Science.gov

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

    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

  13. 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

  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

    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

  7. 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

  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

    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 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

  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. 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...

  2. 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

  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. 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

  19. 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

  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

    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

  4. 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

  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. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  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. 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

  13. 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

  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. 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)

  7. 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…

  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

    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

  2. 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

  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. 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

  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. 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

  13. 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.

  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. 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

  16. 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

  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

    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 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

  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. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  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. 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

  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. 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

  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. 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

  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. 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

  20. 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

  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. 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

  6. 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

  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. 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...

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  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. 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

  16. 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

  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 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  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. [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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  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. 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

  20. 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

  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. 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

  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. 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.

  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. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  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. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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