf types (needle vs. broadleaf) with different lifespans (annual vs. perennial) represent different adaptive strategies of plants under different environmental conditions. Previous studies explained adaptive advantages of different strategies using empirical models but cannot adequately explain the co-dominance of multiple plant functional types (PFTs) as observed in many parts of the world. Here we used a process-based model to explore whether observed inter- and intra-PFT variation in key plant traits can explain global biogeographic variation in co-dominance of major forest functional types. Using a parameter screening method, we identified the four most important plant traits for simulating annual net primary production (NPP) using the Australian Community Atmosphere-Biosphere-Land Exchange model (CABLE). Using ensemble CABLE simulations, we estimated the fraction of global land cover attributed to each PFT by comparing the simulated NPP for all three PFTs at each land point, globally. Our results were consistent with land area cover fractions of major forest types estimated from remote sensing data products; i.e., evergreen needle-leaf forests dominate in boreal regions, evergreen broadleaf forests dominate in tropical regions, and deciduous broadleaf forests are distributed widely across a broad range of environmental conditions. More importantly our approach successfully explained a paradox that has puzzled ecologists for over a century: why evergreen leaf types dominate in both boreal and tropical regions. We conclude that variation in and co-variation between key plant traits can explain significant fractions of global biogeographic variation of three major forest types, and should be taken into account when simulating global vegetation dynamics.

  5. The Use of Leaf Functional Traits for Modeling the Timing and Rate of Canopy Development

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Savoy, P.; Mackay, D. S.

    2015-12-01

    Leaves vary in their habit, with some being short lived and possessing high intrinsic photosynthetic rates and others being long lived with lower photosynthetic capacity. Longer lived leaves will thus tend to cost more to produce and be able to assimilate carbon over a longer period of time. The timing and seasonality of forest canopies is a cost benefit strategy for the exploitation of favorable environmental conditions and avoidance of unfavorable conditions. Because of the selective pressure for plants to gather a return on leaf investment in relation to their leaf habit we propose that there is a relationship between plant functional traits and the timing and rate of canopy development. In a recent study it was shown that errors in predicted canopy dynamics could be reduced via a single parameter (τ) which modified the timing and rate of canopy development (Savoy & Mackay 2015). If τ is related to underlying mechanisms of plant physiology then it should vary predictably. To test this we will first examine the relationship between τ and observable biophysical variables which vary in ecologically meaningful ways. Then we will develop a model based on leaf traits which will regulate the timing and rate at which vegetation reaches peak rates of assimilation. The model will then be tested at eddy covariance sites which span a range environmental conditions. Preliminary results demonstrate a strong relationship (R2 = 0.58) between estimated values of τ and leaf carbon to nitrogen ratio, which is important for representing the costs of leaf construction and nitrogen investment into photosynthetic machinery of leaves. By developing a canopy seasonality model based on plant functional traits and rooted in the framework of leaf economics it is possible to have a more flexible and generalized model. Such a model will be more adept at making predictions under novel environmental conditions than purely correlative empirical models.

  6. Root Structure and Functioning for Efficient Acquisition of Phosphorus: Matching Morphological and Physiological Traits

    PubMed Central

    LAMBERS, HANS; SHANE, MICHAEL W.; CRAMER, MICHAEL D.; PEARSE, STUART J.; VENEKLAAS, ERIK J.

    2006-01-01

    • Background Global phosphorus (P) reserves are being depleted, with half-depletion predicted to occur between 2040 and 2060. Most of the P applied in fertilizers may be sorbed by soil, and not be available for plants lacking specific adaptations. On the severely P-impoverished soils of south-western Australia and the Cape region in South Africa, non-mycorrhizal species exhibit highly effective adaptations to acquire P. A wide range of these non-mycorrhizal species, belonging to two monocotyledonous and eight dicotyledonous families, produce root clusters. Non-mycorrhizal species with root clusters appear to be particularly effective at accessing P when its availability is extremely low. • Scope There is a need to develop crops that are highly effective at acquiring inorganic P (Pi) from P-sorbing soils. Traits such as those found in non-mycorrhizal root-cluster-bearing species in Australia, South Africa and other P-impoverished environments are highly desirable for future crops. Root clusters combine a specialized structure with a specialized metabolism. Native species with such traits could be domesticated or crossed with existing crop species. An alternative approach would be to develop future crops with root clusters based on knowledge of the genes involved in development and functioning of root clusters. • Conclusions Root clusters offer enormous potential for future research of both a fundamental and a strategic nature. New discoveries of the development and functioning of root clusters in both monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous families are essential to produce new crops with superior P-acquisition traits. PMID:16769731

  7. Personality and health, subjective well-being, and longevity.

    PubMed

    Friedman, Howard S; Kern, Margaret L; Reynolds, Chandra A

    2010-02-01

    Personality traits can be employed to guide understanding of trajectories to health and longevity, but long-term longitudinal study and multifaceted assessment of healthy aging are crucial. Following up on the life span study initiated by Lewis Terman, we assessed 4 validated factors of personality in young adulthood in 1940, constructed a multifactor measure of participants' healthy aging in 1986, and collected death certificates through 2007 (to determine longevity) on a sample of 1,312 Terman participants (732 men). Neuroticism predicted worse physical health and subjective well-being in old age and, for women, higher mortality risk, but for men, neuroticism predicted decreased mortality risk. For both sexes, extraversion predicted old-age social competence, whereas conscientiousness predicted men's old-age productivity. Differential patterns of association between personality traits and healthy aging components are informative about individual personality characteristics and long-term health outcomes. PMID:20433617

  8. Phylogenetic diversity, functional trait diversity and extinction: avoiding tipping points and worst-case losses

    PubMed Central

    Faith, Daniel P.

    2015-01-01

    The phylogenetic diversity measure, (‘PD’), measures the relative feature diversity of different subsets of taxa from a phylogeny. At the level of feature diversity, PD supports the broad goal of biodiversity conservation to maintain living variation and option values. PD calculations at the level of lineages and features include those integrating probabilities of extinction, providing estimates of expected PD. This approach has known advantages over the evolutionarily distinct and globally endangered (EDGE) methods. Expected PD methods also have limitations. An alternative notion of expected diversity, expected functional trait diversity, relies on an alternative non-phylogenetic model and allows inferences of diversity at the level of functional traits. Expected PD also faces challenges in helping to address phylogenetic tipping points and worst-case PD losses. Expected PD may not choose conservation options that best avoid worst-case losses of long branches from the tree of life. We can expand the range of useful calculations based on expected PD, including methods for identifying phylogenetic key biodiversity areas. PMID:25561672

  9. Independent effects of early-life experience and trait aggression on cardiovascular function.

    PubMed

    Rana, Samir; Pugh, Phyllis C; Katz, Erin; Stringfellow, Sara A; Lin, Chee Paul; Wyss, J Michael; Stauss, Harald M; White, C Roger; Clinton, Sarah M; Kerman, Ilan A

    2016-08-01

    Early-life experience (ELE) can significantly affect life-long health and disease, including cardiovascular function. Specific dimensions of emotionality also modify risk of disease, and aggressive traits along with social inhibition have been established as independent vulnerability factors for the progression of cardiovascular disease. Yet, the biological mechanisms mediating these associations remain poorly understood. The present study utilized the inherently stress-susceptible and socially inhibited Wistar-Kyoto rats to determine the potential influences of ELE and trait aggression (TA) on cardiovascular parameters throughout the lifespan. Pups were exposed to maternal separation (MS), consisting of daily 3-h separations of the entire litter from postnatal day (P)1 to P14. The rats were weaned at P21, and as adults were instrumented for chronic radiotelemetry recordings of blood pressure and heart rate (HR). Adult aggressive behavior was assessed using the resident-intruder test, which demonstrated that TA was independent of MS exposure. MS-exposed animals (irrespective of TA) had significantly lower resting HR accompanied by increases in HR variability. No effects of MS on resting blood pressure were detected. In contrast, TA correlated with increased resting mean, systolic, and diastolic arterial pressures but had no effect on HR. TA rats (relative to nonaggressive animals) also manifested increased wall-to-lumen ratio in the thoracic aorta, increased sensitivity to phenylephrine-induced vascular contractility, and increased norepinephrine content in the heart. Together these data suggest that ELE and TA are independent factors that impact baseline cardiovascular function. PMID:27280432

  10. Executive functioning in people with obsessive-compulsive personality traits: evidence of modest impairment.

    PubMed

    García-Villamisar, Domingo; Dattilo, John

    2015-06-01

    Investigations of executive dysfunctions among people with obsessive-compulsive personality disorders (OCPD) have yielded inconsistent results. The authors speculate that obsessive-compulsive personality traits (OCPT) from a nonclinical population may be associated with specific executive dysfunctions relative to working memory, attentional set-shifting, and planning. A sample consisting of 79 adults (39 females, 40 males) was divided into high and low scorers on the Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire-4 (PDQ-4; Hyler, 1994). In addition, these participants were interviewed using the SCID-II (First, Spitzer, Gibbon & Williams, 1997) to confirm the presence of symptoms of obsessive-compulsive personality. Participants completed a battery of executive tasks associated with the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB), including Spatial Working Memory, Intradimensional/Extradimensional (ID/ED), Attentional Set-Shifting, and Stockings of Cambridge. Also, self-report measures of executive functions as well as of anxiety and depressive symptoms were administered. The analysis of covariance revealed significant differences between participants with OCPT and controls on the Spatial Working Memory tasks, ID/ED tasks, Stockings of Cambridge, and the Dysexecutive Questionnaire (DEX). Nevertheless, there were no significant differences in the number of problems solved in minimum movements. These results suggest that executive dysfunctions are present in people with prominent OCPT and that there is a high convergence between clinical and ecological measures of executive functions in people with obsessive personality traits. PMID:23445476

  11. Genetic variation, simplicity, and evolutionary constraints for function-valued traits.

    PubMed

    Kingsolver, Joel G; Heckman, Nancy; Zhang, Jonathan; Carter, Patrick A; Knies, Jennifer L; Stinchcombe, John R; Meyer, Karin

    2015-06-01

    Understanding the patterns of genetic variation and constraint for continuous reaction norms, growth trajectories, and other function-valued traits is challenging. We describe and illustrate a recent analytical method, simple basis analysis (SBA), that uses the genetic variance-covariance (G) matrix to identify "simple" directions of genetic variation and genetic constraints that have straightforward biological interpretations. We discuss the parallels between the eigenvectors (principal components) identified by principal components analysis (PCA) and the simple basis (SB) vectors identified by SBA. We apply these methods to estimated G matrices obtained from 10 studies of thermal performance curves and growth curves. Our results suggest that variation in overall size across all ages represented most of the genetic variance in growth curves. In contrast, variation in overall performance across all temperatures represented less than one-third of the genetic variance in thermal performance curves in all cases, and genetic trade-offs between performance at higher versus lower temperatures were often important. The analyses also identify potential genetic constraints on patterns of early and later growth in growth curves. We suggest that SBA can be a useful complement or alternative to PCA for identifying biologically interpretable directions of genetic variation and constraint in function-valued traits. PMID:25996868

  12. Predicting diffuse light-enhancement of GPP from plant functional traits: A multi-site synthesis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    O'Halloran, T. L.; Barr, J. G.; Cook, B.; Goeckede, M.; Law, B. E.; Kueppers, L. M.; Riley, W. J.

    2013-12-01

    Diffuse light enhances canopy-scale photosynthesis because isotropic diffuse light penetrates deeper into the canopy, involves more leaf area in photosynthesis, and prevents the top of the canopy from becoming light saturated. However, the observational and modeling communities still have little understanding of how the 'Diffuse light Enhancement Effect' (DEE) varies across plant functional types or is constrained by factors such as nitrogen availability and plant structure. So far, variability in the strength of DEE across plant functional types (PFTs) remains poorly constrained, but canopy models indicate leaf area index (LAI) is a primary controller. While the very few existing multi-site, measurement-based syntheses of the DEE have provided valuable information on the variability of the DEE across a few plant functional types, no study has correlated measured metrics of DEE magnitude with direct measurements of canopy physical traits across a wide range of plant functional types. Here we report a new metric that is suitable for quantifying the DEE in both flux measurements and land surface models. We also present, for the first time, an examination of the relationship between the DEE metric and plant functional traits. Results from our 70+ site AmeriFlux and FLUXNET synthesis indicate that LAI is the strongest controller of the DEE across sites and PFTs, with less significant influences from foliar nitrogen, canopy height, and mean annual precipitation. Our results will enable direct evaluation and improvement of remote sensing algorithms and light use efficiency models (e.g. MODIS GPP), which to this point regard diffuse light fraction as a source of noise. Additionally, improving resolution of the DEE in prognostic land surface models, such as the Community Land Model (CLM), will greatly improve our ability to forecast future feedbacks to terrestrial carbon sequestration from changes in cloudiness and aerosol amount.

  13. The contribution of germination functional traits to population dynamics of a desert plant community.

    PubMed

    Huang, Zhenying; Liu, Shuangshuang; Bradford, Kent J; Huxman, Travis E; Venable, D Lawrence

    2016-01-01

    Early life-cycle events play critical roles in determining the population and community dynamics of plants. The ecology of seeds and their germination patterns can determine range limits, adaptation to environmental variation, species diversity, and community responses to climate change. Understanding the adaptive consequences and environmental filtering of such functional traits will allow us to explain and predict ecological dynamics. Here we quantify key functional aspects of germination physiology and relate them to an existing functional ecology framework to explain long-term population dynamics for 13 species of desert annuals near Tucson, Arizona, USA. Our goal was to assess the extent to which germination functional biology contributes to long-term population processes in nature. Some of the species differences in base, optimum, and maximum temperatures for germination, thermal times to germination, and base water potentials for germination were strongly related to 20-yr mean germination fractions, 25-yr average germination dates, seed size, and long-term demographic variation. Comparisons of germination fraction, survival, and fecundity vs. yearly changes in population size found significant roles for all three factors, although in varying proportions for different species. Relationships between species' germination physiologies and relative germination fractions varied across years, with fast-germinating species being favored in years with warm temperatures during rainfall events in the germination season. Species with low germination fractions and high demographic variance have low integrated water-use efficiency, higher vegetative growth rates, and smaller, slower-germinating seeds. We have identified and quantified a number of functional traits associated with germination biology that play critical roles in ecological population dynamics. PMID:27008793

  14. Functional Trait Changes, Productivity Shifts and Vegetation Stability in Mountain Grasslands during a Short-Term Warming

    PubMed Central

    Debouk, Haifa; de Bello, Francesco; Sebastià, Maria-Teresa

    2015-01-01

    Plant functional traits underlie vegetation responses to environmental changes such as global warming, and consequently influence ecosystem processes. While most of the existing studies focus on the effect of warming only on species diversity and productivity, we further investigated (i) how the structure of community plant functional traits in temperate grasslands respond to experimental warming, and (ii) whether species and functional diversity contribute to a greater stability of grasslands, in terms of vegetation composition and productivity. Intact vegetation turves were extracted from temperate subalpine grassland (highland) in the Eastern Pyrenees and transplanted into a warm continental, experimental site in Lleida, in Western Catalonia (lowland). The impacts of simulated warming on plant production and diversity, functional trait structure, and vegetation compositional stability were assessed. We observed an increase in biomass and a reduction in species and functional diversity under short-term warming. The functional structure of the grassland communities changed significantly, in terms of functional diversity and community-weighted means (CWM) for several traits. Acquisitive and fast-growing species with higher SLA, early flowering, erect growth habit, and rhizomatous strategy became dominant in the lowland. Productivity was significantly positively related to species, and to a lower extent, functional diversity, but productivity and stability after warming were more dependent on trait composition (CWM) than on diversity. The turves with more acquisitive species before warming changed less in composition after warming. Results suggest that (i) the short-term warming can lead to the dominance of acquisitive fast growing species over conservative species, thus reducing species richness, and (ii) the functional traits structure in grassland communities had a greater influence on the productivity and stability of the community under short-term warming

  15. Functional Trait Changes, Productivity Shifts and Vegetation Stability in Mountain Grasslands during a Short-Term Warming.

    PubMed

    Debouk, Haifa; de Bello, Francesco; Sebastià, Maria-Teresa

    2015-01-01

    Plant functional traits underlie vegetation responses to environmental changes such as global warming, and consequently influence ecosystem processes. While most of the existing studies focus on the effect of warming only on species diversity and productivity, we further investigated (i) how the structure of community plant functional traits in temperate grasslands respond to experimental warming, and (ii) whether species and functional diversity contribute to a greater stability of grasslands, in terms of vegetation composition and productivity. Intact vegetation turves were extracted from temperate subalpine grassland (highland) in the Eastern Pyrenees and transplanted into a warm continental, experimental site in Lleida, in Western Catalonia (lowland). The impacts of simulated warming on plant production and diversity, functional trait structure, and vegetation compositional stability were assessed. We observed an increase in biomass and a reduction in species and functional diversity under short-term warming. The functional structure of the grassland communities changed significantly, in terms of functional diversity and community-weighted means (CWM) for several traits. Acquisitive and fast-growing species with higher SLA, early flowering, erect growth habit, and rhizomatous strategy became dominant in the lowland. Productivity was significantly positively related to species, and to a lower extent, functional diversity, but productivity and stability after warming were more dependent on trait composition (CWM) than on diversity. The turves with more acquisitive species before warming changed less in composition after warming. Results suggest that (i) the short-term warming can lead to the dominance of acquisitive fast growing species over conservative species, thus reducing species richness, and (ii) the functional traits structure in grassland communities had a greater influence on the productivity and stability of the community under short-term warming

  16. Use of fish functional traits to associate in-stream suspended sediment transport metrics with biological impairment.

    PubMed

    Schwartz, John S; Simon, Andrew; Klimetz, Lauren

    2011-08-01

    Loss of ecological integrity due to excessive suspended sediment in rivers and streams is a major cause of water quality impairment in the USA. Current assessment protocols for development of sediment total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) lack a means to link temporally variable sediment transport rates with specific losses of ecological functions as loads increase. In order to accomplish this linkage assessment, a functional traits-based approach was used to correlate site occurrences of 17 fish species traits in three main groups (preferred rearing habitat, trophic feeding guild, and spawning behavior) with suspended sediment transport metrics. The sediment transport metrics included concentrations, durations, and dosages for a range of exceedance frequencies; and mean annual suspended sediment yields (SSY). In addition, this study in the Northwestern Great Plains Ecoregion examined trait relationships with three environmental gradients: channel stability, drainage area, and elevation. Potential stressor responses due to elevated suspended sediment concentration (SSC) levels were correlated with occurrences of five traits: preferred pool habitat; feeding generalists, omnivores, piscivores, and nest-building spawners; and development of ecologically based TMDL targets were demonstrated for specific SSC exceedance frequencies. In addition, reduced site occurrences for preferred pool habitat and nest-building spawners traits were associated with unstable channels and higher SSY. At an ecoregion scale, a functional traits assessment approach provided a means to quantify relations between biological impairment and episodically elevated levels of suspended sediment, supporting efforts to develop ecologically based sediment TMDLs. PMID:20981569

  17. A worldwide analysis of within-canopy variations in leaf structural, chemical and physiological traits across plant functional types.

    PubMed

    Niinemets, Ülo; Keenan, Trevor F; Hallik, Lea

    2015-02-01

    Extensive within-canopy light gradients importantly affect the photosynthetic productivity of leaves in different canopy positions and lead to light-dependent increases in foliage photosynthetic capacity per area (AA). However, the controls on AA variations by changes in underlying traits are poorly known. We constructed an unprecedented worldwide database including 831 within-canopy gradients with standardized light estimates for 304 species belonging to major vascular plant functional types, and analyzed within-canopy variations in 12 key foliage structural, chemical and physiological traits by quantitative separation of the contributions of different traits to photosynthetic acclimation. Although the light-dependent increase in AA is surprisingly similar in different plant functional types, they differ fundamentally in the share of the controls on AA by constituent traits. Species with high rates of canopy development and leaf turnover, exhibiting highly dynamic light environments, actively change AA by nitrogen reallocation among and partitioning within leaves. By contrast, species with slow leaf turnover exhibit a passive AA acclimation response, primarily determined by the acclimation of leaf structure to growth light. This review emphasizes that different combinations of traits are responsible for within-canopy photosynthetic acclimation in different plant functional types, and solves an old enigma of the role of mass- vs area-based traits in vegetation acclimation. PMID:25318596

  18. Plant functional traits suggest a change in novel ecological strategies for dominant species in the stages of forest succession.

    PubMed

    Chai, Yongfu; Yue, Ming; Wang, Mao; Xu, Jinshi; Liu, Xiao; Zhang, Ruichang; Wan, Pengcheng

    2016-03-01

    In forest succession, the ecological strategies of the dominant species that are based on functional traits are important in the determination of both the mechanisms and the potential directions of succession. Thirty-one plots were established in the Loess Plateau region of northern Shaanxi in China. Fifteen leaf traits were measured for the 31 dominant species that represented the six stages of succession, and the traits included four that were related to morphology, seven to stoichiometry and four to physiological ecology. The species from the different successional stages had different patterns of distribution of the traits, and different key traits predicted the turnover of the species during succession. The ash and the cellulose contents were key regulatory factors of species turnover in the early successional communities, and the trait niche forces in sugar and leaf dry mass content might become more important with the progression of succession. When only the three herb stages were considered, a progressive replacement of the ruderal by the competitive-ruderal species occurred in the intermediate stages of succession, which was followed by the stress-tolerant-competitive or the competitive-stress tolerant-ruderal strategists late in the succession. Thus, the different species that occurred in the different stages of succession shared different trait-based ecological strategies. Additionally, these differences occurred concomitantly with a shift toward competitive-stress tolerant-ruderal strategies. PMID:26563469

  19. Genetic parameters for functional traits in dairy cattle from daily random regression models.

    PubMed

    Karacaören, B; Jaffrézic, F; Kadarmideen, H N

    2006-02-01

    The objective of the research was to estimate genetic parameters, such as heritabilities and genetic correlations, using daily test day data for milk yield (MY), milking speed (MS), dry matter intake (DMI), and body weight (BW) using random regression methodology. Data were from first lactation dairy cows (n = 320) from the Chamau research farm of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Switzerland over the period from April 1994 to 2004. All traits were recorded daily using automated machines. Estimated heritabilities (h(2)) varied from 0.18 to 0.30 (mean h(2) = 0.24) for MY, 0.003 to 0.098 (mean h(2) = 0.03) for MS, 0.22 to 0.53 (mean h(2) = 0.43) for BW, and 0.12 to 0.34 (mean h(2) = 0.23) for DMI. A permanent environmental effect was included in both the univariate and bivariate models, but was assumed constant in estimating some genetic correlations because of convergence problems. Estimated genetic correlations varied from 0.31 to 0.41 between MY and MS, from -0.47 to 0.29 between MY and DMI, from -0.60 to 0.54 between MY and BW, from 0.17 to 0.26 between MS and DMI, from -0.18 to 0.25 between MS and BW, and from -0.89 to 0.29 between DMI and BW. Genetic correlations for MY, MS, DMI, and BW from calving to midlactation decreased similarly to 0.40, 0.36, 0.14, and 0.36 and, at the end of the lactation, decreased to -0.06, 0.23, -0.07, and 0.09, respectively. Daily genetic variance-covariance of many functional traits are reported for the first time and will be useful when constructing selection indexes for more than one trait based on longitudinal genetic parameters. PMID:16428647

  20. Puzzling role of genetic risk factors in human longevity: "risk alleles" as pro-longevity variants.

    PubMed

    Ukraintseva, Svetlana; Yashin, Anatoliy; Arbeev, Konstantin; Kulminski, Alexander; Akushevich, Igor; Wu, Deqing; Joshi, Gaurang; Land, Kenneth C; Stallard, Eric

    2016-02-01

    Complex diseases are major contributors to human mortality in old age. Paradoxically, many genetic variants that have been associated with increased risks of such diseases are found in genomes of long-lived people, and do not seem to compromise longevity. Here we argue that trade-off-like and conditional effects of genes can play central role in this phenomenon and in determining longevity. Such effects may occur as result of: (i) antagonistic influence of gene on the development of different health disorders; (ii) change in the effect of gene on vulnerability to death with age (especially, from "bad" to "good"); (iii) gene-gene interaction; and (iv) gene-environment interaction, among other factors. A review of current knowledge provides many examples of genetic factors that may increase the risk of one disease but reduce chances of developing another serious health condition, or improve survival from it. Factors that may increase risk of a major disease but attenuate manifestation of physical senescence are also discussed. Overall, available evidence suggests that the influence of a genetic variant on longevity may be negative, neutral or positive, depending on a delicate balance of the detrimental and beneficial effects of such variant on multiple health and aging related traits. This balance may change with age, internal and external environments, and depend on genetic surrounding. We conclude that trade-off-like and conditional genetic effects are very common and may result in situations when a disease "risk allele" can also be a pro-longevity variant, depending on context. We emphasize importance of considering such effects in both aging research and disease prevention. PMID:26306600

  1. Homocysteine and Familial Longevity: The Leiden Longevity Study

    PubMed Central

    Wijsman, Carolien A.; van Heemst, Diana; Rozing, Maarten P.; Slagboom, P. Eline; Beekman, Marian; de Craen, Anton J. M.; Maier, Andrea B.; Westendorp, Rudi G. J.; Blom, Henk J.; Mooijaart, Simon P.

    2011-01-01

    Homocysteine concentrations are a read-out of methionine metabolism and have been related to changes in lifespan in animal models. In humans, high homocysteine concentrations are an important predictor of age related disease. We aimed to explore the association of homocysteine with familial longevity by testing whether homocysteine is lower in individuals that are genetically enriched for longevity. We measured concentrations of total homocysteine in 1907 subjects from the Leiden Longevity Study consisting of 1309 offspring of nonagenarian siblings, who are enriched with familial factors promoting longevity, and 598 partners thereof as population controls. We found that homocysteine was related to age, creatinine, folate, vitamin B levels and medical history of hypertension and stroke in both groups (all p<0.001). However, levels of homocysteine did not differ between offspring enriched for longevity and their partners, and no differences in the age-related rise in homocysteine levels were found between groups (p for interaction 0.63). The results suggest that homocysteine metabolism is not likely to predict familial longevity. PMID:21408159

  2. The mysterious relationship between reproduction and longevity

    PubMed Central

    Aguilaniu, Hugo

    2015-01-01

    A negative correlation between fertility and longevity has been documented in many species under a variety of conditions, but the association is not always observed,1 leading to heated discussion about the nature of the reproduction–longevity relationship.2 This debate is further fueled by the fact that no genes or molecules have been clearly shown to link the 2 traits. A recent study by Thondamal et al., in the nematode C. elegans has identified one potential link. The authors showed that the steroid signaling pathway, which regulates reproduction, is activated in response to dietary restriction (DR) and is in fact required for DR-induced lifespan extension.3 Steroid signaling mutants subjected to DR not only failed to undergo lifespan extension but also exhibited altered germline plasticity. Interestingly, the requirement for steroid signaling was bypassed when germline plasticity was restored, suggesting that the DR response is mediated, at least in part, by signals from the germline. In this commentary, I discuss the implications of these findings. Several theories of aging have proposed the existence of an energetic trade-off between reproduction and lifespan,4,5 but mechanistic details are lacking. I propose that revisiting and dissecting at the molecular level the link between reproduction, nutrition, and lifespan, will lead to a better understanding of the aging process and its connection to reproduction. PMID:26430561

  3. Three-Pronged Assessment and Diagnosis of Personality Disorder and its Consequences: Personality Functioning, Pathological Traits, and Psychosocial Disability

    PubMed Central

    Clark, Lee Anna; Ro, Eunyoe

    2014-01-01

    The alternative dimensional model of personality disorder (PD) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013), Section III, has two main criteria: Impairment in personality functioning and one or more pathological personality traits. The former is defined as disturbances in self functioning (viz., identity, self-direction), and/or interpersonal functioning (viz., empathy, intimacy). Distinguishing personality functioning and traits is important conceptually, because simply having extreme traits is not necessarily pathological. However, adding personality functioning to PD diagnosis represents an empirical challenge, because the constructs overlap conceptually. Further, there is debate regarding whether diagnosis of mental disorder requires either distress or disability, concepts that also overlap with maladaptive-range personality traits and personality dysfunction. We investigated interrelations among these constructs using multiple self-report measures of each domain in a mixed community-patient sample (N = 402). We examined the structures of functioning (psychosocial disability and personality), and personality traits, first independently, then jointly. The disability/functioning measures yielded the three dimensions we have found previously (Ro & Clark, 2013). Trait measures had a hierarchical structure which, at the five-factor level, reflected neuroticism/negative affectivity (N/NA), (low) sociability, disinhibition, (dis)agreeableness, and rigid goal engagement. When all measures were co-factored, a hierarchical structure again emerged which, at the five-factor level, included (1) internalizing (N/NA and self-pathology vs. quality-of-life/satisfaction), (2) externalizing (social/interpersonal dysfunction, low sociability, and disagreeableness), (3) disinhibition, (4) poor basic functioning, and (5) rigid goal engagement. Results are discussed in terms of developing an integrated PD

  4. Longevity of emplacement drift ground support materials

    SciTech Connect

    Tang, David

    2000-04-01

    The purpose of this analysis is to evaluate the factors affecting the longevity of emplacement drift ground support materials and to develop a basis for the selection of materials for ground support that will function throughout the preclosure period of a potential repository at Yucca Mountain. The Development Plan (DP) for this analysis is given in Longevity of Emplacement Drift Ground Support Materials (CRWMS M and O 1999a). The objective of this analysis is to update the previous analysis (CRWMS M and O 2000a) to account for related changes in the Ground Control System Description Document (CRWMS M and O 2000b), the Monitored Geologic Repository Project Description Document (CRWMS M and O 1999b), and in environmental conditions, and to provide updated information on candidate ground support materials.

  5. Fish functional traits are affected by hydrodynamics at small spatial scale.

    PubMed

    Bracciali, C; Guzzo, G; Giacoma, C; Dean, J M; Sarà, G

    2016-02-01

    The Mediterranean damselfish Chromis chromis is a species with a broad distribution found both in the Mediterranean Sea and Eastern Atlantic as far south as the coast of Angola. We hypothesized that the species may have significant functional morphological plasticity to adapt along a gradient of environmental conditions. It is a non-migratory zooplanktivorous species and spends the daytime searching for food in the middle of the water column. Therefore, local hydrodynamics could be one of the environmental factors affecting traits of C. chromis with repercussions at the population level. We compared the body condition, individual growth and body shapes of damselfish collected under two different hydrodynamic conditions (low ∼10 cm s(-1) vs. high ∼20 cm s(-1)). Specimens showed higher body condition under high-hydrodynamics, where conditions offered greater amounts of food, which were able to support larger individuals. Individuals smaller than 60-mm were more abundant under low-hydrodynamics. Morphometric analysis revealed that high-hydrodynamics were favored by fish with a more fusiform body shape and body traits developed for propellant swimming. PMID:26707883

  6. Characterization of functional trait diversity among Indian cultivated and weedy rice populations.

    PubMed

    Rathore, M; Singh, Raghwendra; Kumar, B; Chauhan, B S

    2016-01-01

    Weedy rice, a menace in rice growing areas globally, is biosimilar having attributes similar to cultivated and wild rice, and therefore is difficult to manage. A study was initiated to characterize the functional traits of 76 weedy rice populations and commonly grown rice cultivars from different agro-climatic zones for nine morphological, five physiological, and three phenological parameters in a field experiment under an augmented block design. Comparison between weedy and cultivated rice revealed a difference in duration (days) from panicle emergence to heading as the most variable trait and awn length as the least variable one, as evidenced from their coefficients of variation. The results of principal component analysis revealed the first three principal components to represent 47.3% of the total variation, which indicates an important role of transpiration, conductance, leaf-air temperature difference, days to panicle emergence, days to heading, flag leaf length, SPAD (soil-plant analysis development), grain weight, plant height, and panicle length to the diversity in weedy rice populations. The variations existing in weedy rice population are a major reason for its wider adaptability to varied environmental conditions and also a problem while trying to manage it. PMID:27072282

  7. Characterization of functional trait diversity among Indian cultivated and weedy rice populations

    PubMed Central

    Rathore, M.; Singh, Raghwendra; Kumar, B.; Chauhan, B. S.

    2016-01-01

    Weedy rice, a menace in rice growing areas globally, is biosimilar having attributes similar to cultivated and wild rice, and therefore is difficult to manage. A study was initiated to characterize the functional traits of 76 weedy rice populations and commonly grown rice cultivars from different agro-climatic zones for nine morphological, five physiological, and three phenological parameters in a field experiment under an augmented block design. Comparison between weedy and cultivated rice revealed a difference in duration (days) from panicle emergence to heading as the most variable trait and awn length as the least variable one, as evidenced from their coefficients of variation. The results of principal component analysis revealed the first three principal components to represent 47.3% of the total variation, which indicates an important role of transpiration, conductance, leaf-air temperature difference, days to panicle emergence, days to heading, flag leaf length, SPAD (soil-plant analysis development), grain weight, plant height, and panicle length to the diversity in weedy rice populations. The variations existing in weedy rice population are a major reason for its wider adaptability to varied environmental conditions and also a problem while trying to manage it. PMID:27072282

  8. Meta-analysis of genome-wide linkage scans for renal function traits

    PubMed Central

    Rao, Madhumathi; Mottl, Amy K.; Cole, Shelley A.; Umans, Jason G.; Freedman, Barry I.; Bowden, Donald W.; Langefeld, Carl D.; Fox, Caroline S.; Yang, Qiong; Cupples, Adrienne; Iyengar, Sudha K.; Hunt, Steven C.

    2012-01-01

    Background. Several genome scans have explored the linkage of chronic kidney disease phenotypes to chromosomic regions with disparate results. Genome scan meta-analysis (GSMA) is a quantitative method to synthesize linkage results from independent studies and assess their concordance. Methods. We searched PubMed to identify genome linkage analyses of renal function traits in humans, such as estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR), albuminuria, serum creatinine concentration and creatinine clearance. We contacted authors for numerical data and extracted information from individual studies. We applied the GSMA nonparametric approach to combine results across 14 linkage studies for GFR, 11 linkage studies for albumin creatinine ratio, 11 linkage studies for serum creatinine and 4 linkage studies for creatinine clearance. Results. No chromosomal region reached genome-wide statistical significance in the main analysis which included all scans under each phenotype; however, regions on Chromosomes 7, 10 and 16 reached suggestive significance for linkage to two or more phenotypes. Subgroup analyses by disease status or ethnicity did not yield additional information. Conclusions. While heterogeneity across populations, methodologies and study designs likely explain this lack of agreement, it is possible that linkage scan methodologies lack the resolution for investigating complex traits. Combining family-based linkage studies with genome-wide association studies may be a powerful approach to detect private mutations contributing to complex renal phenotypes. PMID:21622988

  9. Functional Connectivity under Anticipation of Shock: Correlates of Trait Anxious Affect versus Induced Anxiety.

    PubMed

    Bijsterbosch, Janine; Smith, Stephen; Bishop, Sonia J

    2015-09-01

    Sustained anxiety about potential future negative events is an important feature of anxiety disorders. In this study, we used a novel anticipation of shock paradigm to investigate individual differences in functional connectivity during prolonged threat of shock. We examined the correlates of between-participant differences in trait anxious affect and induced anxiety, where the latter reflects changes in self-reported anxiety resulting from the shock manipulation. Dissociable effects of trait anxious affect and induced anxiety were observed. Participants with high scores on a latent dimension of anxious affect showed less increase in ventromedial pFC-amygdala connectivity between periods of safety and shock anticipation. Meanwhile, lower levels of induced anxiety were linked to greater augmentation of dorsolateral pFC-anterior insula connectivity during shock anticipation. These findings suggest that ventromedial pFC-amygdala and dorsolateral pFC-insula networks might both contribute to regulation of sustained fear responses, with their recruitment varying independently across participants. The former might reflect an evolutionarily old mechanism for reducing fear or anxiety, whereas the latter might reflect a complementary mechanism by which cognitive control can be implemented to diminish fear responses generated due to anticipation of aversive stimuli or events. These two circuits might provide complementary, alternate targets for exploration in future pharmacological and cognitive intervention studies. PMID:25961638

  10. Gene-Based Association Analysis for Censored Traits Via Fixed Effect Functional Regressions.

    PubMed

    Fan, Ruzong; Wang, Yifan; Yan, Qi; Ding, Ying; Weeks, Daniel E; Lu, Zhaohui; Ren, Haobo; Cook, Richard J; Xiong, Momiao; Swaroop, Anand; Chew, Emily Y; Chen, Wei

    2016-02-01

    Genetic studies of survival outcomes have been proposed and conducted recently, but statistical methods for identifying genetic variants that affect disease progression are rarely developed. Motivated by our ongoing real studies, here we develop Cox proportional hazard models using functional regression (FR) to perform gene-based association analysis of survival traits while adjusting for covariates. The proposed Cox models are fixed effect models where the genetic effects of multiple genetic variants are assumed to be fixed. We introduce likelihood ratio test (LRT) statistics to test for associations between the survival traits and multiple genetic variants in a genetic region. Extensive simulation studies demonstrate that the proposed Cox RF LRT statistics have well-controlled type I error rates. To evaluate power, we compare the Cox FR LRT with the previously developed burden test (BT) in a Cox model and sequence kernel association test (SKAT), which is based on mixed effect Cox models. The Cox FR LRT statistics have higher power than or similar power as Cox SKAT LRT except when 50%/50% causal variants had negative/positive effects and all causal variants are rare. In addition, the Cox FR LRT statistics have higher power than Cox BT LRT. The models and related test statistics can be useful in the whole genome and whole exome association studies. An age-related macular degeneration dataset was analyzed as an example. PMID:26782979

  11. Genetic perturbations that impair functional trait interactions lead to reduced bone strength and increased fragility in mice

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Lauren M.; Bigelow, Erin M.R.; Nolan, Bonnie T.; Faillace, Meghan E.; Nadeau, Joseph H.; Jepsen, Karl J.

    2014-01-01

    Functional adaptation may complicate the choice of phenotype used in genetic studies that seek to identify genes contributing to fracture susceptibility. Often, genetic variants affecting one trait are compensated by coordinated changes in other traits. Bone fracture is a prototypic example because mechanical function of long bones (stiffness and strength) depends on how the system coordinately adjusts the amount (cortical area) and quality (tissue-mineral density, TMD) of bone tissue to mechanically offset the natural variation in bone robustness (total area/length). We propose that efforts aimed at identifying genes regulating fracture resistance will benefit from better understanding how functional adaptation contributes to the genotype-phenotype relationship. We analyzed the femurs of C57BL/6J – ChrA/J/NaJ Chromosome Substitution Strains (CSSs) to systemically interrogate the mouse genome for chromosomes harboring genes that regulate mechanical function. These CSSs (CSS-i, i = the substituted chromosome) showed changes in mechanical function on the order of -26.6 to 11.5% relative to the B6 reference strain after adjusting for body size. Seven substitutions showed altered robustness, cortical area, or TMD, but no effect on mechanical function (CSS-4, 5, 8, 9, 17, 18, 19); six substitutions showed altered robustness, cortical area, or TMD, and reduced mechanical function (CSS-1, 2, 6, 10, 12, 15); and one substitution also showed reduced mechanical function but exhibited no significant changes in the three physical traits analyzed in this study (CSS-3). A key feature that distinguished CSSs that maintained function from those with reduced function was whether the system adjusted cortical area and TMD to the levels needed to compensate for the natural variation in bone robustness. These results provide a novel biomechanical mechanism linking genotype with phenotype, indicating that genes control function not only by regulating individual traits, but also by

  12. Integrating abundance and functional traits reveals new global hotspots of fish diversity.

    PubMed

    Stuart-Smith, Rick D; Bates, Amanda E; Lefcheck, Jonathan S; Duffy, J Emmett; Baker, Susan C; Thomson, Russell J; Stuart-Smith, Jemina F; Hill, Nicole A; Kininmonth, Stuart J; Airoldi, Laura; Becerro, Mikel A; Campbell, Stuart J; Dawson, Terence P; Navarrete, Sergio A; Soler, German A; Strain, Elisabeth M A; Willis, Trevor J; Edgar, Graham J

    2013-09-26

    Species richness has dominated our view of global biodiversity patterns for centuries. The dominance of this paradigm is reflected in the focus by ecologists and conservation managers on richness and associated occurrence-based measures for understanding drivers of broad-scale diversity patterns and as a biological basis for management. However, this is changing rapidly, as it is now recognized that not only the number of species but the species present, their phenotypes and the number of individuals of each species are critical in determining the nature and strength of the relationships between species diversity and a range of ecological functions (such as biomass production and nutrient cycling). Integrating these measures should provide a more relevant representation of global biodiversity patterns in terms of ecological functions than that provided by simple species counts. Here we provide comparisons of a traditional global biodiversity distribution measure based on richness with metrics that incorporate species abundances and functional traits. We use data from standardized quantitative surveys of 2,473 marine reef fish species at 1,844 sites, spanning 133 degrees of latitude from all ocean basins, to identify new diversity hotspots in some temperate regions and the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean. These relate to high diversity of functional traits amongst individuals in the community (calculated using Rao's Q), and differ from previously reported patterns in functional diversity and richness for terrestrial animals, which emphasize species-rich tropical regions only. There is a global trend for greater evenness in the number of individuals of each species, across the reef fish species observed at sites ('community evenness'), at higher latitudes. This contributes to the distribution of functional diversity hotspots and contrasts with well-known latitudinal gradients in richness. Our findings suggest that the contribution of species diversity to a range of

  13. Exome sequencing of three cases of familial exceptional longevity

    PubMed Central

    Cash, Timothy P; Pita, Guillermo; Domínguez, Orlando; Alonso, Maria R; Moreno, Leticia T; Borrás, Consuelo; Rodríguez-Mañas, Leocadio; Santiago, Catalina; Garatachea, Nuria; Lucia, Alejandro; Avellana, Juan A; Viña, Jose; González-Neira, Anna; Serrano, Manuel

    2014-01-01

    Exceptional longevity (EL) is a rare phenotype that can cluster in families, and co-segregation of genetic variation in these families may point to candidate genes that could contribute to extended lifespan. In this study, for the first time, we have sequenced a total of seven exomes from exceptionally long-lived siblings (probands ≥ 103 years and at least one sibling ≥ 97 years) that come from three separate families. We have focused on rare functional variants (RFVs) which have ≤ 1% minor allele frequency according to databases and that are likely to alter gene product function. Based on this, we have identified one candidate longevity gene carrying RFVs in all three families, APOB. Interestingly, APOB is a component of lipoprotein particles together with APOE, and variants in the genes encoding these two proteins have been previously associated with human longevity. Analysis of nonfamilial EL cases showed a trend, without reaching statistical significance, toward enrichment of APOB RFVs. We have also identified candidate longevity genes shared between two families (5–13) or within individual families (66–156 genes). Some of these genes have been previously linked to longevity in model organisms, such as PPARGC1A,NRG1,RAD52, RAD51, NCOR1, and ADCY5 genes. This work provides an initial catalog of genes that could contribute to exceptional familial longevity. PMID:25116423

  14. Representing life in the Earth system with soil microbial functional traits in the MIMICS model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wieder, W. R.; Grandy, A. S.; Kallenbach, C. M.; Taylor, P. G.; Bonan, G. B.

    2015-02-01

    Projecting biogeochemical responses to global environmental change requires multi-scaled perspectives that consider organismal diversity, ecosystem processes and global fluxes. However, microbes, the drivers of soil organic matter decomposition and stabilization, remain notably absent from models used to project carbon cycle-climate feedbacks. We used a microbial trait-based soil carbon (C) model, with two physiologically distinct microbial communities to improve current estimates of soil C storage and their likely response to perturbations. Drawing from the application of functional traits used to model other ecosystems, we incorporate copiotrophic and oligotrophic microbial functional groups in the MIcrobial-MIneral Carbon Stabilization (MIMICS) model, which incorporates oligotrophic and copiotrophic functional groups, akin to "gleaner" vs. "opportunist" plankton in the ocean, or r vs. K strategists in plant and animals communities. Here we compare MIMICS to a conventional soil C model, DAYCENT, in cross-site comparisons of nitrogen (N) enrichment effects on soil C dynamics. MIMICS more accurately simulates C responses to N enrichment; moreover, it raises important hypotheses involving the roles of substrate availability, community-level enzyme induction, and microbial physiological responses in explaining various soil biogeochemical responses to N enrichment. In global-scale analyses, we show that current projections from Earth system models likely overestimate the strength of the land C sink in response to increasing C inputs with elevated carbon dioxide (CO2). Our findings illustrate that tradeoffs between theory and utility can be overcome to develop soil biogeochemistry models that evaluate and advance our theoretical understanding of microbial dynamics and soil biogeochemical responses to environmental change.

  15. Dissecting the Effects of Simulated Cattle Activity on Floristic Composition and Functional Traits in Mediterranean Grasslands

    PubMed Central

    Dobarro, Iker; Pérez Carmona, Carlos; Peco, Begoña

    2013-01-01

    Livestock exerts direct and indirect effects on plant communities, changing colonization and extinction rates of species and the surrounding environmental conditions. There is scarce knowledge on how and to what extent these effects control the floristic and functional composition of plant communities in grasslands. We performed an experiment that included several treatments simulating trampling, defoliation, faeces addition and their combinations in a Mediterranean scrub community grazing-abandoned for at least 50 years. We monitored the plots for four years, and collected data on species composition, photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) and red∶far-red ratio (R∶FR), soil moisture and compaction. We estimated community weighted means (CWM) for height, habit, life cycle, seed mass and SLA. Neither compaction nor soil moisture were modified by the treatments, while PAR and R∶FR increased in all treatments in comparison to the Control and Faeces treatments. The floristic composition of all treatments, except for Faeces, converged over time, but deviated from that of the Control. The functional traits displayed the trends expected in the presence of grazing: loss of erect species and increased cover of short species with light seeds, with rosettes and prostrate habit. However, contrary to the results in literature, SLA was lower in all the treatments than Control plots. Like the results for floristic composition, all treatments except for Faeces converged towards a similar functional composition at the end of the four year period. The results of this study show the initial evolution of a Mediterranean plant community in the presence of grazing, driven primarily by the destructive action of livestock. These actions seem to directly affect the rates of extinction/colonization, and indirectly affect the light environment but not the soil conditions. However, their effects on floristic and trait composition do not seem to differ, at least at the small spatio

  16. Representing life in the Earth system with soil microbial functional traits in the MIMICS model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wieder, W. R.; Grandy, A. S.; Kallenbach, C. M.; Taylor, P. G.; Bonan, G. B.

    2015-06-01

    Projecting biogeochemical responses to global environmental change requires multi-scaled perspectives that consider organismal diversity, ecosystem processes, and global fluxes. However, microbes, the drivers of soil organic matter decomposition and stabilization, remain notably absent from models used to project carbon (C) cycle-climate feedbacks. We used a microbial trait-based soil C model with two physiologically distinct microbial communities, and evaluate how this model represents soil C storage and response to perturbations. Drawing from the application of functional traits used to model other ecosystems, we incorporate copiotrophic and oligotrophic microbial functional groups in the MIcrobial-MIneral Carbon Stabilization (MIMICS) model; these functional groups are akin to "gleaner" vs. "opportunist" plankton in the ocean, or r- vs. K-strategists in plant and animal communities. Here we compare MIMICS to a conventional soil C model, DAYCENT (the daily time-step version of the CENTURY model), in cross-site comparisons of nitrogen (N) enrichment effects on soil C dynamics. MIMICS more accurately simulates C responses to N enrichment; moreover, it raises important hypotheses involving the roles of substrate availability, community-level enzyme induction, and microbial physiological responses in explaining various soil biogeochemical responses to N enrichment. In global-scale analyses, we show that MIMICS projects much slower rates of soil C accumulation than a conventional soil biogeochemistry in response to increasing C inputs with elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) - a finding that would reduce the size of the land C sink estimated by the Earth system. Our findings illustrate that tradeoffs between theory and utility can be overcome to develop soil biogeochemistry models that evaluate and advance our theoretical understanding of microbial dynamics and soil biogeochemical responses to environmental change.

  17. Assessment of imputation methods using varying ecological information to fill the gaps in a tree functional trait database

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Poyatos, Rafael; Sus, Oliver; Vilà-Cabrera, Albert; Vayreda, Jordi; Badiella, Llorenç; Mencuccini, Maurizio; Martínez-Vilalta, Jordi

    2016-04-01

    Plant functional traits are increasingly being used in ecosystem ecology thanks to the growing availability of large ecological databases. However, these databases usually contain a large fraction of missing data because measuring plant functional traits systematically is labour-intensive and because most databases are compilations of datasets with different sampling designs. As a result, within a given database, there is an inevitable variability in the number of traits available for each data entry and/or the species coverage in a given geographical area. The presence of missing data may severely bias trait-based analyses, such as the quantification of trait covariation or trait-environment relationships and may hamper efforts towards trait-based modelling of ecosystem biogeochemical cycles. Several data imputation (i.e. gap-filling) methods have been recently tested on compiled functional trait databases, but the performance of imputation methods applied to a functional trait database with a regular spatial sampling has not been thoroughly studied. Here, we assess the effects of data imputation on five tree functional traits (leaf biomass to sapwood area ratio, foliar nitrogen, maximum height, specific leaf area and wood density) in the Ecological and Forest Inventory of Catalonia, an extensive spatial database (covering 31900 km2). We tested the performance of species mean imputation, single imputation by the k-nearest neighbors algorithm (kNN) and a multiple imputation method, Multivariate Imputation with Chained Equations (MICE) at different levels of missing data (10%, 30%, 50%, and 80%). We also assessed the changes in imputation performance when additional predictors (species identity, climate, forest structure, spatial structure) were added in kNN and MICE imputations. We evaluated the imputed datasets using a battery of indexes describing departure from the complete dataset in trait distribution, in the mean prediction error, in the correlation matrix

  18. Noncoding origins of anthropoid traits and a new null model of transposon functionalization.

    PubMed

    del Rosario, Ricardo C H; Rayan, Nirmala Arul; Prabhakar, Shyam

    2014-09-01

    Little is known about novel genetic elements that drove the emergence of anthropoid primates. We exploited the sequencing of the marmoset genome to identify 23,849 anthropoid-specific constrained (ASC) regions and confirmed their robust functional signatures. Of the ASC base pairs, 99.7% were noncoding, suggesting that novel anthropoid functional elements were overwhelmingly cis-regulatory. ASCs were highly enriched in loci associated with fetal brain development, motor coordination, neurotransmission, and vision, thus providing a large set of candidate elements for exploring the molecular basis of hallmark primate traits. We validated ASC192 as a primate-specific enhancer in proliferative zones of the developing brain. Unexpectedly, transposable elements (TEs) contributed to >56% of ASCs, and almost all TE families showed functional potential similar to that of nonrepetitive DNA. Three L1PA repeat-derived ASCs displayed coherent eye-enhancer function, thus demonstrating that the "gene-battery" model of TE functionalization applies to enhancers in vivo. Our study provides fundamental insights into genome evolution and the origins of anthropoid phenotypes and supports an elegantly simple new null model of TE exaptation. PMID:25043600

  19. Noncoding origins of anthropoid traits and a new null model of transposon functionalization

    PubMed Central

    del Rosario, Ricardo C.H.; Rayan, Nirmala Arul

    2014-01-01

    Little is known about novel genetic elements that drove the emergence of anthropoid primates. We exploited the sequencing of the marmoset genome to identify 23,849 anthropoid-specific constrained (ASC) regions and confirmed their robust functional signatures. Of the ASC base pairs, 99.7% were noncoding, suggesting that novel anthropoid functional elements were overwhelmingly cis-regulatory. ASCs were highly enriched in loci associated with fetal brain development, motor coordination, neurotransmission, and vision, thus providing a large set of candidate elements for exploring the molecular basis of hallmark primate traits. We validated ASC192 as a primate-specific enhancer in proliferative zones of the developing brain. Unexpectedly, transposable elements (TEs) contributed to >56% of ASCs, and almost all TE families showed functional potential similar to that of nonrepetitive DNA. Three L1PA repeat-derived ASCs displayed coherent eye-enhancer function, thus demonstrating that the “gene-battery” model of TE functionalization applies to enhancers in vivo. Our study provides fundamental insights into genome evolution and the origins of anthropoid phenotypes and supports an elegantly simple new null model of TE exaptation. PMID:25043600

  20. Longevity of aeolian megaripples

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yizhaq, H.; Katra, I.

    2015-07-01

    Megaripples are distinguished from regular ripples by their larger dimensions and bimodal grain-size distributions. The interplay between wind, grain size and ripple morphology (height and wavelength) controls their development. Two main mechanisms limit megaripple height. The first, megaripple flattening due to winds that are above the fluid threshold of the coarse grains, destroys the armoring layer of the megaripple. The second is megaripple erosion by the impacts of fast-moving, fine saltating grains that propel the coarse grains constituting the armoring layer. For any given wind regime and grain size distribution, the potential megaripple dimensions are limited by these two mechanisms. Here we study the first mechanism and estimate the duration of strong winds (sustained above the fluid threshold) needed to flatten megaripples. Strong gusts of wind, in contrast, cannot destroy the megaripples but can cause ripple migration. Based on data from previous works on megaripples, we find a scaling law between the ripple morphology and the coarse mode of grains at the crest. Using this scaling relation allows us to calculate the wind velocity and duration needed for megaripple flattening. In general, the coarser the particles at the megaripple crest, the stronger the wind needed to flatten the megaripples. Moreover, the greater the strength of the wind required to flatten the megaripples, the lower the recurrence probability. Taken together, these findings increase the longevity of megaripples. We apply the results for a megaripple field in the southern Arava valley (Israel).

  1. Thermosensation and longevity.

    PubMed

    Xiao, Rui; Liu, Jianfeng; Xu, X Z Shawn

    2015-09-01

    Temperature has profound effects on behavior and aging in both poikilotherms and homeotherms. To thrive under the ever fluctuating environmental temperatures, animals have evolved sophisticated mechanisms to sense and adapt to temperature changes. Animals sense temperature through various molecular thermosensors, such as thermosensitive transient receptor potential (TRP) channels expressed in neurons, keratinocytes, and intestine. These evolutionarily conserved thermosensitive TRP channels feature distinct activation thresholds, thereby covering a wide spectrum of ambient temperature. Temperature changes trigger complex thermosensory behaviors. Due to the simplicity of the nervous system in model organisms such as Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila, the mechanisms of thermosensory behaviors in these species have been extensively studied at the circuit and molecular levels. While much is known about temperature regulation of behavior, it remains largely unclear how temperature affects aging. Recent studies in C. elegans demonstrate that temperature modulation of longevity is not simply a passive thermodynamic phenomenon as suggested by the rate-of-living theory, but rather a process that is actively regulated by genes, including those encoding thermosensitive TRP channels. In this review, we discuss our current understanding of thermosensation and its role in aging. PMID:26101089

  2. Effects of changing precipitation and warming on functional traits of zonal Stipa plants from Inner Mongolian grassland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lü, Xiaomin; Zhou, Guangsheng; Wang, Yuhui; Song, Xiliang

    2016-06-01

    The mechanisms driving changes in dominant plant species are the key for understanding how grassland ecosystems respond to climate change. In this study, we examined plant functional traits (morphological characteristics: plant height, leaf area, and leaf number; biomasses: aboveground, belowground, and total; and growth indices: root-to-shoot ratio, specific leaf area, and leaf mass ratio) of four zonal Stipa species ( S. baicalensis, S. bungeana, S. grandis, and S. breviflora) from Inner Mongolian grassland in response to warming (control, +1.5, +2.0, +4.0, and +6.0?), changing precipitation (-30%, -15%, control, +15%, and +30%), and their combined effects via climate control chambers. The results showed that warming and changing precipitation had significant interactive effects, different from the accumulation of single-factor effects, on functional traits of Stipa species. The correlation and sensitivity of different plant functional traits to temperature and precipitation differed. Among the four species, the accumulation and variability of functional traits had greater partial correlation with precipitation than temperature, except for leaf number, leaf area, and specific leaf area, in S. breviflora, S. bungeana, and S. grandis. For S. baicalensis, the accumulation and variability of plant height, aboveground biomass, and root-to-shoot ratio only had significant partial correlation with precipitation. However, the variability of morphological characteristics, biomasses, and some growth indices, was more sensitive to temperature than precipitation in S. bungeana, S. grandis, and S. breviflora—except for aboveground biomass and plant height. These results reveal that precipitation is the key factor determining the growth and changes in plant functional traits in Stipa species, and that temperature mainly influences the quantitative fluctuations of the changes in functional traits.

  3. Initial colonization, community assembly and ecosystem function: fungal colonist traits and litter biochemistry mediate decay rate.

    PubMed

    Cline, Lauren C; Zak, Donald R

    2015-10-01

    Priority effects are an important ecological force shaping biotic communities and ecosystem processes, in which the establishment of early colonists alters the colonization success of later-arriving organisms via competitive exclusion and habitat modification. However, we do not understand which biotic and abiotic conditions lead to strong priority effects and lasting historical contingencies. Using saprotrophic fungi in a model leaf decomposition system, we investigated whether compositional and functional consequences of initial colonization were dependent on initial colonizer traits, resource availability or a combination thereof. To test these ideas, we factorially manipulated leaf litter biochemistry and initial fungal colonist identity, quantifying subsequent community composition, using neutral genetic markers, and community functional characteristics, including enzyme potential and leaf decay rates. During the first 3 months, initial colonist respiration rate and physiological capacity to degrade plant detritus were significant determinants of fungal community composition and leaf decay, indicating that rapid growth and lignolytic potential of early colonists contributed to altered trajectories of community assembly. Further, initial colonization on oak leaves generated increasingly divergent trajectories of fungal community composition and enzyme potential, indicating stronger initial colonizer effects on energy-poor substrates. Together, these observations provide evidence that initial colonization effects, and subsequent consequences on litter decay, are dependent upon substrate biochemistry and physiological traits within a regional species pool. Because microbial decay of plant detritus is important to global C storage, our results demonstrate that understanding the mechanisms by which initial conditions alter priority effects during community assembly may be key to understanding the drivers of ecosystem-level processes. PMID:26331892

  4. Mapping the association of global executive functioning onto diverse measures of psychopathic traits.

    PubMed

    Baskin-Sommers, Arielle R; Brazil, Inti A; Ryan, Jonathan; Kohlenberg, Nathaniel J; Neumann, Craig S; Newman, Joseph P

    2015-10-01

    Psychopathic individuals display a callous-coldhearted approach to interpersonal and affective situations and engage in impulsive and antisocial behaviors. Despite early conceptualizations suggesting that psychopathy is related to enhanced cognitive functioning, research examining executive functioning (EF) in psychopathy has yielded few such findings. It is possible that some psychopathic trait dimensions are more related to EF than others. Research using a 2-factor or 4-facet model of psychopathy highlights some dimension-specific differences in EF, but this research is limited in scope. Another complicating factor in teasing apart the EF-psychopathy relationship is the tendency to use different psychopathy assessments for incarcerated versus community samples. In this study, an EF battery and multiple measures of psychopathic dimensions were administered to a sample of male prisoners (N = 377). Results indicate that using the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R), the independent effect of Factor 2 was related to worse EF, but neither the independent effect of Factor 1 nor the unique variance of the Factors (1 or 2) were related to EF. Using a 4-facet model, the independent effects of Facet2 (Affect) and Facet4 (Antisocial) were related to worse EF, but when examining the unique effects, only Facet2 remained significant. Finally, the questionnaire-based measure, Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire-Brief, of Fearless Dominance was related to better EF performance, whereas PCL-R Factor 1 was unrelated to EF. Overall, the results reveal the complex relationship among EF and behaviors characteristic of psychopathy-related dimensions. Moreover, they demonstrate the interpersonal and affective traits measured by these distinct assessments are differentially related to EF. PMID:26011576

  5. Trait Neuroticism, Depression, and Cognitive Function in Older Primary Care Patients

    PubMed Central

    Boyle, Lisa L.; Lyness, Jeffrey M.; Duberstein, Paul R.; Karuza, Jurgis; King, Deborah A.; Messing, Susan; Tu, Xin

    2010-01-01

    Objective Prior studies on the association of trait neuroticism and cognitive function in older adults have yielded mixed findings. We tested hypotheses that neuroticism is associated with measures of cognition and that depression moderates these relationships. Design Cross-sectional observational study. Setting Primary care offices. Participants Primary care patients age ≥65 years. Measurements Trait neuroticism was assessed by the NEO-Five Factor Inventory. Major and minor depression (MDD, MinD) were determined by the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV, and depressive symptom severity by the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (Ham-D). Cognitive measures included the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Initiation-Perseveration subscale of the Mattis Dementia Rating Scale, and Trail-Making Tests A and B. Results In multiple regression analyses, neuroticism was associated with MMSE score independent of depression diagnosis (β = −0.04, χ2 = 14.2, df = 1, p = 0.0002, 95% CI = −0.07, −0.02) and Ham-D score (β = −0.04, χ2 = 8.97, df = 1, p = 0.003, 95% CI = −0.06, −0.01). Interactions between neuroticism and depression diagnosis (χ2 = 7.21, df = 2, p = 0.03) and Ham-D scores (χ2 = 0.55, df = 1, p = 0.46) failed to lend strong support to the moderation hypothesis. Conclusion Neuroticism is associated with lower MMSE scores. Findings do not confirm a moderating role for depression, but suggest that depression diagnosis may confer additional risk for poorer global cognitive function in patients with high neuroticism. Further study is necessary. PMID:20220585

  6. Functional trait strategies of trees in dry and wet tropical forests are similar but differ in their consequences for succession.

    PubMed

    Lohbeck, Madelon; Lebrija-Trejos, Edwin; Martínez-Ramos, Miguel; Meave, Jorge A; Poorter, Lourens; Bongers, Frans

    2014-01-01

    Global plant trait studies have revealed fundamental trade-offs in plant resource economics. We evaluated such trait trade-offs during secondary succession in two species-rich tropical ecosystems that contrast in precipitation: dry deciduous and wet evergreen forests of Mexico. Species turnover with succession in dry forest largely relates to increasing water availability and in wet forest to decreasing light availability. We hypothesized that while functional trait trade-offs are similar in the two forest systems, the successful plant strategies in these communities will be different, as contrasting filters affect species turnover. Research was carried out in 15 dry secondary forest sites (5-63 years after abandonment) and in 17 wet secondary forest sites (<1-25 years after abandonment). We used 11 functional traits measured on 132 species to make species-trait PCA biplots for dry and wet forest and compare trait trade-offs. We evaluated whether multivariate plant strategies changed during succession, by calculating a 'Community-Weighted Mean' plant strategy, based on species scores on the first two PCA-axes. Trait spectra reflected two main trade-off axes that were similar for dry and wet forest species: acquisitive versus conservative species, and drought avoiding species versus evergreen species with large animal-dispersed seeds. These trait associations were consistent when accounting for evolutionary history. Successional changes in the most successful plant strategies reflected different functional trait spectra depending on the forest type. In dry forest the community changed from having drought avoiding strategies early in succession to increased abundance of evergreen strategies with larger seeds late in succession. In wet forest the community changed from species having mainly acquisitive strategies to those with more conservative strategies during succession. These strategy changes were explained by increasing water availability during dry forest

  7. Functional Trait Strategies of Trees in Dry and Wet Tropical Forests Are Similar but Differ in Their Consequences for Succession

    PubMed Central

    Lohbeck, Madelon; Lebrija-Trejos, Edwin; Martínez-Ramos, Miguel; Meave, Jorge A.; Poorter, Lourens; Bongers, Frans

    2015-01-01

    Global plant trait studies have revealed fundamental trade-offs in plant resource economics. We evaluated such trait trade-offs during secondary succession in two species-rich tropical ecosystems that contrast in precipitation: dry deciduous and wet evergreen forests of Mexico. Species turnover with succession in dry forest largely relates to increasing water availability and in wet forest to decreasing light availability. We hypothesized that while functional trait trade-offs are similar in the two forest systems, the successful plant strategies in these communities will be different, as contrasting filters affect species turnover. Research was carried out in 15 dry secondary forest sites (5-63 years after abandonment) and in 17 wet secondary forest sites (<1-25 years after abandonment). We used 11 functional traits measured on 132 species to make species-trait PCA biplots for dry and wet forest and compare trait trade-offs. We evaluated whether multivariate plant strategies changed during succession, by calculating a ‘Community-Weighted Mean’ plant strategy, based on species scores on the first two PCA-axes. Trait spectra reflected two main trade-off axes that were similar for dry and wet forest species: acquisitive versus conservative species, and drought avoiding species versus evergreen species with large animal-dispersed seeds. These trait associations were consistent when accounting for evolutionary history. Successional changes in the most successful plant strategies reflected different functional trait spectra depending on the forest type. In dry forest the community changed from having drought avoiding strategies early in succession to increased abundance of evergreen strategies with larger seeds late in succession. In wet forest the community changed from species having mainly acquisitive strategies to those with more conservative strategies during succession. These strategy changes were explained by increasing water availability during dry forest

  8. Enrichment of SNPs in Functional Categories Reveals Genes Affecting Complex Traits.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Huiying; Fan, Dongsheng; Nyholt, Dale R; Yang, Yuedong

    2016-08-01

    Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have indicated potential to identify heritability of common complex phenotypes, but traditional approaches have limited ability to detect hiding signals because single SNP has weak effect size accounting for only a small fraction of overall phenotypic variations. To improve the power of GWAS, methods have been developed to identify truly associated genes by jointly testing effects of all SNPs. However, equally considering all SNPs within a gene might dilute strong signals of SNPs in real functional categories. Here, we observed a consistent pattern on enrichment of significant SNPs in eight functional categories across six phenotypes, with the highest enrichment in coding and both UTR regions while the lowest enrichment in the intron. Based on the pattern of SNP enrichment in functional categories, we developed a new approach for detecting gene associations on traits (DGAT) by selecting the most significant functional category and then using SNPs within it to assess gene associations. The method was found to be robust in type I error rate on simulated data, and to have mostly higher power in detecting associated genes for three different diseases than other methods. Further analysis indicated ability of the DGAT to detect novel genes. The DGAT is available by http://sparks-lab.org/server/DGAT. PMID:27113629

  9. The energy trade-off between growth and longevity.

    PubMed

    Hou, Chen

    2013-09-01

    Understanding the trade-offs between organisms' life history traits has been a major goal of physiology, ecology and evolution. In the last few decades, two types of intra-specific studies have highlighted the trade-off between growth and longevity. First, diet restriction (DR), as an environmental intervention, has been shown to suppress growth and extend the lifespan of a broad range of animals. Second, genetic studies have also shown that mice, whose growth hormone function is genetically modified (GM), grow slower and live longer than their wild-type siblings. Despite a wealth of empirical data, still largely missing is a theoretical framework that specifies and makes quantitative predictions on this trade-off. Here, I present a mechanistic model based on the principles of energy conservation. The model quantifies explicitly how DR and GM alter the animal's energy budget, and channel metabolic energy to somatic maintenance by suppressing growth, thereby extending lifespan. Data from a diverse set of empirical studies on small rodents supports the predictions of the model. More importantly, the model reveals that although DR and GM are two different methods to extend lifespan, i.e., environmental vs. genetic, the underlying mechanisms of them are the same from the energetic viewpoint. PMID:23872259

  10. Genome-Wide Scan Informed by Age-Related Disease Identifies Loci for Exceptional Human Longevity

    PubMed Central

    Fortney, Kristen; Dobriban, Edgar; Garagnani, Paolo; Pirazzini, Chiara; Monti, Daniela; Mari, Daniela; Atzmon, Gil; Barzilai, Nir; Franceschi, Claudio; Owen, Art B.; Kim, Stuart K.

    2015-01-01

    We developed a new statistical framework to find genetic variants associated with extreme longevity. The method, informed GWAS (iGWAS), takes advantage of knowledge from large studies of age-related disease in order to narrow the search for SNPs associated with longevity. To gain support for our approach, we first show there is an overlap between loci involved in disease and loci associated with extreme longevity. These results indicate that several disease variants may be depleted in centenarians versus the general population. Next, we used iGWAS to harness information from 14 meta-analyses of disease and trait GWAS to identify longevity loci in two studies of long-lived humans. In a standard GWAS analysis, only one locus in these studies is significant (APOE/TOMM40) when controlling the false discovery rate (FDR) at 10%. With iGWAS, we identify eight genetic loci to associate significantly with exceptional human longevity at FDR < 10%. We followed up the eight lead SNPs in independent cohorts, and found replication evidence of four loci and suggestive evidence for one more with exceptional longevity. The loci that replicated (FDR < 5%) included APOE/TOMM40 (associated with Alzheimer’s disease), CDKN2B/ANRIL (implicated in the regulation of cellular senescence), ABO (tags the O blood group), and SH2B3/ATXN2 (a signaling gene that extends lifespan in Drosophila and a gene involved in neurological disease). Our results implicate new loci in longevity and reveal a genetic overlap between longevity and age-related diseases and traits, including coronary artery disease and Alzheimer’s disease. iGWAS provides a new analytical strategy for uncovering SNPs that influence extreme longevity, and can be applied more broadly to boost power in other studies of complex phenotypes. PMID:26677855

  11. Differential accuracy in person perception across traits: examination of a functional hypothesis.

    PubMed

    Gangestad, S W; Simpson, J A; DiGeronimo, K; Biek, M

    1992-04-01

    Although strangers can assess certain traits of unacquainted others with moderate validity, overall validity is low. Differential validity across traits may be due to (a) the extent to which targets display valid cues or (b) the extent to which perceivers validly use cues. A functionalist perspective suggests that valid cue utilization should vary with how important the consequences of accurate trait assessment are. It was predicted from this perspective that perceivers would judge strangers' sociosexuality more accurately than 3 other traits--social potency, social closeness, and stress reaction. Perceivers viewed 1-min videotaped segments of targets being interviewed and rated them on the 4 traits. Ratings were correlated with target-reported trait measures. As predicted, perceivers' ratings of male sociosexuality agreed relatively well with self-reports. This effect was moderated by sex of target and sex of perceiver. PMID:1583592

  12. Disentangling Coordination among Functional Traits Using an Individual-Centred Model: Impact on Plant Performance at Intra- and Inter-Specific Levels

    PubMed Central

    Hill, David; Martin, Raphaël; Wirth, Christian; Wright, Ian J.; Soussana, Jean-François

    2013-01-01

    Background Plant functional traits co-vary along strategy spectra, thereby defining trade-offs for resource acquisition and utilization amongst other processes. A main objective of plant ecology is to quantify the correlations among traits and ask why some of them are sufficiently closely coordinated to form a single axis of functional specialization. However, due to trait co-variations in nature, it is difficult to propose a mechanistic and causal explanation for the origin of trade-offs among traits observed at both intra- and inter-specific level. Methodology/Principal Findings Using the Gemini individual-centered model which coordinates physiological and morphological processes, we investigated with 12 grass species the consequences of deliberately decoupling variation of leaf traits (specific leaf area, leaf lifespan) and plant stature (height and tiller number) on plant growth and phenotypic variability. For all species under both high and low N supplies, simulated trait values maximizing plant growth in monocultures matched observed trait values. Moreover, at the intraspecific level, plastic trait responses to N addition predicted by the model were in close agreement with observed trait responses. In a 4D trait space, our modeling approach highlighted that the unique trait combination maximizing plant growth under a given environmental condition was determined by a coordination of leaf, root and whole plant processes that tended to co-limit the acquisition and use of carbon and of nitrogen. Conclusion/Significance Our study provides a mechanistic explanation for the origin of trade-offs between plant functional traits and further predicts plasticity in plant traits in response to environmental changes. In a multidimensional trait space, regions occupied by current plant species can therefore be viewed as adaptive corridors where trait combinations minimize allometric and physiological constraints from the organ to the whole plant levels. The regions outside

  13. Characterization of mineral phosphate solubilization traits from a barley rhizosphere soil functional metagenome.

    PubMed

    Chhabra, Sagar; Brazil, Dina; Morrissey, John; Burke, James I; O'Gara, Fergal; N Dowling, David

    2013-10-01

    Mineral phosphate solubilization (MPS) microorganisms are important for their provision of orthophosphate anions for plant growth promotion activity in soil. In this study, we applied a functional metagenomic approach to identify this trait directly from the microbiome in barley rhizosphere soil that had not received P fertilizer over a 15-year period. A fosmid system was used to clone the metagenome of which 18,000 clones (~666 Mb of DNA) was screened for MPS. Functional assays and High Performance Liquid Chromatography analysis recognized gluconic acid production and MPS activity in the range 24.8-77.1 mmol/L and 27.6-38.16 μg/mL, respectively, when screened in an Escherichia coli host (at frequency of one MPS-positive clone hit per 114 Mb DNA tested). The MPS clones (with average insert size of ~37 kb) were analysed by 454 Roche sequencing and annotated. A number of genes/operons with homology to Phosphorous (P) uptake, regulatory and solubilization mechanisms were identified, linking the MPS function to the uncultivated microbiome present in barley rhizosphere soil. PMID:23894099

  14. Interindividual differences in cognitive flexibility: influence of gray matter volume, functional connectivity and trait impulsivity

    PubMed Central

    Langner, Robert; Cieslik, Edna C.; Rottschy, Claudia; Eickhoff, Simon B.

    2016-01-01

    Cognitive flexibility, a core aspect of executive functioning, is required for the speeded shifting between different tasks and sets. Using an interindividual differences approach, we examined whether cognitive flexibility, as assessed by the Delis–Kaplan card-sorting test, is associated with gray matter volume (GMV) and functional connectivity (FC) of regions of a core network of multiple cognitive demands as well as with different facets of trait impulsivity. The core multiple-demand network was derived from three large-scale neuroimaging meta-analyses and only included regions that showed consistent associations with sustained attention, working memory as well as inhibitory control. We tested to what extent self-reported impulsivity as well as GMV and resting-state FC in this core network predicted cognitive flexibility independently and incrementally. Our analyses revealed that card-sorting performance correlated positively with GMV of the right anterior insula, FC between bilateral anterior insula and midcingulate cortex/supplementary motor area as well as the impulsivity dimension “Premeditation.” Importantly, GMV, FC and impulsivity together accounted for more variance of card-sorting performance than every parameter alone. Our results therefore indicate that various factors contribute individually to cognitive flexibility, underlining the need to search across multiple modalities when aiming to unveil the mechanisms behind executive functioning. PMID:24878823

  15. Ozone exposure and flux-based response functions for photosynthetic traits in wheat, maize and poplar.

    PubMed

    Bagard, Matthieu; Jolivet, Yves; Hasenfratz-Sauder, Marie-Paule; Gérard, Joëlle; Dizengremel, Pierre; Le Thiec, Didier

    2015-11-01

    Ozone exposure- and dose-response relationships based on photosynthetic leaf traits (CO2 assimilation, chlorophyll content, Rubisco and PEPc activities) were established for wheat, maize and poplar plants grown in identical controlled conditions, providing a comparison between crop and tree species, as well as between C3 and C4 plants. Intra-specific variability was addressed by comparing two wheat cultivars with contrasting ozone tolerance. Depending on plant models and ozone levels, first-order, second-order and segmented linear regression models were used to derive ozone response functions. Overall, flux-based functions appeared superior to exposure-based functions in describing the data, but the improvement remained modest. The best fit was obtained using the POD0.5 for maize and POD3 for poplar. The POD6 appeared relevant for wheat, although intervarietal differences were found. Our results suggest that taking into account the dynamics of leaf antioxidant capacity could improve current methods for ozone risk assessment for plants. PMID:26253315

  16. Dopamine modulates risk-taking as a function of baseline sensation-seeking trait.

    PubMed

    Norbury, Agnes; Manohar, Sanjay; Rogers, Robert D; Husain, Masud

    2013-08-01

    Trait sensation-seeking, defined as a need for varied, complex, and intense sensations, represents a relatively underexplored hedonic drive in human behavioral neuroscience research. It is related to increased risk for a range of behaviors including substance use, gambling, and risky sexual practice. Individual differences in self-reported sensation-seeking have been linked to brain dopamine function, particularly at D2-like receptors, but so far no causal evidence exists for a role of dopamine in sensation-seeking behavior in humans. Here, we investigated the effects of the selective D2/D3 agonist cabergoline on performance of a probabilistic risky choice task in healthy humans using a sensitive within-subject, placebo-controlled design. Cabergoline significantly influenced the way participants combined different explicit signals regarding probability and loss when choosing between response options associated with uncertain outcomes. Importantly, these effects were strongly dependent on baseline sensation-seeking score. Overall, cabergoline increased sensitivity of choice to information about probability of winning; while decreasing discrimination according to magnitude of potential losses associated with different options. The largest effects of the drug were observed in participants with lower sensation-seeking scores. These findings provide evidence that risk-taking behavior in humans can be directly manipulated by a dopaminergic drug, but that the effectiveness of such a manipulation depends on baseline differences in sensation-seeking trait. This emphasizes the importance of considering individual differences when investigating manipulation of risky decision-making, and may have relevance for the development of pharmacotherapies for disorders involving excessive risk-taking in humans, such as pathological gambling. PMID:23926253

  17. Functional traits contributed to the superior performance of the exotic species Robinia pseudoacacia: a comparison with the native tree Sophora japonica.

    PubMed

    Luo, Yujie; Yuan, Yifu; Wang, Renqing; Liu, Jian; Du, Ning; Guo, Weihua

    2016-03-01

    Functional traits determine the ecological strategies of plants and therefore are widely considered to feature in the success of invasive species. By comparing a widespread exotic invasive species Robinia pseudoacacia L. with a related native one Sophora japonica L., this research aimed to study strategies of R. pseudoacacia for superior performance from the perspective of functional traits. We conducted a greenhouse experiment in which seedlings of R. pseudoacacia and S. japonica were grown separately under a factorial combination of two light regimes and three levels of nitrogen (N) fertilization, including a control and two levels intended to represent ambient and future levels of N deposition in Chinese forests. After 90 days of treatment, performance and functional traits were determined for the two species, the former referred to as the total biomass (TB) that directly affected fitness. Trait plasticity and integration (the pattern and extent of functional covariance among different plant traits) were analyzed and compared. We found that the two species showed significantly different plastic responses to light increase: in the low-light regime, they were similar in performance and functional traits, while in the high-light regime, R. pseudoacacia achieved a significantly higher TB and a suite of divergent but advantageous functional traits versus S. japonica, such as significantly greater photosynthetic capacity and leaf N concentration, and lower carbon-to-N ratio and root-to-shoot ratio, which conferred it the greater performance. Moreover, across the light gradient, R. pseudoacacia showed higher correlations between photosynthetic capacity and other functional traits than S. japonica. In contrast, N deposition showed little impact on our experiment. Our results suggested that across light regimes, three aspects of functional traits contributed to the superior performance of R. pseudoacacia: functional trait divergence, significantly different plasticity of

  18. Being cool: how body temperature influences ageing and longevity.

    PubMed

    Keil, Gerald; Cummings, Elizabeth; de Magalhães, João Pedro

    2015-08-01

    Temperature is a basic and essential property of any physical system, including living systems. Even modest variations in temperature can have profound effects on organisms, and it has long been thought that as metabolism increases at higher temperatures so should rates of ageing. Here, we review the literature on how temperature affects longevity, ageing and life history traits. From poikilotherms to homeotherms, there is a clear trend for lower temperature being associated with longer lifespans both in wild populations and in laboratory conditions. Many life-extending manipulations in rodents, such as caloric restriction, also decrease core body temperature. Nonetheless, an inverse relationship between temperature and lifespan can be obscured or reversed, especially when the range of body temperatures is small as in homeotherms. An example is observed in humans: women appear to have a slightly higher body temperature and yet live longer than men. The mechanisms involved in the relationship between temperature and longevity also appear to be less direct than once thought with neuroendocrine processes possibly mediating complex physiological responses to temperature changes. Lastly, we discuss species differences in longevity in mammals and how this relates to body temperature and argue that the low temperature of the long-lived naked mole-rat possibly contributes to its exceptional longevity. PMID:25832892

  19. Stability of the DSM-5 Section III Pathological Personality Traits and their Longitudinal Associations with Psychosocial Functioning in Personality Disordered Individuals

    PubMed Central

    Wright, Aidan G.C.; Calabrese, William R.; Rudick, Monica M.; Yam, Wern How; Zelazny, Kerry; Williams, Trevor F.; Rotterman, Jane H.; Simms, Leonard J.

    2014-01-01

    This study was conducted to establish (a) the stability of the DSM-5 Section III personality disorder (PD) traits, (b) whether these traits predict future psychosocial functioning, and (c) whether changes in traits track with changes in psychosocial functioning across time. Ninety-three outpatients (61% Female) diagnosed with at least one PD completed patient-report measures at two time-points (M time between assessments = 1.44 years), including the Personality Inventory for the DSM-5 and several measures of psychosocial functioning. Effect sizes of rank-order and mean-level change were calculated. In addition, Time 1 traits were used to predict functioning measures at Time 2. Finally, latent change score models were estimated for DSM-5 Section III traits and functioning measures, and correlations among latent change scores were calculated to establish the relationship between change in traits and functional outcomes. Findings demonstrated that the DSM-5 Section III traits were highly stable in terms of normative (i.e., mean-level) change and rank-order stability over the course of the study. Furthermore, traits prospectively predicted psychosocial functioning. However, at the individual level traits and functioning were not entirely static over the study, and change in individuals’ functioning tracked with changes in trait levels. These findings demonstrate that the DSM-5 Section III traits are highly stable consistent with the definition of PD, prospectively predictive of psychosocial functioning, and dynamically associated with functioning over time. This study provides important evidence in support of the DSM-5 Section III PD model. PMID:25384070

  20. A sexually dimorphic corolla appendage affects pollen removal and floral longevity in gynodioecious Cyananthus delavayi (Campanulaceae).

    PubMed

    Niu, Yang; Zhang, Zhi-Qiang; Liu, Chang-Qiu; Li, Zhi-Min; Sun, Hang

    2015-01-01

    The floral traits of bisexual flowers may evolve in response to selection on both male and female functions, but the relative importance of selection associated with each of these two aspects is poorly resolved. Sexually dimorphic traits in plants with unisexual flowers may reflect gender-specific selection, providing opportunities for gaining an increased understanding of the evolution of specific floral traits. We examined sexually dimorphic patterns of floral traits in perfect and female flowers of the gynodioecious species Cyananthus delavayi. A special corolla appendage, the throat hair, was investigated experimentally to examine its influences on male and female function. We found that perfect flowers have larger corollas and much longer throat hairs than female flowers, while female ones have much exerted stigmas. The presence of throat hairs prolonged the duration of pollen presentation by restricting the amount of pollen removed by pollen-collecting bees during each visit. Floral longevity was negatively related to the rate of pollen removal. When pollen removal rate was limited in perfect flowers, the duration of the female phases diminished with the increased male phase duration. There was a weak negative correlation between throat hair length and seed number per fruit in female flowers, but this correlation was not significant in perfect flowers. These results suggest that throat hairs may enhance male function in terms of prolonged pollen presentation. However, throat hairs have no obvious effect on female function in terms of seed number per fruit. The marked sexual dimorphism of this corolla appendage in C. delavayi is likely to have evolved and been maintained by gender-specific selection. PMID:25603479

  1. A Sexually Dimorphic Corolla Appendage Affects Pollen Removal and Floral Longevity in Gynodioecious Cyananthus delavayi (Campanulaceae)

    PubMed Central

    Niu, Yang; Zhang, Zhi-Qiang; Liu, Chang-Qiu; Li, Zhi-Min; Sun, Hang

    2015-01-01

    The floral traits of bisexual flowers may evolve in response to selection on both male and female functions, but the relative importance of selection associated with each of these two aspects is poorly resolved. Sexually dimorphic traits in plants with unisexual flowers may reflect gender-specific selection, providing opportunities for gaining an increased understanding of the evolution of specific floral traits. We examined sexually dimorphic patterns of floral traits in perfect and female flowers of the gynodioecious species Cyananthus delavayi. A special corolla appendage, the throat hair, was investigated experimentally to examine its influences on male and female function. We found that perfect flowers have larger corollas and much longer throat hairs than female flowers, while female ones have much exerted stigmas. The presence of throat hairs prolonged the duration of pollen presentation by restricting the amount of pollen removed by pollen-collecting bees during each visit. Floral longevity was negatively related to the rate of pollen removal. When pollen removal rate was limited in perfect flowers, the duration of the female phases diminished with the increased male phase duration. There was a weak negative correlation between throat hair length and seed number per fruit in female flowers, but this correlation was not significant in perfect flowers. These results suggest that throat hairs may enhance male function in terms of prolonged pollen presentation. However, throat hairs have no obvious effect on female function in terms of seed number per fruit. The marked sexual dimorphism of this corolla appendage in C. delavayi is likely to have evolved and been maintained by gender-specific selection. PMID:25603479

  2. Using functional traits to assess the resistance of subalpine grassland to trampling by mountain biking and hiking.

    PubMed

    Pickering, Catherine Marina; Barros, Agustina

    2015-12-01

    Functional traits reflect plant responses to disturbance, including from visitor impacts. The impacts of mountain biking and hiking on functional composition were compared using a common experimental protocol in a subalpine grassland in the Australian Alps. The overlapping cover of all species was recorded two weeks after different intensities of hiking (200 and 500 passes) and mountain biking (none, 25, 75, 200 and 500 passes). Species' functional trait data were combined with their relative cover to calculate community trait weighted means for plant height, leaf area, percentage leaf dry matter content and Specific Leaf Area (SLA). Species such as Poa fawcettiae with larger leaves and SLA but lower dry weight content of leaves were more resistant to use, with differences between bikers and hikers only apparent at the highest levels of use tested. This differs from some vegetation communities in Europe where plants with smaller leaves were more resistant to hiking. More research using functional traits may account for differences in species responses to trampling. Managers of conservation areas used for hiking and biking need to minimise off trail use by both user groups. PMID:26363260

  3. Interpreting the Climatic Effects on Xylem Functional Traits in Two Mediterranean Oak Species: The Role of Extreme Climatic Events.

    PubMed

    Rita, Angelo; Borghetti, Marco; Todaro, Luigi; Saracino, Antonio

    2016-01-01

    In the Mediterranean region, the widely predicted rise in temperature, change in the precipitation pattern, and increase in the frequency of extreme climatic events are expected to alter the shape of ecological communities and to affect plant physiological processes that regulate ecosystem functioning. Although change in the mean values are important, there is increasing evidence that plant distribution, survival, and productivity respond to extremes rather than to the average climatic condition. The present study aims to assess the effects of both mean and extreme climatic conditions on radial growth and functional anatomical traits using long-term tree-ring time series of two co-existing Quercus spp. from a drought-prone site in Southern Italy. In particular, this is the first attempt to apply the Generalized Additive Model for Location, Scale, and Shape (GAMLSS) technique and Bayesian modeling procedures to xylem traits data set, with the aim of (i) detecting non-linear long-term responses to climate and (ii) exploring relationships between climate extreme and xylem traits variability in terms of probability of occurrence. This study demonstrates the usefulness of long-term xylem trait chronologies as records of environmental conditions at annual resolution. Statistical analyses revealed that most of the variability in tree-ring width and specific hydraulic conductivity might be explained by cambial age. Additionally, results highlighted appreciable relationships between xylem traits and climate variability more than tree-ring width, supporting also the evidence that the plant hydraulic traits are closely linked to local climate extremes rather than average climatic conditions. We reported that the probability of extreme departure in specific hydraulic conductivity (Ks) rises at extreme values of Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI). Therefore, changing frequency or intensity of extreme events might overcome the adaptive limits of vascular transport, resulting

  4. Interpreting the Climatic Effects on Xylem Functional Traits in Two Mediterranean Oak Species: The Role of Extreme Climatic Events

    PubMed Central

    Rita, Angelo; Borghetti, Marco; Todaro, Luigi; Saracino, Antonio

    2016-01-01

    In the Mediterranean region, the widely predicted rise in temperature, change in the precipitation pattern, and increase in the frequency of extreme climatic events are expected to alter the shape of ecological communities and to affect plant physiological processes that regulate ecosystem functioning. Although change in the mean values are important, there is increasing evidence that plant distribution, survival, and productivity respond to extremes rather than to the average climatic condition. The present study aims to assess the effects of both mean and extreme climatic conditions on radial growth and functional anatomical traits using long-term tree-ring time series of two co-existing Quercus spp. from a drought-prone site in Southern Italy. In particular, this is the first attempt to apply the Generalized Additive Model for Location, Scale, and Shape (GAMLSS) technique and Bayesian modeling procedures to xylem traits data set, with the aim of (i) detecting non-linear long-term responses to climate and (ii) exploring relationships between climate extreme and xylem traits variability in terms of probability of occurrence. This study demonstrates the usefulness of long-term xylem trait chronologies as records of environmental conditions at annual resolution. Statistical analyses revealed that most of the variability in tree-ring width and specific hydraulic conductivity might be explained by cambial age. Additionally, results highlighted appreciable relationships between xylem traits and climate variability more than tree-ring width, supporting also the evidence that the plant hydraulic traits are closely linked to local climate extremes rather than average climatic conditions. We reported that the probability of extreme departure in specific hydraulic conductivity (Ks) rises at extreme values of Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI). Therefore, changing frequency or intensity of extreme events might overcome the adaptive limits of vascular transport, resulting

  5. Variation in species diversity and functional traits of sponge communities near human populations in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

    PubMed

    Easson, Cole G; Matterson, Kenan O; Freeman, Christopher J; Archer, Stephanie K; Thacker, Robert W

    2015-01-01

    Recent studies have renewed interest in sponge ecology by emphasizing the functional importance of sponges in a broad array of ecosystem services. Many critically important habitats occupied by sponges face chronic stressors that might lead to alterations in their diversity, relatedness, and functional attributes. We addressed whether proximity to human activity might be a significant factor in structuring sponge community composition, as well as potential functional roles, by monitoring sponge diversity and abundance at two structurally similar sites that vary in distance to areas of high coastal development in Bocas Del Toro, Panama. We surveyed sponge communities at each site using belt transects and differences between two sites were compared using the following variables: (1) sponge species richness, Shannon diversity, and inverse Simpson's diversity; (2) phylogenetic diversity; (3) taxonomic and phylogenetic beta diversity; (4) trait diversity and dissimilarity; and (5) phylogenetic and trait patterns in community structure. We observed significantly higher sponge diversity at Punta Caracol, the site most distant from human development (∼5 km). Although phylogenetic diversity was lower at Saigon Bay, the site adjacent to a large village including many houses, businesses, and an airport, the sites did not exhibit significantly different patterns of phylogenetic relatedness in species composition. However, each site had a distinct taxonomic and phylogenetic composition (beta diversity). In addition, the sponge community at Saigon included a higher relative abundance of sponges with high microbial abundance and high chlorophyll a concentration, whereas the community at Punta Caracol had a more even distribution of these traits, yielding a significant difference in functional trait diversity between sites. These results suggest that lower diversity and potentially altered community function might be associated with proximity to human populations. This study

  6. Variation in species diversity and functional traits of sponge communities near human populations in Bocas del Toro, Panama

    PubMed Central

    Matterson, Kenan O.; Freeman, Christopher J.; Archer, Stephanie K.; Thacker, Robert W.

    2015-01-01

    Recent studies have renewed interest in sponge ecology by emphasizing the functional importance of sponges in a broad array of ecosystem services. Many critically important habitats occupied by sponges face chronic stressors that might lead to alterations in their diversity, relatedness, and functional attributes. We addressed whether proximity to human activity might be a significant factor in structuring sponge community composition, as well as potential functional roles, by monitoring sponge diversity and abundance at two structurally similar sites that vary in distance to areas of high coastal development in Bocas Del Toro, Panama. We surveyed sponge communities at each site using belt transects and differences between two sites were compared using the following variables: (1) sponge species richness, Shannon diversity, and inverse Simpson’s diversity; (2) phylogenetic diversity; (3) taxonomic and phylogenetic beta diversity; (4) trait diversity and dissimilarity; and (5) phylogenetic and trait patterns in community structure. We observed significantly higher sponge diversity at Punta Caracol, the site most distant from human development (∼5 km). Although phylogenetic diversity was lower at Saigon Bay, the site adjacent to a large village including many houses, businesses, and an airport, the sites did not exhibit significantly different patterns of phylogenetic relatedness in species composition. However, each site had a distinct taxonomic and phylogenetic composition (beta diversity). In addition, the sponge community at Saigon included a higher relative abundance of sponges with high microbial abundance and high chlorophyll a concentration, whereas the community at Punta Caracol had a more even distribution of these traits, yielding a significant difference in functional trait diversity between sites. These results suggest that lower diversity and potentially altered community function might be associated with proximity to human populations. This study

  7. Evolution of increased adult longevity in Drosophila melanogaster populations selected for adaptation to larval crowding.

    PubMed

    Shenoi, V N; Ali, S Z; Prasad, N G

    2016-02-01

    In holometabolous animals such as Drosophila melanogaster, larval crowding can affect a wide range of larval and adult traits. Adults emerging from high larval density cultures have smaller body size and increased mean life span compared to flies emerging from low larval density cultures. Therefore, adaptation to larval crowding could potentially affect adult longevity as a correlated response. We addressed this issue by studying a set of large, outbred populations of D. melanogaster, experimentally evolved for adaptation to larval crowding for 83 generations. We assayed longevity of adult flies from both selected (MCUs) and control populations (MBs) after growing them at different larval densities. We found that MCUs have evolved increased mean longevity compared to MBs at all larval densities. The interaction between selection regime and larval density was not significant, indicating that the density dependence of mean longevity had not evolved in the MCU populations. The increase in longevity in MCUs can be partially attributed to their lower rates of ageing. It is also noteworthy that reaction norm of dry body weight, a trait probably under direct selection in our populations, has indeed evolved in MCU populations. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of the evolution of adult longevity as a correlated response of adaptation to larval crowding. PMID:26575793

  8. WIPI-Mediated Autophagy and Longevity

    PubMed Central

    Grimmel, Mona; Backhaus, Charlotte; Proikas-Cezanne, Tassula

    2015-01-01

    Autophagy is a lysosomal degradation process for cytoplasmic components, including organelles, membranes, and proteins, and critically secures eukaryotic cellular homeostasis and survival. Moreover, autophagy-related (ATG) genes are considered essential for longevity control in model organisms. Central to the regulatory relationship between autophagy and longevity is the control of insulin/insulin-like growth factor receptor-driven activation of mTOR (mechanistic target of rapamycin), which inhibits WIPI (WD repeat protein interacting with phosphoinositides)-mediated autophagosome formation. Release of the inhibitory mTOR action on autophagy permits the production of PI3P (phosphatidylinositol-3 phosphate), predominantly at the endoplasmic reticulum, to function as an initiation signal for the formation of autophagosomes. WIPI proteins detect this pool of newly produced PI3P and function as essential PI3P effector proteins that recruit downstream autophagy-related (ATG) proteins. The important role of WIPI proteins in autophagy is highlighted by functional knockout of the WIPI homologues ATG-18 and EPG-6 in Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans). Adult lifespan is significantly reduced in ATG-18 mutant animals, demonstrating that longevity as such is crucially determined by essential autophagy factors. In this review we summarize the role of WIPI proteins and their C. elegans homologues with regard to the molecular basis of aging. As the development of strategies on how to increase health span in humans is increasingly appreciated, we speculate that targeting WIPI protein function might represent a therapeutic opportunity to fight and delay the onset of age-related human diseases. PMID:26010754

  9. Systematic Functional Dissection of Common Genetic Variation Affecting Red Blood Cell Traits.

    PubMed

    Ulirsch, Jacob C; Nandakumar, Satish K; Wang, Li; Giani, Felix C; Zhang, Xiaolan; Rogov, Peter; Melnikov, Alexandre; McDonel, Patrick; Do, Ron; Mikkelsen, Tarjei S; Sankaran, Vijay G

    2016-06-01

    Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have successfully identified thousands of associations between common genetic variants and human disease phenotypes, but the majority of these variants are non-coding, often requiring genetic fine-mapping, epigenomic profiling, and individual reporter assays to delineate potential causal variants. We employ a massively parallel reporter assay (MPRA) to simultaneously screen 2,756 variants in strong linkage disequilibrium with 75 sentinel variants associated with red blood cell traits. We show that this assay identifies elements with endogenous erythroid regulatory activity. Across 23 sentinel variants, we conservatively identified 32 MPRA functional variants (MFVs). We used targeted genome editing to demonstrate endogenous enhancer activity across 3 MFVs that predominantly affect the transcription of SMIM1, RBM38, and CD164. Functional follow-up of RBM38 delineates a key role for this gene in the alternative splicing program occurring during terminal erythropoiesis. Finally, we provide evidence for how common GWAS-nominated variants can disrupt cell-type-specific transcriptional regulatory pathways. PMID:27259154

  10. Comparison of Physicochemical and Functional Traits of Hanwoo Steer Beef by the Quality Grade

    PubMed Central

    Lim, Dong-Gyun; Jo, Cheorun; Lee, Kyung Haeng; Kim, Jong-Ju

    2014-01-01

    The physicochemical and functional traits for loin muscles of Hanwoo steers were compared by quality grade (QG). A total of 500 Hanwoo steers were slaughtered, their carcasses were categorized into four groups (QG 1++, 1+, 1, and 2), and the longissimus dorsi muscles were analyzed. QG 1++ group had the highest fat and lowest moisture content (p<0.05). QG 1++ showed higher L* and b* color values, higher cooking loss, and lower shear force values, compared with the other groups (p<0.05). The flavor, tenderness, juiciness, and preference scores by sensory evaluation were highly ranked for premium QG groups (1++ and 1+). Regarding the micro compounds, QG 1 and QG 2 had greater amounts of inosine monophosphate, and QG 2 had greater amounts of anserine, carnosine, and creatine, than QG 1++ (p<0.05). QG 1++ and 1+ had higher percentages of oleic acid (C18:1) than QG 2 (p<0.05). Within premium QG 1++ and 1+, the results of the nucleotides, free amino acids, dipeptides, and fatty acids did not show any distinctive differences. Hanwoo beef as determined by the current grading system was not significantly different in terms of functional components; the only significant difference was in intramuscular fat content. PMID:26761169

  11. RNA silencing as a tool to uncover gene function and engineer novel traits in soybean

    PubMed Central

    Kasai, Megumi; Kanazawa, Akira

    2012-01-01

    RNA silencing refers collectively to diverse RNA-mediated pathways of nucleotide-sequence-specific inhibition of gene expression. It has been used to analyze gene function and engineer novel traits in various organisms. Here, we review the application of RNA silencing in soybean. To produce soybean lines, in which a particular gene is stably silenced, researchers have frequently used a transgene that transcribes inverted repeats of a target gene segment. Suppression of gene expression in developing soybean embryos has been one of the main focuses of metabolic engineering using transgene-induced silencing. Plants that have enhanced resistance against diseases caused by viruses or cyst nematode have also been produced. Meanwhile, Agrobacterium rhizogenes-mediated transformation has been used to induce RNA silencing in roots, which enabled analysis of the roles of gene products in nodulation or disease resistance. RNA silencing has also been induced using viral vectors, which is particularly useful for gene function analysis. So far, three viral vectors for virus-induced gene silencing have been developed for soybean. One of the features of the soybean genome is the presence of a large number of duplicated genes. Potential use of RNA silencing technology in combination with forward genetic approaches for analyzing duplicated genes is discussed. PMID:23136487

  12. Prospective approaches to avoid flock fertility problems: predictive assessment of sperm function traits in poultry.

    PubMed

    Donoghue, A M

    1999-03-01

    This paper discusses why it is important to evaluate males as individuals and how advances made in understanding and measurement of sperm function can be used to improve reproductive efficiency in poultry. Commercial turkey breeding relies on pooling semen from multiple toms. It generally is assumed that sperm in good quality semen from all toms are equally fecund. (Fecund is defined, for males, as an individual whose semen contains a majority of sperm with the potential of producing fertilized eggs, which includes success at all steps in the fertilization process: sperm movement, storage in the hens' sperm storage tubules, binding and penetrating the perivitelline layer, and fertilization.) However, when DNA fingerprinting was used to determine paternity efficiency after pooling ejaculates from seven or more toms, it was found that 18 of 26 males produced very few, or no, offspring. In addition, the traditional measures of poultry semen quality: semen volume, sperm concentration, sperm viability, and subjective motility assessment, were poor predictors of paternity. In recent years, a concentrated effort has been made to develop and evaluate methods that quantify sperm function in poultry. Methods to measure some of these traits are reviewed: sperm motility, sperm storage in the hen, and sperm binding and penetration of the ovum. Data supporting use of these tools for managing flock fertility from the male perspective are explored. PMID:10090272

  13. Differential response of bird functional traits to post-fire salvage logging in a boreal forest ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Azeria, Ermias T.; Ibarzabal, Jacques; Hébert, Christian; Boucher, Jonathan; Imbeau, Louis; Savard, Jean-Pierre L.

    2011-05-01

    The concept of functional trait-environment relationship posits that species in a local community should possess similar traits that match the selective environment. The present study examines species trait-habitat (using Fourth-corner and RLQ analyses) and habitat occupancy patterns (logistic regression models) of bird assemblages in boreal forest stands following disturbances by forest fire and salvage logging. The stands differed in the amount and composition of residual tree retention, salvage- and aquatic-edges, degree of burn severity (all measured at 100 and 500 m buffers), as well as landscape-level variables such as distance to previously burned forests. Tests of trait-habitat relationships showed that canopy-nesters and bark- and foliage- insectivores required high levels of residual trees of low burn severity, with the feeding guilds showing affinity for different stand composition. In contrast, ground-nesters and omnivores thrived in salvaged areas and associated edges. In addition, cavity-nesting and ground-foragers were associated with severely burned stands. The species' habitat occupancy patterns were commensurate with trait requirements, which also appeared to be scale-dependent. For example, some fire-associated species had high occupancy probability in severely burned stands at small-scale (100 m buffer), which was consistent with their cavity-nesting trait. This pattern, however, was not evident at large-scale, where their feeding requirement (bark-insectivores) for low-severity burns dominated. Our study suggests that trait-habitat relationships can provide critical information to the complex ways species' relate to key habitat factors following natural and anthropogenic disturbances.

  14. Quantitative Genetic Dissection of Shoot Architecture Traits in Maize: Towards a Functional Genomics Approach

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Quantitative trait loci (QTL) affecting the total number of leaves (TNOL) made prior to flowering and the number of leaves below the ear (NLBE) were mapped and characterized in order to dissect the genetic regulatory components of these agronomically important traits of corn. The full set of interm...

  15. On the relationship between autistic traits and executive functioning in a non-clinical Dutch student population.

    PubMed

    Maes, Joseph H R; Vissers, Constance Th W M; Egger, Jos I M; Eling, Paul A T M

    2013-07-01

    We examined the association between autistic traits and different aspects of executive functioning (EF), using non-clinical Social Science and Science students as participants. Autistic traits, and associated personality traits, were measured using the Autism Quotient (AQ) and the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI), respectively. EF was examined by means of a random number generation test and a phonemic fluency test. Using appropriate dependent measures, the following EF components were examined: 1) inhibition of prepotent responding, 2) simple output inhibition, 3) working memory monitoring and updating, and 4) switching. No significant relationship was found between the AQ and each of the four components of EF. However, two TCI subscales were reliably correlated with either the working memory or the shifting component. These results were discussed in view of the concept of an autism spectrum with respect to executive abilities. PMID:22700989

  16. Assessment of trait anxiety and prediction of changes in state anxiety using functional brain imaging: A test-retest study.

    PubMed

    Tian, Xue; Wei, Dongtao; Du, Xue; Wang, Kangcheng; Yang, Junyi; Liu, Wei; Meng, Jie; Liu, Huijuan; Liu, Guangyuan; Qiu, Jiang

    2016-06-01

    Anxiety is a multidimensional construct that includes stable trait anxiety and momentary state anxiety, which have a combined effect on our mental and physical well-being. However, the relationship between intrinsic brain activity and the feeling of anxiety, particularly trait and state anxiety, remain unclear. In this study, we used resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) (amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (ALFF) and regional homogeneity (ReHo)) to determine the effects of intrinsic brain activity on stable inter-individual trait anxiety and intra-individual state anxiety variability in a cross-sectional and test-retest study. We found that at both time points, the trait anxiety score was significantly associated with intrinsic brain activity (both the ALFF and ReHo) in the right ventral medial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and ALFF of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex/anterior midcingulate cortex (dACC/aMCC). More importantly, the change in intrinsic brain activity in the right insula was predictive of intra-individual state anxiety variability over a 9-month interval. The test-retest nature of this study's design could provide an opportunity to distinguish between the intrinsic brain activity associated with state and trait anxiety. These results could deepen our understanding of anxiety from a neuroscientific perspective. PMID:27001499

  17. Functional traits variation explains the distribution of Aextoxicon punctatum (Aextoxicaceae) in pronounced moisture gradients within fog-dependent forest fragments.

    PubMed

    Salgado-Negret, Beatriz; Canessa, Rafaella; Valladares, Fernando; Armesto, Juan J; Pérez, Fernanda

    2015-01-01

    Climate change and fragmentation are major threats to world forests. Understanding how functional traits related to drought tolerance change across small-scale, pronounced moisture gradients in fragmented forests is important to predict species' responses to these threats. In the case of Aextoxicon punctatum, a dominant canopy tree in fog-dependent rain forest patches in semiarid Chile, we explored how the magnitude, variability and correlation patterns of leaf and xylem vessel traits and hydraulic conductivity varied across soil moisture (SM) gradients established within and among forest patches of different size, which are associated with differences in tree establishment and mortality patterns. Leaf traits varied across soil-moisture gradients produced by fog interception. Trees growing at drier leeward edges showed higher leaf mass per area, trichome and stomatal density than trees from the wetter core and windward zones. In contrast, xylem vessel traits (vessels diameter and density) did not vary producing loss of hydraulic conductivity at drier leeward edges. We also detected higher levels of phenotypic integration and variability at leeward edges. The ability of A. punctatum to modify leaf traits in response to differences in SM availability established over short distances (<500 m) facilitates its persistence in contrasting microhabitats within forest patches. However, xylem anatomy showed limited plasticity, which increases cavitation risk at leeward edges. Greater patch fragmentation, together with fluctuations in irradiance and SM in small patches, could result in higher risk of drought-related tree mortality, with profound impacts on hydrological balances at the ecosystem scale. PMID:26257746

  18. Functional traits variation explains the distribution of Aextoxicon punctatum (Aextoxicaceae) in pronounced moisture gradients within fog-dependent forest fragments

    PubMed Central

    Salgado-Negret, Beatriz; Canessa, Rafaella; Valladares, Fernando; Armesto, Juan J.; Pérez, Fernanda

    2015-01-01

    Climate change and fragmentation are major threats to world forests. Understanding how functional traits related to drought tolerance change across small-scale, pronounced moisture gradients in fragmented forests is important to predict species’ responses to these threats. In the case of Aextoxicon punctatum, a dominant canopy tree in fog-dependent rain forest patches in semiarid Chile, we explored how the magnitude, variability and correlation patterns of leaf and xylem vessel traits and hydraulic conductivity varied across soil moisture (SM) gradients established within and among forest patches of different size, which are associated with differences in tree establishment and mortality patterns. Leaf traits varied across soil-moisture gradients produced by fog interception. Trees growing at drier leeward edges showed higher leaf mass per area, trichome and stomatal density than trees from the wetter core and windward zones. In contrast, xylem vessel traits (vessels diameter and density) did not vary producing loss of hydraulic conductivity at drier leeward edges. We also detected higher levels of phenotypic integration and variability at leeward edges. The ability of A. punctatum to modify leaf traits in response to differences in SM availability established over short distances (<500 m) facilitates its persistence in contrasting microhabitats within forest patches. However, xylem anatomy showed limited plasticity, which increases cavitation risk at leeward edges. Greater patch fragmentation, together with fluctuations in irradiance and SM in small patches, could result in higher risk of drought-related tree mortality, with profound impacts on hydrological balances at the ecosystem scale. PMID:26257746

  19. Structural and functional correlates of a quantitative autistic trait measured using the social responsive scale in neurotypical male adolescents.

    PubMed

    Tu, Pei-Chi; Hsu, Ju-Wei; Lan, Chen-Chia; Liu, Chia-Chien; Su, Tung-Ping; Chen, Ying-Sheue

    2016-05-01

    Behaviors associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have been suggested to be considered as quantitative traits. This study investigated the structural and functional correlates of autistic traits measured using the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) in neurotypical adolescents. Twenty-six neurotypical male adolescents (12-18 years old) were recruited for this study and underwent structural and resting functional magnetic resonance image scanning, and intelligence quotient and SRS evaluations. We used the automated surface-based method (FreeSurfer) to measure cortical thickness and seed-based functional connectivity (FC) analysis to derive the FC map of the dorsal anterior cingulate (dACC). Brain-wise regression analyses of cortical thickness and FC maps on SRS scores were performed using a general linear model. The results indicated that higher autistic trait ratings of total SRS scores were associated with a thinner cortex in the left insula, right insula, and right superior temporal gyrus. Furthermore, we observed that only higher scores of social awareness were correlated with increased FC between the dACC and right superior temporal gyrus and decreased FC between the dACC and right putamen and thalamus. These results indicated that a quantitative trait in social cognition is associated with structural and connectivity variations linked to ASD patients. Autism Res 2016, 9: 570-578. © 2015 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:26284955

  20. Functionally Relevant Microsatellite Markers From Chickpea Transcription Factor Genes for Efficient Genotyping Applications and Trait Association Mapping

    PubMed Central

    Kujur, Alice; Bajaj, Deepak; Saxena, Maneesha S.; Tripathi, Shailesh; Upadhyaya, Hari D.; Gowda, C.L.L.; Singh, Sube; Jain, Mukesh; Tyagi, Akhilesh K.; Parida, Swarup K.

    2013-01-01

    We developed 1108 transcription factor gene-derived microsatellite (TFGMS) and 161 transcription factor functional domain-associated microsatellite (TFFDMS) markers from 707 TFs of chickpea. The robust amplification efficiency (96.5%) and high intra-specific polymorphic potential (34%) detected by markers suggest their immense utilities in efficient large-scale genotyping applications, including construction of both physical and functional transcript maps and understanding population structure. Candidate gene-based association analysis revealed strong genetic association of TFFDMS markers with three major seed and pod traits. Further, TFGMS markers in the 5′ untranslated regions of TF genes showing differential expression during seed development had higher trait association potential. The significance of TFFDMS markers was demonstrated by correlating their allelic variation with amino acid sequence expansion/contraction in the functional domain and alteration of secondary protein structure encoded by genes. The seed weight-associated markers were validated through traditional bi-parental genetic mapping. The determination of gene-specific linkage disequilibrium (LD) patterns in desi and kabuli based on single nucleotide polymorphism-microsatellite marker haplotypes revealed extended LD decay, enhanced LD resolution and trait association potential of genes. The evolutionary history of a strong seed-size/weight-associated TF based on natural variation and haplotype sharing among desi, kabuli and wild unravelled useful information having implication for seed-size trait evolution during chickpea domestication. PMID:23633531

  1. Employing biomarkers of healthy ageing for leveraging genetic studies into human longevity.

    PubMed

    Deelen, Joris; van den Akker, Erik B; Trompet, Stella; van Heemst, Diana; Mooijaart, Simon P; Slagboom, P Eline; Beekman, Marian

    2016-09-01

    Genetic studies have thus far identified a limited number of loci associated with human longevity by applying age at death or survival up to advanced ages as phenotype. As an alternative approach, one could first try to identify biomarkers of healthy ageing and the genetic variants associated with these traits and subsequently determine the association of these variants with human longevity. In the present study, we used this approach by testing whether the 35 baseline serum parameters measured in the Leiden Longevity Study (LLS) meet the proposed criteria for a biomarker of healthy ageing. The LLS consists of 421 families with long-lived siblings of European descent, who were recruited together with their offspring and the spouses of the offspring (controls). To test the four criteria for a biomarker of healthy ageing in the LLS, we determined the association of the serum parameters with chronological age, familial longevity, general practitioner-reported general health, and mortality. Out of the 35 serum parameters, we identified glucose, insulin, and triglycerides as biomarkers of healthy ageing, meeting all four criteria in the LLS. We subsequently showed that the genetic variants previously associated with these parameters are significantly enriched in the largest genome-wide association study for human longevity. In conclusion, we showed that biomarkers of healthy ageing can be used to leverage genetic studies into human longevity. We identified several genetic variants influencing the variation in glucose, insulin and triglycerides that contribute to human longevity. PMID:27374409

  2. Taking a closer look: disentangling effects of functional diversity on ecosystem functions with a trait-based model across hierarchy and time.

    PubMed

    Holzwarth, Frédéric; Rüger, Nadja; Wirth, Christian

    2015-03-01

    Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF) research has progressed from the detection of relationships to elucidating their drivers and underlying mechanisms. In this context, replacing taxonomic predictors by trait-based measures of functional composition (FC)-bridging functions of species and of ecosystems-is a widely used approach. The inherent challenge of trait-based approaches is the multi-faceted, dynamic and hierarchical nature of trait influence: (i) traits may act via different facets of their distribution in a community, (ii) their influence may change over time and (iii) traits may influence processes at different levels of the natural hierarchy of organization. Here, we made use of the forest ecosystem model 'LPJ-GUESS' parametrized with empirical trait data, which creates output of individual performance, community assembly, stand-level states and processes. To address the three challenges, we resolved the dynamics of the top-level ecosystem function 'annual biomass change' hierarchically into its various component processes (growth, leaf and root turnover, recruitment and mortality) and states (stand structures, water stress) and traced the influence of different facets of FC along this hierarchy in a path analysis. We found an independent influence of functional richness, dissimilarity and identity on ecosystem states and processes and hence biomass change. Biodiversity effects were only positive during early succession and later turned negative. Unexpectedly, resource acquisition (growth, recruitment) and conservation (mortality, turnover) played an equally important role throughout the succession. These results add to a mechanistic understanding of biodiversity effects and place a caveat on simplistic approaches omitting hierarchical levels when analysing BEF relationships. They support the view that BEF relationships experience dramatic shifts over successional time that should be acknowledged in mechanistic theories. PMID:26064620

  3. Taking a closer look: disentangling effects of functional diversity on ecosystem functions with a trait-based model across hierarchy and time

    PubMed Central

    Holzwarth, Frédéric; Rüger, Nadja; Wirth, Christian

    2015-01-01

    Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF) research has progressed from the detection of relationships to elucidating their drivers and underlying mechanisms. In this context, replacing taxonomic predictors by trait-based measures of functional composition (FC)—bridging functions of species and of ecosystems—is a widely used approach. The inherent challenge of trait-based approaches is the multi-faceted, dynamic and hierarchical nature of trait influence: (i) traits may act via different facets of their distribution in a community, (ii) their influence may change over time and (iii) traits may influence processes at different levels of the natural hierarchy of organization. Here, we made use of the forest ecosystem model ‘LPJ-GUESS’ parametrized with empirical trait data, which creates output of individual performance, community assembly, stand-level states and processes. To address the three challenges, we resolved the dynamics of the top-level ecosystem function ‘annual biomass change’ hierarchically into its various component processes (growth, leaf and root turnover, recruitment and mortality) and states (stand structures, water stress) and traced the influence of different facets of FC along this hierarchy in a path analysis. We found an independent influence of functional richness, dissimilarity and identity on ecosystem states and processes and hence biomass change. Biodiversity effects were only positive during early succession and later turned negative. Unexpectedly, resource acquisition (growth, recruitment) and conservation (mortality, turnover) played an equally important role throughout the succession. These results add to a mechanistic understanding of biodiversity effects and place a caveat on simplistic approaches omitting hierarchical levels when analysing BEF relationships. They support the view that BEF relationships experience dramatic shifts over successional time that should be acknowledged in mechanistic theories. PMID:26064620

  4. Variation in plant traits explains much of the global biogeographic patterns of distribution of major forest functional types

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lu, Xingjie; Wang, Ying-Ping; Reich, Peter; Wright, Ian; Dai, Yongjiu

    2015-04-01

    Contrasting foliage types (needle and broad leaf) and phenological habits (deciduous and evergreen) represent different adaptive strategies of trees, which can be quantified by the differences in a number of key plant traits. Previous studies have used vegetation models to explain adaptive advantage of different strategies as represented by the mean values of those key plant traits for each plant functional types, and are unable to explain the co-existence of multiple plant functional types in the absence of disturbance. However significant variations and co-variations among those key plant traits that have been observed within a plant functional type may have significant implication on the simulated competition among different plant functional types. Here we use the Australian Community Atmosphere-Biosphere-Land Exchange model (CABLE) to explore whether the observed key plant traits (leaf life span, leaf carbon allocation fraction, basal respiration rate of plant tissue, and leaf C:N ratio) can explain the observed co-existence of four forest types (evergreen or deciduous, needle leaf or broad leaf forests) globally. To incorporate the intra-specific variation of plant traits into the model, we run four groups of ensemble simulations, with each group including only one PFT prescribed in all forested land cells. Then we calculate the annual NPP at each one-degree forested land cell for each of 200 parameter sets that are randomly generated from the observed mean and variances of those key plant traits. Using NPP as a proxy for fitness, we calculate the probability of a forest PFT with higher NPP than all other three forest PFTs for each forested land cell by comparing each of 200 NPP estimates of a forest PFT with the NPP estimates of all other three forest PFTs. Assuming that probability is proportional to area abundance, we then compare the estimated abundance of all four forest types with the estimates from remote sensing. Overall our results captured the global

  5. Psychedelic symptoms of cannabis and cocaine use as a function of trait impulsivity.

    PubMed

    van Wel, J H P; Spronk, D B; Kuypers, K P C; Theunissen, E L; Toennes, S W; Verkes, R J; Ramaekers, J G

    2015-03-01

    Trait impulsivity has been linked to addiction in humans. It has been suggested that drug users with high trait impulsivity levels are more sensitive to subjective drug intoxication. This study assessed whether subjective response to drugs differs between drug users with normal or high levels of trait impulsivity. Regular drug users (N = 122) received doses of cocaine HCl, cannabis, and placebo in a three-way crossover study. Their mood, dissociative state, and psychedelic symptoms were measured with subjective rating scales (CADDS, Bowdle, POMS). Trait impulsivity was assessed with the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale. Cannabis increased dissociation and psychedelic state, as well as fatigue, confusion, depression and anxiety, and decreased arousal, positive mood, vigor, friendliness, and elation. Cocaine increased dissociation, psychedelic state, vigor, friendliness, elation, positive mood, anxiety and arousal, while decreasing fatigue. Only a few subjective items revealed a drug × trait impulsivity interaction, suggesting that psychedelic symptoms were most intense in high impulsivity subjects. Trait impulsiveness ratings were negatively correlated with ratings of vigor (r = -.197) and positively correlated with ratings of loss of thought control (r = .237) during cannabis intoxication. It is concluded that a broad association between trait impulsivity and psychedelic subjective drug experience appears to be absent. PMID:25572345

  6. Forms of non-suicidal self-injury as a function of trait aggression.

    PubMed

    Kleiman, Evan M; Ammerman, Brooke A; Kulper, Daniel A; Uyeji, Lauren L; Jenkins, Abigail L; McCloskey, Michael S

    2015-05-01

    To date, the considerable body of research on predictors of non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) has conceptualized NSSI as a unitary construct despite the fact that NSSI can exist in many forms (e.g., hitting, cutting, burning). The goal of the present study is to examine differential prediction of forms of NSSI. Specifically, we examined trait aggression as a predictor of more aggressive forms of NSSI (i.e., hitting). We hypothesized that higher trait aggression would differentiate those who engaged in hitting forms of NSSI from those who did not, whereas other factors (i.e., emotion regulation and trait anger) would serve as a non-specific predictor of NSSI. We also hypothesized that higher trait aggression would be related to lifetime frequency of hitting NSSI, but not other forms of NSSI, whereas emotion regulation and anger would act as predictors of other forms of NSSI. To test these hypotheses, a large sample of young adults completed measures of trait aggression, trait anger, emotion regulation, and NSSI behaviors. Results were generally in line with our hypotheses. Higher levels of trait aggression differentiated those who engaged in hitting NSSI from those who did not and was also associated with greater frequency of hitting NSSI. These results imply that different factors predict different forms of NSSI and that NSSI may be best examined as a multi-faceted construct. PMID:25778908

  7. Effects of grazing on leaf traits and ecosystem functioning in Inner Mongolia grasslands: scaling from species to community

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zheng, S. X.; Ren, H. Y.; Lan, Z. C.; Li, W. H.; Bai, Y. F.

    2009-10-01

    More attention has focused on using some easily measured plant functional traits to predict grazing influence on plant growth and ecosystem functioning. However, there has been much controversy on leaf traits response to grazing, thus more research should be conducted at the species level. Here we investigated the leaf area, leaf mass and specific leaf area (SLA) of 263 species in eight grassland communities along a soil moisture gradient in the Xilin River Basin, a semiarid grassland of northern China, to explore the grazing effects on ecosystem functioning. Results demonstrated that grazing decreased the leaf area and leaf mass in more than 56% of species in the Xilin River Basin, however, responses of SLA to grazing varied widely between species. Grazing increased SLA in 38.4% of species, decreased SLA in 31.3% of species and had no effect on 30.3% of species. Annuals and biennials generally developed high SLA as grazing tolerance traits, while perennial graminoids developed low SLA as grazing avoidance traits. Considering the water ecotypes, the SLA-increased and SLA-unchanged species were dominated by hygrophytes and mesophytes, while the SLA-decreased species were dominated by xerophytes. At the community level, grazing decreased the mean leaf area index (LAI) of six communities by 16.9%, leaf biomass by 35.2% and standing aboveground biomass (SAB) by 35.0% in the Xilin River Basin, indicating that overgrazing greatly decreased the ecosystem functioning in the semi-arid grassland of northern China. Soil properties, especially fielding holding capacity and soil organic carbon and total nitrogen could mediate the negative grazing impacts. The results suggest SLA is a better leaf trait to reveal plant adaptability to grazing. Our findings have practical implications for range management and productivity maintenance in the semiarid grassland, and it is feasible to take some measures such as ameliorating soil water and nutrient availabilities to prevent grassland

  8. Meta-analysis identifies multiple loci associated with kidney function-related traits in east Asian populations.

    PubMed

    Okada, Yukinori; Sim, Xueling; Go, Min Jin; Wu, Jer-Yuarn; Gu, Dongfeng; Takeuchi, Fumihiko; Takahashi, Atsushi; Maeda, Shiro; Tsunoda, Tatsuhiko; Chen, Peng; Lim, Su-Chi; Wong, Tien-Yin; Liu, Jianjun; Young, Terri L; Aung, Tin; Seielstad, Mark; Teo, Yik-Ying; Kim, Young Jin; Lee, Jong-Young; Han, Bok-Ghee; Kang, Daehee; Chen, Chien-Hsiun; Tsai, Fuu-Jen; Chang, Li-Ching; Fann, S-J Cathy; Mei, Hao; Rao, Dabeeru C; Hixson, James E; Chen, Shufeng; Katsuya, Tomohiro; Isono, Masato; Ogihara, Toshio; Chambers, John C; Zhang, Weihua; Kooner, Jaspal S; Albrecht, Eva; Yamamoto, Kazuhiko; Kubo, Michiaki; Nakamura, Yusuke; Kamatani, Naoyuki; Kato, Norihiro; He, Jiang; Chen, Yuan-Tsong; Cho, Yoon Shin; Tai, E-Shyong; Tanaka, Toshihiro

    2012-08-01

    Chronic kidney disease (CKD), impairment of kidney function, is a serious public health problem, and the assessment of genetic factors influencing kidney function has substantial clinical relevance. Here, we report a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies for kidney function-related traits, including 71,149 east Asian individuals from 18 studies in 11 population-, hospital- or family-based cohorts, conducted as part of the Asian Genetic Epidemiology Network (AGEN). Our meta-analysis identified 17 loci newly associated with kidney function-related traits, including the concentrations of blood urea nitrogen, uric acid and serum creatinine and estimated glomerular filtration rate based on serum creatinine levels (eGFRcrea) (P < 5.0 × 10(-8)). We further examined these loci with in silico replication in individuals of European ancestry from the KidneyGen, CKDGen and GUGC consortia, including a combined total of ∼110,347 individuals. We identify pleiotropic associations among these loci with kidney function-related traits and risk of CKD. These findings provide new insights into the genetics of kidney function. PMID:22797727

  9. Metabotropic GABA signalling modulates longevity in C. elegans

    PubMed Central

    Chun, Lei; Gong, Jianke; Yuan, Fengling; Zhang, Bi; Liu, Hongkang; Zheng, Tianlin; Yu, Teng; Xu, X. Z. Shawn; Liu, Jianfeng

    2015-01-01

    The nervous system plays an important but poorly understood role in modulating longevity. GABA, a prominent inhibitory neurotransmitter, is best known to regulate nervous system function and behaviour in diverse organisms. Whether GABA signalling affects aging, however, has not been explored. Here we examined mutants lacking each of the major neurotransmitters in C. elegans, and find that deficiency in GABA signalling extends lifespan. This pro-longevity effect is mediated by the metabotropic GABAB receptor GBB-1, but not ionotropic GABAA receptors. GBB-1 regulates lifespan through G protein-PLCβ signalling, which transmits longevity signals to the transcription factor DAF-16/FOXO, a key regulator of lifespan. Mammalian GABAB receptors can functionally substitute for GBB-1 in lifespan control in C. elegans. Our results uncover a new role of GABA signalling in lifespan regulation in C. elegans, raising the possibility that a similar process may occur in other organisms. PMID:26537867

  10. Aging. Lysosomal signaling molecules regulate longevity in Caenorhabditis elegans.

    PubMed

    Folick, Andrew; Oakley, Holly D; Yu, Yong; Armstrong, Eric H; Kumari, Manju; Sanor, Lucas; Moore, David D; Ortlund, Eric A; Zechner, Rudolf; Wang, Meng C

    2015-01-01

    Lysosomes are crucial cellular organelles for human health that function in digestion and recycling of extracellular and intracellular macromolecules. We describe a signaling role for lysosomes that affects aging. In the worm Caenorhabditis elegans, the lysosomal acid lipase LIPL-4 triggered nuclear translocalization of a lysosomal lipid chaperone LBP-8, which promoted longevity by activating the nuclear hormone receptors NHR-49 and NHR-80. We used high-throughput metabolomic analysis to identify several lipids in which abundance was increased in worms constitutively overexpressing LIPL-4. Among them, oleoylethanolamide directly bound to LBP-8 and NHR-80 proteins, activated transcription of target genes of NHR-49 and NHR-80, and promoted longevity in C. elegans. These findings reveal a lysosome-to-nucleus signaling pathway that promotes longevity and suggest a function of lysosomes as signaling organelles in metazoans. PMID:25554789

  11. Global variability in leaf respiration in relation to climate, plant functional types and leaf traits.

    PubMed

    Atkin, Owen K; Bloomfield, Keith J; Reich, Peter B; Tjoelker, Mark G; Asner, Gregory P; Bonal, Damien; Bönisch, Gerhard; Bradford, Matt G; Cernusak, Lucas A; Cosio, Eric G; Creek, Danielle; Crous, Kristine Y; Domingues, Tomas F; Dukes, Jeffrey S; Egerton, John J G; Evans, John R; Farquhar, Graham D; Fyllas, Nikolaos M; Gauthier, Paul P G; Gloor, Emanuel; Gimeno, Teresa E; Griffin, Kevin L; Guerrieri, Rossella; Heskel, Mary A; Huntingford, Chris; Ishida, Françoise Yoko; Kattge, Jens; Lambers, Hans; Liddell, Michael J; Lloyd, Jon; Lusk, Christopher H; Martin, Roberta E; Maksimov, Ayal P; Maximov, Trofim C; Malhi, Yadvinder; Medlyn, Belinda E; Meir, Patrick; Mercado, Lina M; Mirotchnick, Nicholas; Ng, Desmond; Niinemets, Ülo; O'Sullivan, Odhran S; Phillips, Oliver L; Poorter, Lourens; Poot, Pieter; Prentice, I Colin; Salinas, Norma; Rowland, Lucy M; Ryan, Michael G; Sitch, Stephen; Slot, Martijn; Smith, Nicholas G; Turnbull, Matthew H; VanderWel, Mark C; Valladares, Fernando; Veneklaas, Erik J; Weerasinghe, Lasantha K; Wirth, Christian; Wright, Ian J; Wythers, Kirk R; Xiang, Jen; Xiang, Shuang; Zaragoza-Castells, Joana

    2015-04-01

    Leaf dark respiration (Rdark ) is an important yet poorly quantified component of the global carbon cycle. Given this, we analyzed a new global database of Rdark and associated leaf traits. Data for 899 species were compiled from 100 sites (from the Arctic to the tropics). Several woody and nonwoody plant functional types (PFTs) were represented. Mixed-effects models were used to disentangle sources of variation in Rdark . Area-based Rdark at the prevailing average daily growth temperature (T) of each site increased only twofold from the Arctic to the tropics, despite a 20°C increase in growing T (8-28°C). By contrast, Rdark at a standard T (25°C, Rdark (25) ) was threefold higher in the Arctic than in the tropics, and twofold higher at arid than at mesic sites. Species and PFTs at cold sites exhibited higher Rdark (25) at a given photosynthetic capacity (Vcmax (25) ) or leaf nitrogen concentration ([N]) than species at warmer sites. Rdark (25) values at any given Vcmax (25) or [N] were higher in herbs than in woody plants. The results highlight variation in Rdark among species and across global gradients in T and aridity. In addition to their ecological significance, the results provide a framework for improving representation of Rdark in terrestrial biosphere models (TBMs) and associated land-surface components of Earth system models (ESMs). PMID:25581061

  12. Diversity and functional traits of culturable microbiome members, including cyanobacteria in the rice phyllosphere.

    PubMed

    Venkatachalam, S; Ranjan, K; Prasanna, R; Ramakrishnan, B; Thapa, S; Kanchan, A

    2016-07-01

    The diversity and abundance of culturable microbiome members of the rice phyllosphere was investigated using cv. Pusa Punjab Basmati 1509. Both diversity and species richness of bacteria were significantly higher in plants in pots in a semi-controlled environment than those in fields. Application of fertilisers reduced both diversity and species richness in field-grown plants under a conventional flooded system of rice intensification (SRI) and in dry-seeded rice (DSR) modes. Sequence analyses of 16S rDNA of culturable bacteria, those selected after amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis (ARDRA), showed the dominance of α-proteobacteria (35%) and actinobacteria (38%); Pantoea, Exiguobacterium and Bacillus were common among the culturable phyllospheric bacteria. About 34% of 83 culturable bacterial isolates had higher potential (>2 μg·ml(-1) ) for indole acetic acid production in the absence of tryptophan. Interestingly, the phyllosphere bacterial isolates from the pot experiment had significantly higher potential for nitrogen fixation than isolates from the field experiment. Enrichment for cyanobacteria showed both unicellular forms and non-heterocystous filaments under aerobic as well as anaerobic conditions. PCR-DGGE analysis of these showed that aerobic and anaerobic conditions as well as the three modes of cultivation of rice in the field strongly influenced the number and abundance of phylotypes. The adaptability and functional traits of these culturable microbiome members suggest enormous diversity in the phyllosphere, including potential for plant growth promotion, which was also significantly influenced by the different methods of growing rice. PMID:26849835

  13. Longevity and ageing: appraising the evolutionary consequences of growing old

    PubMed Central

    Bonsall, Michael B

    2005-01-01

    Senescence or ageing is an increase in mortality and/or decline in fertility with increasing age. Evolutionary theories predict that ageing or longevity evolves in response to patterns of extrinsic mortality or intrinsic damage. If ageing is viewed as the outcome of the processes of behaviour, growth and reproduction then it should be possible to predict mortality rate. Recent developments have shown that it is now possible to integrate these ecological and physiological processes and predict the shape of mortality trajectories. By drawing on the key exciting developments in the cellular, physiological and ecological process of longevity the evolutionary consequences of ageing are reviewed. In presenting these ideas an evolutionary demographic framework is used to argue how trade-offs in life-history strategies are important in the maintenance of variation in longevity within and between species. Evolutionary processes associated with longevity have an important role in explaining levels of biological diversity and speciation. In particular, the effects of life-history trait trade-offs in maintaining and promoting species diversity are explored. Such trade-offs can alleviate the effects of intense competition between species and promote species coexistence and diversification. These results have important implications for understanding a number of core ecological processes such as how species are divided among niches, how closely related species co-occur and the rules by which species assemble into food-webs. Theoretical work reveals that the proximate physiological processes are as important as the ecological factors in explaining the variation in the evolution of longevity. Possible future research challenges integrating work on the evolution and mechanisms of growing old are briefly discussed. PMID:16553312

  14. Net ecosystem production in a Little Ice Age moraine: the role of plant functional traits

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Varolo, E.; Zanotelli, D.; Tagliavini, M.; Zerbe, S.; Montagnani, L.

    2015-07-01

    the carbon cycle. Therefore, to analyze NEE of any glacier forefield ecosystem, different functional traits of the vegetation communities must be taken into consideration. Moreover, to assess the net ecosystem carbon balance it is necessary to consider the lateral fluxes of carbon via animal consumption, winter respiration, and in a broader temporal perspective, the different stages characterizing the primary succession.

  15. 28 CFR 345.55 - Longevity pay.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-07-01

    ... 28 Judicial Administration 2 2013-07-01 2013-07-01 false Longevity pay. 345.55 Section 345.55... (FPI) INMATE WORK PROGRAMS Inmate Pay and Benefits § 345.55 Longevity pay. (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, an inmate earns longevity pay raises after 18 months spent in FPI work...

  16. 28 CFR 345.55 - Longevity pay.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-07-01

    ... 28 Judicial Administration 2 2012-07-01 2012-07-01 false Longevity pay. 345.55 Section 345.55... (FPI) INMATE WORK PROGRAMS Inmate Pay and Benefits § 345.55 Longevity pay. (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, an inmate earns longevity pay raises after 18 months spent in FPI work...

  17. 28 CFR 345.55 - Longevity pay.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... 28 Judicial Administration 2 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Longevity pay. 345.55 Section 345.55... (FPI) INMATE WORK PROGRAMS Inmate Pay and Benefits § 345.55 Longevity pay. (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, an inmate earns longevity pay raises after 18 months spent in FPI work...

  18. 28 CFR 345.55 - Longevity pay.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-07-01

    ... 28 Judicial Administration 2 2014-07-01 2014-07-01 false Longevity pay. 345.55 Section 345.55... (FPI) INMATE WORK PROGRAMS Inmate Pay and Benefits § 345.55 Longevity pay. (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, an inmate earns longevity pay raises after 18 months spent in FPI work...

  19. 28 CFR 345.55 - Longevity pay.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... 28 Judicial Administration 2 2011-07-01 2011-07-01 false Longevity pay. 345.55 Section 345.55... (FPI) INMATE WORK PROGRAMS Inmate Pay and Benefits § 345.55 Longevity pay. (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, an inmate earns longevity pay raises after 18 months spent in FPI work...

  20. Longevity of Native Wildflower Seeds

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Wildflowers and forbs used for production, plantings and restoration generally exhibit ‘orthodox’ storage behavior, meaning that longevity can be adjusted by balancing storage relative humidity and temperature. An RH of about 20 to 30% at the storage temperature provides optimum moisture condition...

  1. Longevity Of Dry Film Lubricants

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kannel, J. W.; Stockwell, R. D.

    1993-01-01

    Report describes evaluation of dry film lubricants candidate for use in rotary joints of proposed Space Station. Study included experiments and theoretical analyses focused on longevity of sputtered molybdenum disulfide films and ion-plated lead films under conditions partially simulating rolling contact.

  2. Typologies of Extreme Longevity Myths

    PubMed Central

    Young, Robert D.; Desjardins, Bertrand; McLaughlin, Kirsten; Poulain, Michel; Perls, Thomas T.

    2010-01-01

    Purpose. Political, national, religious, and other motivations have led the media and even scientists to errantly accept extreme longevity claims prima facie. We describe various causes of false claims of extraordinary longevity. Design and Methods. American Social Security Death Index files for the period 1980–2009 were queried for individuals with birth and death dates yielding ages 110+ years of age. Frequency was compared to a list of age-validated supercentenarians maintained by the Gerontology Research Group who died during the same time period. Age claims of 110+ years and the age validation experiences of the authors facilitated a list of typologies of false age claims. Results. Invalid age claim rates increase with age from 65% at age 110-111 to 98% by age 115 to 100% for 120+ years. Eleven typologies of false claims were: Religious Authority Myth, Village Elder Myth, Fountain of Youth Myth (substance), Shangri-La Myth (geographic), Nationalist Pride, Spiritual Practice, Familial Longevity, Individual and/or Family Notoriety, Military Service, Administrative Entry Error, and Pension-Social Entitlement Fraud. Conclusions. Understanding various causes of false extreme age claims is important for placing current, past, and future extreme longevity claims in context and for providing a necessary level of skepticism. PMID:21461047

  3. Female Superintendent Longevity in California

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rohlfing, Tracy

    2011-01-01

    The purpose of this study was to investigate, through narrative inquiry (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000), the leadership evolution of five female superintendents in California with longevity of 5 or more years in their current school district positions. The research question addressed was, "How do California female superintendents evolve to…

  4. Using Ancient Traits to Convert Soil Health into Crop Yield: Impact of Selection on Maize Root and Rhizosphere Function

    PubMed Central

    Schmidt, Jennifer E.; Bowles, Timothy M.; Gaudin, Amélie C. M.

    2016-01-01

    The effect of domestication and modern breeding on aboveground traits in maize (Zea mays) has been well-characterized, but the impact on root systems and the rhizosphere remain unclear. The transition from wild ecosystems to modern agriculture has focused on selecting traits that yielded the largest aboveground production with increasing levels of crop management and nutrient inputs. Root morphology, anatomy, and ecophysiological processes may have been affected by the substantial environmental and genetic shifts associated with this transition. As a result, root and rhizosphere traits that allow more efficient foraging and uptake in lower synthetic input environments might have been lost. The development of modern maize has led to a shift in microbiome community composition, but questions remain as to the dynamics and drivers of this change during maize evolution and its implications for resource acquisition and agroecosystem functioning under different management practices. Better understanding of how domestication and breeding affected root and rhizosphere microbial traits could inform breeding strategies, facilitate the sourcing of favorable alleles, and open new frontiers to improve resource use efficiency through greater integration of root development and ecophysiology with agroecosystem functioning. PMID:27066028

  5. Exploring the evolutionary ecology of fungal endophytes in agricultural systems: using functional traits to reveal mechanisms in community processes

    PubMed Central

    Saunders, Megan; Glenn, Anthony E; Kohn, Linda M

    2010-01-01

    All plants, including crop species, harbor a community of fungal endophyte species, yet we know little about the biotic factors that are important in endophyte community assembly. We suggest that the most direct route to understanding the mechanisms underlying community assembly is through the study of functional trait variation in the host and its fungal consortium. We review studies on crop endophytes that investigate plant and fungal traits likely to be important in endophyte community processes. We focus on approaches that could speed detection of general trends in endophyte community assembly: (i) use of the ‘assembly rules’ concept to identify specific mechanisms that influence endophyte community dynamics, (ii) measurement of functional trait variation in plants and fungi to better understand endophyte community processes and plant–fungal interactions, and (iii) investigation of microbe–microbe interactions, and fungal traits that mediate them. This approach is well suited for research in agricultural systems, where pair-wise host–fungus interactions and mechanisms of fungal–fungal competition have frequently been described. Areas for consideration include the possibility that human manipulation of crop phenotype and deployment of fungal biocontrol species can significantly influence endophyte community assembly. Evaluation of endophyte assembly rules may help to fine-tune crop management strategies. PMID:25567944

  6. Different neural pathways linking personality traits and eudaimonic well-being: a resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging study.

    PubMed

    Kong, Feng; Liu, Ling; Wang, Xu; Hu, Siyuan; Song, Yiying; Liu, Jia

    2015-06-01

    Eudaimonic well-being (EWB) is the fulfillment of human potential and a meaningful life. Previous studies have shown that personality traits, especially extraversion, neuroticism, and conscientiousness, significantly contribute to EWB. However, the neurobiological pathways linking personality and EWB are not understood. Here, we used resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) to investigate this issue. Specifically, we correlated individuals' EWB scores with the regional fractional amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (fALFF) of the brain, and then examined how personality traits predicted EWB-related spontaneous brain activity. We found that EWB was positively correlated with the fALFF in the right posterior superior temporal gyrus (pSTG) and thalamus, and negatively correlated with the strength of the thalamic-insular connectivity. More importantly, we found that personality traits influenced EWB in different ways. At the regional level, the fALFF in the pSTG and thalamus mediated the effects of neuroticism and extraversion on EWB, whereas the thalamus mediated the effect of conscientiousness on EWB. At the functional connectivity level, the thalamic-insular connectivity only mediated the effect of neuroticism on EWB. Taken together, our study provides the first evidence that EWB is associated with personality traits through different neural substrates. PMID:25413497

  7. Using Ancient Traits to Convert Soil Health into Crop Yield: Impact of Selection on Maize Root and Rhizosphere Function.

    PubMed

    Schmidt, Jennifer E; Bowles, Timothy M; Gaudin, Amélie C M

    2016-01-01

    The effect of domestication and modern breeding on aboveground traits in maize (Zea mays) has been well-characterized, but the impact on root systems and the rhizosphere remain unclear. The transition from wild ecosystems to modern agriculture has focused on selecting traits that yielded the largest aboveground production with increasing levels of crop management and nutrient inputs. Root morphology, anatomy, and ecophysiological processes may have been affected by the substantial environmental and genetic shifts associated with this transition. As a result, root and rhizosphere traits that allow more efficient foraging and uptake in lower synthetic input environments might have been lost. The development of modern maize has led to a shift in microbiome community composition, but questions remain as to the dynamics and drivers of this change during maize evolution and its implications for resource acquisition and agroecosystem functioning under different management practices. Better understanding of how domestication and breeding affected root and rhizosphere microbial traits could inform breeding strategies, facilitate the sourcing of favorable alleles, and open new frontiers to improve resource use efficiency through greater integration of root development and ecophysiology with agroecosystem functioning. PMID:27066028

  8. Exploring the evolutionary ecology of fungal endophytes in agricultural systems: using functional traits to reveal mechanisms in community processes.

    PubMed

    Saunders, Megan; Glenn, Anthony E; Kohn, Linda M

    2010-09-01

    All plants, including crop species, harbor a community of fungal endophyte species, yet we know little about the biotic factors that are important in endophyte community assembly. We suggest that the most direct route to understanding the mechanisms underlying community assembly is through the study of functional trait variation in the host and its fungal consortium. We review studies on crop endophytes that investigate plant and fungal traits likely to be important in endophyte community processes. We focus on approaches that could speed detection of general trends in endophyte community assembly: (i) use of the 'assembly rules' concept to identify specific mechanisms that influence endophyte community dynamics, (ii) measurement of functional trait variation in plants and fungi to better understand endophyte community processes and plant-fungal interactions, and (iii) investigation of microbe-microbe interactions, and fungal traits that mediate them. This approach is well suited for research in agricultural systems, where pair-wise host-fungus interactions and mechanisms of fungal-fungal competition have frequently been described. Areas for consideration include the possibility that human manipulation of crop phenotype and deployment of fungal biocontrol species can significantly influence endophyte community assembly. Evaluation of endophyte assembly rules may help to fine-tune crop management strategies. PMID:25567944

  9. Designing Invasion Resistant Plant Communities: The Role of Plant Functional Traits

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Establishing and maintaining weed-resistant plant communities is a central goal of sustainable invasive plant management programs. Plant community characteristics that improve invasion resistance, however, are poorly understood. Here we synthesize data from multiple studies and show traits related ...

  10. Autistic Traits in Neurotypical Adults: Correlates of Graph Theoretical Functional Network Topology and White Matter Anisotropy Patterns

    PubMed Central

    Spisak, Tamas; Szeman-Nagy, Anita; Beres, Monika; Kis, Sandor Attila; Molnar, Peter; Berenyi, Ervin

    2013-01-01

    Attempts to explicate the neural abnormalities behind autism spectrum disorders frequently revealed impaired brain connectivity, yet our knowledge is limited about the alterations linked with autistic traits in the non-clinical population. In our study, we aimed at exploring the neural correlates of dimensional autistic traits using a dual approach of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and graph theoretical analysis of resting state functional MRI data. Subjects were sampled from a public neuroimaging dataset of healthy volunteers. Inclusion criteria were adult age (age: 18–65), availability of DTI and resting state functional acquisitions and psychological evaluation including the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) and Autistic Spectrum Screening Questionnaire (ASSQ). The final subject cohort consisted of 127 neurotypicals. Global brain network structure was described by graph theoretical parameters: global and average local efficiency. Regional topology was characterized by degree and efficiency. We provided measurements for diffusion anisotropy. The association between autistic traits and the neuroimaging findings was studied using a general linear model analysis, controlling for the effects of age, gender and IQ profile. Significant negative correlation was found between the degree and efficiency of the right posterior cingulate cortex and autistic traits, measured by the combination of ASSQ and SRS scores. Autistic phenotype was associated with the decrease of whole-brain local efficiency. Reduction of diffusion anisotropy was found bilaterally in the temporal fusiform and parahippocampal gyri. Numerous models describe the autistic brain connectome to be dominated by reduced long-range connections and excessive short-range fibers. Our finding of decreased efficiency supports this hypothesis although the only prominent effect was seen in the posterior limbic lobe, which is known to act as a connector hub. The neural correlates of the autistic trait in

  11. Early subtropical forest growth is driven by community mean trait values and functional diversity rather than the abiotic environment

    PubMed Central

    Kröber, Wenzel; Li, Ying; Härdtle, Werner; Ma, Keping; Schmid, Bernhard; Schmidt, Karsten; Scholten, Thomas; Seidler, Gunnar; von Oheimb, Goddert; Welk, Erik; Wirth, Christian; Bruelheide, Helge

    2015-01-01

    While functional diversity (FD) has been shown to be positively related to a number of ecosystem functions including biomass production, it may have a much less pronounced effect than that of environmental factors or species-specific properties. Leaf and wood traits can be considered particularly relevant to tree growth, as they reflect a trade-off between resources invested into growth and persistence. Our study focussed on the degree to which early forest growth was driven by FD, the environment (11 variables characterizing abiotic habitat conditions), and community-weighted mean (CWM) values of species traits in the context of a large-scale tree diversity experiment (BEF-China). Growth rates of trees with respect to crown diameter were aggregated across 231 plots (hosting between one and 23 tree species) and related to environmental variables, FD, and CWM, the latter two of which were based on 41 plant functional traits. The effects of each of the three predictor groups were analyzed separately by mixed model optimization and jointly by variance partitioning. Numerous single traits predicted plot-level tree growth, both in the models based on CWMs and FD, but none of the environmental variables was able to predict tree growth. In the best models, environment and FD explained only 4 and 31% of variation in crown growth rates, respectively, while CWM trait values explained 42%. In total, the best models accounted for 51% of crown growth. The marginal role of the selected environmental variables was unexpected, given the high topographic heterogeneity and large size of the experiment, as was the significant impact of FD, demonstrating that positive diversity effects already occur during the early stages in tree plantations. PMID:26380685

  12. Autistic traits in neurotypical adults: correlates of graph theoretical functional network topology and white matter anisotropy patterns.

    PubMed

    Jakab, Andras; Emri, Miklos; Spisak, Tamas; Szeman-Nagy, Anita; Beres, Monika; Kis, Sandor Attila; Molnar, Peter; Berenyi, Ervin

    2013-01-01

    Attempts to explicate the neural abnormalities behind autism spectrum disorders frequently revealed impaired brain connectivity, yet our knowledge is limited about the alterations linked with autistic traits in the non-clinical population. In our study, we aimed at exploring the neural correlates of dimensional autistic traits using a dual approach of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and graph theoretical analysis of resting state functional MRI data. Subjects were sampled from a public neuroimaging dataset of healthy volunteers. Inclusion criteria were adult age (age: 18-65), availability of DTI and resting state functional acquisitions and psychological evaluation including the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) and Autistic Spectrum Screening Questionnaire (ASSQ). The final subject cohort consisted of 127 neurotypicals. Global brain network structure was described by graph theoretical parameters: global and average local efficiency. Regional topology was characterized by degree and efficiency. We provided measurements for diffusion anisotropy. The association between autistic traits and the neuroimaging findings was studied using a general linear model analysis, controlling for the effects of age, gender and IQ profile. Significant negative correlation was found between the degree and efficiency of the right posterior cingulate cortex and autistic traits, measured by the combination of ASSQ and SRS scores. Autistic phenotype was associated with the decrease of whole-brain local efficiency. Reduction of diffusion anisotropy was found bilaterally in the temporal fusiform and parahippocampal gyri. Numerous models describe the autistic brain connectome to be dominated by reduced long-range connections and excessive short-range fibers. Our finding of decreased efficiency supports this hypothesis although the only prominent effect was seen in the posterior limbic lobe, which is known to act as a connector hub. The neural correlates of the autistic trait in neurotypicals

  13. Bark ecology of twigs vs. main stems: functional traits across eighty-five species of angiosperms.

    PubMed

    Rosell, Julieta A; Castorena, Matiss; Laws, Claire A; Westoby, Mark

    2015-08-01

    Although produced by meristems that are continuous along the stem length, marked differences in bark morphology and in microenvironment would suggest that main stem and twig bark might differ ecologically. Here, we examined: (1) how closely associated main stem and twig bark traits were, (2) how these associations varied across sites, and (3) used these associations to infer functional and ecological differences between twig and main stem bark. We measured density, water content, photosynthesis presence/absence, total, outer, inner, and relative thicknesses of main stem and twig bark from 85 species of angiosperms from six sites of contrasting precipitation, temperature, and fire regimes. Density and water content did not differ between main stems and twigs across species and sites. Species with thicker twig bark had disproportionately thicker main stem bark in most sites, but the slope and degree of association varied. Disproportionately thicker main stem bark for a given twig bark thickness in most fire-prone sites suggested stem protection near the ground. The savanna had the opposite trend, suggesting that selection also favors twig protection in these fire-prone habitats. A weak main stem-twig bark thickness association was observed in non fire-prone sites. The near-ubiquity of photosynthesis in twigs highlighted its likely ecological importance; variation in this activity was predicted by outer bark thickness in main stems. It seems that the ecology of twig bark can be generalized to main stem bark, but not for functions depending on the amount of bark, such as protection, storage, or photosynthesis. PMID:25842297

  14. Filling gaps in large ecological databases: consequences for the study of global-scale plant functional trait patterns

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schrodt, Franziska; Shan, Hanhuai; Fazayeli, Farideh; Karpatne, Anuj; Kattge, Jens; Banerjee, Arindam; Reichstein, Markus; Reich, Peter

    2013-04-01

    With the advent of remotely sensed data and coordinated efforts to create global databases, the ecological community has progressively become more data-intensive. However, in contrast to other disciplines, statistical ways of handling these large data sets, especially the gaps which are inherent to them, are lacking. Widely used theoretical approaches, for example model averaging based on Akaike's information criterion (AIC), are sensitive to missing values. Yet, the most common way of handling sparse matrices - the deletion of cases with missing data (complete case analysis) - is known to severely reduce statistical power as well as inducing biased parameter estimates. In order to address these issues, we present novel approaches to gap filling in large ecological data sets using matrix factorization techniques. Factorization based matrix completion was developed in a recommender system context and has since been widely used to impute missing data in fields outside the ecological community. Here, we evaluate the effectiveness of probabilistic matrix factorization techniques for imputing missing data in ecological matrices using two imputation techniques. Hierarchical Probabilistic Matrix Factorization (HPMF) effectively incorporates hierarchical phylogenetic information (phylogenetic group, family, genus, species and individual plant) into the trait imputation. Advanced Hierarchical Probabilistic Matrix Factorization (aHPMF) on the other hand includes climate and soil information into the matrix factorization by regressing the environmental variables against residuals of the HPMF. One unique opportunity opened up by aHPMF is out-of-sample prediction, where traits can be predicted for specific species at locations different to those sampled in the past. This has potentially far-reaching consequences for the study of global-scale plant functional trait patterns. We test the accuracy and effectiveness of HPMF and aHPMF in filling sparse matrices, using the TRY

  15. Functional trait composition of aquatic plants can serve to disentangle multiple interacting stressors in lowland streams.

    PubMed

    Baattrup-Pedersen, Annette; Göthe, Emma; Riis, Tenna; O'Hare, Matthew T

    2016-02-01

    Historically, close attention has been paid to negative impacts associated with nutrient loads to streams and rivers, but today hydromorphological alterations are considered increasingly implicated when lowland streams do not achieve good ecological status. Here, we explore if trait-abundance patterns of aquatic plants change along gradients in hydromorphological degradation and eutrophication in lowland stream sites located in Denmark. Specifically, we hypothesised that: i) changes in trait-abundance patterns occur along gradients in hydromorphological degradation and ii) trait-abundance patterns can serve to disentangle effects of eutrophication and hydromorphological degradation in lowland streams reflecting that the mechanisms behind changes differ. We used monitoring data from a total of 147 stream reaches with combined data on aquatic plant species abundance, catchment land use, hydromorphological alterations (i.e. planform, cross section, weed cutting) and water chemistry parameters. Traits related to life form, dispersal, reproduction and survival together with ecological preference values for nutrients and light (Ellenberg N and L) were allocated to 41 species representing 79% of the total species pool. We found clear evidence that habitat degradation (hydromorphological alterations and eutrophication) mediated selective changes in the trait-abundance patterns of the plant community. Specific traits could distinguish hydromorphological degradation (free-floating, surface; anchored floating leaves; anchored heterophylly) from eutrophication (free-floating, submerged; leaf area). We provide a conceptual framework for interpretation of how eutrophication and hydromorphological degradation interact and how this is reflected in trait-abundance patterns in aquatic plant communities in lowland streams. Our findings support the merit of trait-based approaches in biomonitoring as they shed light on mechanisms controlling structural changes under environmental

  16. Combining different functions to describe milk, fat, and protein yield in goats using Bayesian multiple-trait random regression models.

    PubMed

    Oliveira, H R; Silva, F F; Siqueira, O H G B D; Souza, N O; Junqueira, V S; Resende, M D V; Borquis, R R A; Rodrigues, M T

    2016-05-01

    We proposed multiple-trait random regression models (MTRRM) combining different functions to describe milk yield (MY) and fat (FP) and protein (PP) percentage in dairy goat genetic evaluation by using Bayesian inference. A total of 3,856 MY, FP, and PP test-day records, measured between 2000 and 2014, from 535 first lactations of Saanen and Alpine goats, including their cross, were used in this study. The initial analyses were performed using the following single-trait random regression models (STRRM): third- and fifth-order Legendre polynomials (Leg3 and Leg5), linear B-splines with 3 and 5 knots, the Ali and Schaeffer function (Ali), and Wilmink function. Heterogeneity of residual variances was modeled considering 3 classes. After the selection of the best STRRM to describe each trait on the basis of the deviance information criterion (DIC) and posterior model probabilities (PMP), the functions were combined to compose the MTRRM. All combined MTRRM presented lower DIC values and higher PMP, showing the superiority of these models when compared to other MTRRM based only on the same function assumed for all traits. Among the combined MTRRM, those considering Ali to describe MY and PP and Leg5 to describe FP (Ali_Leg5_Ali model) presented the best fit. From the Ali_Leg5_Ali model, heritability estimates over time for MY, FP. and PP ranged from 0.25 to 0.54, 0.27 to 0.48, and 0.35 to 0.51, respectively. Genetic correlation between MY and FP, MY and PP, and FP and PP ranged from -0.58 to 0.03, -0.46 to 0.12, and 0.37 to 0.64, respectively. We concluded that combining different functions under a MTRRM approach can be a plausible alternative for joint genetic evaluation of milk yield and milk constituents in goats. PMID:27285684

  17. Functional traits enhance invasiveness of bamboos over co-occurring tree saplings in the semideciduous Atlantic Forest

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Montti, Lía; Villagra, Mariana; Campanello, Paula I.; Gatti, M. Genoveva; Goldstein, Guillermo

    2014-01-01

    Many woody bamboo species are forest understory plants that become invasive after disturbance. They can grow rapidly forming a dense, nearly monospecific understory that inhibits tree regeneration. The principal aim of this study was to understand what functional traits of bamboos allow them to outcompete tree seedlings and saplings and become successful species in the semideciduous Atlantic Forests of northeastern Argentina. We studied leaf and whole-plant functional traits of two bamboo species of the genus Chusquea and five co-occurring saplings of common tree species growing under similar solar radiation and soil nutrient availabilities. Nutrient addition had no effect on bamboo or tree sapling survival and growth after two years. Tree species with high-light requirements had higher growth rates and developed relatively thin leaves with high photosynthetic capacity per unit leaf area and short leaf life-span when growing in gaps, but had lower survival rates in the understory. The opposite pattern was observed in shade-tolerant species that were able to survive in the understory but had lower photosynthetic capacity and growth than light-requiring species in gaps. Bamboos exhibited a high plasticity in functional traits and leaf characteristics that enabled them to grow rapidly in gaps (e.g., higher photosynthetic capacity per unit dry mass and clonal reproduction in gaps than in the understory) but at the same time to tolerate closed-canopy conditions (they had thinner leaves and a relatively longer leaf life-span in the understory compared to gaps). Photosynthetic capacity per unit dry mass was higher in bamboos than in trees. Bamboo plasticity in key functional traits, such as clonal reproduction at the plant level and leaves with a relatively low C cost and high photosynthesis rates, allows them to colonize disturbed forests with consequences at the community and ecosystem levels. Increasing disturbance in some forests worldwide will likely enhance bamboo

  18. Plant functional traits in relation to fire in crown-fire ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pausas, J.G.; Bradstock, R.A.; Keith, D.A.; Keeley, J.E.; Hoffman, W.; Kenny, B.; Lloret, F.; Trabaud, L.

    2004-01-01

    Disturbance is a dominant factor in many ecosystems, and the disturbance regime is likely to change over the next decades in response to land-use changes and global warming. We assume that predictions of vegetation dynamics can be made on the basis of a set of life-history traits that characterize the response of a species to disturbance. For crown-fire ecosystems, the main plant traits related to postfire persistence are the ability to resprout (persistence of individuals) and the ability to retain a persistent seed bank (persistence of populations). In this context, we asked (1) to what extent do different life-history traits co-occur with the ability to resprout and/or the ability to retain a persistent seed bank among differing ecosystems and (2) to what extent do combinations of fire-related traits (fire syndromes) change in a fire regime gradient? We explored these questions by reviewing the literature and analyzing databases compiled from different crown-fire ecosystems (mainly eastern Australia, California, and the Mediterranean basin). The review suggests that the pattern of correlation between the two basic postfire persistent traits and other plant traits varies between continents and ecosystems. From these results we predict, for instance, that not all resprouters respond in a similar way everywhere because the associated plant traits of resprouter species vary in different places. Thus, attempts to generalize predictions on the basis of the resprouting capacity may have limited power at a global scale. An example is presented for Australian heathlands. Considering the combination of persistence at individual (resprouting) and at population (seed bank) level, the predictive power at local scale was significantly increased.

  19. Avian responses to an extreme ice storm are determined by a combination of functional traits, behavioural adaptations and habitat modifications.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Qiang; Hong, Yongmi; Zou, Fasheng; Zhang, Min; Lee, Tien Ming; Song, Xiangjin; Rao, Jiteng

    2016-01-01

    The extent to which species' traits, behavior and habitat synergistically determine their response to extreme weather events (EWE) remains poorly understood. By quantifying bird and vegetation assemblages before and after the 2008 ice storm in China, combined with interspecific interactions and foraging behaviours, we disentangled whether storm influences avian reassembly directly via functional traits (i.e. behavioral adaptations), or indirectly via habitat variations. We found that overall species richness decreased, with 20 species detected exclusively before the storm, and eight species detected exclusively after. These shifts in bird relative abundance were linked to habitat preferences, dietary guild and flocking behaviours. For instance, forest specialists at higher trophic levels (e.g. understory-insectivores, woodpeckers and kingfishers) were especially vulnerable, whereas open-habitat generalists (e.g. bulbuls) were set to benefit from potential habitat homogenization. Alongside population fluctuations, we found that community reassembly can be rapidly adjusted via foraging plasticity (i.e. increased flocking propensity and reduced perching height). And changes in preferred habitat corresponded to a variation in bird assemblages and traits, as represented by intact canopy cover and high density of large trees. Accurate predictions of community responses to EWE are crucial to understanding ecosystem disturbances, thus linking species-oriented traits to a coherent analytical framework. PMID:26929387

  20. Avian responses to an extreme ice storm are determined by a combination of functional traits, behavioural adaptations and habitat modifications

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Qiang; Hong, Yongmi; Zou, Fasheng; Zhang, Min; Lee, Tien Ming; Song, Xiangjin; Rao, Jiteng

    2016-01-01

    The extent to which species’ traits, behavior and habitat synergistically determine their response to extreme weather events (EWE) remains poorly understood. By quantifying bird and vegetation assemblages before and after the 2008 ice storm in China, combined with interspecific interactions and foraging behaviours, we disentangled whether storm influences avian reassembly directly via functional traits (i.e. behavioral adaptations), or indirectly via habitat variations. We found that overall species richness decreased, with 20 species detected exclusively before the storm, and eight species detected exclusively after. These shifts in bird relative abundance were linked to habitat preferences, dietary guild and flocking behaviours. For instance, forest specialists at higher trophic levels (e.g. understory-insectivores, woodpeckers and kingfishers) were especially vulnerable, whereas open-habitat generalists (e.g. bulbuls) were set to benefit from potential habitat homogenization. Alongside population fluctuations, we found that community reassembly can be rapidly adjusted via foraging plasticity (i.e. increased flocking propensity and reduced perching height). And changes in preferred habitat corresponded to a variation in bird assemblages and traits, as represented by intact canopy cover and high density of large trees. Accurate predictions of community responses to EWE are crucial to understanding ecosystem disturbances, thus linking species-oriented traits to a coherent analytical framework. PMID:26929387

  1. Identification of Genetic Associations and Functional Polymorphisms of SAA1 Gene Affecting Milk Production Traits in Dairy Cattle.

    PubMed

    Yang, Shaohua; Gao, Yahui; Zhang, Shengli; Zhang, Qin; Sun, Dongxiao

    2016-01-01

    Our initial RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) revealed that the Serum amyloid A1 (SAA1) gene was differentially expressed in the mammary glands of lactating Holstein cows with extremely high versus low phenotypic values of milk protein and fat percentage. To further validate the genetic effect and potential molecular mechanisms of SAA1 gene involved in regulating milk production traits in dairy cattle, we herein performed a study through genotype-phenotype associations. Six identified SNPs were significantly associated with one or more milk production traits (0.00002< P < 0.0025), providing additional evidence for the potential role of SAA1 variants in milk production traits in dairy cows. Subsequently, both luciferase assay and electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) clearly demonstrated that the allele A of g.-963C>A increased the promoter activity by binding the PARP factor while allele C did not. Bioinformatics analysis indicated that the secondary structure of SAA protein changed by the substitution A/G in the locus c. +2510A>G. Our findings were the first to reveal the significant associations of the SAA1 gene with milk production traits, providing basis for further biological function validation, and two identified SNPs, g.-963C>A and c. +2510A>G, may be considered as genetic markers for breeding in dairy cattle. PMID:27610623

  2. Linking Remotely Sensed Functional Diversity of Structural Traits to the Radiative Regime of a Temperate Mixed Forest

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schneider, F. D.; Morsdorf, F.; Furrer, R.; Schmid, B.; Schaepman, M. E.

    2015-12-01

    Patterns of functional diversity reflect the inter- and intraspecific variability of plant traits and are linked to other aspects of biodiversity, environmental factors and ecosystem function. To study the patterns at plot and stand level, spatially continuous trait measurements are required. Remote sensing methods based on airborne observations can offer such continuous high-resolution measurements, resolving individual trees of a forest at a regional extent. The study was performed at the Laegern forest, a temperate mixed forest dominated by deciduous and coniferous trees (Fagus sylvatica, Picea abies; 47°28'42.0" N, 8°21'51.8" E, 682 m asl; Switzerland). Canopy height, plant area index and foliage height diversity were derived from full-waveform airborne laser scanning data. These structural traits were used to calculate functional richness, functional evenness and functional divergence at a range of scales. A Bayesian multiresolution scale analysis was used to infer the scales at which functional diversity patterns occur. The radiative regime of the forest was simulated using the 3D radiative transfer model DART. Using a voxel-based forest reconstruction allowed us to derive top of canopy, bottom of canopy and absorbed photosynthetically active radiation. The results of this study will provide new insights on linking forest canopy structure to the radiative regime of the forest. Light availability is a critical factor determining plant growth and competition. Within canopy light scattering is mainly driven by the arrangement of leaves and their leaf optical properties. Therefore, we expect a link between the structural complexity of the forest as encompassed by functional diversity and the light availability within and below the canopy. Ultimately, this information can be used in dynamic ecosystem models such as ED2, allowing us to predict the influence of functional diversity and radiative properties on ecosystem functioning under current conditions and

  3. Functional traits as indicators of fodder provision over a short time scale in species-rich grasslands

    PubMed Central

    Ansquer, Pauline; Duru, Michel; Theau, Jean Pierre; Cruz, Pablo

    2009-01-01

    Background and Aims Fodder provision in species-rich grasslands, i.e. herbage growth, proportion of leaf, and leaf and stem digestibility, is difficult to predict for short periods of time, such as between two defoliations or less. The value of two methods based on plant traits for evaluating these agronomic properties was examined. Methods One method is based on plant trait measurements on the plant community (leaf dry matter content, plant height, flowering date); the other is on vegetation composition expressed as plant functional types (acquisitive versus conservative PFTs) established by measuring leaf dry matter content on pure grass stands. The experiment consisted of 18 fields with three different defoliation regimes (combinations of cutting and grazing) and two levels of fertilization. To establish a growth curve over the first growth cycle, herbage was sampled about 10 times in spring. Key Results Coefficients of correlation between agronomic properties of the vegetation and its functional composition were higher when the latter was assessed through PFT and an indicator of the plant nutrient status (Ni) instead of measured plant traits. The date at which the ceiling yield occurred for the standing herbage mass or only the leaf component, which varied by up to 500 degree-days between treatments, and the leaf proportion, depended entirely on the PFT, and largely so for the leaf digestibility. The standing herbage mass at the time of ceiling yield depended only on Ni, or mainly so in the case of the daily herbage growth rate. Similar plant digestibility between plant communities was found at flowering time, although there were big differences in PFT composition. The shape of the growth curve was flatter when there was great functional diversity in the plant community. Conclusions The PFT composition and the Ni were more reliable than the plant functional traits measured in the field for evaluating herbage growth pattern and digestibility in spring. PMID

  4. Influence of Autism Traits and Executive Functioning on Quality of Life in Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    de Vries, Marieke; Geurts, Hilde

    2015-01-01

    Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) often experience a low Quality of Life (QoL). We studied if IQ, early language development, current autism traits, and daily Executive Functions (EFs) are related to QoL in children (aged 8-12 years) with ASD (N = 120) and typically developing (TD) children (N = 76). Children with ASD showed a lower…

  5. Longevity of Emplacement Drift Ground Support Materials

    SciTech Connect

    Tang, David H.

    2001-05-30

    The purpose of this analysis is to evaluate the factors affecting the longevity of emplacement drift ground support materials and to develop a basis for the selection of materials for ground support that will function throughout the preclosure period of a potential repository at Yucca Mountain. REV 01 ICN 01 of this analysis is developed in accordance with AP-3.10Q, Analyses and Models, Revision 2, ICN 4, and prepared in accordance with the Technical Work Plan for Subsurface Design Section FY 01 Work Activities (CRWMS M&O 2001a). The objective of this analysis is to update the previous analysis (CRWMS M&O 2000a) to account for related changes in the Ground Control System Description Document (CRWMS M&O 2000b), the Monitored Geologic Repository Project Description Document, which is included in the Requirements and Criteria for Implementing a Repository Design that can be Operated Over a Range of Thermal Modes (BSC 2001), input information, and in environmental conditions, and to provide updated information on candidate ground support materials. Candidate materials for ground support are carbon steel and cement grout. Steel is mainly used for steel sets, lagging, channel, rock bolts, and wire mesh. Cement grout is only considered in the case of grouted rock bolts. Candidate materials for the emplacement drift invert are carbon steel and granular natural material. Materials are evaluated for the repository emplacement drift environment based on the updated thermal loading condition and waste package design. The analysis consists of the following tasks: (1) Identify factors affecting the longevity of ground support materials for use in emplacement drifts. (2) Review existing documents concerning the behavior of candidate ground support materials during the preclosure period. (3) Evaluate impacts of temperature and radiation effects on mechanical and thermal properties of steel. Assess corrosion potential of steel at emplacement drift environment. (4) Evaluate factors

  6. A Comparison of the Functional Traits of Common Reed (Phragmites australis) in Northern China: Aquatic vs. Terrestrial Ecotypes

    PubMed Central

    Li, Liping; Han, Wenxuan; Thevs, Niels; Jia, Xiuhong; Ji, Chengjun; Jin, Dongmei; He, Ping; Schmitt, Armin O.; Cirella, Giuseppe Tommaso; Zerbe, Stefan

    2014-01-01

    Common reed (Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud.) is distributed widely throughout the world with various ecotypes. This research compares the functional traits and biomass allocation patterns of two contrasting reed ecotypes. Twelve pairs of aquatic and terrestrial reed samples were collected in northern China. Significant differences in functional traits between the two reed ecotypes were observed, while biomass allocation patterns of reed organs did not differ significantly except for at the root. The dry matter content (DMC) in the whole of the reed plant, leaf, root, and rhizome was higher; while the specific leaf area (SLA) and specific root length (SRL) were lower in terrestrial versus aquatic reed. The biomass allocation in organs of the two forms of reed was isometric, only root in the terrestrial habitat increased faster with an increase in the whole plant biomass. It can be affirmed that aquatic and terrestrial reed that adapt to different environments generally has distinct leaf and root functional traits but isometric biomass allocation patterns. This suggests different resource acquisition strategies: (1) aquatic reed grows faster with high SLA and SRL and is more responsive to the environment, while (2) terrestrial reed with high DMC grows slower and is less responsive to the adverse environment (e.g. dry soil conditions). PMID:24586505

  7. Longevity: epigenetic and biomolecular aspects.

    PubMed

    Taormina, Giusi; Mirisola, Mario G

    2015-04-01

    Many aging theories and their related molecular mechanisms have been proposed. Simple model organisms such as yeasts, worms, fruit flies and others have massively contributed to their clarification, and many genes and pathways have been associated with longevity regulation. Among them, insulin/IGF-1 plays a key and evolutionary conserved role. Interestingly, dietary interventions can modulate this pathway. Calorie restriction (CR), intermittent fasting, and protein and amino acid restriction prolong the lifespan of mammals by IGF-1 regulation. However, some recent findings support the hypothesis that the long-term effects of diet also involve epigenetic mechanisms. In this review, we describe the best characterized aging pathways and highlight the role of epigenetics in diet-mediated longevity. PMID:25883209

  8. Maternal Care Determinant of Longevity?

    PubMed

    Giorgio, Marco; Renzi, Chiara; Oliveri, Serena; Pravettoni, Gabriella

    2016-04-01

    Maternal care is an essential early environment in mammals that ensures emotional regulation and adaptive fitness of progeny. Longevity and healthy aging are associated with favorable environmental factors including fitting social and behavioral features. In the present review, we discuss the findings that link rearing conditions and early maternal care with life span and aging from an evolutionary, psychological, and molecular perspective. The quality of maternal care may influence internal adaptation through a variety of parallel mechanisms including emotional regulation, stress sensitivity, coping and other behavioral strategies in response to events requiring adaptation. From a biological perspective, it regulates physiological pathways that may persist in adulthood through epigenetic mechanisms, influencing disease susceptibility and, potentially, longevity. Abnormal maternal care induces maladaptation that persists over the life span, may accelerate the onset of aging associated diseases, and shorten life span. This may have important implications in the development of preventive approaches and early interventions. PMID:27548096

  9. The more things change, the more they stay the same? When is trait variability important for stability of ecosystem function in a changing environment.

    PubMed

    Wright, Justin P; Ames, Gregory M; Mitchell, Rachel M

    2016-05-19

    The importance of intraspecific trait variability for community dynamics and ecosystem functioning has been underappreciated. There are theoretical reasons for predicting that species that differ in intraspecific trait variability will also differ in their effects on ecosystem functioning, particularly in variable environments. We discuss whether species with greater trait variability are likely to exhibit greater temporal stability in their population dynamics, and under which conditions this might lead to stability in ecosystem functioning. Resolving this requires us to consider several questions. First, are species with high levels of variation for one trait equally variable in others? In particular, is variability in response and effects traits typically correlated? Second, what is the relative contribution of local adaptation and phenotypic plasticity to trait variability? If local adaptation dominates, then stability in function requires one of two conditions: (i) individuals of appropriate phenotypes present in the environment at high enough frequencies to allow for populations to respond rapidly to the changing environment, and (ii) high levels of dispersal and gene flow. While we currently lack sufficient information on the causes and distribution of variability in functional traits, filling in these key data gaps should increase our ability to predict how changing biodiversity will alter ecosystem functioning. PMID:27114574

  10. Leaf age dependent changes in within-canopy variation in leaf functional traits: a meta-analysis.

    PubMed

    Niinemets, Ülo

    2016-05-01

    Within-canopy variation in leaf structural and photosynthetic characteristics is a major means by which whole canopy photosynthesis is maximized at given total canopy nitrogen. As key acclimatory modifications, leaf nitrogen content (N A) and photosynthetic capacity (A A) per unit area increase with increasing light availability in the canopy and these increases are associated with increases in leaf dry mass per unit area (M A) and/or nitrogen content per dry mass and/or allocation. However, leaf functional characteristics change with increasing leaf age during leaf development and aging, but the importance of these alterations for within-canopy trait gradients is unknown. I conducted a meta-analysis based on 71 canopies that were sampled at different time periods or, in evergreens, included measurements for different-aged leaves to understand how within-canopy variations in leaf traits (trait plasticity) depend on leaf age. The analysis demonstrated that in evergreen woody species, M A and N A plasticity decreased with increasing leaf age, but the change in A A plasticity was less suggesting a certain re-acclimation of A A to altered light. In deciduous woody species, M A and N A gradients in flush-type species increased during leaf development and were almost invariable through the rest of the season, while in continuously leaf-forming species, the trait gradients increased constantly with increasing leaf age. In forbs, N A plasticity increased, while in grasses, N A plasticity decreased with increasing leaf age, reflecting life form differences in age-dependent changes in light availability and in nitrogen resorption for growth of generative organs. Although more work is needed to improve the coverage of age-dependent plasticity changes in some plant life forms, I argue that the age-dependent variation in trait plasticity uncovered in this study is large enough to warrant incorporation in simulations of canopy photosynthesis through the growing period. PMID

  11. Interindividual Variation in Functionally Adapted Trait Sets Is Established During Postnatal Growth and Predictable Based on Bone Robustness

    PubMed Central

    Pandey, Nirnimesh; Bhola, Siddharth; Goldstone, Andrew; Chen, Fred; Chrzanowski, Jessica; Terranova, Carl J.; Ghillani, Richard

    2009-01-01

    Adults acquire unique sets of morphological and tissue-quality bone traits that are predictable based on robustness and deterministic of strength and fragility. How and when individual trait sets arise during growth has not been established. Longitudinal structural changes of the metacarpal diaphysis were measured for boys and girls from 3 mo to 8 yr of age using hand radiographs obtained from the Bolton-Brush collection. Robustness varied ∼2-fold among boys and girls, and individual values were established by 2 yr of age, indicating that genetic and environmental factors controlling the relationship between growth in width and growth in length were established early during postnatal growth. Significant negative correlations between robustness and relative cortical area and a significant positive correlation between robustness and a novel measure capturing the efficiency of growth indicated that coordination of the subperiosteal and endocortical surfaces was responsible for this population acquiring a narrow range of trait sets that was predictable based on robustness. Boys and girls with robust diaphyses had proportionally thinner cortices to minimize mass, whereas children with slender diaphyses had proportionally thicker cortices to maximize stiffness. Girls had more slender metacarpals with proportionally thicker cortices compared with boys at all prepubertal ages. Although postnatal growth patterns varied in fundamentally different ways with sex and robustness, the dependence of trait sets on robustness indicated that children sustained variants affecting subperiosteal growth because they shared a common biological factor regulating functional adaptation. Considering the natural variation in acquired trait sets may help identify determinants of fracture risk, because age-related bone loss and gain will affect slender and robust structures differently. PMID:20001599

  12. Personality and Longevity: Knowns, Unknowns, and Implications for Public Health and Personalized Medicine

    PubMed Central

    Chapman, Benjamin P.; Roberts, Brent; Duberstein, Paul

    2011-01-01

    We review evidence for links between personality traits and longevity. We provide an overview of personality for health scientists, using the primary organizing framework used in the study of personality and longevity. We then review data on various aspects of personality linked to longevity. In general, there is good evidence that higher level of conscientiousness and lower levels of hostility and Type D or “distressed” personality are associated with greater longevity. Limited evidence suggests that extraversion, openness, perceived control, and low levels of emotional suppression may be associated with longer lifespan. Findings regarding neuroticism are mixed, supporting the notion that many component(s) of neuroticism detract from life expectancy, but some components at some levels may be healthy or protective. Overall, evidence suggests various personality traits are significant predictors of longevity and points to several promising directions for further study. We conclude by discussing the implications of these links for epidemiologic research and personalized medicine and lay out a translational research agenda for integrating the psychology of individual differences into public health and medicine. PMID:21766032

  13. Uncertainty quantified trait predictions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fazayeli, Farideh; Kattge, Jens; Banerjee, Arindam; Schrodt, Franziska; Reich, Peter

    2015-04-01

    Functional traits of organisms are key to understanding and predicting biodiversity and ecological change, which motivates continuous collection of traits and their integration into global databases. Such composite trait matrices are inherently sparse, severely limiting their usefulness for further analyses. On the other hand, traits are characterized by the phylogenetic trait signal, trait-trait correlations and environmental constraints, all of which provide information that could be used to statistically fill gaps. We propose the application of probabilistic models which, for the first time, utilize all three characteristics to fill gaps in trait databases and predict trait values at larger spatial scales. For this purpose we introduce BHPMF, a hierarchical Bayesian extension of Probabilistic Matrix Factorization (PMF). PMF is a machine learning technique which exploits the correlation structure of sparse matrices to impute missing entries. BHPMF additionally utilizes the taxonomic hierarchy for trait prediction. Implemented in the context of a Gibbs Sampler MCMC approach BHPMF provides uncertainty estimates for each trait prediction. We present comprehensive experimental results on the problem of plant trait prediction using the largest database of plant traits, where BHPMF shows strong empirical performance in uncertainty quantified trait prediction, outperforming the state-of-the-art based on point estimates. Further, we show that BHPMF is more accurate when it is confident, whereas the error is high when the uncertainty is high.

  14. Within and between population variation in plant traits predicts ecosystem functions associated with a dominant plant species

    PubMed Central

    Breza, Lauren C; Souza, Lara; Sanders, Nathan J; Classen, Aimée T

    2012-01-01

    Linking intraspecific variation in plant traits to ecosystem carbon uptake may allow us to better predict how shift in populations shape ecosystem function. We investigated whether plant populations of a dominant old-field plant species (Solidago altissima) differed in carbon dynamics and if variation in plant traits among genotypes and between populations predicted carbon dynamics. We established a common garden experiment with 35 genotypes from three populations of S. altissima from either Tennessee (southern populations) or Connecticut (northern populations) to ask whether: (1) southern and northern Solidago populations will differ in aboveground productivity, leaf area, flowering time and duration, and whole ecosystem carbon uptake, (2) intraspecific trait variation (growth and reproduction) will be related to intraspecific variation in gross ecosystem CO2 exchange (GEE) and net ecosystem CO2 exchange (NEE) within and between northern and southern populations. GEE and NEE were 4.8× and 2× greater in southern relative to northern populations. Moreover, southern populations produced 13× more aboveground biomass and 1.4× more inflorescence mass than did northern populations. Flowering dynamics (first- and last-day flowering and flowering duration) varied significantly among genotypes in both the southern and northern populations, but plant performance and ecosystem function did not. Both productivity and inflorescence mass predicted NEE and GEE between S. altissima southern and northern populations. Taken together, our data demonstrate that variation between S. altissima populations in performance and flowering traits are strong predictors of ecosystem function in a dominant old-field species and suggest that populations of the same species might differ substantially in their response to environmental perturbations. PMID:22833791

  15. Longevity of Emplacement Drift Ground Support Materials

    SciTech Connect

    D. Tang

    2000-01-07

    The purpose of this analysis is to evaluate the factors affecting the longevity of emplacement drift ground support materials and to develop a basis for selection of materials for ground support that will function throughout the preclosure period. The Development Plan (DP) for this analysis is given in CRWMS M&O (Civilian Radioactive Waste Management System Management and Operating Contractor) (1999a). The candidate materials for ground support are steel (carbon steel, ductile cast iron, galvanized steel, and stainless steel, etc.) and cement. Steel will mainly be used for steel sets, lagging, channels, rock bolts, and wire mesh. Cement usage is only considered in the case of grouted rock bolts. The candidate materials for the invert structure are steel and crushed rock ballast. The materials shall be evaluated for the repository emplacement drift environment under a specific thermal loading condition based on the proposed License Application Design Selection (LADS) design. The analysis consists of the following tasks: (1) Identify factors affecting the longevity of ground control materials for use in emplacement drifts. (2) Review existing documents concerning behavior of candidate ground control materials during the preclosure period. The major criteria to be considered for steel are mechanical and thermal properties, and durability, of which corrosion is the most important concern. (3) Evaluate the available results and develop recommendations for material(s) to be used.

  16. Personality, burnout, and longevity among professional music therapists.

    PubMed

    Vega, Victoria P

    2010-01-01

    The purpose of this study was to examine possible relationships between personality, burnout level, longevity, and demographic variables among professional music therapists. The Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF) and the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Services Survey (MBI-HSS) were used to test personality and burnout. Subjects were 137 professional music therapists from all seven American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) regions with an overall average longevity of 17.85 years. The 16PF showed the personality traits that most describe music therapists are emotional sensitivity, reasoning, apprehension, warmth, openness to change, self-reliance, extraversion, anxiety, abstractedness, rule-consciousness, and self-control. Logistic regressions showed that the personality factor of anxiety (p < .007) significantly predicts the MBI-HSS subscale of emotional exhaustion and the personality factor of dominance (p < .01) significantly predicts the MBI-HSS subscale of personal accomplishment. While no personality factor significantly predicts the MBI-HSS subscales of depersonalization, social boldness (p < 0.07) and vigilance (p < .09) strongly contributed to this relationship. Logistic regressions also showed that highest degree earned is significantly (p < .000) predictive of longevity. Since the overall burnout level was in the average range, in essence this study described the profile of music therapists who are staying and thriving in the profession. PMID:21141771

  17. Fat chance for longevity

    PubMed Central

    Kniazeva, Marina; Han, Min

    2013-01-01

    The health benefits of specific fatty acids and physiological roles of fat metabolism are important subjects that are still poorly understood. In this issue of Genes & Development, O'Rourke and colleagues (pp. 429–440) uncovered a role for lipase-generated ω-6 fatty acids in promoting autophagy and, consequently, life span extension under both fed and fasting conditions. The impact of this finding is discussed with regard to the nutritional value of ω-6 fatty acids and regulatory functions of fat metabolism beyond its well-known role in energy storage. PMID:23431052

  18. Pollinators of the Rocky Mountain Columbine: Temporal Variation, Functional Groups and Association with Floral Traits

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Pollinators together with other biotic and some abiotic factors can select for floral traits. However, variation in pollinator abundance over time and space can weaken such selection. In this study, we examined the variation in pollinator abundance over time and space in populations of the rocky mou...

  19. Serotonin transporter gene associations with psychopathic traits in youth vary as a function of socioeconomic resources.

    PubMed

    Sadeh, Naomi; Javdani, Shabnam; Jackson, Joshua J; Reynolds, Elizabeth K; Potenza, Marc N; Gelernter, Joel; Lejuez, C W; Verona, Edelyn

    2010-08-01

    Although prior research has examined the genetic correlates of antisocial behavior, molecular genetics influences on psychopathic traits remain largely unknown. Consequently, we investigated the influence of polymorphic variation at the serotonin transporter protein gene (SLC6A4) and socioeconomic resources (SES) on psychopathic traits in youth across two distinct samples in two separate studies. In Study 1, a main effect of serotonin transporter (5-HTTLPR) genotype was associated with the impulsivity dimension of psychopathy. That is, individuals homozygous for the short allele evidenced more impulsivity than did those homozygous for the long allele. In contrast, a gene-environment interaction was associated with the callous-unemotional and narcissistic features of psychopathy. Callous-unemotional and narcissistic traits increased as SES decreased only among youths with the homozygous-long (l/l) genotype, a novel finding replicated and extended in Study 2. These studies provide preliminary results that the l/l genotype confers risk for the emotional deficits and predatory interpersonal traits associated with psychopathy among youths raised in disadvantaged environments. PMID:20677849

  20. Suicidality as a Function of Impulsivity, Callous/Unemotional Traits, and Depressive Symptoms in Youth

    PubMed Central

    Javdani, Shabnam; Sadeh, Naomi; Verona, Edelyn

    2012-01-01

    Suicidality represents one of the most important areas of risk for adolescents, with both internalizing (e.g., depression, anxiety) and externalizing/antisocial (e.g., substance use, conduct) disorders conferring risk for suicidal ideation and attempts (e.g., Bridge et al., 2006). However, no study has attended to gender differences in relationships between suicidality and different facets of psychopathic tendencies in youth. Further, very little research has focused on disentangling the multiple manifestations of suicide risk in the same study, including behaviors (suicide attempts with intent to die, self- injurious behavior) and general suicide risk marked by suicidal ideation/plans. To better understand these relationships, we recruited 184 adolescents from the community and those in treatment. As predicted, psychopathic traits and depressive symptoms in youth showed differential associations with components of suicidality. Specifically, impulsive traits uniquely contributed to suicide attempts and self- injurious behaviors, above the influence of depression. Indeed, once psychopathic tendencies were entered in the model, depressive symptoms only explained general suicide risk marked by ideation/plans but not behaviors. Further, callous/unemotional traits conferred protection from suicide attempts selectively in girls. These findings have important implications for developing integrative models that incorporate differential relationships between 1) depressed mood and 2) personality risk factors (i.e., impulsivity and callous-unemotional traits) for suicidality in youth. PMID:21280931

  1. Using growth traits and adipose function to identify indicators of heifer fertility

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The identification of early indicators of fertility would increase profitability by improving the quality of heifers chosen to enter the breeding herd. Growth traits are closely linked to age at puberty and could be predictors of initiation of reproductive cycles and heifer fertility. Adipose has ...

  2. Exotic plant traits lead to functional diversity decline in novel ecosystems

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Exotic species have become common and even dominant in some grasslands forming novel ecosystems because the species in them have no common evolutionary history. Recent work on these novel ecosystems suggest that exotic species contribute to diversity declines. In order to identify the plant traits...

  3. Brief Report: Suggestibility, Compliance and Psychological Traits in High-Functioning Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Maras, Katie L.; Bowler, Dermot M.

    2012-01-01

    Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may be over-represented within the criminal justice system; it is therefore important to understand how they fare under police questioning. The present study examined interrogative suggestibility and compliance in individuals with ASD, and whether this is associated with certain psychological traits.…

  4. Economic values of production and functional traits, including residual feed intake, in Finnish milk production.

    PubMed

    Hietala, P; Wolfová, M; Wolf, J; Kantanen, J; Juga, J

    2014-02-01

    Improving the feed efficiency of dairy cattle has a substantial effect on the economic efficiency and on the reduction of harmful environmental effects of dairy production through lower feeding costs and emissions from dairy farming. To assess the economic importance of feed efficiency in the breeding goal for dairy cattle, the economic values for the current breeding goal traits and the additional feed efficiency traits for Finnish Ayrshire cattle under production circumstances in 2011 were determined. The derivation of economic values was based on a bioeconomic model in which the profit of the production system was calculated, using the generated steady state herd structure. Considering beef production from dairy farms, 2 marketing strategies for surplus calves were investigated: (A) surplus calves were sold at a young age and (B) surplus calves were fattened on dairy farms. Both marketing strategies were unprofitable when subsidies were not included in the revenues. When subsidies were taken into account, a positive profitability was observed in both marketing strategies. The marginal economic values for residual feed intake (RFI) of breeding heifers and cows were -25.5 and -55.8 €/kg of dry matter per day per cow and year, respectively. The marginal economic value for RFI of animals in fattening was -29.5 €/kg of dry matter per day per cow and year. To compare the economic importance among traits, the standardized economic weight of each trait was calculated as the product of the marginal economic value and the genetic standard deviation; the standardized economic weight expressed as a percentage of the sum of all standardized economic weights was called relative economic weight. When not accounting for subsidies, the highest relative economic weight was found for 305-d milk yield (34% in strategy A and 29% in strategy B), which was followed by protein percentage (13% in strategy A and 11% in strategy B). The third most important traits were calving

  5. Behavioral insensitivity to DEET in Aedes aegypti is a genetically determined trait residing in changes in sensillum function

    PubMed Central

    Stanczyk, Nina M.; Brookfield, John F. Y.; Ignell, Rickard; Logan, James G.

    2010-01-01

    N,N-Diethyl-m-toluamide (DEET) is one of the most effective and commonly used mosquito repellents. However, during laboratory trials a small proportion of mosquitoes are still attracted by human odors despite the presence of DEET. In this study behavioral assays identified Aedes aegypti females that were insensitive to DEET, and the selection of either sensitive or insensitive groups of females with males of unknown sensitivity over several generations resulted in two populations with different proportions of insensitive females. Crossing experiments showed the “insensitivity” trait to be dominant. Electroantennography showed a reduced response to DEET in the selected insensitive line compared with the selected sensitive line, and single sensillum recordings identified DEET-sensitive sensilla that were nonresponders in the insensitive line. This study suggests that behavioral insensitivity to DEET in A. aegypti is a genetically determined dominant trait and resides in changes in sensillum function. PMID:20439757

  6. Expression of functional traits during seedling establishment in two populations of Pinus ponderosa from contrasting climates.

    PubMed

    Kerr, Kelly L; Meinzer, Frederick C; McCulloh, Katherine A; Woodruff, David R; Marias, Danielle E

    2015-05-01

    First-year tree seedlings represent a particularly vulnerable life stage and successful seedling establishment is crucial for forest regeneration. We investigated the extent to which Pinus ponderosa P. & C. Lawson populations from different climate zones exhibit differential expression of functional traits that may facilitate their establishment. Seeds from two populations from sites with contrasting precipitation and temperature regimes east (PIPO dry) and west (PIPO mesic) of the Oregon Cascade mountains were sown in a common garden experiment and grown under two water availability treatments (control and drought). Aboveground biomass accumulation, vegetative phenology, xylem anatomy, plant hydraulic architecture, foliar stable carbon isotope ratios (δ(13)C), gas exchange and leaf water relations characteristics were measured. No treatment or population-related differences in leaf water potential were detected. At the end of the first growing season, aboveground biomass was 74 and 44% greater in PIPO mesic in the control and drought treatments, respectively. By early October, 73% of PIPO dry seedlings had formed dormant buds compared with only 15% of PIPO mesic seedlings. Stem theoretical specific conductivity, calculated from tracheid dimensions and packing density, declined from June through September and was nearly twice as high in PIPO mesic during most of the growing season, consistent with measured values of specific conductivity. Intrinsic water-use efficiency based on δ(13)C values was higher in PIPO dry seedlings for both treatments across all sampling dates. There was a negative relationship between values of δ(13)C and leaf-specific hydraulic conductivity across populations and treatments, consistent with greater stomatal constraints on gas exchange with declining seedling hydraulic capacity. Integrated growing season assimilation and stomatal conductance estimated from foliar δ(13)C values and photosynthetic CO2-response curves were 6 and 28

  7. Climatic events inducing die-off in Mediterranean shrublands: are species' responses related to their functional traits?

    PubMed

    Lloret, Francisco; de la Riva, Enrique G; Pérez-Ramos, Ignacio M; Marañón, Teodoro; Saura-Mas, Sandra; Díaz-Delgado, Ricardo; Villar, Rafael

    2016-04-01

    Extreme climatic episodes, likely associated with climate change, often result in profound alterations of ecosystems and, particularly, in drastic events of vegetation die-off. Species attributes are expected to explain different biological responses to these environmental alterations. Here we explored how changes in plant cover and recruitment in response to an extreme climatic episode of drought and low temperatures were related to a set of functional traits (of leaves, roots and seeds) in Mediterranean shrubland species of south-west Spain. Remaining aerial green cover 2 years after the climatic event was positively related to specific leaf area (SLA), and negatively to leaf water potential, stable carbon isotope ratio and leaf proline content. However, plant cover resilience, i.e. the ability to attain pre-event values, was positively related to a syndrome of traits distinguished by a higher efficiency of water use and uptake. Thus, higher SLA and lower water-use efficiency characterized species that were able to maintain green biomass for a longer period of time but were less resilient in the medium term. There was a negative relationship between such syndromes and the number of emerging seedlings. Species with small seeds produced more seedlings per adult. Overall, recruitment was positively correlated with species die-off. This study demonstrates the relationship between plant traits and strong environmental pulses related to climate change, providing a functional interpretation of the recently reported episodes of climate-induced vegetation die-off. Our findings reveal the importance of selecting meaningful traits to interpret post-event resilience processes, particularly when combined with demographic attributes. PMID:26801493

  8. Matching biological traits to environmental conditions in marine benthic ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bremner, J.; Rogers, S. I.; Frid, C. L. J.

    2006-05-01

    The effects of variability in environmental conditions on species composition in benthic ecosystems are well established, but relatively little is known about how environmental variability relates to ecosystem functioning. Benthic invertebrate assemblages are heavily involved in the maintenance of ecological processes and investigation of the biological characteristics (traits) expressed in these assemblages can provide information about some aspects of functioning. The aim of this study was to establish and explore relationships between environmental variability and biological traits expressed in megafauna assemblages in two UK regions. Patterns of trait composition were matched to environmental conditions and subsets of variables best describing these patterns determined. The nature of the relationships were subsequently examined at two separate scales, both between and within the regions studied. Over the whole area, some traits related to size, longevity, reproduction, mobility, flexibility, feeding method, sociability and living habit were negatively correlated with salinity, sea surface temperature, annual temperature range and the level of fishing effort, and positively associated with fish taxon richness and shell content of the substratum. Between the two regions, reductions in temperature range and shell content were associated with infrequent relative occurrences of short-lived, moderately mobile, flexible, solitary, opportunistic, permanent-burrow dwelling fauna and those exhibiting reproductive strategies based on benthic development. Relationships between some traits and environmental conditions diverged within the two regions, with increases in fishing effort and shell content of the substratum being associated with low frequencies of occurrence of moderately mobile and moderately to highly flexible fauna within one region, but high frequencies in the other. These changes in trait composition have implications for ecosystem processes, with, for

  9. Effects of growth form and functional traits on response of woody plants to clearing and fragmentation of subtropical rainforest.

    PubMed

    Kooyman, R M; Zanne, A E; Gallagher, R V; Cornwell, W; Rossetto, M; O'Connor, P; Parkes, E A; Catterall, C F; Laffan, S W; Lusk, C H

    2013-12-01

    The conservation implications of large-scale rainforest clearing and fragmentation on the persistence of functional and taxonomic diversity remain poorly understood. If traits represent adaptive strategies of plant species to particular circumstances, the expectation is that the effect of forest clearing and fragmentation will be affected by species functional traits, particularly those related to dispersal. We used species occurrence data for woody plants in 46 rainforest patches across 75,000 ha largely cleared of forest by the early 1900s to determine the combined effects of area reduction, fragmentation, and patch size on the taxonomic structure and functional diversity of subtropical rainforest. We compiled species trait values for leaf area, seed dry mass, wood density, and maximum height and calculated species niche breadths. Taxonomic structure, trait values (means, ranges), and the functional diversity of assemblages of climbing and free-standing plants in remnant patches were quantified. Larger rainforest patches had higher species richness. Species in smaller patches were taxonomically less related than species in larger patches. Free-standing plants had a high percentage of frugivore dispersed seeds; climbers had a high proportion of small wind-dispersed seeds. Connections between the patchy spatial distribution of free-standing species, larger seed sizes, and dispersal syndrome were weak. Assemblages of free-standing plants in patches showed more taxonomic and spatial structuring than climbing plants. Smaller isolated patches retained relatively high functional diversity and similar taxonomic structure to larger tracts of forest despite lower species richness. The response of woody plants to clearing and fragmentation of subtropical rainforest differed between climbers and slow-growing mature-phase forest trees but not between climbers and pioneer trees. Quantifying taxonomic structure and functional diversity provides an improved basis for

  10. [Do envious people show better performance?: Focusing on the function of benign envy as personality trait].

    PubMed

    Sawada, Masato; Fujii, Tsutomu

    2016-06-01

    This study focused on the differences between two, subtypes of envy known as "benign envy" and "malicious envy" as personality traits, and examined the effects of these traits on academic achievement. Two hundred fifty-one university students participated in the study. Both benign envy and malicious envy were found to be independent as also found in a previous study by Lange & Crusius (2015), and a high criterion-related validity was revealed by an association with characteristic variables such as dispositional envy and self-esteem. The students with higher levels of benign envy were found to set goals higher, and as a result achieved higher levels of academic performance. In contrast, no such effect was found for malicious envy. The importance of focusing more attention on the positive aspects of the emotion of envy is discussed. PMID:27476271

  11. Functional Traits Differ between Cereal Crop Progenitors and Other Wild Grasses Gathered in the Neolithic Fertile Crescent

    PubMed Central

    Cunniff, Jennifer; Wilkinson, Sarah; Charles, Michael; Jones, Glynis; Rees, Mark; Osborne, Colin P.

    2014-01-01

    The reasons why some plant species were selected as crops and others were abandoned during the Neolithic emergence of agriculture are poorly understood. We tested the hypothesis that the traits of Fertile Crescent crop progenitors were advantageous in the fertile, disturbed habitats surrounding early settlements and in cultivated fields. We screened functional traits related to competition and disturbance in a group of grass species that were increasingly exploited by early plant gatherers, and that were later domesticated (crop progenitors); and in a set of grass species for which there is archaeological evidence of gathering, but which were never domesticated (wild species). We hypothesised that crop progenitors would have greater seed mass, growth rate, height and yield than wild species, as these traits are indicative of greater competitive ability, and that crop progenitors would be more resilient to defoliation. Our results show that crop progenitors have larger seed mass than wild species, germinate faster and have greater seedling size. Increased seed size is weakly but positively correlated with a higher growth rate, which is primarily driven by greater biomass assimilation per unit leaf area. Crop progenitors also tend to have a taller stature, greater grain yield and higher resilience to defoliation. Collectively, the data are consistent with the hypothesis that adaptations to competition and disturbance gave crop progenitors a selective advantage in the areas surrounding early human settlements and in cultivated environments, leading to their adoption as crops through processes of unconscious selection. PMID:24489941

  12. Biology of Healthy Aging and Longevity.

    PubMed

    Carmona, Juan José; Michan, Shaday

    2016-01-01

    As human life expectancy is prolonged, age-related diseases are thriving. Aging is a complex multifactorial process of molecular and cellular decline that affects tissue function over time, rendering organisms frail and susceptible to disease and death. Over the last decades, a growing body of scientific literature across different biological models, ranging from yeast, worms, flies, and mice to primates, humans and other long-lived animals, has contributed greatly towards identifying conserved biological mechanisms that ward off structural and functional deterioration within living systems. Collectively, these data offer powerful insights into healthy aging and longevity. For example, molecular integrity of the genome, telomere length, epigenetic landscape stability, and protein homeostasis are all features linked to "youthful" states. These molecular hallmarks underlie cellular functions associated with aging like mitochondrial fitness, nutrient sensing, efficient intercellular communication, stem cell renewal, and regenerative capacity in tissues. At present, calorie restriction remains the most robust strategy for extending health and lifespan in most biological models tested. Thus, pathways that mediate the beneficial effects of calorie restriction by integrating metabolic signals to aging processes have received major attention, such as insulin/insulin growth factor-1, sirtuins, mammalian target of rapamycin, and 5' adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase. Consequently, small-molecule targets of these pathways have emerged in the impetuous search for calorie restriction mimetics, of which resveratrol, metformin, and rapamycin are the most extensively studied. A comprehensive understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie age-related deterioration and repair, and how these pathways interconnect, remains a major challenge for uncovering interventions to slow human aging while extending molecular and physiological youthfulness

  13. Multivariate eQTL mapping uncovers functional variation on the X-chromosome associated with complex disease traits.

    PubMed

    Brumpton, Ben M; Ferreira, Manuel A R

    2016-07-01

    Very few studies have investigated the associations between genetic polymorphisms and gene expression on the X-chromosome. This is a major bottleneck when conducting functional follow-up studies of trait-associated variants, as those identified in genome-wide association studies (GWAS). We used a multivariate approach to test the association between individual single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and exon expression levels measured in 356 Epstein-Barr virus-transformed lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) from the Geuvadis RNA sequencing project to identify SNPs associated with variation in gene expression on the X-chromosome, which we refer to as eSNPs. At an FDR of 5 %, we discovered 548 independent [linkage disequilibrium (LD) r (2) < 0.1] eSNPs on the X-chromosome. Of these, 35 were in LD (r (2) > 0.8) with previously published disease- or trait-associated variants identified through GWAS. One of the strongest eSNPs identified was rs35975601, which was associated with F8A1 expression (p value = 3 × 10(-20)) and was in LD with a type 1 diabetes risk variant. Additionally, we identified a number of genes for which eSNPs were in LD with multiple diseases or traits, including DNASE1L1 which was mapped to bilirubin levels, type 1 diabetes and schizophrenia. Our results also indicate that multivariate exon-level analysis provides a more powerful approach than univariate gene-level analysis, particularly when SNPs influence the expression of different exons with different magnitude and/or direction of effect. The associations identified in our study may provide new insights into the molecular process by which gene expression may contribute to trait variation or disease risk in humans. PMID:27155841

  14. Plasticity in functional traits in the context of climate change: a case study of the subalpine forb Boechera stricta (Brassicaceae).

    PubMed

    Anderson, Jill T; Gezon, Zachariah J

    2015-04-01

    Environmental variation often induces shifts in functional traits, yet we know little about whether plasticity will reduce extinction risks under climate change. As climate change proceeds, phenotypic plasticity could enable species with limited dispersal capacity to persist in situ, and migrating populations of other species to establish in new sites at higher elevations or latitudes. Alternatively, climate change could induce maladaptive plasticity, reducing fitness, and potentially stalling adaptation and migration. Here, we quantified plasticity in life history, foliar morphology, and ecophysiology in Boechera stricta (Brassicaceae), a perennial forb native to the Rocky Mountains. In this region, warming winters are reducing snowpack and warming springs are advancing the timing of snow melt. We hypothesized that traits that were historically advantageous in hot and dry, low-elevation locations will be favored at higher elevation sites due to climate change. To test this hypothesis, we quantified trait variation in natural populations across an elevational gradient. We then estimated plasticity and genetic variation in common gardens at two elevations. Finally, we tested whether climatic manipulations induce plasticity, with the prediction that plants exposed to early snow removal would resemble individuals from lower elevation populations. In natural populations, foliar morphology and ecophysiology varied with elevation in the predicted directions. In the common gardens, trait plasticity was generally concordant with phenotypic clines from the natural populations. Experimental snow removal advanced flowering phenology by 7 days, which is similar in magnitude to flowering time shifts over 2-3 decades of climate change. Therefore, snow manipulations in this system can be used to predict eco-evolutionary responses to global change. Snow removal also altered foliar morphology, but in unexpected ways. Extensive plasticity could buffer against immediate fitness

  15. Tree species and functional traits but not species richness affect interrill erosion processes in young subtropical forests

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seitz, S.; Goebes, P.; Song, Z.; Bruelheide, H.; Härdtle, W.; Kühn, P.; Li, Y.; Scholten, T.

    2016-01-01

    Soil erosion is seriously threatening ecosystem functioning in many parts of the world. In this context, it is assumed that tree species richness and functional diversity of tree communities can play a critical role in improving ecosystem services such as erosion control. An experiment with 170 micro-scale run-off plots was conducted to investigate the influence of tree species and tree species richness as well as functional traits on interrill erosion in a young forest ecosystem. An interrill erosion rate of 47.5 Mg ha-1 a-1 was calculated. This study provided evidence that different tree species affect interrill erosion differently, while tree species richness did not affect interrill erosion in young forest stands. Thus, different tree morphologies have to be considered, when assessing soil erosion under forest. High crown cover and leaf area index reduced interrill erosion in initial forest ecosystems, whereas rising tree height increased it. Even if a leaf litter cover was not present, the remaining soil surface cover by stones and biological soil crusts was the most important driver for soil erosion control. Furthermore, soil organic matter had a decreasing influence on interrill erosion. Long-term monitoring of soil erosion under closing tree canopies is necessary, and a wide range of functional tree traits should be considered in future research.

  16. Tree species identity and functional traits but not species richness affect interrill erosion processes in young subtropical forests

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seitz, S.; Goebes, P.; Song, Z.; Bruelheide, H.; Härdtle, W.; Kühn, P.; Li, Y.; Scholten, T.

    2015-06-01

    Soil erosion is seriously threatening ecosystem functioning in many parts of the world. In this context, it is assumed that tree species richness and functional diversity of tree communities can play a critical role in improving ecosystem services such as erosion control. An experiment with 170 micro-scale runoff plots was conducted to investigate the influence of tree species richness and identity as well as tree functional traits on interrill erosion in a young forest ecosystem. An interrill erosion rate of 47.5 t ha-1 a-1 was calculated. This study provided evidence that different tree species affect interrill erosion, but higher tree species richness did not mitigate soil losses in young forest stands. Thus, different tree morphologies have to be considered, when assessing erosion under forest. High crown cover and leaf area index reduced soil losses in initial forest ecosystems, whereas rising tree height increased them. Even if a leaf litter cover was not present, remaining soil surface cover by stones and biological soil crusts was the most important driver for soil erosion control. Furthermore, soil organic matter had a decreasing influence on soil loss. Long-term monitoring of soil erosion under closing tree canopies is necessary and a wide range of functional tree traits should be taken into consideration in future research.

  17. A Tricky Trait: Applying the Fruits of the "Function Debate" in the Philosophy of Biology to the "Venom Debate" in the Science of Toxinology.

    PubMed

    Jackson, Timothy N W; Fry, Bryan G

    2016-01-01

    The "function debate" in the philosophy of biology and the "venom debate" in the science of toxinology are conceptually related. Venom systems are complex multifunctional traits that have evolved independently numerous times throughout the animal kingdom. No single concept of function, amongst those popularly defended, appears adequate to describe these systems in all their evolutionary contexts and extant variations. As such, a pluralistic view of function, previously defended by some philosophers of biology, is most appropriate. Venom systems, like many other functional traits, exist in nature as points on a continuum and the boundaries between "venomous" and "non-venomous" species may not always be clearly defined. This paper includes a brief overview of the concept of function, followed by in-depth discussion of its application to venom systems. A sound understanding of function may aid in moving the venom debate forward. Similarly, consideration of a complex functional trait such as venom may be of interest to philosophers of biology. PMID:27618098

  18. Gene expression in amygdala as a function of differential trait anxiety levels in genetically heterogeneous NIH-HS rats.

    PubMed

    Díaz-Morán, Sira; Palència, Marta; Mont-Cardona, Carme; Cañete, Toni; Blázquez, Gloria; Martínez-Membrives, Esther; López-Aumatell, Regina; Sabariego, Marta; Donaire, Rocío; Morón, Ignacio; Torres, Carmen; Martínez-Conejero, José Antonio; Tobeña, Adolf; Esteban, Francisco José; Fernández-Teruel, Alberto

    2013-09-01

    To identify genes involved in anxiety/fear traits, we analyzed the gene expression profile in the amygdala of genetically heterogeneous NIH-HS rats. The NIH-HS rat stock has revealed to be a unique genetic resource for the fine mapping of Quantitative Trait Loci (QTLs) to very small genomic regions, due to the high amount of genetic recombinants accumulated along more than 50 breeding generations, and for the same reason it can be expected that those genetically heterogeneous rats should be especially useful for studying differential gene expression as a function of anxiety-(or other)-related traits. We selected high- and low-anxious NIH-HS rats differing in their number of avoidances in a single 50-trial session of the two-way active avoidance task. Rats were also tested in unconditioned anxiety tests (e.g., elevated zero-maze). Three weeks after behavioural testing, the amygdala was dissected and prepared for the microarray study. There appeared 6 significantly down-regulated and 28 up-regulated genes (fold-change >|2|, FDR<0.05) between the low- and high-anxious groups, with central nervous system-related functions. Regression analyses (stepwise) revealed that differential expression of some genes could be predictive of anxiety/fear responses. Among those genes for which the present results suggest a link with individual differences in trait anxiety, six relevant genes were examined with qRT-PCR, four of which (Ucn3, Tacr3, H2-M9 and Arr3) were validated. Remarkably, some of them are characterized by sharing known functions related with hormonal HPA-axis responses to (and/or modulation of) stress, anxiety or fear, and putative involvement in related neurobehavioural functions. The results confirm the usefulness of NIH-HS rats as a good animal model for research on the neurogenetic basis of anxiety and fear, while suggesting the involvement of some neuropeptide/neuroendocrine pathways on the development of differential anxiety profiles. PMID:23777796

  19. A dark cuticle allows higher investment in immunity, longevity and fecundity in a beetle upon a simulated parasite attack.

    PubMed

    Krams, Indrikis; Burghardt, Gordon M; Krams, Ronalds; Trakimas, Giedrius; Kaasik, Ants; Luoto, Severi; Rantala, Markus J; Krama, Tatjana

    2016-09-01

    Cuticle melanism in insects is linked to a number of life history traits: a positive relationship is hypothesized between melanism, immune function, fecundity and lifespan. However, it is not clear how activation of the immune system affects trade-offs between life history traits in female mealworm beetles (Tenebrio molitor) differing in cuticle melanization. The females with tan, brown and black cuticles examined in the present study did not differ in the intensity of encapsulation response, fecundity and longevity when their immune system was not activated. However, we found that immune activation and cuticle melanization have a significant effect on life history traits. Offspring number and lifespan decreased in females with tan and brown cuticles, while the fecundity and lifespan of black females were not affected. Importantly, we inserted the implants again and found a significant decrease in the strength of encapsulation response in females with tan and brown cuticles. In contrast, black females increased melanotic reactions against the nylon implant, suggesting immunological priming. The results show that cuticle melanization plays an important adaptive role under the risk of being infected, while the lack of these benefits before the insertion of nylon monofilaments suggests that there are costs associated with an activated immunity system. PMID:27245343

  20. Exceptional longevity and muscle and fitness related genotypes: a functional in vitro analysis and case-control association replication study with SNPs THRH rs7832552, IL6 rs1800795, and ACSL1 rs6552828

    PubMed Central

    Fuku, Noriyuki; He, Zi-hong; Sanchis-Gomar, Fabian; Pareja-Galeano, Helios; Tian, Ye; Arai, Yasumichi; Abe, Yukiko; Murakami, Haruka; Miyachi, Motohiko; Zempo, Hirofumi; Naito, Hisashi; Yvert, Thomas; Verde, Zoraida; Venturini, Letizia; Fiuza-Luces, Carmen; Santos-Lozano, Alejandro; Rodriguez-Romo, Gabriel; Ricevuti, Giovanni; Hirose, Nobuyoshi; Emanuele, Enzo; Garatachea, Nuria; Lucia, Alejandro

    2015-01-01

    There are several gene variants that are candidates to influence functional capacity in long-lived individuals. As such, their potential association with exceptional longevity (EL, i.e., reaching 100+ years) deserves analysis. Among them are rs7832552 in the thyrotropin-releasing hormone receptor (TRHR) gene, rs1800795 in the interleukin-6 (IL6) gene and rs6552828 in the coenzyme A synthetase long-chain 1 (ACSL1) gene. To gain insight into their functionality (which is yet unknown), here we determined for the first time luciferase gene reporter activity at the muscle tissue level in rs7832552 and rs6552828. We then compared allele/genotype frequencies of the 3 abovementioned variants among centenarians [n = 138, age range 100–111 years (114 women)] and healthy controls [n = 334, 20–50 years (141 women)] of the same ethnic and geographic origin (Spain). We also studied healthy centenarians [n = 79, 100–104 years (40 women)] and controls [n = 316, 27–81 years (156 women)] from Italy, and centenarians [n = 742, 100–116 years (623 women)] and healthy controls [n = 499, 23–59 years (356 women)] from Japan. The THRH rs7832552 T-allele and ACSL1 rs6552828 A-allele up-regulated luciferase activity compared to the C and G-allele, respectively (P = 0.001). Yet we found no significant association of EL with rs7832552, rs1800795 or rs6552828 in any of the 3 cohorts. Further research is needed with larger cohorts of centenarians of different origin as well as with younger old people. PMID:25999849

  1. Comparing local and commercial breeds on functional traits and profitability: the case of Reggiana dairy cattle.

    PubMed

    Gandini, G; Maltecca, C; Pizzi, F; Bagnato, A; Rizzi, R

    2007-04-01

    The objective of this study was to compare fertility, longevity, milkability, and profitability of cows from the Reggiana and Holstein breeds in northern Italy. Profitability was gauged for each breed, with consideration of economic incentive programs and alternative milk pricing scenarios. Calving to first service interval, days open, and calving interval were significantly shorter in Reggiana than in Holstein cows. Reggiana cows conceived approximately one estrus cycle before Holstein and had a calving interval 33 d shorter. Holstein cows released a significantly higher quantity of milk per unit of time (1.81 vs. 1.28 kg/min). Reggiana cows had longer expected total and productive lives than Holstein cows, by 5.8 and 10.0 mo, respectively. Replacement rate was 26% higher in the Holstein. Standard 305-d milk production was 5,360 and 7,870 kg in Reggiana and Holstein, respectively. Comparing breeds on annual milk and meat production, instead of standard 305-d milk yield, changed marginally the difference in annual profitability between the Reggiana and Holstein, from -696 euros to -679 euros per cow per year. Including feeding, milking, replacement, and insemination costs reduced the gap between breeds by 32%, from -679 euros, measured on annual milk and meat production, to -460 euros. These differences in profitability assumed a pricing scenario referring to milk sold to the dairy industry where protein and fat contents are valued but not the breed origin of milk. Incentive payments to farmers of endangered cattle compensated partially (22%) the lower income from Reggiana cows. When Reggiana milk production was sold as branded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, Reggiana cows were more profitable than Holstein cows by 1,953 euros per cow per year. PMID:17369242

  2. Leaf longevity as a normalization constant in allometric predictions of plant production.

    PubMed

    Kikuzawa, Kihachiro; Seiwa, Kenji; Lechowicz, Martin J

    2013-01-01

    In metabolic scaling theory the size-dependence of plant processes is described by a power function of form Y=Y o M (θ) where Y is a characteristic such as plant productivity that changes with plant size (M) raised to the θ (th) power and Y o is a normalization constant that adjusts the general relationship across environments and species. In essence, the theory considers that the value of θ arises in the size-dependent relationship between leaf area and vascular architecture that influences plant function and that Y o modulates this general relationship to account for ecological and evolutionary effects on the exchange of resources between plant and environment. Enquist and colleagues have shown from first principles that Y o is a function of carbon use efficiency, the carbon fraction of a plant, the area-specific carbon assimilation rate of a leaf, the laminar area of a leaf, and the mass of a leaf. We show that leaf longevity provides a functional integration of these traits that can serve as a simpler normalization in scaling plant productivity for individual species and potentially for mixed-species communities as well. PMID:24312595

  3. Regulation of metabolism in Caenorhabditis elegans longevity.

    PubMed

    Gallo, Marco; Riddle, Donald L

    2010-01-01

    The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is a favorite model for the study of aging. A wealth of genetic and genomic studies show that metabolic regulation is a hallmark of life-span modulation. A recent study in BMC Biology identifying metabolic signatures for longevity suggests that amino-acid pools may be important in longevity. PMID:20156326

  4. Functional Trait Trade-Offs for the Tropical Montane Rain Forest Species Responding to Light from Simulating Experiments

    PubMed Central

    Mao, Peili; Zang, Runguo; Shao, Hongbo; Yu, Junbao

    2014-01-01

    Differences among tropical tree species in survival and growth to light play a key role in plant competition and community composition. Two canopy species with contrasting functional traits dominating early and late successional stages, respectively, in a tropical montane rain forest of Hainan Island, China, were selected in a pot experiment under 4 levels of light intensity (full, 50%, 30%, and 10%) in order to explore the adaptive strategies of tropical trees to light conditions. Under each light intensity level, the pioneer species, Endospermum chinense (Euphorbiaceae), had higher relative growth rate (RGR), stem mass ratio (SMR), specific leaf area (SLA), and morphological plasticity while the shade tolerant climax species, Parakmeria lotungensis (Magnoliaceae), had higher root mass ratio (RMR) and leaf mass ratio (LMR). RGR of both species was positively related to SMR and SLA under each light level but was negatively correlated with RMR under lower light (30% and 10% full light). The climax species increased its survival by a conservative resource use strategy through increasing leaf defense and root biomass investment at the expense of growth rate in low light. In contrast, the pioneer increased its growth by an exploitative resource use strategy through increasing leaf photosynthetic capacity and stem biomass investment at the expense of survival under low light. There was a trade-off between growth and survival for species under different light conditions. Our study suggests that tree species in the tropical rainforest adopt different strategies in stands of different successional stages. Species in the earlier successional stages have functional traits more advantageous to grow faster in the high light conditions, whereas species in the late successional stages have traits more favorable to survive in the low light conditions. PMID:25019095

  5. Assets of imputation to ultra-high density for productive and functional traits.

    PubMed

    Jiménez-Montero, J A; Gianola, D; Weigel, K; Alenda, R; González-Recio, O

    2013-09-01

    The aim of this study was to evaluate different-density genotyping panels for genotype imputation and genomic prediction. Genotypes from customized Golden Gate Bovine3K BeadChip [LD3K; low-density (LD) 3,000-marker (3K); Illumina Inc., San Diego, CA] and BovineLD BeadChip [LD6K; 6,000-marker (6K); Illumina Inc.] panels were imputed to the BovineSNP50v2 BeadChip [50K; 50,000-marker; Illumina Inc.]. In addition, LD3K, LD6K, and 50K genotypes were imputed to a BovineHD BeadChip [HD; high-density 800,000-marker (800K) panel], and with predictive ability evaluated and compared subsequently. Comparisons of prediction accuracy were carried out using Random boosting and genomic BLUP. Four traits under selection in the Spanish Holstein population were used: milk yield, fat percentage (FP), somatic cell count, and days open (DO). Training sets at 50K density for imputation and prediction included 1,632 genotypes. Testing sets for imputation from LD to 50K contained 834 genotypes and testing sets for genomic evaluation included 383 bulls. The reference population genotyped at HD included 192 bulls. Imputation using BEAGLE software (http://faculty.washington.edu/browning/beagle/beagle.html) was effective for reconstruction of dense 50K and HD genotypes, even when a small reference population was used, with 98.3% of SNP correctly imputed. Random boosting outperformed genomic BLUP in terms of prediction reliability, mean squared error, and selection effectiveness of top animals in the case of FP. For other traits, however, no clear differences existed between methods. No differences were found between imputed LD and 50K genotypes, whereas evaluation of genotypes imputed to HD was on average across data set, method, and trait, 4% more accurate than 50K prediction, and showed smaller (2%) mean squared error of predictions. Similar bias in regression coefficients was found across data sets but regressions were 0.32 units closer to unity for DO when genotypes were imputed to HD

  6. Comparative Endocrinology of Aging and Longevity Regulation

    PubMed Central

    Allard, John B.; Duan, Cunming

    2011-01-01

    Hormones regulate growth, development, metabolism, and other complex processes in multicellular animals. For many years it has been suggested that hormones may also influence the rate of the aging process. Aging is a multifactorial process that causes biological systems to break down and cease to function in adult organisms as time passes, eventually leading to death. The exact underlying causes of the aging process remain a topic for debate, and clues that may shed light on these causes are eagerly sought after. In the last two decades, gene mutations that result in delayed aging and extended longevity have been discovered, and many of the affected genes have been components of endocrine signaling pathways. In this review we summarize the current knowledge on the roles of endocrine signaling in the regulation of aging and longevity in various animals. We begin by discussing the notion that conserved systems, including endocrine signaling pathways, “regulate” the aging process. Findings from the major model organisms: worms, flies, and rodents, are then outlined. Unique lessons from studies of non-traditional models: bees, salmon, and naked mole rats, are also discussed. Finally, we summarize the endocrinology of aging in humans, including changes in hormone levels with age, and the involvement of hormones in aging-related diseases. The most well studied and widely conserved endocrine pathway that affects aging is the insulin/insulin-like growth factor system. Mutations in genes of this pathway increase the lifespan of worms, flies, and mice. Population genetic evidence also suggests this pathway’s involvement in human aging. Other hormones including steroids have been linked to aging only in a subset of the models studied. Because of the value of comparative studies, it is suggested that the aging field could benefit from adoption of additional model organisms. PMID:22654825

  7. Limits to Future Adaptation in the Invasive Plant Polygonum cespitosum: Expression of Functional and Fitness Traits at Elevated CO2.

    PubMed

    Horgan-Kobelski, Tim; Matesanz, Silvia; Sultan, Sonia E

    2016-01-01

    For organisms to adapt to future environments, they must both evolve appropriate functional responses and phenotypically express those responses under future climatic and CO2 conditions. We examined these 2 components of future adaptation in an invasive annual plant (Polygonum cespitosum) by performing a "resurrection" experiment under field conditions simulating a future environment. Resurrection experiments reveal recent evolution by comparing genotypes from natural populations sampled across a multigeneration interval. We collected genotypes from the same 3 North American populations in 1994 and 2005 and raised inbred lines from these collections under free air CO2 enrichment to examine functional and fitness traits expressed in hot, dry conditions at both ambient and elevated CO2 (N = 295 plants). The species has rapidly evolved in its introduced range to increase photosynthetic rate (collection year effect P ≤ 0.011) and delay senescence (P = 0.017) under full-sun, dry field conditions, but these adaptive changes were not expressed when the field environment included elevated CO2 (within-treatment year effect P ≥ 0.20 for both traits). Populations showed different levels of reproductive output and its genetic variance in these novel, stressful conditions. These findings illustrate constraints on evolutionary adaptation to predicted future conditions at both the species and population levels. PMID:26324698

  8. A trait-based framework for predicting when and where microbial adaptation to climate change will affect ecosystem functioning

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wallenstein, Matthew D.; Hall, Edward K.

    2012-01-01

    As the earth system changes in response to human activities, a critical objective is to predict how biogeochemical process rates (e.g. nitrification, decomposition) and ecosystem function (e.g. net ecosystem productivity) will change under future conditions. A particular challenge is that the microbial communities that drive many of these processes are capable of adapting to environmental change in ways that alter ecosystem functioning. Despite evidence that microbes can adapt to temperature, precipitation regimes, and redox fluctuations, microbial communities are typically not optimally adapted to their local environment. For example, temperature optima for growth and enzyme activity are often greater than in situ temperatures in their environment. Here we discuss fundamental constraints on microbial adaptation and suggest specific environments where microbial adaptation to climate change (or lack thereof) is most likely to alter ecosystem functioning. Our framework is based on two principal assumptions. First, there are fundamental ecological trade-offs in microbial community traits that occur across environmental gradients (in time and space). These trade-offs result in shifting of microbial function (e.g. ability to take up resources at low temperature) in response to adaptation of another trait (e.g. limiting maintenance respiration at high temperature). Second, the mechanism and level of microbial community adaptation to changing environmental parameters is a function of the potential rate of change in community composition relative to the rate of environmental change. Together, this framework provides a basis for developing testable predictions about how the rate and degree of microbial adaptation to climate change will alter biogeochemical processes in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems across the planet.

  9. Genome-wide association study for longevity with whole-genome sequencing in 3 cattle breeds.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Qianqian; Guldbrandtsen, Bernt; Thomasen, Jørn Rind; Lund, Mogens Sandø; Sahana, Goutam

    2016-09-01

    Longevity is an important economic trait in dairy production. Improvements in longevity could increase the average number of lactations per cow, thereby affecting the profitability of the dairy cattle industry. Improved longevity for cows reduces the replacement cost of stock and enables animals to achieve the highest production period. Moreover, longevity is an indirect indicator of animal welfare. Using whole-genome sequencing variants in 3 dairy cattle breeds, we carried out an association study and identified 7 genomic regions in Holstein and 5 regions in Red Dairy Cattle that were associated with longevity. Meta-analyses of 3 breeds revealed 2 significant genomic regions, located on chromosomes 6 (META-CHR6-88MB) and 18 (META-CHR18-58MB). META-CHR6-88MB overlaps with 2 known genes: neuropeptide G-protein coupled receptor (NPFFR2; 89,052,210-89,059,348 bp) and vitamin D-binding protein precursor (GC; 88,695,940-88,739,180 bp). The NPFFR2 gene was previously identified as a candidate gene for mastitis resistance. META-CHR18-58MB overlaps with zinc finger protein 717 (ZNF717; 58,130,465-58,141,877 bp) and zinc finger protein 613 (ZNF613; 58,115,782-58,117,110 bp), which have been associated with calving difficulties. Information on longevity-associated genomic regions could be used to find causal genes/variants influencing longevity and exploited to improve the reliability of genomic prediction. PMID:27289149

  10. Leaf hydraulic conductance in relation to anatomical and functional traits during Populus tremula leaf ontogeny.

    PubMed

    Aasamaa, Krõõt; Niinemets, Ulo; Sõber, Anu

    2005-11-01

    Leaf hydraulic conductance (K(leaf)) and several characteristics of hydraulic architecture and physiology were measured during the first 10 weeks of leaf ontogeny in Populus tremula L. saplings growing under control, mild water deficit or elevated temperature conditions. During the initial 3 weeks of leaf ontogeny, most measured characteristics rapidly increased. Thereafter, a gradual decrease in K(leaf) was correlated with a decrease in leaf osmotic potential under all conditions, and with increases in leaf dry mass per area and bulk modulus of elasticity under mild water deficit and control conditions. From about Week 3 onward, K(leaf) was 33% lower in trees subjected to mild water deficit and 33% higher in trees held at an elevated temperature relative to control trees. Mild water deficit and elevated temperature treatment had significant and opposite effects on most of the other characteristics measured. The ontogenetic maximum in K(leaf) was correlated positively with the width of xylem conduits in the midrib, but negatively with the overall width of the midrib xylem, number of lateral ribs, leaf dry mass per area and bulk modulus of elasticity. The ontogenetic maximum in K(leaf) was also correlated positively with the proportion of intercellular spaces and leaf osmotic potential, but negatively with leaf thickness, volume of mesophyll cells and epidermis and number of cells per total mesophyll cell volume, the closest relationships being between leaf osmotic potential and number of cells per total mesophyll cell volume. It was concluded that differences in protoplast traits are more important than differences in xylem or parenchymal cell wall traits in determining the variability in K(leaf) among leaves growing under different environmental conditions. PMID:16105808

  11. Inclusion of ecologically based trait variation in plant functional types reduces the projected land carbon sink in an earth system model.

    PubMed

    Verheijen, Lieneke M; Aerts, Rien; Brovkin, Victor; Cavender-Bares, Jeannine; Cornelissen, Johannes H C; Kattge, Jens; van Bodegom, Peter M

    2015-08-01

    Earth system models demonstrate large uncertainty in projected changes in terrestrial carbon budgets. The lack of inclusion of adaptive responses of vegetation communities to the environment has been suggested to hamper the ability of modeled vegetation to adequately respond to environmental change. In this study, variation in functional responses of vegetation has been added to an earth system model (ESM) based on ecological principles. The restriction of viable mean trait values of vegetation communities by the environment, called 'habitat filtering', is an important ecological assembly rule and allows for determination of global scale trait-environment relationships. These relationships were applied to model trait variation for different plant functional types (PFTs). For three leaf traits (specific leaf area, maximum carboxylation rate at 25 °C, and maximum electron transport rate at 25 °C), relationships with multiple environmental drivers, such as precipitation, temperature, radiation, and CO2 , were determined for the PFTs within the Max Planck Institute ESM. With these relationships, spatiotemporal variation in these formerly fixed traits in PFTs was modeled in global change projections (IPCC RCP8.5 scenario). Inclusion of this environment-driven trait variation resulted in a strong reduction of the global carbon sink by at least 33% (2.1 Pg C yr(-1) ) from the 2nd quarter of the 21st century onward compared to the default model with fixed traits. In addition, the mid- and high latitudes became a stronger carbon sink and the tropics a stronger carbon source, caused by trait-induced differences in productivity and relative respirational costs. These results point toward a reduction of the global carbon sink when including a more realistic representation of functional vegetation responses, implying more carbon will stay airborne, which could fuel further climate change. PMID:25611824

  12. Molecular genetic analysis of Varroa destructor mites in brood, fallen injured mites and worker bee longevity in honey bees

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Two important traits that contribute to honey bee (Apis mellifera) colony survival are resistance to Varroa destructor and longevity of worker bees. We investigated the relationship between a panel of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers and three phenotypic measurements of colonies: a) perc...

  13. Dealing with Food and Eggs in Mouthbrooding Cichlids: Structural and Functional Trade-Offs in Fitness Related Traits

    PubMed Central

    tkint, Tim; Verheyen, Erik; De Kegel, Barbara; Helsen, Philippe; Adriaens, Dominique

    2012-01-01

    Background As in any vertebrate, heads of fishes are densely packed with functions. These functions often impose conflicting mechanical demands resulting in trade-offs in the species-specific phenotype. When phenotypical traits are linked to gender-specific parental behavior, we expect sexual differences in these trade-offs. This study aims to use mouthbrooding cichlids as an example to test hypotheses on evolutionary trade-offs between intricately linked traits that affect different aspects of fitness. We focused on the oral apparatus, which is not only equipped with features used to feed and breathe, but is also used for the incubation of eggs. We used this approach to study mouthbrooding as part of an integrated functional system with diverging performance requirements and to explore gender-specific selective environments within a species. Methodology/Principal Findings Because cichlids are morphologically very diverse, we hypothesize that the implications of the added constraint of mouthbrooding will primarily depend on the dominant mode of feeding of the studied species. To test this, we compared the trade-off for two maternal mouthbrooding cichlid species: a “suction feeder” (Haplochromis piceatus) and a “biter” (H. fischeri). The comparison of morphology and performance of both species revealed clear interspecific and intersex differences. Our observation that females have larger heads was interpreted as a possible consequence of the fact that in both the studied species mouthbrooding is done by females only. As hypothesized, the observed sexual dimorphism in head shape is inferred as being suboptimal for some aspects of the feeding performance in each of the studied species. Our comparison also demonstrated that the suction feeding species had smaller egg clutches and more elongated eggs. Conclusions/Significance Our findings support the hypothesis that there is a trade-off between mouthbrooding and feeding performance in the two studied

  14. Functional Leaf Traits and Diurnal Dynamics of Photosynthetic Parameters Predict the Behavior of Grapevine Varieties Towards Ozone

    PubMed Central

    Pellegrini, Elisa; Campanella, Alessandra; Paolocci, Marco; Trivellini, Alice; Gennai, Clizia; Muganu, Massimo; Nali, Cristina; Lorenzini, Giacomo

    2015-01-01

    A comparative study on functional leaf treats and the diurnal dynamics of photosynthetic processes was conducted on 2-year-old potted plants of two grape (Vitis vinifera L.) varieties (Aleatico, ALE, and Trebbiano giallo, TRE), exposed under controlled conditions to realistic concentrations of the pollutant gas ozone (80 ppb for 5 h day-1, 8:00–13:00 h, + 40 ppb for 5 h day-1, 13:00–18:00 h). At constitutive levels, the morphological functional traits of TRE improved leaf resistance to gas exchange, suggesting that TRE is characterized by a potential high degree of tolerance to ozone. At the end of the treatment, both varieties showed typical visible injuries on fully expanded leaves and a marked alteration in the diurnal pattern of photosynthetic activity. This was mainly due to a decreased stomatal conductance (-27 and -29% in ALE and TRE, in terms of daily values in comparison to controls) and to a reduced mesophyllic functioning (+33 and +16% of the intercellular carbon dioxide concentration). Although the genotypic variability of grape regulates the response to oxidative stress, similar detoxification processes were activated, such as an increased content of total carotenoids (+64 and +30%, in ALE and TRE), enhanced efficiency of thermal energy dissipation within photosystem II (+32 and +20%) closely correlated with the increased de-epoxidation index (+26 and +22%) and variations in content of some osmolytes. In summary, we can conclude that: the daily photosynthetic performance of grapevine leaves was affected by a realistic exposure to ozone. In addition, the gas exchange and chlorophyll a fluorescence measurements revealed a different quali-quantitative response in the two varieties. The genotypic variability of V. vinifera and the functional leaf traits would seem to regulate the acclimatory response to oxidative stress and the degree of tolerance to ozone. Similar photoprotective mechanisms were activated in the two varieties, though to a different

  15. Soil Disturbance as a Grassland Restoration Measure—Effects on Plant Species Composition and Plant Functional Traits

    PubMed Central

    Schnoor, Tim; Bruun, Hans Henrik; Olsson, Pål Axel

    2015-01-01

    Soil disturbance is recognized as an important driver of biodiversity in dry grasslands, and can therefore be implemented as a restoration measure. However, because community re-assembly following disturbance includes stochastic processes, a focus only on species richness or establishment success of particular species will not inform on how plant communities respond ecologically to disturbance. We therefore evaluated vegetation development following disturbance by quantifying species richness, species composition and functional trait composition. Degraded calcareous sandy grassland was subjected to experimental disturbance treatments (ploughing or rotavation), and the vegetation was surveyed during four subsequent years of succession. Treated plots were compared with control plots representing untreated grassland, as well as nearby plots characterized by plant communities representing the restoration target. Species richness and functional diversity both increased in response to soil disturbance, and rotavation, but not ploughing, had a persistent positive effect on the occurrence of specialist species of calcareous sandy grassland. However, no type of soil disturbance caused the plant species composition to develop towards the target vegetation. The disturbance had an immediate and large impact on the vegetation, but the vegetation developed rapidly back towards the control sites. Plant functional composition analysis indicated that the treatments created habitats different both from control sites and target sites. Community-weighted mean Ellenberg indicator values suggested that the observed plant community response was at least partially due to an increase in nitrogen and water availability following disturbance. This study shows that a mild type of disturbance, such as rotavation, may be most successful in promoting specialist species in calcareous sandy grassland, but that further treatments are needed to reduce nutrient availability. We conclude that a

  16. BEEF SPECIES SYMPOSIUM: Can we build the cowherd by increasing longevity of females?

    PubMed

    Roberts, A J; Petersen, M K; Funston, R N

    2015-09-01

    Increasing longevity of beef cows by decreasing the proportion culled due to reproductive failure provides an efficient process to rebuild a cow herd and can reduce number of replacements needed to sustain a constant herd size. Rate of reproductive failure varies due to cow age, where failure in cows 2 to 4 yr of age is often greater than in cows 5 to 7 yr of age. In addition, BW of cow and calf at weaning increase as cows advance from 2 to 5 yr of age. The cumulative effect of increasing retention of young cows is improved production efficiency through decreased replacement rate and changing age structure of the herd resulting in a greater proportion of cows at maximal production potential for calf BW at weaning and cow BW at time of culling. Calculations from cow age-specific culling and BW data from commercial and research herds indicated that reducing replacement rate from 18% to 14% resulted in a 23% increase in calf BW weaned and a 2% increase in cull cow BW per pregnant replacement heifer going into the herd. Although improving longevity increases production efficiency, genetic advancement in sustained reproductive function is challenging, as it is the sequential culmination of the annual repetition of numerous discrete physiological processes, each ending in a qualitative response. Successful completion of one process is prerequisite to evaluating subsequent processes. These physiological processes are subject to nutritional threshold requirements that may vary due to genetic potential for other production traits such as milk, growth, and mature size resulting in genetic-by-nutrition interactions. This is in contrast to most traits for which EPD exist, where genetic-by-environment interactions are not considered to be significant. Extensive research concerning impact of limited nutrition on reproduction has led to recommendations that heifers and cows be fed to a threshold BW or BCS to ensure reproductive success; a process that masks nutritional

  17. Genetic analysis of longevity in Dutch dairy cattle using random regression.

    PubMed

    van Pelt, M L; Meuwissen, T H E; de Jong, G; Veerkamp, R F

    2015-06-01

    Longevity, productive life, or lifespan of dairy cattle is an important trait for dairy farmers, and it is defined as the time from first calving to the last test date for milk production. Methods for genetic evaluations need to account for censored data; that is, records from cows that are still alive. The aim of this study was to investigate whether these methods also need to take account of survival being genetically a different trait across the entire lifespan of a cow. The data set comprised 112,000 cows with a total of 3,964,449 observations for survival per month from first calving until 72 mo in productive life. A random regression model with second-order Legendre polynomials was fitted for the additive genetic effect. Alternative parameterizations were (1) different trait definitions for the length of time interval for survival after first calving (1, 3, 6, and 12 mo); (2) linear or threshold model; and (3) differing the order of the Legendre polynomial. The partial derivatives of a profit function were used to transform variance components on the survival scale to those for lifespan. Survival rates were higher in early life than later in life (99 vs. 95%). When survival was defined over 12-mo intervals survival curves were smooth compared with curves when 1-, 3-, or 6-mo intervals were used. Heritabilities in each interval were very low and ranged from 0.002 to 0.031, but the heritability for lifespan over the entire period of 72 mo after first calving ranged from 0.115 to 0.149. Genetic correlations between time intervals ranged from 0.25 to 1.00. Genetic parameters and breeding values for the genetic effect were more sensitive to the trait definition than to whether a linear or threshold model was used or to the order of Legendre polynomial used. Cumulative survival up to the first 6 mo predicted lifespan with an accuracy of only 0.79 to 0.85; that is, reliability of breeding value with many daughters in the first 6 mo can be, at most, 0.62 to 0.72, and

  18. Using Plant Functional Traits and Phylogenies to Understand Patterns of Plant Community Assembly in a Seasonal Tropical Forest in Lao PDR.

    PubMed

    Satdichanh, Manichanh; Millet, Jérôme; Heinimann, Andreas; Nanthavong, Khamseng; Harrison, Rhett D

    2015-01-01

    Plant functional traits reflect different evolutionary responses to environmental variation, and among extant species determine the outcomes of interactions between plants and their environment, including other plant species. Thus, combining phylogenetic and trait-based information can be a powerful approach for understanding community assembly processes across a range of spatial scales. We used this approach to investigate tree community composition at Phou Khao Khouay National Park (18°14'-18°32'N; 102°38'- 102°59'E), Laos, where several distinct forest types occur in close proximity. The aim of our study was to examine patterns of plant community assembly across the strong environmental gradients evident at our site. We hypothesized that differences in tree community composition were being driven by an underlying gradient in soil conditions. Thus, we predicted that environmental filtering would predominate at the site and that the filtering would be strongest on sandier soil with low pH, as these are the conditions least favorable to plant growth. We surveyed eleven 0.25 ha (50x50 m) plots for all trees above 10 cm dbh (1221 individual trees, including 47 families, 70 genera and 123 species) and sampled soils in each plot. For each species in the community, we measured 11 commonly studied plant functional traits covering both the leaf and wood economic spectrum traits and we reconstructed a phylogenetic tree for 115 of the species in the community using rbcL and matK sequences downloaded from Genebank (other species were not available). Finally we compared the distribution of trait values and species at two scales (among plots and 10x10m subplots) to examine trait and phylogenetic community structures. Although there was strong evidence that an underlying soil gradient was determining patterns of species composition at the site, our results did not support the hypothesis that the environmental filtering dominated community assembly processes. For the

  19. Microbial resource utilization traits and trade-offs: implications for community structure, functioning, and biogeochemical impacts at present and in the future

    PubMed Central

    Litchman, Elena; Edwards, Kyle F.; Klausmeier, Christopher A.

    2015-01-01

    Trait-based approaches provide a mechanistic framework to understand and predict the structure and functioning of microbial communities. Resource utilization traits and trade-offs are among key microbial traits that describe population dynamics and competition among microbes. Several important trade-offs have been identified for prokaryotic and eukaryotic microbial taxa that define contrasting ecological strategies and contribute to species coexistence and diversity. The shape, dimensionality, and hierarchy of trade-offs may determine coexistence patterns and need to be better characterized. Laboratory measured resource utilization traits can be used to explain temporal and spatial structure and dynamics of natural microbial communities and predict biogeochemical impacts. Global environmental change can alter microbial community composition through altering resource utilization by different microbes and, consequently, may modify biogeochemical impacts of microbes. PMID:25904900

  20. The importance of rare species: a trait-based assessment of rare species contributions to functional diversity and possible ecosystem function in tall-grass prairies

    PubMed Central

    Jain, Meha; Flynn, Dan FB; Prager, Case M; Hart, Georgia M; DeVan, Caroline M; Ahrestani, Farshid S; Palmer, Matthew I; Bunker, Daniel E; Knops, Johannes MH; Jouseau, Claire F; Naeem, Shahid

    2014-01-01

    The majority of species in ecosystems are rare, but the ecosystem consequences of losing rare species are poorly known. To understand how rare species may influence ecosystem functioning, this study quantifies the contribution of species based on their relative level of rarity to community functional diversity using a trait-based approach. Given that rarity can be defined in several different ways, we use four different definitions of rarity: abundance (mean and maximum), geographic range, and habitat specificity. We find that rarer species contribute to functional diversity when rarity is defined by maximum abundance, geographic range, and habitat specificity. However, rarer species are functionally redundant when rarity is defined by mean abundance. Furthermore, when using abundance-weighted analyses, we find that rare species typically contribute significantly less to functional diversity than common species due to their low abundances. These results suggest that rare species have the potential to play an important role in ecosystem functioning, either by offering novel contributions to functional diversity or via functional redundancy depending on how rare species are defined. Yet, these contributions are likely to be greatest if the abundance of rare species increases due to environmental change. We argue that given the paucity of data on rare species, understanding the contribution of rare species to community functional diversity is an important first step to understanding the potential role of rare species in ecosystem functioning. PMID:24455165

  1. The importance of rare species: a trait-based assessment of rare species contributions to functional diversity and possible ecosystem function in tall-grass prairies.

    PubMed

    Jain, Meha; Flynn, Dan Fb; Prager, Case M; Hart, Georgia M; Devan, Caroline M; Ahrestani, Farshid S; Palmer, Matthew I; Bunker, Daniel E; Knops, Johannes Mh; Jouseau, Claire F; Naeem, Shahid

    2014-01-01

    The majority of species in ecosystems are rare, but the ecosystem consequences of losing rare species are poorly known. To understand how rare species may influence ecosystem functioning, this study quantifies the contribution of species based on their relative level of rarity to community functional diversity using a trait-based approach. Given that rarity can be defined in several different ways, we use four different definitions of rarity: abundance (mean and maximum), geographic range, and habitat specificity. We find that rarer species contribute to functional diversity when rarity is defined by maximum abundance, geographic range, and habitat specificity. However, rarer species are functionally redundant when rarity is defined by mean abundance. Furthermore, when using abundance-weighted analyses, we find that rare species typically contribute significantly less to functional diversity than common species due to their low abundances. These results suggest that rare species have the potential to play an important role in ecosystem functioning, either by offering novel contributions to functional diversity or via functional redundancy depending on how rare species are defined. Yet, these contributions are likely to be greatest if the abundance of rare species increases due to environmental change. We argue that given the paucity of data on rare species, understanding the contribution of rare species to community functional diversity is an important first step to understanding the potential role of rare species in ecosystem functioning. PMID:24455165

  2. Functional traits drive the contribution of solar radiation to leaf litter decomposition among multiple arid-zone species

    PubMed Central

    Pan, Xu; Song, Yao-Bin; Liu, Guo-Fang; Hu, Yu-Kun; Ye, Xue-Hua; Cornwell, William K.; Prinzing, Andreas; Dong, Ming; Cornelissen, Johannes H.C.

    2015-01-01

    In arid zones, strong solar radiation has important consequences for ecosystem processes. To better understand carbon and nutrient dynamics, it is important to know the contribution of solar radiation to leaf litter decomposition of different arid-zone species. Here we investigated: (1) whether such contribution varies among plant species at given irradiance regime, (2) whether interspecific variation in such contribution correlates with interspecific variation in the decomposition rate under shade; and (3) whether this correlation can be explained by leaf traits. We conducted a factorial experiment to determine the effects of solar radiation and environmental moisture for the mass loss and the decomposition constant k-values of 13 species litters collected in Northern China. The contribution of solar radiation to leaf litter decomposition varied significantly among species. Solar radiation accelerated decomposition in particular in the species that already decompose quickly under shade. Functional traits, notably specific leaf area, might predict the interspecific variation in that contribution. Our results provide the first empirical evidence for how the effect of solar radiation on decomposition varies among multiple species. Thus, the effect of solar radiation on the carbon flux between biosphere and atmosphere may depend on the species composition of the vegetation. PMID:26282711

  3. Disentangling the Effects of Colocalizing Genomic Annotations to Functionally Prioritize Non-coding Variants within Complex-Trait Loci

    PubMed Central

    Trynka, Gosia; Westra, Harm-Jan; Slowikowski, Kamil; Hu, Xinli; Xu, Han; Stranger, Barbara E.; Klein, Robert J.; Han, Buhm; Raychaudhuri, Soumya

    2015-01-01

    Identifying genomic annotations that differentiate causal from trait-associated variants is essential to fine mapping disease loci. Although many studies have identified non-coding functional annotations that overlap disease-associated variants, these annotations often colocalize, complicating the ability to use these annotations for fine mapping causal variation. We developed a statistical approach (Genomic Annotation Shifter [GoShifter]) to assess whether enriched annotations are able to prioritize causal variation. GoShifter defines the null distribution of an annotation overlapping an allele by locally shifting annotations; this approach is less sensitive to biases arising from local genomic structure than commonly used enrichment methods that depend on SNP matching. Local shifting also allows GoShifter to identify independent causal effects from colocalizing annotations. Using GoShifter, we confirmed that variants in expression quantitative trail loci drive gene-expression changes though DNase-I hypersensitive sites (DHSs) near transcription start sites and independently through 3′ UTR regulation. We also showed that (1) 15%–36% of trait-associated loci map to DHSs independently of other annotations; (2) loci associated with breast cancer and rheumatoid arthritis harbor potentially causal variants near the summits of histone marks rather than full peak bodies; (3) variants associated with height are highly enriched in embryonic stem cell DHSs; and (4) we can effectively prioritize causal variation at specific loci. PMID:26140449

  4. Functional traits drive the contribution of solar radiation to leaf litter decomposition among multiple arid-zone species.

    PubMed

    Pan, Xu; Song, Yao-Bin; Liu, Guo-Fang; Hu, Yu-Kun; Ye, Xue-Hua; Cornwell, William K; Prinzing, Andreas; Dong, Ming; Cornelissen, Johannes H C

    2015-01-01

    In arid zones, strong solar radiation has important consequences for ecosystem processes. To better understand carbon and nutrient dynamics, it is important to know the contribution of solar radiation to leaf litter decomposition of different arid-zone species. Here we investigated: (1) whether such contribution varies among plant species at given irradiance regime, (2) whether interspecific variation in such contribution correlates with interspecific variation in the decomposition rate under shade; and (3) whether this correlation can be explained by leaf traits. We conducted a factorial experiment to determine the effects of solar radiation and environmental moisture for the mass loss and the decomposition constant k-values of 13 species litters collected in Northern China. The contribution of solar radiation to leaf litter decomposition varied significantly among species. Solar radiation accelerated decomposition in particular in the species that already decompose quickly under shade. Functional traits, notably specific leaf area, might predict the interspecific variation in that contribution. Our results provide the first empirical evidence for how the effect of solar radiation on decomposition varies among multiple species. Thus, the effect of solar radiation on the carbon flux between biosphere and atmosphere may depend on the species composition of the vegetation. PMID:26282711

  5. Plant functional traits and phylogenetic relatedness explain variation in associations with root fungal endophytes in an extreme arid environment.

    PubMed

    Lugo, Mónica A; Reinhart, Kurt O; Menoyo, Eugenia; Crespo, Esteban M; Urcelay, Carlos

    2015-02-01

    Since root endophytes may ameliorate drought stress, understanding which plants associate with endophytes is important, especially in arid ecosystems. Here, the root endophytes were characterized of 42 plants from an arid region of Argentina. Colonization by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and dark septate endophytes (DSEs) was related to plant functional type (PFT), family, and phylogenetic relatedness. Overall, three main findings were observed. Firstly, only moderate levels of endophyte associations were found across all taxa (e.g., most Poaceae were not colonized by endophytes despite numerous accounts of colonization by AMF and DSEs). We determined 69% of plant taxa associated with some form of root endophyte but levels were lower than other regional studies. Secondly, comparisons by PFT and phylogeny were often qualitatively similar (e.g., succulents and Portulacineae consistently lacked AMF; variation occurred among terrestrial vs. epiphytic bromeliads) and often differed from comparisons based on plant family. Thirdly, comparisons by plant family often failed to account for important variation either within families (e.g., Bromeliaceae and Poaceae) or trait conservatism among related families (i.e., Rosidae consistently lacked DSEs and Portulacineae lacked AMF). This study indicates the value of comparing numerous taxa based on PFTs and phylogenetic similarity. Overall, the results suggest an uncertain benefit of endophytes in extremely arid environments where plant traits like succulence may obviate the need to establish associations. PMID:24997550

  6. Patterns of longevity and fecundity at two temperatures in a set of heat-selected recombinant inbred lines of Drosophila melanogaster.

    PubMed

    Sambucetti, P; Loeschcke, V; Norry, F M

    2015-12-01

    Quantitative trait loci (QTL) were mapped for longevity and fecundity at two temperatures, 20 and 30 °C, in two sets of recombinant inbred lines (RIL) highly differing in thermotolerance. Early fecundity (EF) and longevity showed a negative association between temperatures. For instance, longevity was higher and fecundity was lower in the RIL panel showing higher life span at 30 °C. One X-linked QTL (7B3-12E) co-localized for longevity and EF at 20 °C, with one QTL allele showing a positive additive effect on longevity and a negative effect on EF. The across-RIL genetic correlation between longevity and EF was not significant within each temperature, and most QTL that affect life span have no effect on EF at each temperature. EF and longevity can mostly be genetically uncoupled in the thermotolerance-divergent RIL within each temperature as opposed to between temperatures. QTL were mostly temperature specific, although some trait-specific QTL showed possible antagonistic effects between temperatures. PMID:26404666

  7. Schizotypal Traits are Associated with Poorer Executive Functioning in Healthy Adults.

    PubMed

    Louise, Stephanie; Gurvich, Caroline; Neill, Erica; Tan, Eric J; Van Rheenen, Tamsyn E; Rossell, Susan

    2015-01-01

    Previous research has shown mild forms of the neurocognitive impairments seen in schizophrenia among healthy individuals exhibiting high schizotypal traits. This study aimed to explore associations between schizotypy and cognitive performance in an adult community sample. Ninety-five females and 79 males completed the Oxford-Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences (O-LIFE), which measures four separable aspects of schizotypy: cognitive disorganization, unusual experiences, introvertive anhedonia, and impulsive non-conformity. Subsequently, participants were administered a neurocognitive battery incorporating measures of executive skills including inhibition, cognitive flexibility, reasoning, and problem solving along with measures of attention and processing speed and both verbal and spatial working memory. In line with predictions, the current study found that higher scores on the subscales of unusual experiences, cognitive disorganization, and impulsive non-conformity related to worse performance on a measure of inhibition. Additionally, as introvertive anhedonia increased, both attention and processing speed and reasoning and problem-solving performance became more impaired. In conclusion, this study extends schizotypy literature by examining the subscales of the O-LIFE, and enables inferences to be drawn in relation to cognitive impairment in schizophrenia. PMID:26082726

  8. Association between functional candidate genes and organoleptic meat traits in intensively-fed beef.

    PubMed

    Avilés, C; Peña, F; Polvillo, O; Barahona, M; Campo, M M; Sañudo, C; Juárez, M; Horcada, A; Alcalde, M J; Molina, A

    2015-09-01

    The aim of this study was to assess the associations between the single nucleotide polymorphisms in CAPN1, CAST, DGAT1, FABP4, LEP, RORC and SCD1 genes and the sensory meat quality in an intensively fed commercial population (Charolais, Limousin and Retinta breed). This work carried out analyses on a common Spanish population and evaluated the association between the markers and sensory traits. A total of 161 bulls were allocated to two different feedlots with two different finishing diets. Steaks aged for 7 and 21 days were assessed by both untrained and trained sensory panels. A significant association and allelic substitution effect were observed for markers UoG-CAST, LEP: g.73C>T and SCD1: g.878T>C on different descriptors evaluated by a consumer panel (tenderness and overall acceptability). There are no precedents of these kinds of association studies in a Spanish commercial population. The study suggested that CAST, LEP and SCD1 genes have a potential effect on the different measurements of sensory meat quality. PMID:25935847

  9. Functional traits of two co-occurring sea urchins across a barren/forest patch system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Agnetta, D.; Bonaviri, C.; Badalamenti, F.; Scianna, C.; Vizzini, S.; Gianguzza, P.

    2013-02-01

    Temperate rocky reefs may occur in two alternative states (coralline barrens and erect algal forests), whose formation and maintenance are often determined by sea urchin grazing. The two sea urchin species Paracentrotus lividus and Arbacia lixula are considered to play a similar ecological role despite their differing morphological traits and diets. The patchy mosaic areas of Ustica Island, Italy, offer an ideal environment in which to study differences in the performance of P. lividus and A. lixula in barren versus forest states. Results show that the two sea urchin species differ in diet, trophic position, grazing adaptation, movement ability and fitness in both barren and forest patches. We confirmed herbivory in P. lividus and omnivory with a strong tendency to carnivory in A. lixula. When the sea urchin escape response to a predator was triggered, P. lividus responded faster in barren and forest patches. Forest patch restricted movement, especially in A. lixula (velocity in barren ≈ 10-fold greater than in forest). A large Aristotle's lantern, indicative of durophagy, confirmed adaptation of A. lixula to barren state.

  10. Schizotypal Traits are Associated with Poorer Executive Functioning in Healthy Adults

    PubMed Central

    Louise, Stephanie; Gurvich, Caroline; Neill, Erica; Tan, Eric J.; Van Rheenen, Tamsyn E.; Rossell, Susan

    2015-01-01

    Previous research has shown mild forms of the neurocognitive impairments seen in schizophrenia among healthy individuals exhibiting high schizotypal traits. This study aimed to explore associations between schizotypy and cognitive performance in an adult community sample. Ninety-five females and 79 males completed the Oxford–Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences (O-LIFE), which measures four separable aspects of schizotypy: cognitive disorganization, unusual experiences, introvertive anhedonia, and impulsive non-conformity. Subsequently, participants were administered a neurocognitive battery incorporating measures of executive skills including inhibition, cognitive flexibility, reasoning, and problem solving along with measures of attention and processing speed and both verbal and spatial working memory. In line with predictions, the current study found that higher scores on the subscales of unusual experiences, cognitive disorganization, and impulsive non-conformity related to worse performance on a measure of inhibition. Additionally, as introvertive anhedonia increased, both attention and processing speed and reasoning and problem-solving performance became more impaired. In conclusion, this study extends schizotypy literature by examining the subscales of the O-LIFE, and enables inferences to be drawn in relation to cognitive impairment in schizophrenia. PMID:26082726

  11. Making heads or tails of mitochondrial membranes in longevity and aging: a role for comparative studies

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Mitochondria play vital roles in metabolic energy transduction, intermediate molecule metabolism, metal ion homeostasis, programmed cell death and regulation of the production of reactive oxygen species. As a result of their broad range of functions, mitochondria have been strongly implicated in aging and longevity. Numerous studies show that aging and decreased lifespan are also associated with high reactive oxygen species production by mitochondria, increased mitochondrial DNA and protein damage, and with changes in the fatty acid composition of mitochondrial membranes. It is possible that the extent