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Sample records for abiotic environmental gradients

  1. The Importance of Biotic vs. Abiotic Drivers of Local Plant Community Composition Along Regional Bioclimatic Gradients.

    PubMed

    Klanderud, Kari; Vandvik, Vigdis; Goldberg, Deborah

    2015-01-01

    We assessed if the relative importance of biotic and abiotic factors for plant community composition differs along environmental gradients and between functional groups, and asked which implications this may have in a warmer and wetter future. The study location is a unique grid of sites spanning regional-scale temperature and precipitation gradients in boreal and alpine grasslands in southern Norway. Within each site we sampled vegetation and associated biotic and abiotic factors, and combined broad- and fine-scale ordination analyses to assess the relative explanatory power of these factors for species composition. Although the community responses to biotic and abiotic factors did not consistently change as predicted along the bioclimatic gradients, abiotic variables tended to explain a larger proportion of the variation in species composition towards colder sites, whereas biotic variables explained more towards warmer sites, supporting the stress gradient hypothesis. Significant interactions with precipitation suggest that biotic variables explained more towards wetter climates in the sub alpine and boreal sites, but more towards drier climates in the colder alpine. Thus, we predict that biotic interactions may become more important in alpine and boreal grasslands in a warmer future, although more winter precipitation may counteract this trend in oceanic alpine climates. Our results show that both local and regional scales analyses are needed to disentangle the local vegetation-environment relationships and their regional-scale drivers, and biotic interactions and precipitation must be included when predicting future species assemblages.

  2. Distribution of vascular epiphytes along a tropical elevational gradient: disentangling abiotic and biotic determinants

    PubMed Central

    Ding, Yi; Liu, Guangfu; Zang, Runguo; Zhang, Jian; Lu, Xinghui; Huang, Jihong

    2016-01-01

    Epiphytic vascular plants are common species in humid tropical forests. Epiphytes are influenced by abiotic and biotic variables, but little is known about the relative importance of direct and indirect effects on epiphyte distribution. We surveyed 70 transects (10 m × 50 m) along an elevation gradient (180 m–1521 m) and sampled all vascular epiphytes and trees in a typical tropical forest on Hainan Island, south China. The direct and indirect effects of abiotic factors (climatic and edaphic) and tree community characteristics on epiphytes species diversity were examined. The abundance and richness of vascular epiphytes generally showed a unimodal curve with elevation and reached maximum value at ca. 1300 m. The species composition in transects from high elevation (above 1200 m) showed a more similar assemblage. Climate explained the most variation in epiphytes species diversity followed by tree community characteristics and soil features. Overall, climate (relative humidity) and tree community characteristics (tree size represented by basal area) had the strongest direct effects on epiphyte diversity while soil variables (soil water content and available phosphorus) mainly had indirect effects. Our study suggests that air humidity is the most important abiotic while stand basal area is the most important biotic determinants of epiphyte diversity along the tropical elevational gradient. PMID:26796667

  3. Distribution of vascular epiphytes along a tropical elevational gradient: disentangling abiotic and biotic determinants.

    PubMed

    Ding, Yi; Liu, Guangfu; Zang, Runguo; Zhang, Jian; Lu, Xinghui; Huang, Jihong

    2016-01-22

    Epiphytic vascular plants are common species in humid tropical forests. Epiphytes are influenced by abiotic and biotic variables, but little is known about the relative importance of direct and indirect effects on epiphyte distribution. We surveyed 70 transects (10 m × 50 m) along an elevation gradient (180 m-1521 m) and sampled all vascular epiphytes and trees in a typical tropical forest on Hainan Island, south China. The direct and indirect effects of abiotic factors (climatic and edaphic) and tree community characteristics on epiphytes species diversity were examined. The abundance and richness of vascular epiphytes generally showed a unimodal curve with elevation and reached maximum value at ca. 1300 m. The species composition in transects from high elevation (above 1200 m) showed a more similar assemblage. Climate explained the most variation in epiphytes species diversity followed by tree community characteristics and soil features. Overall, climate (relative humidity) and tree community characteristics (tree size represented by basal area) had the strongest direct effects on epiphyte diversity while soil variables (soil water content and available phosphorus) mainly had indirect effects. Our study suggests that air humidity is the most important abiotic while stand basal area is the most important biotic determinants of epiphyte diversity along the tropical elevational gradient.

  4. Stream pH as an abiotic gradient influencing distributions of trout in Pennsylvania streams

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kocovsky, P.M.; Carline, R.F.

    2005-01-01

    Elevation and stream slope are abiotic gradients that limit upstream distributions of brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis and brown trout Salmo trutta in streams. We sought to determine whether another abiotic gradient, base-flow pH, may also affect distributions of these two species in eastern North America streams. We used historical data from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission's fisheries management database to explore the effects of reach elevation, slope, and base-flow pH on distributional limits to brook trout and brown trout in Pennsylvania streams in the Appalachian Plateaus and Ridge and Valley physiographic provinces. Discriminant function analysis (DFA) was used to calculate a canonical axis that separated allopatric brook trout populations from allopatric brown trout populations and allowed us to assess which of the three independent variables were important gradients along which communities graded from allopatric brook trout to allopatric brown trout. Canonical structure coefficients from DFA indicated that in both physiographic provinces, stream base-flow pH and slope were important factors in distributional limits; elevation was also an important factor in the Ridge and Valley Province but not the Appalachian Plateaus Province. Graphs of each variable against the proportion of brook trout in a community also identified apparent zones of allopatry for both species on the basis of pH and stream slope. We hypothesize that pH-mediated interspecific competition that favors brook trout in competition with brown trout at lower pH is the most plausible mechanism for segregation of these two species along pH gradients. Our discovery that trout distributions in Pennsylvania are related to stream base-flow pH has important implications for brook trout conservation in acidified regions. Carefully designed laboratory and field studies will be required to test our hypothesis and elucidate the mechanisms responsible for the partitioning of brook trout and

  5. The role of abiotic environmental conditions and herbivory in shaping bacterial community composition in floral nectar.

    PubMed

    Samuni-Blank, Michal; Izhaki, Ido; Laviad, Sivan; Bar-Massada, Avi; Gerchman, Yoram; Halpern, Malka

    2014-01-01

    Identifying the processes that drive community assembly has long been a central theme in ecology. For microorganisms, a traditional prevailing hypothesis states that "everything is everywhere, but the environment selects". Although the bacterial community in floral nectar may be affected by both atmosphere (air-borne bacteria) and animals as dispersal vectors, the environmental and geographic factors that shape microbial communities in floral nectar are unknown. We studied culturable bacterial communities in Asphodelus aestivus floral nectar and in its typical herbivorous bug Capsodes infuscatus, along an aridity gradient. Bacteria were sampled from floral nectar and bugs at four sites, spanning a geographical range of 200 km from Mediterranean to semi-arid conditions, under open and bagged flower treatments. In agreement with the niche assembly hypothesis, the differences in bacterial community compositions were explained by differences in abiotic environmental conditions. These results suggest that microbial model systems are useful for addressing macro-ecological questions. In addition, similar bacterial communities were found in the nectar and on the surface of the bugs that were documented visiting the flowers. These similarities imply that floral nectar bacteria dispersal is shaped not only by air borne bacteria and nectar consumers as previously reported, but also by visiting vectors like the mirid bugs.

  6. Assessing Utilization and Environmental Risks of Important Genes in Plant Abiotic Stress Tolerance

    PubMed Central

    Khan, Mohammad S.; Khan, Muhammad A.; Ahmad, Dawood

    2016-01-01

    Transgenic plants with improved salt and drought stress tolerance have been developed with a large number of abiotic stress-related genes. Among these, the most extensively used genes are the glycine betaine biosynthetic codA, the DREB transcription factors, and vacuolar membrane Na+/H+ antiporters. The use of codA, DREBs, and Na+/H+ antiporters in transgenic plants has conferred stress tolerance and improved plant phenotype. However, the future deployment and commercialization of these plants depend on their safety to the environment. Addressing environmental risk assessment is challenging since mechanisms governing abiotic stress tolerance are much more complex than that of insect resistance and herbicide tolerance traits, which have been considered to date. Therefore, questions arise, whether abiotic stress tolerance genes need additional considerations and new measurements in risk assessment and, whether these genes would have effects on weediness and invasiveness potential of transgenic plants? While considering these concerns, the environmental risk assessment of abiotic stress tolerance genes would need to focus on the magnitude of stress tolerance, plant phenotype and characteristics of the potential receiving environment. In the present review, we discuss environmental concerns and likelihood of concerns associated with the use of abiotic stress tolerance genes. Based on our analysis, we conclude that the uses of these genes in domesticated crop plants are safe for the environment. Risk assessment, however, should be carefully conducted on biofeedstocks and perennial plants taking into account plant phenotype and the potential receiving environment. PMID:27446095

  7. A General, Synthetic Model for Predicting Biodiversity Gradients from Environmental Geometry.

    PubMed

    Gross, Kevin; Snyder-Beattie, Andrew

    2016-10-01

    Latitudinal and elevational biodiversity gradients fascinate ecologists, and have inspired dozens of explanations. The geometry of the abiotic environment is sometimes thought to contribute to these gradients, yet evaluations of geometric explanations are limited by a fragmented understanding of the diversity patterns they predict. This article presents a mathematical model that synthesizes multiple pathways by which environmental geometry can drive diversity gradients. The model characterizes species ranges by their environmental niches and limits on range sizes and places those ranges onto the simplified geometries of a sphere or cone. The model predicts nuanced and realistic species-richness gradients, including latitudinal diversity gradients with tropical plateaus and mid-latitude inflection points and elevational diversity gradients with low-elevation diversity maxima. The model also illustrates the importance of a mid-environment effect that augments species richness at locations with intermediate environments. Model predictions match multiple empirical biodiversity gradients, depend on ecological traits in a testable fashion, and formally synthesize elements of several geometric models. Together, these results suggest that previous assessments of geometric hypotheses should be reconsidered and that environmental geometry may play a deeper role in driving biodiversity gradients than is currently appreciated.

  8. Opposing environmental gradients govern vegetation zonation in an intermountain playa

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sanderson, J.S.; Kotliar, N.B.; Steingraeber, D.A.

    2008-01-01

    Vegetation zonation was investigated at an intermountain playa wetland (Mishak Lakes) in the San Luis Valley (SLV) of southern Colorado. Plant composition and abiotic conditions were quantified in six vegetation zones. Reciprocal transplants were performed to test the importance of abiotic factors in governing zonation. Abiotic conditions differed among several vegetation zones. Prolonged inundation led to anaerobic soils in the Eleocharis palustris and the submerged aquatics zones, on the low end of the site's 1.25 m elevation gradient. On the high end of the gradient, soil salinity and sodicity (a measure of exchangeable sodium) were high in the Distichlis spicata zone (electrical conductivity, EC = 5.3 dS/m, sodium absorption ratio, SAR = 44.0) and extreme in the Sarcobatus vermiculatus zone (EC = 21 dS/m, SAR = 274). Transplanted species produced maximum biomass in the zone where they originated, not in any other higher or lower vegetation zone. The greatest overall transplant effect occurred for E. palustris, which experienced a ??? 77% decline in productivity when transplanted to other zones. This study provides evidence that physical factors are a major determinant of vegetation zone composition and distribution across the entire elevation gradient at Mishak Lakes. Patterns at Mishak Lakes arise from counter-directional stress gradients: a gradient from anaerobic to well-oxygenated from basin bottom to upland and a gradient from extremely high salinity to low salinity in the opposing direction. Because abiotic conditions dominate vegetation zonation, restoration of the altered hydrologic regime of this wetland to a natural hydrologic regime may be sufficient to re-establish many of the natural biodiversity functions provided by these wetlands. ?? 2008 The Society of Wetland Scientists.

  9. The relationships among biotic and abiotic factors as control soil degradation processes along a Mediterranean pluviometric gradient.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Damian Ruiz Sinoga, Jose; Romero Diaz, Asunción

    2010-05-01

    The shifts to soil properties that resulted from changes in water availability along a pluviometric gradient from humid to semiarid/arid Mediterranean climate were analyzed. The study was carried out at eight experimental sites in southern Spain and assessed the influence of a reduction in annual average rainfall along the pluviometric gradient on various physical, chemical and hydrological properties of the topsoil, and on the biotic characteristics of the environment. The aims were to assess the soil degradation status, and to determine if any of the soil variables studied could be used as soil degradation indicators. For each experimental site the relationships among a series of edaphic, hydrological and biological properties were investigated, and the principal factors affecting soil degradation were determined using principal component analysis. The properties included the clay, silt and sand content; organic matter; retained organic carbon; salinity; cation exchange capacity; structural stability; USLE K factor; bulk density; saturated hydraulic conductivity; soil moisture; the number of vegetal species; and vegetation cover. The results showed that relationships between biotic and abiotic factors controlled the soil degradation status along a pluviometric gradient from wet to semiarid/arid conditions in the Mediterranean area, and therefore the stability of the eco-geomorphological system depends on the dominant factor. A precipitation-based soil degradation threshold of approximately 500 mm/yr was established, as below this level the vegetation is no longer associated with the presence of greater soil moisture content, but adapts to degradation, as evidenced by the appearance of xerophytic species.

  10. Environmental causes for plant biodiversity gradients.

    PubMed Central

    Davies, T Jonathan; Barraclough, Timothy G; Savolainen, Vincent; Chase, Mark W

    2004-01-01

    One of the most pervasive patterns observed in biodiversity studies is the tendency for species richness to decline towards the poles. One possible explanation is that high levels of environmental energy promote higher species richness nearer the equator. Energy input may set a limit to the number of species that can coexist in an area or alternatively may influence evolutionary rates. Within flowering plants (angiosperms), families exposed to a high energy load tend to be both more species rich and possess faster evolutionary rates, although there is no evidence that one drives the other. Specific environmental effects are likely to vary among lineages, reflecting the interaction between biological traits and environmental conditions in which they are found. One example of this is demonstrated by the high species richness of the iris family (Iridaceae) in the Cape of South Africa, a likely product of biological traits associated with reproductive isolation and the steep ecological and climatic gradients of the region. Within any set of conditions some lineages will tend to be favoured over others; however, the identity of these lineages will fluctuate with a changing environment, explaining the highly labile nature of diversification rates observed among major lineages of flowering plants. PMID:15519979

  11. Functional strategies drive community assembly of stream fishes along environmental gradients and across spatial scales.

    PubMed

    Troia, Matthew J; Gido, Keith B

    2015-02-01

    Trade-offs among functional traits produce multi-trait strategies that shape species' interactions with the environment and drive the assembly of local communities from regional species pools. Stream fish communities vary along stream size gradients and among hierarchically structured habitat patches, but little is known about how the dispersion of strategies varies along environmental gradients and across spatial scales. We used null models to quantify the dispersion of reproductive life history, feeding, and locomotion strategies in communities sampled at three spatial scales in a prairie stream network in Kansas, USA. Strategies were generally underdispersed at all spatial scales, corroborating the longstanding notion of abiotic filtering in stream fish communities. We tested for variation in strategy dispersion along a gradient of stream size and between headwater streams draining different ecoregions. Reproductive life history strategies became increasingly underdispersed moving from downstream to upstream, suggesting that abiotic filtering is stronger in headwaters. This pattern was stronger among reaches compared to mesohabitats, supporting the premise that differences in hydrologic regime among reaches filter reproductive life history strategies. Feeding strategies became increasingly underdispersed moving from upstream to downstream, indicating that environmental filters associated with stream size affect the dispersion of feeding and reproductive life history in opposing ways. Weak differences in strategy dispersion were detected between ecoregions, suggesting that different abiotic filters or strategies drive community differences between ecoregions. Given the pervasiveness of multi-trait strategies in plant and animal communities, we conclude that the assessment of strategy dispersion offers a comprehensive approach for elucidating mechanisms of community assembly.

  12. Effects of biotic and abiotic factors on the distribution of trout and salmon along a longitudinal stream gradient

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    De La, Hoz; Budy, P.

    2005-01-01

    We examined the influence of biotic and abiotic factors on the distribution, abundance, and condition of salmonid fishes along a stream gradient. We observed a longitudinal change in fish distribution with native cutthroat trout, Oncorhynchus clarki utah, and introduced brown trout, Salmo trutta, demonstrating a distinct pattern of allopatry. Cutthroat trout dominated high elevation reaches, while reaches at lower elevations were dominated by brown trout. A transition zone between these populations was associated with lower total trout abundance, consistent changes in temperature and discharge, and differences in dietary preference. Variation in cutthroat trout abundance was best explained by a model including the abundance of brown trout and diel temperature, whereas variation in brown trout abundance was best explained by a model including the abundance of cutthroat trout and discharge. These results suggest the potential for condition-mediated competition between the two species. The results from our study can aid biologists in prioritizing conservation activities and in developing robust management strategies for cutthroat trout. ?? Springer 2005.

  13. Developing standards for environmental toxicants: the need to consider abiotic environmental factors and microbe-mediated ecologic processes.

    PubMed Central

    Babich, H; Stotzky, G

    1983-01-01

    This article suggests and discusses two novel aspects for the formulation of standards for environmental toxicants. First, uniform national standards for each pollutant will be underprotective for some ecosystems and overprotective for others, inasmuch as the toxicity of a pollutant to the indigenous biota is dependent on the physicochemical properties of the recipient environment. As the number of chemicals that need regulation is immense and as microbes appear to respond similarly to pollutant-abiotic factor interactions as do plants and animals, it is suggested that microbial assays be used initially to identify those abiotic factors that most influence the toxicity of specific pollutants. Thereafter, additional studies using plants and animals can focus on these pollutant-abiotic factor interactions, and more meaningful standards can then be formulated more rapidly and inexpensively. Second, it is suggested that the response to pollutants of microbe-mediated ecologic processes be used to quantitate the sensitivity of different ecosystems to various toxicants. Such a quantification, expressed in terms of an "ecological dose 50%" (EcD50), could be easily incorporated into the methodologies currently used to set water quality criteria and would also be applicable to setting criteria for terrestrial ecosystems. PMID:6339225

  14. Maternal, social and abiotic environmental effects on growth vary across life stages in a cooperative mammal.

    PubMed

    English, Sinead; Bateman, Andrew W; Mares, Rafael; Ozgul, Arpat; Clutton-Brock, Tim H

    2014-03-01

    Resource availability plays a key role in driving variation in somatic growth and body condition, and the factors determining access to resources vary considerably across life stages. Parents and carers may exert important influences in early life, when individuals are nutritionally dependent, with abiotic environmental effects having stronger influences later in development as individuals forage independently. Most studies have measured specific factors influencing growth across development or have compared relative influences of different factors within specific life stages. Such studies may not capture whether early-life factors continue to have delayed effects at later stages, or whether social factors change when individuals become nutritionally independent and adults become competitors for, rather than providers of, food. Here, we examined variation in the influence of the abiotic, social and maternal environment on growth across life stages in a wild population of cooperatively breeding meerkats. Cooperatively breeding vertebrates are ideal for investigating environmental influences on growth. In addition to experiencing highly variable abiotic conditions, cooperative breeders are typified by heterogeneity both among breeders, with mothers varying in age and social status, and in the number of carers present. Recent rainfall had a consistently marked effect on growth across life stages, yet other seasonal terms only influenced growth during stages when individuals were growing fastest. Group size and maternal dominance status had positive effects on growth during the period of nutritional dependence on carers, but did not influence mass at emergence (at 1 month) or growth at independent stages (>4 months). Pups born to older mothers were lighter at 1 month of age and subsequently grew faster as subadults. Males grew faster than females during the juvenile and subadult stage only. Our findings demonstrate the complex ways in which the external environment

  15. Environmental Selenium Transformations: Distinguishing Abiotic and Biotic Factors Influencing Se Redox Transformations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rosenfeld, C.; Kenyon, J.; James, B. R.; Santelli, C. M.

    2014-12-01

    Worldwide, selenium (Se) is proving to be a significant environmental concern, with many anthropogenic activities (e.g. coal mining and combustion, phosphate mining and agricultural irrigation) releasing potentially hazardous concentrations into surface and subsurface ecosystems. The US EPA is currently considering aquatic Se regulations, however no guidelines exist for excess soil Se, despite its ability to act as a persistent Se source. Various abiotic and biological processes mediate Se oxidation/reduction (redox) transformations in soils, thus influencing its solubility and bioavailability. In this research we assess (1) the ability of metal-transforming fungal species to aerobically reduce Se (Se (IV and/or VI) to Se(0)), and (2) the relative contribution of biotic and abiotic pathways for aerobic Se transformation. The primary objective of this research is to determine what abiotic and biotic factors enhance or restrict Se bioavailability. Results indicate that fungal-mediated Se reduction may be quite widespread, with at least 7 out of 10 species of known Mn(II)-oxidizing fungi isolated from metal impacted environments also identified as capable of aerobically reducing Se(IV) and/or Se(VI) to Se(0). Increasing concentrations of selenite (SeO32-; Se(IV)) and selenate (SeO42-; Se(VI)) generally reduced fungal growth rates, although selenate was more likely to inhibit fungal growth than selenite. To study oxidation, Se(0) was combined with Mn(III/IV) (hydr)oxides (henceforth referred to as Mn oxides), Se-transforming fungi (Alternaria alternata), and oxalic acid to mimic Se biogeochemistry at the plant-soil interface. Increased pH in the presence of fungi (7.2 with fungi, 6.8 without fungi after 24 days) was observed. Additionally, a slight decrease in redox potential was measured for incubations without Mn oxides (236 mV with Mn oxides, 205 mV without Mn oxides after 24 days), indicating that Mn oxides may enhance Se oxidation. Elemental Se oxidation rates to

  16. Connecting RNA Processing to Abiotic Environmental Response in Arabidopsis: the role of a polyadenylation factor

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Q. Q.; Xu, R.; Hunt, A. G.; Falcone, D. L.

    Plants are constantly challenged by numerous environmental stresses both biotic and abiotic It is clear that plants have evolved to counter these stresses using all but limited means We recently discovered the potential role of a messenger RNA processing factor namely the Arabidopsis cleavage and polyadenylation specificity factor 30 kDa subunit AtCPSF30 when a mutant deficient in this factor displayed altered responses to an array of abiotic stresses This AtCPSF30 mutant named oxt6 exhibited an elevated tolerance to oxidative stress Microarray experiments of oxt6 and its complemented lines revealed an altered gene expression profile among which were antioxidative defense genes Interestingly the same gene encoding AtCPSF30 can also be transcribed into a large transcript that codes for a potential splicing factor Both protein products have a domain for RNA binding and a calmodulin binding domain activities of which have been confirmed by biochemical assays Surprisingly binding of AtCPSF30 to calmodulin inhibits the RNA-binding activity of the protein Mutational analysis shows that a small part of the protein is responsible for calmodulin binding and point mutations in this region abolished both RNA binding activity and the inhibition of this activity by calmodulin Analyses of the potential splicing factor are on going and the results will be presented The interesting possibilities for both the interplay between splicing and polyadenylation and the regulation of these processes by stimuli that act through

  17. Establishing Functional Relationships between Abiotic Environment, Macrophyte Coverage, Resource Gradients and the Distribution of Mytilus trossulus in a Brackish Non-Tidal Environment.

    PubMed

    Kotta, Jonne; Oganjan, Katarina; Lauringson, Velda; Pärnoja, Merli; Kaasik, Ants; Rohtla, Liisa; Kotta, Ilmar; Orav-Kotta, Helen

    2015-01-01

    Benthic suspension feeding mussels are an important functional guild in coastal and estuarine ecosystems. To date we lack information on how various environmental gradients and biotic interactions separately and interactively shape the distribution patterns of mussels in non-tidal environments. Opposing to tidal environments, mussels inhabit solely subtidal zone in non-tidal waterbodies and, thereby, driving factors for mussel populations are expected to differ from the tidal areas. In the present study, we used the boosted regression tree modelling (BRT), an ensemble method for statistical techniques and machine learning, in order to explain the distribution and biomass of the suspension feeding mussel Mytilus trossulus in the non-tidal Baltic Sea. BRT models suggested that (1) distribution patterns of M. trossulus are largely driven by separate effects of direct environmental gradients and partly by interactive effects of resource gradients with direct environmental gradients. (2) Within its suitable habitat range, however, resource gradients had an important role in shaping the biomass distribution of M. trossulus. (3) Contrary to tidal areas, mussels were not competitively superior over macrophytes with patterns indicating either facilitative interactions between mussels and macrophytes or co-variance due to common stressor. To conclude, direct environmental gradients seem to define the distribution pattern of M. trossulus, and within the favourable distribution range, resource gradients in interaction with direct environmental gradients are expected to set the biomass level of mussels.

  18. Establishing Functional Relationships between Abiotic Environment, Macrophyte Coverage, Resource Gradients and the Distribution of Mytilus trossulus in a Brackish Non-Tidal Environment

    PubMed Central

    Kotta, Jonne; Oganjan, Katarina; Lauringson, Velda; Pärnoja, Merli; Kaasik, Ants; Rohtla, Liisa; Kotta, Ilmar; Orav-Kotta, Helen

    2015-01-01

    Benthic suspension feeding mussels are an important functional guild in coastal and estuarine ecosystems. To date we lack information on how various environmental gradients and biotic interactions separately and interactively shape the distribution patterns of mussels in non-tidal environments. Opposing to tidal environments, mussels inhabit solely subtidal zone in non-tidal waterbodies and, thereby, driving factors for mussel populations are expected to differ from the tidal areas. In the present study, we used the boosted regression tree modelling (BRT), an ensemble method for statistical techniques and machine learning, in order to explain the distribution and biomass of the suspension feeding mussel Mytilus trossulus in the non-tidal Baltic Sea. BRT models suggested that (1) distribution patterns of M. trossulus are largely driven by separate effects of direct environmental gradients and partly by interactive effects of resource gradients with direct environmental gradients. (2) Within its suitable habitat range, however, resource gradients had an important role in shaping the biomass distribution of M. trossulus. (3) Contrary to tidal areas, mussels were not competitively superior over macrophytes with patterns indicating either facilitative interactions between mussels and macrophytes or co-variance due to common stressor. To conclude, direct environmental gradients seem to define the distribution pattern of M. trossulus, and within the favourable distribution range, resource gradients in interaction with direct environmental gradients are expected to set the biomass level of mussels. PMID:26317668

  19. The adaptation rate of a quantitative trait in an environmental gradient

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hermsen, R.

    2016-12-01

    The spatial range of a species habitat is generally determined by the ability of the species to cope with biotic and abiotic variables that vary in space. Therefore, the species range is itself an evolvable property. Indeed, environmental gradients permit a mode of evolution in which range expansion and adaptation go hand in hand. This process can contribute to rapid evolution of drug resistant bacteria and viruses, because drug concentrations in humans and livestock treated with antibiotics are far from uniform. Here, we use a minimal stochastic model of discrete, interacting organisms evolving in continuous space to study how the rate of adaptation of a quantitative trait depends on the steepness of the gradient and various population parameters. We discuss analytical results for the mean-field limit as well as extensive stochastic simulations. These simulations were performed using an exact, event-driven simulation scheme that can deal with continuous time-, density- and coordinate-dependent reaction rates and could be used for a wide variety of stochastic systems. The results reveal two qualitative regimes. If the gradient is shallow, the rate of adaptation is limited by dispersion and increases linearly with the gradient slope. If the gradient is steep, the adaptation rate is limited by mutation. In this regime, the mean-field result is highly misleading: it predicts that the adaptation rate continues to increase with the gradient slope, whereas stochastic simulations show that it in fact decreases with the square root of the slope. This discrepancy underscores the importance of discreteness and stochasticity even at high population densities; mean-field results, including those routinely used in quantitative genetics, should be interpreted with care.

  20. Plant species distributions along environmental gradients: do belowground interactions with fungi matter?

    PubMed Central

    Pellissier, Loïc; Pinto-Figueroa, Eric; Niculita-Hirzel, Hélène; Moora, Mari; Villard, Lucas; Goudet, Jérome; Guex, Nicolas; Pagni, Marco; Xenarios, Ioannis; Sanders, Ian; Guisan, Antoine

    2013-01-01

    The distribution of plants along environmental gradients is constrained by abiotic and biotic factors. Cumulative evidence attests of the impact of biotic factors on plant distributions, but only few studies discuss the role of belowground communities. Soil fungi, in particular, are thought to play an important role in how plant species assemble locally into communities. We first review existing evidence, and then test the effect of the number of soil fungal operational taxonomic units (OTUs) on plant species distributions using a recently collected dataset of plant and metagenomic information on soil fungi in the Western Swiss Alps. Using species distribution models (SDMs), we investigated whether the distribution of individual plant species is correlated to the number of OTUs of two important soil fungal classes known to interact with plants: the Glomeromycetes, that are obligatory symbionts of plants, and the Agaricomycetes, that may be facultative plant symbionts, pathogens, or wood decayers. We show that including the fungal richness information in the models of plant species distributions improves predictive accuracy. Number of fungal OTUs is especially correlated to the distribution of high elevation plant species. We suggest that high elevation soil show greater variation in fungal assemblages that may in turn impact plant turnover among communities. We finally discuss how to move beyond correlative analyses, through the design of field experiments manipulating plant and fungal communities along environmental gradients. PMID:24339830

  1. Urban-to-Rural Environmental Gradients in Houston Metropolitan Area

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gramann, J.; Schade, G. W.; Barta, C.

    2011-12-01

    The Houston Metropolitan area composes an extensive urban heat island and is the largest emitter of atmospheric pollutants in Texas, affecting regional air quality far beyond its borders. Three self-powered weather stations that include carbon dioxide (CO2) and ozone (O3) analyzers were set up to evaluate urban to rural environmental gradients in support of an NSF project investigating isoprene emissions and corresponding oak tree physiology. One station was installed at a participating high school in downtown Houston, one at a junior high school in The Woodlands, a forested suburban community about 40 km from downtown, and the third near the ranger station in Sam Houston National Forest (SHNF) 90 km from downtown. As a consequence of the sea breeze and typical summer wind patterns, these locations are often in line with the Houston urban pollution plume, allowing us to observe the development of ozone concentrations as winds move ozone precursors emitted in Houston toward the north. Here, we analyze the urban to rural gradients for the 2011 ozone season, a period of extreme high temperatures and exceptional drought. Night time (0:00-5:00 LT) temperatures indicated a 2°C gradient between downtown and SHNF; however, this gradient was not mirrored in daytime (10:00-18:00LT) temperatures, which were instead strongly influenced by the sea breeze typically arriving at the downtown station around 13:45 local time (LT), and in The Woodlands around 15:00 LT. Vapor pressure values also showed a gradient between downtown and SHNF with Houston being the more humid, as would be expected with its closer proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. O3 tended to be lowest in downtown for all time periods: night, morning (10:00-13:00 LT), and afternoon (13:00-18:00 LT). The largest O3 gradient, 9 ppb, occurred between downtown Houston and the Woodlands during the afternoon. CO2 gradients were detected as well with lowest daytime values at SHNF, and highest night time values in The Woodlands

  2. Integrating physiological and biomechanical drivers of population growth over environmental gradients on coral reefs.

    PubMed

    Madin, Joshua S; Hoogenboom, Mia O; Connolly, Sean R

    2012-03-15

    Coral reefs exhibit marked spatial and temporal variability, and coral reef organisms exhibit trade-offs in functional traits that influence demographic performance under different combinations of abiotic environmental conditions. In many systems, trait trade-offs are modelled using an energy and/or nutrient allocation framework. However, on coral reefs, differences in biomechanical vulnerability have major demographic implications, and indeed are believed to play an essential role in mediating species coexistence because highly competitive growth forms are vulnerable to physical dislodgment events that occur with high frequency (e.g. annual summer storms). Therefore, an integrated energy allocation and biomechanics framework is required to understand the effect of physical environmental gradients on species' demographic performance. However, on coral reefs, as in most ecosystems, the effects of environmental conditions on organisms are measured in different currencies (e.g. lipid accumulation, survival and number of gametes), and thus the relative contributions of these effects to overall capacity for population growth are not readily apparent. A comprehensive assessment of links between the environment and the organism, including those mediated by biomechanical processes, must convert environmental effects on individual-level performance (e.g. survival, growth and reproduction) into a common currency that is relevant to the capacity to contribute to population growth. We outline such an approach by considering the population-level performance of scleractinian reef corals over a hydrodynamic gradient, with a focus on the integrating the biomechanical determinants of size-dependent coral colony dislodgment as a function of flow, with the effects of flow on photosynthetic energy acquisition and respiration.

  3. Diversity of Eastern North American Ant Communities along Environmental Gradients

    PubMed Central

    Del Toro, Israel

    2013-01-01

    Studies of species diversity patterns across regional environmental gradients seldom consider the impact of habitat type on within-site (alpha) and between-site (beta) diversity. This study is designed to identify the influence of habitat type across geographic and environmental space, on local patterns of species richness and regional turnover patterns of ant diversity in the northeastern United States. Specifically, I aim to 1) compare local species richness in paired open and forested transects and identify the environmental variables that best correlate with richness; and 2) document patterns of beta diversity throughout the region in both open and forested habitat. I systematically sampled ants at 67 sites from May to August 2010, spanning 10 degrees of latitude, and 1000 meters of elevation. Patterns of alpha and beta diversity across the region and along environmental gradients differed between forested and open habitats. Local species richness was higher in the low elevation and warmest sites and was always higher in open habitat than in forest habitat transects. Richness decreased as temperature decreased or elevation increased. Forested transects show strong patterns of decreasing dissimilarity in species composition between sites along the temperature gradient but open habitat transects did not. Maximum temperature of the warmest month better predicted species richness than either latitude or elevation. I find that using environmental variables as key predictors of richness yields more biologically relevant results, and produces simpler macroecological models than commonly used models which use only latitude and elevation as predictors of richness and diversity patterns. This study contributes to the understanding of mechanisms that structure the communities of important terrestrial arthropods which are likely to be influenced by climatic change. PMID:23874479

  4. Diversity of Eastern North American ant communities along environmental gradients.

    PubMed

    Del Toro, Israel

    2013-01-01

    Studies of species diversity patterns across regional environmental gradients seldom consider the impact of habitat type on within-site (alpha) and between-site (beta) diversity. This study is designed to identify the influence of habitat type across geographic and environmental space, on local patterns of species richness and regional turnover patterns of ant diversity in the northeastern United States. Specifically, I aim to 1) compare local species richness in paired open and forested transects and identify the environmental variables that best correlate with richness; and 2) document patterns of beta diversity throughout the region in both open and forested habitat. I systematically sampled ants at 67 sites from May to August 2010, spanning 10 degrees of latitude, and 1000 meters of elevation. Patterns of alpha and beta diversity across the region and along environmental gradients differed between forested and open habitats. Local species richness was higher in the low elevation and warmest sites and was always higher in open habitat than in forest habitat transects. Richness decreased as temperature decreased or elevation increased. Forested transects show strong patterns of decreasing dissimilarity in species composition between sites along the temperature gradient but open habitat transects did not. Maximum temperature of the warmest month better predicted species richness than either latitude or elevation. I find that using environmental variables as key predictors of richness yields more biologically relevant results, and produces simpler macroecological models than commonly used models which use only latitude and elevation as predictors of richness and diversity patterns. This study contributes to the understanding of mechanisms that structure the communities of important terrestrial arthropods which are likely to be influenced by climatic change.

  5. Limiting similarity and functional diversity along environmental gradients

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schwilk, D.W.; Ackerly, D.D.

    2005-01-01

    Recent developments in community models emphasize the importance of incorporating stochastic processes (e.g. ecological drift) in models of niche-structured community assembly. We constructed a finite, spatially explicit, lottery model to simulate the distribution of species in a one-dimensional landscape with an underlying gradient in environmental conditions. Our framework combines the potential for ecological drift with environmentally-mediated competition for space in a heterogeneous environment. We examined the influence of niche breadth, dispersal distances, community size (total number of individuals) and the breadth of the environmental gradient on levels of species and functional trait diversity (i.e. differences in niche optima). Three novel results emerge from this model: (1) niche differences between adjacent species (e.g. limiting similarity) increase in smaller communities, because of the interaction of competitive effects and finite population sizes; (2) immigration from a regional species pool, stochasticity and niche-assembly generate a bimodal distribution of species residence times ('transient' and 'resident') under a heterogeneous environment; and (3) the magnitude of environmental heterogeneity has a U-shaped effect on diversity, because of shifts in species richness of resident vs. transient species. These predictions illustrate the potential importance of stochastic (although not necessarily neutral) processes in community assembly. ??2005 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.

  6. Fine-Scale Habitat Associations of a Terrestrial Salamander: The Role of Environmental Gradients and Implications for Population Dynamics

    PubMed Central

    Peterman, William E.; Semlitsch, Raymond D.

    2013-01-01

    Environmental gradients are instrumental in shaping the distribution and local abundance of species because at the most fundamental level, an organism’s performance is constrained by the environment it inhabits. In topographically complex landscapes, slope, aspect, and vegetative cover interact to affect solar exposure, creating temperature-moisture gradients and unique microclimates. The significance of the interaction of abiotic gradients and biotic factors such as competition, movement, or physiology has long been recognized, but the scale at which these factors vary on the landscape has generally precluded their inclusion in spatial abundance models. We used fine-scale spatial data relating to surface-soil moisture, temperature, and canopy cover to describe the spatial distribution of abundance of a terrestrial salamander, Plethodon albagula, across the landscape. Abundance was greatest in dense-canopy ravine habitats with high moisture and low solar exposure, resulting in a patchy distribution of abundance. We hypothesize that these patterns reflect the physiological constraints of Plethodontid salamanders. Furthermore, demographic cohorts were not uniformly distributed among occupied plots on the landscape. The probability of gravid female occurrence was nearly uniform among occupied plots, but juveniles were much more likely to occur on plots with lower surface temperatures. The disconnect between reproductive effort and recruitment suggests that survival differs across the landscape and that local population dynamics vary spatially. Our study demonstrates a connection between abundance, fine-scale environmental gradients, and population dynamics, providing a foundation for future research concerning movement, population connectivity, and physiology. PMID:23671586

  7. Biotic and a-biotic Mn and Fe cycling in deep sediments across a gradient of sulfate reduction rates along the California margin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schneider-Mor, A.; Steefel, C.; Maher, K.

    2011-12-01

    The coupling between the biological and a-biotic processes controlling trace metals in deep marine sediments are not well understood, although the fluxes of elements and trace metals across the sediment-water interface can be a major contribution to ocean water. Four marine sediment profiles (ODP leg 167 sites 1011, 1017, 1018 and 1020)were examined to evaluate and quantify the biotic and abiotic reaction networks and fluxes that occur in deep marine sediments. We compared biogeochemical processes across a gradient of sulfate reduction (SR) rates with the objective of studying the processes that control these rates and how they affect major elements as well as trace metal redistribution. The rates of sulfate reduction, methanogenesis and anaerobic methane oxidation (AMO) were constrained using a multicomponent reactive transport model (CrunchFlow). Constraints for the model include: sediment and pore water concentrations, as well as %CaCO3, %biogenic silica, wt% carbon and δ13C of total organic carbon (TOC), particulate organic matter (POC) and mineral associated carbon (MAC). The sites are distinguished by the depth of AMO: a shallow zone is observed at sites 1018 (9 to 19 meters composite depth (mcd)) and 1017 (19 to 30 mcd), while deeper zones occur at sites 1011 (56 to 76 mcd) and 1020 (101 to 116 mcd). Sulfate reduction rates at the shallow AMO sites are on the order 1x10-16 mol/L/yr, much faster than rates in the deeper zone sulfate reduction (1-3x10-17 mol/L/yr), as expected. The dissolved metal ion concentrations varied between the sites, with Fe (0.01-7 μM) and Mn (0.01-57 μM) concentrations highest at Site 1020 and lowest at site 1017. The highest Fe and Mn concentrations occurred at various depths, and were not directly correlated with the rates of sulfate reduction and the maximum alkalinity values. The main processes that control cycling of Fe are the production of sulfide from sulfate reduction and the distribution of Fe-oxides. The Mn distribution

  8. DISTRIBUTION OF ALGAL EPIPHYTES ACROSS ENVIRONMENTAL GRADIENTS AT DIFFERENT SCALES: INTERTIDAL ELEVATION, HOST CANOPIES, AND HOST FRONDS(1).

    PubMed

    Longtin, Caroline M; Scrosati, Ricardo A; Whalen, Gillian B; Garbary, David J

    2009-08-01

    Understanding epiphyte distribution in coastal communities is important because these organisms affect many others directly or indirectly. Yet, their distribution has been considerably less studied than that of their hosts and other primary-space holders. Identifying major sources of variation in epiphyte abundance is thus still a need. Environmental gradients help predict species distribution and are pervasive on marine shores. In this study, we test the notion that environmental gradients across intertidal elevation, throughout host canopies, and along host fronds explain a large variation in the abundance of sympatric epiphytes. Our model system was the assemblage of Ascophyllum nodosum (L.) Le Jol. and its epiphytes Vertebrata lanosa (L.) T. A. Chr. [= Polysiphonia lanosa (L.) Tandy], Elachista fucicola (Velley) Aresch., and Pylaiella littoralis (L.) Kjellm. On the coast of Nova Scotia (Canada), we found evidence of a spatial segregation among these species at almost all scales. While the red epiphyte V. lanosa was more common at high- and midintertidal elevations (peaking at midelevations) and on middle segments of host fronds, the brown epiphytes E. fucicola and P. littoralis were more common at low elevations and restricted to distal segments of host fronds. Canopy habitat affected abundance only for V. lanosa, which was more common within the host canopy than on its periphery at midelevations. Since the studied gradients are related to predictable changes in abiotic factors, the identification of likely causes behind the observed patterns was facilitated. Our study ends by proposing abiotic and biotic factors that deserve priority in the experimental testing of the forces structuring this assemblage.

  9. The effects of abiotic and biotic environmental components on the microbial mineralization of selected xenobiotic compounds in soils

    SciTech Connect

    Knaebel, D.B.

    1990-01-01

    This research investigated the effects of environmental components on the microbial mineralization of xenobiotic compounds in soils. The soils' chemical and physical characteristics, microbial community structure, organic and inorganic components, and other associated biota (plants) were examined for their effects on the biodegradation process. The biodegradation of {sup 14}C foreign, synthetic ({double bond} xenobiotic) compounds was measured by quantifying {sup 14} CO{sub 2} production over time. Mineralization kinetics were estimated by first-order and 3/2 order mineralization models. The compounds displayed different mineralization kinetics in the different soils, which were due to nature of the xenobiotic chemical and to abiotic and biotic soil characteristics. Specific soil components (montmorillonite, humic acids and fulvic acids) inhibited mineralization. Other soil components (sand, illite, kaolinite) had less effect on the biodegradation process. Modified soil microbial communities mineralized the compounds differently. Bacteria-enhanced soils metabolized the compounds to greater extents than the fungi-enhanced soils, which both mineralized the compounds more than actinomycete-enhanced soils. However, the rates of mineralization were only significantly different between the bacteria-enhanced soils and the actinomycete-enhanced soil. Plants significantly increased soil microbial biomass and activity, and stimulated the rate of microbial mineralization of xenobiotic compounds. However, they had no effect on the total amounts of mineralization. In summary, these diverse abiotic and biotic environmental components exerted tremendous influences on the microbial turnover of xenobiotic compounds in soils. Therefore, these components should be considered when modeling the fate of xenobiotic chemicals in the environment.

  10. Disentangling Diversity Patterns in Sandy Beaches along Environmental Gradients

    PubMed Central

    Barboza, Francisco R.; Gómez, Julio; Lercari, Diego; Defeo, Omar

    2012-01-01

    Species richness in sandy beaches is strongly affected by concurrent variations in morphodynamics and salinity. However, as in other ecosystems, different groups of species may exhibit contrasting patterns in response to these environmental variables, which would be obscured if only aggregate richness is considered. Deconstructing biodiversity, i.e. considering richness patterns separately for different groups of species according to their taxonomic affiliation, dispersal mode or mobility, could provide a more complete understanding about factors that drive species richness patterns. This study analyzed macroscale variations in species richness at 16 Uruguayan sandy beaches with different morphodynamics, distributed along the estuarine gradient generated by the Rio de la Plata over a 2 year period. Species richness estimates were deconstructed to discriminate among taxonomic groups, supralittoral and intertidal forms, and groups with different feeding habits and development modes. Species richness was lowest at intermediate salinities, increasing towards oceanic and inner estuarine conditions, mainly following the patterns shown for intertidal forms. Moreover, there was a differential tolerance to salinity changes according to the habitat occupied and development mode, which determines the degree of sensitivity of faunal groups to osmotic stress. Generalized (additive and linear) mixed models showed a clear increase of species richness towards dissipative beaches. All taxonomic categories exhibited the same trend, even though responses to grain size and beach slope were less marked for crustaceans and insects than for molluscs or polychaetes. However, supralittoral crustaceans exhibited the opposite trend. Feeding groups decreased from dissipative to reflective systems, deposit feeders being virtually absent in the latter. This deconstructive approach highlights the relevance of life history strategies in structuring communities, highlighting the relative

  11. Disentangling diversity patterns in sandy beaches along environmental gradients.

    PubMed

    Barboza, Francisco R; Gómez, Julio; Lercari, Diego; Defeo, Omar

    2012-01-01

    Species richness in sandy beaches is strongly affected by concurrent variations in morphodynamics and salinity. However, as in other ecosystems, different groups of species may exhibit contrasting patterns in response to these environmental variables, which would be obscured if only aggregate richness is considered. Deconstructing biodiversity, i.e. considering richness patterns separately for different groups of species according to their taxonomic affiliation, dispersal mode or mobility, could provide a more complete understanding about factors that drive species richness patterns. This study analyzed macroscale variations in species richness at 16 Uruguayan sandy beaches with different morphodynamics, distributed along the estuarine gradient generated by the Rio de la Plata over a 2 year period. Species richness estimates were deconstructed to discriminate among taxonomic groups, supralittoral and intertidal forms, and groups with different feeding habits and development modes. Species richness was lowest at intermediate salinities, increasing towards oceanic and inner estuarine conditions, mainly following the patterns shown for intertidal forms. Moreover, there was a differential tolerance to salinity changes according to the habitat occupied and development mode, which determines the degree of sensitivity of faunal groups to osmotic stress. Generalized (additive and linear) mixed models showed a clear increase of species richness towards dissipative beaches. All taxonomic categories exhibited the same trend, even though responses to grain size and beach slope were less marked for crustaceans and insects than for molluscs or polychaetes. However, supralittoral crustaceans exhibited the opposite trend. Feeding groups decreased from dissipative to reflective systems, deposit feeders being virtually absent in the latter. This deconstructive approach highlights the relevance of life history strategies in structuring communities, highlighting the relative

  12. Environmental Association Analyses Identify Candidates for Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Glycine soja, the Wild Progenitor of Cultivated Soybeans

    PubMed Central

    Anderson, Justin E.; Kono, Thomas J. Y.; Stupar, Robert M.; Kantar, Michael B.; Morrell, Peter L.

    2016-01-01

    Natural populations across a species range demonstrate population structure owing to neutral processes such as localized origins of mutations and migration limitations. Selection also acts on a subset of loci, contributing to local adaptation. An understanding of the genetic basis of adaptation to local environmental conditions is a fundamental goal in basic biological research. When applied to crop wild relatives, this same research provides the opportunity to identify adaptive genetic variation that may be used to breed for crops better adapted to novel or changing environments. The present study explores an ex situ conservation collection, the USDA germplasm collection, genotyped at 32,416 SNPs to identify population structure and test for associations with bioclimatic and biophysical variables in Glycine soja, the wild progenitor of Glycine max (soybean). Candidate loci were detected that putatively contribute to adaptation to abiotic stresses. The identification of potentially adaptive variants in this ex situ collection may permit a more targeted use of germplasm collections. PMID:26818076

  13. Environmental Association Analyses Identify Candidates for Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Glycine soja, the Wild Progenitor of Cultivated Soybeans.

    PubMed

    Anderson, Justin E; Kono, Thomas J Y; Stupar, Robert M; Kantar, Michael B; Morrell, Peter L

    2016-04-07

    Natural populations across a species range demonstrate population structure owing to neutral processes such as localized origins of mutations and migration limitations. Selection also acts on a subset of loci, contributing to local adaptation. An understanding of the genetic basis of adaptation to local environmental conditions is a fundamental goal in basic biological research. When applied to crop wild relatives, this same research provides the opportunity to identify adaptive genetic variation that may be used to breed for crops better adapted to novel or changing environments. The present study explores an ex situ conservation collection, the USDA germplasm collection, genotyped at 32,416 SNPs to identify population structure and test for associations with bioclimatic and biophysical variables in Glycine soja, the wild progenitor of Glycine max (soybean). Candidate loci were detected that putatively contribute to adaptation to abiotic stresses. The identification of potentially adaptive variants in this ex situ collection may permit a more targeted use of germplasm collections.

  14. Differential kinetics and temperature dependence of abiotic and biotic processes controlling the environmental fate of TNT in simulated marine systems.

    PubMed

    Chappell, Mark A; Porter, Beth E; Price, Cynthia L; Pettway, Brad A; George, Robert D

    2011-08-01

    This work seeks to understand how the balance of abiotic and biotic kinetic processes in sediments control the residual concentration of TNT in marine systems after release from ocean-dumped source. Kinetics of TNT disappearance were followed using marine sediments at different temperatures and under both biotic and presumably abiotic conditions (through sodium azide addition). Sediments exhibiting the highest rate of TNT disappearance under biotic conditions also exhibited the highest sorption affinity for TNT under abiotic conditions. Significant temperature dependence in the abiotic processes was observed in the diffusion coefficient of TNT and not sediment sorption affinity. At higher temperature, kinetics of biotic processes outpaced abiotic processes, but at low temperature, kinetics of abiotic processes were much more significant. We concluded that the differential influence of temperature on the kinetics of abiotic and biotic processes could provide distinguishing predictions for the potential residual concentration of TNT contamination in marine-sediment systems.

  15. Context-dependent effects of fishing: variation in trophic cascades across environmental gradients.

    PubMed

    Shears, Nick T; Babcock, Russell C; Salomon, Anne K

    2008-12-01

    Marine reserves provide a large-scale experimental framework to investigate the effects of fishing on food web dynamics and how they vary with environmental context. Because marine reserves promote the recovery of previously fished predators, spatial comparisons between reserve and fished sites are often made to infer such effects; however, alternative explanations for differences between reserve and fished sites are seldom tested (e.g., environmental variation among sites). We investigated the context dependency of the predator-urchin-kelp trophic cascade reported in northeastern New Zealand by comparing the abundance of herbivorous sea urchins (Evechinus chloroticus), the extent of urchin barrens habitat, and macroalgal biomass between reserve and fished sites within six locations that span an environmental gradient in wave exposure, sedimentation, and water clarity. At depths where differences in urchin abundance or macroalgal biomass were found between reserve and fished sites we used a model selection approach to identify which variables (fishing or environmental factors) best explained the variation among sites. Differences between reserve and fished sites were not ubiquitous across the locations examined and were highly depth specific. At sheltered locations, urchins were rare and barrens absent at both reserve and fished sites. At moderately exposed coastal locations, actively grazing urchins were most abundant at 4-6 m depth, and significant differences in macroalgal biomass between reserve and fished sites were observed. In contrast, at offshore island locations, urchins extended into deeper water, and differences between reserve and fished sites were found at 4-9 m depth. These differences could only be attributed to trophic cascades associated with protection from fishing in two of the six locations examined. In other cases, variation between reserve and fished sites was equally well explained by differences in sediment or wave exposure among sites

  16. Water balance changes across environmental gradients in Sweden.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van der Velde, Y.; Lyon, S. W.; Vercauteren, N.; Destouni, G.

    2012-04-01

    Climate change, land use change and an increasing use of water for irrigation, industry, hydro power and consumption alter the water balance of many catchments. Such changes affect the water availability for ecosystems and humans but also affect hydrological conditions in downstream lakes and coastal zones. In the Baltic Sea region, for example, an increase in precipitation in Northern Sweden may reduce sea water salinity, while increasing evapotranspiration in the South, which is dominated by agriculture, may reduce nutrient leaching. Both changes will affect the Baltic Sea ecosystem. It thus is important to identify, for each region in Sweden, the dominant drivers for change to understand and anticipate future hydrological conditions in the Baltic Sea. In this study we have analyzed long term changes in the water balance for 250 catchments in Sweden. By quantifying the spatial correlation of these changes between catchments we were able to constrain measurement uncertainty in precipitation, discharge and catchment area. This allowed us to create reliable regional estimates of changes in precipitation, discharge and evapotranspiration for the period 1960-2010. The Bodyko framework was used to translate these water balance changes to water use efficiency trajectories across environmental gradients (latitude, elevation, agriculture and population). These trajectories in Bodyko-space help to identify the contributions of climate change and changes in water use efficiency to observed changes in the water balance. We show that within Sweden distinctly different trajectories of hydrological change occur and that these differences should be accounted for in climate change adaptation strategies.

  17. Thermomechanical and Environmental Durability of Environmental Barrier Coated Ceramic Matrix Composites Under Thermal Gradients

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zhu, Dongming; Bhatt, Ramakrishna T.; Harder, Bryan

    2016-01-01

    This paper presents the developments of thermo-mechanical testing approaches and durability performance of environmental barrier coatings (EBCs) and EBC coated SiCSiC ceramic matrix composites (CMCs). Critical testing aspects of the CMCs will be described, including state of the art instrumentations such as temperature, thermal gradient, and full field strain measurements; materials thermal conductivity evolutions and thermal stress resistance; NDE methods; thermo-mechanical stress and environment interactions associated damage accumulations. Examples are also given for testing ceramic matrix composite sub-elements and small airfoils to help better understand the critical and complex CMC and EBC properties in engine relevant testing environments.

  18. Interactions of biotic and abiotic environmental factors in an ectomycorrhizal symbiosis, and the potential for selection mosaics

    PubMed Central

    Piculell, Bridget J; Hoeksema, Jason D; Thompson, John N

    2008-01-01

    Background Geographic selection mosaics, in which species exert different evolutionary impacts on each other in different environments, may drive diversification in coevolving species. We studied the potential for geographic selection mosaics in plant-mycorrhizal interactions by testing whether the interaction between bishop pine (Pinus muricata D. Don) and one of its common ectomycorrhizal fungi (Rhizopogon occidentalis Zeller and Dodge) varies in outcome, when different combinations of plant and fungal genotypes are tested under a range of different abiotic and biotic conditions. Results We used a 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 factorial experiment to test the main and interactive effects of plant lineage (two maternal seed families), fungal lineage (two spore collections), soil type (lab mix or field soil), and non-mycorrhizal microbes (with or without) on the performance of plants and fungi. Ecological outcomes, as assessed by plant and fungal performance, varied widely across experimental environments, including interactions between plant or fungal lineages and soil environmental factors. Conclusion These results show the potential for selection mosaics in plant-mycorrhizal interactions, and indicate that these interactions are likely to coevolve in different ways in different environments, even when initially the genotypes of the interacting species are the same across all environments. Hence, selection mosaics may be equally as effective as genetic differences among populations in driving divergent coevolution among populations of interacting species. PMID:18507825

  19. Degradation of the tricyclic antipsychotic drug chlorpromazine under environmental conditions, identification of its main aquatic biotic and abiotic transformation products by LC-MSn and their effects on environmental bacteria.

    PubMed

    Trautwein, Christoph; Kümmerer, Klaus

    2012-03-15

    The search for environmental transformation products of organic pollutants (like drugs) is a difficult task and usually only few compounds are detected. This might be due to effective degradation but could also be a result of analytical deficits dealing with complex matrices. Especially transformation products of very low concentrations in sludge were difficult to identify so far. Additionally, the use of standard separation techniques might lead to the loss of isomeric compounds, which possess identical spectroscopic and spectrometric properties. To date no complete study investigating the environmental fate of any tricyclic antipsychotic drug has been reported. Therefore, this study investigated the popular neuroleptic drug chlorpromazine and its potential transformation by all main environmental pathways: aerobic and anaerobic biodegradation as well as abiotic photolytic degradation by sunlight. Analysis of test samples by high performance liquid chromatography coupled to multiple stage mass-spectrometry (HPLC-MS(n)) allowed the detection of numerous compounds. Further, the use of a special software allowed distinguishing between transformation products of small intensities and background "noise" caused by sludge or matrix. Three aerobic tests of different bacterial density (the Closed Bottle test, OECD 301D; the Manometric Respiratory test, OECD 301F; the modified Zahn-Wellens test, 302B; one anaerobic test (a modified anaerobic degradation test according to ISO 11734) as well as a photodegradation test were performed in the present study. According to the individual test guidelines, chlorpromazine had to be classified as not biodegradable in all of the biodegradation tests. However, a special chromatographic column and gradient along with mass spectrometric fragmentation experiments of higher order uncovered the presence of a total of 61 abiotic and biotic transformation products which where formed during the course of the tests. The structures of three

  20. Mechanisms and Dynamics of Abiotic and Biotic Interactions at Environmental Interfaces

    SciTech Connect

    Roso, Kevin M.

    2006-06-01

    The Stanford EMSI (SEMSI) was established in 2004 through joint funding by the National Science Foundation and the OBER-ERSD. It encompasses a number of universities and national laboratories. The PNNL component of the SEMSI is funded by ERSD and is the focus of this report. This component has the objective of providing theory support to the SEMSI by bringing computational capabilities and expertise to bear on important electron transfer problems at mineral/water and mineral/microbe interfaces. PNNL staff member Dr. Kevin Rosso, who is also ''matrixed'' into the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) at PNNL, is a co-PI on the SEMSI project and the PNNL lead. The EMSL computational facilities being applied to the SEMSI project include the 11.8 teraflop massively-parallel supercomputer. Science goals of this EMSL/SEMSI partnership include advancing our understanding of: (1) The kinetics of U(VI) and Cr(VI) reduction by aqueous and solid-phase Fe(II), (2) The structure of mineral surfaces in equilibrium with solution, and (3) Mechanisms of bacterial electron transfer to iron oxide surfaces via outer-membrane cytochromes.

  1. Fish community comparisons along environmental gradients in lakes of France and north-east USA

    EPA Science Inventory

    To assess whether eight traits of fish communities (species richness, three reproductive traits and four trophic traits) respond similarly to environmental gradients, and consequently display convergence between the lakes of France and north-east USA (NEUSA). Location 75 Frenc...

  2. An assessment of an environmental gradient using coral geochemical records, Whitsunday Islands, Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

    PubMed

    Lewis, S E; Brodie, J E; McCulloch, M T; Mallela, J; Jupiter, S D; Williams, H Stuart; Lough, J M; Matson, E G

    2012-01-01

    Coral cores were collected along an environmental and water quality gradient through the Whitsunday Island group, Great Barrier Reef (Australia), for trace element and stable isotope analysis. The primary aim of the study was to examine if this gradient could be detected in coral records and, if so, whether the gradient has changed over time with changing land use in the adjacent river catchments. Y/Ca was the trace element ratio which varied spatially across the gradient, with concentrations progressively decreasing away from the river mouths. The Ba/Ca and Y/Ca ratios were the only indicators of change in the gradient through time, increasing shortly after European settlement. The Mn/Ca ratio responded to local disturbance related to the construction of tourism infrastructure. Nitrogen isotope ratios showed no apparent trend over time. This study highlights the importance of site selection when using coral records to record regional environmental signals.

  3. Nurse plants, tree saplings and grazing pressure: changes in facilitation along a biotic environmental gradient.

    PubMed

    Smit, Christian; Vandenberghe, Charlotte; den Ouden, Jan; Müller-Schärer, Heinz

    2007-05-01

    our results to design a conceptual model of facilitation along a biotic environmental gradient. Empirical studies are needed to test the applicability of this model. In conclusion, we suggest that current conceptual facilitation models should at least consider the possibility of decreasing facilitation at high levels of stress.

  4. Endophytic fungal diversity of Fragaria vesca, a crop wild relative of strawberry, along environmental gradients within a small geographical area

    PubMed Central

    Yokoya, Kazutomo; Postel, Sarah; Fang, Rui

    2017-01-01

    Background Fungal endophytes are highly diverse ubiquitous asymptomatic microorganisms, some of which appear to be symbiotic. Depending on abiotic conditions and genotype of the plant, the diversity of endophytes may confer fitness benefits to plant communities. Methods We studied a crop wild relative (CWR) of strawberry, along environmental gradients with a view to understand the cultivable root-derived endophytic fungi that can be evaluated for promoting growth and tolerating stress in selected plant groups. The main objectives were to understand whether: (a) suboptimal soil types are drivers for fungal distribution and diversity; (b) high pH and poor nutrient availability lead to fungal-plant associations that help deliver fitness benefits; and (c) novel fungi can be identified for their use in improving plant growth, and alleviate stress in diverse crops. Results The study revealed that habitats with high pH and low nutrient availability have higher fungal diversity, with more rare fungi isolated from locations with chalky soil. Plants from location G were the healthiest even though soil from this location was the poorest in nutrients. Study of environmental gradients, especially extreme habitat types, may help understand the root zone fungal diversity of different functional classes. Two small in vitro pilot studies conducted with two isolates showed that endophytic fungi from suboptimal habitats can promote plant growth and fitness benefits in selected plant groups. Discussion Targeting native plants and crop wild relatives for research offers opportunities to unearth diverse functional groups of root-derived endophytic fungi that are beneficial for crops. PMID:28168102

  5. Responses to abiotic environmental stresses among phylloplane and soil isolates of Beauveria bassiana from two holm oak ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Fernández-Bravo, María; Garrido-Jurado, Inmaculada; Valverde-García, Pablo; Enkerli, Jürg; Quesada-Moraga, Enrique

    2016-11-01

    The response of entomopathogenic mitosporic ascomycete (EMAs) to abiotic stresses might be adapted to the microhabitats in which they inhabit. In phylloplane, these organisms are more exposed to such stresses than they are in soil, which may have led to adaptation to this environment. In the present work, we investigate whether Beauveria bassiana genotype or isolation habitat, i.e., soil or phylloplane, within the same geographic area influences their responses to key environmental stresses, such as temperature, moisture and ultraviolet radiation (UV-B), which can affect their successful use in microbial control. Twenty isolates of B. bassiana obtained from the soil and phylloplane in two ecosystems from southern Spain (holm oak dehesa and a reforested area) were selected to study the population distribution of these isolates and evaluate their thermal, humidity and UV-B requirements. Molecular characterization was conducted by using elongation factor-1α (EF-1α), the intergenic nuclear region Bloc and 15 microsatellite primers. The cluster analysis based on concatenated EF-1α and Bloc sequences grouped the 20 isolates into five clades within B. basiana, with Clades a, b, d and e containing both soil and phylloplane isolates and Clade c including three phylloplane isolates. The dendrogram and the minimal spanning network generated from the genetic distances among multilocus genotypes showed four divergent groups corresponding to the five clades obtained based on the sequence data (Clades b and d were represented in the same group), with a high degree of shared alleles within groups and few alleles shared among groups. Although no relationship was found between MLG and the habitat (soil or phylloplane) of isolation, isolates grouped into Clade c, all of which were collected from phylloplane, formed a separate group of MLGs. To investigate our hypothesis, the responses to temperature (germination and colony growth evaluated in the range 15-35°C), water activity

  6. Environmentally relevant impacts of nano-TiO2 on abiotic degradation of bisphenol A under sunlight irradiation.

    PubMed

    Wu, Wei; Shan, Guoqiang; Wang, Shanfeng; Zhu, Lingyan; Yue, Longfei; Xiang, Qian; Zhang, Yinqing; Li, Zhuo

    2016-09-01

    Understanding the effects of nano-TiO2 particles on the environmental behaviors of organic pollutants in natural aquatic environments is of paramount importance considering that large amount of nano-TiO2 is being released in the environment. In this study, the effect of nano-TiO2 on the degradation of bisphenol A (BPA) in water was investigated under simulated solar light irradiation. The results indicated that nano-TiO2 at environmentally relevant concentration (1 mg/L) could significantly facilitate the abiotic degradation of BPA (also at low concentration) under mild solar light irradiation, with the pseudo first-order rate constant (kobs) for BPA degradation raised by 1-2 orders of magnitude. As reflected by the inhibition experiments, hydroxyl radicals (OHs) and superoxide radical species were the predominant active species responsible for BPA degradation. The reaction was affected by water pH, and the degradation rate was higher at acidic or alkaline conditions than that at neutral condition. Humic acid (HA) also affected the reaction rate, depending on its concentration. At lower concentration (the mass ratio of HA/nano-TiO2 was 0.1:1), HA improved the dispersion and stability of nano-TiO2 in aquatic environment. As a result, the yield of OHs by nano-TiO2 under sunlight irradiation increased and BPA degradation was facilitated. When the HA concentration increased, a coating of HA formed on the surface of nano-TiO2. Although nano-TiO2 became more stable, the light absorption by nano-TiO2 was significantly reduced due to the strong light absorption of the HA coated on the surface. As a consequence, the yield of OH decreased and BPA degradation was depressed. The results imply that nano-TiO2 at low concentration may distinctly mediate BPA degradation, and can contribute to the natural attenuation of some organic pollutants in aquatic environment with low level of HA. However, this process would be significantly reduced in the presence of high level of HA.

  7. Individual Cell Based Traits Obtained by Scanning Flow-Cytometry Show Selection by Biotic and Abiotic Environmental Factors during a Phytoplankton Spring Bloom

    PubMed Central

    Pomati, Francesco; Kraft, Nathan J. B.; Posch, Thomas; Eugster, Bettina; Jokela, Jukka; Ibelings, Bas W.

    2013-01-01

    In ecology and evolution, the primary challenge in understanding the processes that shape biodiversity is to assess the relationship between the phenotypic traits of organisms and the environment. Here we tested for selection on physio-morphological traits measured by scanning flow-cytometry at the individual level in phytoplankton communities under a temporally changing biotic and abiotic environment. Our aim was to study how high-frequency temporal changes in the environment influence biodiversity dynamics in a natural community. We focused on a spring bloom in Lake Zurich (Switzerland), characterized by rapid changes in phytoplankton, water conditions, nutrients and grazing (mainly mediated by herbivore ciliates). We described bloom dynamics in terms of taxonomic and trait-based diversity and found that diversity dynamics of trait-based groups were more pronounced than those of identified phytoplankton taxa. We characterized the linkage between measured phytoplankton traits, abiotic environmental factors and abundance of the main grazers and observed weak but significant correlations between changing abiotic and biotic conditions and measured size-related and fluorescence-related traits. We tested for deviations in observed community-wide distributions of focal traits from random patterns and found evidence for both clustering and even spacing of traits, occurring sporadically over the time series. Patterns were consistent with environmental filtering and phenotypic divergence under herbivore pressure, respectively. Size-related traits showed significant even spacing during the peak of herbivore abundance, suggesting that morphology-related traits were under selection from grazing. Pigment distribution within cells and colonies appeared instead to be associated with acclimation to temperature and water chemistry. We found support for trade-offs among grazing resistance and environmental tolerance traits, as well as for substantial periods of dynamics in which

  8. Specific leaf area responses to environmental gradients through space and time.

    PubMed

    Dwyer, John M; Hobbs, Richard J; Mayfield, Margaret M

    2014-02-01

    Plant communities can respond to environmental changes by altering their species composition and by individuals (within species) adjusting their physiology. These responses can be captured by measuring key functional traits among and within species along important environmental gradients. Some anthropogenic changes (such as fertilizer runoff) are known to induce distinct community responses, but rarely have responses across natural and anthropogenic gradients been compared in the same system. In this study, we used comprehensive specific leaf area (SLA) data from a diverse Australian annual plant system to examine how individual species and whole communities respond to natural and anthropogenic gradients, and to climatically different growing seasons. We also investigated the influence of different leaf-sampling strategies on community-level results. Many species had similar mean SLA values but differed in SLA responses to spatial and temporal environmental variation. At the community scale, we identified distinct SLA responses to natural and anthropogenic gradients. Along anthropogenic gradients, increased mean SLA, coupled with SLA convergence, revealed evidence of competitive exclusion. This was further supported by the dominance of species turnover (vs. intraspecific variation) along these gradients. We also revealed strong temporal changes in SLA distributions in response to increasing growing-season precipitation. These climate-driven changes highlight differences among co-occurring species in their adaptive capacity to exploit abundant water resources during favorable seasons, differences that are likely to be important for species coexistence in this system. In relation to leaf-sampling strategies, we found that using leaves from a climatically different growing season can lead to misleading conclusions at the community scale.

  9. Niche Construction on Environmental Gradients: The Formation of Fitness Valley and Stratified Genotypic Distributions

    PubMed Central

    Han, Xiaozhuo; Hui, Cang

    2014-01-01

    The process of niche construction can alter the trajectory of natural selection through organism-environment feedback. As such, the mechanism and impact of niche construction can be better investigated along environmental gradients. Here we investigate how the process of niche construction affects the distribution of genotypes and fitness landscape along an environmental gradient under three selection regimes, namely heterozygote superiority, genetic loci which dictates niche construction ability being either selectively neutral or non-neutral. Using a spatially explicit cellular automaton, we show that niche construction can stratify genetic diversity by forming band-like distributions consisting of different genotypic compositions and promote reproduction isolation by forming a divide with reduced average fitness along the gradients, termed a fitness valley. The band structure and the presence of a fitness valley depend on heterogeneous environments, resource-dependent fitness and the selection acting on the gene loci affecting the niche-constructing ability. Our work adds to the growing body of evidence on criticizing species distribution models which assume that the environment alone can determine species distributions. Based on the results, we argue that conservation planning should target preserving or restoring environmental gradients. PMID:24915290

  10. Niche construction on environmental gradients: the formation of fitness valley and stratified genotypic distributions.

    PubMed

    Han, Xiaozhuo; Hui, Cang

    2014-01-01

    The process of niche construction can alter the trajectory of natural selection through organism-environment feedback. As such, the mechanism and impact of niche construction can be better investigated along environmental gradients. Here we investigate how the process of niche construction affects the distribution of genotypes and fitness landscape along an environmental gradient under three selection regimes, namely heterozygote superiority, genetic loci which dictates niche construction ability being either selectively neutral or non-neutral. Using a spatially explicit cellular automaton, we show that niche construction can stratify genetic diversity by forming band-like distributions consisting of different genotypic compositions and promote reproduction isolation by forming a divide with reduced average fitness along the gradients, termed a fitness valley. The band structure and the presence of a fitness valley depend on heterogeneous environments, resource-dependent fitness and the selection acting on the gene loci affecting the niche-constructing ability. Our work adds to the growing body of evidence on criticizing species distribution models which assume that the environment alone can determine species distributions. Based on the results, we argue that conservation planning should target preserving or restoring environmental gradients.

  11. Review of Microbial Responses to Abiotic Environmental Factors in the Context of the Proposed Yucca Mountain Repository

    SciTech Connect

    Meike, A.; Stroes-Gascoyne, S.

    2000-08-01

    A workshop on Microbial Activities at Yucca Mountain (May 1995, Lafayette, CA) was held with the intention to compile information on all pertinent aspects of microbial activity for application to a potential repository at Yucca Mountain. The findings of this workshop set off a number of efforts intended to eventually incorporate the impacts of microbial behavior into performance assessment models. One effort was to expand an existing modeling approach to include the distinctive characteristics of a repository at Yucca Mountain (e.g., unsaturated conditions and a significant thermal load). At the same time, a number of experimental studies were initiated as well as a compilation of relevant literature to more thoroughly study the physical, chemical and biological parameters that would affect microbial activity under Yucca Mountain-like conditions. This literature search (completed in 1996) is the subject of the present document. The collected literature can be divided into four categories: (1) abiotic factors, (2) community dynamics and in-situ considerations, (3) nutrient considerations and (4) transport of radionuclides. The complete bibliography represents a considerable resource, but is too large to be discussed in one document. Therefore, the present report focuses on the first category, abiotic factors, and a discussion of these factors in order to facilitate the development of a model for Yucca Mountain.

  12. Temporal dynamics of abiotic and biotic factors on leaf litter of three plant species in relation to decomposition rate along a subalpine elevation gradient.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Jianxiao; Yang, Wanqin; He, Xinhua

    2013-01-01

    Relationships between abiotic (soil temperature and number of freeze-thaw cycles) or biotic factors (chemical elements, microbial biomass, extracellular enzymes, and decomposer communities in litter) and litter decomposition rates were investigated over two years in subalpine forests close to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in China. Litterbags with senescent birch, fir, and spruce leaves were placed on the forest floor at 2,704 m, 3,023 m, 3,298 m, and 3,582 m elevation. Results showed that the decomposition rate positively correlated with soil mean temperature during the plant growing season, and with the number of soil freeze-thaw cycles during the winter. Concentrations of soluble nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) had positive effects but C:N and lignin:N ratios had negative effects on the decomposition rate (k), especially during the winter. Meanwhile, microbial biomass carbon (MBC), N (MBN), and P (MBP) were positively correlated with k values during the first growing season. These biotic factors accounted for 60.0% and 56.4% of the variation in decomposition rate during the winter and the growing season in the first year, respectively. Specifically, litter chemistry (C, N, P, K, lignin, C:N and lignin:N ratio) independently explained 29.6% and 13.3%, and the microbe-related factors (MBC, MBN, MBP, bacterial and fungal biomass, sucrase and ACP activity) explained 22.9% and 34.9% during the first winter and the first growing season, respectively. We conclude that frequent freeze-thaw cycles and litter chemical properties determine the winter decomposition while microbe-related factors play more important roles in determining decomposition in the subsequent growing season.

  13. Modified Whole Effluent Toxicity Test to Assess and Decouple Wastewater Effects from Environmental Gradients

    PubMed Central

    Sauco, Sebastián; Gómez, Julio; Barboza, Francisco R.; Lercari, Diego; Defeo, Omar

    2013-01-01

    Environmental gradients and wastewater discharges produce aggregated effects on marine populations, obscuring the detection of human impact. Classical assessment methods do not include environmental effects in toxicity tests designs, which could lead to incorrect conclusions. We proposed a modified Whole Effluent Toxicity test (mWET) that includes environmental gradients in addition to effluent dilutions, together with the application of Generalized Linear Mixed Models (GLMM) to assess and decouple those effects. We tested this approach, analyzing the lethal effects of wastewater on a marine sandy beach bivalve affected by an artificial canal freshwater discharge used for rice crops irrigation. To this end, we compared bivalve mortality between canal water dilutions (CWd) and salinity controls (SC: without canal water). CWd were prepared by diluting the water effluent (sampled during the pesticide application period) with artificial marine water. The salinity gradient was included in the design by achieving the same final salinities in both CWd and SC, allowing us to account for the effects of salinity by including this variable as a random factor in the GLMM. Our approach detected significantly higher mortalities in CWd, indicating potential toxic effects of the effluent discharge. mWET represents an improvement over the internationally standardized WET tests, since it considers environmental variability and uses appropriate statistical analyses. PMID:23755304

  14. Integrated biomarker responses of the invasive species Corbicula fluminea in relation to environmental abiotic conditions: a potential indicator of the likelihood of clam's summer mortality syndrome.

    PubMed

    Oliveira, Cristiana; Vilares, Pedro; Guilhermino, Lúcia

    2015-04-01

    The aim of this study was to investigate the variation of several biomarkers in wild populations of Corbicula fluminea in relation to abiotic condition changes to identify environmental factors associated with increased stress in this species potentially leading to massive mortality events. The study was carried out from July to October in the freshwater tidal areas of the estuaries of Minho and Lima Rivers (NW Iberian Peninsula). Monthly, 7 biomarkers (biotransformation, energy production, anti-oxidant defenses and lipid peroxidation damages) were determined in C. fluminea and 17 abiotic parameters were determined in water or sediments in 4 sampling sites: M1, M2 and M3 in Minho (up=> downstream); and L in Lima estuaries. The results of biomarkers were integrated using the Integrated Biomarker Response (IBR), Index and also analysed in relation to environmental parameters by Redundancy Analysis (RDA). Overall, the findings of the present study indicate that July and August are particularly stressful months for the studied C. fluminea populations, especially at downstream sites; the increase of nutrients and ammonium water concentrations, water temperature and conductivity are major contributors for this increased stress; the biomarkers indicated that in July/August C. fluminea is exposed to oxidative stress inducers, environmental chemical contaminants biotransformed by esterases and glutathione S-transferase enzymes, and that organisms need additional energy to cope with the chemical and/or thermally-induced stress. The findings of the present study stress the importance of biomonitoring the health condition of C. fluminea because it may allow determining the likelihood of summer/post summer mortality syndrome in this species.

  15. Structure of marine predator and prey communities along environmental gradients in a glaciated fjord

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Renner, Martin; Arimitsu, Mayumi L.; Piatt, John F.

    2012-01-01

    Spatial patterns of marine predator communities are influenced to varying degrees by prey distribution and environmental gradients. We examined physical and biological attributes of an estuarine fjord with strong glacier influence to determine the factors that most influence the structure of predator and prey communities. Our results suggest that some species, such as walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma), black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla), and glaucous-winged gull (Larus glaucescens), were widely distributed across environmental gradients, indicating less specialization, whereas species such as capelin (Mallotus villosus), harbor seal (Phoca vitulina), and Kittlitz's murrelet (Brachyramphus brevirostris) appeared to have more specialized habitat requirements related to glacial influence. We found that upper trophic level communities were well correlated with their mid trophic level prey community, but strong physical gradients in photic depth, temperature, and nutrients played an important role in community structure as well. Mid-trophic level forage fish communities were correlated with the physical gradients more closely than upper trophic levels were, and they showed strong affinity to tidewater glaciers. Silica was closely correlated with the distribution of fish communities, the mechanisms of which deserve further study.

  16. Living under stressful conditions: Fish life history strategies across environmental gradients in estuaries

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Teichert, Nils; Pasquaud, Stéphanie; Borja, Angel; Chust, Guillem; Uriarte, Ainhize; Lepage, Mario

    2017-03-01

    The life history strategies of fishes can be defined by specific combinations of demographic traits that influence species performances depending on environmental features. Hence, the constraints imposed by the local conditions restrict the range of successful strategies by excluding species poorly adapted. In the present study, we compared the demographic strategies of fish caught in 47 estuaries of the North East Atlantic coast, aiming to determine the specific attributes of resident species and test for changes in trait associations along the environmental gradients. Eight demographic traits were considered to project our findings within a conceptual triangular model, composed on three endpoint strategies: (i) periodic (large size, long generation time, high fecundity); (ii) opportunistic (small size, short generation time, high reproductive effort); and (iii) equilibrium (low fecundity, large egg size, parental care). We demonstrated that various life history strategies co-exist in estuaries, but equilibrium species were scarce and restricted to euhaline open-water. Resident species form a specialised assemblage adapted to high spatiotemporal variability of estuarine conditions, i.e. opportunistic attributes associated with parental care. Even with these singular attributes, our findings revealed changes in distribution of resident species across the estuarine gradients linked to their life history traits. Among other patterns, the diversity of life history strategies significantly decreased from euhaline to oligohaline areas and along gradient of human disturbances. These trends were associated with a convergence of species traits toward short generation times, suggesting that long-lived species with late maturation are more severely impacted by disturbance and environmental stress.

  17. Geographical Gradients in Argentinean Terrestrial Mammal Species Richness and Their Environmental Correlates

    PubMed Central

    Márquez, Ana L.; Real, Raimundo; Kin, Marta S.; Guerrero, José Carlos; Galván, Betina; Barbosa, A. Márcia; Olivero, Jesús; Palomo, L. Javier; Vargas, J. Mario; Justo, Enrique

    2012-01-01

    We analysed the main geographical trends of terrestrial mammal species richness (SR) in Argentina, assessing how broad-scale environmental variation (defined by climatic and topographic variables) and the spatial form of the country (defined by spatial filters based on spatial eigenvector mapping (SEVM)) influence the kinds and the numbers of mammal species along these geographical trends. We also evaluated if there are pure geographical trends not accounted for by the environmental or spatial factors. The environmental variables and spatial filters that simultaneously correlated with the geographical variables and SR were considered potential causes of the geographic trends. We performed partial correlations between SR and the geographical variables, maintaining the selected explanatory variables statistically constant, to determine if SR was fully explained by them or if a significant residual geographic pattern remained. All groups and subgroups presented a latitudinal gradient not attributable to the spatial form of the country. Most of these trends were not explained by climate. We used a variation partitioning procedure to quantify the pure geographic trend (PGT) that remained unaccounted for. The PGT was larger for latitudinal than for longitudinal gradients. This suggests that historical or purely geographical causes may also be relevant drivers of these geographical gradients in mammal diversity. PMID:23028254

  18. How to assess species richness along single environmental gradients? Implications of potential versus realized species distributions.

    PubMed

    van Goethem, Thomas M W J; Huijbregts, Mark A J; Wamelink, G W Wieger; Schipper, Aafke M

    2015-05-01

    Quantifying relationships between species richness and single environmental factors is challenging as species richness typically depends on multiple environmental factors. Recently, various methods have been proposed to tackle this challenge. Using a dataset comprising field observations of grassland vegetation and measured pH values, we compared three methods for deriving species richness response curves. One of the methods estimates species richness close to the maximum species richness observed at the sites, whereas the other two provide estimates of the potential species richness along the environmental gradient. Our response curves suggest that potential species richness of grasslands is slightly more sensitive to acidification than realized plant species richness. However, differences in corresponding environmental quality standards (EQS) for acidification were small compared to intrinsic spatial differences in natural soil pH, indicating that natural background values are more important to consider in the derivation of EQS for pH than methodological differences between the three approaches.

  19. Environmental gradients shape the genetic structure of two medicinal Salvia species in Jordan.

    PubMed

    Al-Gharaibeh, M M; Hamasha, H R; Rosche, C; Lachmuth, S; Wesche, K; Hensen, I

    2017-03-01

    Environmental gradients, and particularly climatic variables, exert a strong influence on plant distribution and, potentially, population genetic diversity and differentiation. Differences in water availability can cause among-population variation in ecological processes and can thus interrupt populations' connectivity and isolate them environmentally. The present study examines the effect of environmental heterogeneity on plant populations due to environmental isolation unrelated to geographic distance. Using AFLP markers, we analyzed genetic diversity and differentiation among 12 Salvia spinosa populations and 13 Salvia syriaca populations from three phytogeographical regions (Mediterranean, Irano-Turanian and Saharo-Arabian) representing the extent of the species' geographic range in Jordan. Differences in geographic location and climate were considered in the analyses. For both species, flowering phenology varied among populations and regions. Irano-Turanian and Saharo-Arabian populations had higher genetic diversity than Mediterranean populations, and genetic diversity increased significantly with increasing temperature. Genetic diversity in Salvia syriaca was affected by population size, while genetic diversity responded to drought in S. spinosa. For both species, high levels of genetic differentiation were found as well as two well-supported phytogeographical groups of populations, with Mediterranean populations clustering in one group and the Irano-Turanian and Saharo-Arabian populations in another. Genetic distance was significantly correlated to environmental distance, but not to geographic distance. Our data indicate that populations from moist vs. arid environments are environmentally isolated, where environmental gradients affect their flowering phenology, limit gene flow and shape their genetic structure. We conclude that environmental heterogeneity may act as driver for the observed variation in genetic diversity.

  20. Ectomycorrhizal fungal traits reflect environmental conditions along a coastal California edaphic gradient.

    PubMed

    Moeller, Holly V; Peay, Kabir G; Fukami, Tadashi

    2014-03-01

    Multispecies mutualisms, such as the association between trees and ectomycorrhizal fungi, are often shaped by environmental context. Here, we explored the functional mechanisms underlying this environmental filtering. Using a single population of Pinus muricata (Bishop pine) growing along a strong edaphic gradient, we examined how environmental stress affected ectomycorrhizal fungi. The gradient spans c. 400000 years of soil age, and reduced nutrient availability and increased water stress dwarf trees on older sites. Fungal community composition shifted with nutrient and water availability and with the stature of the P. muricata host trees. Not only did pygmy trees host a taxonomically different fungal subset as compared to nonpygmy trees, but associated fungal communities also differed in life history strategies: trees in more stressful conditions hosted fungi with more carbon-intensive foraging strategies. Our results indicate a link between environmental controls of host nutritional status and turnover in the ectomycorrhizal fungal community. The transition to more energy-intensive strategies under nutrient stress may allow for close recycling of recalcitrant nutrient pools within the root zone and facilitate transport of nutrients and water over long distances. These results highlight the value of life history data to understanding the mechanistic underpinnings of species distributions.

  1. The spatial patterns of soil respiration regulated by biological and environmental variables along a precipitation gradient

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xu, W.; Li, X.; Liu, W.; Li, L.; Hou, L.; Shi, H.; Xia, J.; Liu, D.; Zhang, H.; Chen, Y.; Cai, W.; Fu, Y.; Yuan, W.

    2015-12-01

    Precipitation is a key environmental factor in determining ecosystem structure and function. Knowledge of how soil respiration responds to climate change (precipitation etc.) and human activities (grazing, clipping etc.) is crucial for assessing the impacts of climate change on terrestrial ecosystems and for improving model simulations and predictions of future global C cycling in response to human activities. In this study, we examined the spatial patterns of soil respiration along a precipitation gradient from 176.7 mm to 398.1 mm. Our results showed that soil respiration increased linearly with increasing mean annual precipitation. The increasing trend was similar to the trends of shoot biomass, litter biomass and soil total C content along the precipitation gradient. Root biomass was described by quadratic curves along the increasing precipitation gradient and may result from the tradeoff of environmental regulation and carbon allocation. Our results indicated that precipitation was the primary controlling factor in determining the spatial pattern of soil respiration. The linear/nonlinear relationships in this study describing the variations of the ecosystem carbon process with precipitation could be useful for model development, parameterization and validation at the regional scale to improve predictions of how the carbon process in grasslands responds to climate change, land use and grassland management.

  2. Temporal variation of coastal surface sediment bacterial communities along an environmental pollution gradient.

    PubMed

    Thiyagarajan, V; Tsoi, M M Y; Zhang, W; Qian, P Y

    2010-07-01

    Terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis (T-RFLP) was used to track the changes of bacterial community compositions (BCC) in coastal surface sediments along an environmental pollution gradient between 2004 and 2006. BCC in the chronically contaminated sites showed the largest deviation from those in the adjacent sites. Surprisingly, BCC at two contrasting environments (oceanic vs. river-influenced) were more similar. Unexpectedly, the BCC did not recover (when compared to oceanic control site) even after 5 years of pollution abatement initiatives in Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong. On the other hand, disposal of treated sewage for 5 years in one of the sites did not significantly affect the BCC. A striking seasonal variation in the BCC was observed at only the polluted sites. Although factors other than pollution gradients may explain the observed BCC patterns, the information presented here can be useful in predicting long-term effects of pollution on BCC. Furthermore, this study suggests that BCC analysis using T-RFLP is a faster, reliable and easier approach to monitor microbenthic community response to environmental pollution gradient in coastal sediments.

  3. Constraining the role of iron in environmental nitrogen transformations: Dual stable isotope systematics of abiotic NO2- reduction by Fe(II) and its production of N2O

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Buchwald, Carolyn; Grabb, Kalina; Hansel, Colleen M.; Wankel, Scott D.

    2016-08-01

    Despite mounting evidence for biogeochemical interactions between iron and nitrogen, our understanding of their environmental importance remains limited. Here we present an investigation of abiotic nitrite (NO2-) reduction by Fe(II) or 'chemodenitrification', and its relevance to the production of nitrous oxide (N2O), specifically focusing on dual (N and O) isotope systematics under a variety of environmental conditions. We observe a range of kinetic isotope effects that are regulated by reaction rates, with faster rates at higher pH (∼8), higher concentrations of Fe(II) and in the presence of mineral surfaces. A clear non-linear relationship between rate constant and kinetic isotope effects of NO2- reduction was evident (with larger isotope effects at slower rates) and is interpreted as reflecting the dynamics of Fe(II)-N reaction intermediates. N and O isotopic composition of product N2O also suggests a complex network of parallel and/or competing pathways. Our findings suggest that NO2- reduction by Fe(II) may represent an important abiotic source of environmental N2O, especially in iron-rich environments experiencing dynamic redox variations. This study provides a multi-compound, multi-isotope framework for evaluating the environmental occurrence of abiotic NO2- reduction and N2O formation, helping future studies constrain the relative roles of abiotic and biological N2O production pathways.

  4. Microecology: Using Fast-Growing Filamentous Fungi to Study the Effects of Environmental Gradients on the Growth Patterns of Hyphae

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Delpech, Roger

    2004-01-01

    This paper describes some simple and rapid techniques for examining the growth responses of fungal hyphae cultivated on environmental gradients. The creation of such gradients using agar-based growth media in petri dishes is explained, along with recommendations for quantitative macroscopic and microscopic measurements. The intention is to provide…

  5. The effect of positive interactions on temporal turnover of community composition along an environmental gradient.

    PubMed

    Wang, Youshi; Yang, Zhiyong; Zhou, Shurong; Soininen, Janne; Ai, Dexiecuo; Li, Yali; Chu, Chengjin

    2013-01-01

    It has been demonstrated that the interplay between negative and positive interactions simultaneously shapes community structure and composition. However, few studies have attempted to examine the effect of facilitation on compositional changes in communities through time. Additionally, due to the difficulties in collecting the long-term data, it would be useful to indicate the rate of temporal turnover using a readily obtainable metric. Using an individual-based model incorporating plant strategies, we examined the role of facilitation on the temporal turnover of communities located at different positions along an environmental gradient for three model scenarios: CM without facilitation; CFM-U, a unimodal relationship between facilitation and environmental severity; and CFM-L, a positively linear relationship between facilitation and environmental severity. Our results demonstrated that facilitation could increase, decrease or have no remarkable effect on temporal turnover. The specific outcome depended on the location of the focal community across the environmental gradient and the model employed. Compared with CM, the inclusion of positive interactions (i.e. CFM-U and CFM-L), at intermediate environmental stress levels (such as S = 0.7 and 0.8) resulted in lower Bray-Curtis similarity values; at other severity levels, facilitation slowed down (such as S = 0.3 and 0.4 at low to medium stress levels, and S = 0.9 at high stress levels) or had only a subtle effect (such as at S = 0.1) on temporal turnover. We also found that the coefficient of variation (CV) in species abundances and the rate of temporal variability showed a significant quadratic relationship. Our theoretical analysis contributes to the understanding of factors driving temporal turnover in biotic communities, and presents a potential metric (i.e. CV in species abundances) assessing the consequences of ongoing environmental change on community structure.

  6. Dung Beetles along a Tropical Altitudinal Gradient: Environmental Filtering on Taxonomic and Functional Diversity

    PubMed Central

    Nunes, Cássio Alencar; Braga, Rodrigo Fagundes; Figueira, José Eugênio Cortes; Neves, Frederico de Siqueira; Fernandes, G. Wilson

    2016-01-01

    Mountains provide an interesting context in which to study the many facets of biodiversity in response to macroclimate, since environmental conditions change rapidly due to elevation. Although the decrease in biodiversity with increasing elevation is generally accepted, our understanding of the variation of functional diversity along altitudinal gradients is still poorly known. The partitioning of diversity into spatial components can help to understand the processes that influence the distribution of species, and these studies are urgently needed in face of the increasing threats to mountain environments throughout the world. We describe the distribution of dung beetle diversity along an altitudinal gradient on a tropical mountain in southeastern Brazil, including the spatial partitioning of taxonomic and functional diversities. The altitudinal gradient ranged from 800 up to 1400 m a.s.l. and we collected dung beetles at every 100 m of altitude. We used the Rao Index to calculate γ, α and β diversity for taxonomic and functional diversity of dung beetles. Climatic, soil and vegetation variables were used to explain variation in community attributes along the altitudinal gradient. Dung beetle richness declined with altitude and was related to climatic and vegetation variables, but functional diversity did not follow the same pattern. Over 50% of γ taxonomic diversity was caused by among altitudes diversity (β), while almost 100% of functional diversity was due to the α component. Contrasting β taxonomic with β functional diversity, we suggest that there is ecological redundancy among communities and that the environment is filtering species in terms of the Grinnellian niche, rather than the Eltonian niche. β taxonomic diversity is caused mainly by the turnover component, reinforcing the hypothesis of environmental filtering. Global warming may have strong effects on mountain communities due to upslope range shifts and extinctions, and these events will

  7. Dung Beetles along a Tropical Altitudinal Gradient: Environmental Filtering on Taxonomic and Functional Diversity.

    PubMed

    Nunes, Cássio Alencar; Braga, Rodrigo Fagundes; Figueira, José Eugênio Cortes; Neves, Frederico de Siqueira; Fernandes, G Wilson

    2016-01-01

    Mountains provide an interesting context in which to study the many facets of biodiversity in response to macroclimate, since environmental conditions change rapidly due to elevation. Although the decrease in biodiversity with increasing elevation is generally accepted, our understanding of the variation of functional diversity along altitudinal gradients is still poorly known. The partitioning of diversity into spatial components can help to understand the processes that influence the distribution of species, and these studies are urgently needed in face of the increasing threats to mountain environments throughout the world. We describe the distribution of dung beetle diversity along an altitudinal gradient on a tropical mountain in southeastern Brazil, including the spatial partitioning of taxonomic and functional diversities. The altitudinal gradient ranged from 800 up to 1400 m a.s.l. and we collected dung beetles at every 100 m of altitude. We used the Rao Index to calculate γ, α and β diversity for taxonomic and functional diversity of dung beetles. Climatic, soil and vegetation variables were used to explain variation in community attributes along the altitudinal gradient. Dung beetle richness declined with altitude and was related to climatic and vegetation variables, but functional diversity did not follow the same pattern. Over 50% of γ taxonomic diversity was caused by among altitudes diversity (β), while almost 100% of functional diversity was due to the α component. Contrasting β taxonomic with β functional diversity, we suggest that there is ecological redundancy among communities and that the environment is filtering species in terms of the Grinnellian niche, rather than the Eltonian niche. β taxonomic diversity is caused mainly by the turnover component, reinforcing the hypothesis of environmental filtering. Global warming may have strong effects on mountain communities due to upslope range shifts and extinctions, and these events will

  8. Environmental Gradient Favours Functionally Diverse Macrobenthic Community in a Placer Rich Tropical Bay

    PubMed Central

    Sivadas, S. K.; Ingole, B. S.; Fernandes, C. E. G.

    2013-01-01

    The present paper examines the functional diversity-environment relation in a placer rich tropical bay. Understanding the environmental variables that determine the biodiversity pattern will help in the effective conservation plans of coastal habitat. However, few studies have been carried out on the biodiversity-environment relation from the diverse tropical coastal ecosystem. The geographic location of Kalbadevi Bay along the west coast of India provides an opportunity to study the functional diversity pattern of macrofauna along an environmental gradient. Additionally, the area is also a potential placer mining site. Seasonal sampling was carried out for macrofauna and environmental variables. Macrofaunal functional diversity showed significant temporal variation related to the environmental parameters. The most important environmental variables were organic matter and sediment texture. Filter feeders dominated during postmonsoon which is a period when the water column is enriched with sinking detritus. The deposit feeders which rapidly ingest the settled detritus and also transport it to deeper sediment for the subsurface deposit feeders dominated during premonsoon. Abundance of carnivores was high during premonsoon, a response to increase in food in terms of deposit feeders. The result thus indicates that the temporal environmental variation influenced the macrofaunal functional diversity pattern in the Kalbadevi Bay. PMID:23853540

  9. Ecological impacts of invasive alien species along temperature gradients: testing the role of environmental matching.

    PubMed

    Iacarella, Josephine C; Dick, Jaimie T A; Alexander, Mhairi E; Ricciardi, Anthony

    2015-04-01

    Invasive alien species (IAS) can cause substantive ecological impacts, and the role of temperature in mediating these impacts may become increasingly significant in a changing climate. Habitat conditions and physiological optima offer predictive information for IAS impacts in novel environments. Here, using meta-analysis and laboratory experiments, we tested the hypothesis that the impacts of IAS in the field are inversely correlated with the difference in their ambient and optimal temperatures. A meta-analysis of 29 studies of consumptive impacts of IAS in inland waters revealed that the impacts of fishes and crustaceans are higher at temperatures that more closely match their thermal growth optima. In particular, the maximum impact potential was constrained by increased differences between ambient and optimal temperatures, as indicated by the steeper slope of a quantile regression on the upper 25th percentile of impact data compared to that of a weighted linear regression on all data with measured variances. We complemented this study with an experimental analysis of the functional response (the relationship between predation rate and prey supply) of two invasive predators (freshwater mysid shrimp, Hemimysis anomala and Mysis diluviana) across. relevant temperature gradients; both of these species have previously been found to exert strong community-level impacts that are corroborated by their functional responses to different prey items. The functional response experiments showed that maximum feeding rates of H. anomala and M. diluviana have distinct peaks near their respective thermal optima. Although variation in impacts may be caused by numerous abiotic or biotic habitat characteristics, both our analyses point to temperature as a key mediator of IAS impact levels in inland waters and suggest that IAS management should prioritize habitats in the invaded range that more closely match the thermal optima of targeted invaders.

  10. Ontogenetic resource-use strategies in a rare long-lived cycad along environmental gradients

    PubMed Central

    Álvarez-Yépiz, Juan C.; Cueva, Alejandro; Dovčiak, Martin; Teece, Mark; Yepez, Enrico A.

    2014-01-01

    Functional traits can drive plant responses to short- and long-term stressful conditions, with potential effects on species persistence in local habitats, changes in population size and structure, and potential species range shifts in changing environments. We investigated whether ecophysiological traits in a rare cycad vary along environmental gradients and with ontogeny to understand intra-specific resource-use variation (e.g. symbiotic nitrogen fixation, nitrogen- and water-use efficiency) and possible species adaptations for different environments. Environmental gradients were characterized with 14 soil and topographic variables. Nitrogen- and water-use efficiency improved with ontogeny (from seedling to juvenile and adult stages) but declined as soil fertility decreased with increasing elevation. Conversely, reliance on symbiotic nitrogen fixation increased with elevation and varied slightly with ontogeny. Improved water-use efficiency at lower elevation and nitrogen fixation at higher elevation may represent key functional strategies for maintaining the lower and upper altitudinal species range limits, especially in arid environments where stressful conditions are intensifying due to climatic and land-use changes. In addition to facilitation linked to the regeneration niche, improved resource-use efficiency linked to the adult niche may strongly influence cycad distribution and persistence in contemporary environments. A functional approach to conservation of rare or endangered plant species may be needed in order to target the most sensitive stages to changing environmental conditions and to better understand potential range shifts and adaptive responses to global land-use and climate changes. PMID:27293655

  11. Ontogenetic resource-use strategies in a rare long-lived cycad along environmental gradients.

    PubMed

    Álvarez-Yépiz, Juan C; Cueva, Alejandro; Dovčiak, Martin; Teece, Mark; Yepez, Enrico A

    2014-01-01

    Functional traits can drive plant responses to short- and long-term stressful conditions, with potential effects on species persistence in local habitats, changes in population size and structure, and potential species range shifts in changing environments. We investigated whether ecophysiological traits in a rare cycad vary along environmental gradients and with ontogeny to understand intra-specific resource-use variation (e.g. symbiotic nitrogen fixation, nitrogen- and water-use efficiency) and possible species adaptations for different environments. Environmental gradients were characterized with 14 soil and topographic variables. Nitrogen- and water-use efficiency improved with ontogeny (from seedling to juvenile and adult stages) but declined as soil fertility decreased with increasing elevation. Conversely, reliance on symbiotic nitrogen fixation increased with elevation and varied slightly with ontogeny. Improved water-use efficiency at lower elevation and nitrogen fixation at higher elevation may represent key functional strategies for maintaining the lower and upper altitudinal species range limits, especially in arid environments where stressful conditions are intensifying due to climatic and land-use changes. In addition to facilitation linked to the regeneration niche, improved resource-use efficiency linked to the adult niche may strongly influence cycad distribution and persistence in contemporary environments. A functional approach to conservation of rare or endangered plant species may be needed in order to target the most sensitive stages to changing environmental conditions and to better understand potential range shifts and adaptive responses to global land-use and climate changes.

  12. Parallel structure among environmental gradients and three trophic levels in a subarctic estuary

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Speckman, S.G.; Piatt, J.F.; Minte-Vera, C. V.; Parrish, J.K.

    2005-01-01

    We assessed spatial and temporal variability in the physical environment of a subarctic estuary, and examined concurrent patterns of chlorophyll α abundance (fluorescence), and zooplankton and forage fish community structure. Surveys were conducted in lower Cook Inlet, Alaska, during late July and early August from 1997 through 1999. Principle components analysis (PCA) revealed that spatial heterogeneity in the physical oceanographic environment of lower Cook Inlet could be modeled as three marine-estuarine gradients characterized by temperature, salinity, bottom depth, and turbidity. The gradients persisted from 1997 through 1999, and PCA explained 68% to 92% of the variance in physical oceanography for each gradient-year combination. Correlations between chlorophyll α abundance and distribution and the PCA axes were weak. Chlorophyll was reduced by turbidity, and low levels occurred in areas with high levels of suspended sediments. Detrended correspondence analysis (DCA) was used to order the sample sites based on species composition and to order the zooplankton and forage fish taxa based on similarities among sample sites for each gradient-year. Correlations between the structure of the physical environment (PCA axis 1) and zooplankton community structure (DCA axis 1) were strong (r = 0.43-0.86) in all years for the three marine-estuarine gradients, suggesting that zooplankton community composition was structured by the physical environment. The physical environment (PCA) and forage fish community structure (DCA) were weakly correlated in all years along Gradient 2, defined by halocline intensity and surface temperature and salinity, even though these physical variables were more important for defining zooplankton habitats. However, the physical environment (PCA) and forage fish community structure (DCA) were strongly correlated along the primary marine-estuarine gradient (#1) in 1997 (r = 0.87) and 1998 (r = 0.82). The correlation was poor (r = 0.32) in

  13. Regime Shifts and Weakened Environmental Gradients in Open Oak and Pine Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Hanberry, Brice B.; Dey, Dan C.; He, Hong S.

    2012-01-01

    Fire suppression allows tree species that are intolerant of fire stress to increase their distribution, potentially resulting in disruption of historical species-environmental relationships. To measure changes between historical General Land Office surveys (1815 to 1850) and current USDA Forest Inventory and Assessment surveys (2004 to 2008), we compared composition, distribution, and site factors of 21 tree species or species groups in the Missouri Ozarks. We used 24 environmental variables and random forests as a classification method to model distributions. Eastern redcedar, elms, maples, and other fire-sensitive species have increased in dominance in oak forests, with concurrent reductions by oak species; specific changes varied by ecological subsection. Ordinations displayed loss of separation between formerly distinctive oak and fire-sensitive tree species groups. Distribution maps showed decreased presence of disturbance-dependent oak and pine species and increased presence of fire-sensitive species that generally expanded from subsections protected from fire along rivers to upland areas, except for eastern redcedar, which expanded into these subsections. Large scale differences in spatial gradients between past and present communities paralleled reduced influence of local topographic gradients in the varied relief of the Missouri Ozarks, as fire-sensitive species have moved to higher, drier, and sunnier sites away from riverine corridors. Due to changes in land use, landscapes in the Missouri Ozarks, eastern United States, and world-wide are changing from open oak and pine-dominated ecosystems to novel oak-mixed species forests, although at fine scales, forests are becoming more diverse in tree species today. Fire suppression weakened the influence by environmental gradients over species dominance, allowing succession from disturbance-dependent oaks to an alternative state of fire-sensitive species. Current and future research and conservation that rely on

  14. Regime shifts and weakened environmental gradients in open oak and pine ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Hanberry, Brice B; Dey, Dan C; He, Hong S

    2012-01-01

    Fire suppression allows tree species that are intolerant of fire stress to increase their distribution, potentially resulting in disruption of historical species-environmental relationships. To measure changes between historical General Land Office surveys (1815 to 1850) and current USDA Forest Inventory and Assessment surveys (2004 to 2008), we compared composition, distribution, and site factors of 21 tree species or species groups in the Missouri Ozarks. We used 24 environmental variables and random forests as a classification method to model distributions. Eastern redcedar, elms, maples, and other fire-sensitive species have increased in dominance in oak forests, with concurrent reductions by oak species; specific changes varied by ecological subsection. Ordinations displayed loss of separation between formerly distinctive oak and fire-sensitive tree species groups. Distribution maps showed decreased presence of disturbance-dependent oak and pine species and increased presence of fire-sensitive species that generally expanded from subsections protected from fire along rivers to upland areas, except for eastern redcedar, which expanded into these subsections. Large scale differences in spatial gradients between past and present communities paralleled reduced influence of local topographic gradients in the varied relief of the Missouri Ozarks, as fire-sensitive species have moved to higher, drier, and sunnier sites away from riverine corridors. Due to changes in land use, landscapes in the Missouri Ozarks, eastern United States, and world-wide are changing from open oak and pine-dominated ecosystems to novel oak-mixed species forests, although at fine scales, forests are becoming more diverse in tree species today. Fire suppression weakened the influence by environmental gradients over species dominance, allowing succession from disturbance-dependent oaks to an alternative state of fire-sensitive species. Current and future research and conservation that rely on

  15. Distinctive life traits and distribution along environmental gradients of dominant and subordinate Mediterranean ant species.

    PubMed

    Arnan, Xavier; Cerdá, Xim; Retana, Javier

    2012-10-01

    For most animal and plant species, life traits strongly affect their species-specific role, function or position within ecological communities. Previous studies on ant communities have mostly focused on the role of dominant species and the outcome of interspecific interactions. However, life traits of ant species have seldom been considered within a community framework. This study (1) analyses life traits related to ecological and behavioural characteristics of dominant and subordinate ant species from 13 sites distributed throughout the Iberian Peninsula, (2) determines how similar the ant species are within each of the two levels of the dominance hierarchy, and (3) establishes the distribution patterns of these different groups of species along environmental gradients. Our results showed that the differences between dominants and subordinates fall into two main categories: resource exploitation and thermal tolerance. Dominant species have more populated colonies and defend food resources more fiercely than subordinates, but they display low tolerance to high temperatures. We have identified different assemblages of species included within each of these two levels in the dominance hierarchy. The distribution of these assemblages varied along the environmental gradient, shifting from dominant Dolichoderinae and cryptic species in moist areas, to dominant Myrmicinae and hot climate specialists mainly in open and hot sites. We have been able to identify a set of life traits of the most common Iberian ant species that has enabled us to characterise groups of dominant and subordinate species. Although certain common features within the groups of both dominants and subordinates always emerge, other different features allow for differentiating subgroups within each of these groups. These different traits allow the different subgroups coping with particular conditions across environmental gradients.

  16. Shifts in Aboveground Biomass Allocation Patterns of Dominant Shrub Species across a Strong Environmental Gradient

    PubMed Central

    Kumordzi, Bright B.; Gundale, Michael J.; Nilsson, Marie-Charlotte; Wardle, David A.

    2016-01-01

    Most plant biomass allocation studies have focused on allocation to shoots versus roots, and little is known about drivers of allocation for aboveground plant organs. We explored the drivers of within-and between-species variation of aboveground biomass allocation across a strong environmental resource gradient, i.e., a long-term chronosequence of 30 forested islands in northern Sweden across which soil fertility and plant productivity declines while light availability increases. For each of the three coexisting dominant understory dwarf shrub species on each island, we estimated the fraction of the total aboveground biomass produced year of sampling that was allocated to sexual reproduction (i.e., fruits), leaves and stems for each of two growing seasons, to determine how biomass allocation responded to the chronosequence at both the within-species and whole community levels. Against expectations, within-species allocation to fruits was least on less fertile islands, and allocation to leaves at the whole community level was greatest on intermediate islands. Consistent with expectations, different coexisting species showed contrasting allocation patterns, with the species that was best adapted for more fertile conditions allocating the most to vegetative organs, and with its allocation pattern showing the strongest response to the gradient. Our study suggests that co-existing dominant plant species can display highly contrasting biomass allocations to different aboveground organs within and across species in response to limiting environmental resources within the same plant community. Such knowledge is important for understanding how community assembly, trait spectra, and ecological processes driven by the plant community vary across environmental gradients and among contrasting ecosystems. PMID:27270445

  17. Vegetation patterns and environmental gradients in coastal meadows on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kincheloe, Karen L.; Stehn, Robert A.

    1991-01-01

    Tundra vegetation and environmental variables were sampled on the Yukon–Kuskokwim delta in western Alaska. On transects extending from intertidal mudflat to upland tundra, we estimated cover by vascular plant species, soil moisture, salinity, relative elevation, depth to permafrost, and distance upriver from the coast. Two-way indicator species analysis (TWINSPAN) classified 21 communities. Ordination by detrended correspondence analysis (DECORANA) revealed a gradient correlated with the combination of elevation, permafrost depth, and salinity along the first axis for both upriver and downriver transects.

  18. Microgeographic patterns of genetic divergence and adaptation across environmental gradients in Boechera stricta (Brassicaceae)

    PubMed Central

    Anderson, Jill T.; Perera, Nadeesha; Chowdhury, Bashira; Mitchell-Olds, Thomas

    2015-01-01

    Abiotic and biotic conditions often vary continuously across the landscape, imposing divergent selection on local populations. We used a provenance trial approach to examine microgeographic variation in local adaptation in Boechera stricta (Brassicaceae), a perennial forb native to the Rocky Mountains. In montane ecosystems, environmental conditions change considerably over short spatial scales, such that neighboring populations can be subject to different selective pressures. Using accessions from southern (Colorado) and northern (Idaho) populations, we characterized spatial variation in genetic similarity via microsatellite markers. We then transplanted genotypes from multiple local populations into common gardens in both regions. Continuous variation in local adaptation emerged for several components of fitness. In Idaho, genotypes from warmer environments (low elevation or south facing sites) were poorly adapted to the north-facing garden. In high and low elevation Colorado gardens, susceptibility to insect herbivory increased with source elevation. In the high elevation Colorado garden, germination success peaked for genotypes that evolved at similar elevations as the garden, and declined for genotypes from higher and lower elevations. We also found evidence for local maladaptation in survival and fecundity components of fitness in the low elevation Colorado garden. This approach is a necessary first step in predicting how global change could affect evolutionary dynamics. PMID:26656218

  19. Microgeographic Patterns of Genetic Divergence and Adaptation across Environmental Gradients in Boechera stricta (Brassicaceae).

    PubMed

    Anderson, Jill T; Perera, Nadeesha; Chowdhury, Bashira; Mitchell-Olds, Thomas

    2015-10-01

    Abiotic and biotic conditions often vary continuously across the landscape, imposing divergent selection on local populations. We used a provenance trial approach to examine microgeographic variation in local adaptation in Boechera stricta (Brassicaceae), a perennial forb native to the Rocky Mountains. In montane ecosystems, environmental conditions change considerably over short spatial scales, such that neighboring populations can be subject to different selective pressures. Using accessions from southern (Colorado) and northern (Idaho) populations, we characterized spatial variation in genetic similarity via microsatellite markers. We then transplanted genotypes from multiple local populations into common gardens in both regions. Continuous variation in local adaptation emerged for several components of fitness. In Idaho, genotypes from warmer environments (low-elevation or south-facing sites) were poorly adapted to the north-facing garden. In high- and low-elevation Colorado gardens, susceptibility to insect herbivory increased with source elevation. In the high-elevation Colorado garden, germination success peaked for genotypes that evolved at elevations similar to that of the garden and decreased for genotypes from higher and lower elevations. We also found evidence for local maladaptation in survival and fecundity components of fitness in the low-elevation Colorado garden. This approach is a first step in predicting how global change could affect evolutionary dynamics.

  20. Transition from Connected to Fragmented Vegetation across an Environmental Gradient: Scaling Laws in Ecotone Geometry.

    PubMed

    Gastner, Michael T; Oborny, Beata; Zimmermann, D K; Pruessner, Gunnar

    2009-07-01

    A change in the environmental conditions across space-for example, altitude or latitude-can cause significant changes in the density of a vegetation type and, consequently, in spatial connectivity. We use spatially explicit simulations to study the transition from connected to fragmented vegetation. A static (gradient percolation) model is compared to dynamic (gradient contact process) models. Connectivity is characterized from the perspective of various species that use this vegetation type for habitat and differ in dispersal or migration range, that is, "step length" across the landscape. The boundary of connected vegetation delineated by a particular step length is termed the " hull edge." We found that for every step length and for every gradient, the hull edge is a fractal with dimension 7/4. The result is the same for different spatial models, suggesting that there are universal laws in ecotone geometry. To demonstrate that the model is applicable to real data, a hull edge of fractal dimension 7/4 is shown on a satellite image of a piñon-juniper woodland on a hillside. We propose to use the hull edge to define the boundary of a vegetation type unambiguously. This offers a new tool for detecting a shift of the boundary due to a climate change.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-08-01

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

  2. Creep and Environmental Durability of EBC/CMCs Under Imposed Thermal Gradient Conditions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Appleby, Matthew; Morscher, Gregory N.; Zhu, Dongming

    2013-01-01

    Interest in SiC fiber-reinforced SiC ceramic matrix composite (CMC) environmental barrier coating (EBC) systems for use in high temperature structural applications has prompted the need for characterization of material strength and creep performance under complex aerospace turbine engine environments. Stress-rupture tests have been performed on SiC/SiC composites systems, with varying fiber types and coating schemes to demonstrate material behavior under isothermal conditions. Further testing was conducted under exposure to thermal stress gradients to determine the effect on creep resistance and material durability. In order to understand the associated damage mechanisms, emphasis is placed on experimental techniques as well as implementation of non-destructive evaluation; including electrical resistivity monitoring. The influence of environmental and loading conditions on life-limiting material properties is shown.

  3. Physiological community ecology: variation in metabolic activity of ecologically important rocky intertidal invertebrates along environmental gradients.

    PubMed

    Dahlhoff, Elizabeth P; Stillman, Jonathon H; Menge, Bruce A

    2002-08-01

    Rocky intertidal invertebrates live in heterogeneous habitats characterized by steep gradients in wave activity, tidal flux, temperature, food quality and food availability. These environmental factors impact metabolic activity via changes in energy input and stress-induced alteration of energetic demands. For keystone species, small environmentally induced shifts in metabolic activity may lead to disproportionately large impacts on community structure via changes in growth or survival of these key species. Here we use biochemical indicators to assess how natural differences in wave exposure, temperature and food availability may affect metabolic activity of mussels, barnacles, whelks and sea stars living at rocky intertidal sites with different physical and oceanographic characteristics. We show that oxygen consumption rate is correlated with the activity of key metabolic enzymes (e.g., citrate synthase and malate dehydrogenase) for some intertidal species, and concentrations of these enzymes in certain tissues are lower for starved individuals than for those that are well fed. We also show that the ratio of RNA to DNA (an index of protein synthetic capacity) is highly variable in nature and correlates with short-term changes in food availability. We also observed striking patterns in enzyme activity and RNA/DNA in nature, which are related to differences in rocky intertidal community structure. Differences among species and habitats are most pronounced in summer and are linked to high nearshore productivity at sites favored by suspension feeders and to exposure to stressful low-tide air temperatures in areas of low wave splash. These studies illustrate the great promise of using biochemical indicators to test ecological models, which predict changes in community structure along environmental gradients. Our results also suggest that biochemical indices must be carefully validated with laboratory studies, so that the indicator selected is likely to respond to the

  4. Strong species-environment feedback shapes plant community assembly along environmental gradients

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jiang, Jiang; DeAngelis, Donald L.

    2013-01-01

    An aim of community ecology is to understand the patterns of competing species assembly along environmental gradients. All species interact with their environments. However, theories of community assembly have seldom taken into account the effects of species that are able to engineer the environment. In this modeling study, we integrate the species' engineering trait together with processes of immigration and local dispersal into a theory of community assembly. We quantify the species' engineering trait as the degree to which it can move the local environment away from its baseline state towards the optimum state of the species (species-environment feedback). We find that, in the presence of immigration from a regional pool, strong feedback can increase local species richness; however, in the absence of continual immigration, species richness is a declining function of the strength of species-environment feedback. This shift from a negative effect of engineering strength on species richness to a positive effect, as immigration rate increases, is clearer when there is spatial heterogeneity in the form of a gradient in environmental conditions than when the environment is homogeneous or it is randomly heterogeneous. Increasing the scale over which local dispersal occurs can facilitate species richness when there is no species-environment feedback or when the feedback is weak. However, increases in the spatial scale of dispersal can reduce species richness when the species-environment feedback is strong. These results expand the theoretical basis for understanding the effects of the strength of species-environment feedback on community assembly.

  5. Strong species-environment feedback shapes plant community assembly along environmental gradients.

    PubMed

    Jiang, Jiang; Deangelis, Donald L

    2013-10-01

    An aim of community ecology is to understand the patterns of competing species assembly along environmental gradients. All species interact with their environments. However, theories of community assembly have seldom taken into account the effects of species that are able to engineer the environment. In this modeling study, we integrate the species' engineering trait together with processes of immigration and local dispersal into a theory of community assembly. We quantify the species' engineering trait as the degree to which it can move the local environment away from its baseline state towards the optimum state of the species (species-environment feedback). We find that, in the presence of immigration from a regional pool, strong feedback can increase local species richness; however, in the absence of continual immigration, species richness is a declining function of the strength of species-environment feedback. This shift from a negative effect of engineering strength on species richness to a positive effect, as immigration rate increases, is clearer when there is spatial heterogeneity in the form of a gradient in environmental conditions than when the environment is homogeneous or it is randomly heterogeneous. Increasing the scale over which local dispersal occurs can facilitate species richness when there is no species-environment feedback or when the feedback is weak. However, increases in the spatial scale of dispersal can reduce species richness when the species-environment feedback is strong. These results expand the theoretical basis for understanding the effects of the strength of species-environment feedback on community assembly.

  6. Influential environmental gradients and spatiotemporal patterns of fish assemblages in the unimpounded Upper Mississippi River

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Barko, V.A.; Palmer, M.W.; Herzog, D.P.; Ickes, B.S.

    2004-01-01

    We investigated variation of fish assemblages in response to environmental factors using Long Term Resource Monitoring Program data. Data were collected from 1993 to 2000 from five physical habitats in the unimpounded upper Mississippi River. We captured 89 species composing 18 families. Of these, 26% were fluvial specialists, 25% were fluvial dependent and 49% were generalists. The numerically dominant component of the adult fish assemblage (species accounting for >10% of total catch) accounted for 50% of the assemblage and was comprised of only three species: gizzard shad (Dorosoma cepedianum; 25%), common carp (Cyprinus carpio, 15%) and channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus, 10%). The dominant component of the YOY fish assemblage was comprised of only two species, which accounted for 76% of the total catch: freshwater drum (Aplodinotus grunniens; 39%) and gizzard shad (37%). We used a cross-validation multivariate approach to explore how adult and young-of-the-year (YOY) assemblages varied with respect. to physical habitat and environmental gradients. Furthermore, we were interested how the fish assemblages changed over time. Partial canonical correspondence analyses (pCCA) demonstrated significant effects of physical habitats. Such effects differed between young-of-the-year and adult fishes. The four main environmental gradients influencing overall assemblage structure for both age groups were river elevation, water velocity, conductivity, and depth of gear deployment. Morisita's index revealed similar adult assemblage structure over time. However, the YOY assemblage present in 1995 was dissimilar from assemblages present during the other years. We speculate this is a lag effect from the backwater spawning episodes (floodpulse) that occurred with the 500-y flood in 1993. Shannon-Weiner diversity and Camargo's evenness indices were low, but stable across years for the adult assemblage, but varied across years for the YOY assemblage.

  7. Beta diversity along environmental gradients: implications of habitat specialization in tropical montane landscapes.

    PubMed

    Jankowski, Jill E; Ciecka, Anna L; Meyer, Nola Y; Rabenold, Kerry N

    2009-03-01

    1. Understanding how species in a diverse regional pool are spatially distributed with respect to habitat types is a longstanding problem in ecology. Tropical species are expected to be specialists along environmental gradients, and this should result in rapid compositional change (high beta diversity) across landscapes, particularly when alpha diversity is a small fraction of regional diversity. Corollary challenges are then to identify controlling environmental variables and to ask whether species cluster into discrete community types along a gradient. 2. We investigated patterns of avian species' distributions in the Tilarán mountains of Costa Rica between 1000 m and 1700 m elevation where a strong moisture gradient exists. High beta diversity was found with both auditory counts adjusted for detectability and extensive capture data, revealing nearly complete change in community composition over a few kilometres on the Pacific slope. As predicted, this beta diversity was roughly twice as high as on temperate mountainsides. 3. Partial Mantel analyses and canonical correspondence analysis indicate that change in species composition is highly correlated with change in moisture (and correlated epiphyte cover) at different distances from the continental divide on the Pacific slope. Altitude was not a good predictor of change in species composition, as species composition varies substantially among sites at the same elevation. 4. Detrended correspondence analysis and cluster analysis revealed a zone of rapid transition separating a distinct cloud forest community from rainshadow forest. On the Caribbean slope, where a shallower moisture gradient was predicted to result in lower beta diversity, we found lower rates of compositional change and more continuous species turnover. 5. Results suggest that habitat specialization of birds is likely a strong ecological force generating high beta diversity in montane landscapes. Despite overall rapid rates of species turnover

  8. Bacterial community structure across environmental gradients in permafrost thaw ponds: methanotroph-rich ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Crevecoeur, Sophie; Vincent, Warwick F; Comte, Jérôme; Lovejoy, Connie

    2015-01-01

    Permafrost thawing leads to the formation of thermokarst ponds that potentially emit CO2 and CH4 to the atmosphere. In the Nunavik subarctic region (northern Québec, Canada), these numerous, shallow ponds become well-stratified during summer. This creates a physico-chemical gradient of temperature and oxygen, with an upper oxic layer and a bottom low oxygen or anoxic layer. Our objective was to determine the influence of stratification and related limnological and landscape properties on the community structure of potentially active bacteria in these waters. Samples for RNA analysis were taken from ponds in three contrasting valleys across a gradient of permafrost degradation. A total of 1296 operational taxonomic units were identified by high throughput amplicon sequencing, targeting bacterial 16S rRNA that was reverse transcribed to cDNA. β-proteobacteria were the dominant group in all ponds, with highest representation by the genera Variovorax and Polynucleobacter. Methanotrophs were also among the most abundant sequences at most sites. They accounted for up to 27% of the total sequences (median of 4.9% for all samples), indicating the importance of methane as a bacterial energy source in these waters. Both oxygenic (cyanobacteria) and anoxygenic (Chlorobi) phototrophs were also well-represented, the latter in the low oxygen bottom waters. Ordination analyses showed that the communities clustered according to valley and depth, with significant effects attributed to dissolved oxygen, pH, dissolved organic carbon, and total suspended solids. These results indicate that the bacterial assemblages of permafrost thaw ponds are filtered by environmental gradients, and are complex consortia of functionally diverse taxa that likely affect the composition as well as magnitude of greenhouse gas emissions from these abundant waters.

  9. Ordination of breeding birds in relation to environmental gradients in three southeastern United States floodplain forests

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wakeley, J.S.; Guilfoyle, M.P.; Antrobus, T.J.; Fischer, R.A.; Barrow, W.C.; Hamel, P.B.

    2007-01-01

    We used an ordination approach to identify factors important to the organization of breeding bird communities in three floodplains: Cache River, Arkansas (AR), Iatt Creek, Louisiana (LA), and the Coosawhatchie River, South Carolina (SC), USA. We used 5-min point counts to sample birds in each study area each spring from 1995 to 1998, and measured ground-surface elevations and a suite of other habitat variables to investigate bird distributions and community characteristics in relation to important environmental gradients. In both AR and SC, the average number of Neotropical migrant species detected was lowest in semipermanently flooded Nyssa aquatica Linnaeus habitats and greatest in the highest elevation floodplain zone. Melanerpes carolinus Linnaeus, Protonotaria citrea Boddaert, Quiscalus quiscula Linnaeus, and other species were more abundant in N. aquatica habitats, whereas Wilsonia citrina Boddaert, Oporornis formosus Wilson, Vireo griseus Boddaert, and others were more abundant in drier floodplain zones. In LA, there were no significant differences in community metrics or bird species abundances among forest types. Canonical correspondence analyses revealed that structural development of understory vegetation was the most important factor affecting bird distributions in all three study areas; however, potential causes of these structural gradients differed. In AR and SC, differences in habitat structure were related to the hydrologic gradient, as indexed by ground-surface elevation. In LA, structural variations were related mainly to the frequency of canopy gaps. Thus, bird communities in all three areas appeared to be organized primarily in response to repeated localized disturbance. Our results suggest that regular disturbance due to flooding plays an important role in structuring breeding bird communities in floodplains subject to prolonged inundation, whereas other agents of disturbance (e.g., canopy gaps) may be more important in headwater systems

  10. Bacterial community structure across environmental gradients in permafrost thaw ponds: methanotroph-rich ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Crevecoeur, Sophie; Vincent, Warwick F.; Comte, Jérôme; Lovejoy, Connie

    2015-01-01

    Permafrost thawing leads to the formation of thermokarst ponds that potentially emit CO2 and CH4 to the atmosphere. In the Nunavik subarctic region (northern Québec, Canada), these numerous, shallow ponds become well-stratified during summer. This creates a physico-chemical gradient of temperature and oxygen, with an upper oxic layer and a bottom low oxygen or anoxic layer. Our objective was to determine the influence of stratification and related limnological and landscape properties on the community structure of potentially active bacteria in these waters. Samples for RNA analysis were taken from ponds in three contrasting valleys across a gradient of permafrost degradation. A total of 1296 operational taxonomic units were identified by high throughput amplicon sequencing, targeting bacterial 16S rRNA that was reverse transcribed to cDNA. β-proteobacteria were the dominant group in all ponds, with highest representation by the genera Variovorax and Polynucleobacter. Methanotrophs were also among the most abundant sequences at most sites. They accounted for up to 27% of the total sequences (median of 4.9% for all samples), indicating the importance of methane as a bacterial energy source in these waters. Both oxygenic (cyanobacteria) and anoxygenic (Chlorobi) phototrophs were also well-represented, the latter in the low oxygen bottom waters. Ordination analyses showed that the communities clustered according to valley and depth, with significant effects attributed to dissolved oxygen, pH, dissolved organic carbon, and total suspended solids. These results indicate that the bacterial assemblages of permafrost thaw ponds are filtered by environmental gradients, and are complex consortia of functionally diverse taxa that likely affect the composition as well as magnitude of greenhouse gas emissions from these abundant waters. PMID:25926816

  11. Cyclic Failure Mechanisms of Thermal and Environmental Barrier Coating Systems Under Thermal Gradient Test Conditions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zhu, Dongming; Lee, Kang N.; Miller, Robert A.

    2002-01-01

    Plasma-sprayed ZrO2-8wt%Y2O3 and mullite+BSAS/Si multilayer thermal and environmental barrier coating (TBC-EBC) systems on SiC/SiC ceramic matrix composite (CMC) substrates were thermally cyclic tested under high thermal gradients using a laser high-heat-flux rig in conjunction with furnace exposure in water-vapor environments. Coating sintering and interface damage were assessed by monitoring the real-time thermal conductivity changes during the laser heat-flux tests and by examining the microstructural changes after exposure. Sintering kinetics of the coating systems were also independently characterized using a dilatometer. It was found that the coating failure involved both the time-temperature dependent sintering and the cycle frequency dependent cyclic fatigue processes. The water vapor environments not only facilitated the initial coating conductivity increases due to enhanced sintering and interface reaction, but also promoted later conductivity reductions due to the accelerated coating cracking and delamination. The failure mechanisms of the coating systems are also discussed based on the cyclic test results and are correlated to the sintering and thermal stress behavior under the thermal gradient test conditions.

  12. Carbon dynamics across an environmental gradient in northcentral Arizona: Implications for climate change

    SciTech Connect

    Klopatek, C.C.; Murphy, K.; Conant, R.

    1995-09-01

    We present an overview of the relative changes in C across an environmental gradient going from Great Basin Desert scrub, through pinyon-juniper and into ponderosa pine including the ecotones. Preliminary data on C pools of vegetation, litter and soils indicate that the larger C pools under canopies have lower turnover times than the smaller interspace pools. Overall ecosystem soil respiration is nearly 75% greater in the more mesic environments. Leaf litter from the major vegetation types in this zone were swapped along the gradient for a decomposition study. Results show that decay rates differed significantly between sites and within sites for each species. Litter placed at the higher elevation sites decomposes faster than the lower sites indicating moisture as the major controlling factor as opposed to temperature. In examining the different C fractions of each litter type, we find that when all species are compared, overall C:N ratios of litter do not appear to be good decomposition indicators. We found three carbohydrate fractions decomposed more rapidly than any other fractions in all but one species of litter. When comparing within sites, lignin content alone may be the best indicator of potential rates of decomposition at the drier sites whereas, lignin:N ratios correlate well at the more mesic sites.

  13. Failure Mechanisms and Life Prediction of Thermal and Environmental Barrier Coatings under Thermal Gradients

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zju, Dongming; Ghosn, Louis J.; Miller, Robert A.

    2008-01-01

    Ceramic thermal and environmental barrier coatings (TEBCs) will play an increasingly important role in gas turbine engines because of their ability to further raise engine temperatures. However, the issue of coating durability is of major concern under high-heat-flux conditions. In particular, the accelerated coating delamination crack growth under the engine high heat-flux conditions is not well understood. In this paper, a laser heat flux technique is used to investigate the coating delamination crack propagation under realistic temperature-stress gradients and thermal cyclic conditions. The coating delamination mechanisms are investigated under various thermal loading conditions, and are correlated with coating dynamic fatigue, sintering and interfacial adhesion test results. A coating life prediction framework may be realized by examining the crack initiation and propagation driving forces for coating failure under high-heat-flux test conditions.

  14. Field Evidence for Optimal Acclimation of Leaf Nitrogen to Environmental Gradients

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dong, N.; Prentice, I. C. C.; Evans, B. J.; Retalic, S. C.; Lowe, A. J.; Wright, I. J.

    2015-12-01

    Nitrogen per unit leaf area (Narea) is a key variable in plant functional ecology and biogeochemistry. We hypothesized that Narea should be sum of a structural component proportional to leaf mass per area (LMA) and a metabolic component, predicted by optimality considerations to be proportional to irradiance while decreasing with air-to-leaf carbon dioxide drawdown (ci:ca) and temperature. The significant partial environmental and LMA effects on Narea that are both qualitatively and quantitatively supported this hypothesis by using LMA, leaf δ13C and Narea measurements on transcontinental transect in Australia. Trait gradient analysis revealed ci:ca to be perfectly plastic, while species turnover contributed about half the variation in LMA and Narea, consistent with a strong contribution of species turnover to the variation of these traits with environment. These findings motivate a hybrid leaf-economics approach to the prediction of Narea in ecosystem models.

  15. At what scale and extent environmental gradients and climatic changes influence stream invertebrate communities?

    PubMed

    Van Looy, Kris; Piffady, Jérémy; Floury, Mathieu

    2017-02-15

    In a context of increasing landscape modifications and climatic changes, scale hierarchy becomes an ever more crucial issue to integrate in the analysis of drivers and stressors of biological communities, especially in river networks. To cope with this issue, we developed (i) spatial hierarchical models of functional diversity of stream invertebrate communities to assess the relative influence of local- vs. regional-scale factors in structuring community assembly, and (ii) analysis of metacommunity elements to determine the ecological processes behind the structuring. The spatial structuring of benthic invertebrate communities was investigated over 568 sites in South-eastern France. Community structure was mainly driven by the altitudinal gradient and spring flow variation at broad scales, with functional diversity gradually decreasing with elevation and being maximized at intermediate levels of flow variability. According to the 'elements of metacommunity structure' analysis, the prevailing influence of the altitudinal gradient was also supported by a Clementsian structuration of invertebrate communities. Conversely, the influence of observed climatic changes in temperature and rainfall was weak and observed only at fine scales. As a result, natural environmental filters were stronger drivers of the functional diversity of communities than human-induced stressors (e.g. water pollution and hydromorphological alterations). More broadly, our results suggest that management needs to embrace the possibilities of gathering high spatial and taxonomical resolution data when analysing and predicting flow variation and climate change effects in order to preserve and restore functionally diverse communities. Moreover, to develop environmental flow schemes or restoration and climate change adaptation strategies for freshwater communities, local and regional processes need to be addressed simultaneously; equally responsible as drivers of community diversity.

  16. Environmental gradients explain species richness and community composition of coastal breeding birds in the Baltic Sea.

    PubMed

    Nord, Maria; Forslund, Pär

    2015-01-01

    Scientifically-based systematic conservation planning for reserve design requires knowledge of species richness patterns and how these are related to environmental gradients. In this study, we explore a large inventory of coastal breeding birds, in total 48 species, sampled in 4646 1 km2 squares which covered a large archipelago in the Baltic Sea on the east coast of Sweden. We analysed how species richness (α diversity) and community composition (β diversity) of two groups of coastal breeding birds (specialists, i.e. obligate coastal breeders; generalists, i.e. facultative coastal breeders) were affected by distance to open sea, land area, shoreline length and archipelago width. The total number of species per square increased with increasing shoreline length, but increasing land area counteracted this effect in specialists. The number of specialist bird species per square increased with decreasing distance to open sea, while the opposite was true for the generalists. Differences in community composition between squares were associated with differences in land area and distance to open sea, both when considering all species pooled and each group separately. Fourteen species were nationally red-listed, and showed similar relationships to the environmental gradients as did all species, specialists and generalists. We suggest that availability of suitable breeding habitats, and probably also proximity to feeding areas, explain much of the observed spatial distributions of coastal birds in this study. Our findings have important implications for systematic conservation planning of coastal breeding birds. In particular, we provide information on where coastal breeding birds occur and which environments they seem to prefer. Small land areas with long shorelines are highly valuable both in general and for red-listed species. Thus, such areas should be prioritized for protection against human disturbance and used by management in reserve selection.

  17. Environmental Gradients Explain Species Richness and Community Composition of Coastal Breeding Birds in the Baltic Sea

    PubMed Central

    Nord, Maria; Forslund, Pär

    2015-01-01

    Scientifically-based systematic conservation planning for reserve design requires knowledge of species richness patterns and how these are related to environmental gradients. In this study, we explore a large inventory of coastal breeding birds, in total 48 species, sampled in 4646 1 km2 squares which covered a large archipelago in the Baltic Sea on the east coast of Sweden. We analysed how species richness (α diversity) and community composition (β diversity) of two groups of coastal breeding birds (specialists, i.e. obligate coastal breeders; generalists, i.e. facultative coastal breeders) were affected by distance to open sea, land area, shoreline length and archipelago width. The total number of species per square increased with increasing shoreline length, but increasing land area counteracted this effect in specialists. The number of specialist bird species per square increased with decreasing distance to open sea, while the opposite was true for the generalists. Differences in community composition between squares were associated with differences in land area and distance to open sea, both when considering all species pooled and each group separately. Fourteen species were nationally red-listed, and showed similar relationships to the environmental gradients as did all species, specialists and generalists. We suggest that availability of suitable breeding habitats, and probably also proximity to feeding areas, explain much of the observed spatial distributions of coastal birds in this study. Our findings have important implications for systematic conservation planning of coastal breeding birds. In particular, we provide information on where coastal breeding birds occur and which environments they seem to prefer. Small land areas with long shorelines are highly valuable both in general and for red-listed species. Thus, such areas should be prioritized for protection against human disturbance and used by management in reserve selection. PMID:25714432

  18. Constraining the role of iron in environmental nitrogen transformations. Dual stable isotope systematics of abiotic NO2- reduction by Fe(II) and its production of N2O

    SciTech Connect

    Johnston, David; Wankel, Scott David; Buchwald, Carolyn; Hansel, Colleen

    2015-09-16

    Redox reactions involving nitrogen and iron have been shown to have important implications for mobilization of priority contaminants. Thus, an understanding of the linkages between their biogeochemical cycling is critical for predicting subsurface mobilization of radionuclides such as uranium. Despite mounting evidence for biogeochemical interactions between iron and nitrogen, our understanding of their environmental importance remains limited. Here we present an investigation of abiotic nitrite (NO2-) reduction by Fe(II) or ‘chemodenitrification,’ and its relevance to the production of nitrous oxide (N2O), specifically focusing on dual (N and O) isotope systematics under a variety of environmentally relevant conditions. We observe a range of kinetic isotope effects that are regulated by reaction rates, with faster rates at higher pH (~8), higher concentrations of Fe(II) and in the presence of mineral surfaces. A clear non-linear relationship between rate constant and kinetic isotope effects of NO2- reduction was evident (with larger isotope effects at slower rates) and is interpreted as reflecting the dynamics of Fe(II)-N reaction intermediates. N and O isotopic composition of product N2O also suggests a complex network of parallel and/or competing pathways. Our findings suggest that NO2- reduction by Fe(II) may represent an important abiotic source of environmental N2O, especially in iron-rich environments experiencing dynamic redox variations. This study provides a multi-compound, multi-isotope framework for evaluating the environmental occurrence of abiotic NO2- reduction and N2O formation, helping future studies constrain the relative roles of abiotic and biological N2O production pathways.

  19. Neighborhood analyses of canopy tree competition along environmental gradients in New England forests.

    PubMed

    Canham, Charles D; Papaik, Michael J; Uriarte, María; McWilliams, William H; Jenkins, Jennifer C; Twery, Mark J

    2006-04-01

    We use permanent-plot data from the USDA Forest Service's Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program for an analysis of the effects of competition on tree growth along environmental gradients for the 14 most abundant tree species in forests of northern New England, USA. Our analysis estimates actual growth for each individual tree of a given species as a function of average potential diameter growth modified by three sets of scalars that quantify the effects on growth of (1) initial target tree size (dbh), (2) local environmental conditions, and (3) crowding by neighboring trees. Potential growth of seven of the 14 species varied along at least one of the two environmental axes identified by an ordination of relative abundance of species in plots. The relative abundances of a number of species were significantly displaced from sites where they showed maximum potential growth. In all of these cases, abundance was displaced to the more resource-poor end of the environmental gradient (either low fertility or low moisture). The pattern was most pronounced among early successional species, whereas late-successional species reached their greatest abundance on sites where they also showed the highest growth in the absence of competition. The analysis also provides empirical estimates of the strength of intraspecific and interspecific competitive effects of neighbors. For all but one of the species, our results led us to reject the hypothesis that all species of competitors have equivalent effects on a target species. Most of the individual pairwise interactions were strongly asymmetric. There was a clear competitive hierarchy among the four most shade-tolerant species, and a separate competitive hierarchy among the shade-intolerant species. Our results suggest that timber yield following selective logging will vary dramatically depending on the configuration of the residual canopy, because of interspecific variation in the magnitude of both the competitive effects of

  20. Response of benthic algae to environmental gradients in an agriculturally dominated landscape

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Munn, M.D.; Black, R.W.; Gruber, S.J.

    2002-01-01

    Benthic algal communities were assessed in an agriculturally dominated landscape in the Central Columbia Plateau, Washington, to determine which environmental variables best explained species distributions, and whether algae species optima models were useful in predicting specific water-quality parameters. Land uses in the study area included forest, range, urban, and agriculture. Most of the streams in this region can be characterized as open-channel systems influenced by intensive dryland (nonirrigated) and irrigated agriculture. Algal communities in forested streams were dominated by blue-green algae, with communities in urban and range streams dominated by diatoms. The predominance of either blue-greens or diatoms in agricultural streams varied greatly depending on the specific site. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) indicated a strong gradient effect of several key environmental variables on benthic algal community composition. Conductivity and % agriculture were the dominant explanatory variables when all sites (n = 24) were included in the CCA; water velocity replaced conductivity when the CCA included only agricultural and urban sites. Other significant explanatory variables included dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN), orthophosphate (OP), discharge, and precipitation. Regression and calibration models accurately predicted conductivity based on benthic algal communities, with OP having slightly lower predictability. The model for DIN was poor, and therefore may be less useful in this system. Thirty-four algal taxa were identified as potential indicators of conductivity and nutrient conditions, with most indicators being diatoms except for the blue-greens Anabaenasp. and Lyngbya sp.

  1. Age-related environmental gradients influence invertebrate distribution in the Prince Charles Mountains, East Antarctica.

    PubMed

    Czechowski, Paul; White, Duanne; Clarke, Laurence; McKay, Alan; Cooper, Alan; Stevens, Mark I

    2016-12-01

    The potential impact of environmental change on terrestrial Antarctic ecosystems can be explored by inspecting biodiversity patterns across large-scale gradients. Unfortunately, morphology-based surveys of Antarctic invertebrates are time-consuming and limited by the cryptic nature of many taxa. We used biodiversity information derived from high-throughput sequencing (HTS) to elucidate the relationship between soil properties and invertebrate biodiversity in the Prince Charles Mountains, East Antarctica. Across 136 analysed soil samples collected from Mount Menzies, Mawson Escarpment and Lake Terrasovoje, we found invertebrate distribution in the Prince Charles Mountains significantly influenced by soil salinity and/or sulfur content. Phyla Tardigrada and Arachnida occurred predominantly in low-salinity substrates with abundant nutrients, whereas Bdelloidea (Rotifera) and Chromadorea (Nematoda) were more common in highly saline substrates. A significant correlation between invertebrate occurrence, soil salinity and time since deglaciation indicates that terrain age indirectly influences Antarctic terrestrial biodiversity, with more recently deglaciated areas supporting greater diversity. Our study demonstrates the value of HTS metabarcoding to investigate environmental constraints on inconspicuous soil biodiversity across large spatial scales.

  2. Plasticity versus environmental canalization: population differences in thermal responses along a latitudinal gradient in Drosophila serrata.

    PubMed

    Liefting, Maartje; Hoffmann, Ary A; Ellers, Jacintha

    2009-08-01

    The phenotypic plasticity of traits, defined as the ability of a genotype to express different phenotypic values of the trait across a range of environments, can vary between habitats depending on levels of temporal and spatial heterogeneity. Other traits can be insensitive to environmental perturbations and show environmental canalization. We tested levels of phenotypic plasticity in diverse Drosophila serrata populations along a latitudinal cline ranging from a temperate, variable climate to a tropical, stable climate by measuring developmental rate and size-related traits at three temperatures (16 degrees C, 22 degrees C, and 28 degrees C). We then compared the slopes of the thermal reaction norms among populations. The 16-22 degrees C part of the reaction norms for developmental rate was flatter (more canalized) for the temperate populations than for the tropical populations. However, slopes for the reaction norms of the two morphological traits (wing size, wing:thorax ratio), were steeper (more plastic) in the temperate versus the tropical populations over the entire thermal range. The different latitudinal patterns in plasticity for developmental rate and the morphological traits may reflect contrasting selection pressures along the tropical-temperate thermal gradient.

  3. Non-random distribution of individual genetic diversity along an environmental gradient

    PubMed Central

    Porlier, Mélody; Bélisle, Marc; Garant, Dany

    2009-01-01

    Improving our knowledge of the links between ecology and evolution is especially critical in the actual context of global rapid environmental changes. A critical step in that direction is to quantify how variation in ecological factors linked to habitat modifications might shape observed levels of genetic variability in wild populations. Still, little is known on the factors affecting levels and distribution of genetic diversity at the individual level, despite its vital underlying role in evolutionary processes. In this study, we assessed the effects of habitat quality on population structure and individual genetic diversity of tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) breeding along a gradient of agricultural intensification in southern Québec, Canada. Using a landscape genetics approach, we found that individual genetic diversity was greater in poorer quality habitats. This counter-intuitive result was partly explained by the settlement patterns of tree swallows across the landscape. Individuals of higher genetic diversity arrived earlier on their breeding grounds and settled in the first available habitats, which correspond to intensive cultures. Our results highlight the importance of investigating the effects of environmental variability on individual genetic diversity, and of integrating information on landscape structure when conducting such studies. PMID:19414469

  4. Age-related environmental gradients influence invertebrate distribution in the Prince Charles Mountains, East Antarctica

    PubMed Central

    White, Duanne; Clarke, Laurence; McKay, Alan; Cooper, Alan; Stevens, Mark I.

    2016-01-01

    The potential impact of environmental change on terrestrial Antarctic ecosystems can be explored by inspecting biodiversity patterns across large-scale gradients. Unfortunately, morphology-based surveys of Antarctic invertebrates are time-consuming and limited by the cryptic nature of many taxa. We used biodiversity information derived from high-throughput sequencing (HTS) to elucidate the relationship between soil properties and invertebrate biodiversity in the Prince Charles Mountains, East Antarctica. Across 136 analysed soil samples collected from Mount Menzies, Mawson Escarpment and Lake Terrasovoje, we found invertebrate distribution in the Prince Charles Mountains significantly influenced by soil salinity and/or sulfur content. Phyla Tardigrada and Arachnida occurred predominantly in low-salinity substrates with abundant nutrients, whereas Bdelloidea (Rotifera) and Chromadorea (Nematoda) were more common in highly saline substrates. A significant correlation between invertebrate occurrence, soil salinity and time since deglaciation indicates that terrain age indirectly influences Antarctic terrestrial biodiversity, with more recently deglaciated areas supporting greater diversity. Our study demonstrates the value of HTS metabarcoding to investigate environmental constraints on inconspicuous soil biodiversity across large spatial scales. PMID:28083092

  5. DNA sequence variation of wild barley Hordeum spontaneum (L.) across environmental gradients in Israel.

    PubMed

    Bedada, G; Westerbergh, A; Nevo, E; Korol, A; Schmid, K J

    2014-06-01

    Wild barley Hordeum spontaneum (L.) shows a wide geographic distribution and ecological diversity. A key question concerns the spatial scale at which genetic differentiation occurs and to what extent it is driven by natural selection. The Levant region exhibits a strong ecological gradient along the North-South axis, with numerous small canyons in an East-West direction and with small-scale environmental gradients on the opposing North- and South-facing slopes. We sequenced 34 short genomic regions in 54 accessions of wild barley collected throughout Israel and from the opposing slopes of two canyons. The nucleotide diversity of the total sample is 0.0042, which is about two-thirds of a sample from the whole species range (0.0060). Thirty accessions collected at 'Evolution Canyon' (EC) at Nahal Oren, close to Haifa, have a nucleotide diversity of 0.0036, and therefore harbor a large proportion of the genetic diversity. There is a high level of genetic clustering throughout Israel and within EC, which roughly differentiates the slopes. Accessions from the hot and dry South-facing slope have significantly reduced genetic diversity and are genetically more distinct from accessions from the North-facing slope, which are more similar to accessions from other regions in Northern Israel. Statistical population models indicate that wild barley within the EC consist of three separate genetic clusters with substantial gene flow. The data indicate a high level of population structure at large and small geographic scales that shows isolation-by-distance, and is also consistent with ongoing natural selection contributing to genetic differentiation at a small geographic scale.

  6. Environmental and historical imprints on beta diversity: insights from variation in rates of species turnover along gradients

    PubMed Central

    Fitzpatrick, Matthew C.; Sanders, Nathan J.; Normand, Signe; Svenning, Jens-Christian; Ferrier, Simon; Gove, Aaron D.; Dunn, Robert R.

    2013-01-01

    A common approach for analysing geographical variation in biodiversity involves using linear models to determine the rate at which species similarity declines with geographical or environmental distance and comparing this rate among regions, taxa or communities. Implicit in this approach are weakly justified assumptions that the rate of species turnover remains constant along gradients and that this rate can therefore serve as a means to compare ecological systems. We use generalized dissimilarity modelling, a novel method that accommodates variation in rates of species turnover along gradients and between different gradients, to compare environmental and spatial controls on the floras of two regions with contrasting evolutionary and climatic histories: southwest Australia and northern Europe. We find stronger signals of climate history in the northern European flora and demonstrate that variation in rates of species turnover is persistent across regions, taxa and different gradients. Such variation may represent an important but often overlooked component of biodiversity that complicates comparisons of distance–decay relationships and underscores the importance of using methods that accommodate the curvilinear relationships expected when modelling beta diversity. Determining how rates of species turnover vary along and between gradients is relevant to understanding the sensitivity of ecological systems to environmental change. PMID:23926147

  7. Environmental and historical imprints on beta diversity: insights from variation in rates of species turnover along gradients.

    PubMed

    Fitzpatrick, Matthew C; Sanders, Nathan J; Normand, Signe; Svenning, Jens-Christian; Ferrier, Simon; Gove, Aaron D; Dunn, Robert R

    2013-10-07

    A common approach for analysing geographical variation in biodiversity involves using linear models to determine the rate at which species similarity declines with geographical or environmental distance and comparing this rate among regions, taxa or communities. Implicit in this approach are weakly justified assumptions that the rate of species turnover remains constant along gradients and that this rate can therefore serve as a means to compare ecological systems. We use generalized dissimilarity modelling, a novel method that accommodates variation in rates of species turnover along gradients and between different gradients, to compare environmental and spatial controls on the floras of two regions with contrasting evolutionary and climatic histories: southwest Australia and northern Europe. We find stronger signals of climate history in the northern European flora and demonstrate that variation in rates of species turnover is persistent across regions, taxa and different gradients. Such variation may represent an important but often overlooked component of biodiversity that complicates comparisons of distance-decay relationships and underscores the importance of using methods that accommodate the curvilinear relationships expected when modelling beta diversity. Determining how rates of species turnover vary along and between gradients is relevant to understanding the sensitivity of ecological systems to environmental change.

  8. Assessing sandy beach macrofaunal patterns along large-scale environmental gradients: A Fuzzy Naïve Bayes approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bozzeda, Fabio; Zangrilli, Maria Paola; Defeo, Omar

    2016-06-01

    A Fuzzy Naïve Bayes (FNB) classifier was developed to assess large-scale variations in abundance, species richness and diversity of the macrofauna inhabiting fifteen Uruguayan sandy beaches affected by the effects of beach morphodynamics and the estuarine gradient generated by Rio de la Plata. Information from six beaches was used to estimate FNB parameters, while abiotic data of the remaining nine beaches were used to forecast abundance, species richness and diversity. FNB simulations reproduced the general increasing trend of target variables from inner estuarine reflective beaches to marine dissipative ones. The FNB model also identified a threshold value of salinity range beyond which diversity markedly increased towards marine beaches. Salinity range is suggested as an ecological master factor governing distributional patterns in sandy beach macrofauna. However, the model: 1) underestimated abundance and species richness at the innermost estuarine beach, with the lowest salinity, and 2) overestimated species richness in marine beaches with a reflective morphodynamic state, which is strongly linked to low abundance, species richness and diversity. Therefore, future modeling efforts should be refined by giving a dissimilar weigh to the gradients defined by estuarine (estuarine beaches) and morphodynamic (marine beaches) variables, which could improve predictions of target variables. Our modeling approach could be applied to a wide spectrum of issues, ranging from basic ecology to social-ecological systems. This approach seems relevant, given the current challenge to develop predictive methodologies to assess the simultaneous and nonlinear effects of anthropogenic and natural impacts in coastal ecosystems.

  9. Plant-plant interactions, environmental gradients and plant diversity: a global synthesis of community-level studies

    PubMed Central

    Soliveres, Santiago; Maestre, Fernando T.

    2015-01-01

    Previous syntheses on the effects of environmental conditions on the outcome of plant-plant interactions summarize results from pairwise studies. However, the upscaling to the community-level of such studies is problematic because of the existence of multiple species assemblages and species-specific responses to both the environmental conditions and the presence of neighbors. We conducted the first global synthesis of community-level studies from harsh environments, which included data from 71 alpine and 137 dryland communities. Here we: i) test how important are facilitative interactions as a driver of community structure, ii) evaluate whether the frequency of positive plant-plant interactions across differing environmental conditions and habitats is predictable, and iii) assess whether thresholds in the response of plant-plant interactions to environmental gradients exists between “moderate” and “extreme” stress levels. We also used those community-level studies performed across gradients of at least three points to evaluate how the average environmental conditions, the length of the gradient studied, and the number of points sampled across such gradient affect the form and strength of the facilitation-environment relationship. Over 25% of the species present were more spatially associated to nurse plants than expected by chance in both alpine and dryland areas, illustrating the high importance of positive plant-plant interactions for the maintenance of plant diversity. Facilitative interactions were more frequent, and more related to environmental conditions, in alpine than in dryland areas, perhaps because drylands are generally characterized by a larger variety of environmental stress factors and plant functional traits. The frequency of facilitative interactions in alpine communities peaked at 1000 mm of annual rainfall, and globally decreased with elevation. The frequency of positive interactions in dryland communities decreased globally with water

  10. Spatial Configuration of Drought Disturbance and Forest Gap Creation across Environmental Gradients

    PubMed Central

    Andrew, Margaret E.; Ruthrof, Katinka X.; Matusick, George; Hardy, Giles E. St. J.

    2016-01-01

    Climate change is increasing the risk of drought to forested ecosystems. Although drought impacts are often anecdotally noted to occur in discrete patches of high canopy mortality, the landscape effects of drought disturbances have received virtually no study. This study characterized the landscape configuration of drought impact patches and investigated the relationships between patch characteristics, as indicators of drought impact intensity, and environmental gradients related to water availability to determine factors influencing drought vulnerability. Drought impact patches were delineated from aerial surveys following an extreme drought in 2011 in southwestern Australia, which led to patchy canopy dieback of the Northern Jarrah Forest, a Mediterranean forest ecosystem. On average, forest gaps produced by drought-induced dieback were moderate in size (6.6 ± 9.7 ha, max = 85.7 ha), compact in shape, and relatively isolated from each other at the scale of several kilometers. However, there was considerable spatial variation in the size, shape, and clustering of forest gaps. Drought impact patches were larger and more densely clustered in xeric areas, with significant relationships observed with topographic wetness index, meteorological variables, and stand height. Drought impact patch clustering was more strongly associated with the environmental factors assessed (R2 = 0.32) than was patch size (R2 = 0.21); variation in patch shape remained largely unexplained (R2 = 0.02). There is evidence that the xeric areas with more intense drought impacts are ‘chronic disturbance patches’ susceptible to recurrent drought disturbance. The spatial configuration of drought disturbances is likely to influence ecological processes including forest recovery and interacting disturbances such as fire. Regime shifts to an alternate, non-forested ecosystem may occur preferentially in areas with large or clustered drought impact patches. Improved understanding of drought impacts

  11. Microbial diversity and community structure across environmental gradients in Bransfield Strait, Western Antarctic Peninsula

    PubMed Central

    Signori, Camila N.; Thomas, François; Enrich-Prast, Alex; Pollery, Ricardo C. G.; Sievert, Stefan M.

    2014-01-01

    The Southern Ocean is currently subject to intense investigations, mainly related to its importance for global biogeochemical cycles and its alarming rate of warming in response to climate change. Microbes play an essential role in the functioning of this ecosystem and are the main drivers of the biogeochemical cycling of elements. Yet, the diversity and abundance of microorganisms in this system remain poorly studied, in particular with regards to changes along environmental gradients. Here, we used amplicon sequencing of 16S rRNA gene tags using primers covering both Bacteria and Archaea to assess the composition and diversity of the microbial communities from four sampling depths (surface, the maximum and minimum of the oxygen concentration, and near the seafloor) at 10 oceanographic stations located in Bransfield Strait [northwest of the Antarctic Peninsula (AP)] and near the sea ice edge (north of the AP). Samples collected near the seafloor and at the oxygen minimum exhibited a higher diversity than those from the surface and oxygen maximum for both bacterial and archaeal communities. The main taxonomic groups identified below 100 m were Thaumarchaeota, Euryarchaeota and Proteobacteria (Gamma-, Delta-, Beta-, and Alphaproteobacteria), whereas in the mixed layer above 100 m Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria (mainly Alpha- and Gammaproteobacteria) were found to be dominant. A combination of environmental factors seems to influence the microbial community composition. Our results help to understand how the dynamic seascape of the Southern Ocean shapes the microbial community composition and set a baseline for upcoming studies to evaluate the response of this ecosystem to future changes. PMID:25566198

  12. Non-Random Variability in Functional Composition of Coral Reef Fish Communities along an Environmental Gradient.

    PubMed

    Plass-Johnson, Jeremiah G; Taylor, Marc H; Husain, Aidah A A; Teichberg, Mirta C; Ferse, Sebastian C A

    2016-01-01

    Changes in the coral reef complex can affect predator-prey relationships, resource availability and niche utilisation in the associated fish community, which may be reflected in decreased stability of the functional traits present in a community. This is because particular traits may be favoured by a changing environment, or by habitat degradation. Furthermore, other traits can be selected against because degradation can relax the association between fishes and benthic habitat. We characterised six important ecological traits for fish species occurring at seven sites across a disturbed coral reef archipelago in Indonesia, where reefs have been exposed to eutrophication and destructive fishing practices for decades. Functional diversity was assessed using two complementary indices (FRic and RaoQ) and correlated to important environmental factors (live coral cover and rugosity, representing local reef health, and distance from shore, representing a cross-shelf environmental gradient). Indices were examined for both a change in their mean, as well as temporal (short-term; hours) and spatial (cross-shelf) variability, to assess whether fish-habitat association became relaxed along with habitat degradation. Furthermore, variability in individual traits was examined to identify the traits that are most affected by habitat change. Increases in the general reef health indicators, live coral cover and rugosity (correlated with distance from the mainland), were associated with decreases in the variability of functional diversity and with community-level changes in the abundance of several traits (notably home range size, maximum length, microalgae, detritus and small invertebrate feeding and reproductive turnover). A decrease in coral cover increased variability of RaoQ while rugosity and distance both inversely affected variability of FRic; however, averages for these indices did not reveal patterns associated with the environment. These results suggest that increased

  13. Non-Random Variability in Functional Composition of Coral Reef Fish Communities along an Environmental Gradient

    PubMed Central

    Plass-Johnson, Jeremiah G.; Taylor, Marc H.; Husain, Aidah A. A.; Teichberg, Mirta C.; Ferse, Sebastian C. A.

    2016-01-01

    Changes in the coral reef complex can affect predator-prey relationships, resource availability and niche utilisation in the associated fish community, which may be reflected in decreased stability of the functional traits present in a community. This is because particular traits may be favoured by a changing environment, or by habitat degradation. Furthermore, other traits can be selected against because degradation can relax the association between fishes and benthic habitat. We characterised six important ecological traits for fish species occurring at seven sites across a disturbed coral reef archipelago in Indonesia, where reefs have been exposed to eutrophication and destructive fishing practices for decades. Functional diversity was assessed using two complementary indices (FRic and RaoQ) and correlated to important environmental factors (live coral cover and rugosity, representing local reef health, and distance from shore, representing a cross-shelf environmental gradient). Indices were examined for both a change in their mean, as well as temporal (short-term; hours) and spatial (cross-shelf) variability, to assess whether fish-habitat association became relaxed along with habitat degradation. Furthermore, variability in individual traits was examined to identify the traits that are most affected by habitat change. Increases in the general reef health indicators, live coral cover and rugosity (correlated with distance from the mainland), were associated with decreases in the variability of functional diversity and with community-level changes in the abundance of several traits (notably home range size, maximum length, microalgae, detritus and small invertebrate feeding and reproductive turnover). A decrease in coral cover increased variability of RaoQ while rugosity and distance both inversely affected variability of FRic; however, averages for these indices did not reveal patterns associated with the environment. These results suggest that increased

  14. Microhabitat amelioration and reduced competition among understorey plants as drivers of facilitation across environmental gradients: towards a unifying framework.

    PubMed

    Soliveres, Santiago; Eldridge, David J; Maestre, Fernando T; Bowker, Matthew A; Tighe, Matthew; Escudero, Adrián

    2011-11-20

    Studies of facilitative interactions as drivers of plant richness along environmental gradients often assume the existence of an overarching stress gradient equally affecting the performance of all the species in a given community. However, co-existing species differ in their ecophysiological adaptations, and do not experience the same stress level under particular environmental conditions. Moreover, these studies assume a unimodal richness-biomass curve, which is not as general as previously thought. We ignored these assumptions to assess changes in plant-plant interactions, and their effect on local species richness, across environmental gradients in semi-arid areas of Spain and Australia. We aimed to understand the relative importance of direct (microhabitat amelioration) and indirect (changes in the competitive relationships among the understorey species: niche segregation, competitive exclusion or intransitivity) mechanisms that might underlie the effects of nurse plants on local species richness. By jointly studying these direct and indirect mechanisms using a unifying framework, we were able to see how our nurse plants (trees, shrubs and tussock grasses) not only increased local richness by expanding the niche of neighbouring species, but also by increasing niche segregation among them, though the latter was not important in all cases. The outcome of the competition-facilitation continuum changed depending on the study area, likely because the different types of stress gradient considered. When driven by both rainfall and temperature, or rainfall alone, the community-wide importance of nurse plants remained constant (Spanish sites), or showed a unimodal relationship along the gradient (Australian sites). This study expands our understanding of the relative roles of plant-plant interactions and environmental conditions as drivers of local species richness in semi-arid environments. These results can also be used to refine predictions about the response of

  15. Adaptation to a steep environmental gradient and an associated barrier to gene exchange in Littorina saxatilis.

    PubMed

    Grahame, John W; Wilding, Craig S; Butlin, Roger K

    2006-02-01

    Steep environmental gradients offer important opportunities to study the interaction between natural selection and gene flow. Allele frequency clines are expected to form at loci under selection, but unlinked neutral alleles may pass easily across these clines unless a generalized barrier evolves. Here we consider the distribution of forms of the intertidal gastropod Littorina saxatilis, analyzing shell shape and amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) loci on two rocky shores in Britain. On the basis of previous work, the AFLP loci were divided into differentiated and undifferentiated groups. On both shores, we have shown a sharp cline in allele frequencies between the two morphs for differentiated AFLP loci. This is coincident with a habitat transition on the shore where the two habitats (cliff and boulder field) are immediately contiguous. The allele frequency clines coincide with a cline in shell morphology. In the middle of the cline, linkage disequilibrium for the differentiated loci rises in accordance with expectation. The clines are extremely narrow relative to dispersal, probably as a result of both strong selection and habitat choice. An increase in F(ST) for undifferentiated AFLPs between morphs, relative to within-morph comparisons, is consistent with there being a general barrier to gene flow across the contact zone. These features are consistent either with an episode of allopatric divergence followed by secondary contact or with primary, nonallopatric divergence. Further data will be needed to distinguish between these alternatives.

  16. Planktonic protistan communities in lakes along a large-scale environmental gradient.

    PubMed

    Khomich, Maryia; Kauserud, Håvard; Logares, Ramiro; Rasconi, Serena; Andersen, Tom

    2017-04-01

    Despite their obvious importance, our knowledge about the eukaryotic microbial diversity of inland waters is still limited and poorly documented. We applied 18S rDNA amplicon sequencing to provide a comprehensive analysis of eukaryotic diversity in 74 low-productivity lakes along a 750 km longitudinal transect (5.40-18.52°E) across southern Scandinavia. We detected a wide diversity of pelagic microbial eukaryotes, classified into 1882 operational taxonomic units (OTUs). The highest OTU richness was found in traditional phytoplankton groups like Dinoflagellata, Chrysophyceae, Chlorophyta and Cryptophyta. A total of 53.6% OTUs were primarily autotrophic, while 19.4% of the heterotrophic OTUs belonged to putative parasitic taxa. Except for a longitudinal trend in the relative influence of mixotrophs, there were no significant associations between major functional groups (autotrophs, heterotrophs and parasites) and spatial and environmental variables. Community dissimilarity increased significantly with increasing geographical distance between lakes. In accordance with earlier, microscopy-based surveys in this region, we demonstrate distinct gradients in protistan diversity and community composition, which are better explained by spatial structure than local environment. The strong association between longitude and protistan diversity is probably better explained by differences in regional species pools due to differences in landscape productivity than by dispersal limitation or climatic constraints.

  17. Hydrothermal vent community zonation along environmental gradients at the Lau back-arc spreading center

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kim, Stacy; Hammerstrom, Kamille

    2012-04-01

    The Lau back-arc spreading center exhibits gradients in hydrothermal vent habitat characteristics from north to south. Biological zonation within a few meters of vents has been described as temperature driven. We constructed georeferenced photomosaics of the seafloor out to tens of meters beyond vents to describe peripheral zonation and explore correlations between environmental conditions and the biological community. Cluster analysis separated northern sites from southern sites, corresponding to a break in substrate from basalt in the north to andesite in the south. Northern sites were dominated by anemones, and southern by sponges. A previous suggestion that dominants may be dependent on friability of the substrate was not supported; when visually distinguishable, individual species within taxa showed different patterns. Northern sites hosted proportionally more suspension feeding species. Sulfide that can support microbial food sources is at higher concentrations at these sites, though bathymetry that may enhance bottom currents is less rugged. Northern sites had higher diversity that may result from the overall northwards flow, which would generally permit easier dispersal downcurrent, though we observed no difference in dispersal strategies at different sites.

  18. Revealing patterns of local species richness along environmental gradients with a novel network tool.

    PubMed

    Baudena, Mara; Sánchez, Angel; Georg, Co-Pierre; Ruiz-Benito, Paloma; Rodríguez, Miguel Á; Zavala, Miguel A; Rietkerk, Max

    2015-06-25

    How species richness relates to environmental gradients at large extents is commonly investigated aggregating local site data to coarser grains. However, such relationships often change with the grain of analysis, potentially hiding the local signal. Here we show that a novel network technique, the "method of reflections", could unveil the relationships between species richness and climate without such drawbacks. We introduced a new index related to potential species richness, which revealed large scale patterns by including at the local community level information about species distribution throughout the dataset (i.e., the network). The method effectively removed noise, identifying how far site richness was from potential. When applying it to study woody species richness patterns in Spain, we observed that annual precipitation and mean annual temperature explained large parts of the variance of the newly defined species richness, highlighting that, at the local scale, communities in drier and warmer areas were potentially the species richest. Our method went far beyond what geographical upscaling of the data could unfold, and the insights obtained strongly suggested that it is a powerful instrument to detect key factors underlying species richness patterns, and that it could have numerous applications in ecology and other fields.

  19. Revealing patterns of local species richness along environmental gradients with a novel network tool

    PubMed Central

    Baudena, Mara; Sánchez, Angel; Georg, Co-Pierre; Ruiz-Benito, Paloma; Rodríguez, Miguel Á.; Zavala, Miguel A.; Rietkerk, Max

    2015-01-01

    How species richness relates to environmental gradients at large extents is commonly investigated aggregating local site data to coarser grains. However, such relationships often change with the grain of analysis, potentially hiding the local signal. Here we show that a novel network technique, the “method of reflections”, could unveil the relationships between species richness and climate without such drawbacks. We introduced a new index related to potential species richness, which revealed large scale patterns by including at the local community level information about species distribution throughout the dataset (i.e., the network). The method effectively removed noise, identifying how far site richness was from potential. When applying it to study woody species richness patterns in Spain, we observed that annual precipitation and mean annual temperature explained large parts of the variance of the newly defined species richness, highlighting that, at the local scale, communities in drier and warmer areas were potentially the species richest. Our method went far beyond what geographical upscaling of the data could unfold, and the insights obtained strongly suggested that it is a powerful instrument to detect key factors underlying species richness patterns, and that it could have numerous applications in ecology and other fields. PMID:26109495

  20. Effect of environmental gradient in coastal vegetation on communities of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi associated with Ixeris repens (Asteraceae).

    PubMed

    Yamato, Masahide; Yagame, Takahiro; Yoshimura, Yuko; Iwase, Koji

    2012-11-01

    The community structure of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi associated with Ixeris repens was studied in coastal vegetation near the Tottori sand dunes in Japan. I. repens produces roots from a subterranean stem growing near the soil surface which provides an opportunity to examine the effects of an environmental gradient related to distance from the sea on AM fungal communities at a regular soil depth. Based on partial sequences of the nuclear large subunit ribosomal RNA gene, AM fungi in root samples were divided into 17 phylotypes. Among these, five AM fungal phylotypes in Glomus and Diversispora were dominant near the seaward forefront of the vegetation. Redundancy analysis of the AM fungal community showed significant relationships between the distribution of phylotypes and environmental variables such as distance from the sea, water-soluble sodium in soil, and some coexisting plant species. These results suggest that environmental gradients in the coastal vegetation can be determinants of the AM fungal community.

  1. Behavior Learning Based on a Policy Gradient Method: Separation of Environmental Dynamics and State-Values in Policies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ishihara, Seiji; Igarashi, Harukazu

    Policy gradient methods are useful approaches to reinforcement learning. Applying the method to behavior learning, we can deal with each decision problem in different time-steps as a problem of minimizing an objective function. In this paper, we give the objective function consists of two types of parameters, which represent state-values and environmental dynamics. In order to separate the learning of the state-value from that of the environmental dynamics, we also give respective learning rules for each type of parameters. Furthermore, we show that the same set of state-values can be reused under different environmental dynamics.

  2. Population Differentiation and Species Formation in the Deep Sea: The Potential Role of Environmental Gradients and Depth

    PubMed Central

    Jennings, Robert M.; Etter, Ron J.; Ficarra, Lynn

    2013-01-01

    Ecological speciation probably plays a more prominent role in diversification than previously thought, particularly in marine ecosystems where dispersal potential is great and where few obvious barriers to gene flow exist. This may be especially true in the deep sea where allopatric speciation seems insufficient to account for the rich and largely endemic fauna. Ecologically driven population differentiation and speciation are likely to be most prevalent along environmental gradients, such as those attending changes in depth. We quantified patterns of genetic variation along a depth gradient (1600-3800m) in the western North Atlantic for a protobranch bivalve (Nuculaatacellana) to test for population divergence. Multilocus analyses indicated a sharp discontinuity across a narrow depth range, with extremely low gene flow inferred between shallow and deep populations for thousands of generations. Phylogeographical discordance occurred between nuclear and mitochondrial loci as might be expected during the early stages of species formation. Because the geographic distance between divergent populations is small and no obvious dispersal barriers exist in this region, we suggest the divergence might reflect ecologically driven selection mediated by environmental correlates of the depth gradient. As inferred for numerous shallow-water species, environmental gradients that parallel changes in depth may play a key role in the genesis and adaptive radiation of the deep-water fauna. PMID:24098590

  3. Temperature Regimes Impact Coral Assemblages along Environmental Gradients on Lagoonal Reefs in Belize

    PubMed Central

    Townsend, Joseph E.; Courtney, Travis A.; Aichelman, Hannah E.; Davies, Sarah W.; Lima, Fernando P.; Castillo, Karl D.

    2016-01-01

    Coral reefs are increasingly threatened by global and local anthropogenic stressors such as rising seawater temperature, nutrient enrichment, sedimentation, and overfishing. Although many studies have investigated the impacts of local and global stressors on coral reefs, we still do not fully understand how these stressors influence coral community structure, particularly across environmental gradients on a reef system. Here, we investigate coral community composition across three different temperature and productivity regimes along a nearshore-offshore gradient on lagoonal reefs of the Belize Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (MBRS). A novel metric was developed using ultra-high-resolution satellite-derived estimates of sea surface temperatures (SST) to classify reefs as exposed to low (lowTP), moderate (modTP), or high (highTP) temperature parameters over 10 years (2003 to 2012). Coral species richness, abundance, diversity, density, and percent cover were lower at highTP sites relative to lowTP and modTP sites, but these coral community traits did not differ significantly between lowTP and modTP sites. Analysis of coral life history strategies revealed that highTP sites were dominated by hardy stress-tolerant and fast-growing weedy coral species, while lowTP and modTP sites consisted of competitive, generalist, weedy, and stress-tolerant coral species. Satellite-derived estimates of Chlorophyll-a (chl-a) were obtained for 13-years (2003–2015) as a proxy for primary production. Chl-a concentrations were highest at highTP sites, medial at modTP sites, and lowest at lowTP sites. Notably, thermal parameters correlated better with coral community traits between site types than productivity, suggesting that temperature (specifically number of days above the thermal bleaching threshold) played a greater role in defining coral community structure than productivity on the MBRS. Dominance of weedy and stress-tolerant genera at highTP sites suggests that corals utilizing

  4. Temperature Regimes Impact Coral Assemblages along Environmental Gradients on Lagoonal Reefs in Belize.

    PubMed

    Baumann, Justin H; Townsend, Joseph E; Courtney, Travis A; Aichelman, Hannah E; Davies, Sarah W; Lima, Fernando P; Castillo, Karl D

    2016-01-01

    Coral reefs are increasingly threatened by global and local anthropogenic stressors such as rising seawater temperature, nutrient enrichment, sedimentation, and overfishing. Although many studies have investigated the impacts of local and global stressors on coral reefs, we still do not fully understand how these stressors influence coral community structure, particularly across environmental gradients on a reef system. Here, we investigate coral community composition across three different temperature and productivity regimes along a nearshore-offshore gradient on lagoonal reefs of the Belize Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (MBRS). A novel metric was developed using ultra-high-resolution satellite-derived estimates of sea surface temperatures (SST) to classify reefs as exposed to low (lowTP), moderate (modTP), or high (highTP) temperature parameters over 10 years (2003 to 2012). Coral species richness, abundance, diversity, density, and percent cover were lower at highTP sites relative to lowTP and modTP sites, but these coral community traits did not differ significantly between lowTP and modTP sites. Analysis of coral life history strategies revealed that highTP sites were dominated by hardy stress-tolerant and fast-growing weedy coral species, while lowTP and modTP sites consisted of competitive, generalist, weedy, and stress-tolerant coral species. Satellite-derived estimates of Chlorophyll-a (chl-a) were obtained for 13-years (2003-2015) as a proxy for primary production. Chl-a concentrations were highest at highTP sites, medial at modTP sites, and lowest at lowTP sites. Notably, thermal parameters correlated better with coral community traits between site types than productivity, suggesting that temperature (specifically number of days above the thermal bleaching threshold) played a greater role in defining coral community structure than productivity on the MBRS. Dominance of weedy and stress-tolerant genera at highTP sites suggests that corals utilizing

  5. The Effects of Urbanization and Other Environmental Gradients on Algal Assemblages in Nine Metropolitan Areas across the United States

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Coles, James F.; Bell, Amanda H.; Scudder, Barbara C.; Carpenter, Kurt D.

    2009-01-01

    The U.S. Geological Survey conducted studies from 2000 to 2004 to determine the effects of urbanization on stream ecosystems in nine major metropolitan study areas across the United States. Biological, chemical, and physical components of streams were assessed at 28 to 30 sites in each study area. Benthic algae were sampled to compare the degree to which algal assemblages correlated to urbanization, as characterized by an urban intensity index (UII), relative to other environmental gradients that function at either the watershed or reach scales. Ordination site scores were derived from principal components analyses of the environmental data to define environmental gradients at two spatial scales: (1) watershed-scale gradients that summarized (a) landscape modifications and (b) socioeconomic factors, and (2) reach-scale gradients that characterized (a) physical habitat and (b) water chemistry. Algal response was initially quantified by site scores derived from nonmetric multi-dimensional scaling ordinations of the algal assemblage data. The site scores were then correlated with a set of algal metrics of structure and function to help select specific indicators that would best represent changes in the algal assemblages and would infer ecological condition. The selected metrics were correlated to the UII and other environmental gradients. The results indicated that diatom-taxa in the assemblages were distinctly different across the nine study areas, likely due to physiographic differences across the country, but nevertheless, some algal metrics were applicable to all areas. Overall, the study results indicated that although the UII represented various landscape changes associated with urbanization across the country, the algal response was more strongly related to more specific factors generally associated with water quality measured within the stream reach.

  6. Spatial gradients of OCPs in European butter--integrating environmental and exposure information.

    PubMed

    Weiss, Jana; Müller, Anne; Vives, Ingrid; Mariani, Giulio; Umlauf, Gunther

    2013-05-01

    The Stockholm Convention and the Global Monitoring Plan encourage the production of monitoring data to effectively evaluate the presence of the persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in all regions, in order to identify changes in levels over time, as well as to provide information on their regional and global environmental transport. Here, we report the first step of two to investigate whether butter is a feasible matrix to screen with the purpose to reflect regional ambient atmospheric air levels of POPs. The first step described here is to generate monitoring data; the second is to investigate the relationship between the two matrixes, i.e., POP concentrations in air and butter, which will be reported in another article published in this journal. Here, the 27 organochlorine pesticides listed under the Stockholm Convention have been analyzed in 75 butter samples from Europe. The general conclusions were as follows: Total organochlorine pesticide concentration is lower in butter from northern and central Europe. The spatial gradient of 1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-di(4-chlorophenyl)ethane and hexachlorocyclohexane is increasing in the eastern region of Europe (Romania, Bulgaria, and Ukraine), dieldrin towards France, and endosulfan levels were elevated on the Azores Island in the Atlantic Ocean. One butter sample from Romania exceeded the European Maximum Residue Limit value for lindane, but the other butter pesticide levels were all below the limit values. The dataset reported here can be used for the calibration of the air-grass-dairy products model, which would support the feasibility to use butter as biomonitor for measuring POP levels in ambient air.

  7. Orchid Species Richness along Elevational and Environmental Gradients in Yunnan, China.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Shi-Bao; Chen, Wen-Yun; Huang, Jia-Lin; Bi, Ying-Feng; Yang, Xue-Fei

    2015-01-01

    The family Orchidaceae is not only one of the most diverse families of flowering plants, but also one of the most endangered plant taxa. Therefore, understanding how its species richness varies along geographical and environmental gradients is essential for conservation efforts. However, such knowledge is rarely available, especially on a large scale. We used a database extracted from herbarium records to investigate the relationships between orchid species richness and elevation, and to examine how elevational diversity in Yunnan Province, China, might be explained by mid-domain effect (MDE), species-area relationship (SAR), water-energy dynamics (WED), Rapoport's Rule, and climatic variables. This particular location was selected because it is one of the primary centers of distribution for orchids. We recorded 691 species that span 127 genera and account for 88.59% of all confirmed orchid species in Yunnan. Species richness, estimated at 200-m intervals along a slope, was closely correlated with elevation, peaking at 1395 to 1723 m. The elevational pattern of orchid richness was considerably shaped by MDE, SAR, WED, and climate. Among those four predictors, climate was the strongest while MDE was the weakest for predicting the elevational pattern of orchid richness. Species richness showed parabolic responses to mean annual temperature (MAT) and mean annual precipitation (MAP), with maximum richness values recorded at 13.7 to 17.7°C for MAT and 1237 to 1414 mm for MAP. Rapoport's Rule also helped to explain the elevational pattern of species richness in Yunnan, but those influences were not entirely uniform across all methods. These results suggested that the elevational pattern of orchid species richness in Yunnan is collectively shaped by several mechanisms related to geometric constraints, size of the land area, and environments. Because of the dominant role of climate in determining orchid richness, our findings may contribute to a better understanding of

  8. Global Gradients of Coral Exposure to Environmental Stresses and Implications for Local Management

    PubMed Central

    Maina, Joseph; McClanahan, Tim R.; Venus, Valentijn; Ateweberhan, Mebrahtu; Madin, Joshua

    2011-01-01

    Background The decline of coral reefs globally underscores the need for a spatial assessment of their exposure to multiple environmental stressors to estimate vulnerability and evaluate potential counter-measures. Methodology/Principal Findings This study combined global spatial gradients of coral exposure to radiation stress factors (temperature, UV light and doldrums), stress-reinforcing factors (sedimentation and eutrophication), and stress-reducing factors (temperature variability and tidal amplitude) to produce a global map of coral exposure and identify areas where exposure depends on factors that can be locally managed. A systems analytical approach was used to define interactions between radiation stress variables, stress reinforcing variables and stress reducing variables. Fuzzy logic and spatial ordinations were employed to quantify coral exposure to these stressors. Globally, corals are exposed to radiation and reinforcing stress, albeit with high spatial variability within regions. Based on ordination of exposure grades, regions group into two clusters. The first cluster was composed of severely exposed regions with high radiation and low reducing stress scores (South East Asia, Micronesia, Eastern Pacific and the central Indian Ocean) or alternatively high reinforcing stress scores (the Middle East and the Western Australia). The second cluster was composed of moderately to highly exposed regions with moderate to high scores in both radiation and reducing factors (Caribbean, Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Central Pacific, Polynesia and the western Indian Ocean) where the GBR was strongly associated with reinforcing stress. Conclusions/Significance Despite radiation stress being the most dominant stressor, the exposure of coral reefs could be reduced by locally managing chronic human impacts that act to reinforce radiation stress. Future research and management efforts should focus on incorporating the factors that mitigate the effect of coral stressors

  9. Abiotic tooth enamel

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yeom, Bongjun; Sain, Trisha; Lacevic, Naida; Bukharina, Daria; Cha, Sang-Ho; Waas, Anthony M.; Arruda, Ellen M.; Kotov, Nicholas A.

    2017-03-01

    Tooth enamel comprises parallel microscale and nanoscale ceramic columns or prisms interlaced with a soft protein matrix. This structural motif is unusually consistent across all species from all geological eras. Such invariability—especially when juxtaposed with the diversity of other tissues—suggests the existence of a functional basis. Here we performed ex vivo replication of enamel-inspired columnar nanocomposites by sequential growth of zinc oxide nanowire carpets followed by layer-by-layer deposition of a polymeric matrix around these. We show that the mechanical properties of these nanocomposites, including hardness, are comparable to those of enamel despite the nanocomposites having a smaller hard-phase content. Our abiotic enamels have viscoelastic figures of merit (VFOM) and weight-adjusted VFOM that are similar to, or higher than, those of natural tooth enamels—we achieve values that exceed the traditional materials limits of 0.6 and 0.8, respectively. VFOM values describe resistance to vibrational damage, and our columnar composites demonstrate that light-weight materials of unusually high resistance to structural damage from shocks, environmental vibrations and oscillatory stress can be made using biomimetic design. The previously inaccessible combinations of high stiffness, damping and light weight that we achieve in these layer-by-layer composites are attributed to efficient energy dissipation in the interfacial portion of the organic phase. The in vivo contribution of this interfacial portion to macroscale deformations along the tooth’s normal is maximized when the architecture is columnar, suggesting an evolutionary advantage of the columnar motif in the enamel of living species. We expect our findings to apply to all columnar composites and to lead to the development of high-performance load-bearing materials.

  10. Abiotic tooth enamel.

    PubMed

    Yeom, Bongjun; Sain, Trisha; Lacevic, Naida; Bukharina, Daria; Cha, Sang-Ho; Waas, Anthony M; Arruda, Ellen M; Kotov, Nicholas A

    2017-03-01

    Tooth enamel comprises parallel microscale and nanoscale ceramic columns or prisms interlaced with a soft protein matrix. This structural motif is unusually consistent across all species from all geological eras. Such invariability-especially when juxtaposed with the diversity of other tissues-suggests the existence of a functional basis. Here we performed ex vivo replication of enamel-inspired columnar nanocomposites by sequential growth of zinc oxide nanowire carpets followed by layer-by-layer deposition of a polymeric matrix around these. We show that the mechanical properties of these nanocomposites, including hardness, are comparable to those of enamel despite the nanocomposites having a smaller hard-phase content. Our abiotic enamels have viscoelastic figures of merit (VFOM) and weight-adjusted VFOM that are similar to, or higher than, those of natural tooth enamels-we achieve values that exceed the traditional materials limits of 0.6 and 0.8, respectively. VFOM values describe resistance to vibrational damage, and our columnar composites demonstrate that light-weight materials of unusually high resistance to structural damage from shocks, environmental vibrations and oscillatory stress can be made using biomimetic design. The previously inaccessible combinations of high stiffness, damping and light weight that we achieve in these layer-by-layer composites are attributed to efficient energy dissipation in the interfacial portion of the organic phase. The in vivo contribution of this interfacial portion to macroscale deformations along the tooth's normal is maximized when the architecture is columnar, suggesting an evolutionary advantage of the columnar motif in the enamel of living species. We expect our findings to apply to all columnar composites and to lead to the development of high-performance load-bearing materials.

  11. Imprints of natural selection along environmental gradients in phenology-related genes of Quercus petraea.

    PubMed

    Alberto, Florian J; Derory, Jérémy; Boury, Christophe; Frigerio, Jean-Marc; Zimmermann, Niklaus E; Kremer, Antoine

    2013-10-01

    We explored single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) variation in candidate genes for bud burst from Quercus petraea populations sampled along gradients of latitude and altitude in Western Europe. SNP diversity was monitored for 106 candidate genes, in 758 individuals from 32 natural populations. We investigated whether SNP variation reflected the clinal pattern of bud burst observed in common garden experiments. We used different methods to detect imprints of natural selection (FST outlier, clinal variation at allelic frequencies, association tests) and compared the results obtained for the two gradients. FST outlier SNPs were found in 15 genes, 5 of which were common to both gradients. The type of selection differed between the two gradients (directional or balancing) for 3 of these 5. Clinal variations were observed for six SNPs, and one cline was conserved across both gradients. Association tests between the phenotypic or breeding values of trees and SNP genotypes identified 14 significant associations, involving 12 genes. The results of outlier detection on the basis of population differentiation or clinal variation were not very consistent with the results of association tests. The discrepancies between these approaches may reflect the different hierarchical levels of selection considered (inter- and intrapopulation selection). Finally, we obtained evidence for convergent selection (similar for gradients) and clinal variation for a few genes, suggesting that comparisons between parallel gradients could be used to screen for major candidate genes responding to natural selection in trees.

  12. Interactions between Canopy Structure and Herbaceous Biomass along Environmental Gradients in Moist Forest and Dry Miombo Woodland of Tanzania

    PubMed Central

    Shirima, Deo D.; Pfeifer, Marion; Platts, Philip J.; Totland, Ørjan; Moe, Stein R.

    2015-01-01

    We have limited understanding of how tropical canopy foliage varies along environmental gradients, and how this may in turn affect forest processes and functions. Here, we analyse the relationships between canopy leaf area index (LAI) and above ground herbaceous biomass (AGBH) along environmental gradients in a moist forest and miombo woodland in Tanzania. We recorded canopy structure and herbaceous biomass in 100 permanent vegetation plots (20 m × 40 m), stratified by elevation. We quantified tree species richness, evenness, Shannon diversity and predominant height as measures of structural variability, and disturbance (tree stumps), soil nutrients and elevation as indicators of environmental variability. Moist forest and miombo woodland differed substantially with respect to nearly all variables tested. Both structural and environmental variables were found to affect LAI and AGBH, the latter being additionally dependent on LAI in moist forest but not in miombo, where other factors are limiting. Combining structural and environmental predictors yielded the most powerful models. In moist forest, they explained 76% and 25% of deviance in LAI and AGBH, respectively. In miombo woodland, they explained 82% and 45% of deviance in LAI and AGBH. In moist forest, LAI increased non-linearly with predominant height and linearly with tree richness, and decreased with soil nitrogen except under high disturbance. Miombo woodland LAI increased linearly with stem density, soil phosphorous and nitrogen, and decreased linearly with tree species evenness. AGBH in moist forest decreased with LAI at lower elevations whilst increasing slightly at higher elevations. AGBH in miombo woodland increased linearly with soil nitrogen and soil pH. Overall, moist forest plots had denser canopies and lower AGBH compared with miombo plots. Further field studies are encouraged, to disentangle the direct influence of LAI on AGBH from complex interrelationships between stand structure, environmental

  13. Orchid Species Richness along Elevational and Environmental Gradients in Yunnan, China

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Shi-Bao; Chen, Wen-Yun; Huang, Jia-Lin; Bi, Ying-Feng; Yang, Xue-Fei

    2015-01-01

    The family Orchidaceae is not only one of the most diverse families of flowering plants, but also one of the most endangered plant taxa. Therefore, understanding how its species richness varies along geographical and environmental gradients is essential for conservation efforts. However, such knowledge is rarely available, especially on a large scale. We used a database extracted from herbarium records to investigate the relationships between orchid species richness and elevation, and to examine how elevational diversity in Yunnan Province, China, might be explained by mid-domain effect (MDE), species–area relationship (SAR), water–energy dynamics (WED), Rapoport’s Rule, and climatic variables. This particular location was selected because it is one of the primary centers of distribution for orchids. We recorded 691 species that span 127 genera and account for 88.59% of all confirmed orchid species in Yunnan. Species richness, estimated at 200-m intervals along a slope, was closely correlated with elevation, peaking at 1395 to 1723 m. The elevational pattern of orchid richness was considerably shaped by MDE, SAR, WED, and climate. Among those four predictors, climate was the strongest while MDE was the weakest for predicting the elevational pattern of orchid richness. Species richness showed parabolic responses to mean annual temperature (MAT) and mean annual precipitation (MAP), with maximum richness values recorded at 13.7 to 17.7°C for MAT and 1237 to 1414 mm for MAP. Rapoport’s Rule also helped to explain the elevational pattern of species richness in Yunnan, but those influences were not entirely uniform across all methods. These results suggested that the elevational pattern of orchid species richness in Yunnan is collectively shaped by several mechanisms related to geometric constraints, size of the land area, and environments. Because of the dominant role of climate in determining orchid richness, our findings may contribute to a better

  14. [Responses of delta13 C values of plant leaves to environmental gradients along environmental gradient factors in rocky desertified area of a typical karst Ggorge].

    PubMed

    Rong, Li; Wang, Shi-Jie; Du, Xue-Lian

    2008-10-01

    We analyzed the responses of delta13 C values of plant leaves to environmental factors (namely, soil water storage, air relative humidity, light intensity, depths of soil, soil organic content, average temperature and soil water content) and the correlations between them, by measuring delta13 C values of leaves for 11 plants species from 4 typical communities with different karst rocky desertification backgrounds in a typical karst catchments basin, Huajiang Gorge. It is revealed that, the delta13 C values and water use efficient of most species decrease with the increasing of water supply; but a few species exhibit an opposite trend and several others exhibit no change in delta13 C values or water use efficiency when these environmental factors varied. Moreover, the correlation analysis indicates that the soil water storage is the leading factor for Pistacia weinmannifolia, Mallotus repandus and Alchornea trewioides, while the depths of soil is essential factor for Nephrolepis cordifolia and Mallotus japonicus var. floccosus, and the light intensity is leading factor for N. cordifolia, Alangium chinense, Broussonetia papyrifera. However, the leading factor for some species like Rapanea kwangsiensis, Sapium rotundifolium and Cipadessa cinerascens are yet not clear, which mean their delta13 C values are affected by more comprehensive factors. Hence it could be concluded that high delta13 C values of leaves could indicate the adaptability of plants for low water regime, high light and low resource environments.

  15. Diagnosing Abiotic Degradation

    EPA Science Inventory

    The abiotic degradation of chlorinated solvents in ground water can be difficult to diagnose. Under current practice, most of the “evidence” is negative; specifically the apparent disappearance of chlorinated solvents with an accumulation of vinyl chloride, ethane, ethylene, or ...

  16. Acacia koa forest classification and productivity assessment across environmental gradients in Hawaii using fine resolution remotely sensed imagery

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martinez Morales, R.; Idol, T.; Chen, Q.

    2009-05-01

    Koa (Acacia koa) is an important native tree species in Hawaii economically and ecologically. Different Acacia koa (koa) forest types are found across the elevation and rainfall gradients typical of the Hawaiian Islands. The purpose of this study was to develop methodologies to differentiate these forests and to assess indices and indicators of forest productivity across these gradients using fine resolution remotely sensed imagery. IKONOS satellite imagery was analyzed using advanced statistical modeling and compared to field measurements of productivity indices. The calculation of several vegetation indices that are commonly used in vegetation studies, allowed classification of various koa forest types into micro-regions in wet and dry locations across elevation gradients ranging from 300-850 m. Vegetation indices and image texture parameters strongly related to tree height, N, P and specific leaf area and less strongly with leaf area index and basal area across gradient sites. This allowed development of statistical models that can be used in the assessment of koa forest productivity indices at landscape and regional scales. This will also allow for the application of specific forest management strategies suitable to the environmental conditions and plant requirements for optimal tree growth in each micro-region.

  17. Can environmental conditions affect smallholders' climate change perception? Evidence from an aridity gradient in the Gobi desert.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rueff, Henri

    2016-04-01

    There is a growing interest in smallholders' climate change perception (CCP). Understanding what people perceive in relation to the climate they endure supports national climate change adaptation policy especially relevant to uncertain and resource-scarce environments. Most research so far focused on the accuracy of CCP compared to observed climatic data. However, the potential effect of factors influencing peoples' perceptions remains largely unstudied. This research tests two hypotheses in a desert environment; first, that CCP varies along an aridity gradient, and, second, that respondents are more consistent (answers less far apart) in their CCP when facing more climate shocks, which supports the first hypothesis. A semi-structured survey was conducted among nomadic (Mongolia) (n=180) and semi-nomadic (Inner Mongolia-China) (n=180) herders, to analyse perception along an aridity gradient (proxied by Normalised Difference Vegetation Index) covering an array of climate change issues in the Gobi. Results suggests that environmental conditions have a significant effect on CCP but only in terms of experienced climate shocks. The CCP for other climatic variables (rain, season length) is more diffused and can poorly be predicted by the surrounding environment smallholders live in. Institutional contrasts between China and Mongolia explain marginally differences of perception. Further research is needed to validate these results among smallholders on other environmental gradient types, for examples along altitudinal biome stratification in mountain environments.

  18. Influence of environmental gradients on the distribution of benthic resources available for shorebirds on intertidal mudflats of Yves Bay, France

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Philippe, Anne S.; Pinaud, David; Cayatte, Marie-Laure; Goulevant, Cyril; Lachaussée, Nicolas; Pineau, Philippe; Karpytchev, Mikhail; Bocher, Pierrick

    2016-06-01

    The case study of Yves Bay (Pertuis Charentais, France) highlighted links between environmental gradients (i.e. sediment characteristics and emersion time) and prey distribution and availability for the two most numerous shorebird species overwintering in Yves Bay: the red knot Calidris canutus and the dunlin Calidris alpina. Two hundred and fifty-two stations were sampled on a predetermined 250 m regular grid covering the intertidal mudflats of this major wintering site in France for east-Atlantic migratory shorebirds. The distribution of principal benthic species abundance and biomass was modelled along two environmental gradients: sediment structure (particularly pronounced north-south sand-mud gradient) and emersion time. The effect of emersion time combined with sedimentary structure strongly explained abundances and biomasses of the main prey for C. canutus and C. alpina in the bay (Cerastoderma edule, Hydrobia ulvae, Macoma balthica, Scrobicularia plana, and Nephtys hombergii). This study highlighted prey species-specific spatial segregation/overlapping as well as spatial interferences in the trophic niche of the two shorebirds.

  19. Patterns in Temporal Variability of Temperature, Oxygen and pH along an Environmental Gradient in a Coral Reef

    PubMed Central

    Guadayol, Òscar; Silbiger, Nyssa J.; Donahue, Megan J.; Thomas, Florence I. M.

    2014-01-01

    Spatial and temporal environmental variability are important drivers of ecological processes at all scales. As new tools allow the in situ exploration of individual responses to fluctuations, ecologically meaningful ways of characterizing environmental variability at organism scales are needed. We investigated the fine-scale spatial heterogeneity of high-frequency temporal variability in temperature, dissolved oxygen concentration, and pH experienced by benthic organisms in a shallow coastal coral reef. We used a spatio-temporal sampling design, consisting of 21 short-term time-series located along a reef flat-to-reef slope transect, coupled to a long-term station monitoring water column changes. Spectral analyses revealed sharp gradients in variance decomposed by frequency, as well as differences between physically-driven and biologically-reactive parameters. These results highlight the importance of environmental variance at organismal scales and present a new sampling scheme for exploring this variability in situ. PMID:24416364

  20. Natural variation in abiotic stress responsive gene expression and local adaptation to climate in Arabidopsis thaliana.

    PubMed

    Lasky, Jesse R; Des Marais, David L; Lowry, David B; Povolotskaya, Inna; McKay, John K; Richards, James H; Keitt, Timothy H; Juenger, Thomas E

    2014-09-01

    Gene expression varies widely in natural populations, yet the proximate and ultimate causes of this variation are poorly known. Understanding how variation in gene expression affects abiotic stress tolerance, fitness, and adaptation is central to the field of evolutionary genetics. We tested the hypothesis that genes with natural genetic variation in their expression responses to abiotic stress are likely to be involved in local adaptation to climate in Arabidopsis thaliana. Specifically, we compared genes with consistent expression responses to environmental stress (expression stress responsive, "eSR") to genes with genetically variable responses to abiotic stress (expression genotype-by-environment interaction, "eGEI"). We found that on average genes that exhibited eGEI in response to drought or cold had greater polymorphism in promoter regions and stronger associations with climate than those of eSR genes or genomic controls. We also found that transcription factor binding sites known to respond to environmental stressors, especially abscisic acid responsive elements, showed significantly higher polymorphism in drought eGEI genes in comparison to eSR genes. By contrast, eSR genes tended to exhibit relatively greater pairwise haplotype sharing, lower promoter diversity, and fewer nonsynonymous polymorphisms, suggesting purifying selection or selective sweeps. Our results indicate that cis-regulatory evolution and genetic variation in stress responsive gene expression may be important mechanisms of local adaptation to climatic selective gradients.

  1. Wood specific gravity and anatomy of branches and roots in 113 Amazonian rainforest tree species across environmental gradients.

    PubMed

    Fortunel, Claire; Ruelle, Julien; Beauchêne, Jacques; Fine, Paul V A; Baraloto, Christopher

    2014-04-01

    Wood specific gravity (WSG) is a strong predictor of tree performance across environmental gradients. Yet it remains unclear how anatomical elements linked to different wood functions contribute to variation in WSG in branches and roots across tropical forests. We examined WSG and wood anatomy in white sand, clay terra firme and seasonally flooded forests in French Guiana, spanning broad environmental gradients found throughout Amazonia. We measured 15 traits relating to branches and small woody roots in 113 species representing the 15 most abundant species in each habitat and representative species from seven monophyletic lineages occurring in all habitats. Fiber traits appear to be major determinants of WSG, independent of vessel traits, in branches and roots. Fiber traits and branch and root WSG increased from seasonally flooded species to clay terra firme species and lastly to white sand species. Branch and root wood traits were strongly phylogenetically constrained. Lineages differed in wood design, but exhibited similar variation in wood structure across habitats. We conclude that tropical trees can invest differently in support and transport to respond to environmental conditions. Wind disturbance and drought stress represent significant filters driving tree distribution of Amazonian forests; hence we suggest that biophysical explanations should receive more attention.

  2. Abiotic origin of biopolymers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oro, J.; Stephen-Sherwood, E.

    1976-01-01

    A variety of methods have been investigated in different laboratories for the polymerization of amino acids and nucleotides under abiotic conditions. They include (1) thermal polymerization; (2) direct polymerization of certain amino acid nitriles, amides, or esters; (3) polymerization using polyphosphate esters; (4) polymerization under aqueous or drying conditions at moderate temperatures using a variety of simple catalysts or condensing agents like cyanamide, dicyandiamide, or imidazole; and (5) polymerization under similar mild conditions but employing activated monomers or abiotically synthesized high-energy compounds such as adenosine 5'-triphosphate (ATP). The role and significance of these methods for the synthesis of oligopeptides and oligonucleotides under possible primitive-earth conditions is evaluated. It is concluded that the more recent approach involving chemical processes similar to those used by contemporary living organisms appears to offer a reasonable solution to the prebiotic synthesis of these biopolymers.

  3. Productivity and species richness across an environmental gradient in a fire-dependent ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Kirkman, L K; Mitchell, R J; Helton, R C; Drew, M B

    2001-11-01

    The fire-dependent longleaf pine-wiregrass (Pinus palustris Mill.-Aristida beyrichiana Trin. & Rupr.) savannas of the southeastern United States provide a unique opportunity to examine the relationship between productivity and species richness in a natural ecosystem because of the extremely high number of species and their range across a wide ecological amplitude (sandhills to edges of wetlands). We used a natural gradient to examine how plant species richness and plant community structure vary with standing crop biomass (which in this system is proportional to annual net productivity) as a function of soil moisture and nitrogen mineralization rates in a frequently burned longleaf pine-wiregrass savanna. Highest ground cover biomass and highest species richness were found at the same position along the gradient, the wet-mesic sites. Relative differences in species richness among site types were independent of scale, ranging from 0.01 m(2) to 100 m(2). Nitrogen availability was negatively correlated with species richness. Dominance of wiregrass (in terms of biomass) was consistent across the gradient and not correlated with species richness. Regardless of site type, the community structure of the savannas was characterized by many perennial species with infrequent occurrences, a factor in the low temporal heterogeneity (percent similarity between seasons and years) and high within-site spatial heterogeneity (percent dissimilarity of vegetation composition). The coexistence of numerous species is likely due to the high frequency of fire that removes competing hardwood vegetation and litter and to the suite of fire-adapted perennial species that, once established, are able to persist. Our results suggest that soil moisture is an important factor regulating both the number of species present and community production within the defined gradient of this study.

  4. Relationships of sedimented diatom species (Bacillariophyceae) to environmental gradients in dilute northern New England lakes

    SciTech Connect

    Anderson, D.S.; Davis, R.B. ); Ford, M.S. )

    1993-06-01

    Limnological gradients of small, oligotrophic, and low conductance lakes in northern New England were defined by principal components analysis; relationships of sedimented diatom species to the gradients were investigated by correlation analysis. Diatom distributions were most strongly related to the gradient of pH and alkalinity and the covarying variables, conductance, Mg, Ca, total Al, and exchangeable Al. Weaker relationships to lake morphology, dissolved organic carbon and water color, altitude and marine aerosol inputs, and the distinctive water chemistry of some New Hampshire lakes were also present. Results for 16 taxa of importance in the authors' studies of lake acidity are given in detail and are compared to results from other regions of eastern North America. Planktonic taxa were absent below pH 5.5, with the exception of the long form of Asterionella ralfsii var. americana Korn. The two forms of this taxon differed ecologically: the long form ([ge] 45 [mu]m) had an abundance weighted mean (AWM) pH 5.53 and occurred mostly in lakes that were deep relative to transparency; the short form (< 45 [mu]m) had an AWM pH 4.90 and occurred in lakes that were shallow relative to transparency. The ecological advantage of a [open quotes]splitter[close quotes] approach to diatom taxonomy was demonstrated by examination of other taxa as well, including Tabellaria flocculosa (Roth) Kuetz. These results have important implications for paleolimnological interpretations. 66 refs., 6 figs., 4 tabs.

  5. Environmental gradients and identification of wetlands in north-central Florida

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Davis, M.M.; Sprecher, S.W.; Wakeley, J.S.; Best, G.R.

    1996-01-01

    Vegetation composition, soil morphology, and hydrology were characterized along wetland-to-upland gradients at six forested sites in north-central Florida to compare results of Federal wetland delineation methods with 3–5 yr of hydrologic data. Wetland and non-wetland identifications were supported by hydrology data in eight of nine plant communities. Lack of hydric soil indicators and hydrophytic vegetation in two upland communities (scrub and mixed mesic hardwoods) agreed with a deep water table. Six wetland communities (cypress dome, cypress strand, bayhead, cypress/bayhead, red maple/oak swamp, and cedar swamp) with field indicators of wetland hydrology, hydrophytic vegetation, and hydric soils were inundated or had water tables at or near the ground surface at least 5% of the growing season in most years., Flatwoods communities, however, occurred at intermediate positions on the moisture gradient and could not be consistently identified as wetland or upland communities. Identification of flatwoods as wetlands depended on wetland delineation method and was not usually supported by hydrologic measurements. In the flatwoods community, soil properties and vegetation composition were correlated with the mean and standard deviation of water-table depths, as well as the depth continuously exceeded by the water table at least 5% of the growing season in most years. Various hydrologic parameters need to be considered in addition to the 5% exceedence level currently used in Federal wetland delineation guidance when characterizing wetland conditions in low-gradient areas such as flatwoods.

  6. SDSS-IV MaNGA: environmental dependence of stellar age and metallicity gradients in nearby galaxies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zheng, Zheng; Wang, Huiyuan; Ge, Junqiang; Mao, Shude; Li, Cheng; Li, Ran; Mo, Houjun; Goddard, Daniel; Bundy, Kevin; Li, Hongyu; Nair, Preethi; Lin, Lihwai; Long, R. J.; Riffel, Rogério; Thomas, Daniel; Masters, Karen; Bizyaev, Dmitry; Brownstein, Joel R.; Zhang, Kai; Law, David R.; Drory, Niv; Roman Lopes, Alexandre; Malanushenko, Olena

    2017-03-01

    We present a study on the stellar age and metallicity distributions for 1105 galaxies using the STARLIGHT software on MaNGA (Mapping Nearby Galaxies at APO) integral field spectra. We derive age and metallicity gradients by fitting straight lines to the radial profiles, and explore their correlations with total stellar mass M*, NUV - r colour and environments, as identified by both the large-scale structure (LSS) type and the local density. We find that the mean age and metallicity gradients are close to zero but slightly negative, which is consistent with the inside-out formation scenario. Within our sample, we find that both the age and metallicity gradients show weak or no correlation with either the LSS type or local density environment. In addition, we also study the environmental dependence of age and metallicity values at the effective radii. The age and metallicity values are highly correlated with M* and NUV - r and are also dependent on LSS type as well as local density. Low-mass galaxies tend to be younger and have lower metallicity in low-density environments while high-mass galaxies are less affected by environment.

  7. Colony size-frequency distribution of pocilloporid juvenile corals along a natural environmental gradient in the Red Sea.

    PubMed

    Lozano-Cortés, Diego F; Berumen, Michael L

    2016-04-30

    Coral colony size-frequency distributions can be used to assess population responses to local environmental conditions and disturbances. In this study, we surveyed juvenile pocilloporids, herbivorous fish densities, and algal cover in the central and southern Saudi Arabian Red Sea. We sampled nine reefs with different disturbance histories along a north-south natural gradient of physicochemical conditions (higher salinity and wider temperature fluctuations in the north, and higher turbidity and productivity in the south). Since coral populations with negatively skewed size-frequency distributions have been associated with unfavorable environmental conditions, we expected to find more negative distributions in the southern Red Sea, where corals are potentially experiencing suboptimal conditions. Although juvenile coral and parrotfish densities differed significantly between the two regions, mean colony size and size-frequency distributions did not. Results suggest that pocilloporid colony size-frequency distribution may not be an accurate indicator of differences in biological or oceanographic conditions in the Red Sea.

  8. Environmental drivers of carbon and nitrogen isotopic signatures in peatland vascular plants along an altitude gradient.

    PubMed

    Gavazov, Konstantin; Hagedorn, Frank; Buttler, Alexandre; Siegwolf, Rolf; Bragazza, Luca

    2016-01-01

    Peatlands are important sinks of atmospheric carbon (C) that, in response to climate warming, are undergoing dynamic vegetation succession. Here we examined the hypothesis that the uptake of nutrients by different plant growth forms (PGFs) is one key mechanism driving changes in species abundance in peatlands. Along an altitude gradient representing a natural climate experiment, we compared the variability of the stable C isotope composition (δ(13)C) and stable nitrogen (N) isotope composition (δ(15)N) in current-year leaves of two major PGFs, i.e. ericoids and graminoids. The climate gradient was associated with a gradient of vascular plant cover, which was parallelled by different concentrations of organic and inorganic N as well as the fungal/bacterial ratio in peat. In both PGFs the (13)C natural abundance showed a marginal spatial decrease with altitude and a temporal decrease with progression of the growing season. Our data highlight a primary physical control of foliar δ(13)C signature, which is independent from the PGFs. Natural abundance of foliar (15)N did not show any seasonal pattern and only in the ericoids showed depletion at lower elevation. This decreasing δ(15)N pattern was primarily controlled by the higher relative availability of organic versus inorganic N and, only for the ericoids, by an increased proportion of fungi to bacteria in soil. Our space-for-time approach demonstrates that a change in abundance of PGFs is associated with a different strategy of nutrient acquisition (i.e. transfer via mycorrhizal symbiosis versus direct fine-root uptake), which could likely promote observed and predicted dwarf shrub expansion under climate change.

  9. Untangling human and environmental effects on geographical gradients of mammal species richness: a global and regional evaluation.

    PubMed

    Torres-Romero, Erik Joaquín; Olalla-Tárraga, Miguel Á

    2015-05-01

    Different hypotheses (geographical, ecological, evolutionary or a combination of them) have been suggested to account for the spatial variation in species richness. However, the relative importance of environment and human impacts in explaining these patterns, either globally or at the biogeographical region level, remains largely unexplored. Here, we jointly evaluate how current environmental conditions and human impacts shape global and regional gradients of species richness in terrestrial mammals. We processed IUCN global distributional data for 3939 mammal species and a set of seven environmental and two human impact variables at a spatial resolution of 96.5 × 96.5 km. We used simple, multiple and partial regression techniques to evaluate environmental and human effects on species richness. Actual evapotranspiration (AET) is the main driver of mammal species richness globally. Together with our results at the biogeographical realm level, this lends strong support for the water-energy hypothesis (i.e. global diversity gradients are best explained by the interaction of water and energy, with a latitudinal shift in the relative importance of ambient energy vs. water availability as we move from the poles to the equator). While human effects on species richness are not easily detected at a global scale due to the large proportion of shared variance with the environment, these effects significantly emerge at the regional level. In the Nearctic, Palearctic and Oriental regions, the independent contribution of human impacts is almost as important as current environmental conditions in explaining richness patterns. The intersection of human impacts with climate drives the geographical variation in mammal species richness in the Palearctic, Nearctic and Oriental regions. Using a human accessibility variable, we show, for the first time, that the zones most accessible to humans are often those where we find lower mammal species richness.

  10. Vascular plant species richness along environmental gradients in a cool temperate to sub-alpine mountainous zone in central Japan.

    PubMed

    Tsujino, Riyou; Yumoto, Takakazu

    2013-03-01

    In order to clarify how vegetation types change along the environmental gradients in a cool temperate to sub-alpine mountainous zone and the determinant factors that define plant species richness, we established 360 plots (each 4 × 10 m) within which the vegetation type, species richness, elevation, topographic position index (TPI), slope inclination, and ground light index (GLI) of the natural vegetation were surveyed. Mean elevation, TPI, slope inclination, and GLI differed across vegetation types. Tree species richness was negatively correlated with elevation, whereas fern and herb species richness were positively correlated. Tree species richness was greater in the upper slope area than the lower slope area, whereas fern and herb species richness were greater in the lower slope area. Ferns and trees species richness were smaller in the open canopy, whereas herb species richness was greater in the open canopy. Vegetation types were determined firstly by elevation and secondary by topographic configurations, such as topographic position, and slope inclination. Elevation and topography were the most important factors affecting plant richness, but the most influential variables differed among plant life-form groups. Moreover, the species richness responses to these environmental gradients greatly differed among ferns, herbs, and trees.

  11. ANALYSIS OF MACROINVERTEBRATE ASSEMBLAGES IN RELATION TO ENVIRONMENTAL GRADIENTS IN ROCKY MOUNTAIN STREAMS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Using redundancy analysis (RDA) and canonical correspondence analysis (CCA), we assessed relationships among chemical and physical characteristics and macroinvertebrate assemblages at stream sites sampled by the Regional Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (R-EMAP) in...

  12. ANALYSIS OF MACROINVERTEBRATE ASSEMBLAGES IN RELATION TO ENVIRONMENTAL GRADIENTS AMONG LOTIC HABITATS OF CALIFORNIA'S CENTRAL VALLEY

    EPA Science Inventory

    We analyzed relationships between environmental characteristics and macroinvertebrate assemblages in lotic habitats of California's Central Valley with community metric and multivariate statistical approaches. Using canonical ordination analyses, we contrasted results when asse...

  13. The structure of Mediterranean rocky reef ecosystems across environmental and human gradients, and conservation implications

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sala, Enric; Ballesteros, Enric; Dendrinos, Panagiotis; Di Franco, Antonio; Ferretti, Francesco; Foley, David; Fraschetti, Simonetta; Friedlander, Alan M.; Garrabou, Joaquim; Guclusoy, Harun; Guidetti, Paolo; Halpern, Benjamin S.; Hereu, Bernat; Karamanlidis, Alexandros A.; Kizilkaya, Zafer; Macpherson, Enrique; Mangialajo, Luisa; Mariani, Simone; Micheli, Fiorenza; Pais, Antonio; Riser, Kristin; Rosenberg, Andrew A.; Sales, Marta; Selkoe, Kimberly A.; Starr, Rick; Tomas, Fiona; Zabala, Mikel

    2012-01-01

    Historical exploitation of the Mediterranean Sea and the absence of rigorous baselines makes it difficult to evaluate the current health of the marine ecosystems and the efficacy of conservation actions at the ecosystem level. Here we establish the first current baseline and gradient of ecosystem structure of nearshore rocky reefs at the Mediterranean scale. We conducted underwater surveys in 14 marine protected areas and 18 open access sites across the Mediterranean, and across a 31-fold range of fish biomass (from 3.8 to 118 g m-2). Our data showed remarkable variation in the structure of rocky reef ecosystems. Multivariate analysis showed three alternative community states: (1) large fish biomass and reefs dominated by non-canopy algae, (2) lower fish biomass but abundant native algal canopies and suspension feeders, and (3) low fish biomass and extensive barrens, with areas covered by turf algae. Our results suggest that the healthiest shallow rocky reef ecosystems in the Mediterranean have both large fish and algal biomass. Protection level and primary production were the only variables significantly correlated to community biomass structure. Fish biomass was significantly larger in well-enforced no-take marine reserves, but there were no significant differences between multi-use marine protected areas (which allow some fishing) and open access areas at the regional scale. The gradients reported here represent a trajectory of degradation that can be used to assess the health of any similar habitat in the Mediterranean, and to evaluate the efficacy of marine protected areas.

  14. The structure of Mediterranean rocky reef ecosystems across environmental and human gradients, and conservation implications.

    PubMed

    Sala, Enric; Ballesteros, Enric; Dendrinos, Panagiotis; Di Franco, Antonio; Ferretti, Francesco; Foley, David; Fraschetti, Simonetta; Friedlander, Alan; Garrabou, Joaquim; Güçlüsoy, Harun; Guidetti, Paolo; Halpern, Benjamin S; Hereu, Bernat; Karamanlidis, Alexandros A; Kizilkaya, Zafer; Macpherson, Enrique; Mangialajo, Luisa; Mariani, Simone; Micheli, Fiorenza; Pais, Antonio; Riser, Kristin; Rosenberg, Andrew A; Sales, Marta; Selkoe, Kimberly A; Starr, Rick; Tomas, Fiona; Zabala, Mikel

    2012-01-01

    Historical exploitation of the Mediterranean Sea and the absence of rigorous baselines makes it difficult to evaluate the current health of the marine ecosystems and the efficacy of conservation actions at the ecosystem level. Here we establish the first current baseline and gradient of ecosystem structure of nearshore rocky reefs at the Mediterranean scale. We conducted underwater surveys in 14 marine protected areas and 18 open access sites across the Mediterranean, and across a 31-fold range of fish biomass (from 3.8 to 118 g m(-2)). Our data showed remarkable variation in the structure of rocky reef ecosystems. Multivariate analysis showed three alternative community states: (1) large fish biomass and reefs dominated by non-canopy algae, (2) lower fish biomass but abundant native algal canopies and suspension feeders, and (3) low fish biomass and extensive barrens, with areas covered by turf algae. Our results suggest that the healthiest shallow rocky reef ecosystems in the Mediterranean have both large fish and algal biomass. Protection level and primary production were the only variables significantly correlated to community biomass structure. Fish biomass was significantly larger in well-enforced no-take marine reserves, but there were no significant differences between multi-use marine protected areas (which allow some fishing) and open access areas at the regional scale. The gradients reported here represent a trajectory of degradation that can be used to assess the health of any similar habitat in the Mediterranean, and to evaluate the efficacy of marine protected areas.

  15. The Structure of Mediterranean Rocky Reef Ecosystems across Environmental and Human Gradients, and Conservation Implications

    PubMed Central

    Sala, Enric; Ballesteros, Enric; Dendrinos, Panagiotis; Di Franco, Antonio; Ferretti, Francesco; Foley, David; Fraschetti, Simonetta; Friedlander, Alan; Garrabou, Joaquim; Güçlüsoy, Harun; Guidetti, Paolo; Halpern, Benjamin S.; Hereu, Bernat; Karamanlidis, Alexandros A.; Kizilkaya, Zafer; Macpherson, Enrique; Mangialajo, Luisa; Mariani, Simone; Micheli, Fiorenza; Pais, Antonio; Riser, Kristin; Rosenberg, Andrew A.; Sales, Marta; Selkoe, Kimberly A.; Starr, Rick; Tomas, Fiona; Zabala, Mikel

    2012-01-01

    Historical exploitation of the Mediterranean Sea and the absence of rigorous baselines makes it difficult to evaluate the current health of the marine ecosystems and the efficacy of conservation actions at the ecosystem level. Here we establish the first current baseline and gradient of ecosystem structure of nearshore rocky reefs at the Mediterranean scale. We conducted underwater surveys in 14 marine protected areas and 18 open access sites across the Mediterranean, and across a 31-fold range of fish biomass (from 3.8 to 118 g m−2). Our data showed remarkable variation in the structure of rocky reef ecosystems. Multivariate analysis showed three alternative community states: (1) large fish biomass and reefs dominated by non-canopy algae, (2) lower fish biomass but abundant native algal canopies and suspension feeders, and (3) low fish biomass and extensive barrens, with areas covered by turf algae. Our results suggest that the healthiest shallow rocky reef ecosystems in the Mediterranean have both large fish and algal biomass. Protection level and primary production were the only variables significantly correlated to community biomass structure. Fish biomass was significantly larger in well-enforced no-take marine reserves, but there were no significant differences between multi-use marine protected areas (which allow some fishing) and open access areas at the regional scale. The gradients reported here represent a trajectory of degradation that can be used to assess the health of any similar habitat in the Mediterranean, and to evaluate the efficacy of marine protected areas. PMID:22393445

  16. Physiological adaptation along environmental gradients and replicated hybrid zone structure in swordtails (Teleostei: Xiphophorus).

    PubMed

    Culumber, Z W; Shepard, D B; Coleman, S W; Rosenthal, G G; Tobler, M

    2012-09-01

    Local adaptation is often invoked to explain hybrid zone structure, but empirical evidence of this is generally rare. Hybrid zones between two poeciliid fishes, Xiphophorus birchmanni and X. malinche, occur in multiple tributaries with independent replication of upstream-to-downstream gradients in morphology and allele frequencies. Ecological niche modelling revealed that temperature is a central predictive factor in the spatial distribution of pure parental species and their hybrids and explains spatial and temporal variation in the frequency of neutral genetic markers in hybrid populations. Among populations of parentals and hybrids, both thermal tolerance and heat-shock protein expression vary strongly, indicating that spatial and temporal structure is likely driven by adaptation to local thermal environments. Therefore, hybrid zone structure is strongly influenced by interspecific differences in physiological mechanisms for coping with the thermal environment.

  17. RBM25 Mediates Abiotic Responses in Plants

    PubMed Central

    Cheng, Chunhong; Wang, Zhijuan; Yuan, Bingjian; Li, Xia

    2017-01-01

    Alternative splicing (AS) of pre-mRNAs is one of the most important post-transcriptional regulations that enable a single gene to code for multiple proteins resulting in the biodiversity of proteins in eukaryotes. Recently, we have shown that an Arabidopsis thaliana RNA recognition motif-containing protein RBM25 is a novel splicing factor to modulate plant response to ABA during seed germination and post-germination through regulating HAB1 pre-mRNA AS. Here, we show that RBM25 is preferentially expressed in stomata and vascular tissues in Arabidopsis and is induced by ABA and abiotic stresses. Loss-of-function mutant is highly tolerant to drought and sensitive to salt stress. Bioinformatic analysis and expression assays reveal that Arabidopsis RBM25 is induced by multiple abiotic stresses, suggesting a crucial role of RBM25 in Arabidopsis responses to adverse environmental conditions. Furthermore, we provide a comprehensive characterization of the homologous genes of Arabidopsis RBM25 based on the latest plant genome sequences and public microarray databases. Fourteen homologous genes are identified in different plant species which show similar structure in gene and protein. Notably, the promoter analysis reveals that RBM25 homologs are likely controlled by the regulators involved in multiple plant growth and abiotic stresses, such as drought and unfavorable temperature. The comparative analysis of general and unique cis regulatory elements of the RBM25 homologs highlights the conserved and unique molecular processes that modulate plant response to abiotic stresses through RBM25-mediated alternative splicing. PMID:28344583

  18. RBM25 Mediates Abiotic Responses in Plants.

    PubMed

    Cheng, Chunhong; Wang, Zhijuan; Yuan, Bingjian; Li, Xia

    2017-01-01

    Alternative splicing (AS) of pre-mRNAs is one of the most important post-transcriptional regulations that enable a single gene to code for multiple proteins resulting in the biodiversity of proteins in eukaryotes. Recently, we have shown that an Arabidopsis thaliana RNA recognition motif-containing protein RBM25 is a novel splicing factor to modulate plant response to ABA during seed germination and post-germination through regulating HAB1 pre-mRNA AS. Here, we show that RBM25 is preferentially expressed in stomata and vascular tissues in Arabidopsis and is induced by ABA and abiotic stresses. Loss-of-function mutant is highly tolerant to drought and sensitive to salt stress. Bioinformatic analysis and expression assays reveal that Arabidopsis RBM25 is induced by multiple abiotic stresses, suggesting a crucial role of RBM25 in Arabidopsis responses to adverse environmental conditions. Furthermore, we provide a comprehensive characterization of the homologous genes of Arabidopsis RBM25 based on the latest plant genome sequences and public microarray databases. Fourteen homologous genes are identified in different plant species which show similar structure in gene and protein. Notably, the promoter analysis reveals that RBM25 homologs are likely controlled by the regulators involved in multiple plant growth and abiotic stresses, such as drought and unfavorable temperature. The comparative analysis of general and unique cis regulatory elements of the RBM25 homologs highlights the conserved and unique molecular processes that modulate plant response to abiotic stresses through RBM25-mediated alternative splicing.

  19. Use of Plant Hydraulic Theory to Predict Ecosystem Fluxes Across Mountainous Gradients in Environmental Controls and Insect Disturbances

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ewers, B. E.; Pendall, E.; Reed, D. E.; Barnard, H. R.; Whitehouse, F.; Frank, J. M.; Massman, W. J.; Brooks, P. D.; Biederman, J. A.; Harpold, A. A.; Naithani, K. J.; Mitra, B.; Mackay, D. S.; Norton, U.; Borkhuu, B.

    2011-12-01

    While mountainous areas are critical for providing numerous ecosystem benefits at the regional scale, the strong gradients in environmental controls make predictions difficult. A key part of the problem is quantifying and predicting the feedback between mountain gradients and plant function which then controls ecosystem cycling. The emerging theory of plant hydraulics provides a rigorous yet simple platform from which to generate testable hypotheses and predictions of ecosystem pools and fluxes. Plant hydraulic theory predicts that plant controls over carbon, water, energy and nutrient fluxes can be derived from the limitation of plant water transport from the soil through xylem and out of stomata. In addition, the limit to plant water transport can be predicted by combining plant structure (e.g. xylem diameters or root-to-shoot ratios) and plant function (response of stomatal conductance to vapor pressure deficit or root vulnerability to cavitation). We evaluate the predictions of the plant hydraulic theory by testing it against data from a mountain gradient encompassing sagebrush steppe through subalpine forests (2700 to 3400 m). We further test the theory by predicting the carbon, water and nutrient exchanges from several coniferous trees in the same gradient that are dying from xylem dysfunction caused by blue-stain fungi carried by bark beetles. The common theme of both of these data sets is a change in water limitation caused by either changing precipitation along the mountainous gradient or lack of access to soil water from xylem-occluding fungi. Across all of the data sets which range in scale from individual plants to hillslopes, the data fit the predictions of plant hydraulic theory. Namely, there was a proportional tradeoff between the reference canopy stomatal conductance to water vapor and the sensitivity of that conductance to vapor pressure deficit that quantitatively fits the predictions of plant hydraulic theory. Incorporating this result into

  20. Recent Molecular Advances on Downstream Plant Responses to Abiotic Stress

    PubMed Central

    dos Reis, Sávio Pinho; Lima, Aline Medeiros; de Souza, Cláudia Regina Batista

    2012-01-01

    Abiotic stresses such as extremes of temperature and pH, high salinity and drought, comprise some of the major factors causing extensive losses to crop production worldwide. Understanding how plants respond and adapt at cellular and molecular levels to continuous environmental changes is a pre-requisite for the generation of resistant or tolerant plants to abiotic stresses. In this review we aimed to present the recent advances on mechanisms of downstream plant responses to abiotic stresses and the use of stress-related genes in the development of genetically engineered crops. PMID:22942725

  1. Environmental effects on molecular and phenotypic variation in populations of Eruca sativa across a steep climatic gradient.

    PubMed

    Westberg, Erik; Ohali, Shachar; Shevelevich, Anatoly; Fine, Pinchas; Barazani, Oz

    2013-08-01

    In Israel Eruca sativa has a geographically narrow distribution across a steep climatic gradient that ranges from mesic Mediterranean to hot desert environments. These conditions offer an opportunity to study the influence of the environment on intraspecific genetic variation. For this, we combined an analysis of neutral genetic markers with a phenotypic evaluation in common-garden experiments, and environmental characterization of populations that included climatic and edaphic parameters, as well as geographic distribution. A Bayesian clustering of individuals from nine representative populations based on amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) divided the populations into a southern and a northern geographic cluster, with one admixed population at the geographic border between them. Linear mixed models, with cluster added as a grouping factor, revealed no clear effects of environment or geography on genetic distances, but this may be due to a strong association of geography and environment with genetic clusters. However, environmental factors accounted for part of the phenotypic variation observed in the common-garden experiments. In addition, candidate loci for selection were identified by association with environmental parameters and by two outlier methods. One locus, identified by all three methods, also showed an association with trichome density and herbivore damage, in net-house and field experiments, respectively. Accordingly, we propose that because trichomes are directly linked to defense against both herbivores and excess radiation, they could potentially be related to adaptive variation in these populations. These results demonstrate the value of combining environmental and phenotypic data with a detailed genetic survey when studying adaptation in plant populations. This article describes the use of several types of data to estimate the influence of the environment on intraspecific genetic variation in populations originating from a steep

  2. Environmental effects on molecular and phenotypic variation in populations of Eruca sativa across a steep climatic gradient

    PubMed Central

    Westberg, Erik; Ohali, Shachar; Shevelevich, Anatoly; Fine, Pinchas; Barazani, Oz

    2013-01-01

    Abstract In Israel Eruca sativa has a geographically narrow distribution across a steep climatic gradient that ranges from mesic Mediterranean to hot desert environments. These conditions offer an opportunity to study the influence of the environment on intraspecific genetic variation. For this, we combined an analysis of neutral genetic markers with a phenotypic evaluation in common-garden experiments, and environmental characterization of populations that included climatic and edaphic parameters, as well as geographic distribution. A Bayesian clustering of individuals from nine representative populations based on amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) divided the populations into a southern and a northern geographic cluster, with one admixed population at the geographic border between them. Linear mixed models, with cluster added as a grouping factor, revealed no clear effects of environment or geography on genetic distances, but this may be due to a strong association of geography and environment with genetic clusters. However, environmental factors accounted for part of the phenotypic variation observed in the common-garden experiments. In addition, candidate loci for selection were identified by association with environmental parameters and by two outlier methods. One locus, identified by all three methods, also showed an association with trichome density and herbivore damage, in net-house and field experiments, respectively. Accordingly, we propose that because trichomes are directly linked to defense against both herbivores and excess radiation, they could potentially be related to adaptive variation in these populations. These results demonstrate the value of combining environmental and phenotypic data with a detailed genetic survey when studying adaptation in plant populations. This article describes the use of several types of data to estimate the influence of the environment on intraspecific genetic variation in populations originating from a

  3. Circadian regulation of abiotic stress tolerance in plants

    PubMed Central

    Grundy, Jack; Stoker, Claire; Carré, Isabelle A.

    2015-01-01

    Extremes of temperatures, drought and salinity cause widespread crop losses throughout the world and impose severe limitations on the amount of land that can be used for agricultural purposes. Hence, there is an urgent need to develop crops that perform better under such abiotic stress conditions. Here, we discuss intriguing, recent evidence that circadian clock contributes to plants’ ability to tolerate different types of environmental stress, and to acclimate to them. The clock controls expression of a large fraction of abiotic stress-responsive genes, as well as biosynthesis and signaling downstream of stress response hormones. Conversely, abiotic stress results in altered expression and differential splicing of the clock genes, leading to altered oscillations of downstream stress-response pathways. We propose a range of mechanisms by which this intimate coupling between the circadian clock and environmental stress-response pathways may contribute to plant growth and survival under abiotic stress. PMID:26379680

  4. The Farther the Better: Effects of Multiple Environmental Variables on Reef Fish Assemblages along a Distance Gradient from River Influences

    PubMed Central

    Neves, Leonardo M.; Teixeira-Neves, Tatiana P.; Pereira-Filho, Guilherme H.; Araújo, Francisco G.

    2016-01-01

    The conservation and management of site-attached assemblages of coastal reefs are particularly challenging because of the tremendous environmental variation that exists at small spatial scales. In this sense, understanding the primary sources of variation in spatial patterns of the biota is fundamental for designing effective conservation policies. We investigated spatial variation in fish assemblages around the windward and leeward sides of coastal islands situated across a gradient of riverine influence (13 km in length). Specifically, relationships between rocky reef fish assemblages and benthic, topographic and physical predictors were assessed. We hypothesized that river induced disturbances may overcome local habitat features in modeling spatial patterns of fish distribution. Fish assemblages varied primarily due to the strong directional gradient of riverine influence (22.6% of the estimated components of variation), followed by topographic complexity (15%), wave exposure (9.9%), and benthic cover (8%). The trophic structure of fish assemblages changed from having a high abundance of invertebrate feeders in macroalgae-dominated reefs close to river mouths to a high proportion of herbivores, planktivores and invertebrate feeder species in reefs with large boulders covered by epilithic algal matrices, as the distance from rivers increased. This gradient led to an increase of 4.5-fold in fish richness and fish trophic group diversity, 11-fold in fish biomass and 10-fold in fish abundance. Our results have implications for the conservation and monitoring of assemblages patchily distributed at small spatial scales. The major role of distance from river influences on fish assemblages rather than benthic cover and topographic complexity suggest that managing land-based activities should be a conservation priority toward reef restoration. PMID:27907017

  5. Archaeal and bacterial communities respond differently to environmental gradients in anoxic sediments of a California hypersaline lake, the Salton Sea.

    PubMed

    Swan, Brandon K; Ehrhardt, Christopher J; Reifel, Kristen M; Moreno, Lilliana I; Valentine, David L

    2010-02-01

    Sulfidic, anoxic sediments of the moderately hypersaline Salton Sea contain gradients in salinity and carbon that potentially structure the sedimentary microbial community. We investigated the abundance, community structure, and diversity of Bacteria and Archaea along these gradients to further distinguish the ecologies of these domains outside their established physiological range. Quantitative PCR was used to enumerate 16S rRNA gene abundances of Bacteria, Archaea, and Crenarchaeota. Community structure and diversity were evaluated by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP), quantitative analysis of gene (16S rRNA) frequencies of dominant microorganisms, and cloning and sequencing of 16S rRNA. Archaea were numerically dominant at all depths and exhibited a lesser response to environmental gradients than that of Bacteria. The relative abundance of Crenarchaeota was low (0.4 to 22%) at all depths but increased with decreased carbon content and increased salinity. Salinity structured the bacterial community but exerted no significant control on archaeal community structure, which was weakly correlated with total carbon. Partial sequencing of archaeal 16S rRNA genes retrieved from three sediment depths revealed diverse communities of Euryarchaeota and Crenarchaeota, many of which were affiliated with groups previously described from marine sediments. The abundance of these groups across all depths suggests that many putative marine archaeal groups can tolerate elevated salinity (5.0 to 11.8% [wt/vol]) and persist under the anaerobic conditions present in Salton Sea sediments. The differential response of archaeal and bacterial communities to salinity and carbon patterns is consistent with the hypothesis that adaptations to energy stress and availability distinguish the ecologies of these domains.

  6. Food-Web Structure in Relation to Environmental Gradients and Predator-Prey Ratios in Tank-Bromeliad Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Dézerald, Olivier; Leroy, Céline; Corbara, Bruno; Carrias, Jean-François; Pélozuelo, Laurent; Dejean, Alain; Céréghino, Régis

    2013-01-01

    Little is known of how linkage patterns between species change along environmental gradients. The small, spatially discrete food webs inhabiting tank-bromeliads provide an excellent opportunity to analyse patterns of community diversity and food-web topology (connectance, linkage density, nestedness) in relation to key environmental variables (habitat size, detrital resource, incident radiation) and predators:prey ratios. We sampled 365 bromeliads in a wide range of understorey environments in French Guiana and used gut contents of invertebrates to draw the corresponding 365 connectance webs. At the bromeliad scale, habitat size (water volume) determined the number of species that constitute food-web nodes, the proportion of predators, and food-web topology. The number of species as well as the proportion of predators within bromeliads declined from open to forested habitats, where the volume of water collected by bromeliads was generally lower because of rainfall interception by the canopy. A core group of microorganisms and generalist detritivores remained relatively constant across environments. This suggests that (i) a highly-connected core ensures food-web stability and key ecosystem functions across environments, and (ii) larger deviations in food-web structures can be expected following disturbance if detritivores share traits that determine responses to environmental changes. While linkage density and nestedness were lower in bromeliads in the forest than in open areas, experiments are needed to confirm a trend for lower food-web stability in the understorey of primary forests. PMID:23977128

  7. Calcium-Magnesium-Aluminosilicate (CMAS) Infiltration and Cyclic Degradations of Thermal and Environmental Barrier Coatings in Thermal Gradients

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zhu, Dongming; Harder, Bryan; Smialek, Jim; Miller, Robert A.

    2014-01-01

    In a continuing effort to develop higher temperature capable turbine thermal barrier and environmental barrier coating systems, Calcium-Magnesium-Aluminosilicate (CMAS) resistance of the advanced coating systems needs to be evaluated and improved. This paper highlights some of NASA past high heat flux testing approaches for turbine thermal and environmental barrier coatings assessments in CMAS environments. One of our current emphases has been focused on the thermal barrier - environmental barrier coating composition and testing developments. The effort has included the CMAS infiltrations in high temperature and high heat flux turbine engine like conditions using advanced laser high heat flux rigs, and subsequently degradation studies in laser heat flux thermal gradient cyclic and isothermal furnace cyclic testing conditions. These heat flux CMAS infiltration and related coating durability testing are essential where appropriate CMAS melting, infiltration and coating-substrate temperature exposure temperature controls can be achieved, thus helping quantify the CMAS-coating interaction and degradation mechanisms. The CMAS work is also playing a critical role in advanced coating developments, by developing laboratory coating durability assessment methodologies in simulated turbine engine conditions and helping establish CMAS test standards in laboratory environments.

  8. Food-web structure in relation to environmental gradients and predator-prey ratios in tank-bromeliad ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Dézerald, Olivier; Leroy, Céline; Corbara, Bruno; Carrias, Jean-François; Pélozuelo, Laurent; Dejean, Alain; Céréghino, Régis

    2013-01-01

    Little is known of how linkage patterns between species change along environmental gradients. The small, spatially discrete food webs inhabiting tank-bromeliads provide an excellent opportunity to analyse patterns of community diversity and food-web topology (connectance, linkage density, nestedness) in relation to key environmental variables (habitat size, detrital resource, incident radiation) and predators:prey ratios. We sampled 365 bromeliads in a wide range of understorey environments in French Guiana and used gut contents of invertebrates to draw the corresponding 365 connectance webs. At the bromeliad scale, habitat size (water volume) determined the number of species that constitute food-web nodes, the proportion of predators, and food-web topology. The number of species as well as the proportion of predators within bromeliads declined from open to forested habitats, where the volume of water collected by bromeliads was generally lower because of rainfall interception by the canopy. A core group of microorganisms and generalist detritivores remained relatively constant across environments. This suggests that (i) a highly-connected core ensures food-web stability and key ecosystem functions across environments, and (ii) larger deviations in food-web structures can be expected following disturbance if detritivores share traits that determine responses to environmental changes. While linkage density and nestedness were lower in bromeliads in the forest than in open areas, experiments are needed to confirm a trend for lower food-web stability in the understorey of primary forests.

  9. Identification of outliers in a genomic scan for selection along environmental gradients in the bamboo locust, Ceracris kiangsu

    PubMed Central

    Feng, Xiao-Jing; Jiang, Guo-Fang; Fan, Zhou

    2015-01-01

    Identification of loci under divergent selection is a key step in understanding the evolutionary process because those loci are responsible for the genetic variations that affect fitness in different environments. Understanding how environmental forces give rise to adaptive genetic variation is a challenge in pest control. Here, we performed an amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) genome scan in populations of the bamboo locust, Ceracris kiangsu, to search for candidate loci that are influenced by selection along an environmental gradient in southern China. In outlier locus detection, loci that demonstrate significantly higher or lower among-population genetic differentiation than expected under neutrality are identified as outliers. We used several outlier detection methods to study the features of C. kiangsu, including method DFDIST, BayeScan, and logistic regression. A total of 97 outlier loci were detected in the C. kiangsu genome with very high statistical supports. Moreover, the results suggested that divergent selection arising from environmental variation has been driven by differences in temperature, precipitation, humidity and sunshine. These findings illustrate that divergent selection and potential local adaptation are prevalent in locusts despite seemingly high levels of gene flow. Thus, we propose that native environments in each population may induce divergent natural selection. PMID:26333424

  10. Relations of alpine plant communities across environmental gradients: Multilevel versus multiscale analyses

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Malanson, George P.; Zimmerman, Dale L.; Kinney, Mitch; Fagre, Daniel B.

    2017-01-01

    Alpine plant communities vary, and their environmental covariates could influence their response to climate change. A single multilevel model of how alpine plant community composition is determined by hierarchical relations is compared to a separate examination of those relations at different scales. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling of species cover for plots in four regions across the Rocky Mountains created dependent variables. Climate variables are derived for the four regions from interpolated data. Plot environmental variables are measured directly and the presence of thirty-seven site characteristics is recorded and used to create additional independent variables. Multilevel and best subsets regressions are used to determine the strength of the hypothesized relations. The ordinations indicate structure in the assembly of plant communities. The multilevel analyses, although revealing significant relations, provide little explanation; of the site variables, those related to site microclimate are most important. In multiscale analyses (whole and separate regions), different variables are better explanations within the different regions. This result indicates weak environmental niche control of community composition. The weak relations of the structure in the patterns of species association to the environment indicates that either alpine vegetation represents a case of the neutral theory of biogeography being a valid explanation or that it represents disequilibrium conditions. The implications of neutral theory and disequilibrium explanations are similar: Response to climate change will be difficult to quantify above equilibrium background turnover.

  11. Environmental gradients and grassland trait variation: Insight into the effects of climate change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tardella, Federico M.; Piermarteri, Karina; Malatesta, Luca; Catorci, Andrea

    2016-10-01

    The research aim was to understand how variation of temperature and water availability drives trait assemblage of seminatural grasslands in sub-Mediterranean climate, where climate change is expected to intensify summer aridity. In the central Italy, we recorded species abundance and elevation, slope aspect and angle in 129 plots. The traits we analysed were life span, growth form, clonality, belowground organs, leaf traits, plant height, seed mass, and palatability. We used Ellenberg's indicators as a proxy to assess air temperature and soil moisture gradients. From productive to harsh conditions, we observed a shift from tolerance to avoidance strategies, and a change in resource allocation strategies to face competition and stress or that maximize exploitation of patchily distributed soil resource niches. In addition, we found that the increase of temperature and water scarcity leads to the establishment of regeneration strategies that enable plants to cope with the unpredictability of changes in stress intensity and duration. Since the dry habitats of higher elevations are also constrained by winter cold stress, we argue that, within the sub-Mediterranean bioclimate, climate change will likely lead to a variation in dominance inside plant communities rather than a shift upwards of species ranges. At higher elevations, drought-adaptive traits might become more abundant on south-facing slopes that are less stressed by winter low temperatures; traits related to productive conditions and cold stress would be replaced on north-facing slopes by those adapted to overcome both the drought and the cold stresses.

  12. Erythrocytic nuclear abnormalities in wild and caged fish (Liza aurata) along an environmental mercury contamination gradient.

    PubMed

    Guilherme, S; Válega, M; Pereira, M E; Santos, M A; Pacheco, M

    2008-07-01

    Laranjo basin (Aveiro, Portugal) has been subjected to mercury contamination from a chlor-alkali plant, presenting a well-described mercury gradient. This study aims the assessment of mercury genotoxicity in this area by measuring erythrocytic nuclear abnormalities (ENA) frequency in the mullet Liza aurata, and its relation with total mercury concentration (Hg(t)) in blood. Wild fish were seasonally analysed, and, complementarily, fish were caged for 3 days at three locations differing on their distances to the mercury source. The results from Laranjo were compared with those from a reference area (S. Jacinto). Wild fish from Laranjo showed elevated ENA frequency in summer and autumn in concomitance with increased blood Hg(t). Surprisingly, no ENA induction was found in winter, despite the highest blood Hg(t), which may be explained by haematological dynamics alterations, as supported by a decreased immature erythrocytes frequency. Caged fish displayed ENA induction only at the closest site to the contamination source, also showing a correlation with blood Hg(t).

  13. Competition drives trait evolution and character displacement between Mimulus species along an environmental gradient.

    PubMed

    Kooyers, Nicholas J; James, Brooke; Blackman, Benjamin K

    2017-02-10

    Closely related species may evolve to coexist stably in sympatry through niche differentiation driven by in situ competition, a process termed character displacement. Alternatively, past evolution in allopatry may have already sufficiently reduced niche overlap to permit establishment in sympatry, a process called ecological sorting. The relative importance of each process to niche differentiation is contentious even though they are not mutually exclusive and are both mediated via multivariate trait evolution. We explore how competition has impacted niche differentiation in two monkeyflowers, Mimulus alsinoides and M. guttatus, which often co-occur. Through field observations, common gardens, and competition experiments, we demonstrate that M. alsinoides is restricted to marginal habitats in sympatry and that the impacts of character displacement on niche differentiation are complex. Competition with M. guttatus alters selection gradients and has favored taller M. alsinoides with earlier seasonal flowering at low elevation and floral shape divergence at high elevation. However, no trait exhibits the pattern typically associated with character displacement, higher divergence between species in sympatry than allopatry. Thus, although character displacement was unlikely the process driving initial divergence along niche axes necessary for coexistence, we conclude that competition in sympatry has likely driven trait evolution along additional niche axes.

  14. Determinants of Regional Variability in Litter Production of Forests in the Southern Yucatan: Environmental Gradients or Human Legacy?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lawrence, D.; Lawrence, D.; Foster, D. R.

    2001-05-01

    The Southern Yucatan is the deforestation frontier for the largest block of dry tropical forest north of Brazil. Our goal was to assess how human disturbance alters patterns of productivity driven by natural gradients of precipitation and soil fertility. We sampled litter production and soils in three regions (rainfall 890-1420 mm yr-1). We studied 8-10 stands 2-25 yrs old plus 2-3 mature forest stands per region (36 in total). Litter was collected monthly from four 1-m2 traps within a 500-m2 area, and summed for 1999. Soil chemical and physical properties varied little across the region, but organic matter increased (10.9-13.3% soils 0-15 cm deep) with annual precipitation. Annual litter production was analyzed as a function of region, forest age, number of previous cycles of shifting cultivation, and total number of years in corn production. Region had no significant effect on production, though there was a trend toward higher production in the wettest region. Litterfall increased with age, and production in old secondary forests was not significantly different from that in mature forests. Land-use intensity was negatively correlated with litter production, which declined as a function of both number of cycles and total number of years in corn. In stepwise regression models, age and number of years in corn were the only significant predictors of litter production. Human history, rather than environmental gradients, seems to determine regional variation in productivity in the Yucatan.

  15. Abiotic degradation of plastic films

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ángeles-López, Y. G.; Gutiérrez-Mayen, A. M.; Velasco-Pérez, M.; Beltrán-Villavicencio, M.; Vázquez-Morillas, A.; Cano-Blanco, M.

    2017-01-01

    Degradable plastics have been promoted as an option to mitigate the environmental impacts of plastic waste. However, there is no certainty about its degradability under different environmental conditions. The effect of accelerated weathering (AW), natural weathering (NW) and thermal oxidation (TO) on different plastics (high density polyethylene, HDPE; oxodegradable high density polyethylene, HDPE-oxo; compostable plastic, Ecovio ® metalized polypropylene, PP; and oxodegradable metalized polypropylene, PP-oxo) was studied. Plastics films were exposed to AW per 110 hours; to NW per 90 days; and to TO per 30 days. Plastic films exposed to AW and NW showed a general loss on mechanical properties. The highest reduction in elongation at break on AW occurred to HDPE-oxo (from 400.4% to 20.9%) and was higher than 90% for HDPE, HDPE-oxo, Ecovio ® and PP-oxo in NW. No substantial evidence of degradation was found on plastics exposed to TO. Oxo-plastics showed higher degradation rates than their conventional counterparts, and the compostable plastic was resistant to degradation in the studied abiotic conditions. This study shows that degradation of plastics in real life conditions will vary depending in both, their composition and the environment.

  16. Magnitude and regulation of bacterioplankton respiratory quotient across freshwater environmental gradients.

    PubMed

    Berggren, Martin; Lapierre, Jean-François; del Giorgio, Paul A

    2012-05-01

    Bacterioplankton respiration (BR) may represent the largest single sink of organic carbon in the biosphere and constitutes an important driver of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO(2)) emissions from freshwaters. Complete understanding of BR is precluded by the fact that most studies need to assume a respiratory quotient (RQ; mole of CO(2) produced per mole of O(2) consumed) to calculate rates of BR. Many studies have, without clear support, assumed a fixed RQ around 1. Here we present 72 direct measurements of bacterioplankton RQ that we carried out in epilimnetic samples of 52 freshwater sites in Québec (Canada), using O(2) and CO(2) optic sensors. The RQs tended to converge around 1.2, but showed large variability (s.d.=0.45) and significant correlations with major gradients of ecosystem-level, substrate-level and bacterial community-level characteristics. Experiments with natural bacterioplankton using different single substrates suggested that RQ is intimately linked to the elemental composition of the respired compounds. RQs were on average low in net autotrophic systems, where bacteria likely were utilizing mainly reduced substrates, whereas we found evidence that the dominance of highly oxidized substrates, for example, organic acids formed by photo-chemical processes, led to high RQ in the more heterotrophic systems. Further, we suggest that BR contributes to a substantially larger share of freshwater CO(2) emissions than presently believed based on the assumption that RQ is ∼1. Our study demonstrates that bacterioplankton RQ is not only a practical aspect of BR determination, but also a major ecosystem state variable that provides unique information about aquatic ecosystem functioning.

  17. Magnitude and regulation of bacterioplankton respiratory quotient across freshwater environmental gradients

    PubMed Central

    Berggren, Martin; Lapierre, Jean-François; del Giorgio, Paul A

    2012-01-01

    Bacterioplankton respiration (BR) may represent the largest single sink of organic carbon in the biosphere and constitutes an important driver of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from freshwaters. Complete understanding of BR is precluded by the fact that most studies need to assume a respiratory quotient (RQ; mole of CO2 produced per mole of O2 consumed) to calculate rates of BR. Many studies have, without clear support, assumed a fixed RQ around 1. Here we present 72 direct measurements of bacterioplankton RQ that we carried out in epilimnetic samples of 52 freshwater sites in Québec (Canada), using O2 and CO2 optic sensors. The RQs tended to converge around 1.2, but showed large variability (s.d.=0.45) and significant correlations with major gradients of ecosystem-level, substrate-level and bacterial community-level characteristics. Experiments with natural bacterioplankton using different single substrates suggested that RQ is intimately linked to the elemental composition of the respired compounds. RQs were on average low in net autotrophic systems, where bacteria likely were utilizing mainly reduced substrates, whereas we found evidence that the dominance of highly oxidized substrates, for example, organic acids formed by photo-chemical processes, led to high RQ in the more heterotrophic systems. Further, we suggest that BR contributes to a substantially larger share of freshwater CO2 emissions than presently believed based on the assumption that RQ is ∼1. Our study demonstrates that bacterioplankton RQ is not only a practical aspect of BR determination, but also a major ecosystem state variable that provides unique information about aquatic ecosystem functioning. PMID:22094347

  18. Environmental tolerances of rare and common mangroves along light and salinity gradients.

    PubMed

    Dangremond, Emily M; Feller, Ilka C; Sousa, Wayne P

    2015-12-01

    Although mangroves possess a variety of morphological and physiological adaptations for life in a stressful habitat, interspecific differences in survival and growth under different environmental conditions can shape their local and geographic distributions. Soil salinity and light are known to affect mangrove performance, often in an interactive fashion. It has also been hypothesized that mangroves are intrinsically shade intolerant due to the high physiological cost of coping with saline flooded soils. To evaluate the relationship between stress tolerance and species distributions, we compared responses of seedlings of three widespread mangrove species and one narrow endemic mangrove species in a factorial array of light levels and soil salinities in an outdoor laboratory experiment. The more narrowly distributed species was expected to exhibit a lower tolerance of potentially stressful conditions. Two of the widespread species, Avicennia germinans and Lumnitzera racemosa, survived and grew well at low-medium salinity, regardless of light level, but performed poorly at high salinity, particularly under high light. The third widespread species, Rhizophora mangle, responded less to variation in light and salinity. However, at high salinity, its relative growth rate was low at every light level and none of these plants flushed leaves. As predicted, the rare species, Pelliciera rhizophorae, was the most sensitive to environmental stressors, suffering especially high mortality and reduced growth and quantum yield under the combined conditions of high light and medium-high salinity. That it only thrives under shaded conditions represents an important exception to the prevailing belief that halophytes are intrinsically constrained to be shade intolerant.

  19. Species-specific trends in the reproductive output of corals across environmental gradients and bleaching histories.

    PubMed

    Howells, Emily J; Ketchum, Remi N; Bauman, Andrew G; Mustafa, Yasmine; Watkins, Kristina D; Burt, John A

    2016-04-30

    Coral populations in the Persian Gulf have a reputation for being some of the toughest in the world yet little is known about the energetic constraints of living under temperature and salinity extremes. Energy allocation for sexual reproduction in Gulf corals was evaluated relative to conspecifics living under milder environmental conditions in the Oman Sea. Fecundity was depressed at Gulf sites in two Indo-Pacific merulinid species (Cyphastrea microphthalma and Platygyra daedalea) but not in a regionally endemic acroporid (Acropora downingi). Gulf populations of each species experienced high temperature bleaching at the onset of gametogenesis in the study but fecundity was only negatively impacted in P. daedalea and A. downingi. Large population sizes of C. microphthalma and P. daedalea in the Gulf are expected to buffer reductions on colony-level fecundity. However, depleted population sizes of A. downingi at some Gulf sites equate to low reef-wide fecundity and likely impede outcrossing success.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-01

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

  1. Impact of Environmental and Disturbance Variables on Avian Community Structure along a Gradient of Urbanization in Jamshedpur, India.

    PubMed

    Verma, Sushant Kumar; Murmu, Thakur Das

    2015-01-01

    Gradient pattern analysis was used to investigate the impact of environmental and disturbance variables on species richness, species diversity, abundance and seasonal variation of birds in and around Jamshedpur, which is one of the fastest growing cities of India. It was observed that avian community structure is highly influenced by the vegetation habitat variables, food availability and human-related disturbance variables. A total of 61 species belonging to 33 families were recorded from the suburban area. 55 species belonging to 32 families were observed in nearby wildland habitat consisting of natural vegetation whereas only 26 species belonging to 18 families were observed in urban area. Results indicated that the suburban habitat had more complex bird community structure in terms of higher species richness, higher species diversity and higher evenness in comparison to urban and wildland habitat. Bird species richness and diversity varied across seasons. Maximum species richness and diversity was observed during spring season in all type of habitat. Most of the birds observed in urban areas were found to belong to either rare or irregular category on the basis of their abundance. The observed pattern of avian community structure is due to combined effect of both environmental and human related disturbance variables.

  2. Impact of Environmental and Disturbance Variables on Avian Community Structure along a Gradient of Urbanization in Jamshedpur, India

    PubMed Central

    Verma, Sushant Kumar; Murmu, Thakur Das

    2015-01-01

    Gradient pattern analysis was used to investigate the impact of environmental and disturbance variables on species richness, species diversity, abundance and seasonal variation of birds in and around Jamshedpur, which is one of the fastest growing cities of India. It was observed that avian community structure is highly influenced by the vegetation habitat variables, food availability and human-related disturbance variables. A total of 61 species belonging to 33 families were recorded from the suburban area. 55 species belonging to 32 families were observed in nearby wildland habitat consisting of natural vegetation whereas only 26 species belonging to 18 families were observed in urban area. Results indicated that the suburban habitat had more complex bird community structure in terms of higher species richness, higher species diversity and higher evenness in comparison to urban and wildland habitat. Bird species richness and diversity varied across seasons. Maximum species richness and diversity was observed during spring season in all type of habitat. Most of the birds observed in urban areas were found to belong to either rare or irregular category on the basis of their abundance. The observed pattern of avian community structure is due to combined effect of both environmental and human related disturbance variables. PMID:26218583

  3. Environmental Drivers of Differences in Microbial Community Structure in Crude Oil Reservoirs across a Methanogenic Gradient

    PubMed Central

    Shelton, Jenna L.; Akob, Denise M.; McIntosh, Jennifer C.; Fierer, Noah; Spear, John R.; Warwick, Peter D.; McCray, John E.

    2016-01-01

    Stimulating in situ microbial communities in oil reservoirs to produce natural gas is a potentially viable strategy for recovering additional fossil fuel resources following traditional recovery operations. Little is known about what geochemical parameters drive microbial population dynamics in biodegraded, methanogenic oil reservoirs. We investigated if microbial community structure was significantly impacted by the extent of crude oil biodegradation, extent of biogenic methane production, and formation water chemistry. Twenty-two oil production wells from north central Louisiana, USA, were sampled for analysis of microbial community structure and fluid geochemistry. Archaea were the dominant microbial community in the majority of the wells sampled. Methanogens, including hydrogenotrophic and methylotrophic organisms, were numerically dominant in every well, accounting for, on average, over 98% of the total Archaea present. The dominant Bacteria groups were Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter, Enterobacteriaceae, and Clostridiales, which have also been identified in other microbially-altered oil reservoirs. Comparing microbial community structure to fluid (gas, water, and oil) geochemistry revealed that the relative extent of biodegradation, salinity, and spatial location were the major drivers of microbial diversity. Archaeal relative abundance was independent of the extent of methanogenesis, but closely correlated to the extent of crude oil biodegradation; therefore, microbial community structure is likely not a good sole predictor of methanogenic activity, but may predict the extent of crude oil biodegradation. However, when the shallow, highly biodegraded, low salinity wells were excluded from the statistical analysis, no environmental parameters could explain the differences in microbial community structure. This suggests that the microbial community structure of the 5 shallow, up-dip wells was different than the 17 deeper, down-dip wells. Also, the 17 down-dip wells

  4. Environmental drivers of differences in microbial community structure in crude oil reservoirs across a methanogenic gradient

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Shelton, Jenna L.; Akob, Denise M.; McIntosh, Jennifer C.; Fierer, Noah; Spear, John R.; Warwick, Peter D.; McCray, John E.

    2016-01-01

    Stimulating in situ microbial communities in oil reservoirs to produce natural gas is a potentially viable strategy for recovering additional fossil fuel resources following traditional recovery operations. Little is known about what geochemical parameters drive microbial population dynamics in biodegraded, methanogenic oil reservoirs. We investigated if microbial community structure was significantly impacted by the extent of crude oil biodegradation, extent of biogenic methane production, and formation water chemistry. Twenty-two oil production wells from north central Louisiana, USA, were sampled for analysis of microbial community structure and fluid geochemistry. Archaea were the dominant microbial community in the majority of the wells sampled. Methanogens, including hydrogenotrophic and methylotrophic organisms, were numerically dominant in every well, accounting for, on average, over 98% of the total Archaea present. The dominant Bacteria groups were Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter, Enterobacteriaceae, and Clostridiales, which have also been identified in other microbially-altered oil reservoirs. Comparing microbial community structure to fluid (gas, water, and oil) geochemistry revealed that the relative extent of biodegradation, salinity, and spatial location were the major drivers of microbial diversity. Archaeal relative abundance was independent of the extent of methanogenesis, but closely correlated to the extent of crude oil biodegradation; therefore, microbial community structure is likely not a good sole predictor of methanogenic activity, but may predict the extent of crude oil biodegradation. However, when the shallow, highly biodegraded, low salinity wells were excluded from the statistical analysis, no environmental parameters could explain the differences in microbial community structure. This suggests that the microbial community structure of the 5 shallow, up-dip wells was different than the 17 deeper, down-dip wells. Also, the 17 down-dip wells

  5. Environmental Drivers of Differences in Microbial Community Structure in Crude Oil Reservoirs across a Methanogenic Gradient.

    PubMed

    Shelton, Jenna L; Akob, Denise M; McIntosh, Jennifer C; Fierer, Noah; Spear, John R; Warwick, Peter D; McCray, John E

    2016-01-01

    Stimulating in situ microbial communities in oil reservoirs to produce natural gas is a potentially viable strategy for recovering additional fossil fuel resources following traditional recovery operations. Little is known about what geochemical parameters drive microbial population dynamics in biodegraded, methanogenic oil reservoirs. We investigated if microbial community structure was significantly impacted by the extent of crude oil biodegradation, extent of biogenic methane production, and formation water chemistry. Twenty-two oil production wells from north central Louisiana, USA, were sampled for analysis of microbial community structure and fluid geochemistry. Archaea were the dominant microbial community in the majority of the wells sampled. Methanogens, including hydrogenotrophic and methylotrophic organisms, were numerically dominant in every well, accounting for, on average, over 98% of the total Archaea present. The dominant Bacteria groups were Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter, Enterobacteriaceae, and Clostridiales, which have also been identified in other microbially-altered oil reservoirs. Comparing microbial community structure to fluid (gas, water, and oil) geochemistry revealed that the relative extent of biodegradation, salinity, and spatial location were the major drivers of microbial diversity. Archaeal relative abundance was independent of the extent of methanogenesis, but closely correlated to the extent of crude oil biodegradation; therefore, microbial community structure is likely not a good sole predictor of methanogenic activity, but may predict the extent of crude oil biodegradation. However, when the shallow, highly biodegraded, low salinity wells were excluded from the statistical analysis, no environmental parameters could explain the differences in microbial community structure. This suggests that the microbial community structure of the 5 shallow, up-dip wells was different than the 17 deeper, down-dip wells. Also, the 17 down-dip wells

  6. Gradient analysis and environmental interpretation of desert-oasis ecotone vegetation in Fukang, Xinjiang

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Yuandong; Gu, Fengxue; Pan, Xiaoling

    2003-07-01

    A multivariate analysis of desert-oasis ecotone vegetation in Fukang with 55x42 (plots x species) species matrix,55x4 environment matrix and 55x5 spatial coordinates surveyed in Fukang is presented. The results show:1) eight communities are identified from the 55 plots (Haloxylon ammodendron desert, Reaumuria soongorica +Haloxylon ammodendron desert, Reaumuria soongorica desert, Woody halophyte desert, Tamarix spp. shrub, Petrosimonia sibirica community, Suaeda corniculata community, Bassia sedoides + Bassia dasyphylla community). 2)plant species are classified into 5 ecotypes: arid type, osculant type, Halophyte I, Halophyte II,and secondary type. 3) DCA ordination is superior to CCA and DCCA on desert-oasis ecotone vegetation. 4) Variation of ecotone vegetation explained by environmental and spatial factors reaches 23.4%, among these the species matrix explained by non-spatial soil factors accounts for up to 11.5% of variation, spatial variation that is not shared by soil factors explains up to 11.6%, spatial variation interacted with soil factors up to 0.3%, 76.6% of undetermined variation remains due to biological and random factors.

  7. Pre-exposure of Arabidopsis to the abiotic or biotic environmental stimuli “chilling” or “insect eggs” exhibits different transcriptomic responses to herbivory

    PubMed Central

    Firtzlaff, Vivien; Oberländer, Jana; Geiselhardt, Sven; Hilker, Monika; Kunze, Reinhard

    2016-01-01

    Plants can retain information about environmental stress and thus, prepare themselves for impending stress. In nature, it happens that environmental stimuli like ‘cold’ and ‘insect egg deposition’ precede insect herbivory. Both these stimuli are known to elicit transcriptomic changes in Arabidposis thaliana. It is unknown, however, whether they affect the plant’s anti-herbivore defence and feeding-induced transcriptome when they end prior to herbivory. Here we investigated the transcriptomic response of Arabidopsis to feeding by Pieris brassicae larvae after prior exposure to cold or oviposition. The transcriptome of plants that experienced a five-day-chilling period (4 °C) was not fully reset to the pre-chilling state after deacclimation (20 °C) for one day and responded differently to herbivory than that of chilling-inexperienced plants. In contrast, when after a five-day-lasting oviposition period the eggs were removed, one day later the transcriptome and, consistently, also its response to herbivory resembled that of egg-free plants. Larval performance was unaffected by previous exposure of plants to cold and to eggs, thus indicating P. brassicae tolerance to cold-mediated plant transcriptomic changes. Our results show strong differences in the persistence of the plant’s transcriptomic state after removal of different environmental cues, and consequently differential effects on the transcriptomic response to later herbivory. PMID:27329974

  8. Flood disturbance and predator-prey effects on regional gradients in species diversity.

    PubMed

    Mori, Terutaka; Saitoh, Takashi

    2014-01-01

    The effects of both abiotic factors and biotic interactions among guilds (i.e., inter-guild effects) have been suggested to be important for understanding spatial variation in species diversity; however, compared to the abiotic effects, the processes by which the inter-guild effects are mediated have been little described. Hence, we investigated stream invertebrate assemblages on Hokkaido Island, Japan, and assessed how the processes of determining regional patterns in species diversity differed among guilds (collector-filterers, collector-gatherers/shredders, scrapers, and predators) by taking both inter-guild and abiotic effects into consideration using Bayesian networks. Collector-gatherers/shredders, collector-filterers, and predators exhibited significant regional gradients in taxonomic richness. Gradients in the former two guilds can be generated by variation in flood disturbance regardless of interactions with other guilds. The gradient in predator taxonomic richness was indirectly related to the disturbance and was directly generated by bottom-up effects through their prey (collector-gatherers/shredders and collector-filterers). We found that not only environmental factors, but also inter-guild effects may be essential for forming the regional gradient in predators, unlike those for collector-gatherers/shredders and collector-filterers. The processes underlying the regional variation in taxonomic richness of the three guilds are interpreted in terms of the "more individuals" hypothesis, facilitation, and predator-prey relationships.

  9. The urban environmental gradient: Anthropogenic influences on the spatial and temporal distributions of lead and zinc in sediments

    SciTech Connect

    Callender, E.; Rice, K.C.

    2000-01-15

    Urban settings are a focal point for environmental contamination due to emissions from industrial and municipal activities and the widespread use of motor vehicles. As part of the National Water-Quality Assessment Program of the US Geological Survey, streamed-sediment and dated reservoir-sediment samples were collected from the Chattahoochee River Basin and analyzed for total lead (Pb) and zinc (Zn) concentrations. The sampling transect extends from northern Georgia, through Atlanta, to the Gulf of Mexico and reflects a steep gradient in population density from nearly 1,000 people/km{sup 2} in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area to fewer than 50 people/km{sup 2} in rural areas of southern Georgia and northern Florida. Correlations among population density, traffic density, and total and anthropogenic Pb and Zn concentrations indicate that population density is strongly related to traffic density and is a predictor o Pb and Zn concentrations in the environment derived from anthropogenic activities. Differences in the distributions of total Pb and Zn concentrations along the urban-suburban-rural gradient from Atlanta to the Florida Panhandle are related to temporal and spatial processes. That is, with the removal of leaded gasoline starting in the late 1970s, peak Pb concentrations have decreased to the present. Conversely, increased vehicular usage has kept Zn concentrations elevated in runoff from populated centers, which is reflected in the continued enrichment of Zn in aquatic sediments. Sediments from rural areas also contain elevated concentrations of Zn, possibly in response to substantial power plant emissions for the region, as well as vehicular traffic.

  10. The urban environmental gradient: Anthropogenic influences on the spatial and temporal distributions of lead and zinc in sediments

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Callender, Edward; Rice, Karen C.

    2000-01-01

    Urban settings are a focal point for environmental contamination due to emissions from industrial and municipal activities and the widespread use of motor vehicles. As part of the National Water-Quality Assessment Program of the U.S. Geological Survey, streambed-sediment and dated reservoir-sediment samples were collected from the Chattahoochee River Basin and analyzed for total lead (Pb) and zinc (Zn) concentrations. The sampling transect extends from northern Georgia, through Atlanta, to the Gulf of Mexico and reflects a steep gradient in population density from nearly 1000 people/km2 in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area to fewer than 50 people/km2 in rural areas of southern Georgia and northern Florida. Correlations among population density, traffic density, and total and anthropogenic Pb and Zn concentrations indicate that population density is strongly related to traffic density and is a predictor of Pb and Zn concentrations in the environment derived from anthropogenic activities. Differences in the distributions of total Pb and Zn concentrations along the urban−suburban−rural gradient from Atlanta to the Florida Panhandle are related to temporal and spatial processes. That is, with the removal of leaded gasoline starting in the late 1970s, peak Pb concentrations have decreased to the present. Conversely, increased vehicular usage has kept Zn concentrations elevated in runoff from population centers, which is reflected in the continued enrichment of Zn in aquatic sediments. Sediments from rural areas also contain elevated concentrations of Zn, possibly in response to substantial power plant emissions for the region, as well as vehicular traffic.

  11. Abiotic stress responses in plant roots: a proteomics perspective

    PubMed Central

    Ghosh, Dipanjana; Xu, Jian

    2014-01-01

    Abiotic stress conditions adversely affect plant growth, resulting in significant decline in crop productivity. To mitigate and recover from the damaging effects of such adverse environmental conditions, plants have evolved various adaptive strategies at cellular and metabolic levels. Most of these strategies involve dynamic changes in protein abundance that can be best explored through proteomics. This review summarizes comparative proteomic studies conducted with roots of various plant species subjected to different abiotic stresses especially drought, salinity, flood, and cold. The main purpose of this article is to highlight and classify the protein level changes in abiotic stress response pathways specifically in plant roots. Shared as well as stressor-specific proteome signatures and adaptive mechanism(s) are simultaneously described. Such a comprehensive account will facilitate the design of genetic engineering strategies that enable the development of broad-spectrum abiotic stress-tolerant crops. PMID:24478786

  12. Trait-Based Community Assembly along an Elevational Gradient in Subalpine Forests: Quantifying the Roles of Environmental Factors in Inter- and Intraspecific Variability

    PubMed Central

    Luo, Ya-Huang; Liu, Jie; Tan, Shao-Lin; Cadotte, Marc William; Wang, Yue-Hua; Xu, Kun; Li, De-Zhu; Gao, Lian-Ming

    2016-01-01

    Understanding how communities respond to environmental variation is a central goal in ecology. Plant communities respond to environmental gradients via intraspecific and/or interspecific variation in plant functional traits. However, the relative contribution of these two responses to environmental factors remains poorly tested. We measured six functional traits (height, leaf thickness, specific leaf area (SLA), leaf carbon concentration (LCC), leaf nitrogen concentration (LNC) and leaf phosphorus concentration (LPC)) for 55 tree species occurring at five elevations across a 1200 m elevational gradient of subalpine forests in Yulong Mountain, Southwest China. We examined the relative contribution of interspecific and intraspecific traits variability based on community weighted mean trait values and functional diversity, and tested how different components of trait variation respond to different environmental axes (climate and soil variables). Species turnover explained the largest amount of variation in leaf morphological traits (leaf thickness and SLA) across the elevational gradient. However, intraspecific variability explained a large amount of variation (49.3%–76.3%) in three other traits (height, LNC and LPC) despite high levels of species turnover. The detection of limiting similarity in community assembly was improved when accounting for both intraspecific and interspecific variability. Different components of trait variation respond to different environmental axes, especially soil water content and climatic variables. Our results indicate that intraspecific variation is critical for understanding community assembly and evaluating community response to environmental change. PMID:27191402

  13. Abiotic stresses and endophyte effects

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Abiotic stresses consist of nonorganismal, nonpathogenic factors that inhibit plant function. Tall fescue [Lolium arundinaceum (Schreb.) Darbysh.] is widely symbiotic with a naturally occurring endophytic fungus [Neotyphodium coenophialum (Morgan-Jones and Gams) Glenn, Bacon, and Hanlin], which con...

  14. Seascape genetics along environmental gradients in the Arabian Peninsula: insights from ddRAD sequencing of anemonefishes.

    PubMed

    Saenz-Agudelo, Pablo; Dibattista, Joseph D; Piatek, Marek J; Gaither, Michelle R; Harrison, Hugo B; Nanninga, Gerrit B; Berumen, Michael L

    2015-12-01

    Understanding the processes that shape patterns of genetic structure across space is a central aim of landscape genetics. However, it remains unclear how geographical features and environmental variables shape gene flow, particularly for marine species in large complex seascapes. Here, we evaluated the genomic composition of the two-band anemonefish Amphiprion bicinctus across its entire geographical range in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, as well as its close relative, Amphiprion omanensis endemic to the southern coast of Oman. Both the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea are complex and environmentally heterogeneous marine systems that provide an ideal scenario to address these questions. Our findings confirm the presence of two genetic clusters previously reported for A. bicinctus in the Red Sea. Genetic structure analyses suggest a complex seascape configuration, with evidence of both isolation by distance (IBD) and isolation by environment (IBE). In addition to IBD and IBE, genetic structure among sites was best explained when two barriers to gene flow were also accounted for. One of these coincides with a strong oligotrophic-eutrophic gradient at around 16-20˚N in the Red Sea. The other agrees with a historical bathymetric barrier at the straight of Bab al Mandab. Finally, these data support the presence of interspecific hybrids at an intermediate suture zone at Socotra and indicate complex patterns of genomic admixture in the Gulf of Aden with evidence of introgression between species. Our findings highlight the power of recent genomic approaches to resolve subtle patterns of gene flow in marine seascapes.

  15. Programmed improvements of the alternating gradient synchrotron complex at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York. Environmental assessment

    SciTech Connect

    1994-03-01

    The purpose and need for DOE to undertake the actions described in this document are to improve the efficiency of the Alternating Gradient Synchrotron (AGS) complex. Benefits would include optimization of the AGS scientific program, increased high-energy and nuclear physics experimentation, improved health and safety conditions for workers and users, reduced impact on the environment and the general public, energy conservation, decreased generation of hazardous and radioactive wastes, and completion of actions required to permit the AGS to be the injector to the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC)., Improved efficiency is defined as increasing the AGS`s capabilities to capture and accelerate the proton intensity transferred to the AGS from the AGS booster. Improved capture of beam intensity would reduce the beam losses which equate to lost scientific opportunity for study and increased potential for radiation doses to workers and the general public. The action would also refurbish magnets used in the transfer tunnel which connects the AGS complex to RHIC to permit smooth injection of beam into the RHIC accelerator. These magnets were previously used to direct beam to fixed targets for high energy physics studies but have hot received proper maintenance to be reliable as injectors to RHIC. The document describes alternative actions, the affected environment, and environmental impacts.

  16. Environmental drivers defining linkages among life-history traits: mechanistic insights from a semiterrestrial amphipod subjected to macroscale gradients

    PubMed Central

    Gómez, Julio; Barboza, Francisco R; Defeo, Omar

    2013-01-01

    Determining the existence of interconnected responses among life-history traits and identifying underlying environmental drivers are recognized as key goals for understanding the basis of phenotypic variability. We studied potentially interconnected responses among senescence, fecundity, embryos size, weight of brooding females, size at maturity and sex ratio in a semiterrestrial amphipod affected by macroscale gradients in beach morphodynamics and salinity. To this end, multiple modelling processes based on generalized additive mixed models were used to deal with the spatio-temporal structure of the data obtained at 10 beaches during 22 months. Salinity was the only nexus among life-history traits, suggesting that this physiological stressor influences the energy balance of organisms. Different salinity scenarios determined shifts in the weight of brooding females and size at maturity, having consequences in the number and size of embryos which in turn affected sex determination and sex ratio at the population level. Our work highlights the importance of analysing field data to find the variables and potential mechanisms that define concerted responses among traits, therefore defining life-history strategies. PMID:24198949

  17. Plant–insect interactions from Middle Triassic (late Ladinian) of Monte Agnello (Dolomites, N-Italy)—initial pattern and response to abiotic environmental perturbations

    PubMed Central

    Kustatscher, Evelyn; Dellantonio, Elio

    2015-01-01

    The Paleozoic–Mesozoic transition is characterized by the most massive extinction of the Phanerozoic. Nevertheless, an impressive adaptive radiation of herbivorous insects occurred on gymnosperm-dominated floras not earlier than during the Middle to Late Triassic, penecontemporaneous with similar events worldwide, all which exhibit parallel expansions of generalized and mostly specialized insect herbivory on plants, expressed as insect damage on a various plant organs and tissues. The flora from Monte Agnello is distinctive, due to its preservation in subaerially deposited pyroclastic layers with exceptionally preserved details. Thus, the para-autochthonous assemblage provides insights into environmental disturbances, caused by volcanic activity, and how they profoundly affected the structure and composition of herbivory patterns. These diverse Middle Triassic biota supply extensive evidence for insect herbivore colonization, resulting in specific and complex herbivory patterns involving the frequency and diversity of 20 distinctive damage types (DTs). These DT patterns show that external foliage feeders, piercer-and-suckers, leaf miners, gallers, and oviposition culprits were intricately using almost all tissue types from the dominant host plants of voltzialean conifers (e.g., Voltzia), horsetails, ferns (e.g., Neuropteridium, Phlebopteris, Cladophlebis and Thaumatopteris), seed ferns (e.g., Scytophyllum), and cycadophytes (e.g., Bjuvia and Nilssonia). PMID:25945313

  18. An omics approach to understand the plant abiotic stress.

    PubMed

    Debnath, Mousumi; Pandey, Mukeshwar; Bisen, P S

    2011-11-01

    Abiotic stress can lead to changes in development, productivity, and severe stress and may even threaten survival of plants. Several environmental stresses cause drastic changes in the growth, physiology, and metabolism of plants leading to the increased accumulation of secondary metabolites. As medicinal plants are important sources of drugs, steps are taken to understand the effect of stress on the physiology, biochemistry, genomic, proteomic, and metabolic levels. The molecular responses of plants to abiotic stress are often considered as a complex process. They are mainly based on the modulation of transcriptional activity of stress-related genes. Many genes have been induced under stress conditions. The products of stress-inducible genes protecting against these stresses includes the enzymes responsible for the synthesis of various osmoprotectants. Genetic engineering of tolerance to abiotic stresses help in molecular understanding of pathways induced in response to one or more of the abiotic stresses. Systems biology and virtual experiments allow visualizing and understanding how plants work to overcome abiotic stress. This review discusses the omic approach to understand the plant response to abiotic stress with special emphasis on medicinal plant.

  19. Effects of abiotic factors on ecosystem health of Taihu Lake, China based on eco-exergy theory.

    PubMed

    Wang, Ce; Bi, Jun; Fath, Brian D

    2017-02-21

    A lake ecosystem is continuously exposed to environmental stressors with non-linear interrelationships between abiotic factors and aquatic organisms. Ecosystem health depicts the capacity of system to respond to external perturbations and still maintain structure and function. In this study, we explored the effects of abiotic factors on ecosystem health of Taihu Lake in 2013, China from a system-level perspective. Spatiotemporal heterogeneities of eco-exergy and specific eco-exergy served as thermodynamic indicators to represent ecosystem health in the lake. The results showed the plankton community appeared more energetic in May, and relatively healthy in Gonghu Bay with both higher eco-exergy and specific eco-exergy; a eutrophic state was likely discovered in Zhushan Bay with higher eco-exergy but lower specific eco-exergy. Gradient Boosting Machine (GBM) approach was used to explain the non-linear relationships between two indicators and abiotic factors. This analysis revealed water temperature, inorganic nutrients, and total suspended solids greatly contributed to the two indicators that increased. However, pH rise driven by inorganic carbon played an important role in undermining ecosystem health, particularly when pH was higher than 8.2. This implies that climate change with rising CO2 concentrations has the potential to aggravate eutrophication in Taihu Lake where high nutrient loads are maintained.

  20. Effects of abiotic factors on ecosystem health of Taihu Lake, China based on eco-exergy theory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Ce; Bi, Jun; Fath, Brian D.

    2017-02-01

    A lake ecosystem is continuously exposed to environmental stressors with non-linear interrelationships between abiotic factors and aquatic organisms. Ecosystem health depicts the capacity of system to respond to external perturbations and still maintain structure and function. In this study, we explored the effects of abiotic factors on ecosystem health of Taihu Lake in 2013, China from a system-level perspective. Spatiotemporal heterogeneities of eco-exergy and specific eco-exergy served as thermodynamic indicators to represent ecosystem health in the lake. The results showed the plankton community appeared more energetic in May, and relatively healthy in Gonghu Bay with both higher eco-exergy and specific eco-exergy; a eutrophic state was likely discovered in Zhushan Bay with higher eco-exergy but lower specific eco-exergy. Gradient Boosting Machine (GBM) approach was used to explain the non-linear relationships between two indicators and abiotic factors. This analysis revealed water temperature, inorganic nutrients, and total suspended solids greatly contributed to the two indicators that increased. However, pH rise driven by inorganic carbon played an important role in undermining ecosystem health, particularly when pH was higher than 8.2. This implies that climate change with rising CO2 concentrations has the potential to aggravate eutrophication in Taihu Lake where high nutrient loads are maintained.

  1. Effects of abiotic factors on ecosystem health of Taihu Lake, China based on eco-exergy theory

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Ce; Bi, Jun; Fath, Brian D.

    2017-01-01

    A lake ecosystem is continuously exposed to environmental stressors with non-linear interrelationships between abiotic factors and aquatic organisms. Ecosystem health depicts the capacity of system to respond to external perturbations and still maintain structure and function. In this study, we explored the effects of abiotic factors on ecosystem health of Taihu Lake in 2013, China from a system-level perspective. Spatiotemporal heterogeneities of eco-exergy and specific eco-exergy served as thermodynamic indicators to represent ecosystem health in the lake. The results showed the plankton community appeared more energetic in May, and relatively healthy in Gonghu Bay with both higher eco-exergy and specific eco-exergy; a eutrophic state was likely discovered in Zhushan Bay with higher eco-exergy but lower specific eco-exergy. Gradient Boosting Machine (GBM) approach was used to explain the non-linear relationships between two indicators and abiotic factors. This analysis revealed water temperature, inorganic nutrients, and total suspended solids greatly contributed to the two indicators that increased. However, pH rise driven by inorganic carbon played an important role in undermining ecosystem health, particularly when pH was higher than 8.2. This implies that climate change with rising CO2 concentrations has the potential to aggravate eutrophication in Taihu Lake where high nutrient loads are maintained. PMID:28220835

  2. Understanding Plant Community Responses to Combinations of Biotic and Abiotic Factors in Different Phases of the Plant Growth Cycle

    PubMed Central

    Wood, Kevin A.; Stillman, Richard A.; Clarke, Ralph T.; Daunt, Francis; O’Hare, Matthew T.

    2012-01-01

    Understanding plant community responses to combinations of biotic and abiotic factors is critical for predicting ecosystem response to environmental change. However, studies of plant community regulation have seldom considered how responses to such factors vary with the different phases of the plant growth cycle. To address this deficit we studied an aquatic plant community in an ecosystem subject to gradients in mute swan (Cygnus olor) herbivory, riparian shading, water temperature and distance downstream of the river source. We quantified abundance, species richness, evenness, flowering and dominance in relation to biotic and abiotic factors during the growth-, peak-, and recession-phases of the plant growth cycle. We show that the relative importance of biotic and abiotic factors varied between plant community properties and between different phases of the plant growth cycle. Herbivory became more important during the later phases of peak abundance and recession due to an influx of swans from adjacent pasture fields. Shading by riparian vegetation also had a greater depressing effect on biomass in later seasons, probably due to increased leaf abundance reducing light intensity reaching the aquatic plants. The effect of temperature on community diversity varied between upstream and downstream sites by altering the relative competitiveness of species at these sites. These results highlight the importance of seasonal patterns in the regulation of plant community structure and function by multiple factors. PMID:23166777

  3. Understanding plant community responses to combinations of biotic and abiotic factors in different phases of the plant growth cycle.

    PubMed

    Wood, Kevin A; Stillman, Richard A; Clarke, Ralph T; Daunt, Francis; O'Hare, Matthew T

    2012-01-01

    Understanding plant community responses to combinations of biotic and abiotic factors is critical for predicting ecosystem response to environmental change. However, studies of plant community regulation have seldom considered how responses to such factors vary with the different phases of the plant growth cycle. To address this deficit we studied an aquatic plant community in an ecosystem subject to gradients in mute swan (Cygnus olor) herbivory, riparian shading, water temperature and distance downstream of the river source. We quantified abundance, species richness, evenness, flowering and dominance in relation to biotic and abiotic factors during the growth-, peak-, and recession-phases of the plant growth cycle. We show that the relative importance of biotic and abiotic factors varied between plant community properties and between different phases of the plant growth cycle. Herbivory became more important during the later phases of peak abundance and recession due to an influx of swans from adjacent pasture fields. Shading by riparian vegetation also had a greater depressing effect on biomass in later seasons, probably due to increased leaf abundance reducing light intensity reaching the aquatic plants. The effect of temperature on community diversity varied between upstream and downstream sites by altering the relative competitiveness of species at these sites. These results highlight the importance of seasonal patterns in the regulation of plant community structure and function by multiple factors.

  4. Consistent Richness-Biomass Relationship across Environmental Gradients in a Marine Macroalgal-Dominated Subtidal Community on the Western Antarctic Peninsula.

    PubMed

    Valdivia, Nelson; Díaz, María José; Garrido, Ignacio; Gómez, Iván

    2015-01-01

    Biodiversity loss has spurred the biodiversity-ecosystem functioning research over a range of ecosystems. In Antarctica, however, the relationship of taxonomic and functional diversity with ecosystem properties (e.g., community biomass) has received less attention, despite the presence of sharp and dynamic environmental stress gradients that might modulate these properties. Here, we investigated whether the richness-biomass relationship in macrobenthic subtidal communities is still apparent after accounting for environmental stress gradients in Fildes Bay, King George Island, Antarctica. Measurements of biomass of mobile and sessile macrobenthic taxa were conducted in the austral summer 2013/4 across two environmental stress gradients: distance from nearest glaciers and subtidal depth (from 5 to 30 m). In general, community biomass increased with distance from glaciers and water depth. However, generalised additive models showed that distance from glaciers and depth accounted for negligible proportions of variation in the number of functional groups (i.e., functional richness) and community biomass when compared to taxonomic richness. Functional richness and community biomass were positive and saturating functions of taxonomic richness. Large endemic, canopy-forming brown algae of the order Desmarestiales dominated the community biomass across both gradients. Accordingly, differences in the composition of taxa accounted for a significant and large proportion (51%) of variation in community biomass in comparison with functional richness (10%). Our results suggest that the environmental factors here analysed may be less important than biodiversity in shaping mesoscale (several km) biomass patterns in this Antarctic system. We suggest that further manipulative, hypothesis-driven research should address the role of biodiversity and species' functional traits in the responses of Antarctic subtidal communities to environmental variation.

  5. Consistent Richness-Biomass Relationship across Environmental Gradients in a Marine Macroalgal-Dominated Subtidal Community on the Western Antarctic Peninsula

    PubMed Central

    Valdivia, Nelson; Díaz, María José; Garrido, Ignacio; Gómez, Iván

    2015-01-01

    Biodiversity loss has spurred the biodiversity-ecosystem functioning research over a range of ecosystems. In Antarctica, however, the relationship of taxonomic and functional diversity with ecosystem properties (e.g., community biomass) has received less attention, despite the presence of sharp and dynamic environmental stress gradients that might modulate these properties. Here, we investigated whether the richness-biomass relationship in macrobenthic subtidal communities is still apparent after accounting for environmental stress gradients in Fildes Bay, King George Island, Antarctica. Measurements of biomass of mobile and sessile macrobenthic taxa were conducted in the austral summer 2013/4 across two environmental stress gradients: distance from nearest glaciers and subtidal depth (from 5 to 30 m). In general, community biomass increased with distance from glaciers and water depth. However, generalised additive models showed that distance from glaciers and depth accounted for negligible proportions of variation in the number of functional groups (i.e., functional richness) and community biomass when compared to taxonomic richness. Functional richness and community biomass were positive and saturating functions of taxonomic richness. Large endemic, canopy-forming brown algae of the order Desmarestiales dominated the community biomass across both gradients. Accordingly, differences in the composition of taxa accounted for a significant and large proportion (51%) of variation in community biomass in comparison with functional richness (10%). Our results suggest that the environmental factors here analysed may be less important than biodiversity in shaping mesoscale (several km) biomass patterns in this Antarctic system. We suggest that further manipulative, hypothesis-driven research should address the role of biodiversity and species’ functional traits in the responses of Antarctic subtidal communities to environmental variation. PMID:26381149

  6. Environmental regulation of carbon isotope composition and crassulacean acid metabolism in three plant communities along a water availability gradient

    PubMed Central

    Ricalde, M. Fernanda; Durán, Rafael; Dupuy, Juan Manuel; Simá, J. Luis; Us-Santamaría, Roberth; Santiago, Louis S.

    2010-01-01

    Expression of crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) is characterized by extreme variability within and between taxa and its sensitivity to environmental variation. In this study, we determined seasonal fluctuations in CAM photosynthesis with measurements of nocturnal tissue acidification and carbon isotopic composition (δ13C) of bulk tissue and extracted sugars in three plant communities along a precipitation gradient (500, 700, and 1,000 mm year−1) on the Yucatan Peninsula. We also related the degree of CAM to light habitat and relative abundance of species in the three sites. For all species, the greatest tissue acid accumulation occurred during the rainy season. In the 500 mm site, tissue acidification was greater for the species growing at 30% of daily total photon flux density (PFD) than species growing at 80% PFD. Whereas in the two wetter sites, the species growing at 80% total PFD had greater tissue acidification. All species had values of bulk tissue δ13C less negative than −20‰, indicating strong CAM activity. The bulk tissue δ13C values in plants from the 500 mm site were 2‰ less negative than in plants from the wetter sites, and the only species growing in the three communities, Acanthocereus tetragonus (Cactaceae), showed a significant negative relationship between both bulk tissue and sugar δ13C values and annual rainfall, consistent with greater CO2 assimilation through the CAM pathway with decreasing water availability. Overall, variation in the use of CAM photosynthesis was related to water and light availability and CAM appeared to be more ecologically important in the tropical dry forests than in the coastal dune. PMID:20652592

  7. Diversity and distribution of autotrophic microbial community along environmental gradients in grassland soils on the Tibetan Plateau.

    PubMed

    Guo, Guangxia; Kong, Weidong; Liu, Jinbo; Zhao, Jingxue; Du, Haodong; Zhang, Xianzhou; Xia, Pinhua

    2015-10-01

    Soil microbial autotrophs play a significant role in CO2 fixation in terrestrial ecosystem, particularly in vegetation-constrained ecosystems with environmental stresses, such as the Tibetan Plateau characterized by low temperature and high UV. However, soil microbial autotrophic communities and their driving factors remain less appreciated. We investigated the structure and shift of microbial autotrophic communities and their driving factors along an elevation gradient (4400-5100 m above sea level) in alpine grassland soils on the Tibetan Plateau. The autotrophic microbial communities were characterized by quantitative PCR, terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP), and cloning/sequencing of cbbL genes, encoding the large subunit for the CO2 fixation protein ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RubisCO). High cbbL gene abundance and high RubisCO enzyme activity were observed and both significantly increased with increasing elevations. Path analysis identified that soil RubisCO enzyme causally originated from microbial autotrophs, and its activity was indirectly driven by soil water content, temperature, and NH4 (+) content. Soil autotrophic microbial community structure dramatically shifted along the elevation and was jointly driven by soil temperature, water content, nutrients, and plant types. The autotrophic microbial communities were dominated by bacterial autotrophs, which were affiliated with Rhizobiales, Burkholderiales, and Actinomycetales. These autotrophs have been well documented to degrade organic matters; thus, metabolic versatility could be a key strategy for microbial autotrophs to survive in the harsh environments. Our results demonstrated high abundance of microbial autotrophs and high CO2 fixation potential in alpine grassland soils and provided a novel model to identify dominant drivers of soil microbial communities and their ecological functions.

  8. Environmental regulation of carbon isotope composition and crassulacean acid metabolism in three plant communities along a water availability gradient.

    PubMed

    Ricalde, M Fernanda; Andrade, José Luis; Durán, Rafael; Dupuy, Juan Manuel; Simá, J Luis; Us-Santamaría, Roberth; Santiago, Louis S

    2010-12-01

    Expression of crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) is characterized by extreme variability within and between taxa and its sensitivity to environmental variation. In this study, we determined seasonal fluctuations in CAM photosynthesis with measurements of nocturnal tissue acidification and carbon isotopic composition (δ(13)C) of bulk tissue and extracted sugars in three plant communities along a precipitation gradient (500, 700, and 1,000 mm year(-1)) on the Yucatan Peninsula. We also related the degree of CAM to light habitat and relative abundance of species in the three sites. For all species, the greatest tissue acid accumulation occurred during the rainy season. In the 500 mm site, tissue acidification was greater for the species growing at 30% of daily total photon flux density (PFD) than species growing at 80% PFD. Whereas in the two wetter sites, the species growing at 80% total PFD had greater tissue acidification. All species had values of bulk tissue δ(13)C less negative than -20‰, indicating strong CAM activity. The bulk tissue δ(13)C values in plants from the 500 mm site were 2‰ less negative than in plants from the wetter sites, and the only species growing in the three communities, Acanthocereus tetragonus (Cactaceae), showed a significant negative relationship between both bulk tissue and sugar δ(13)C values and annual rainfall, consistent with greater CO(2) assimilation through the CAM pathway with decreasing water availability. Overall, variation in the use of CAM photosynthesis was related to water and light availability and CAM appeared to be more ecologically important in the tropical dry forests than in the coastal dune.

  9. A quantitative analysis of phenotypic variations of Metrosideros polymorpha within and across populations along environmental gradients on Mauna Loa, Hawaii.

    PubMed

    Tsujii, Yuki; Onoda, Yusuke; Izuno, Ayako; Isagi, Yuji; Kitayama, Kanehiro

    2016-04-01

    Metrosideros polymorpha, a dominant tree species in the Hawaiian Islands, shows an extreme phenotypic polymorphism both across gradients of climatic/edaphic conditions and within populations, making it a potentially useful model species for evolutionary study. In order to understand how the phenotypic diversity is maintained within populations as well as across populations, we examined the diversities of several leaf and stem functional traits across five elevations and two soil substrates on the volcanic mountain of Mauna Loa, on the island of Hawaii. Leaf dry mass per area (LMA), a key leaf functional trait, was particularly focused on and analyzed in relation to its underlying components-namely, tissue LMA and trichome LMA (LMA = tissue LMA + trichome LMA). Across populations, tissue LMA increased linearly with elevation while trichome LMA showed unimodal patterns with elevation, which were better correlated with temperature and rainfall, respectively. Substantial phenotypic variations were also found within populations. Interestingly, the variations of tissue LMA were often negatively correlated to trichome LMA within populations, which contrasts with the cross-populations pattern, where a strong positive correlation between tissue LMA and trichome LMA was found. This suggests that phenotypic variations within populations were substantially influenced by local ecological processes. Soil depth (an indicator of local water availability) and tree size (an indicator of colonized timing) modestly explained the within-population variations, implying other local environmental factors and/or random processes are also important in local phenotypic diversity. This study provides an insight about how phenotypic diversity of plant species is maintained from local to landscape levels.

  10. Community assembly and functional leaf traits mediate precipitation use efficiency of alpine grasslands along environmental gradients on the Tibetan Plateau

    PubMed Central

    Li, Shaowei

    2016-01-01

    The alpine grasslands on the Tibetan Plateau are sensitive and vulnerable to climate change. However, it is still unknown how precipitation use efficiency (PUE), the ratio of aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) to precipitation, is related to community assembly of plant species, functional groups or traits for the Tibetan alpine grasslands along actual environmental gradients. We conducted a multi-site field survey at grazing-excluded pastures across meadow, steppe and desert-steppe to measure aboveground biomass (AGB) in August, 2010. We used species richness (SR), the Shannon diversity index, and cover-weighted functional group composition (FGC) of 1-xerophytes, 2-mesophytes, and 3-hygrophytes to describe community assembly at the species level; and chose community-level leaf area index (LAIc), specific leaf area (SLAc), and species-mixed foliar δ13C to quantify community assembly at the functional trait level. Our results showed that PUE decreased with increasing accumulated active temperatures (AccT) when daily temperature average is higher than 5 °C, but increased with increasing climatic moisture index (CMI), which was demined as the ratio of growing season precipitation (GSP) to AccT. We also found that PUE increased with increasing SR, the Shannon diversity index, FGC and LAIc, decreased with increasing foliar δ13C, and had no relation with SLAc at the regional scale. Neither soil total nitrogen (STN) nor organic carbon has no influence on PUE at the regional scale. The community assembly of the Shannon index, LAIc and SLAc together accounted for 46.3% of variance in PUE, whilst CMI accounted for 47.9% of variance in PUE at the regional scale. This implies that community structural properties and plant functional traits can mediate the sensitivity of alpine grassland productivity in response to climate change. Thus, a long-term observation on community structural and functional changes is recommended for better understanding the response of

  11. Community assembly and functional leaf traits mediate precipitation use efficiency of alpine grasslands along environmental gradients on the Tibetan Plateau.

    PubMed

    Li, Shaowei; Wu, Jianshuang

    2016-01-01

    The alpine grasslands on the Tibetan Plateau are sensitive and vulnerable to climate change. However, it is still unknown how precipitation use efficiency (PUE), the ratio of aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) to precipitation, is related to community assembly of plant species, functional groups or traits for the Tibetan alpine grasslands along actual environmental gradients. We conducted a multi-site field survey at grazing-excluded pastures across meadow, steppe and desert-steppe to measure aboveground biomass (AGB) in August, 2010. We used species richness (SR), the Shannon diversity index, and cover-weighted functional group composition (FGC) of 1-xerophytes, 2-mesophytes, and 3-hygrophytes to describe community assembly at the species level; and chose community-level leaf area index (LAIc), specific leaf area (SLAc), and species-mixed foliar δ(13)C to quantify community assembly at the functional trait level. Our results showed that PUE decreased with increasing accumulated active temperatures (AccT) when daily temperature average is higher than 5 °C, but increased with increasing climatic moisture index (CMI), which was demined as the ratio of growing season precipitation (GSP) to AccT. We also found that PUE increased with increasing SR, the Shannon diversity index, FGC and LAIc, decreased with increasing foliar δ(13)C, and had no relation with SLAc at the regional scale. Neither soil total nitrogen (STN) nor organic carbon has no influence on PUE at the regional scale. The community assembly of the Shannon index, LAIc and SLAc together accounted for 46.3% of variance in PUE, whilst CMI accounted for 47.9% of variance in PUE at the regional scale. This implies that community structural properties and plant functional traits can mediate the sensitivity of alpine grassland productivity in response to climate change. Thus, a long-term observation on community structural and functional changes is recommended for better understanding the response of

  12. Environmental gradients and macroalgae in Mediterranean marshes: the case of Pego-Oliva marsh (East Iberian Peninsula).

    PubMed

    García, María Eugenia; Aboal, Marina

    2014-03-15

    Although Mediterranean marshes have historically suffered high anthropogenic pressure, they have maintained their remarkable biodiversity. They are severely threatened but remain comparatively unexplored systems from the algological point of view. For example, most of the indexes proposed for monitoring ecological quality are based on diatoms and very few have explored the use of macroalgae. The Pego-Oliva marsh is located in the east of the Iberian Peninsula close to the Mediterranean coast with warm annual temperature and fairly high precipitation. The aims of this study were to ascertain the ecological variables that explained macroalgal distribution in the Pego-Oliva marsh and to assess their indicator value. Macroalgal biodiversity was seen to be high (50 taxa) despite the high nitrogen concentration of the marsh. All the environmental variables studied had a broad range of variation throughout the marsh, especially conductivity (500-12290 μS/cm), temperature (14.3-31.7 °C), nitrate (9.493-64.113 mg/L) and ammonium (0.004-0.814 mg/L). A clear gradient of conductivity and dissolved oxygen was observed from fresh to saltwater. Batrachospermum arcuatum, Calothrix parietina, Chaetophora tuberculosa, Draparnaldia mutabilis, Hildenbrandia angolensis and Leptolyngbya angustissima were seen to act as indicators of low conductivity and dissolved inorganic nitrogen, and high dissolved oxygen, while Calothrix pulvinata, Ulva intestinalis, Homoeothrix violacea, Phormidium tergestinum and Thorea violacea were indicators of high conductivity and low dissolved nitrogen habitats. Cladophora glomerata, Compsopogon coeruleus, Polysiphonia subtilissima and Ulva flexuosa are the most widespread species and have a broad ecological range. Irrigation ditches have high ammonium and low dissolved oxygen concentrations and host infrequently reported species like Kumanoa mahlacensis. The data presented confirm the usefulness of macroalgae for the ecological monitoring of marshes

  13. Abiotic and biotic controls on local spatial distribution and performance of Boechera stricta.

    PubMed

    Naithani, Kusum J; Ewers, Brent E; Adelman, Jonathan D; Siemens, David H

    2014-01-01

    This study investigates the relative influence of biotic and abiotic factors on community dynamics using an integrated approach and highlights the influence of space on genotypic and phenotypic traits in plant community structure. We examined the relative influence of topography, environment, spatial distance, and intra- and interspecific interactions on spatial distribution and performance of Boechera stricta (rockcress), a close perennial relative of model plant Arabidopsis. First, using Bayesian kriging, we mapped the topography and environmental gradients and explored the spatial distribution of naturally occurring rockcress plants and two neighbors, Taraxacum officinale (dandelion) and Solidago missouriensis (goldenrod) found in close proximity within a typical diverse meadow community across topographic and environmental gradients. We then evaluated direct and indirect relationships among variables using Mantel path analysis and developed a network displaying abiotic and biotic interactions in this community. We found significant spatial autocorrelation among rockcress individuals, either because of common microhabitats as displayed by high density of individuals at lower elevation and high soil moisture area, or limited dispersal as shown by significant spatial autocorrelation of naturally occurring inbred lines, or a combination of both. Goldenrod and dandelion density around rockcress does not show any direct relationship with rockcress fecundity, possibly due to spatial segregation of resources. However, dandelion density around rockcress shows an indirect negative influence on rockcress fecundity via herbivory, indicating interspecific competition. Overall, we suggest that common microhabitat preference and limited dispersal are the main drivers for spatial distribution. However, intra-specific interactions and insect herbivory are the main drivers of rockcress performance in the meadow community.

  14. Transcriptome sequencing reveals population differentiation in gene expression linked to functional traits and environmental gradients in the South African shrub Protea repens.

    PubMed

    Akman, Melis; Carlson, Jane E; Holsinger, Kent E; Latimer, Andrew M

    2016-04-01

    Understanding the environmental and genetic mechanisms underlying locally adaptive trait variation across the ranges of species is a major focus of evolutionary biology. Combining transcriptome sequencing with common garden experiments on populations spanning geographical and environmental gradients holds promise for identifying such mechanisms. The South African shrub Protea repens displays diverse phenotypes in the wild along drought and temperature gradients. We grew plants from seeds collected at 19 populations spanning this species' range, and sequenced the transcriptomes of these plants to reveal gene pathways associated with adaptive trait variation. We related expression in co-expressed gene networks to trait phenotypes measured in the common garden and to source population climate. We found that expression in gene networks correlated with source-population environment and with plant traits. In particular, the activity of gene networks enriched for growth related pathways correlated strongly with source site minimum winter temperature and with leaf size, stem diameter and height in the garden. Other gene networks with enrichments for photosynthesis related genes showed associations with precipitation. Our results strongly suggest that this species displays population-level differences in gene expression that have been shaped by source population site climate, and that are reflected in trait variation along environmental gradients.

  15. Environmental rather than spatial factors structure bacterioplankton communities in shallow lakes along a > 6000 km latitudinal gradient in South America.

    PubMed

    Souffreau, Caroline; Van der Gucht, Katleen; van Gremberghe, Ineke; Kosten, Sarian; Lacerot, Gissell; Lobão, Lúcia Meirelles; de Moraes Huszar, Vera Lúcia; Roland, Fabio; Jeppesen, Erik; Vyverman, Wim; De Meester, Luc

    2015-07-01

    Metacommunity studies on lake bacterioplankton indicate the importance of environmental factors in structuring communities. Yet most of these studies cover relatively small spatial scales. We assessed the relative importance of environmental and spatial factors in shaping bacterioplankton communities across a > 6000 km latitudinal range, studying 48 shallow lowland lakes in the tropical, tropicali (isothermal subzone of the tropics) and tundra climate regions of South America using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis. Bacterioplankton community composition (BCC) differed significantly across regions. Although a large fraction of the variation in BCC remained unexplained, the results supported a consistent significant contribution of local environmental variables and to a lesser extent spatial variables, irrespective of spatial scale. Upon correction for space, mainly biotic environmental factors significantly explained the variation in BCC. The abundance of pelagic cladocerans remained particularly significant, suggesting grazer effects on bacterioplankton communities in the studied lakes. These results confirm that bacterioplankton communities are predominantly structured by environmental factors, even over a large-scale latitudinal gradient (6026 km), and stress the importance of including biotic variables in studies that aim to understand patterns in BCC.

  16. Nitric oxide signaling in plant responses to abiotic stresses.

    PubMed

    Qiao, Weihua; Fan, Liu-Min

    2008-10-01

    Nitric oxide (NO) plays important roles in diverse physiological processes in plants. NO can provoke both beneficial and harmful effects, which depend on the concentration and location of NO in plant cells. This review is focused on NO synthesis and the functions of NO in plant responses to abiotic environmental stresses. Abiotic stresses mostly induce NO production in plants. NO alleviates the harmfulness of reactive oxygen species, and reacts with other target molecules, and regulates the expression of stress responsive genes under various stress conditions.

  17. Starch as a determinant of plant fitness under abiotic stress.

    PubMed

    Thalmann, Matthias; Santelia, Diana

    2017-03-09

    I. II. III. IV. V. VI. References SUMMARY: Abiotic stresses, such as drought, high salinity and extreme temperatures, pose one of the most important constraints to plant growth and productivity in many regions of the world. A number of investigations have shown that plants, including several important crops, remobilize their starch reserve to release energy, sugars and derived metabolites to help mitigate the stress. This is an essential process for plant fitness with important implications for plant productivity under challenging environmental conditions. In this Tansley insight, we evaluate the current literature on starch metabolism in response to abiotic stresses, and discuss the key enzymes involved and how they are regulated.

  18. Polyamines and abiotic stress in plants: a complex relationship1

    PubMed Central

    Minocha, Rakesh; Majumdar, Rajtilak; Minocha, Subhash C.

    2014-01-01

    The physiological relationship between abiotic stress in plants and polyamines was reported more than 40 years ago. Ever since there has been a debate as to whether increased polyamines protect plants against abiotic stress (e.g., due to their ability to deal with oxidative radicals) or cause damage to them (perhaps due to hydrogen peroxide produced by their catabolism). The observation that cellular polyamines are typically elevated in plants under both short-term as well as long-term abiotic stress conditions is consistent with the possibility of their dual effects, i.e., being protectors from as well as perpetrators of stress damage to the cells. The observed increase in tolerance of plants to abiotic stress when their cellular contents are elevated by either exogenous treatment with polyamines or through genetic engineering with genes encoding polyamine biosynthetic enzymes is indicative of a protective role for them. However, through their catabolic production of hydrogen peroxide and acrolein, both strong oxidizers, they can potentially be the cause of cellular harm during stress. In fact, somewhat enigmatic but strong positive relationship between abiotic stress and foliar polyamines has been proposed as a potential biochemical marker of persistent environmental stress in forest trees in which phenotypic symptoms of stress are not yet visible. Such markers may help forewarn forest managers to undertake amelioration strategies before the appearance of visual symptoms of stress and damage at which stage it is often too late for implementing strategies for stress remediation and reversal of damage. This review provides a comprehensive and critical evaluation of the published literature on interactions between abiotic stress and polyamines in plants, and examines the experimental strategies used to understand the functional significance of this relationship with the aim of improving plant productivity, especially under conditions of abiotic stress. PMID:24847338

  19. Oxylipins and plant abiotic stress resistance.

    PubMed

    Savchenko, T V; Zastrijnaja, O M; Klimov, V V

    2014-04-01

    Oxylipins are signaling molecules formed enzymatically or spontaneously from unsaturated fatty acids in all aerobic organisms. Oxylipins regulate growth, development, and responses to environmental stimuli of organisms. The oxylipin biosynthesis pathway in plants includes a few parallel branches named after first enzyme of the corresponding branch as allene oxide synthase, hydroperoxide lyase, divinyl ether synthase, peroxygenase, epoxy alcohol synthase, and others in which various biologically active metabolites are produced. Oxylipins can be formed non-enzymatically as a result of oxygenation of fatty acids by free radicals and reactive oxygen species. Spontaneously formed oxylipins are called phytoprostanes. The role of oxylipins in biotic stress responses has been described in many published works. The role of oxylipins in plant adaptation to abiotic stress conditions is less studied; there is also obvious lack of available data compilation and analysis in this area of research. In this work we analyze data on oxylipins functions in plant adaptation to abiotic stress conditions, such as wounding, suboptimal light and temperature, dehydration and osmotic stress, and effects of ozone and heavy metals. Modern research articles elucidating the molecular mechanisms of oxylipins action by the methods of biochemistry, molecular biology, and genetics are reviewed here. Data on the role of oxylipins in stress signal transduction, stress-inducible gene expression regulation, and interaction of these metabolites with other signal transduction pathways in cells are described. In this review the general oxylipin-mediated mechanisms that help plants to adjust to a broad spectrum of stress factors are considered, followed by analysis of more specific responses regulated by oxylipins only under certain stress conditions. New approaches to improvement of plant resistance to abiotic stresses based on the induction of oxylipin-mediated processes are discussed.

  20. Trait-mediated environmental filtering drives assembly at biogeographic transition zones.

    PubMed

    Sommer, Brigitte; Harrison, Peter L; Beger, Maria; Pandolfi, John M

    2014-04-01

    Abiotic filtering is a major driver of gradients in the structure and functioning of ecosystems from the tropics to the poles. It is thus likely that environmental filtering is an important assembly process at the transition of biogeographical zones where many species occur at their range limits. Shifts in species abundances and association patterns along environmental gradients can be indicative of environmental filtering, which is predicted to be stronger in areas of high abiotic stress and to promote increased similarity of ecological characteristics among co-occurring species. Here we test these hypotheses for scleractinian corals along a broad latitudinal gradient in high-latitude eastern Australia, where corals occur at the margins of their ranges and environmental tolerances. We quantify variation in taxonomic, zoogeographic, and functional patterns combined with null model approaches and demonstrate systematic spatial variation in community structure and significant covariance of species abundance distributions and functional characteristics along the latitudinal gradient. We describe a strong biogeographic transition zone, consistent with patterns expected under abiotic filtering, whereby species are sorted along the latitudinal gradient according to their tolerances for marginal reef conditions. High-latitude coastal reefs are typified by widely distributed, generalist, stress-tolerant coral species with massive and horizontally spreading morphologies and by diminishing influence of tropical taxa at higher latitudes and closer to the mainland. Higher degree of ecological similarity among co-occurring species than expected by chance supports the environmental filtering hypothesis. Among individual traits, the structural traits corallite size and colony morphology were filtered most strongly, suggesting that characteristics linked to energy acquisition and physical stability may be particularly important for coral survival in high-latitude environments

  1. Influence of environmental gradients on C and N stable isotope ratios in coral reef biota of the Red Sea, Saudi Arabia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kürten, Benjamin; Al-Aidaroos, Ali M.; Struck, Ulrich; Khomayis, Hisham Sulaiman; Gharbawi, Waleed Yousef; Sommer, Ulrich

    2014-01-01

    The Red Sea features a natural environmental gradient characterized by increasing water temperature, nutrient and chlorophyll a concentrations from North to South. The aim of this study was to assess the relationships between ecohydrography, particulate organic matter (POM) and coral reef biota that are poorly understood by means of carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) stable isotopes. Herbivorous, planktivorous and carnivorous fishes, zooplankton, soft corals (Alcyonidae), and bivalves (Tridacna squamosa) were a priori defined as biota guilds. Environmental samples (nutrients, chlorophyll a), oceanographic data (salinity, temperature), POM and biota were collected at eight coral reefs between 28°31‧ N and 16°31‧ N. Isotopic niches of guilds separated in δ13C and δ15N isotopic niche spaces and were significantly correlated with environmental factors at latitudinal scale. Dietary end member contributions were estimated using the Bayesian isotope mixing model SIAR. POM and zooplankton 15N enrichment suggested influences by urban run-off in the industrialized central region of the Red Sea. Both δ15N and their relative trophic positions (RTPs) tend to increase southwards, but urban runoff offsets the natural environmental gradient in the central region of the Red Sea toward higher δ15N and RTPs. The present study reveals that consumer δ13C and δ15N in Red Sea coral reefs are influenced primarily by the latitudinal environmental gradient and localized urban runoff. This study illustrates the importance of ecohydrography when interpreting trophic relationships from stable isotopes in Red Sea coral reefs.

  2. The impact of abiotic factors on cellulose synthesis.

    PubMed

    Wang, Ting; McFarlane, Heather E; Persson, Staffan

    2016-01-01

    As sessile organisms, plants require mechanisms to sense and respond to changes in their environment, including both biotic and abiotic factors. One of the most common plant adaptations to environmental changes is differential regulation of growth, which results in growth either away from adverse conditions or towards more favorable conditions. As cell walls shape plant growth, this differential growth response must be accompanied by alterations to the plant cell wall. Here, we review the impact of four abiotic factors (osmotic conditions, ionic stress, light, and temperature) on the synthesis of cellulose, an important component of the plant cell wall. Understanding how different abiotic factors influence cellulose production and addressing key questions that remain in this field can provide crucial information to cope with the need for increased crop production under the mounting pressures of a growing world population and global climate change.

  3. Integrated metabolomics for abiotic stress responses in plants.

    PubMed

    Nakabayashi, Ryo; Saito, Kazuki

    2015-04-01

    Plants are considered to biosynthesize specialized (traditionally called secondary) metabolites to adapt to environmental stresses such as biotic and abiotic stresses. The majority of specialized metabolites induced by abiotic stress characteristically exhibit antioxidative activity in vitro, but their function in vivo is largely yet to be experimentally confirmed. In this review, we highlight recent advances in the identification of the role of abiotic stress-responsive specialized metabolites with an emphasis on flavonoids. Integrated 'omics' analysis, centered on metabolomics with a series of plant resources differing in their flavonoid accumulation, showed experimentally that flavonoids play a major role in antioxidation in vivo. In addition, the results also suggest the role of flavonoids in the vacuole. To obtain more in-depth insights, chemical and biological challenges need to be addressed for the identification of unknown specialized metabolites and their in vivo functions.

  4. Geomorphic controls on elevational gradients of species richness

    PubMed Central

    Bertuzzo, Enrico; Carrara, Francesco; Mari, Lorenzo; Altermatt, Florian; Rodriguez-Iturbe, Ignacio; Rinaldo, Andrea

    2016-01-01

    Elevational gradients of biodiversity have been widely investigated, and yet a clear interpretation of the biotic and abiotic factors that determine how species richness varies with elevation is still elusive. In mountainous landscapes, habitats at different elevations are characterized by different areal extent and connectivity properties, key drivers of biodiversity, as predicted by metacommunity theory. However, most previous studies directly correlated species richness to elevational gradients of potential drivers, thus neglecting the interplay between such gradients and the environmental matrix. Here, we investigate the role of geomorphology in shaping patterns of species richness. We develop a spatially explicit zero-sum metacommunity model where species have an elevation-dependent fitness and otherwise neutral traits. Results show that ecological dynamics over complex terrains lead to the null expectation of a hump-shaped elevational gradient of species richness, a pattern widely observed empirically. Local species richness is found to be related to the landscape elevational connectivity, as quantified by a newly proposed metric that applies tools of complex network theory to measure the closeness of a site to others with similar habitat. Our theoretical results suggest clear geomorphic controls on elevational gradients of species richness and support the use of the landscape elevational connectivity as a null model for the analysis of the distribution of biodiversity. PMID:26831107

  5. Geomorphic controls on elevational gradients of species richness.

    PubMed

    Bertuzzo, Enrico; Carrara, Francesco; Mari, Lorenzo; Altermatt, Florian; Rodriguez-Iturbe, Ignacio; Rinaldo, Andrea

    2016-02-16

    Elevational gradients of biodiversity have been widely investigated, and yet a clear interpretation of the biotic and abiotic factors that determine how species richness varies with elevation is still elusive. In mountainous landscapes, habitats at different elevations are characterized by different areal extent and connectivity properties, key drivers of biodiversity, as predicted by metacommunity theory. However, most previous studies directly correlated species richness to elevational gradients of potential drivers, thus neglecting the interplay between such gradients and the environmental matrix. Here, we investigate the role of geomorphology in shaping patterns of species richness. We develop a spatially explicit zero-sum metacommunity model where species have an elevation-dependent fitness and otherwise neutral traits. Results show that ecological dynamics over complex terrains lead to the null expectation of a hump-shaped elevational gradient of species richness, a pattern widely observed empirically. Local species richness is found to be related to the landscape elevational connectivity, as quantified by a newly proposed metric that applies tools of complex network theory to measure the closeness of a site to others with similar habitat. Our theoretical results suggest clear geomorphic controls on elevational gradients of species richness and support the use of the landscape elevational connectivity as a null model for the analysis of the distribution of biodiversity.

  6. ROS Regulation During Abiotic Stress Responses in Crop Plants.

    PubMed

    You, Jun; Chan, Zhulong

    2015-01-01

    Abiotic stresses such as drought, cold, salt and heat cause reduction of plant growth and loss of crop yield worldwide. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) including hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), superoxide anions (O2 (•-)), hydroxyl radical (OH•) and singlet oxygen ((1)O2) are by-products of physiological metabolisms, and are precisely controlled by enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidant defense systems. ROS are significantly accumulated under abiotic stress conditions, which cause oxidative damage and eventually resulting in cell death. Recently, ROS have been also recognized as key players in the complex signaling network of plants stress responses. The involvement of ROS in signal transduction implies that there must be coordinated function of regulation networks to maintain ROS at non-toxic levels in a delicate balancing act between ROS production, involving ROS generating enzymes and the unavoidable production of ROS during basic cellular metabolism, and ROS-scavenging pathways. Increasing evidence showed that ROS play crucial roles in abiotic stress responses of crop plants for the activation of stress-response and defense pathways. More importantly, manipulating ROS levels provides an opportunity to enhance stress tolerances of crop plants under a variety of unfavorable environmental conditions. This review presents an overview of current knowledge about homeostasis regulation of ROS in crop plants. In particular, we summarize the essential proteins that are involved in abiotic stress tolerance of crop plants through ROS regulation. Finally, the challenges toward the improvement of abiotic stress tolerance through ROS regulation in crops are discussed.

  7. ROS Regulation During Abiotic Stress Responses in Crop Plants

    PubMed Central

    You, Jun; Chan, Zhulong

    2015-01-01

    Abiotic stresses such as drought, cold, salt and heat cause reduction of plant growth and loss of crop yield worldwide. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) including hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), superoxide anions (O2•-), hydroxyl radical (OH•) and singlet oxygen (1O2) are by-products of physiological metabolisms, and are precisely controlled by enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidant defense systems. ROS are significantly accumulated under abiotic stress conditions, which cause oxidative damage and eventually resulting in cell death. Recently, ROS have been also recognized as key players in the complex signaling network of plants stress responses. The involvement of ROS in signal transduction implies that there must be coordinated function of regulation networks to maintain ROS at non-toxic levels in a delicate balancing act between ROS production, involving ROS generating enzymes and the unavoidable production of ROS during basic cellular metabolism, and ROS-scavenging pathways. Increasing evidence showed that ROS play crucial roles in abiotic stress responses of crop plants for the activation of stress-response and defense pathways. More importantly, manipulating ROS levels provides an opportunity to enhance stress tolerances of crop plants under a variety of unfavorable environmental conditions. This review presents an overview of current knowledge about homeostasis regulation of ROS in crop plants. In particular, we summarize the essential proteins that are involved in abiotic stress tolerance of crop plants through ROS regulation. Finally, the challenges toward the improvement of abiotic stress tolerance through ROS regulation in crops are discussed. PMID:26697045

  8. The Influence of Natural and Anthropic Environmental Variables on the Structure and Spatial Distribution Along Longitudinal Gradient of Macroinvertebrate Communities in Southern Brazilian Streams

    PubMed Central

    Salvarrey, Andrea Vanessa Batalla; Kotzian, Carla Bender; Spies, Márcia Regina; Braun, Bruna

    2014-01-01

    Southern Brazilian rivers and streams have been intensively affected by human activities, especially agriculture and the release of untreated domestic sewage. However, data about the aquatic macroinvertebrates in these streams are scarce and limited to only certain groups. In addition, studies focusing on the structure and spatial distribution of these communities are lacking. This study analyzed the effects of natural and anthropic variables on the community structure of macroinvertebrates along a longitudinal gradient in three microbasins located in a region of landscape transition in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Sampling was conducted in the Vacacaí-Mirim River (August 2008) and in the Ibicuí-Mirim and Tororaipí rivers (August 2009) following an environmental gradient including 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th order segments. Local natural factors that were analyzed include water temperature, pH, electrical conductivity, dissolved oxygen, substrate granulometry, and the presence of aquatic vegetation. Anthropic variables that were analyzed include including bank erosion, land use, urbanization, riparian deforestation, and fine sediments input. A total of 42 families and 129 taxa were found, with predominance of environmentally tolerant taxa. Geological context (landscape transition and large hydrographic basins) tended to influence natural environmental factors along the rivers' longitudinal gradients. However, changes in anthropic variables were not affected by these geological differences and therefore did not correlate with patterns of spatial distribution in macroinvertebrate communities. Only 1st order stream segments showed a community composition with high richness of taxa intolerant to anthropic disturbance. Richness as a whole tended to be higher in 3rd to 4th order set of segments, but this trend was a result of local anthropic environmental disturbances. Future inventories conducted in similar landscape transition regions of Brazil, for

  9. Polyamines and abiotic stress tolerance in plants

    PubMed Central

    Gill, Sarvajeet Singh

    2010-01-01

    Environmental stresses including climate change, especially global warming, are severely affecting plant growth and productivity worldwide. It has been estimated that two-thirds of the yield potential of major crops are routinely lost due to the unfavorable environmental factors. On the other hand, the world population is estimated to reach about 10 billion by 2050, which will witness serious food shortages. Therefore, crops with enhanced vigour and high tolerance to various environmental factors should be developed to feed the increasing world population. Maintaining crop yields under adverse environmental stresses is probably the major challenge facing modern agriculture where polyamines can play important role. Polyamines (PAs)(putrescine, spermidine and spermine) are group of phytohormone-like aliphatic amine natural compounds with aliphatic nitrogen structure and present in almost all living organisms including plants. Evidences showed that polyamines are involved in many physiological processes, such as cell growth and development and respond to stress tolerance to various environmental factors. In many cases the relationship of plant stress tolerance was noted with the production of conjugated and bound polyamines as well as stimulation of polyamine oxidation. Therefore, genetic manipulation of crop plants with genes encoding enzymes of polyamine biosynthetic pathways may provide better stress tolerance to crop plants. Furthermore, the exogenous application of PAs is also another option for increasing the stress tolerance potential in plants. Here, we have described the synthesis and role of various polyamines in abiotic stress tolerance in plants. PMID:20592804

  10. The ecological response of Carex lasiocarpa community in the Riparian Wetlands to the environmental gradient of water depth in Sanjiang Plain, Northeast China.

    PubMed

    Luan, Zhaoqing; Wang, Zhongxin; Yan, Dandan; Liu, Guihua; Xu, Yingying

    2013-01-01

    The response of Carex lasiocarpa in riparian wetlands in Sanjiang Plain to the environmental gradient of water depth was analyzed by using the Gaussian Model based on the biomass and average height data, and the ecological water-depth amplitude of Carex lasiocarpa was derived. The results indicated that the optimum ecological water-depth amplitude of Carex lasiocarpa based on biomass was [13.45 cm, 29.78 cm], while the optimum ecological water-depth amplitude of Carex lasiocarpa based on average height was [2.31 cm, 40.11 cm]. The intersection of the ecological water-depth amplitudes based on biomass and height confirmed that the optimum ecological water-depth amplitude of Carex lasiocarpa was [13.45 cm, 29.78 cm] and the optimist growing water-depth of Carex lasiocarpa was 21.4 cm. The TWINSPAN, a polythetic and divisive classification tool, was used to classify the wetland ecological series into 6 associations. Result of TWINSPAN matrix classification reflected an obvious environmental gradient in these associations: water-depth gradient. The relation of biodiversity of Carex lasiocarpa community and water depth was determined by calculating the diversity index of each association.

  11. The Use of Chemical Probes for the Characterization of the Predominant Abiotic Reductants in Anaerobic Sediments

    EPA Science Inventory

    Identifying the predominant chemical reductants and pathways for electron transfer in anaerobic systems is paramount to the development of environmental fate models that incorporate pathways for abiotic reductive transformations. Currently, such models do not exist. In this chapt...

  12. Relationships between growth, population dynamics, and environmental parameters in the solitary non-zooxanthellate scleractinian coral Caryophyllia inornata along a latitudinal gradient in the Mediterranean Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Caroselli, E.; Ricci, F.; Brambilla, V.; Mattioli, G.; Levy, O.; Falini, G.; Dubinsky, Z.; Goffredo, S.

    2016-06-01

    The ecology of scleractinian corals may be understood through comparisons between population demographic data and environmental parameters. Growth (growth constant and maximum size) and demographic parameters (population structure stability, instantaneous mortality rate, average age of individuals, percentage of immature individuals, age at maximum biomass, and average age of biomass) of the solitary, non-zooxanthellate, and temperate coral Caryophyllia inornata were investigated at six sites along an 8° latitudinal gradient of temperature and solar radiation (SR) on the western Italian coasts. Growth parameters were homogeneous among populations across the investigated latitudinal range. While demographic parameters were not correlated with depth temperature, populations were progressively less stable and showed a deficiency of young individuals with increasing SR, likely as a result of the lowered energetic resources due to reduced zooplankton availability. These results contrast with data from another Mediterranean non-zooxanthellate solitary coral, Leptopsammia pruvoti, investigated along the same gradient, which shows no correlation between population demography and temperature or SR.

  13. Abiotic formation of oligonucleotides on basalt surfaces

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Otroshchenko, V. A.; Vasilyeva, N. V.; Kopilov, A. M.

    1985-06-01

    The complication and further evolution of abiotic syntheses products occurred under environmental influences at the prebiological stage. From this point of view, the influence of some types of irradiation on the organic molecules adsorbed on the surfaces of volcanic rocks, appeared to be of great importance. In this connection, the effect of gamma rays on the AMP molecules adsorbed on mineral surfaces such as cinders and ashes has been studied. It has been shown that they can polymerize with the formation of oligonucleotides. The treatment of oligomers obtained by venom phosphodiesterase has shown that a polymeric product has mainly 3' 5' and 2' 5' bonds between nucleotides. The results obtained have been discussed from the evolutionary aspect.

  14. Local richness along gradients in the Siskiyou herb flora: R.H. Whittaker revisited

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grace, James B.; Harrison, Susan; Damschen, Ellen Ingman

    2011-01-01

    In his classic study in the Siskiyou Mountains (Oregon, USA), one of the most botanically rich forested regions in North America, R. H. Whittaker (1960) foreshadowed many modern ideas on the multivariate control of local species richness along environmental gradients related to productivity. Using a structural equation model to analyze his data, which were never previously statistically analyzed, we demonstrate that Whittaker was remarkably accurate in concluding that local herb richness in these late-seral forests is explained to a large extent by three major abiotic gradients (soils, topography, and elevation), and in turn, by the effects of these gradients on tree densities and the numbers of individual herbs. However, while Whittaker also clearly appreciated the significance of large-scale evolutionary and biogeographic influences on community composition, he did not fully articulate the more recent concept that variation in the species richness of local communities could be explained in part by variation in the sizes of regional species pools. Our model of his data is among the first to use estimates of regional species pool size to explain variation in local community richness along productivity-related gradients. We find that regional pool size, combined with a modest number of other interacting abiotic and biotic factors, explains most of the variation in local herb richness in the Siskiyou biodiversity hotspot.

  15. Local richness along gradients in the Siskiyou herb flora: R. H. Whittaker revisited.

    PubMed

    Grace, James B; Harrison, Susan; Damschen, Ellen I

    2011-01-01

    In his classic study in the Siskiyou Mountains (Oregon, USA), one of the most botanically rich forested regions in North America, R. H. Whittaker (1960) foreshadowed many modern ideas on the multivariate control of local species richness along environmental gradients related to productivity. Using a structural equation model to analyze his data, which were never previously statistically analyzed, we demonstrate that Whittaker was remarkably accurate in concluding that local herb richness in these late-seral forests is explained to a large extent by three major abiotic gradients (soils, topography, and elevation), and in turn, by the effects of these gradients on tree densities and the numbers of individual herbs. However, while Whittaker also clearly appreciated the significance of large-scale evolutionary and biogeographic influences on community composition, he did not fully articulate the more recent concept that variation in the species richness of local communities could be explained in part by variation in the sizes of regional species pools. Our model of his data is among the first to use estimates of regional species pool size to explain variation in local community richness along productivity-related gradients. We find that regional pool size, combined with a modest number of other interacting abiotic and biotic factors, explains most of the variation in local herb richness in the Siskiyou biodiversity hotspot.

  16. Thermal Gradient Cyclic Behavior of a Thermal/Environmental Barrier Coating System on SiC/SiC Ceramic Matrix Composites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zhu, Dongming; Lee, Kang N.; Miller, Robert A.

    2002-01-01

    Thermal barrier and environmental barrier coatings (TBCs and EBCs) will play a crucial role in future advanced gas turbine engines because of their ability to significantly extend the temperature capability of the ceramic matrix composite (CMC) engine components in harsh combustion environments. In order to develop high performance, robust coating systems for effective thermal and environmental protection of the engine components, appropriate test approaches for evaluating the critical coating properties must be established. In this paper, a laser high-heat-flux, thermal gradient approach for testing the coatings will be described. Thermal cyclic behavior of plasma-sprayed coating systems, consisting of ZrO2-8wt%Y2O3 thermal barrier and NASA Enabling Propulsion Materials (EPM) Program developed mullite+BSAS/Si type environmental barrier coatings on SiC/SiC ceramic matrix composites, was investigated under thermal gradients using the laser heat-flux rig in conjunction with the furnace thermal cyclic tests in water-vapor environments. The coating sintering and interface damage were assessed by monitoring the real-time thermal conductivity changes during the laser heat-flux tests and by examining the microstructural changes after the tests. The coating failure mechanisms are discussed based on the cyclic test results and are correlated to the sintering, creep, and thermal stress behavior under simulated engine temperature and heat flux conditions.

  17. Inversion of plant dominance-diversity relationships along a latitudinal stress gradient.

    PubMed

    Richardson, Paul J; MacDougall, Andrew S; Stanley, Amanda G; Kaye, Thomas N; Dunwiddie, Peter W

    2012-06-01

    Species interactions affect plant diversity through the net effects of competition and facilitation, with the latter more prevalent in physically stressful environments when plant cover ameliorates abiotic stress. One explanation for species loss in invader-dominated systems is a shift in the competition-facilitation balance, with competition intensifying in areas formerly structured by facilitation. We test this possibility with a 10-site prairie meta-experiment along a 500-km latitudinal stress gradient, quantifying the relationships among abiotic stress, exotic dominance, and native plant recruitment over five years. The latitudinal gradient is inversely correlated with abiotic stress, with lower latitudes more moisture- and nutrient-limited. We observed strong negative effects by invasive dominant grasses on plant establishment, but only in northern sites with lower-stress environments. At these locations, disturbance was critical for recruitment by reducing the suppressive dominant (invasive) canopy. In more stressful environments to the south, the impacts of the dominant invaders on plant establishment became facilitative, and diversity was more limited by seed availability. Disturbance prevented recruitment because seedling survival depended on a protective plant canopy, presumably because the canopy reduced temperature or moisture stress. Seed limitation was similarly prevalent in all sites. Our work confirms the importance of facilitation as an organizing process for plants in higher-stress environments, even with transformations of species composition and dominance. It also demonstrates that the mechanisms regulating diversity, including invader impacts, can vary within the same plant community depending on environmental context. Because limits on native plant recruitment are environmentally contingent, management strategies that seek to increase diversity, including invader eradication, must account for site-level variations in the balance between biotic

  18. Strategies to ameliorate abiotic stress-induced plant senescence.

    PubMed

    Gepstein, Shimon; Glick, Bernard R

    2013-08-01

    The plant senescence syndrome resembles, in many molecular and phenotypic aspects, plant responses to abiotic stresses. Both processes have an enormous negative global agro-economic impact and endanger food security worldwide. Premature plant senescence is the main cause of losses in grain filling and biomass yield due to leaf yellowing and deteriorated photosynthesis, and is also responsible for the losses resulting from the short shelf life of many vegetables and fruits. Under abiotic stress conditions the yield losses are often even greater. The primary challenge in agricultural sciences today is to develop technologies that will increase food production and sustainability of agriculture especially under environmentally limiting conditions. In this chapter, some of the mechanisms involved in abiotic stress-induced plant senescence are discussed. Recent studies have shown that crop yield and nutritional values can be altered as well as plant stress tolerance through manipulating the timing of senescence. It is often difficult to separate the effects of age-dependent senescence from stress-induced senescence since both share many biochemical processes and ultimately result in plant death. The focus of this review is on abiotic stress-induced senescence. Here, a number of the major approaches that have been developed to ameliorate some of the effects of abiotic stress-induced plant senescence are considered and discussed. Some approaches mimic the mechanisms already used by some plants and soil bacteria whereas others are based on development of new improved transgenic plants. While there may not be one simple strategy that can effectively decrease all losses of crop yield that accrue as a consequence of abiotic stress-induced plant senescence, some of the strategies that are discussed already show great promise.

  19. Environmental drivers of spatial variation in whole-tree transpiration in an aspen-dominated upland-to-wetland forest gradient

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Loranty, Michael M.; Mackay, D. Scott; Ewers, Brent E.; Adelman, Jonathan D.; Kruger, Eric L.

    2008-02-01

    Assumed representative center-of-stand measurements are typical inputs to models that scale forest transpiration to stand and regional extents. These inputs do not consider gradients in transpiration at stand boundaries or along moisture gradients and therefore potentially bias the large-scale estimates. We measured half-hourly sap flux (JS) for 173 trees in a spatially explicit cyclic sampling design across a topographically controlled gradient between a forested wetland and upland forest in northern Wisconsin. Our analyses focused on three dominant species in the site: quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx), speckled alder (Alnus incana (DuRoi) Spreng), and white cedar (Thuja occidentalis L.). Sapwood area (AS) was used to scale JS to whole tree transpiration (EC). Because spatial patterns imply underlying processes, geostatistical analyses were employed to quantify patterns of spatial autocorrelation across the site. A simple Jarvis type model parameterized using a Monte Carlo sampling approach was used to simulate EC (EC-SIM). EC-SIM was compared with observed EC(EC-OBS) and found to reproduce both the temporal trends and spatial variance of canopy transpiration. EC-SIM was then used to examine spatial autocorrelation as a function of environmental drivers. We found no spatial autocorrelation in JS across the gradient from forested wetland to forested upland. EC was spatially autocorrelated and this was attributed to spatial variation in AS which suggests species spatial patterns are important for understanding spatial estimates of transpiration. However, the range of autocorrelation in EC-SIM decreased linearly with increasing vapor pressure deficit, implying that consideration of spatial variation in the sensitivity of canopy stomatal conductance to D is also key to accurately scaling up transpiration in space.

  20. EFFECTS OF SEDIMENT CONTAMINANTS AND ENVIRONMENTAL GRADIENTS ON MACROBENTHIC COMMUNITY TROPHIC STRUCTURE IN GULF OF MEXICO ESTUARIES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Macrobenthic communities from estuaries throughout the northern Gulf of Mexico were studied to assess the influence of sediment contaminants and natural environmental factors on macrobenthic community trophic structure. Community trophic data were also used to evaluate whether re...

  1. Relation of Environmental characteristics to the composition of aquatic assemblages along a gradient of urban land use in New Jersey, 1996-98

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kennen, Jonathan G.; Ayers, Mark A.

    2002-01-01

    Community data from 36 watersheds were used to evaluate the response of fish, invertebrate, and algal assemblages in New Jersey streams to environmental characteristics along a gradient of urban land use that ranged from 3 to 96 percent. Aquatic assemblages were sampled at 36 sites during 1996-98, and more than 400 environmental attributes at multiple spatial scales were summarized. Data matrices were reduced to 43, 170, and 103 species of fish, invertebrates, and algae, respectively, by means of a predetermined joint frequency and relative abundance approach. White sucker (Catostomus commersoni) and Tessellated darter (Etheostoma olmstedi) were the most abundant fishes, accounting for more than 20 and 17 percent, respectively, of the mean abundance. Net-spinning caddisflies (Hydropsychidae) were the most commonly occurring benthic invertebrates and were found at all but one of the 36 sampling sites. Blue-green (for example, Calothrix sp. and Oscillatoria sp.) and green (for example, Protoderma viride) algae were the most widely distrib-uted algae; however, more than 81 percent of the algal taxa collected were diatoms. Principal-component and correlation analyses were used to reduce the dimensionality of the environmental data. Multiple linear regression analysis of extracted ordination axes then was used to develop models that expressed effects of increasing urban land use on the structure of aquatic assemblages. Significant environmental variables identified by using multiple linear regression analysis then were included in a direct gradient analysis. Partial canonical correspondence analysis of relativized abundance data was used to restrict further the effects of residual natural variability, and to identify relations among the environmental variables and the structure of fish, invertebrate, and algal assemblages along an urban land-use gradient. Results of this approach, combined with the results of the multiple linear regression analyses, were used to

  2. Environmental factors influencing soil testate amoebae in herbaceous and shrubby vegetation along an altitudinal gradient in subarctic tundra (Abisko, Sweden).

    PubMed

    Tsyganov, Andrey N; Milbau, Ann; Beyens, Louis

    2013-05-01

    Shifts in community composition of soil protozoa in response to climate change may substantially influence microbial activity and thereby decomposition processes. However, effects of climate and vegetation on soil protozoa remain poorly understood. We studied the distribution of soil testate amoebae in herbaceous and shrubby vegetation along an altitudinal gradient (from below the treeline at 500 m to the mid-alpine region at 900 m a.s.l.) in subarctic tundra. To explain patterns in abundance, species diversity and assemblage composition of testate amoebae, a data set of microclimate and soil chemical characteristics was collected. Both elevation and vegetation influenced the assemblage composition of testate amoebae. The variation was regulated by interactive effects of summer soil moisture, winter soil temperature, soil pH and nitrate ion concentrations. Besides, soil moisture regulated non-linear patterns in species richness across the gradient. This is the first study showing the effects of winter soil temperatures on species composition of soil protozoa. The effects could be explained by specific adaptations of testate amoebae such as frost-resistant cysts allowing them to survive low winter temperatures. We conclude that the microclimate and soil chemical characteristics are the main drivers of changes in protozoan assemblage composition in response to elevation and vegetation.

  3. Do positive interactions increase with abiotic stress? A test from a semi-arid steppe.

    PubMed Central

    Maestre, Fernando T; Cortina, Jordi

    2004-01-01

    Theoretical models predict that the relative importance of facilitation and competition may vary inversely across gradients of abiotic stress. However, these predictions have not been thoroughly tested in the field, especially in semi-arid environments. In this study, we evaluated how the net effect of the tussock grass Stipa tenacissima on the shrub Pistacia lentiscus varied across a gradient of abiotic stress in semi-arid Mediterranean steppes. We fitted the relationship between accumulated rainfall and the relative neighbour index (our measures of abiotic stress and of the net effect of S. tenacissima on P. lentiscus, respectively), which varied across this gradient, to a quadratic model. Competitive interactions dominated at both extremes of the gradient. Our results do not support established theory. Instead, they suggest that a shift from facilitation to competition under high abiotic stress conditions is likely to occur when the levels of the most limiting resource are so low that the benefits provided by the facilitator cannot overcome its own resource uptake. PMID:15504009

  4. Variation in piñon pine growth responses to climate across gradients of environmental stress using an individual-based approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Redmond, M. D.; Kelsey, K.; Urza, A.; Barger, N. N.

    2015-12-01

    Forest and woodland ecosystems play a crucial role in the global carbon cycle and may be strongly affected by changing climate. Here we use an individual-based approach to model piñon pine (Pinus edulis) radial growth responses to climate across gradients of environmental stress. We sampled piñon pine trees at 24 sites across southwestern Colorado that varied in soil available water capacity, elevation, and latitude, obtaining a total of 552 pinon pine tree ring series. We used linear mixed effect models to assess piñon pine growth responses to climate and site-level environmental stress (mean annual climatic water deficit and soil available water capacity). Using a similar modeling approach, we also determined long-term growth trends across our gradients of environmental stress. Piñon pine growth was strongly positively associated with winter precipitation and strongly negatively associated with summer vapor pressure deficit. However, the strength of the relationship between winter precipitation and piñon pine growth was affected by site-level environmental stress. Trees at sites with greater climatic water deficit (i.e. hotter, drier sites) were more sensitive to winter precipitation. Interestingly, trees at sites with greater soil available water capacity were also more sensitive to winter precipitation, as these trees had much higher growth rates during years of high precipitation. We found weak evidence of long-term declines in piñon growth rates over the past century within our study area. Growth trends overtime did vary across our soil available water capacity gradient: trees growing at sites with higher soil available water capacity responded more positively to the cool, wet climate conditions of the 1910s and 1980s, whereas tree growth rates at sites with lower soil available water capacity declined more linearly over the last century. Our findings suggest that the sensitivity of woodland ecosystems to changing climate will vary across the landscape

  5. A Screening-Level Approach for Comparing Risks Affecting Aquatic Ecosystem Services over Socio-Environmental Gradients

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harmon, T. C.; Conde, D.; Villamizar, S. R.; Reid, B.; Escobar, J.; Rusak, J.; Hoyos, N.; Scordo, F.; Perillo, G. M.; Piccolo, M. C.; Zilio, M.; Velez, M.

    2015-12-01

    Assessing risks to aquatic ecosystems services (ES) is challenging and time-consuming, and effective strategies for prioritizing more detailed assessment efforts are needed. We propose a screening-level risk analysis (SRA) approach that scales ES risk using socioeconomic and environmental indices to capture anthropic and climatic pressures, as well as the capacity for institutional responses to those pressures. The method considers ES within a watershed context, and uses expert input to prioritize key services and the associated pressures that threaten them. The SRA approach focuses on estimating ES risk affect factors, which are the sum of the intensity factors for all hazards or pressures affecting the ES. We estimate the pressure intensity factors in a novel manner, basing them on the nation's (i) human development (proxied by Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index, IHDI), (ii) environmental regulatory and monitoring state (Environmental Performance Index, EPI) and (iii) the current level of water stress in the watershed (baseline water stress, BWS). Anthropic intensity factors for future conditions are derived from the baseline values based on the nation's 10-year trend in IHDI and EPI; ES risks in nations with stronger records of change are rewarded more/penalized less in estimates for good/poor future management scenarios. Future climatic intensity factors are tied to water stress estimates based on two general circulation model (GCM) outcomes. We demonstrate the method for an international array of six sites representing a wide range of socio-environmental settings. The outcomes illustrate novel consequences of the scaling scheme. Risk affect factors may be greater in a highly developed region under intense climatic pressure, or in less well-developed regions due to human factors (e.g., poor environmental records). As a screening-level tool, the SRA approach offers considerable promise for ES risk comparisons among watersheds and regions so that

  6. Integrating omic approaches for abiotic stress tolerance in soybean

    PubMed Central

    Deshmukh, Rupesh; Sonah, Humira; Patil, Gunvant; Chen, Wei; Prince, Silvas; Mutava, Raymond; Vuong, Tri; Valliyodan, Babu; Nguyen, Henry T.

    2014-01-01

    Soybean production is greatly influenced by abiotic stresses imposed by environmental factors such as drought, water submergence, salt, and heavy metals. A thorough understanding of plant response to abiotic stress at the molecular level is a prerequisite for its effective management. The molecular mechanism of stress tolerance is complex and requires information at the omic level to understand it effectively. In this regard, enormous progress has been made in the omics field in the areas of genomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics. The emerging field of ionomics is also being employed for investigating abiotic stress tolerance in soybean. Omic approaches generate a huge amount of data, and adequate advancements in computational tools have been achieved for effective analysis. However, the integration of omic-scale information to address complex genetics and physiological questions is still a challenge. In this review, we have described advances in omic tools in the view of conventional and modern approaches being used to dissect abiotic stress tolerance in soybean. Emphasis was given to approaches such as quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping, genome-wide association studies (GWAS), and genomic selection (GS). Comparative genomics and candidate gene approaches are also discussed considering identification of potential genomic loci, genes, and biochemical pathways involved in stress tolerance mechanism in soybean. This review also provides a comprehensive catalog of available online omic resources for soybean and its effective utilization. We have also addressed the significance of phenomics in the integrated approaches and recognized high-throughput multi-dimensional phenotyping as a major limiting factor for the improvement of abiotic stress tolerance in soybean. PMID:24917870

  7. Forest gradient response in Sierran landscapes: the physical template

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Urban, Dean L.; Miller, Carol; Halpin, Patrick N.; Stephenson, Nathan L.

    2000-01-01

    Vegetation pattern on landscapes is the manifestation of physical gradients, biotic response to these gradients, and disturbances. Here we focus on the physical template as it governs the distribution of mixed-conifer forests in California's Sierra Nevada. We extended a forest simulation model to examine montane environmental gradients, emphasizing factors affecting the water balance in these summer-dry landscapes. The model simulates the soil moisture regime in terms of the interaction of water supply and demand: supply depends on precipitation and water storage, while evapotranspirational demand varies with solar radiation and temperature. The forest cover itself can affect the water balance via canopy interception and evapotranspiration. We simulated Sierran forests as slope facets, defined as gridded stands of homogeneous topographic exposure, and verified simulated gradient response against sample quadrats distributed across Sequoia National Park. We then performed a modified sensitivity analysis of abiotic factors governing the physical gradient. Importantly, the model's sensitivity to temperature, precipitation, and soil depth varies considerably over the physical template, particularly relative to elevation. The physical drivers of the water balance have characteristic spatial scales that differ by orders of magnitude. Across large spatial extents, temperature and precipitation as defined by elevation primarily govern the location of the mixed conifer zone. If the analysis is constrained to elevations within the mixed-conifer zone, local topography comes into play as it influences drainage. Soil depth varies considerably at all measured scales, and is especially dominant at fine (within-stand) scales. Physical site variables can influence soil moisture deficit either by affecting water supply or water demand; these effects have qualitatively different implications for forest response. These results have clear implications about purely inferential approaches

  8. Spatial variation in plant interactions across a severity gradient in the sub-Antarctic.

    PubMed

    le Roux, Peter C; McGeoch, Melodie A

    2008-04-01

    The stress-gradient hypothesis predicts that the intensity of interspecific positive interactions increases along environmental severity (i.e. stress and disturbance) gradients faster than the intensity of negative interactions. This study is the first to test if the stress-gradient hypothesis is supported for a location in the climatically extreme and species-poor sub-Antarctic. To do so, we investigate the fine-scale spatial distribution of plant species across altitude- and aspect-related abiotic severity gradients on a scoria cone on Marion Island. A clear altitudinal severity gradient was observed across the scoria cone, with lower temperatures, stronger winds and greater soil movement at higher altitudes. The altitudinal severity gradient was matched by stronger interspecific spatial association between the four dominant species at higher altitudes and in areas of lower vegetation cover. This suggests that, relative to the intensity of competition, the intensity of facilitation is greater under more severe conditions, supporting the stress-gradient hypothesis at the community level (i.e. for multiple pairs of species) and corroborating its usefulness for predicting variation in plant interactions at high latitudes and altitudes. Furthermore, the directional intraspecific aggregation and interspecific association plant cover patterns found within the gradient suggest that protection from the prevailing wind and from burial by loose substrate are the dominant facilitative mechanisms. Thus, plants benefit from the presence of neighbours when they provide shelter and substrate stability, and the relative intensity of this positive interaction is greatest at higher altitudes, and varies between species pairs. This study, therefore, not only provides support for the stress-gradient hypothesis in the sub-Antarctic, but also demonstrates fine-scale directional spatial patterns between multiple species nested within the severity gradient.

  9. Diet and habitat aridity affect osmoregulatory physiology: an intraspecific field study along environmental gradients in the Rufous-collared sparrow.

    PubMed

    Sabat, Pablo; Gonzalez-Vejares, Sandra; Maldonado, Karin

    2009-03-01

    The urine field osmolality in Zonotrichia capensis along a latitudinal gradient in rainfall and temperature in Chile was examined. We also investigated latitudinal variation in the renal traits that mediate how these birds cope with dehydration. We used the delta15N of this species' tissue to investigate whether the reliance on animals and seeds varied among birds and if it had any effect on excretion and renal traits. We found a significant latitudinal variation in urine osmolality, a variable that was correlated with habitat aridity. We also found that the kidney size and proportion of kidney devoted to medullary tissue differed between birds from arid and mesic localities, but not in a lineal fashion with aridity. The increment in the position in the food web, as measured by delta15N, led to an increment in urine osmolality, without changes in kidney features. Our data suggested that differences in dietary habits in the field could be not extended enough to cause changes in the kidney structure in Rufous-collared sparrows.

  10. Large Scale Patterns of Antimicrofouling Defenses in the Hard Coral Pocillopora verrucosa in an Environmental Gradient along the Saudi Arabian Coast of the Red Sea

    PubMed Central

    Wahl, Martin; Al Sofyani, Abdulmohsin; Saha, Mahasweta; Kruse, Inken; Lenz, Mark; Sawall, Yvonne

    2014-01-01

    Large scale patterns of ecologically relevant traits may help identify drivers of their variability and conditions beneficial or adverse to the expression of these traits. Antimicrofouling defenses in scleractinian corals regulate the establishment of the associated biofilm as well as the risks of infection. The Saudi Arabian Red Sea coast features a pronounced thermal and nutritional gradient including regions and seasons with potentially stressful conditions to corals. Assessing the patterns of antimicrofouling defenses across the Red Sea may hint at the susceptibility of corals to global change. We investigated microfouling pressure as well as the relative strength of 2 alternative antimicrofouling defenses (chemical antisettlement activity, mucus release) along the pronounced environmental gradient along the Saudi Arabian Red Sea coast in 2 successive years. Microfouling pressure was exceptionally low along most of the coast but sharply increased at the southernmost sites. Mucus release correlated with temperature. Chemical defense tended to anti-correlate with mucus release. As a result, the combined action of mucus release and chemical antimicrofouling defense seemed to warrant sufficient defense against microbes along the entire coast. In the future, however, we expect enhanced energetic strain on corals when warming and/or eutrophication lead to higher bacterial fouling pressure and a shift towards putatively more costly defense by mucus release. PMID:25485603

  11. Multi-targeted metagenetic analysis of the influence of climate and environmental parameters on soil microbial communities along an elevational gradient

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lanzén, Anders; Epelde, Lur; Blanco, Fernando; Martín, Iker; Artetxe, Unai; Garbisu, Carlos

    2016-06-01

    Mountain elevation gradients are invaluable sites for understanding the effects of climate change on ecosystem function, community structure and distribution. However, relatively little is known about the impact on soil microbial communities, in spite of their importance for the functioning of the soil ecosystem. Previous studies of microbial diversity along elevational gradients were often limited by confounding variables such as vegetation, pH, and nutrients. Here, we utilised a transect in the Pyrenees established to minimise variation in such parameters, to examine prokaryotic, fungal, protist and metazoan communities throughout three consecutive years. We aimed to determine the influences of climate and environmental parameters on soil microbial community structure; as well as on the relationships between those microbial communities. Further, functional diversity of heterotrophic bacteria was determined using Biolog. Prokaryotic and fungal community structure, but not alpha-diversity, correlated significantly with elevation. However, carbon-to-nitrogen ratio and pH appeared to affect prokaryotic and protist communities more strongly. Both community structure and physicochemical parameters varied considerably between years, illustrating the value of long-term monitoring of the dynamic processes controlling the soil ecosystem. Our study also illustrates both the challenges and strengths of using microbial communities as indicators of potential impacts of climate change.

  12. Large scale patterns of antimicrofouling defenses in the hard coral Pocillopora verrucosa in an environmental gradient along the Saudi Arabian coast of the Red Sea.

    PubMed

    Wahl, Martin; Al Sofyani, Abdulmohsin; Saha, Mahasweta; Kruse, Inken; Lenz, Mark; Sawall, Yvonne

    2014-01-01

    Large scale patterns of ecologically relevant traits may help identify drivers of their variability and conditions beneficial or adverse to the expression of these traits. Antimicrofouling defenses in scleractinian corals regulate the establishment of the associated biofilm as well as the risks of infection. The Saudi Arabian Red Sea coast features a pronounced thermal and nutritional gradient including regions and seasons with potentially stressful conditions to corals. Assessing the patterns of antimicrofouling defenses across the Red Sea may hint at the susceptibility of corals to global change. We investigated microfouling pressure as well as the relative strength of 2 alternative antimicrofouling defenses (chemical antisettlement activity, mucus release) along the pronounced environmental gradient along the Saudi Arabian Red Sea coast in 2 successive years. Microfouling pressure was exceptionally low along most of the coast but sharply increased at the southernmost sites. Mucus release correlated with temperature. Chemical defense tended to anti-correlate with mucus release. As a result, the combined action of mucus release and chemical antimicrofouling defense seemed to warrant sufficient defense against microbes along the entire coast. In the future, however, we expect enhanced energetic strain on corals when warming and/or eutrophication lead to higher bacterial fouling pressure and a shift towards putatively more costly defense by mucus release.

  13. Multi-targeted metagenetic analysis of the influence of climate and environmental parameters on soil microbial communities along an elevational gradient

    PubMed Central

    Lanzén, Anders; Epelde, Lur; Blanco, Fernando; Martín, Iker; Artetxe, Unai; Garbisu, Carlos

    2016-01-01

    Mountain elevation gradients are invaluable sites for understanding the effects of climate change on ecosystem function, community structure and distribution. However, relatively little is known about the impact on soil microbial communities, in spite of their importance for the functioning of the soil ecosystem. Previous studies of microbial diversity along elevational gradients were often limited by confounding variables such as vegetation, pH, and nutrients. Here, we utilised a transect in the Pyrenees established to minimise variation in such parameters, to examine prokaryotic, fungal, protist and metazoan communities throughout three consecutive years. We aimed to determine the influences of climate and environmental parameters on soil microbial community structure; as well as on the relationships between those microbial communities. Further, functional diversity of heterotrophic bacteria was determined using Biolog. Prokaryotic and fungal community structure, but not alpha-diversity, correlated significantly with elevation. However, carbon-to-nitrogen ratio and pH appeared to affect prokaryotic and protist communities more strongly. Both community structure and physicochemical parameters varied considerably between years, illustrating the value of long-term monitoring of the dynamic processes controlling the soil ecosystem. Our study also illustrates both the challenges and strengths of using microbial communities as indicators of potential impacts of climate change. PMID:27321429

  14. Insights into the biological source and environmental gradients shaping the distribution of H-shaped glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers in Yellowstone National Park geothermal springs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jia, C.; Xie, W.; Wang, J.; Boyd, E. S.; Zhang, C.

    2013-12-01

    Archaea are ubiquitous in natural environments. The unique tetraether lipids in archaeal membranes enable the maintenance of ion permeability across broad environmental gradients. H-shaped isoprenoid glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (H-GDGTs), in which the two biphytanyl carbon skeletons are covalently bound by a carbon-carbon bond, have been recently identified in both marine and geothermal environments. Here we report the core H-GDGTs (C-H-GDGTs) and polar H-GDGTs (P-H-GDGTs) associated with sediments sampled from geothermal springs in Yellowstone National Park and investigate their abundance in relation to environmental gradients. The abundance of C- and P-H-GDGTs exhibit strong and negative correlation with pH (P = 0.007), suggesting that H-shaped GDGTs help to maintain cell membrane fluidity in acidic environments. Reanalysis of archaeal 16S rRNA gene pyrotags published previously from (Boyd E. Hamilton T. L., Wang J., He L., Zhang C. L. 2013. The role of tetraether lipid composition in the adaptation of thermophilic archaea to acidity. Frontiers in Terrestrial Microbiology. 4: doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2013.00062) indicates that these H-GDGTs are associated with environments dominanted by Thermoplasmatales, which are thermoacidiphiles. Two equations were established to define the relationships between the abundance of H-GDGTs, the abundance of archaeal taxa based on 16S rRNA gene phylogenetic affiliations, and pH. Both equations have high predictive capacity in predicting the distribution of archaeal lipids in the geothermal system. These observations provide new insight into the biological source of H-GDGTs and suggest a prominent role for these lipids in the diversification of archaea into or out of acidic high temperature environments.

  15. Ecotypes of an ecologically dominant prairie grass (Andropogon gerardii) exhibit genetic divergence across the U.S. Midwest grasslands' environmental gradient.

    PubMed

    Gray, Miranda M; St Amand, Paul; Bello, Nora M; Galliart, Matthew B; Knapp, Mary; Garrett, Karen A; Morgan, Theodore J; Baer, Sara G; Maricle, Brian R; Akhunov, Eduard D; Johnson, Loretta C

    2014-12-01

    Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) is an ecologically dominant grass with wide distribution across the environmental gradient of U.S. Midwest grasslands. This system offers an ideal natural laboratory to study population divergence and adaptation in spatially varying climates. Objectives were to: (i) characterize neutral genetic diversity and structure within and among three regional ecotypes derived from 11 prairies across the U.S. Midwest environmental gradient, (ii) distinguish between the relative roles of isolation by distance (IBD) vs. isolation by environment (IBE) on ecotype divergence, (iii) identify outlier loci under selection and (iv) assess the association between outlier loci and climate. Using two primer sets, we genotyped 378 plants at 384 polymorphic AFLP loci across regional ecotypes from central and eastern Kansas and Illinois. Neighbour-joining tree and PCoA revealed strong genetic differentiation between Kansas and Illinois ecotypes, which was better explained by IBE than IBD. We found high genetic variability within prairies (80%) and even fragmented Illinois prairies, surprisingly, contained high within-prairie genetic diversity (92%). Using Bayenv2, 14 top-ranked outlier loci among ecotypes were associated with temperature and precipitation variables. Six of seven BayeScanFST outliers were in common with Bayenv2 outliers. High genetic diversity may enable big bluestem populations to better withstand changing climates; however, population divergence supports the use of local ecotypes in grassland restoration. Knowledge of genetic variation in this ecological dominant and other grassland species will be critical to understanding grassland response and restoration challenges in the face of a changing climate.

  16. Hormone balance and abiotic stress tolerance in crop plants.

    PubMed

    Peleg, Zvi; Blumwald, Eduardo

    2011-06-01

    Plant hormones play central roles in the ability of plants to adapt to changing environments, by mediating growth, development, nutrient allocation, and source/sink transitions. Although ABA is the most studied stress-responsive hormone, the role of cytokinins, brassinosteroids, and auxins during environmental stress is emerging. Recent evidence indicated that plant hormones are involved in multiple processes. Cross-talk between the different plant hormones results in synergetic or antagonic interactions that play crucial roles in response of plants to abiotic stress. The characterization of the molecular mechanisms regulating hormone synthesis, signaling, and action are facilitating the modification of hormone biosynthetic pathways for the generation of transgenic crop plants with enhanced abiotic stress tolerance.

  17. SUMO, a heavyweight player in plant abiotic stress responses.

    PubMed

    Castro, Pedro Humberto; Tavares, Rui Manuel; Bejarano, Eduardo R; Azevedo, Herlânder

    2012-10-01

    Protein post-translational modifications diversify the proteome and install new regulatory levels that are crucial for the maintenance of cellular homeostasis. Over the last decade, the ubiquitin-like modifying peptide small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) has been shown to regulate various nuclear processes, including transcriptional control. In plants, the sumoylation pathway has been significantly implicated in the response to environmental stimuli, including heat, cold, drought, and salt stresses, modulation of abscisic acid and other hormones, and nutrient homeostasis. This review focuses on the emerging importance of SUMO in the abiotic stress response, summarizing the molecular implications of sumoylation and emphasizing how high-throughput approaches aimed at identifying the full set of SUMO targets will greatly enhance our understanding of the SUMO-abiotic stress association.

  18. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal responses to abiotic stresses: A review.

    PubMed

    Lenoir, Ingrid; Fontaine, Joël; Lounès-Hadj Sahraoui, Anissa

    2016-03-01

    The majority of plants live in close collaboration with a diversity of soil organisms among which arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) play an essential role. Mycorrhizal symbioses contribute to plant growth and plant protection against various environmental stresses. Whereas the resistance mechanisms induced in mycorrhizal plants after exposure to abiotic stresses, such as drought, salinity and pollution, are well documented, the knowledge about the stress tolerance mechanisms implemented by the AMF themselves is limited. This review provides an overview of the impacts of various abiotic stresses (pollution, salinity, drought, extreme temperatures, CO2, calcareous, acidity) on biodiversity, abundance and development of AMF and examines the morphological, biochemical and molecular mechanisms implemented by AMF to survive in the presence of these stresses.

  19. Mercury contamination of the fish community of a semi-arid and arid river system: spatial variation and the influence of environmental gradients.

    PubMed

    Smith, Alexandra; Abuzeineh, Alisa A; Chumchal, Matthew M; Bonner, Timothy H; Nowlin, Weston H

    2010-08-01

    Mercury (Hg) contamination of aquatic ecosystems is a global environmental problem. Data are abundant on Hg contamination and factors that affect its bioaccumulation in lake communities, but comparatively little information on riverine ecosystems exists. The present study examines fish Hg concentrations of the Lower Rio Grande/Rio Bravo del Norte drainage, Texas, USA and several of its major tributaries in order to assess whether spatial variation occurs in fish Hg concentrations in the drainage and if patterns of Hg contamination of fish are related to gradients in environmental factors thought to affect Hg concentrations in fish communities. Fish, invertebrates, sediments, and water quality parameters were sampled at 12 sites along the lower Rio Grande/Rio Bravo del Norte drainage multiple times over a one-year period. Spatial variation was significant in fish Hg concentrations when fish were grouped by literature-defined trophic guilds or as stable isotope-defined trophic levels, with highest concentrations found in the Big Bend region of the drainage. Mercury in fish in most trophic guilds and trophic levels were positively related to environmental factors thought to affect Hg in fish, including water column dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and sediment Hg concentrations. It is likely that fish Hg concentrations in the Big Bend region are relatively high because this section of the river has abundant geologic Hg sources and environmental conditions which may make it sensitive to Hg inputs (i.e., high DOC, variable water levels). Results from the present study indicate that Hg contamination of the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo del Norte has substantial implications for management and protection of native small-bodied obligate riverine fish, many of which are imperiled.

  20. Topographic Control of Aboveground Carbon Pools Across an Environmental Gradient, Eastern Slope of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Swetnam, T. L.; Brooks, P. D.; Gallo, E. L.; Barnard, H. R.; Harpold, A. A.

    2015-12-01

    Evaluating at high spatial-resolution the topographical and ecological structures of the critical zone (CZ) are now routine with aerial LiDAR. Here we evaluated the eco-hydrological differences of topographic metrics (the independent variables) versus individual tree and gridded aboveground carbon (AGC) pools (as dependent variables) at multiple length-scales across an elevation modified gradient of precipitation and temperature in the Boulder Creek CZ Observatory Watershed, Colorado USA. We describe the responses in AGC within the context of a three-zone eco-hydrological model, e.g. toe slope and valley bottoms (Zone 1), transitional hillslopes (Zone 2), and upper slopes to ridges (Zone 3). In a GIS we compared three separate zero-order basins: (1) the Betasso Preserve: 1,810-2,024 meters above mean sea level (m aμsl), area = 0.45 km2, n = 17,286 trees; (2) Upper and Lower Gordon Gulch: 2,446-2,737 m aμsl, area = 3.57 km2, n = 178,469 trees; and (3) Como Creek: 2,900m-3,560 m aμsl, area = 6.64 km2, n = 317,274 trees. In each of the three catchments Zone 1 held the greatest mean AGC (μ = 52.88-60.97 Mg C ha-1) and maximum AGC (99% confidence interval (CI, p = 0.01) = 152.95-184.95 Mg C ha-1) relative to Zone 2 (μ = 27.84-44.52 Mg C ha-1, 99% CI = 99.67-122.4 Mg C ha-1) and Zone 3 (μ = 12.63-30.33 Mg C ha-1, 99% CI = 62.16-92.65 Mg C ha-1). Topography with negative general curvatures (i.e. convergent shapes) had greater AGC (μ = 73.7-96.3 Mg C ha-1, 99% CI = 189.0-355.8 Mg C ha-1) than positive general curvatures (i.e. divergent shapes) (μ = 17.4-30.8 Mg C ha-1, 99% CI = 88.2-120.4 Mg C ha-1), but only when evaluated at longer length scales (<10 m). Larger AGC pools are postulated to be related to (1) increased soil depth which provides larger rooting zones and (2) access to groundwater along Zone 1, vs Zones 2 and 3 which have (a) shallower soils and (b) less or zero accessibility to groundwater.

  1. Abiotic stress and the plant circadian clock

    PubMed Central

    Sanchez, Alfredo; Shin, Jieun

    2011-01-01

    In this review, we focus on the interaction between the circadian clock of higher plants to that of metabolic and physiological processes that coordinate growth and performance under a predictable, albeit changing environment. In this, the phytochrome and cryptochrome photoreceptors have shown to be important, but not essential for oscillator control under diurnal cycles of light and dark. From this foundation, we will examine how emerging findings have firmly linked the circadian clock, as a central mediator in the coordination of metabolism, to maintain homeostasis. This occurs by oscillator synchronization of global transcription, which leads to a dynamic control of a host of physiological processes. These include the determination of the levels of primary and secondary metabolites, and the anticipation of future environmental stresses, such as mid-day drought and midnight coldness. Interestingly, metabolic and stress cues themselves appear to feedback on oscillator function. In such a way, the circadian clock of plants and abiotic-stress tolerance appear to be firmly interconnected processes. PMID:21325898

  2. Diversity of culturable thermo-resistant aquatic bacteria along an environmental gradient in Cuatro Ciénegas, Coahuila, México.

    PubMed

    Cerritos, René; Eguiarte, Luis E; Avitia, Morena; Siefert, Janet; Travisano, Michael; Rodríguez-Verdugo, Alejandra; Souza, Valeria

    2011-02-01

    At the desert oasis of Cuatro Ciénegas in Coahuila, México, more than 300 oligotrophic pools can be found and a large number of endemic species of plants and animals. The most divergent taxa of diatoms, snail and fishes are located in the Churince hydrological system, where we analyzed the local diversification of cultivable Firmicutes and Actinobacteria. The Churince hydrological system is surrounded by gypsum dunes and has a strong gradient for salinity, temperature, pH and dissolved oxygen. In August 2003, surface water samples were taken in 10 sites along the Churince system together with the respective environmental measurements. 417 thermo-resistant bacteria were isolated and DNA was extracted to obtain their BOX-PCR fingerprints, revealing 55 different patterns. In order to identify similarities and differences in the diversity of the various sampling sites, an Ordination Analysis was applied using Principal Component Analysis. This analysis showed that conductivity is the environmental factor that explains the distribution of most of the microbial diversity. Phylogenetic reconstruction from their 16S rRNA sequences was performed for a sample of 150 isolates. Only 17 sequences had a 100% match in the Gene Bank (NCBI), representing 10 well known cosmopolitan taxa. The rest of the sequences cluster in 22 clades for Firmicutes and another 22 clades for Actinobacteria, supporting the idea of high diversity and differentiation for this site.

  3. Genetic diversity of Desulfovibrio spp. in environmental samples analyzed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of [NiFe] hydrogenase gene fragments.

    PubMed Central

    Wawer, C; Muyzer, G

    1995-01-01

    The genetic diversity of Desulfovibrio species in environmental samples was determined by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of PCR-amplified [NiFe] hydrogenase gene fragments. Five different PCR primers were designed after comparative analysis of [NiFe] hydrogenase gene sequences from three Desulfovibrio species. These primers were tested in different combinations on the genomic DNAs of a variety of hydrogenase-containing and hydrogenase-lacking bacteria. One primer pair was found to be specific for Desulfovibrio species only, while the others gave positive results with other bacteria also. By using this specific primer pair, we were able to amplify the [NiFe] hydrogenase genes of DNAs isolated from environmental samples and to detect the presence of Desulfovibrio species in these samples. However, only after DGGE analysis of these PCR products could the number of different Desulfovibrio species within the samples be determined. DGGE analysis of PCR products from different bioreactors demonstrated up to two bands, while at least five distinguishable bands were detected in a microbial mat sample. Because these bands most likely represent as many Desulfovibrio species present in these samples, we conclude that the genetic diversity of Desulfovibrio species in the natural microbial mat is far greater than that in the experimental bioreactors. PMID:7793940

  4. Improvement of plant abiotic stress tolerance through modulation of the polyamine pathway.

    PubMed

    Shi, Haitao; Chan, Zhulong

    2014-02-01

    Polyamines (mainly putrescine (Put), spermidine (Spd), and spermine (Spm)) have been widely found in a range of physiological processes and in almost all diverse environmental stresses. In various plant species, abiotic stresses modulated the accumulation of polyamines and related gene expression. Studies using loss-of-function mutants and transgenic overexpression plants modulating polyamine metabolic pathways confirmed protective roles of polyamines during plant abiotic stress responses, and indicated the possibility to improve plant tolerance through genetic manipulation of the polyamine pathway. Additionally, putative mechanisms of polyamines involved in plant abiotic stress tolerance were thoroughly discussed and crosstalks among polyamine, abscisic acid, and nitric oxide in plant responses to abiotic stress were emphasized. Special attention was paid to the interaction between polyamine and reactive oxygen species, ion channels, amino acid and carbon metabolism, and other adaptive responses. Further studies are needed to elucidate the polyamine signaling pathway, especially polyamine-regulated downstream targets and the connections between polyamines and other stress responsive molecules.

  5. Variations in the structural and functional diversity of zooplankton over vertical and horizontal environmental gradients en route to the Arctic Ocean through the Fram Strait.

    PubMed

    Gluchowska, Marta; Trudnowska, Emilia; Goszczko, Ilona; Kubiszyn, Anna Maria; Blachowiak-Samolyk, Katarzyna; Walczowski, Waldemar; Kwasniewski, Slawomir

    2017-01-01

    A multi-scale approach was used to evaluate which spatial gradient of environmental variability is the most important in structuring zooplankton diversity in the West Spitsbergen Current (WSC). The WSC is the main conveyor of warm and biologically rich Atlantic water to the Arctic Ocean through the Fram Strait. The data set included 85 stratified vertical zooplankton samples (obtained from depths up to 1000 metres) covering two latitudinal sections (76°30'N and 79°N) located across the multi-path WSC system. The results indicate that the most important environmental variables shaping the zooplankton structural and functional diversity and standing stock variability are those associated with depth, whereas variables acting in the horizontal dimension are of lesser importance. Multivariate analysis of the zooplankton assemblages, together with different univariate descriptors of zooplankton diversity, clearly illustrated the segregation of zooplankton taxa in the vertical plane. The epipelagic zone (upper 200 m) hosted plentiful, Oithona similis-dominated assemblages with a high proportion of filter-feeding zooplankton. Although total zooplankton abundance declined in the mesopelagic zone (200-1000 m), zooplankton assemblages in that zone were more diverse and more evenly distributed, with high contributions from both herbivorous and carnivorous taxa. The vertical distribution of integrated biomass (mg DW m-2) indicated that the total zooplankton biomass in the epipelagic and mesopelagic zones was comparable. Environmental gradients acting in the horizontal plane, such as the ones associated with different ice cover and timing of the spring bloom, were reflected in the latitudinal variability in protist community structure and probably caused differences in succession in the zooplankton community. High abundances of Calanus finmarchicus in the WSC core branch suggest the existence of mechanisms advantageous for higher productivity or/and responsible for physical

  6. Variations in the structural and functional diversity of zooplankton over vertical and horizontal environmental gradients en route to the Arctic Ocean through the Fram Strait

    PubMed Central

    Gluchowska, Marta; Trudnowska, Emilia; Goszczko, Ilona; Kubiszyn, Anna Maria; Blachowiak-Samolyk, Katarzyna; Walczowski, Waldemar; Kwasniewski, Slawomir

    2017-01-01

    A multi-scale approach was used to evaluate which spatial gradient of environmental variability is the most important in structuring zooplankton diversity in the West Spitsbergen Current (WSC). The WSC is the main conveyor of warm and biologically rich Atlantic water to the Arctic Ocean through the Fram Strait. The data set included 85 stratified vertical zooplankton samples (obtained from depths up to 1000 metres) covering two latitudinal sections (76°30’N and 79°N) located across the multi-path WSC system. The results indicate that the most important environmental variables shaping the zooplankton structural and functional diversity and standing stock variability are those associated with depth, whereas variables acting in the horizontal dimension are of lesser importance. Multivariate analysis of the zooplankton assemblages, together with different univariate descriptors of zooplankton diversity, clearly illustrated the segregation of zooplankton taxa in the vertical plane. The epipelagic zone (upper 200 m) hosted plentiful, Oithona similis-dominated assemblages with a high proportion of filter-feeding zooplankton. Although total zooplankton abundance declined in the mesopelagic zone (200–1000 m), zooplankton assemblages in that zone were more diverse and more evenly distributed, with high contributions from both herbivorous and carnivorous taxa. The vertical distribution of integrated biomass (mg DW m-2) indicated that the total zooplankton biomass in the epipelagic and mesopelagic zones was comparable. Environmental gradients acting in the horizontal plane, such as the ones associated with different ice cover and timing of the spring bloom, were reflected in the latitudinal variability in protist community structure and probably caused differences in succession in the zooplankton community. High abundances of Calanus finmarchicus in the WSC core branch suggest the existence of mechanisms advantageous for higher productivity or/and responsible for

  7. The influence of environmental factors on protistan microorganisms in grassland soils along a land-use gradient.

    PubMed

    Glaser, Karin; Kuppardt, Anke; Boenigk, Jens; Harms, Hauke; Fetzer, Ingo; Chatzinotas, Antonis

    2015-12-15

    In this study, we investigated the effect of land use intensity, soil parameters and vegetation on protistan communities in grassland soils. We performed qualitative (T-RFLP) and quantitative (qPCR) analyses using primers specifically targeting the 18S rRNA gene for all Eukarya and for two common flagellate groups, i.e. the Chrysophyceae and the Kinetoplastea. Both approaches were applied to extracted soil DNA and RNA, in order to distinguish between the potentially active protists (i.e. RNA pool) and the total protistan communities, including potentially inactive and encysted cells (i.e. DNA pool). Several environmental determinants such as site, soil parameters and vegetation had an impact on the T-RFLP community profiles and the abundance of the quantified 18S rRNA genes. Correlating factors often differed between quantitative (qPCR) and qualitative (T-RFLP) approaches. For instance the Chrysophyceae/Eukarya 18S rDNA ratio as determined by qPCR correlated with the C/N ratio, whereas the community composition based on T-RLFP analysis was not affected indicating that both methods taken together provide a more complete picture of the parameters driving protist diversity. Moreover, distinct T-RFs were obtained, which could serve as potential indicators for either active organisms or environmental conditions like water content. While site was the main determinant across all investigated exploratories, land use seemed to be of minor importance for structuring protist communities. The impact of other parameters differed between the target groups, e.g. Kinetoplastea reacted on changes to water content on all sites, whereas Chrysophyceae were only affected in the Schorfheide. Finally, in most cases different responses were observed on RNA- and DNA-level, respectively. Vegetation for instance influenced the two flagellate groups only at the DNA-level across all sites. Future studies should thus include different protistan groups and also distinguish between active and

  8. Anthropogenic effects on marine mollusks diversity and abundance; mangrove mollusks along an environmental gradient at Teyab, Persian gulf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Azarmanesh, H.; Javanshir, A.

    2009-04-01

    Management of coastal environments requires understanding of ecological relationships among different habitats and their biotas.. The mollusk diversity and density and sedimentological properties of mangrove (Avicennia marina) stands of two different seasons in Teyab have been compared. Pollutant area and cleaner area showed clear separation on the basis of environmental characteristics and benthic mollusks. Numbers of mollusks taxa were generally larger at cleaner sites, and numbers of individuals of several taxa were also larger at other sites. The total number of individuals was not different between the two seasons, largely due to the presence of large numbers of the Mud-living gastropod Cerithium cingulata at the pollutant sites. Differences in the Mollusks were coincident with differences in the nature of the sediment. Sediments in cleaner stands were more compacted and contained lesser organic matter and leaf litter.Analysis of sediment chemistry suggested that mangrove sediment in the Cleaner sites were able to take up more N and P than those in the other sites. Key Words: Sustainable development, Impact, Gastropods, Bivalves, Persian Gulf

  9. A review of selection-based tests of abiotic surrogates for species representation.

    PubMed

    Beier, Paul; Sutcliffe, Patricia; Hjort, Jan; Faith, Daniel P; Pressey, Robert L; Albuquerque, Fabio

    2015-06-01

    Because conservation planners typically lack data on where species occur, environmental surrogates--including geophysical settings and climate types--have been used to prioritize sites within a planning area. We reviewed 622 evaluations of the effectiveness of abiotic surrogates in representing species in 19 study areas. Sites selected using abiotic surrogates represented more species than an equal number of randomly selected sites in 43% of tests (55% for plants) and on average improved on random selection of sites by about 8% (21% for plants). Environmental diversity (ED) (42% median improvement on random selection) and biotically informed clusters showed promising results and merit additional testing. We suggest 4 ways to improve performance of abiotic surrogates. First, analysts should consider a broad spectrum of candidate variables to define surrogates, including rarely used variables related to geographic separation, distance from coast, hydrology, and within-site abiotic diversity. Second, abiotic surrogates should be defined at fine thematic resolution. Third, sites (the landscape units prioritized within a planning area) should be small enough to ensure that surrogates reflect species' environments and to produce prioritizations that match the spatial resolution of conservation decisions. Fourth, if species inventories are available for some planning units, planners should define surrogates based on the abiotic variables that most influence species turnover in the planning area. Although species inventories increase the cost of using abiotic surrogates, a modest number of inventories could provide the data needed to select variables and evaluate surrogates. Additional tests of nonclimate abiotic surrogates are needed to evaluate the utility of conserving nature's stage as a strategy for conservation planning in the face of climate change.

  10. Environmental controls on the distribution and diversity of lentic Chironomidae (Insecta: Diptera) across an altitudinal gradient in tropical South America.

    PubMed

    Matthews-Bird, Frazer; Gosling, William D; Coe, Angela L; Bush, Mark; Mayle, Francis E; Axford, Yarrow; Brooks, Stephen J

    2016-01-01

    To predict the response of aquatic ecosystems to future global climate change, data on the ecology and distribution of keystone groups in freshwater ecosystems are needed. In contrast to mid- and high-latitude zones, such data are scarce across tropical South America (Neotropics). We present the distribution and diversity of chironomid species using surface sediments of 59 lakes from the Andes to the Amazon (0.1-17°S and 64-78°W) within the Neotropics. We assess the spatial variation in community assemblages and identify the key variables influencing the distributional patterns. The relationships between environmental variables (pH, conductivity, depth, and sediment organic content), climatic data, and chironomid assemblages were assessed using multivariate statistics (detrended correspondence analysis and canonical correspondence analysis). Climatic parameters (temperature and precipitation) were most significant in describing the variance in chironomid assemblages. Temperature and precipitation are both predicted to change under future climate change scenarios in the tropical Andes. Our findings suggest taxa of Orthocladiinae, which show a preference to cold high-elevation oligotrophic lakes, will likely see range contraction under future anthropogenic-induced climate change. Taxa abundant in areas of high precipitation, such as Micropsectra and Phaenopsectra, will likely become restricted to the inner tropical Andes, as the outer tropical Andes become drier. The sensitivity of chironomids to climate parameters makes them important bio-indicators of regional climate change in the Neotropics. Furthermore, the distribution of chironomid taxa presented here is a vital first step toward providing urgently needed autecological data for interpreting fossil chironomid records of past ecological and climate change from the tropical Andes.

  11. Effects of drought and warming treatments on CO2 fluxes in shrubland ecosystems across an environmental gradient: a synthesis of the INCREASE project

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guidolotti, Gabriele; Steenberg Larsen, Klaus; de Dato, Giovanbattista; Baarsel, Susie; Lellei-Kovács, Eszter; Kopittke, Gillian; Tietema, Albert; Emmet, Bridgett; De Angelis, Paolo; Kappel Schmidt, Inger

    2013-04-01

    Seasonal changes of net ecosystem exchange (NEE) of terrestrial ecosystems are the result of different interactions between CO2 assimilation (GPP) and ecosystem respiration (ER) with environmental drivers. There is still debate about to which extent low soil moisture (drought) and increased temperature (warming) can affect GPP or ER depending on both functional groups and ecosystem climate types. In dynamic systems, such as shrubland ecosystems, these effects can be difficult to predict. We used the INCREASE network infrastructure "space-for-time substitution" (natural gradient and experimental approach) to quantify the effects of drought and warming on GPP, ER, SR and NEE across 6 European shrublands. The sites ranged from Denmark to Southern Italy along a precipitation and temperature gradient. In addition, INCREASE experimentally manipulates the climate in 20 m2 plots simulating the climate change: reflective curtains are drawn across plots at night preventing heat loss (warming treatment) while other plots are periodically covered by curtains during rain events thereby reducing the water input from precipitation (drought treatment). The measurements of soil CO2 efflux (SR), net ecosystem CO2 exchange (NEE) and total ecosystem respiration (ER) were done according to common protocols using chamber method, while the gross ecosystem photosynthesis (GPP) was estimated by difference between NEE and ER. Preliminary results indicate large flux variability across the sites and the seasons. The drought treatment tends to limit the loss of CO2 through the respiratory processes, while the warming treatment seems to stimulate all the processes in most sites, even in the Mediterranean where the temperature has never been considered a limiting factor.

  12. Abscisic Acid and Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Crop Plants

    PubMed Central

    Sah, Saroj K.; Reddy, Kambham R.; Li, Jiaxu

    2016-01-01

    Abiotic stress is a primary threat to fulfill the demand of agricultural production to feed the world in coming decades. Plants reduce growth and development process during stress conditions, which ultimately affect the yield. In stress conditions, plants develop various stress mechanism to face the magnitude of stress challenges, although that is not enough to protect them. Therefore, many strategies have been used to produce abiotic stress tolerance crop plants, among them, abscisic acid (ABA) phytohormone engineering could be one of the methods of choice. ABA is an isoprenoid phytohormone, which regulates various physiological processes ranging from stomatal opening to protein storage and provides adaptation to many stresses like drought, salt, and cold stresses. ABA is also called an important messenger that acts as the signaling mediator for regulating the adaptive response of plants to different environmental stress conditions. In this review, we will discuss the role of ABA in response to abiotic stress at the molecular level and ABA signaling. The review also deals with the effect of ABA in respect to gene expression. PMID:27200044

  13. Effects of Abiotic Factors on the Phylogenetic Diversity of Bacterial Communities in Acidic Thermal Springs▿

    PubMed Central

    Mathur, Jayanti; Bizzoco, Richard W.; Ellis, Dean G.; Lipson, David A.; Poole, Alexander W.; Levine, Richard; Kelley, Scott T.

    2007-01-01

    Acidic thermal springs offer ideal environments for studying processes underlying extremophile microbial diversity. We used a carefully designed comparative analysis of acidic thermal springs in Yellowstone National Park to determine how abiotic factors (chemistry and temperature) shape acidophile microbial communities. Small-subunit rRNA gene sequences were PCR amplified, cloned, and sequenced, by using evolutionarily conserved bacterium-specific primers, directly from environmental DNA extracted from Amphitheater Springs and Roaring Mountain sediment samples. Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, and colorimetric assays were used to analyze sediment chemistry, while an optical emission spectrometer was used to evaluate water chemistry and electronic probes were used to measure the pH, temperature, and Eh of the spring waters. Phylogenetic-statistical analyses found exceptionally strong correlations between bacterial community composition and sediment mineral chemistry, followed by weaker but significant correlations with temperature gradients. For example, sulfur-rich sediment samples contained a high diversity of uncultured organisms related to Hydrogenobaculum spp., while iron-rich sediments were dominated by uncultured organisms related to a diverse array of gram-positive iron oxidizers. A detailed analysis of redox chemistry indicated that the available energy sources and electron acceptors were sufficient to support the metabolic potential of Hydrogenobaculum spp. and iron oxidizers, respectively. Principal-component analysis found that two factors explained 95% of the genetic diversity, with most of the variance attributable to mineral chemistry and a smaller fraction attributable to temperature. PMID:17220248

  14. Assessing the effects of abiotic stress and livestock grazing disturbance on an alpine grassland with CSR model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Jun; Luo, Peng; Mou, Chengxiang; Yang, Hao; Mo, Li; Luo, Chuan; Kattge, Jens

    2016-04-01

    How the abiotic factors represented by cold environment and biotic factors represented by livestock grazing will affect the vegetation structure of alpine grassland is a core issue in understanding the cause of biodiversity change on Tibetan Plateau. Past studies on changes of floristic composition, growth forms did not adequately answer question. Given the fact that the response of plant to environment change depend on its life strategy, a synthetical method that based on plant life strategy may deepen our understanding of the mechanism. Using Grime's concept of CSR plant classification, we carried out a vegetation survey along a gradient (three levels) of graze intensity on the south-east of Tibet Plateau, in order to evaluate the role and mechanism of abiotic stress and grazing disturbance in driving plant diversity change, by analyzing the plant life strategy compositions in each of the community and by comparing the characteristic of the strategy compositions along the graze gradient. When the graze intensity was relative low, the dominant plant life strategy gathered in the stress tolerance corner, which conformed the theory of environmental filter, indicating that the ideal top plant community may be dominated by the species with stress tolerant strategy. We also found that the response of strategy dominance to graze intensity increase is positively correlated with the competitive capacity (R 2=0.671; P<0.001) and negatively correlated with the capacity of tolerating stress (R 2=0.378; P=0.011), but is not affected by the ruderal strategy (R 2=0.047; P=0.42). This reflected a general shift of plant strategy from stress tolerant to competitive (rather than ruderal as expected) and suggested that the mechanism of graze to affect plant community is different from that of other disturbance like fire, clipping, till, etc. The particular selective foraging and escaping from feces may provide more opportunities for competitive than ruderal strategy to dominant the

  15. Gradient networks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Toroczkai, Zoltán; Kozma, Balázs; Bassler, Kevin E.; Hengartner, N. W.; Korniss, G.

    2008-04-01

    Gradient networks are defined (Toroczkai and Bassler 2004 Nature 428 716) as directed graphs formed by local gradients of a scalar field distributed on the nodes of a substrate network G. We present the derivation for some of the general properties of gradient graphs and give an exact expression for the in-degree distribution R(l) of the gradient network when the substrate is a binomial (Erd{\\;\\kern -0.10em \\raise -0.35ex \\{{^{^{\\prime\\prime}}}}\\kern -0.57em \\o} s-Rényi) random graph, G_{N,p} , and the scalars are independent identically distributed (i.i.d.) random variables. We show that in the limit N \\to \\infty, p \\to 0, z = pN = \\mbox{const} \\gg 1, R(l)\\propto l^{-1} for l < l_c = z , i.e., gradient networks become scale-free graphs up to a cut-off degree. This paper presents the detailed derivation of the results announced in Toroczkai and Bassler (2004 Nature 428 716).

  16. Examining variation in the leaf mass per area of dominant species across two contrasting tropical gradients in light of community assembly.

    PubMed

    Neyret, Margot; Bentley, Lisa Patrick; Oliveras, Imma; Marimon, Beatriz S; Marimon-Junior, Ben Hur; Almeida de Oliveira, Edmar; Barbosa Passos, Fábio; Castro Ccoscco, Rosa; Dos Santos, Josias; Matias Reis, Simone; Morandi, Paulo S; Rayme Paucar, Gloria; Robles Cáceres, Arturo; Valdez Tejeira, Yolvi; Yllanes Choque, Yovana; Salinas, Norma; Shenkin, Alexander; Asner, Gregory P; Díaz, Sandra; Enquist, Brian J; Malhi, Yadvinder

    2016-08-01

    Understanding variation in key functional traits across gradients in high diversity systems and the ecology of community changes along gradients in these systems is crucial in light of conservation and climate change. We examined inter- and intraspecific variation in leaf mass per area (LMA) of sun and shade leaves along a 3330-m elevation gradient in Peru, and in sun leaves across a forest-savanna vegetation gradient in Brazil. We also compared LMA variance ratios (T-statistics metrics) to null models to explore internal (i.e., abiotic) and environmental filtering on community structure along the gradients. Community-weighted LMA increased with decreasing forest cover in Brazil, likely due to increased light availability and water stress, and increased with elevation in Peru, consistent with the leaf economic spectrum strategy expected in colder, less productive environments. A very high species turnover was observed along both environmental gradients, and consequently, the first source of variation in LMA was species turnover. Variation in LMA at the genus or family levels was greater in Peru than in Brazil. Using dominant trees to examine possible filters on community assembly, we found that in Brazil, internal filtering was strongest in the forest, while environmental filtering was observed in the dry savanna. In Peru, internal filtering was observed along 80% of the gradient, perhaps due to variation in taxa or interspecific competition. Environmental filtering was observed at cloud zone edges and in lowlands, possibly due to water and nutrient availability, respectively. These results related to variation in LMA indicate that biodiversity in species rich tropical assemblages may be structured by differential niche-based processes. In the future, specific mechanisms generating these patterns of variation in leaf functional traits across tropical environmental gradients should be explored.

  17. Soil bacterial endemism and potential functional redundancy in natural broadleaf forest along a latitudinal gradient

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Yuguang; Cong, Jing; Lu, Hui; Deng, Ye; Liu, Xiao; Zhou, Jizhong; Li, Diqiang

    2016-06-01

    Microorganisms play key roles in ecosystem processes and biogeochemical cycling, however, the relationship between soil microbial taxa diversity and their function in natural ecosystems is largely unknown. To determine how soil bacteria community and function are linked from the local to regional scale, we studied soil bacteria community composition, potential function and environmental conditions in natural and mature broadleaf forests along a latitudinal gradient in China, using the Illumina 16S rRNA sequencing and GeoChip technologies. The results showed strong biogeographic endemism pattern in soil bacteria were existed, and the spatial distance and climatic variables were the key controlling factors for this pattern. Therefore, dispersal limitation and environmental selection may represent two key processes in generating and maintaining the soil bacterial biogeographic pattern. By contrast, the soil bacterial potential function is highly convergent along the latitudinal gradient and there were highly differing bacterial community compositions, and the soil chemistry may include the main factors active in shaping the soil bacterial potential function. Therefore, the soil bacterial potential function may be affected by local gradients in resource availability, and predicting soil bacterial potential function requires knowledge of abiotic and biotic environmental factors.

  18. Soil bacterial endemism and potential functional redundancy in natural broadleaf forest along a latitudinal gradient

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Yuguang; Cong, Jing; Lu, Hui; Deng, Ye; Liu, Xiao; Zhou, Jizhong; Li, Diqiang

    2016-01-01

    Microorganisms play key roles in ecosystem processes and biogeochemical cycling, however, the relationship between soil microbial taxa diversity and their function in natural ecosystems is largely unknown. To determine how soil bacteria community and function are linked from the local to regional scale, we studied soil bacteria community composition, potential function and environmental conditions in natural and mature broadleaf forests along a latitudinal gradient in China, using the Illumina 16S rRNA sequencing and GeoChip technologies. The results showed strong biogeographic endemism pattern in soil bacteria were existed, and the spatial distance and climatic variables were the key controlling factors for this pattern. Therefore, dispersal limitation and environmental selection may represent two key processes in generating and maintaining the soil bacterial biogeographic pattern. By contrast, the soil bacterial potential function is highly convergent along the latitudinal gradient and there were highly differing bacterial community compositions, and the soil chemistry may include the main factors active in shaping the soil bacterial potential function. Therefore, the soil bacterial potential function may be affected by local gradients in resource availability, and predicting soil bacterial potential function requires knowledge of abiotic and biotic environmental factors. PMID:27357005

  19. Linking environmental heavy metal concentrations and salinity gradients with metal accumulation and their effects: A case study in 3 mussel species of Vitória estuary and Espírito Santo bay, Southeast Brazil.

    PubMed

    Kumar, Vikas; Sinha, Amit Kumar; Rodrigues, Paulo Pinheiro; Mubiana, Valentine K; Blust, Ronny; De Boeck, Gudrun

    2015-08-01

    The present study was conducted to link the heavy metal load in three species of mussels (Perna perna, Mytella falcata and Mytella guyanensis) from the estuaries and bays around Vitória island, south-east of Brazil, with the salinity gradient and the heavy metal levels in the abiotic environment (including water, suspended particulate matter (SPM) and sediment). Primarily based on the salinity gradient, a total of 26 sites around Vitória Island were selected for sampling of water, SPM, sediments and organisms. Besides tissue metal levels, the condition index and energy stores (glycogen, lipid and protein) were quantified as an indicator of fitness in response to metal pollution. Dissolved metals in water indicate that Cd and Mn content was higher along Espírito Santo Bay, while Al, Co, Cu, Cr and Fe were elevated in the sites with low salinity such as river mouths, estuarine and sewage canals. Likewise, suspended matter sampled from low salinity sites showed a higher heavy metal load compared to moderate and high salinity sites. Though mussels were sampled from different sites, the contamination for Cd, Cu, Fe and Mn was higher in mussels inhabiting low salinity sites (M. guyanensis and M. falcata) compared to P. perna, a high saline water inhabitant. However, a higher Zn body burden was observed for P. perna compared to Mytella species. Tissue Fe accumulation (but not Mn and Zn) correlated with heavy metal levels in suspended material for all three species, and for M. falcata this correlation also existed for Cd and Cu. Energy store and condition index in all mussels varied depending on the sampling sites and correlated with salinity gradient rather than tissue metal concentration. Overall, metal concentration in mussels did not exceed the safe levels as per the international standards for metals, and would be of no risk for human consumption.

  20. Shell properties of commercial clam Chamelea gallina are influenced by temperature and solar radiation along a wide latitudinal gradient

    PubMed Central

    Gizzi, Francesca; Caccia, Maria Giulia; Simoncini, Ginevra Allegra; Mancuso, Arianna; Reggi, Michela; Fermani, Simona; Brizi, Leonardo; Fantazzini, Paola; Stagioni, Marco; Falini, Giuseppe; Piccinetti, Corrado; Goffredo, Stefano

    2016-01-01

    Phenotype can express different morphologies in response to biotic or abiotic environmental influences. Mollusks are particularly sensitive to different environmental parameters, showing macroscale shell morphology variations in response to environmental parameters. Few studies concern shell variations at the different scale levels along environmental gradients. Here, we investigate shell features at the macro, micro and nanoscale, in populations of the commercially important clam Chamelea gallina along a latitudinal gradient (~400 km) of temperature and solar radiation in the Adriatic Sea (Italian cost). Six populations of clams with shells of the same length were analyzed. Shells from the warmest and the most irradiated population were thinner, with more oval shape, more porous and lighter, showing lower load fracture. However, no variation was observed in shell CaCO3 polymorphism (100% aragonite) or in compositional and textural shell parameters, indicating no effect of the environmental parameters on the basic processes of biomineralization. Because of the importance of this species as commercial resource in the Adriatic Sea, the experimentally quantified and significant variations of mass and fracture load in C. gallina shells along the latitudinal gradient may have economic implications for fisheries producing different economical yield for fishermen and consumers along the Adriatic coastline. PMID:27805037

  1. In vivo role of nitric oxide in plant response to abiotic and biotic stress.

    PubMed

    Shi, Hai-Tao; Li, Rong-Jun; Cai, Wei; Liu, Wen; Fu, Zheng-Wei; Lu, Ying-Tang

    2012-03-01

    Over the past few years, nitric oxide (NO) has emerged as an important regulator in many physiological events, especially in response to abiotic and biotic stress. However, the roles of NO were mostly derived from pharmacological studies or the mutants impaired NO synthesis unspecifically. In our recent study, we highlighted a novel strategy by expressing the rat neuronal NO synthase (nNOS) in Arabidopsis to explore the in vivo role of NO. Our results suggested that plants were able to perform well in the constitutive presence of nNOS, and provided a new class of plant experimental system with specific in vivo NO release. Furthermore, our findings also confirmed that the in vivo NO is essential for most of environmental abiotic stresses and disease resistance against pathogen infection. Proper level of NO may be necessary and beneficial, not only in plant response to the environmental abiotic stress, but also to biotic stress.

  2. Asymmetric coexistence: bidirectional abiotic and biotic effects between goose barnacles and mussels.

    PubMed

    Kawai, Takashi; Tokeshi, Mutsunori

    2006-07-01

    1. Species coexistence depends on the net effect of interacting species, representing the sum of multiple interaction components that may act simultaneously and vary independently depending on ambient environmental conditions. Consequently, for a comprehensive understanding of the compound nature of species interactions and coexistence, a mechanistic approach that allows a separate evaluation of each interaction component is required. 2. Two sessile filter-feeders, the goose barnacle Capitulum mitella and the mussel Septifer virgatus, coexist on moderately wave-exposed rocky shores in south-western Japan. In the upper intertidal, Capitulum positively influenced Septifer survivorship and growth through amelioration of thermal stress and of physical disturbance. On the other hand, these species are potential competitors as they have similar body sizes and modes of resource utilization. These opposite processes, facilitation and competition, are based on abiotic characteristics and biotic functions of the two species, respectively. 3. In order to quantify the bidirectional abiotic, biotic and net effects, a series of experimental manipulations was conducted involving the use of living neighbours with both abiotic and biotic effects, and artificial mimics to simulate abiotic effects without biotic effects. 4. Capitulum had strong positive abiotic effects on the mussel survivorship in most experimental periods, while the biotic effect was negligible or weakly negative, suggesting that the net effect of Capitulum on mussel survival was largely attributable to the abiotic effect. In contrast, a significantly negative biotic effect on the mussel growth rate was always present, though this was cancelled out by the larger, positive abiotic effect. In the case of Septifer, its abiotic and biotic effects on the survivorship of goose barnacles were negligible, while those on the growth rate showed temporal variation. 5. With respect to the relationship between species

  3. Abiotic factors influence plant storage lipid accumulation and composition.

    PubMed

    Singer, Stacy D; Zou, Jitao; Weselake, Randall J

    2016-02-01

    The demand for plant-derived oils has increased substantially over the last decade, and is sure to keep growing. While there has been a surge in research efforts to produce plants with improved oil content and quality, in most cases the enhancements have been small. To add further complexity to this situation, substantial differences in seed oil traits among years and field locations have indicated that plant lipid biosynthesis is also influenced to a large extent by multiple environmental factors such as temperature, drought, light availability and soil nutrients. On the molecular and biochemical levels, the expression and/or activities of fatty acid desaturases, as well as diacylglycerol acyltransferase 1, have been found to be affected by abiotic factors, suggesting that they play a role in the lipid content and compositional changes seen under abiotic stress conditions. Unfortunately, while only a very small number of strategies have been developed as of yet to minimize these environmental effects on the production of storage lipids, it is clear that this feat will be of the utmost importance for developing superior oil crops with the capability to perform in a consistent manner in field conditions in the future.

  4. Influence of abiotic stress signals on secondary metabolites in plants

    PubMed Central

    Ramakrishna, Akula; Ravishankar, Gokare Aswathanarayana

    2011-01-01

    Plant secondary metabolites are unique sources for pharmaceuticals, food additives, flavors, and industrially important biochemicals. Accumulation of such metabolites often occurs in plants subjected to stresses including various elicitors or signal molecules. Secondary metabolites play a major role in the adaptation of plants to the environment and in overcoming stress conditions. Environmental factors viz. temperature, humidity, light intensity, the supply of water, minerals, and CO2 influence the growth of a plant and secondary metabolite production. Drought, high salinity, and freezing temperatures are environmental conditions that cause adverse effects on the growth of plants and the productivity of crops. Plant cell culture technologies have been effective tools for both studying and producing plant secondary metabolites under in vitro conditions and for plant improvement. This brief review summarizes the influence of different abiotic factors include salt, drought, light, heavy metals, frost etc. on secondary metabolites in plants. The focus of the present review is the influence of abiotic factors on secondary metabolite production and some of important plant pharmaceuticals. Also, we describe the results of in vitro cultures and production of some important secondary metabolites obtained in our laboratory. PMID:22041989

  5. Soil moisture and chemistry influence diversity of ectomycorrhizal fungal communities associating with willow along an hydrologic gradient.

    PubMed

    Erlandson, Sonya R; Savage, Jessica A; Cavender-Bares, Jeannine M; Peay, Kabir G

    2016-01-01

    Influences of soil environment and willow host species on ectomycorrhizal fungi communities was studied across an hydrologic gradient in temperate North America. Soil moisture, organic matter and pH strongly predicted changes in fungal community composition. In contrast, increased fungal richness strongly correlated with higher plant-available phosphorus. The 93 willow trees sampled for ectomycorrhizal fungi included seven willow species. Host identity did not influence fungal richness or community composition, nor was there strong evidence of willow host preference for fungal species. Network analysis suggests that these mutualist interaction networks are not significantly nested or modular. Across a strong environmental gradient, fungal abiotic niche determined the fungal species available to associate with host plants within a habitat.

  6. Gradient forests: calculating importance gradients on physical predictors.

    PubMed

    Ellis, Nick; Smith, Stephen J; Pitcher, C Roland

    2012-01-01

    In ecological analyses of species and community distributions there is interest in the nature of their responses to environmental gradients and in identifying the most important environmental variables, which may be used for predicting patterns of biodiversity. Methods such as random forests already exist to assess predictor importance for individual species and to indicate where along gradients abundance changes. However, there is a need to extend these methods to whole assemblages, to establish where along the range of these gradients the important compositional changes occur, and to identify any important thresholds or change points. We develop such a method, called "gradient forest," which is an extension of the random forest approach. By synthesizing the cross-validated R2 and accuracy importance measures from univariate random forest analyses across multiple species, sampling devices, and surveys, gradient forest obtains a monotonic function of each predictor that represents the compositional turnover along the gradient of the predictor. When applied to a synthetic data set, the method correctly identified the important predictors and delineated where the compositional change points occurred along these gradients. Application of gradient forest to a real data set from part of the Great Barrier Reef identified mud fraction of the sediment as the most important predictor, with highest compositional turnover occurring at mud fraction values around 25%, and provided similar information for other predictors. Such refined information allows for more accurate capturing of biodiversity patterns for the purposes of bioregionalization, delineation of protected areas, or designing of biodiversity surveys.

  7. Endophytic fungi: resource for gibberellins and crop abiotic stress resistance.

    PubMed

    Khan, Abdul Latif; Hussain, Javid; Al-Harrasi, Ahmed; Al-Rawahi, Ahmed; Lee, In-Jung

    2015-03-01

    The beneficial effects of endophytes on plant growth are important for agricultural ecosystems because they reduce the need for fertilizers and decrease soil and water pollution while compensating for environmental perturbations. Endophytic fungi are a novel source of bioactive secondary metabolites; moreover, recently they have been found to produce physiologically active gibberellins as well. The symbiosis of gibberellins producing endophytic fungi with crops can be a promising strategy to overcome the adverse effects of abiotic stresses. The association of such endophytes has not only increased plant biomass but also ameliorated plant-growth during extreme environmental conditions. Endophytic fungi represent a trove of unexplored biodiversity and a frequently overlooked component of crop ecology. The present review describes the role of gibberellins producing endophytic fungi, suggests putative mechanisms involved in plant endophyte stress interactions and discusses future prospects in this field.

  8. Hydrogen peroxide priming modulates abiotic oxidative stress tolerance: insights from ROS detoxification and scavenging

    PubMed Central

    Hossain, Mohammad A.; Bhattacharjee, Soumen; Armin, Saed-Moucheshi; Qian, Pingping; Xin, Wang; Li, Hong-Yu; Burritt, David J.; Fujita, Masayuki; Tran, Lam-Son P.

    2015-01-01

    Plants are constantly challenged by various abiotic stresses that negatively affect growth and productivity worldwide. During the course of their evolution, plants have developed sophisticated mechanisms to recognize external signals allowing them to respond appropriately to environmental conditions, although the degree of adjustability or tolerance to specific stresses differs from species to species. Overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS; hydrogen peroxide, H2O2; superoxide, O2⋅-; hydroxyl radical, OH⋅ and singlet oxygen, 1O2) is enhanced under abiotic and/or biotic stresses, which can cause oxidative damage to plant macromolecules and cell structures, leading to inhibition of plant growth and development, or to death. Among the various ROS, freely diffusible and relatively long-lived H2O2 acts as a central player in stress signal transduction pathways. These pathways can then activate multiple acclamatory responses that reinforce resistance to various abiotic and biotic stressors. To utilize H2O2 as a signaling molecule, non-toxic levels must be maintained in a delicate balancing act between H2O2 production and scavenging. Several recent studies have demonstrated that the H2O2-priming can enhance abiotic stress tolerance by modulating ROS detoxification and by regulating multiple stress-responsive pathways and gene expression. Despite the importance of the H2O2-priming, little is known about how this process improves the tolerance of plants to stress. Understanding the mechanisms of H2O2-priming-induced abiotic stress tolerance will be valuable for identifying biotechnological strategies to improve abiotic stress tolerance in crop plants. This review is an overview of our current knowledge of the possible mechanisms associated with H2O2-induced abiotic oxidative stress tolerance in plants, with special reference to antioxidant metabolism. PMID:26136756

  9. Abiotic Bromination of Soil Organic Matter.

    PubMed

    Leri, Alessandra C; Ravel, Bruce

    2015-11-17

    Biogeochemical transformations of plant-derived soil organic matter (SOM) involve complex abiotic and microbially mediated reactions. One such reaction is halogenation, which occurs naturally in the soil environment and has been associated with enzymatic activity of decomposer organisms. Building on a recent finding that naturally produced organobromine is ubiquitous in SOM, we hypothesized that inorganic bromide could be subject to abiotic oxidations resulting in bromination of SOM. Through lab-based degradation treatments of plant material and soil humus, we have shown that abiotic bromination of particulate organic matter occurs in the presence of a range of inorganic oxidants, including hydrogen peroxide and assorted forms of ferric iron, producing both aliphatic and aromatic forms of organobromine. Bromination of oak and pine litter is limited primarily by bromide concentration. Fresh plant material is more susceptible to bromination than decayed litter and soil humus, due to a labile pool of mainly aliphatic compounds that break down during early stages of SOM formation. As the first evidence of abiotic bromination of particulate SOM, this study identifies a mechanistic source of the natural organobromine in humic substances and the soil organic horizon. Formation of organobromine through oxidative treatments of plant material also provides insights into the relative stability of aromatic and aliphatic components of SOM.

  10. Differential Abundance of Microbial Functional Groups along the Elevation Gradient from the Coast to the Luquillo Mountains

    EPA Science Inventory

    Microbial communities respond to multiple abiotic and biotic factors that change along elevation gradients. We compare changes in microbial community composition in soil and review previous research on differential abundance of microbial functional groups along an elevation gradi...

  11. Ubiquitination pathway as a target to develop abiotic stress tolerance in rice

    PubMed Central

    Dametto, Andressa; Buffon, Giseli; Dos Reis Blasi, Édina Aparecida; Sperotto, Raul Antonio

    2015-01-01

    Abiotic stresses may result in significant losses in rice grain productivity. Protein regulation by the ubiquitin/proteasome system has been studied as a target mechanism to optimize adaptation and survival strategies of plants to different environmental stresses. This article aimed at highlighting recent discoveries about the roles ubiquitination may play in the exposure of rice plants to different abiotic stresses, enabling the development of modified plants tolerant to stress. Responses provided by the ubiquitination process include the regulation of the stomatal opening, phytohormones levels, protein stabilization, cell membrane integrity, meristematic cell maintenance, as well as the regulation of reactive oxygen species and heavy metals levels. It is noticeable that ubiquitination is a potential means for developing abiotic stress tolerant plants, being an excellent alternative to rice (and other cultures) improvement programs. PMID:26236935

  12. Soil abiotic factors influence interactions between belowground herbivores and plant roots.

    PubMed

    Erb, Matthias; Lu, Jing

    2013-03-01

    Root herbivores are important ecosystem drivers and agricultural pests, and, possibly as a consequence, plants protect their roots using a variety of defensive strategies. One aspect that distinguishes belowground from aboveground plant-insect interactions is that roots are constantly exposed to a set of soil-specific abiotic factors. These factors can profoundly influence root resistance, and, consequently, the outcome of the interaction with belowground feeders. In this review, we synthesize the current literature on the impact of soil moisture, nutrients, and texture on root-herbivore interactions. We show that soil abiotic factors influence the interaction by modulating herbivore abundance and behaviour, root growth and resistance, beneficial microorganisms, as well as natural enemies of the herbivores. We suggest that abiotic heterogeneity may explain the high variability that is often encountered in root-herbivore systems. We also propose that under abiotic stress, the relative fitness value of the roots and the potential negative impact of herbivory increases, which may lead to a higher defensive investment and an increased recruitment of beneficial microorganisms by the plant. At the same time, both root-feeding herbivores and natural enemies are likely to decrease in abundance under extreme environmental conditions, leading to a context- and species-specific impact on plant fitness. Only by using tightly controlled experiments that include soil abiotic heterogeneity will it be possible to understand the impact of root feeders on an ecosystem scale and to develop predictive models for pest occurrence and impact.

  13. Molecular and physiological responses to abiotic stress in forest trees and their relevance to tree improvement.

    PubMed

    Harfouche, Antoine; Meilan, Richard; Altman, Arie

    2014-11-01

    Abiotic stresses, such as drought, salinity and cold, are the major environmental stresses that adversely affect tree growth and, thus, forest productivity, and play a major role in determining the geographic distribution of tree species. Tree responses and tolerance to abiotic stress are complex biological processes that are best analyzed at a systems level using genetic, genomic, metabolomic and phenomic approaches. This will expedite the dissection of stress-sensing and signaling networks to further support efficient genetic improvement programs. Enormous genetic diversity for stress tolerance exists within some forest-tree species, and due to advances in sequencing technologies the molecular genetic basis for this diversity has been rapidly unfolding in recent years. In addition, the use of emerging phenotyping technologies extends the suite of traits that can be measured and will provide us with a better understanding of stress tolerance. The elucidation of abiotic stress-tolerance mechanisms will allow for effective pyramiding of multiple tolerances in a single tree through genetic engineering. Here we review recent progress in the dissection of the molecular basis of abiotic stress tolerance in forest trees, with special emphasis on Populus, Pinus, Picea, Eucalyptus and Quercus spp. We also outline practices that will enable the deployment of trees engineered for abiotic stress tolerance to land owners. Finally, recommendations for future work are discussed.

  14. Coupled Abiotic-Biotic Degradation of Bisphenol A

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Im, J.; Prevatte, C.; Campagna, S. R.; Loeffler, F.

    2014-12-01

    Bisphenol A (BPA) is a ubiquitous environmental contaminant with weak estrogenic activity. BPA is readily biodegradable with oxygen available, but is recalcitrant to microbial degradation under anoxic conditions. However, BPA is susceptible to abiotic transformation under anoxic conditions. To better understand the fate of BPA in anoxic environments, the kinetics of BPA transformation by manganese oxide (d-MnO2) were investigated. BPA was rapidly transformed by MnO2 with a pseudo-first-order rate constant of 0.413 min-1. NMR and LC-MS analyses identified 4-hydroxycumyl alcohol (HCA) as a major intermediate. Up to 64% of the initial amount of BPA was recovered as HCA within 5 min, but the conversion efficiency decreased with time, suggesting that HCA was further degraded by MnO2. Further experiments confirmed that HCA was also susceptible to transformation by MnO2, albeit at 5-fold lower rates than BPA transformation. Mass balance approaches suggested that HCA was the major BPA transformation intermediate, but other compounds may also be formed. The abiotic transformation of BPA by MnO2 was affected by pH, and 10-fold higher transformation rates were observed at pH 4.5 than at pH 10. Compared to BPA, HCA has a lower octanol-water partitioning coefficient (Log Kow) of 0.76 vs 2.76 for BPA and a higher aqueous solubility of 2.65 g L-1 vs 0.31 g L-1 for BPA, suggesting higher mobility of HCA in the environment. Microcosms established with freshwater sediment materials collected from four geographically distinct locations and amended with HCA demonstrated rapid HCA biodegradation under oxic, but not under anoxic conditions. These findings suggest that BPA is not inert under anoxic conditions and abiotic reactions with MnO2 generate HCA, which has increased mobility and is susceptible to aerobic degradation. Therefore, coupled abiotic-biotic processes can affect the fate and longevity of BPA in terrestrial environments.

  15. Transgenic expression of TaMYB2A confers enhanced tolerance to multiple abiotic stresses in Arabidopsis.

    PubMed

    Mao, Xinguo; Jia, Dongsheng; Li, Ang; Zhang, Hongying; Tian, Shanjun; Zhang, Xiaoke; Jia, Jizeng; Jing, Ruilian

    2011-09-01

    Osmotic stresses such as drought, salinity, and cold are major environmental factors that limit agricultural productivity. Transcription factors play essential roles in abiotic stress signaling in plants. Three TaMYB2 members were identified and designated TaMYB2A, TaMYB2B, and TaMYB2D based on their genomic origins. The cis-regulatory elements in the promoter regions were compared, and their diverse expression patterns under different abiotic stress conditions were identified. TaMYB2A was further characterized because of its earlier response to stresses. Subcellular localization revealed that TaMYB2A localized in the nucleus. To examine the role of TaMYB2A under various environmental stresses, transgenic Arabidopsis plants carrying TaMYB2A controlled by the CaMV 35S promoter were generated and subjected to severe abiotic stress. TaMYB2A transgenics had enhanced tolerance to drought, salt, and freezing stresses, which were confirmed by the enhanced expressions of abiotic stress-responsive genes and several physiological indices, including decreased rate of water loss, enhanced cell membrane stability, improved photosynthetic potential, and reduced osmotic potential. TaMYB2A is a multifunctional regulatory factor. Its overexpression confers enhanced tolerance to multiple abiotic stresses while having no obvious negative effects on phenotype under well-watered and stressed conditions; thus, TaMYB2A has the potential for utilization in transgenic breeding to improve abiotic stress tolerances in crops.

  16. Arctic fungal communities associated with roots of Bistorta vivipara do not respond to the same fine-scale edaphic gradients as the aboveground vegetation.

    PubMed

    Mundra, Sunil; Halvorsen, Rune; Kauserud, Håvard; Müller, Eike; Vik, Unni; Eidesen, Pernille B

    2015-03-01

    Soil conditions and microclimate are important determinants of the fine-scale distribution of plant species in the Arctic, creating locally heterogeneous vegetation. We hypothesize that root-associated fungal (RAF) communities respond to the same fine-scale environmental gradients as the aboveground vegetation, creating a coherent pattern between aboveground vegetation and RAF. We explored how RAF communities of the ectomycorrhizal (ECM) plant Bistorta vivipara and aboveground vegetation structure of arctic plants were affected by biotic and abiotic variables at 0.3-3.0-m scales. RAF communities were determined using pyrosequencing. Composition and spatial structure of RAF and aboveground vegetation in relation to collected biotic and abiotic variables were analysed by ordination and semi-variance analyses. The vegetation was spatially structured along soil C and N gradients, whereas RAF lacked significant spatial structure. A weak relationship between RAF community composition and the cover of two ECM plants, B. vivipara and S. polaris, was found, and RAF richness increased with host root length and root weight. Results suggest that the fine-scale spatial structure of RAF communities of B. vivipara and the aboveground vegetation are driven by different factors. At fine spatial scales, neighbouring ECM plants may affect RAF community composition, whereas soil nutrients gradients structure the vegetation.

  17. miRNAs: Major modulators for crop growth and development under abiotic stresses.

    PubMed

    Noman, Ali; Fahad, Shah; Aqeel, Muhammad; Ali, Usman; Amanullah; Anwar, Sumera; Baloch, Shahbaz Khan; Zainab, Madiha

    2017-02-25

    Cumulatively, biotic and abiotic stresses of various magnitudes can decrease the production of crops by 70%. miRNAs have emerged as a genetic tool with enormous potential that can be exploited to understand stress tolerance at the molecular level and eventually regulate stress in crops. Plant miRNA targets frequently fit into diverse families of TFs that control the expression of genes related to a certain trait. As key machinery in gene regulatory networks, it is agreed that a broad understanding of miRNAs will greatly increase our understanding of plant responses to environmental stresses. miRNA-led stress regulatory networks are being considered as novel tools for the development of abiotic stress tolerance in crops. At this time, we need to expand our knowledge about the modulatory role of miRNAs during environmental fluctuations. It has become exceedingly clear that with increased understanding of the role of miRNAs during stress, the techniques for using miRNA-mediated gene regulation to enhance plant stress tolerance will become more effective and reliable. In this review we present: (1) miRNAs as a potential avenue for the modulation of abiotic stresses, and (2) summarize the research progress regarding plant responses to stress. Current progress is explained through discussion of the identification and validation of several miRNAs that enhance crop tolerance of salinity, drought, etc., while missing links on different aspects of miRNAs related to abiotic stress tolerance are noted.

  18. Jasmonate signaling in plant development and defense response to multiple (a)biotic stresses.

    PubMed

    Santino, Angelo; Taurino, Marco; De Domenico, Stefania; Bonsegna, Stefania; Poltronieri, Palmiro; Pastor, Victoria; Flors, Victor

    2013-07-01

    Plants frequently live in environments characterized by the presence of simultaneous and different stresses. The intricate and finely tuned molecular mechanisms activated by plants in response to abiotic and biotic environmental factors are not well understood, and less is known about the integrative signals and convergence points activated by plants in response to multiple (a)biotic stresses. Phytohormones play a key role in plant development and response to (a)biotic stresses. Among these, one of the most important signaling molecules is an oxylipin, the plant hormone jasmonic acid. Oxylipins are derived from oxygenation of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Jasmonic acid and its volatile derivative methyl jasmonate have been considered for a long time to be the bioactive forms due to their physiological effects and abundance in the plant. However, more recent studies showed unambiguously that they are only precursors of the active forms represented by some amino acid conjugates. Upon developmental or environmental stimuli, jasmonates are synthesized and accumulate transiently. Upon perception, jasmonate signal transduction process is finely tuned by a complex mechanism comprising specific repressor proteins which in turn control a number of transcription factors regulating the expression of jasmonate responsive genes. We discuss the latest discoveries about the role of jasmonates in plants resistance mechanism against biotic and abiotic stresses. Finally, the deep interplay of different phytohormones in stresses signaling will be also discussed.

  19. Unraveling the role of fungal symbionts in plant abiotic stress tolerance

    PubMed Central

    Singh, Lamabam Peter

    2011-01-01

    Fungal symbionts have been found to be associated with every plant studied in the natural ecosystem, where they colonize and reside entirely or partially in the internal tissues of their host plant. Fungal endophytes can express/form a range of different lifestyle/relationships with different host including symbiotic, mutualistic, commensalistic and parasitic in response to host genotype and environmental factors. In mutualistic association fungal endophyte can enhance growth, increase reproductive success and confer biotic and abiotic stress tolerance to its host plant. Since abiotic stress such as, drought, high soil salinity, heat, cold, oxidative stress and heavy metal toxicity is the common adverse environmental conditions that affect and limit crop productivity worldwide. It may be a promising alternative strategy to exploit fungal endophytes to overcome the limitations to crop production brought by abiotic stress. There is an increasing interest in developing the potential biotechnological applications of fungal endophytes for improving plant stress tolerance and sustainable production of food crops. Here we have described the fungal symbioses, fungal symbionts and their role in abiotic stress tolerance. A putative mechanism of stress tolerance by symbionts has also been covered. PMID:21512319

  20. Histone variants and chromatin assembly in plant abiotic stress responses.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Yan; Dong, Aiwu; Shen, Wen-Hui

    2013-01-01

    Genome organization into nucleosomes and higher-order chromatin structures has profound implications for the regulation of gene expression, DNA replication and repair. The structure of chromatin can be remodeled by several mechanisms; among others, nucleosome assembly/disassembly and replacement of canonical histones with histone variants constitute important ones. In this review, we provide a brief description on the current knowledge about histone chaperones involved in nucleosome assembly/disassembly and histone variants in Arabidopsis thaliana. We discuss recent advances in revealing crucial functions of histone chaperones, nucleosome assembly/disassembly and histone variants in plant response to abiotic stresses. It appears that chromatin structure remodeling may provide a flexible, global and stable means for the regulation of gene transcription to help plants more effectively cope with environmental stresses. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Histone chaperones and chromatin assembly.

  1. Comparing Urban-to-Rural Environmental Gradients in the Houston Metropolitan Area between a drought (2011) and a normal year (2012)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gramann, J. H.; Barta, C.; Schade, G. W.

    2012-12-01

    As climate continues to change and weather events trend toward the more extreme, questions are raised about how this affects urban environments and regional atmospheric chemistry. The largest contributors to organic chemistry in the atmosphere are plants that emit biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs.) This project aims to use the urban-to-rural gradient north of Houston to study long term effects of different microclimates on oak trees growing under field conditions. To begin to do this, three weather station were placed along a gradient away from downtown Houston, at a participating high school, through a forested suburban community, at a junior high school in The Woodlands, to the ranger station in Sam Houston National Forest (SHNF), 90 km from downtown. We monitor weather, carbon dioxide, and ozone gradients. This data is supplemented by TCEQ and NCDC records. Temperature gradients from Houston to SHNF during the 2011 summer averaged 0.1°C during the day and 2.2°C at night; during the 2011-2012 winter they averaged 1.9°C during the day and 2.4°C at night; and during the 2012 summer gradients averaged 1.1°C during the day and 2.7°C at night. Additionally, field trips were made weekly throughout the spring, summer, and fall to take leaf level measurements using a CIRAS-II photosynthesis analyzer, which was augmented to sample emitted VOCs from the leaf using activated carbon packed tubes, later analyzed by gas chromatography. Differences between the sites and the ability of the trees at each site to acclimate are discussed using several case studies with respect to drought in 2011 and adequate rainfall in spring and summer 2012.

  2. Constraints on biotic and abiotic role in the formation of Fe-Si oxides from the PACMANUS hydrothermal field

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yang, Baoju; Zeng, Zhigang; Qi, Haiyan; Wang, Xiaoyuan; Ma, Yao; Rong, Kunbo

    2015-12-01

    Fe-Si oxide deposits were recovered from the PACMANUS (Papua New Guinea-Australia-Canada-Manus) hydrothermal field in Eastern Manus basin. Samples were loose and fragile. Optical and scanning electron microscopy showed that the samples had abundant rod-like or twisted filamentous and granular structures. Electron probe microanalysis revealed that these filaments and grains were mainly composed of Fe and Si. The presence of spherical grains on the surface of the filaments suggests the intergrowth of biotic and abiotic reactions. Biotic and abiotic kinetics competition always exists in the redox gradient. Based on the physico-chemical conditions of PACMANUS hydrothermal fluids, we calculated a strict abiotic oxidation rate of Fe2+ to Fe3+, which is approximately 0.0123 g/min. If the fluids had been erupting consistently and the concentration of Fe2+ was constant, 3.232 kg per year of Fe would be deposited in this vent. The amount of Fe oxides around the studied vent was larger than the amount determined by strict abiotic kinetic calculation. Bacteria may also play an important role in Fe oxidation. A mesh-like microenvironment constructed by biogenic filaments ensured adequate Fe2+ and low oxygen content for the growth of bacteria. Moreover, this structure promoted the deposition of abiotic Fe-Si oxides.

  3. Autophagy, a Conserved Mechanism for Protein Degradation, Responds to Heat, and Other Abiotic Stresses in Capsicum annuum L.

    PubMed Central

    Zhai, Yufei; Guo, Meng; Wang, Hu; Lu, Jinping; Liu, Jinhong; Zhang, Chong; Gong, Zhenhui; Lu, Minghui

    2016-01-01

    Abiotic stresses negatively affect plants growth and development by inducing protein denaturation, and autophagy degrades the damaged proteins to alleviate their toxicity, however, little is known about the involvement of autophagy in pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) tolerances to abiotic stresses. In this study, we identified autophagy-related gene (ATG) members in the whole genome of pepper by HMM method and analyzed their expression profiles in response to heat and other abiotic stresses by quantitative real-time PCR. The results showed that the CaATG contained 15 core ATG members including 29 ATG proteins with their respective conserved functional domains, involving the whole process of autophagy. Under normal environmental condition, the expression of CaATG genes showed tissue- and developmental stage-specific patterns, while under abiotic stresses of salt, drought, heat, cold and carbohydrate starvation, the accumulation of autophagosome punctate increased and the expression level of CaATG genes changed with stress type-dependent pattern, which indicates the linkage of autophagy in pepper response to abiotic stresses. After treated with heat stress, both the number of up-regulated CaATG genes and the increment of autophagosome punctate were higher in pepper thermotolerant line R9 than those in thermosensitive line B6, implying an association of autophagy with heat tolerance. In addition, CaATG6 was predicted to interact with CaHSP90 family members. Our study suggests that autophagy is connected to pepper tolerances to heat and other abiotic stresses. PMID:26904087

  4. Evolutionary potential of Chamaecrista fasciculata in relation to climate change. I. Clinal patterns of selection along an environmental gradient in the great plains.

    PubMed

    Etterson, Julie R

    2004-07-01

    Climate change will alter natural selection on native plant populations. Little information is available to predict how selection will change in the future and how populations will respond. Insight can be obtained by comparing selection regimes in current environments to selection regimes in environments similar to those predicted for the future. To mimic predicted temporal change in climate, three natural populations of the annual legume Chamaecrista fasciculata were sampled from a climate gradient in the Great Plains and progeny of formal crosses were reciprocally planted back into common gardens across this climate gradient. In each garden, native populations produced significantly more seed than the other populations, providing strong evidence of local adaptation. Phenotypic selection analysis conducted by site showed that plants with slower reproductive development, more leaves, and thicker leaves were favored in the most southern garden. Evidence of clinal variation in selection regimes was also found; selection coefficients were ordered according to the latitude of the common gardens. The adaptive value of native traits was indicated by selection toward the mean of local populations. Repeated clinal patterns in linear and nonlinear selection coefficients among populations and within and between sites were found. To the extent that temporal change in climate into the future will parallel the differences in selection across this spatial gradient, this study suggests that selection regimes will be displaced northward and different trait values will be favored in natural populations.

  5. Subcellular metal partitioning in larvae of the insect Chaoborus collected along an environmental metal exposure gradient (Cd, Cu, Ni and Zn).

    PubMed

    Rosabal, Maikel; Hare, Landis; Campbell, Peter G C

    2012-09-15

    Larvae of the phantom midge Chaoborus are common and widespread in lakes contaminated by metals derived from mining and smelting activities. To explore how this insect is able to cope with potentially toxic metals, we determined total metal concentrations and subcellular metal partitioning in final-instar Chaoborus punctipennis larvae collected from 12 lakes situated along gradients in aqueous Cd, Cu, Ni and Zn concentrations. Concentrations of the non-essential metals Cd and Ni were more responsive to aqueous metal gradients than were larval concentrations of the essential metals Cu and Zn; these latter metals were better regulated and exhibited only 2-3-fold increases between the least and the most contaminated lakes. Metal partitioning was determined by homogenization of larvae followed by differential centrifugation, NaOH digestion and heat denaturation steps so as to separate the metals into operationally defined metal-sensitive fractions (heat-denaturable proteins (HDP), mitochondria, and lysosomes/microsomes) and metal-detoxified fractions (heat stable proteins (HSP) and NaOH-resistant or granule-like fractions). Of these five fractions, the HSP fraction was the dominant metal-binding compartment for Cd, Ni and Cu. The proportions and concentrations of these three metals in this fraction increased along the metal bioaccumulation gradient, which suggests that metallothionein-like proteins play an important role in metal tolerance of Chaoborus living in metal-contaminated environments. Likewise, a substantial proportion of larval Zn was in the HSP fraction, but its contribution did not increase progressively along the metal gradient. Despite the increases in Cd, Ni and Cu in the HSP fraction along the metal bioaccumulation gradient, some accumulation of non-essential metals (Cd and Ni) was observed in putative metal-sensitive fractions (e.g., HDP, mitochondria), suggesting that metal detoxification was incomplete. In the case of Cd, there appears to be a

  6. Biofilm formation and persistence on abiotic surfaces in the context of food and medical environments.

    PubMed

    Abdallah, Marwan; Benoliel, Corinne; Drider, Djamel; Dhulster, Pascal; Chihib, Nour-Eddine

    2014-07-01

    The biofilm formation on abiotic surfaces in food and medical sectors constitutes a great public health concerns. In fact, biofilms present a persistent source for pathogens, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus, which lead to severe infections such as foodborne and nosocomial infections. Such biofilms are also a source of material deterioration and failure. The environmental conditions, commonly met in food and medical area, seem also to enhance the biofilm formation and their resistance to disinfectant agents. In this regard, this review highlights the effect of environmental conditions on bacterial adhesion and biofilm formation on abiotic surfaces in the context of food and medical environment. It also describes the current and emergent strategies used to study the biofilm formation and its eradication. The mechanisms of biofilm resistance to commercialized disinfectants are also discussed, since this phenomenon remains unclear to date.

  7. Evolution and Adaptation of Wild Emmer Wheat Populations to Biotic and Abiotic Stresses.

    PubMed

    Huang, Lin; Raats, Dina; Sela, Hanan; Klymiuk, Valentina; Lidzbarsky, Gabriel; Feng, Lihua; Krugman, Tamar; Fahima, Tzion

    2016-08-04

    The genetic bottlenecks associated with plant domestication and subsequent selection in man-made agroecosystems have limited the genetic diversity of modern crops and increased their vulnerability to environmental stresses. Wild emmer wheat, the tetraploid progenitor of domesticated wheat, distributed along a wide range of ecogeographical conditions in the Fertile Crescent, has valuable "left behind" adaptive diversity to multiple diseases and environmental stresses. The biotic and abiotic stress responses are conferred by series of genes and quantitative trait loci (QTLs) that control complex resistance pathways. The study of genetic diversity, genomic organization, expression profiles, protein structure and function of biotic and abiotic stress-resistance genes, and QTLs could shed light on the evolutionary history and adaptation mechanisms of wild emmer populations for their natural habitats. The continuous evolution and adaptation of wild emmer to the changing environment provide novel solutions that can contribute to safeguarding food for the rapidly growing human population.

  8. High light intensity plays a major role in emergence of population level variation in Arabidopsis thaliana along an altitudinal gradient

    PubMed Central

    Tyagi, Antariksh; Yadav, Amrita; Tripathi, Abhinandan Mani; Roy, Sribash

    2016-01-01

    Environmental conditions play an important role in the emergence of genetic variations in natural populations. We identified genome-wide patterns of nucleotide variations in the coding regions of natural Arabidopsis thaliana populations. These populations originated from 700 m to 3400 m a.m.s.l. in the Western Himalaya. Using a pooled RNA-Seq approach, we identified the local and global level population-specific SNPs. The biological functions of the SNP-containing genes were primarily related to the high light intensity prevalent at high-altitude regions. The novel SNPs identified in these genes might have arisen de novo in these populations. In another approach, the FSTs of SNP-containing genes were correlated with the corresponding climatic factors. ‘Radiation in the growing season’ was the only environmental factor found to be strongly correlated with the gene-level FSTs. In both the approaches, the high light intensity was identified as the primary abiotic stress associated with the variations in these populations. The differential gene expression analysis between field and controlled condition grown plants also showed high light intensity as the primary abiotic stress, particularly for the high altitude populations. Our results provide a genome-wide perspective of nucleotide variations in populations along altitudinal gradient and their putative role in emergence of these variations. PMID:27211014

  9. Climate-Driven Variation in the Intensity of a Host-Symbiont Animal Interaction along a Broad Elevation Gradient

    PubMed Central

    Meléndez, Leandro; Laiolo, Paola; Mironov, Sergey; García, Mónica; Magaña, Oscar; Jovani, Roger

    2014-01-01

    Gradients of environmental stress may affect biotic interactions in unpredictable ways responding to climate variation, depending on the abiotic stress tolerance of interacting partners. Here, we study the effect of local climate on the intensity of feather mites in six mountain passerines along a 1400 m elevational gradient characterized by shifting temperature and rainfall. Although obligatory symbionts of warm-blooded organisms are assumed to live in mild and homeothermic environments, those inhabiting external, non-blood-irrigated body portions of the host organism, such as feather mites, are expected to endure exposure to the direct influence of a fluctuating climate. As expected, feather mite intensity declined with elevation in all bird species, a pattern that was also found in cold-adapted passerines that have typical alpine habits. The elevation cline was mainly explained by a positive effect of the average temperature upon mite intensity in five of the six species studied. Precipitation explained less variance in mite intensity than average temperature, and showed a negative correlation in half of the studied species. We found no climate-driven migration of mites along the wings of birds, no replacement of mite species along elevation gradients and no association with available food resources for mites (estimated by the size of the uropygial gland). This study suggests that ectosymbionts of warm-blooded animals may be highly sensitive to climatic variation and become less abundant under stressful environmental conditions, providing empirical evidence of the decline of specialized biotic interactions among animal species at high elevations. PMID:25025873

  10. Abiotic Formation of Methyl Halides in the Terrestrial Environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keppler, F.

    2011-12-01

    Methyl chloride and methyl bromide are the most abundant chlorine and bromine containing organic compounds in the atmosphere. Since both compounds have relatively long tropospheric lifetimes they can effectively transport halogen atoms from the Earth's surface, where they are released, to the stratosphere and following photolytic oxidation form reactive halogen gases that lead to the chemical destruction of ozone. Methyl chloride and methyl bromide account for more than 20% of the ozone-depleting halogens delivered to the stratosphere and are predicted to grow in importance as the chlorine contribution to the stratosphere from anthropogenic CFCs decline. Today methyl chloride and methyl bromide originate mainly from natural sources with only a minor fraction considered to be of anthropogenic origin. However, until as recently as 2000 most of the methyl chloride and methyl bromide input to the atmosphere was considered to originate from the oceans, but investigations in recent years have clearly demonstrated that terrestrial sources such as biomass burning, wood-rotting fungi, coastal salt marshes, tropical vegetation and organic matter degradation must dominate the atmospheric budgets of these trace gases. However, many uncertainties still exist regarding strengths of both sources and sinks, as well as the mechanisms of formation of these naturally occurring halogenated gases. A better understanding of the atmospheric budget of both methyl chloride and methyl bromide is therefore required for reliable prediction of future ozone depletion. Biotic and abiotic methylation processes of chloride and bromide ion are considered to be the dominant pathways of formation of these methyl halides in nature. In this presentation I will focus on abiotic formation processes in the terrestrial environment and the potential parameters that control their emissions. Recent advances in our understanding of the abiotic formation pathway of methyl halides will be discussed. This will

  11. Enhanced facilitation at the extreme end of the aridity gradient in the Atacama Desert: a community-level approach.

    PubMed

    López, Ramiro Pablo; Squeo, Francisco A; Armas, Cristina; Kelt, Douglas A; Gutiérrez, Julio R

    2016-06-01

    Plant facilitation is now recognized as an important process in severe environments. However, there is still no agreement on how facilitation changes as conditions become increasingly severe. The classic stress gradient hypothesis (SGH) predicts a monotonic increase in facilitation, which rises in frequency as conditions approach the extreme end of the environmental gradient. However, few studies have evaluated the validity of the SGH at the community level, the level at which it was formulated. Moreover, few studies have tested the SGH at either extreme of the gradient, and very few have excluded the effect of livestock on community response to stress. In line with the SGH, we hypothesized that several spatial pattern summary statistics would change monotonically from the least to the most arid sites, indicating increasingly aggregated patterns. In this study, we performed an evaluation of the SGH both within communities of shrub species and across a large portion of the Atacama Desert, and we isolated the abiotic component of the SGH. Our environmental gradient covered an extreme aridity gradient (< 20-130 mm annual precipitation). To perform point pattern analysis, we established 13 sites with environmental conditions representing four distinct levels of this gradient. Further, we conducted species co-occurrence analyses at 19 sites along the gradient. Both sets of analyses showed stronger positive spatial associations among plants at the most extreme end of the gradient. This was true regardless of whether we included all individuals, only small individuals located around large ones, or individuals in species pairs. Moreover, species tended to show greater co-occurrence as environmental severity increased. This increase in aggregation in the plant community seems to correlate with an increase in the strength of positive interspecific interactions, rather than greater clustering within each species. These monotonic increases in species co-occurrence and spatial

  12. Unveiling the Redox Control of Plant Reproductive Development during Abiotic Stress

    PubMed Central

    Zinta, Gaurav; Khan, Asif; AbdElgawad, Hamada; Verma, Vipasha; Srivastava, Ashish Kumar

    2016-01-01

    Plants being sessile in nature are often challenged to various abiotic stresses including temperature fluctuations, water supply, salinity, and nutrient availability. Exposure of plants to such environmental perturbations result in the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cells. To scavenge ROS, enzymatic and molecular antioxidants are produced at a cellular level. ROS act as a signaling entity at lower concentrations maintaining normal growth and development, but if their levels increase beyond certain threshold, they produce toxic effects in plants. Some developmental stages, such as development of reproductive organs are more sensitive to abiotic stress than other stages of growth. As success of plant reproductive development is directly correlated with grain yield, stresses coinciding with reproductive phase results in the higher yield losses. In this article, we summarize the redox control of plant reproductive development, and elaborate how redox homeostasis is compromised during abiotic stress exposure. We highlight why more emphasis should be given to understand redox control of plant reproductive organ development during abiotic stress exposure96to engineer crops with better crop yield. We specifically discuss the role of ROS as a signaling molecule and its cross-talk with other signaling molecules such as hormones and sugars. PMID:27379102

  13. Stress ecology in fucus: abiotic, biotic and genetic interactions.

    PubMed

    Wahl, Martin; Jormalainen, Veijo; Eriksson, Britas Klemens; Coyer, James A; Molis, Markus; Schubert, Hendrik; Dethier, Megan; Karez, Rolf; Kruse, Inken; Lenz, Mark; Pearson, Gareth; Rohde, Sven; Wikström, Sofia A; Olsen, Jeanine L

    2011-01-01

    Stress regimes defined as the synchronous or sequential action of abiotic and biotic stresses determine the performance and distribution of species. The natural patterns of stress to which species are more or less well adapted have recently started to shift and alter under the influence of global change. This was the motivation to review our knowledge on the stress ecology of a benthic key player, the macroalgal genus Fucus. We first provide a comprehensive review of the genus as an ecological model including what is currently known about the major lineages of Fucus species with respect to hybridization, ecotypic differentiation and speciation; as well as life history, population structure and geographic distribution. We then review our current understanding of both extrinsic (abiotic/biotic) and intrinsic (genetic) stress(es) on Fucus species and how they interact with each other. It is concluded that (i) interactive stress effects appear to be equally distributed over additive, antagonistic and synergistic categories at the level of single experiments, but are predominantly additive when averaged over all studies in a meta-analysis of 41 experiments; (ii) juvenile and adult responses to stress frequently differ and (iii) several species or particular populations of Fucus may be relatively unaffected by climate change as a consequence of pre-adapted ecotypes that collectively express wide physiological tolerences. Future research on Fucus should (i) include additional species, (ii) include marginal populations as models for responses to environmental stress; (iii) assess a wider range of stress combinations, including their temporal fluctuations; (iv) better differentiate between stress sensitivity of juvenile versus adult stages; (v) include a functional genomic component in order to better integrate Fucus' ecological and evolutionary responses to stress regimes and (vi) utilize a multivariate modelling approach in order to develop and understand interaction

  14. On gradient field theories: gradient magnetostatics and gradient elasticity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lazar, Markus

    2014-09-01

    In this work, the fundamentals of gradient field theories are presented and reviewed. In particular, the theories of gradient magnetostatics and gradient elasticity are investigated and compared. For gradient magnetostatics, non-singular expressions for the magnetic vector gauge potential, the Biot-Savart law, the Lorentz force and the mutual interaction energy of two electric current loops are derived and discussed. For gradient elasticity, non-singular forms of all dislocation key formulas (Burgers equation, Mura equation, Peach-Koehler stress equation, Peach-Koehler force equation, and mutual interaction energy of two dislocation loops) are presented. In addition, similarities between an electric current loop and a dislocation loop are pointed out. The obtained fields for both gradient theories are non-singular due to a straightforward and self-consistent regularization.

  15. Formation of singlet oxygen and protection against its oxidative damage in Photosystem II under abiotic stress.

    PubMed

    Pospíšil, Pavel; Prasad, Ankush

    2014-08-01

    Photosystem II (PSII) is exposed to various abiotic stresses associated with adverse environmental conditions such as high light, heat, heavy metals or mechanical injury. Distinctive functional response to adverse environmental conditions is formation of singlet oxygen ((1)O2). In this review, recent progress on mechanistic principles on (1)O2 formation under abiotic stresses is summarized. Under high light, (1)O2 is formed by excitation energy transfer from triplet chlorophylls to molecular oxygen formed by the spin conversion via photosensitization Type II reaction in the PSII antenna complex or by the recombination of (1)[P680(+)Pheo(-)] radical pair in the PSII reaction center. Apart from well-described (1)O2 formation by excitation energy transfer, (1)O2 formation by decomposition of dioxetane and tetroxide is summarized as a potential source of (1)O2 in PSII under heat, heavy metals and mechanical stress. The description of mechanistic principles on (1)O2 formation under abiotic stress allows us to understand how plants respond to adverse environmental conditions in vivo.

  16. Relationships between abiotic environment, plant functional traits, and animal body size at Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

    PubMed Central

    Classen, Alice; Ferger, Stefan; Helbig-Bonitz, Maria; Peters, Marcell; Böhning-Gaese, Katrin; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf; Kleyer, Michael

    2017-01-01

    The effect-response framework states that plant functional traits link the abiotic environment to ecosystem functioning. One ecosystem property is the body size of the animals living in the system, which is assumed to depend on temperature or resource availability, among others. For primary consumers, resource availability may directly be related to plant traits, while for secondary consumers the relationship is indirect. We used plant traits to describe resource availability along an elevational gradient on Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Using structural equation models, we determined the response of plant traits to changes in precipitation, temperature and disturbance with and assessed whether abiotic conditions or community-weighted means of plant traits are stronger predictors of the mean size of bees, moths, frugivorous birds, and insectivorous birds. Traits indicating tissue density and nutrient content strongly responded to variations in precipitation, temperature and disturbance. They had direct effects on pollination and fruit traits. However, the average body sizes of the animal groups considered could only be explained by temperature and habitat structure, not by plant traits. Our results demonstrate a strong link between traits and the abiotic environment, but suggest that temperature is the most relevant predictor of mean animal body size. Community-weighted means of plant traits and body sizes appear unsuitable to capture the complexity of plant-animal interactions. PMID:28319155

  17. Relationships between abiotic environment, plant functional traits, and animal body size at Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.

    PubMed

    Schellenberger Costa, David; Classen, Alice; Ferger, Stefan; Helbig-Bonitz, Maria; Peters, Marcell; Böhning-Gaese, Katrin; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf; Kleyer, Michael

    2017-01-01

    The effect-response framework states that plant functional traits link the abiotic environment to ecosystem functioning. One ecosystem property is the body size of the animals living in the system, which is assumed to depend on temperature or resource availability, among others. For primary consumers, resource availability may directly be related to plant traits, while for secondary consumers the relationship is indirect. We used plant traits to describe resource availability along an elevational gradient on Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Using structural equation models, we determined the response of plant traits to changes in precipitation, temperature and disturbance with and assessed whether abiotic conditions or community-weighted means of plant traits are stronger predictors of the mean size of bees, moths, frugivorous birds, and insectivorous birds. Traits indicating tissue density and nutrient content strongly responded to variations in precipitation, temperature and disturbance. They had direct effects on pollination and fruit traits. However, the average body sizes of the animal groups considered could only be explained by temperature and habitat structure, not by plant traits. Our results demonstrate a strong link between traits and the abiotic environment, but suggest that temperature is the most relevant predictor of mean animal body size. Community-weighted means of plant traits and body sizes appear unsuitable to capture the complexity of plant-animal interactions.

  18. Soluble sugars—Metabolism, sensing and abiotic stress

    PubMed Central

    Rosa, Mariana; Prado, Carolina; Podazza, Griselda; Interdonato, Roque; González, Juan A; Hilal, Mirna

    2009-01-01

    Plants are autotrophic and photosynthetic organisms that both produce and consume sugars. Soluble sugars are highly sensitive to environmental stresses, which act on the supply of carbohydrates from source organs to sink ones. Sucrose and hexoses both play dual functions in gene regulation as exemplified by the upregulation of growth-related genes and downregulation of stress-related genes. Although coordinately regulated by sugars, these growth- and stress-related genes are upregulated or downregulated through HXK-dependent and/or HXK-independent pathways. Sucrose-non-fermenting-1- (SNF1-) related protein pathway, analogue to the protein kinase (SNF-) yeast-signalling pathway, seems also involved in sugar sensing and transduction in plants. However, even if plants share with yeast some elements involved in sugar sensing, several aspects of sugar perception are likely to be peculiar to higher plants. In this paper, we have reviewed recent evidences how plants sense and respond to environmental factors through sugar-sensing mechanisms. However, we think that forward and reverse genetic analysis in combination with expression profiling must be continued to uncover many signalling components, and a full biochemical characterization of the signalling complexes will be required to determine specificity and cross-talk in abiotic stress signalling pathways. PMID:19816104

  19. Effects of biotic and abiotic factors on phenotypic partitioning of wing morphology and development in Sclerodermus pupariae (hymenoptera: bethylidae)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Wing phenotype polymorphism is commonly observed in insects, yet little is known about the influence of environmental cues on the development or expression of the alternative phenotypes. Here, we examined the effects of biotic and abiotic factors including temperature, photoperiod, light intensity,...

  20. Linear free energy relationships for the biotic and abiotic reduction of nitroaromatic compounds.

    PubMed

    Luan, Fubo; Gorski, Christopher A; Burgos, William D

    2015-03-17

    Nitroaromatic compounds (NACs) are ubiquitous environmental contaminants that are susceptible to biological and abiotic reduction. Prior works have found that for the abiotic reduction of NACs, the logarithm of the NACs’ rate constants correlate with one-electron reduction potential values of the NACs (EH,NAC1) according to linear free energy relationships (LFERs). Here, we extend the application of LFERs to the bioreduction of NACs and to the abiotic reduction of NACs by bioreduced (and pasteurized) iron-bearing clay minerals. A linear correlation (R2=0.96) was found between the NACs’ bioreduction rate constants (kobs) and EH,NAC1 values. The LFER slope of log kobs versus EH,NAC1/(2.303RT/F) was close to one (0.97), which implied that the first electron transfer to the NAC was the rate-limiting step of bioreduction. LFERs were also established between NAC abiotic reduction rate constants by bioreduced iron-bearing clay minerals (montmorillonite SWy-2 and nontronite NAu-2). The second-order NAC reduction rate constants (k) by bioreduced SWy-2 and NAu-2 were well correlated to EH,NAC1 (R2=0.97 for both minerals), consistent with bioreduction results. However, the LFER slopes of log k versus EH,NAC1/(2.303RT/F) were significantly less than one (0.48–0.50) for both minerals, indicating that the first electron transfer to the NAC was not the rate-limiting step of abiotic reduction. Finally, we demonstrate that the rate of 4-acetylnitrobenzene reduction by bioreduced SWy-2 and NAu-2 correlated to the reduction potential of the clay (EH,clay, R2=0.95 for both minerals), indicating that the clay reduction potential also influences its reactivity.

  1. MicroRNAs As Potential Targets for Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Plants

    PubMed Central

    Shriram, Varsha; Kumar, Vinay; Devarumath, Rachayya M.; Khare, Tushar S.; Wani, Shabir H.

    2016-01-01

    The microRNAs (miRNAs) are small (20–24 nt) sized, non-coding, single stranded riboregulator RNAs abundant in higher organisms. Recent findings have established that plants assign miRNAs as critical post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression in sequence-specific manner to respond to numerous abiotic stresses they face during their growth cycle. These small RNAs regulate gene expression via translational inhibition. Usually, stress induced miRNAs downregulate their target mRNAs, whereas, their downregulation leads to accumulation and function of positive regulators. In the past decade, investigations were mainly aimed to identify plant miRNAs, responsive to individual or multiple environmental factors, profiling their expression patterns and recognizing their roles in stress responses and tolerance. Altered expressions of miRNAs implicated in plant growth and development have been reported in several plant species subjected to abiotic stress conditions such as drought, salinity, extreme temperatures, nutrient deprivation, and heavy metals. These findings indicate that miRNAs may hold the key as potential targets for genetic manipulations to engineer abiotic stress tolerance in crop plants. This review is aimed to provide recent updates on plant miRNAs, their biogenesis and functions, target prediction and identification, computational tools and databases available for plant miRNAs, and their roles in abiotic stress-responses and adaptive mechanisms in major crop plants. Besides, the recent case studies for overexpressing the selected miRNAs for miRNA-mediated enhanced abiotic stress tolerance of transgenic plants have been discussed. PMID:27379117

  2. Abiotic Methane Synthesis: Caveats and New Results

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zou, R.; Sharma, A.

    2005-12-01

    The role of mineral interaction with geochemical fluids under hydrothermal conditions has invoked models of geochemical synthesis of organic molecules at deep crustal conditions. Since Thomas Gold's (1992) hypothesis of the possibility of an abiotic organic synthesis, there have been several reports of hydrocarbon formation under high pressure and temperature conditions. Several previous experimental studies have recognized that small amounts of methane (and other light HC compounds) can be synthesized via catalysis by transition metals: Fe, Ni (Horita and Berndt, 1999 Science) and Cr (Foustavous and Seyfried, 2004 Science). In light of these pioneering experiments, an investigation of the feasibility of abiotic methane synthesis at higher pressure conditions in deep geological setting and the possible role of catalysis warrants a closer look. We conducted three sets of experiments in hydrothermal diamond anvil cell using FeO nanopowder, CaCO 3 and water at 300° - 600° C and 0.5 - 5 GPa : (a) with stainless steel gasket, (b) gold-lined gasket, and (c) gold-lined gasket with added Fe and Ni nanopowder. The reactions were monitored in-situ using micro-Raman spectroscopy with 532nm and 632nm lasers. The solids phases were characterized in-situ using synchrotron X-ray diffraction at CHESS-Cornell and quenched products with an electron microprobe. Interestingly, a variable amount of hydrocarbon was observed only in runs with stainless steel gasket and with Fe, Ni nanoparticles. Experiments with gold-lined reactors did not show any hydrocarbon formation. Added high resolution microscopy of the products and their textural relationship within the diamond cell with Raman spectroscopy data show that the hydrocarbon (methane and other light fractions) synthesis is a direct result of transition metal catalysis, rather than wustite - calcium carbonate reaction as recently reported by Scott et al (2004, PNAS). The author will further present new results highlighting abiotic

  3. Generation of RNA in abiotic conditions.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    di Mauro, Ernesto

    Generation of RNA in abiotic conditions. Ernesto Di Mauro Dipartimento di Genetica Bi-ologia Molecolare, Universit` "Sapienza" Roma, Italy. a At least four conditions must be satisfied for the spontaneous generation of (pre)-genetic poly-mers: 1) availability of precursors that are activated enough to spontaneously polymerize. Preliminary studies showed that (a) nucleic bases and acyclonucleosides can be synthesized from formamide H2NCOH by simply heating with prebiotically available mineral catalysts [last reviewed in (1)], and that b) nucleic bases can be phosphorylated in every possible posi-tion [2'; 3'; 5'; cyclic 2',3'; cyclic 3',5' (2)]. The higher stability of the cyclic forms allows their accumulation. 2) A polymerization mechanism. A reaction showing the formation of RNA polymers starting from prebiotically plausible precursors (3',5' cyclic GMP and 3', 5'cyclic AMP) was recently reported (3). Polymerization in these conditions is thermodynamically up-hill and an equilibrium is attained that limits the maximum length of the polymer produced to about 40 nucleotides for polyG and 100 nucleotides for polyA. 3) Ligation of the synthesized oligomers. If this type of reaction could occur according to a terminal-joining mechanism and could generate canonical 3',5' phosphodiester bonds, exponential growth would be obtained of the generated oligomers. This type of reaction has been reported (4) , limited to homogeneous polyA sequences and leading to the production of polyA dimers and tetramers. What is still missing are: 4) mechanisms that provide the proof of principle for the generation of sequence complexity. We will show evidence for two mechanisms providing this proof of principle for simple complementary sequences. Namely: abiotic sequence complementary-driven terminal ligation and sequence-complementary terminal growth. In conclusion: all the steps leading to the generation of RNA in abiotic conditions are satisfied. (1) R Saladino, C Crestini, F

  4. Structure and composition of vegetation of longleaf pine plantations compared to natural stands occurring along an environmental gradient at the Savannah River Site.

    SciTech Connect

    Smith, Gregory, P.; Shelburne, Victor, B.; Walker, Joan, L.

    2001-12-30

    Study plots in 33-43 year old longleaf pine plantations were compared to remnant longleaf plots on the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. Within these stands, the structure and composition of primarily the herb layer relative to a presumed soil moisture or soil texture gradient was studied using the North Carolina Vegetation Survey methodology. Data were also collected on soils and landform variables. Based on ordination and cluster analyses, both plantation plots and natural stand plots were separated into three distinct site units (xeric, sub-xeric, and sub-mesic). Lack of a major compositional difference between xeric plantation and natural longleaf sites suggests that restoration of the herbaceous layer may not be as complex as once thought. This provides reasonable encouragement for the restoration of the longleaf pine ecosystem.

  5. Response of oxidative stress transcripts in the brain of wild yellow perch (Perca flavescens) exposed to an environmental gradient of methylmercury.

    PubMed

    Graves, Stephanie D; Kidd, Karen A; Batchelar, Katharina L; Cowie, Andrew M; O'Driscoll, Nelson J; Martyniuk, Christopher J

    2017-02-01

    Methylmercury (MeHg) exposure and adverse health effects in fishes have been documented, but the molecular mechanisms involved in toxicity have not been fully characterized. The objectives of the current study were to (1) determine whether total Hg (THg) in the muscle was predictive of MeHg concentrations in the brain of wild female yellow perch (Perca flavescens) collected from four lakes in Kejimkujik National Park, a known biological mercury (Hg) hotspot in Nova Scotia, Canada and (2) to determine whether transcripts involved in the oxidative stress response were altered in abundance in fish collected across five lakes representing a MeHg gradient. In female yellow perch, MeHg in whole brain (0.38 to 2.00μg/g wet weight) was positively associated with THg in muscle (0.18 to 2.13μg/g wet weight) (R(2)=0.61, p<0.01), suggesting that muscle THg may be useful for predicting MeHg concentrations in the brain. Catalase (cat) mRNA levels were significantly lower in brains of perch collected from lakes with high Hg when compared to those individuals from lakes with relatively lower Hg (p=0.02). Other transcripts (cytochrome c oxidase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione-s-transferase, heat shock protein 70, protein disulfide isomerase, and superoxide dismutase) did not show differential expression in the brain over the gradient. These findings suggest that MeHg may be inversely associated with catalase mRNA abundance in the central nervous system of wild fishes.

  6. Cell wall remodeling under abiotic stress

    PubMed Central

    Tenhaken, Raimund

    2015-01-01

    Plants exposed to abiotic stress respond to unfavorable conditions on multiple levels. One challenge under drought stress is to reduce shoot growth while maintaining root growth, a process requiring differential cell wall synthesis and remodeling. Key players in this process are the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and peroxidases, which initially cross-link phenolic compounds and glycoproteins of the cell walls causing stiffening. The function of ROS shifts after having converted all the peroxidase substrates in the cell wall. If ROS-levels remain high during prolonged stress, OH°-radicals are formed which lead to polymer cleavage. In concert with xyloglucan modifying enzymes and expansins, the resulting cell wall loosening allows further growth of stressed organs. PMID:25709610

  7. Abiotic Organic Chemistry in Hydrothermal Systems.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Simoneit, B. R.; Rushdi, A. I.

    2004-12-01

    Abiotic organic chemistry in hydrothermal systems is of interest to biologists, geochemists and oceanographers. This chemistry consists of thermal alteration of organic matter and minor prebiotic synthesis of organic compounds. Thermal alteration has been extensively documented to yield petroleum and heavy bitumen products from contemporary organic detritus. Carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, ammonia and sulfur species have been used as precursors in prebiotic synthesis experiments to organic compounds. These inorganic species are common components of hot spring gases and marine hydrothermal systems. It is of interest to further test their reactivities in reductive aqueous thermolysis. We have synthesized organic compounds (lipids) in aqueous solutions of oxalic acid, and with carbon disulfide or ammonium bicarbonate at temperatures from 175-400° C. The synthetic lipids from oxalic acid solutions consisted of n-alkanols, n-alkanoic acids, n-alkyl formates, n-alkanones, n-alkenes and n-alkanes, typically to C30 with no carbon number preferences. The products from CS2 in acidic aqueous solutions yielded cyclic thioalkanes, alkyl polysulfides, and thioesters with other numerous minor compounds. The synthesis products from oxalic acid and ammonium bicarbonate solutions were homologous series of n-alkyl amides, n-alkyl amines, n-alkanes and n-alkanoic acids, also to C30 with no carbon number predominance. Condensation (dehydration) reactions also occur under elevated temperatures in aqueous medium as tested by model reactions to form amide, ester and nitrile bonds. It is concluded that the abiotic formation of aliphatic lipids, condensation products (amides, esters, nitriles, and CS2 derivatives (alkyl polysulfides, cyclic polysulfides) is possible under hydrothermal conditions and warrants further studies.

  8. ABIOTIC IN SITU TECHNOLOGIES FOR GROUNDWATER REMEDIATION CONFERENCE: PROCEEDINGS

    EPA Science Inventory

    The USEPA conference on Abiotic In Situ Technologies for Groundwater Remediation was held in Dallas, TX, 8/31-9/2/99. The goal of the meeting was to disseminate current information on abiotic in situ groundwater treatment echnologies. Although much information is being provided a...

  9. Effects of abiotic factors and species interactions on estimates of male plant function: a meta-analysis.

    PubMed

    Schaeffer, Robert N; Manson, Jessamyn S; Irwin, Rebecca E

    2013-03-01

    The majority of angiosperms are hermaphroditic with total fitness comprised of both male and female components of reproduction. However, most studies examining the effects of abiotic factors and species interactions on fitness have focussed on female reproduction, potentially biasing our understanding of the consequences of environmental factors on total fitness. Here, we use meta-analysis to test how environmental factors affect male function. We obtained 278 effect sizes from 96 studies that measured male function responses to manipulated environmental factors. We found significant effects of abiotic factors and species interactions on estimates of male function, with responses varying depending on environmental factor identity. Male and female responses were correlated for abiotic factor manipulations, but varied based on the type of species interaction (antagonistic or mutualistic). This suggests that measuring only female function may misrepresent whole-plant reproduction depending on context. Finally, we found differences amongst components of male function in response to environmental factors, suggesting that some male function estimates may fail to capture the effects of environmental factors on male fitness. Our results demonstrate the importance of incorporating male function into ecological and evolutionary studies to provide a more accurate understanding of the effects of environmental factors on total fitness.

  10. Gradient Index Lens Research

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1981-10-19

    Finally, an assessment of the current technologies in gradient index has been made. This includes a series of recommendations w’iich will be...17 III. Ray Tracing in Anamorphic Gradient Index Media ......... 20 IV. Fabrication of Six Gradient Index Samples ............. 27 V. Technology ...for a basic understanding of what can and cannot be done with gradient index lenses, aside from any lack of technology for making a paricular gradient

  11. Improved abiotic stress tolerance of bermudagrass by exogenous small molecules.

    PubMed

    Chan, Zhulong; Shi, Haitao

    2015-01-01

    As a widely used warm-season turfgrass in landscapes and golf courses, bermudagrass encounters multiple abiotic stresses during the growth and development. Physiology analysis indicated that abiotic stresses induced the accumulation of ROS and decline of photosynthesis, resulting in increased cell damage and inhibited growth. Proteomic and metabolomic approaches showed that antioxidant enzymes and osmoprotectant contents (sugar, sucrose, dehydrin, proline) were extensively changed under abiotic stress conditions. Exogenous application of small molecules, such as ABA, NO, CaCl2, H2S, polyamine and melatonin, could effectively alleviate damages caused by multiple abiotic stresses, including drought, salt, heat and cold. Based on high through-put RNA seq analysis, genes involved in ROS, transcription factors, hormones, and carbohydrate metabolisms were largely enriched. The data indicated that small molecules induced the accumulation of osmoprotectants and antioxidants, kept cell membrane integrity, increased photosynthesis and kept ion homeostasis, which protected bermudagrass from damages caused by abiotic stresses.

  12. Abiotic stresses induce different localizations of anthocyanins in Arabidopsis

    PubMed Central

    Kovinich, Nik; Kayanja, Gilbert; Chanoca, Alexandra; Otegui, Marisa S; Grotewold, Erich

    2015-01-01

    Anthocyanins are induced in plants in response to abiotic stresses such as drought, high salinity, excess light, and cold, where they often correlate with enhanced stress tolerance. Numerous roles have been proposed for anthocyanins induced during abiotic stresses including functioning as ROS scavengers, photoprotectants, and stress signals. We have recently found different profiles of anthocyanins in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) plants exposed to different abiotic stresses, suggesting that not all anthocyanins have the same function. Here, we discuss these findings in the context of other studies and show that anthocyanins induced in Arabidopsis in response to various abiotic stresses have different localizations at the organ and tissue levels. These studies provide a basis to clarify the role of particular anthocyanin species during abiotic stress. PMID:26179363

  13. Increasing ascorbate levels in crops to enhance human nutrition and plant abiotic stress tolerance.

    PubMed

    Macknight, Richard C; Laing, William A; Bulley, Sean M; Broad, Ronan C; Johnson, Alexander At; Hellens, Roger P

    2017-02-20

    Ascorbate (or vitamin C) is an essential human micronutrient predominantly obtained from plants. In addition to preventing scurvy, it is now known to have broader roles in human health, for example as a cofactor for enzymes involved in epigenetic programming and as regulator of cellular iron uptake. Furthermore, ascorbate is the major antioxidant in plants and underpins many environmentally induced abiotic stress responses. Biotechnological approaches to enhance the ascorbate content of crops therefore have potential to improve both human health and abiotic stress tolerance of crops. Identifying the genetic basis of ascorbate variation between plant varieties and discovering how some 'super fruits' accumulate extremely high levels of ascorbate should reveal new ways to more effectively manipulate the production of ascorbate in crops.

  14. Diversity, Abundance, and Spatial Distribution of Sediment Ammonia-Oxidizing Betaproteobacteria in Response to Environmental Gradients and Coastal Eutrophication in Jiaozhou Bay, China▿ †

    PubMed Central

    Dang, Hongyue; Li, Jing; Chen, Ruipeng; Wang, Lin; Guo, Lizhong; Zhang, Zhinan; Klotz, Martin G.

    2010-01-01

    Ongoing anthropogenic eutrophication of Jiaozhou Bay offers an opportunity to study the influence of human activity on bacterial communities that drive biogeochemical cycling. Nitrification in coastal waters appears to be a sensitive indicator of environmental change, suggesting that function and structure of the microbial nitrifying community may be associated closely with environmental conditions. In the current study, the amoA gene was used to unravel the relationship between sediment aerobic obligate ammonia-oxidizing Betaproteobacteria (Beta-AOB) and their environment in Jiaozhou Bay. Protein sequences deduced from amoA gene sequences grouped within four distinct clusters in the Nitrosomonas lineage, including a putative new cluster. In addition, AmoA sequences belonging to three newly defined clusters in the Nitrosospira lineage were also identified. Multivariate statistical analyses indicated that the studied Beta-AOB community structures correlated with environmental parameters, of which nitrite-N and sediment sand content had significant impact on the composition, structure, and distribution of the Beta-AOB community. Both amoA clone library and quantitative PCR (qPCR) analyses indicated that continental input from the nearby wastewater treatment plants and polluted rivers may have significant impact on the composition and abundance of the sediment Beta-AOB assemblages in Jiaozhou Bay. Our work is the first report of a direct link between a sedimentological parameter and the composition and distribution of the sediment Beta-AOB and indicates the potential for using the Beta-AOB community composition in general and individual isolates or environmental clones in the Nitrosomonas oligotropha lineage in particular as bioindicators and biotracers of pollution or freshwater or wastewater input in coastal environments. PMID:20511433

  15. Diversity and spatial distribution of sediment ammonia-oxidizing crenarchaeota in response to estuarine and environmental gradients in the Changjiang Estuary and East China Sea.

    PubMed

    Dang, Hongyue; Zhang, Xiaoxia; Sun, Jin; Li, Tiegang; Zhang, Zhinan; Yang, Guanpin

    2008-07-01

    Ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) have recently been found to be potentially important in nitrogen cycling in a variety of environments, such as terrestrial soils, wastewater treatment reactors, marine waters and sediments, and especially in estuaries, where high input of anthropogenic nitrogen is often experienced. The sedimentary AOA diversity, community structure and spatial distribution in the Changjiang Estuary and the adjacent East China Sea were studied. Multivariate statistical analysis indicated that the archaeal amoA genotype communities could be clustered according to sampling transects, and the station located in an estuarine mixing zone harboured a distinct AOA community. The distribution of AOA communities correlated significantly with the gradients of surface-water salinity and sediment sorting coefficient. The spatial distribution of putative soil-related AOA in certain sampling stations indicated a strong impact of the Changjiang freshwater discharge on the marine benthic microbial ecosystem. Besides freshwater, nutrients, organic matter and suspended particles, the Changjiang Diluted Water might also contribute to the transport of terrestrial archaea into the seawater and sediments along its flow path.

  16. Potential role of phytohormones and plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria in abiotic stresses: consequences for changing environment.

    PubMed

    Fahad, Shah; Hussain, Saddam; Bano, Asghari; Saud, Shah; Hassan, Shah; Shan, Darakh; Khan, Faheem Ahmed; Khan, Fahad; Chen, Yutiao; Wu, Chao; Tabassum, Muhammad Adnan; Chun, Ma Xiao; Afzal, Muhammad; Jan, Amanullah; Jan, Mohammad Tariq; Huang, Jianliang

    2015-04-01

    Plants are sessile beings, so the need of mechanisms to flee from unfavorable circumstances has provided the development of unique and sophisticated responses to environmental stresses. Depending on the degree of plasticity, many morphological, cellular, anatomical, and physiological changes occur in plants in response to abiotic stress. Phytohormones are small molecules that play critical roles in regulating plant growth and development, as well as stress tolerance to promote survival and acclimatize to varying environments. To congregate the challenges of salinity, temperature extremes, and osmotic stress, plants use their genetic mechanism and different adaptive and biological approaches for survival and high production. In the present attempt, we review the potential role of different phytohormones and plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria in abiotic stresses and summarize the research progress in plant responses to abiotic stresses at physiological and molecular levels. We emphasized the regulatory circuits of abscisic acid, indole acetic acid, cytokinins, gibberellic acid, salicylic acid, brassinosteroids, jasmonates, ethylene, and triazole on exposure to abiotic stresses. Current progress is exemplified by the identification and validation of several significant genes that enhanced crop tolerance to stress in the field. These findings will make the modification of hormone biosynthetic pathways for the transgenic plant generation with augmented abiotic stress tolerance and boosting crop productivity in the coming decades possible.

  17. Transcriptome analysis reveals crosstalk of responsive genes to multiple abiotic stresses in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.).

    PubMed

    Zhu, Ya-Na; Shi, Dong-Qiao; Ruan, Meng-Bin; Zhang, Li-Li; Meng, Zhao-Hong; Liu, Jie; Yang, Wei-Cai

    2013-01-01

    Abiotic stress is a major environmental factor that limits cotton growth and yield, moreover, this problem has become more and more serious recently, as multiple stresses often occur simultaneously due to the global climate change and environmental pollution. In this study, we sought to identify genes involved in diverse stresses including abscisic acid (ABA), cold, drought, salinity and alkalinity by comparative microarray analysis. Our result showed that 5790, 3067, 5608, 778 and 6148 transcripts, were differentially expressed in cotton seedlings under treatment of ABA (1 μM ABA), cold (4°C), drought (200 mM mannitol), salinity (200 mM NaCl) and alkalinity (pH=11) respectively. Among the induced or suppressed genes, 126 transcripts were shared by all of the five kinds of abiotic stresses, with 64 up-regulated and 62 down-regulated. These common members are grouped as stress signal transduction, transcription factors (TFs), stress response/defense proteins, metabolism, transport facilitation, as well as cell wall/structure, according to the function annotation. We also noticed that large proportion of significant differentially expressed genes specifically regulated in response to different stress. Nine of the common transcripts of multiple stresses were selected for further validation with quantitative real time RT-PCR (qRT-PCR). Furthermore, several well characterized TF families, for example, WRKY, MYB, NAC, AP2/ERF and zinc finger were shown to be involved in different stresses. As an original report using comparative microarray to analyze transcriptome of cotton under five abiotic stresses, valuable information about functional genes and related pathways of anti-stress, and/or stress tolerance in cotton seedlings was unveiled in our result. Besides this, some important common factors were focused for detailed identification and characterization. According to our analysis, it suggested that there was crosstalk of responsive genes or pathways to multiple

  18. Variation in the composition of corals, fishes, sponges, echinoderms, ascidians, molluscs, foraminifera and macroalgae across a pronounced in-to-offshore environmental gradient in the Jakarta Bay-Thousand Islands coral reef complex.

    PubMed

    Cleary, D F R; Polónia, A R M; Renema, W; Hoeksema, B W; Rachello-Dolmen, P G; Moolenbeek, R G; Budiyanto, A; Yahmantoro; Tuti, Y; Giyanto; Draisma, S G A; Prud'homme van Reine, W F; Hariyanto, R; Gittenberger, A; Rikoh, M S; de Voogd, N J

    2016-09-30

    Substrate cover, water quality parameters and assemblages of corals, fishes, sponges, echinoderms, ascidians, molluscs, benthic foraminifera and macroalgae were sampled across a pronounced environmental gradient in the Jakarta Bay-Thousand Islands reef complex. Inshore sites mainly consisted of sand, rubble and turf algae with elevated temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH and chlorophyll concentrations and depauperate assemblages of all taxa. Live coral cover was very low inshore and mainly consisted of sparse massive coral heads and a few encrusting species. Faunal assemblages were more speciose and compositionally distinct mid- and offshore compared to inshore. There were, however, small-scale differences among taxa. Certain midshore sites, for example, housed assemblages resembling those typical of the inshore environment but this differed depending on the taxon. Substrate, water quality and spatial variables together explained from 31% (molluscs) to 72% (foraminifera) of the variation in composition. In general, satellite-derived parameters outperformed locally measured parameters.

  19. Geographic variation in thermal physiological performance of the intertidal crab Petrolisthes violaceus along a latitudinal gradient.

    PubMed

    Gaitán-Espitia, Juan Diego; Bacigalupe, Leonardo D; Opitz, Tania; Lagos, Nelson A; Timmermann, Tania; Lardies, Marco A

    2014-12-15

    Environmental temperature has profound effects on the biological performance and biogeographical distribution of ectothermic species. Variation of this abiotic factor across geographic gradients is expected to produce physiological differentiation and local adaptation of natural populations depending on their thermal tolerances and physiological sensitivities. Here, we studied geographic variation in whole-organism thermal physiology of seven populations of the porcelain crab Petrolisthes violaceus across a latitudinal gradient of 3000 km, characterized by a cline of thermal conditions. Our study found that populations of P. violaceus show no differences in the limits of their thermal performance curves and demonstrate a negative correlation of their optimal temperatures with latitude. Additionally, our findings show that high-latitude populations of P. violaceus exhibit broader thermal tolerances, which is consistent with the climatic variability hypothesis. Interestingly, under a future scenario of warming oceans, the thermal safety margins of P. violaceus indicate that lower latitude populations can physiologically tolerate the ocean-warming scenarios projected by the IPCC for the end of the twenty-first century.

  20. Oxidation of retinoic acids in hepatic microsomes of wild bullfrogs Lithobates catesbeianus environmentally-exposed to a gradient of agricultural contamination.

    PubMed

    Thibodeau, Janik; Filion, Sébastien; Spear, Philip; Paquin, Joanne; Boily, Monique

    2012-07-01

    Agricultural contaminants are suspected of contributing to the increased incidence of deformities and the decline of amphibians populations worldwide. Many authors have further suggested that a retinoid effect could be implicated in teratogenic mechanisms since the reported deformities resemble those caused by abnormal levels of retinoic acid (RA). We previously reported altered retinoid concentrations in male bullfrogs from the Yamaska River basin (Québec, Canada) associated with moderate-to-high agricultural activity, and the findings were consistent with a possible effect on hepatic RA oxidation. An in vitro assay was therefore optimized and hepatic microsomal RA oxidation in bullfrogs was found to be quite different from that of other vertebrates. With either all-transRA (atRA) or 13cisRA as the substrate, the major metabolite generated was at4-oxo-RA. The reaction with 13cisRA as substrate, markedly greater compared with atRA, was enhanced in the presence of a reducing agent and inhibited by cytochrome P450 inhibitors in a dose-dependent manner. Hepatic RA oxidation in male bullfrogs showed significant differences between sites with no clear relationship to a gradient of agricultural activity or 13cis-4-oxo-RA quantified in plasma. In contrast, the in vitro RA oxidation in females increased with the levels of contamination and coincided in vivo with higher plasma 13cis-4-oxo-RA concentration. The levels of circulating 4-oxo-derivatives could be influenced by hepatic RA oxidative metabolism as well as isomerization conditions or RA precursor levels.

  1. Wheat proteomics: proteome modulation and abiotic stress acclimation

    PubMed Central

    Komatsu, Setsuko; Kamal, Abu H. M.; Hossain, Zahed

    2014-01-01

    Cellular mechanisms of stress sensing and signaling represent the initial plant responses to adverse conditions. The development of high-throughput “Omics” techniques has initiated a new era of the study of plant molecular strategies for adapting to environmental changes. However, the elucidation of stress adaptation mechanisms in plants requires the accurate isolation and characterization of stress-responsive proteins. Because the functional part of the genome, namely the proteins and their post-translational modifications, are critical for plant stress responses, proteomic studies provide comprehensive information about the fine-tuning of cellular pathways that primarily involved in stress mitigation. This review summarizes the major proteomic findings related to alterations in the wheat proteomic profile in response to abiotic stresses. Moreover, the strengths and weaknesses of different sample preparation techniques, including subcellular protein extraction protocols, are discussed in detail. The continued development of proteomic approaches in combination with rapidly evolving bioinformatics tools and interactive databases will facilitate understanding of the plant mechanisms underlying stress tolerance. PMID:25538718

  2. Genetic diversity and connectivity remain high in Holothuria polii (Delle Chiaje 1823) across a coastal lagoon-open sea environmental gradient.

    PubMed

    Vergara-Chen, Carlos; González-Wangüemert, Mercedes; Marcos, Concepción; Pérez-Ruzafa, Angel

    2010-08-01

    Coastal lagoons represent habitats with widely heterogeneous environmental conditions, particularly as regards salinity and temperature, which fluctuate in both space and time. These characteristics suggest that physical and ecological factors could contribute to the genetic divergence among populations occurring in coastal lagoon and open-coast environments. This study investigates the genetic structure of Holothuria polii at a micro-geographic scale across the Mar Menor coastal lagoon and nearby marine areas, estimating the mitochondrial DNA variation in two gene fragments, cytochrome oxidase I (COI) and 16S rRNA (16S). Dataset of mitochondrial sequences was also used to test the influence of environmental differences between coastal lagoon and marine waters on population genetic structure. All sampled locations exhibited high levels of haplotype diversity and low values of nucleotide diversity. Both genes showed contrasting signals of genetic differentiation (non-significant differences using COI and slight differences using 16S, which could due to different mutation rates or to differential number of exclusive haplotypes. We detected an excess of recent mutations and exclusive haplotypes, which can be generated as a result of population growth. However, selective processes can be also acting on the gene markers used; highly significant generalized additive models have been obtained considering genetic data from 16S gene and independent variables such as temperature and salinity.

  3. Application of Spectroscopic Techniques (FT-IR, 13C NMR) to the analysis of humic substances in volcanic soils along an environmental gradient (Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rodriguez Rodriguez, Antonio; María Armas Herrera, Cecilia; González Pérez, José Antonio; González-Vila, Francisco Javier; Arbelo Rodríguez, Carmen Dolores; Mora Hernández, Juan Luis; Polvillo Polo, Oliva

    2010-05-01

    Andosols and andic soils are considered as efficient C-sinks in terms of C sequestration. These soils are usually developed from volcanic materials, and are characterized by a predominance of short-range ordered minerals like allophanes, imogolite and other Fe and Al oxyhydroxides. Such materials occur commonly associated with organic compounds, thus generating highly stable organo-mineral complexes and leading to the accumulation of a high amount of organic carbon. Spectroscopic methods like FT-IR and 13C NMR are suitable for the analysis of the chemical structure of soil humic substances, and allow identifying distinct functional groups and protein, lipids, lignin, carbohydrate-derived fragments. In this work we study the structural features of four soils developed on Pleistocene basaltic lavae in Tenerife (Canary Island, Spain), distributed along an altitudinal climatic gradient. The soil sequence comprises soils with different degree of geochemical evolution and andic character, including a mineral ‘Hypersalic Solonchak' (Tabaibal de Rasca), a slightly vitric ‘Luvic Phaeozem' (Los Frailes), a degraded and shallow ‘Endoleptic, fulvic, silandic Andosol' (Siete Lomas), and a well-developed and deep ‘Fulvic, silandic, Andosol' (Ravelo). Samples of the raw soil and humic and fulvic acids isolated from the surface horizons were analyzed. The results show a low content of organic carbon in the mineral soil, the inherited humin predominating, and a very high content of humic and fulvic acids in Andosols. The FT-IR and 13C NMR spectra of the raw soil samples show a low resolution, related to interferences from mineral complexes signals, particularly in soils with lower organic carbon content. 13C NMR shows a predominance of O-alkyl carbon (derived of carbohydrates) in andic soils, whereas O-alkyl and aromatic fractions are most evident in the mineral soil. The humic acids spectra are characterized by a dominance of alkyl and aromatic fractions with a high degree

  4. Mechanical Properties and Real-Time Damage Evaluations of Environmental Barrier Coated SiC/SiC CMCs Subjected to Tensile Loading Under Thermal Gradients

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Appleby, Matthew; Zhu, Dongming; Morscher, Gregory

    2015-01-01

    SiC/SiC ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) require new state-of-the art environmental barrier coatings (EBCs) to withstand increased temperature requirements and high velocity combustion corrosive combustion gasses. The present work compares the response of coated and uncoated SiC/SiC CMC substrates subjected to simulated engine environments followed by high temperature mechanical testing to asses retained properties and damage mechanisms. Our focus is to explore the capabilities of electrical resistance (ER) measurements as an NDE technique for testing of retained properties under combined high heat-flux and mechanical loading conditions. Furthermore, Acoustic Emission (AE) measurements and Digital Image Correlation (DIC) were performed to determine material damage onset and accumulation.

  5. The abiotic degradation of soil organic matter to oxalic acid

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Studenroth, Sabine; Huber, Stefan; Schöler, H. F.

    2010-05-01

    The abiotic degradation of soil organic matter to volatile organic compounds was studied intensely over the last years (Keppler et al., 2000; Huber et al., 2009). It was shown that soil organic matter is oxidised due to the presence of iron (III), hydrogen peroxide and chloride and thereby produces diverse alkyl halides, which are emitted into the atmosphere. The formation of polar halogenated compounds like chlorinated acetic acids which are relevant toxic environmental substances was also found in soils and sediments (Kilian et al., 2002). The investigation of the formation of other polar halogenated and non-halogenated compounds like diverse mono- and dicarboxylic acids is going to attain more and more importance. Due to its high acidity oxalic acid might have impacts on the environment e.g., nutrient leaching, plant diseases and negative influence on microbial growth. In this study, the abiotic formation of oxalic acid in soil is examined. For a better understanding of natural degradation processes mechanistic studies were conducted using the model compound catechol as representative for structural elements of the humic substances and its reaction with iron (III) and hydrogen peroxide. Iron is one of the most abundant elements on earth and hydrogen peroxide is produced by bacteria or through incomplete reduction of oxygen. To find suitable parameters for an optimal reaction and a qualitative and quantitative analysis method the following reaction parameters are varied: concentration of iron (III) and hydrogen peroxide, time dependence, pH-value and influence of chloride. Analysis of oxalic acid was performed employing an ion chromatograph equipped with a conductivity detector. The time dependent reaction shows a relatively fast formation of oxalic acid, the optimum yield is achieved after 60 minutes. Compared to the concentration of catechol an excess of hydrogen peroxide as well as a low concentration of iron (III) are required. In absence of chloride the

  6. Abiotic Stress Responses and Microbe-Mediated Mitigation in Plants: The Omics Strategies

    PubMed Central

    Meena, Kamlesh K.; Sorty, Ajay M.; Bitla, Utkarsh M.; Choudhary, Khushboo; Gupta, Priyanka; Pareek, Ashwani; Singh, Dhananjaya P.; Prabha, Ratna; Sahu, Pramod K.; Gupta, Vijai K.; Singh, Harikesh B.; Krishanani, Kishor K.; Minhas, Paramjit S.

    2017-01-01

    Abiotic stresses are the foremost limiting factors for agricultural productivity. Crop plants need to cope up adverse external pressure created by environmental and edaphic conditions with their intrinsic biological mechanisms, failing which their growth, development, and productivity suffer. Microorganisms, the most natural inhabitants of diverse environments exhibit enormous metabolic capabilities to mitigate abiotic stresses. Since microbial interactions with plants are an integral part of the living ecosystem, they are believed to be the natural partners that modulate local and systemic mechanisms in plants to offer defense under adverse external conditions. Plant-microbe interactions comprise complex mechanisms within the plant cellular system. Biochemical, molecular and physiological studies are paving the way in understanding the complex but integrated cellular processes. Under the continuous pressure of increasing climatic alterations, it now becomes more imperative to define and interpret plant-microbe relationships in terms of protection against abiotic stresses. At the same time, it also becomes essential to generate deeper insights into the stress-mitigating mechanisms in crop plants for their translation in higher productivity. Multi-omics approaches comprising genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics and phenomics integrate studies on the interaction of plants with microbes and their external environment and generate multi-layered information that can answer what is happening in real-time within the cells. Integration, analysis and decipherization of the big-data can lead to a massive outcome that has significant chance for implementation in the fields. This review summarizes abiotic stresses responses in plants in-terms of biochemical and molecular mechanisms followed by the microbe-mediated stress mitigation phenomenon. We describe the role of multi-omics approaches in generating multi-pronged information to provide a better understanding

  7. Abiotic reduction reactions of anthropogenic organic chemicals in anaerobic systems: A critical review

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Macalady, Donald L.; Tratnyek, Paul G.; Grundl, Timothy J.

    1986-02-01

    This review is predicated upon the need for a detailed process-level understanding of factors influencing the reduction of anthropogenic organic chemicals in natural aquatic systems. In particular, abiotic reductions of anthropogenic organic chemicals are reviewed. The most important reductive reaction is alkyl dehalogenation (replacement of chloride with hydrogen) which occurs in organisms, sediments, sewage sludge, and reduced iron porphyrin model systems. An abiotic mechanism involving a free radical intermediate has been proposed. The abstraction of vicinal dihalides (also termed dehalogenation) is another reduction that may have an abiotic component in natural systems. Reductive dehalogenation of aryl halides has recently been reported and further study of this reaction is needed. Several other degradation reactions of organohalides that occur in anaerobic environments are mentioned, the most important of which is dehydrohalogenation. The reduction of nitro groups to amines has also been thoroughly studied. The reactions can occur abiotically, and are affected by the redox conditions of the experimental system. However, a relationship between nitro-reduction rate and measured redox potential has not been clearly established. Reductive dealkylation of the N- and O-heteroatom of hydrocarbon pollutants has been observed but not investigated in detail. Azo compounds can be reduced to their hydrazo derivatives and a thorough study of this reaction indicates that it can be caused by extracellular electron transfer agents. Quinone-hydroquinone couples are important reactive groups in humic materials and similar structures in resazurin and indigo carmine make them useful as models for environmental redox conditions. The interconversion of sulfones, sulfoxides, and sulfides is a redox process and is implicated in the degradation of several pesticides though the reactions need more study. Two reductive heterocyclic cleavage reactions are also mentioned. Finally, several

  8. Abiotic Stress Responses and Microbe-Mediated Mitigation in Plants: The Omics Strategies.

    PubMed

    Meena, Kamlesh K; Sorty, Ajay M; Bitla, Utkarsh M; Choudhary, Khushboo; Gupta, Priyanka; Pareek, Ashwani; Singh, Dhananjaya P; Prabha, Ratna; Sahu, Pramod K; Gupta, Vijai K; Singh, Harikesh B; Krishanani, Kishor K; Minhas, Paramjit S

    2017-01-01

    Abiotic stresses are the foremost limiting factors for agricultural productivity. Crop plants need to cope up adverse external pressure created by environmental and edaphic conditions with their intrinsic biological mechanisms, failing which their growth, development, and productivity suffer. Microorganisms, the most natural inhabitants of diverse environments exhibit enormous metabolic capabilities to mitigate abiotic stresses. Since microbial interactions with plants are an integral part of the living ecosystem, they are believed to be the natural partners that modulate local and systemic mechanisms in plants to offer defense under adverse external conditions. Plant-microbe interactions comprise complex mechanisms within the plant cellular system. Biochemical, molecular and physiological studies are paving the way in understanding the complex but integrated cellular processes. Under the continuous pressure of increasing climatic alterations, it now becomes more imperative to define and interpret plant-microbe relationships in terms of protection against abiotic stresses. At the same time, it also becomes essential to generate deeper insights into the stress-mitigating mechanisms in crop plants for their translation in higher productivity. Multi-omics approaches comprising genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics and phenomics integrate studies on the interaction of plants with microbes and their external environment and generate multi-layered information that can answer what is happening in real-time within the cells. Integration, analysis and decipherization of the big-data can lead to a massive outcome that has significant chance for implementation in the fields. This review summarizes abiotic stresses responses in plants in-terms of biochemical and molecular mechanisms followed by the microbe-mediated stress mitigation phenomenon. We describe the role of multi-omics approaches in generating multi-pronged information to provide a better understanding

  9. NAC transcription factors in plant multiple abiotic stress responses: progress and prospects

    PubMed Central

    Shao, Hongbo; Wang, Hongyan; Tang, Xiaoli

    2015-01-01

    Abiotic stresses adversely affect plant growth and agricultural productivity. According to the current climate prediction models, crop plants will face a greater number of environmental stresses, which are likely to occur simultaneously in the future. So it is very urgent to breed broad-spectrum tolerant crops in order to meet an increasing demand for food productivity due to global population increase. As one of the largest families of transcription factors (TFs) in plants, NAC TFs play vital roles in regulating plant growth and development processes including abiotic stress responses. Lots of studies indicated that many stress-responsive NAC TFs had been used to improve stress tolerance in crop plants by genetic engineering. In this review, the recent progress in NAC TFs was summarized, and the potential utilization of NAC TFs in breeding abiotic stress tolerant transgenic crops was also be discussed. In view of the complexity of field conditions and the specificity in multiple stress responses, we suggest that the NAC TFs commonly induced by multiple stresses should be promising candidates to produce plants with enhanced multiple stress tolerance. Furthermore, the field evaluation of transgenic crops harboring NAC genes, as well as the suitable promoters for minimizing the negative effects caused by over-expressing some NAC genes, should be considered. PMID:26579152

  10. Growth, viability and architecture of biofilms of Listeria monocytogenes formed on abiotic surfaces.

    PubMed

    Reis-Teixeira, Fernanda Barbosa Dos; Alves, Virgínia Farias; de Martinis, Elaine Cristina Pereira

    2017-02-09

    The pathogenic bacterium Listeria monocytogenes can persist in food processing plants for many years, even when appropriate hygienic measures are in place, with potential for contaminating ready-to-eat products and, its ability to form biofilms on abiotic surfaces certainly contributes for the environmental persistence. In this research, L. monocytogenes was grown in biofilms up 8 days attached to stainless steel and glass surfaces, contributing for advancing the knowledge on architecture of mature biofilms, since many literature studies carried out on this topic considered only early stages of cell adhesion. In this study, biofilm populations of two strains of L. monocytogenes (serotypes 1/2a and 4b) on stainless steel coupons and glass were examined using regular fluorescence microscopy, confocal laser scanning microscopy and classic culture method. The biofilms formed were not very dense and microscopic observations revealed uneven biofilm structures, with presence of exopolymeric matrix surrounding single cells, small aggregates and microcolonies, in a honeycomb-like arrangement. Moreover, planktonic population of L. monocytogenes (present in broth media covering the abiotic surface) remained stable throughout the incubation time, which indicates an efficient dispersal mechanism, since the culture medium was replaced daily. In conclusion, even if these strains of L. monocytogenes were not able to form thick multilayer biofilms, it was noticeable their high persistence on abiotic surfaces, reinforcing the need to focus on measures to avoid biofilm formation, instead of trying to eradicate mature biofilms.

  11. DREB1/CBF transcription factors: their structure, function and role in abiotic stress tolerance in plants.

    PubMed

    Akhtar, M; Jaiswal, A; Taj, G; Jaiswal, J P; Qureshi, M I; Singh, N K

    2012-01-01

    Drought, high salinity and low temperature are major abiotic stresses that influence survival, productivity and geographical distribution of many important crops across the globe. Plants respond to these environmental challenges via physiological, cellular and molecular processes, which results in adjusted metabolic and structural alterations. The dehydration-responsiveelement-binding (DREB) protein / C-repeat binding factors (CBFs) belong to APETALA2 (AP2) family transcription factors that bind to DRE/CRT cis-element and regulate the expression of stress-responsive genes. DREB1/CBF genes, therefore, play an important role in increasing stress tolerance in plants and their deployment using transgenic technology seems to be a potential alternative in management of abiotic stresses in crop plants. This review is mainly focussed on the structural characteristics as well as transcriptional regulation of gene expression in response to various abiotic stresses, with particular emphasis on the role of DREB1/CBF regulon in stress-responsive gene expression. The recent progress related to genetic engineering of DREB1/CBF transcription factors in various crops and model plants is also summarized.

  12. Recent Advances in Utilizing Transcription Factors to Improve Plant Abiotic Stress Tolerance by Transgenic Technology

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Hongyan; Wang, Honglei; Shao, Hongbo; Tang, Xiaoli

    2016-01-01

    Agricultural production and quality are adversely affected by various abiotic stresses worldwide and this will be exacerbated by the deterioration of global climate. To feed a growing world population, it is very urgent to breed stress-tolerant crops with higher yields and improved qualities against multiple environmental stresses. Since conventional breeding approaches had marginal success due to the complexity of stress tolerance traits, the transgenic approach is now being popularly used to breed stress-tolerant crops. So identifying and characterizing the critical genes involved in plant stress responses is an essential prerequisite for engineering stress-tolerant crops. Far beyond the manipulation of single functional gene, engineering certain regulatory genes has emerged as an effective strategy now for controlling the expression of many stress-responsive genes. Transcription factors (TFs) are good candidates for genetic engineering to breed stress-tolerant crop because of their role as master regulators of many stress-responsive genes. Many TFs belonging to families AP2/EREBP, MYB, WRKY, NAC, bZIP have been found to be involved in various abiotic stresses and some TF genes have also been engineered to improve stress tolerance in model and crop plants. In this review, we take five large families of TFs as examples and review the recent progress of TFs involved in plant abiotic stress responses and their potential utilization to improve multiple stress tolerance of crops in the field conditions. PMID:26904044

  13. Role of nitric oxide in tolerance of plants to abiotic stress.

    PubMed

    Siddiqui, Manzer H; Al-Whaibi, Mohamed H; Basalah, Mohammed O

    2011-07-01

    Nitric oxide (NO) has now gained significant place in plant science, mainly due to its properties (free radical, small size, no charge, short-lived, and highly diffusible across biological membranes) and multifunctional roles in plant growth, development, and regulation of remarkable spectrum of plant cellular mechanisms. In the last few years, the role of NO in tolerance of plants to abiotic stress has established much consideration. As it is evident from the present review, recent progress on NO potentiality in tolerance of plants to environmental stresses has been impressive. These investigations suggest that NO, itself, possesses antioxidant properties and might act as a signal in activating ROS-scavenging enzyme activities under abiotic stress. NO plays an important role in resistance to salt, drought, temperature (high and low), UV-B, and heavy metal stress. Rapidly increasing evidences indicate that NO is essentially involve in several physiological processes; however, there has been much disagreement regarding the mechanism(s) by which NO reduces abiotic stress.

  14. The impact of biotic/abiotic interfaces in mineral nutrient cycling: A study of soils of the Santa Cruz chronosequence, California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    White, A.F.; Schulz, M.S.; Vivit, D.V.; Bullen, T.D.; Fitzpatrick, J.

    2012-01-01

    Biotic/abiotic interactions between soil mineral nutrients and annual grassland vegetation are characterized for five soils in a marine terrace chronosequence near Santa Cruz, California. A Mediterranean climate, with wet winters and dry summers, controls the annual cycle of plant growth and litter decomposition, resulting in net above-ground productivities of 280-600gm -2yr -1. The biotic/abiotic (A/B) interface separates seasonally reversible nutrient gradients, reflecting biological cycling in the shallower soils, from downward chemical weathering gradients in the deeper soils. The A/B interface is pedologically defined by argillic clay horizons centered at soil depths of about one meter which intensify with soil age. Below these horizons, elevated solute Na/Ca, Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca ratios reflect plagioclase and smectite weathering along pore water flow paths. Above the A/B interface, lower cation ratios denote temporal variability due to seasonal plant nutrient uptake and litter leaching. Potassium and Ca exhibit no seasonal variability beneath the A/B interface, indicating closed nutrient cycling within the root zone, whereas Mg variability below the A/B interface denotes downward leakage resulting from higher inputs of marine aerosols and lower plant nutrient requirements.The fraction of a mineral nutrient annually cycled through the plants, compared to that lost from pore water discharge, is defined their respective fluxes F j,plants=q j,plants/(q j,plants+q j,discharge) with average values for K and Ca (F K,plants=0.99; F Ca,plants=0.93) much higher than for Mg and Na (F Mg,plants 0.64; F Na,plants=0.28). The discrimination against Rb and Sr by plants is described by fractionation factors (K Sr/Ca=0.86; K Rb/K=0.83) which are used in Rayleigh fractionation-mixing calculations to fit seasonal patterns in solute K and Ca cycling. K Rb/K and K24Mg/22Mg values (derived from isotope data in the literature) fall within fractionation envelopes bounded by inputs from

  15. Biological Networks Underlying Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Temperate Crops—A Proteomic Perspective

    PubMed Central

    Kosová, Klára; Vítámvás, Pavel; Urban, Milan Oldřich; Klíma, Miroslav; Roy, Amitava; Prášil, Ilja Tom

    2015-01-01

    Abiotic stress factors, especially low temperatures, drought, and salinity, represent the major constraints limiting agricultural production in temperate climate. Under the conditions of global climate change, the risk of damaging effects of abiotic stresses on crop production increases. Plant stress response represents an active process aimed at an establishment of novel homeostasis under altered environmental conditions. Proteins play a crucial role in plant stress response since they are directly involved in shaping the final phenotype. In the review, results of proteomic studies focused on stress response of major crops grown in temperate climate including cereals: common wheat (Triticum aestivum), durum wheat (Triticum durum), barley (Hordeum vulgare), maize (Zea mays); leguminous plants: alfalfa (Medicago sativa), soybean (Glycine max), common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), pea (Pisum sativum); oilseed rape (Brassica napus); potato (Solanum tuberosum); tobacco (Nicotiana tabaccum); tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum); and others, to a wide range of abiotic stresses (cold, drought, salinity, heat, imbalances in mineral nutrition and heavy metals) are summarized. The dynamics of changes in various protein functional groups including signaling and regulatory proteins, transcription factors, proteins involved in protein metabolism, amino acid metabolism, metabolism of several stress-related compounds, proteins with chaperone and protective functions as well as structural proteins (cell wall components, cytoskeleton) are briefly overviewed. Attention is paid to the differences found between differentially tolerant genotypes. In addition, proteomic studies aimed at proteomic investigation of multiple stress factors are discussed. In conclusion, contribution of proteomic studies to understanding the complexity of crop response to abiotic stresses as well as possibilities to identify and utilize protein markers in crop breeding processes are discussed. PMID:26340626

  16. Coordinated Actions of Glyoxalase and Antioxidant Defense Systems in Conferring Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Plants

    PubMed Central

    Hasanuzzaman, Mirza; Nahar, Kamrun; Hossain, Md. Shahadat; Mahmud, Jubayer Al; Rahman, Anisur; Inafuku, Masashi; Oku, Hirosuke; Fujita, Masayuki

    2017-01-01

    Being sessile organisms, plants are frequently exposed to various environmental stresses that cause several physiological disorders and even death. Oxidative stress is one of the common consequences of abiotic stress in plants, which is caused by excess generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Sometimes ROS production exceeds the capacity of antioxidant defense systems, which leads to oxidative stress. In line with ROS, plants also produce a high amount of methylglyoxal (MG), which is an α-oxoaldehyde compound, highly reactive, cytotoxic, and produced via different enzymatic and non-enzymatic reactions. This MG can impair cells or cell components and can even destroy DNA or cause mutation. Under stress conditions, MG concentration in plants can be increased 2- to 6-fold compared with normal conditions depending on the plant species. However, plants have a system developed to detoxify this MG consisting of two major enzymes: glyoxalase I (Gly I) and glyoxalase II (Gly II), and hence known as the glyoxalase system. Recently, a novel glyoxalase enzyme, named glyoxalase III (Gly III), has been detected in plants, providing a shorter pathway for MG detoxification, which is also a signpost in the research of abiotic stress tolerance. Glutathione (GSH) acts as a co-factor for this system. Therefore, this system not only detoxifies MG but also plays a role in maintaining GSH homeostasis and subsequent ROS detoxification. Upregulation of both Gly I and Gly II as well as their overexpression in plant species showed enhanced tolerance to various abiotic stresses including salinity, drought, metal toxicity, and extreme temperature. In the past few decades, a considerable amount of reports have indicated that both antioxidant defense and glyoxalase systems have strong interactions in conferring abiotic stress tolerance in plants through the detoxification of ROS and MG. In this review, we will focus on the mechanisms of these interactions and the coordinated action of

  17. Abiotic stress responses in plants: roles of calmodulin-regulated proteins

    PubMed Central

    Virdi, Amardeep S.; Singh, Supreet; Singh, Prabhjeet

    2015-01-01

    Intracellular changes in calcium ions (Ca2+) in response to different biotic and abiotic stimuli are detected by various sensor proteins in the plant cell. Calmodulin (CaM) is one of the most extensively studied Ca2+-sensing proteins and has been shown to be involved in transduction of Ca2+ signals. After interacting with Ca2+, CaM undergoes conformational change and influences the activities of a diverse range of CaM-binding proteins. A number of CaM-binding proteins have also been implicated in stress responses in plants, highlighting the central role played by CaM in adaptation to adverse environmental conditions. Stress adaptation in plants is a highly complex and multigenic response. Identification and characterization of CaM-modulated proteins in relation to different abiotic stresses could, therefore, prove to be essential for a deeper understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in abiotic stress tolerance in plants. Various studies have revealed involvement of CaM in regulation of metal ions uptake, generation of reactive oxygen species and modulation of transcription factors such as CAMTA3, GTL1, and WRKY39. Activities of several kinases and phosphatases have also been shown to be modulated by CaM, thus providing further versatility to stress-associated signal transduction pathways. The results obtained from contemporary studies are consistent with the proposed role of CaM as an integrator of different stress signaling pathways, which allows plants to maintain homeostasis between different cellular processes. In this review, we have attempted to present the current state of understanding of the role of CaM in modulating different stress-regulated proteins and its implications in augmenting abiotic stress tolerance in plants. PMID:26528296

  18. Improved Tolerance to Various Abiotic Stresses in Transgenic Sweet Potato (Ipomoea batatas) Expressing Spinach Betaine Aldehyde Dehydrogenase

    PubMed Central

    Fan, Weijuan; Zhang, Min; Zhang, Hongxia; Zhang, Peng

    2012-01-01

    Abiotic stresses are critical delimiters for the increased productivity and cultivation expansion of sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas), a root crop with worldwide importance. The increased production of glycine betaine (GB) improves plant tolerance to various abiotic stresses without strong phenotypic changes, providing a feasible approach to improve stable yield production under unfavorable conditions. The gene encoding betaine aldehyde dehydrogenase (BADH) is involved in the biosynthesis of GB in plants, and the accumulation of GB by the heterologous overexpression of BADH improves abiotic stress tolerance in plants. This study is to improve sweet potato, a GB accumulator, resistant to multiple abiotic stresses by promoted GB biosynthesis. A chloroplastic BADH gene from Spinacia oleracea (SoBADH) was introduced into the sweet potato cultivar Sushu-2 via Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. The overexpression of SoBADH in the transgenic sweet potato improved tolerance to various abiotic stresses, including salt, oxidative stress, and low temperature. The increased BADH activity and GB accumulation in the transgenic plant lines under normal and multiple environmental stresses resulted in increased protection against cell damage through the maintenance of cell membrane integrity, stronger photosynthetic activity, reduced reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, and induction or activation of ROS scavenging by the increased activity of free radical-scavenging enzymes. The increased proline accumulation and systemic upregulation of many ROS-scavenging genes in stress-treated transgenic plants also indicated that GB accumulation might stimulate the ROS-scavenging system and proline biosynthesis via an integrative mechanism. This study demonstrates that the enhancement of GB biosynthesis in sweet potato is an effective and feasible approach to improve its tolerance to multiple abiotic stresses without causing phenotypic defects. This strategy for trait improvement in

  19. Nucleotide Selectivity in Abiotic RNA Polymerization Reactions.

    PubMed

    Coari, Kristin M; Martin, Rebecca C; Jain, Kopal; McGown, Linda B

    2017-02-03

    In order to establish an RNA world on early Earth, the nucleotides must form polymers through chemical rather than biochemical reactions. The polymerization products must be long enough to perform catalytic functions, including self-replication, and to preserve genetic information. These functions depend not only on the length of the polymers, but also on their sequences. To date, studies of abiotic RNA polymerization generally have focused on routes to polymerization of a single nucleotide and lengths of the homopolymer products. Less work has been done the selectivity of the reaction toward incorporation of some nucleotides over others in nucleotide mixtures. Such information is an essential step toward understanding the chemical evolution of RNA. To address this question, in the present work RNA polymerization reactions were performed in the presence of montmorillonite clay catalyst. The nucleotides included the monophosphates of adenosine, cytosine, guanosine, uridine and inosine. Experiments included reactions of mixtures of an imidazole-activated nucleotide (ImpX) with one or more unactivated nucleotides (XMP), of two or more ImpX, and of XMP that were activated in situ in the polymerization reaction itself. The reaction products were analyzed using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) to identify the lengths and nucleotide compositions of the polymerization products. The results show that the extent of polymerization, the degree of heteropolymerization vs. homopolymerization, and the composition of the polymeric products all vary among the different nucleotides and depend upon which nucleotides and how many different nucleotides are present in the mixture.

  20. Nucleotide Selectivity in Abiotic RNA Polymerization Reactions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coari, Kristin M.; Martin, Rebecca C.; Jain, Kopal; McGown, Linda B.

    2017-02-01

    In order to establish an RNA world on early Earth, the nucleotides must form polymers through chemical rather than biochemical reactions. The polymerization products must be long enough to perform catalytic functions, including self-replication, and to preserve genetic information. These functions depend not only on the length of the polymers, but also on their sequences. To date, studies of abiotic RNA polymerization generally have focused on routes to polymerization of a single nucleotide and lengths of the homopolymer products. Less work has been done the selectivity of the reaction toward incorporation of some nucleotides over others in nucleotide mixtures. Such information is an essential step toward understanding the chemical evolution of RNA. To address this question, in the present work RNA polymerization reactions were performed in the presence of montmorillonite clay catalyst. The nucleotides included the monophosphates of adenosine, cytosine, guanosine, uridine and inosine. Experiments included reactions of mixtures of an imidazole-activated nucleotide (ImpX) with one or more unactivated nucleotides (XMP), of two or more ImpX, and of XMP that were activated in situ in the polymerization reaction itself. The reaction products were analyzed using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) to identify the lengths and nucleotide compositions of the polymerization products. The results show that the extent of polymerization, the degree of heteropolymerization vs. homopolymerization, and the composition of the polymeric products all vary among the different nucleotides and depend upon which nucleotides and how many different nucleotides are present in the mixture.

  1. Patterns of land-snail succession in Central Europe over the last 15,000 years: main changes along environmental, spatial and temporal gradients

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Juřičková, Lucie; Horsák, Michal; Horáčková, Jitka; Abraham, Vojtěch; Ložek, Vojen

    2014-06-01

    Land snail shell assemblages have been used since the pioneering days of palaeoecology to describe Quaternary environmental changes. Despite the many advantages of this proxy, it has recently been rather overlooked. There are more than 300 mollusc successions from localities throughout the Czech and Slovak Republics, making this a globally unique archive. We selected 91 of these successions for radiocarbon dating and further detailed processing. Based on analyses of 828 mollusc assemblages we found a significant increase in both total species richness and number of forest species since the Lateglacial, with a decrease in both after the Middle Holocene. In contrast, the opposite response was found for open-country species and the proportion of xerophilous species. The proportion of forest and open-country species reversed at the Pleistocene/Holocene transition (approx. 11,500 cal yrs BP). Changes in species richness were rather stable across the study area and at different elevation, contrary to changes in species composition. MDS ordination based on presence/absence data show four main patterns of species composition associated with the number of forest species in a sample, position of site along the west-east direction, the proportion of hygrophilous species and, finally, with the age of the mollusc assemblage. The number of forest species indicates the main pattern of changes in the composition of Central European land snail assemblages from the Lateglacial to the present. We confirmed the application and temporal stability of ecological groups of snails as a useful tool for reconstruction of the terrestrial palaeoenvironment.

  2. Planar gradient metamaterials

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xu, Yadong; Fu, Yangyang; Chen, Huanyang

    2016-12-01

    Metamaterials possess exotic properties that do not exist in nature. Gradient metamaterials, which are characterized by a continuous spatial variation of their properties, provide a promising approach to the development of both bulk and planar optics. In particular, planar gradient metamaterials can be classified into three categories: gradient metasurfaces, gradient index metamaterials and gradient metallic gratings. In this Review, we summarize the progress made in the theoretical modelling of these materials, in their experimental implementation and in the design of functional devices. We discuss the use of planar gradient metamaterials for wave bending and focusing in free space, for supporting surface plasmon polaritons and for the realization of trapped rainbows. We also focus on the implementation of these materials in waveguide systems, which can enable electromagnetic cloaking, Fano resonances, asymmetric transmission and guided mode conversion. Finally, we discuss promising trends, such as the use of dielectric rather than metallic unit elements and the use of planar gradient metamaterials in 3D systems.

  3. δ 13C and δ 15N Values of Soil Organic Matter Over Drought and Non-drought Affected Elevation Gradients in Ethiopia: Calibrating for Environmental Reconstruction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Terwilliger, V. J.; Eshetu, Z.; Colman, A. S.; Fogel, M.

    2004-12-01

    Portions of Ethiopia today are experiencing increasing temperatures and drought frequencies. The longest known hominid record is in Ethiopia's Awash Basin. Reconstructing past environments in Ethiopia may, therefore, contribute both to understanding present day and past consequences of climate change. Studies suggest that at least 7000 years of environmental reconstruction may be possible from isotopic analyses of organic matter in some Ethiopian paleosols. We have measured δ 13C and δ 15N of organic matter from modern soils in Ethiopia to explore the climatic dependence of these signals and thus to determine the maximum resolution of climatic reconstruction possible by bulk isotopic analyses of soil organic matter (SOM). Surface soil samples were taken at elevations from 350 - 3500 m in drought affected regions and from 1050 - 3100 m in regions with no history of drought. Collections were made at an altitude resolution of better than 150 m. Deeper soil samples (max. 27 m) were also obtained at 22 elevations in sites of the Awash Basin that had already been studied using other paleoenvironmental proxies. Soils were sampled in grassland, shrubland, forest, and grass/sedge wetland. The δ 15N values of SOM decreased significantly with increase in elevation and were sensitive to both overlaying vegetation type and drought proclivity. Our results support hypotheses that δ 15N values vary with total nitrogen pools in soils which, in turn vary with humidity and associated microbial influences. The δ 13C values of SOM had a quadratic relationship to elevation that most likely reflected the relative compositions of C3 and C4 biomass in overlying vegetation. Exposure to drought could not be detected by δ 13C values. At sites in the Hadar region where depth profile measurements were made to 27 m, δ 13C values decreased with depth. This result conforms to inferences from other proxy that a cooler, wetter climate previously existed. Nitrogen contents of soils below 3 m

  4. Forest reproduction along a climatic gradient in the Sierra Nevada, California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    van Mantgem, P.J.; Stephenson, N.L.; Keeley, J.E.

    2006-01-01

    To elucidate broad-scale environmental controls of coniferous forest reproduction in the Sierra Nevada, California, we monitored reproduction for 5 years in 47 plots arrayed across a steep elevational (climatic) gradient. We found that both absolute seedling densities (stems < 1.37 m) and seedling densities relative to overstory parent tree basal area declined sharply with elevation. Rates of seedling turnover (the average of birth and death rates) also declined with elevation. In contrast, seed production was not predicted by elevation and was highly variable from year to year. During a mast year of seed production, the intensity of masting was uneven among plots. Seedling densities were elevated only during the single year immediately following the mast year, suggesting reproduction in our forests may be primarily limited by abiotic factors such as the availability of suitable sites and weather. Disturbance also clearly affected reproduction; plots that had recently burned had significantly higher seedling to parent tree ratios for Abies species, suggesting that even though established Abies concolor may be relatively susceptible to fire, the species can recover rapidly through prolific reproduction. Since reproductive failures may be our earliest signal of changing forest conditions, seedling dynamics could provide a sensitive, if variable, indicator of environmental changes. ?? 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  5. Abiotic transformation of carbon tetrachloride at mineral surfaces. Final report, September 1990-September 1993

    SciTech Connect

    Kriegman-King, M.; Reinhard, M.

    1994-02-01

    The report addresses the ability of natural mineral surfaces to abiotically transform halogenated organic compounds in subsurface environments. The research focuses on carbon tetrachloride (CC14) as the halogenated organic and biotite, vermiculite, and pyrite as the mineral surfaces. The CCl4 transformation rates and products were quantified under different environmental conditions. The disappearance of CCl4 was significantly faster in the presence of mineral surfaces than in homogeneous solution. In systems containing the sheet silicates and HS-, the rate of reaction was dependent on the temperature, hydrogen sulfide ion concentration, surface concentration, and Fe(II) content in the minerals.

  6. Mycobacterium ulcerans dynamics in aquatic ecosystems are driven by a complex interplay of abiotic and biotic factors.

    PubMed

    Garchitorena, Andrés; Guégan, Jean-François; Léger, Lucas; Eyangoh, Sara; Marsollier, Laurent; Roche, Benjamin

    2015-07-28

    Host-parasite interactions are often embedded within complex host communities and can be influenced by a variety of environmental factors, such as seasonal variations in climate or abiotic conditions in water and soil, which confounds our understanding of the main drivers of many multi-host pathogens. Here, we take advantage of a combination of large environmental data sets on Mycobacterium ulcerans (MU), an environmentally persistent microorganism associated to freshwater ecosystems and present in a large variety of aquatic hosts, to characterize abiotic and biotic factors driving the dynamics of this pathogen in two regions of Cameroon. We find that MU dynamics are largely driven by seasonal climatic factors and certain physico-chemical conditions in stagnant and slow-flowing ecosystems, with an important role of pH as limiting factor. Furthermore, water conditions can modify the effect of abundance and diversity of aquatic organisms on MU dynamics, which suggests a different contribution of two MU transmission routes for aquatic hosts (trophic vs environmental transmission) depending on local abiotic factors.

  7. Identification of important abiotic and biotic factors in the biodegradation of poly(l-lactic acid).

    PubMed

    Husárová, Lucie; Pekařová, Silvie; Stloukal, Petr; Kucharzcyk, Pavel; Verney, Vincent; Commereuc, Sophie; Ramone, Audrey; Koutny, Marek

    2014-11-01

    The biodegradation of four poly(l-lactic acid) (PLA) samples with molecular weights (MW) ranging from approximately 34 to 160kgmol(-1) was investigated under composting conditions. The biodegradation rate decreased, and initial retardation was discernible in parallel with the increasing MW of the polymer. Furthermore, the specific surface area of the polymer sample was identified as the important factor accelerating biodegradation. Microbial community compositions and dynamics during the biodegradation of different PLA were monitored by temperature gradient gel electrophoresis, and were found to be virtually identical for all PLA materials and independent of MW. A specific PLA degrading bacteria was isolated and tentatively designated Thermopolyspora flexuosa FTPLA. The addition of a limited amount of low MW PLA did not accelerate the biodegradation of high MW PLA, suggesting that the process is not limited to the number of specific degraders and/or the induction of specific enzymes. In parallel, abiotic hydrolysis was investigated for the same set of samples and their courses found to be quasi-identical with the biodegradation of all four PLA samples investigated. This suggests that the abiotic hydrolysis represented a rate limiting step in the biodegradation process and the organisms present were not able to accelerate depolymerization significantly by the action of their enzymes.

  8. Searching for links in the biotic characteristics and abiotic parameters of nine different biogas plants

    PubMed Central

    Walter, Andreas; Knapp, Brigitte A.; Farbmacher, Theresa; Ebner, Christian; Insam, Heribert; Franke‐Whittle, Ingrid H.

    2012-01-01

    Summary To find links between the biotic characteristics and abiotic process parameters in anaerobic digestion systems, the microbial communities of nine full‐scale biogas plants in South Tyrol (Italy) and Vorarlberg (Austria) were investigated using molecular techniques and the physical and chemical properties were monitored. DNA from sludge samples was subjected to microarray hybridization with the ANAEROCHIP microarray and results indicated that sludge samples grouped into two main clusters, dominated either by Methanosarcina or by Methanosaeta, both aceticlastic methanogens. Hydrogenotrophic methanogens were hardly detected or if detected, gave low hybridization signals. Results obtained using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) supported the findings of microarray hybridization. Real‐time PCR targeting Methanosarcina and Methanosaeta was conducted to provide quantitative data on the dominating methanogens. Correlation analysis to determine any links between the microbial communities found by microarray analysis, and the physicochemical parameters investigated was conducted. It was shown that the sludge samples dominated by the genus Methanosarcina were positively correlated with higher concentrations of acetate, whereas sludge samples dominated by representatives of the genus Methanosaeta had lower acetate concentrations. No other correlations between biotic characteristics and abiotic parameters were found. Methanogenic communities in each reactor were highly stable and resilient over the whole year. PMID:22950603

  9. Water relations and photosynthesis along an elevation gradient for Artemisia tridentata during an historic drought.

    PubMed

    Reed, Charlotte C; Loik, Michael E

    2016-05-01

    Quantifying the variation in plant-water relations and photosynthesis over environmental gradients and during unique events can provide a better understanding of vegetation patterns in a future climate. We evaluated the hypotheses that photosynthesis and plant water potential would correspond to gradients in precipitation and soil moisture during a lengthy drought, and that experimental water additions would increase photosynthesis for the widespread evergreen shrub Artemisia tridentata ssp. vaseyana. We quantified abiotic conditions and physiological characteristics for control and watered plants at 2135, 2315, and 2835 m near Mammoth Lakes, CA, USA, at the ecotone of the Sierra Nevada and Great Basin ecoregions. Snowfall, total precipitation, and soil moisture increased with elevation, but air temperature and soil N content did not. Plant water potential (Ψ), stomatal conductance (g s), maximum photosynthetic rate (A max), carboxylation rate (V cmax), and electron transport rate (J max) all significantly increased with elevations. Addition of water increased Ψ, g s, J max, and A max only at the lowest elevation; g s contributed about 30 % of the constraints on photosynthesis at the lowest elevation and 23 % at the other two elevations. The physiology of this foundational shrub species was quite resilient to this 1-in-1200 year drought. However, plant water potential and photosynthesis corresponded to differences in soil moisture across the gradient. Soil re-wetting in early summer increased water potential and photosynthesis at the lowest elevation. Effects on water relations and photosynthesis of this widespread, cold desert shrub species may be disproportionate at lower elevations as drought length increases in a future climate.

  10. Abiotic production of iodine molecules in irradiated ice

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Choi, Wonyong; Kim, Kitae; Yabushita, Akihiro

    2015-04-01

    Reactive halogen species play an important role in Earth's environmental systems. Iodine compounds are related to ozone depletion event (ODE) during Antarctic spring, formation of CCN (cloud condensation nuclei), and controlling the atmospheric oxidizing capacity. However, the processes and mechanisms for abiotic formation of iodine compounds in polar region are still unclear. Although the chemical reactions taking place in ice are greatly different from those in aquatic environment, reaction processes of halogens in frozen condition have rarely studied compared to those in water. In this study, we investigated iodide oxidation to form triiodide (I3-) in ice phase under UV irradiation ( λ > 300 nm) and dark condition. The production of I3- through iodide oxidation, which is negligible in aqueous solution, was significantly accelerated in ice phase even in the absence of UV irradiation. The following release of gaseous iodine molecule (I2) to the atmosphere was also monitored by cavity ring-down spectroscopy (CRDS). We speculate that the markedly enhanced iodide oxidation in polycrystalline ice is due to the freeze concentration of iodides, protons, and dissolved oxygen in the ice crystal grain boundaries. The experiments conducted under ambient solar radiation of the Antarctic region (King George Island, 62°13'S 58°47'W, sea level) also confirmed that the generation of I3- via iodide oxidation process is enhanced when iodide is trapped in ice. The observed intrinsic oxidative transformation of iodide to generate I3-(aq) and I2(g) in frozen environment suggests a previously unknown pathway for the substantial release of reactive iodine species to the atmosphere.

  11. Coupling microbial catabolic actions with abiotic redox processes: a new recipe for persistent organic pollutant (POP) removal.

    PubMed

    Jeon, Jong-Rok; Murugesan, Kumarasamy; Nam, In-Hyun; Chang, Yoon-Seok

    2013-01-01

    The continuous release of toxic persistent organic pollutants (POPs) into the environment has raised a need for effective cleanup methods. The tremendous natural diversity of microbial catabolic mechanisms suggests that catabolic routes may be applied to the remediation of POP-contaminated fields. A large number of the recalcitrant xenobiotics have been shown to be removable via the natural catabolic mechanisms of microbes, and detailed biochemical studies of the catabolic methods, together with the development of sophisticated genetic engineering, have led to the use of synthetic microbes for the bioremediation of POPs. However, the steric effects of substituted halogen moieties, microbe toxicity, and the low bioavailability of POPs still deteriorate the efficiency of removal strategies based on natural and synthetic catabolic mechanisms. Recently, abiotic redox processes that induce rapid reductive dehalogenation, hydroxyl radical-based oxidation, or electron shuttling have been reasonably coupled with microbial catabolic actions, thereby compensating for the drawbacks of biotic processes in POP removal. In this review, we first compare the pros and cons of individual methodologies (i.e., the natural and synthetic catabolism of microbes and the abiotic processes involving zero-valent irons, advanced oxidation processes, and small organic stimulants) for POP removal. We then highlight recent trends in coupling the biotic-abiotic methodologies and discuss how the processes are both feasible and superior to individual methodologies for POP cleanup. Cost-effective and environmentally sustainable abiotic redox actions could enhance the microbial bioremediation potential for POPs.

  12. Search for past life on Mars: Physical and chemical characterization of calcite minerals of biotic and abiotic origin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stalport, S.; Coll, C.; Cabane, C.; Navarro González, N. G.; Raulin, R.; Vaulay, V.; Ausset, A.; Szopa, S.; McKay, M.

    Several lines of evidence suggest that early Mars once had liquid water on its surface a denser atmosphere and a mild climate Similar environmental conditions led to the origin of life on the Earth more than 3 5 billion years ago consequently life might also have originated on Mars We contend that inorganic compounds could give us interesting clues as to the existence of possible biological activity in future astrobiological missions to Mars Consequently we have investigated the physical and chemical properties of calcite which could be expected on Mars because liquid water was certainly present on the surface of early Mars and carbon dioxide was abundant in its atmosphere Calcite is interesting because on Earth this mineral is produced by abiotic processes as well as by biological activity One may suppose that crystalline defects and trace element in the crystal lattice and the growth speed of biotic calcites must indicate a difference between them and pure abiotic calcites We investigated twelve different terrestrial calcite samples from various origins biotic diagenetic and abiotic The minerals were studied by X-ray diffraction and electron scanning microscopy to determine their mineralogical and chemical composition and differential thermal analysis coupled to thermogravimetric analysis DTA-TG to determine their thermal behavior Our results show that the thermal degradation of abiotic calcite starts at a temperature at least 40oC higher than the degradation temperature of any biotic calcite investigated Consequently in the case of a Martian in-situ

  13. Methylglyoxal: An Emerging Signaling Molecule in Plant Abiotic Stress Responses and Tolerance

    PubMed Central

    Hoque, Tahsina S.; Hossain, Mohammad A.; Mostofa, Mohammad G.; Burritt, David J.; Fujita, Masayuki; Tran, Lam-Son P.

    2016-01-01

    The oxygenated short aldehyde methylglyoxal (MG) is produced in plants as a by-product of a number of metabolic reactions, including elimination of phosphate groups from glycolysis intermediates dihydroxyacetone phosphate and glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate. MG is mostly detoxified by the combined actions of the enzymes glyoxalase I and glyoxalase II that together with glutathione make up the glyoxalase system. Under normal growth conditions, basal levels of MG remain low in plants; however, when plants are exposed to abiotic stress, MG can accumulate to much higher levels. Stress-induced MG functions as a toxic molecule, inhibiting different developmental processes, including seed germination, photosynthesis and root growth, whereas MG, at low levels, acts as an important signaling molecule, involved in regulating diverse events, such as cell proliferation and survival, control of the redox status of cells, and many other aspects of general metabolism and cellular homeostases. MG can modulate plant stress responses by regulating stomatal opening and closure, the production of reactive oxygen species, cytosolic calcium ion concentrations, the activation of inward rectifying potassium channels and the expression of many stress-responsive genes. MG appears to play important roles in signal transduction by transmitting and amplifying cellular signals and functions that promote adaptation of plants growing under adverse environmental conditions. Thus, MG is now considered as a potential biochemical marker for plant abiotic stress tolerance, and is receiving considerable attention by the scientific community. In this review, we will summarize recent findings regarding MG metabolism in plants under abiotic stress, and evaluate the concept of MG signaling. In addition, we will demonstrate the importance of giving consideration to MG metabolism and the glyoxalase system, when investigating plant adaptation and responses to various environmental stresses. PMID:27679640

  14. Evaluating reaction pathways of hydrothermal abiotic organic synthesis at elevated temperatures and pressures using carbon isotopes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fu, Qi; Socki, Richard A.; Niles, Paul B.

    2015-04-01

    Experiments were performed to better understand the role of environmental factors on reaction pathways and corresponding carbon isotope fractionations during abiotic hydrothermal synthesis of organic compounds using piston cylinder apparatus at 750 °C and 5.5 kbars. Chemical compositions of experimental products and corresponding carbon isotopic values were obtained by a Pyrolysis-GC-MS-IRMS system. Alkanes (methane and ethane), straight-chain saturated alcohols (ethanol and n-butanol) and monocarboxylic acids (formic and acetic acids) were generated with ethanol being the only organic compound with higher δ13C than CO2. CO was not detected in experimental products owing to the favorable water-gas shift reaction under high water pressure conditions. The pattern of δ13C values of CO2, carboxylic acids and alkanes are consistent with their equilibrium isotope relationships: CO2 > carboxylic acids > alkanes, but the magnitude of the fractionation among them is higher than predicted isotope equilibrium values. In particular, the isotopic fractionation between CO2 and CH4 remained constant at ∼31‰, indicating a kinetic effect during CO2 reduction processes. No "isotope reversal" of δ13C values for alkanes or carboxylic acids was observed, which indicates a different reaction pathway than what is typically observed during Fischer-Tropsch synthesis under gas phase conditions. Under constraints imposed in experiments, the anomalous 13C isotope enrichment in ethanol suggests that hydroxymethylene is the organic intermediate, and that the generation of other organic compounds enriched in 12C were facilitated by subsequent Rayleigh fractionation of hydroxymethylene reacting with H2 and/or H2O. Carbon isotope fractionation data obtained in this study are instrumental in assessing the controlling factors on abiotic formation of organic compounds in hydrothermal systems. Knowledge on how environmental conditions affect reaction pathways of abiotic synthesis of organic

  15. MicroRNA: a new target for improving plant tolerance to abiotic stress

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Baohong

    2015-01-01

    MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are an extensive class of endogenous, small RNA molecules that sit at the heart of regulating gene expression in multiple developmental and signalling pathways. Recent studies have shown that abiotic stresses induce aberrant expression of many miRNAs, thus suggesting that miRNAs may be a new target for genetically improving plant tolerance to certain stresses. These studies have also shown that miRNAs respond to environmental stresses in a miRNA-, stress-, tissue-, and genotype-dependent manner. During abiotic stress, miRNAs function by regulating target genes within the miRNA–target gene network and by controlling signalling pathways and root development. Generally speaking, stress-induced miRNAs lead to down-regulation of negative regulators of stress tolerance whereas stress-inhibited miRNAs allow the accumulation and function of positive regulators. Currently, the majority of miRNA-based studies have focused on the identification of miRNAs that are responsive to different stress conditions and analysing their expression profile changes during these treatments. This has predominately been accomplished using deep sequencing technologies and other expression analyses, such as quantitative real-time PCR. In the future, more function and expression studies will be necessary in order to elucidate the common miRNA-mediated regulatory mechanisms that underlie tolerance to different abiotic stresses. The use of artificial miRNAs, as well as overexpression and knockout/down of both miRNAs and their targets, will be the best techniques for determining the specific roles of individual miRNAs in response to environmental stresses. PMID:25697792

  16. Distinct bacterial communities across a gradient of vegetation from a preserved Brazilian Cerrado.

    PubMed

    de Araujo, Ademir Sergio Ferreira; Bezerra, Walderly Melgaço; Dos Santos, Vilma Maria; Rocha, Sandra Mara Barbosa; Carvalho, Nilza da Silva; de Lyra, Maria do Carmo Catanho Pereira; Figueiredo, Marcia do Vale Barreto; de Almeida Lopes, Ângela Celis; Melo, Vania Maria Maciel

    2017-04-01

    The Cerrado biome in the Sete Cidades National Park, an Ecological Reserve in Northeastern Brazil, has conserved its native biodiversity and presents a variety of plants found in other savannas in Brazil. Despite this finding the soil microbial diversity and community structure are poorly understood. Therefore, we described soil bacterial diversity and distribution along a savanna vegetation gradient taking into account the prevailing environmental factors. The bacterial composition was retrieved by sequencing a fragment of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene. The bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were assigned to 37 different phyla, 96 classes, and 83 genera. At the phylum level, a core comprised by Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Firmicutes, Verrucomicrobia and Planctomycetes, was detected in all areas of Cerrado. 'Cerrado stricto sensu' and 'Cerradao' share more similarities between edaphic properties and vegetation and also present more similar bacterial communities, while 'Floresta decidual' and 'Campo graminoide' show the largest environmental differences and also more distinct bacterial communities. Proteobacteria (26%), Acidobacteria (21%) and Actinobacteria (21%) were the most abundant phyla within the four areas. All the samples present similar bacteria richness (alpha diversity) and the observed differences among them (beta diversity) were more related to the abundance of specific taxon OTUs compared to their presence or absence. Total organic C, N and P are the main abiotic factors structuring the bacterial communities. In summary, our findings show the bacterial community structure was clearly different across the Cerrado gradient, but that these environments share a bacterial phylum-core comprising Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Verrucomicrobia and Planctomycetes with other Brazilian savannas.

  17. Plant cell organelle proteomics in response to abiotic stress.

    PubMed

    Hossain, Zahed; Nouri, Mohammad-Zaman; Komatsu, Setsuko

    2012-01-01

    Proteomics is one of the finest molecular techniques extensively being used for the study of protein profiling of a given plant species experiencing stressed conditions. Plants respond to a stress by alteration in the pattern of protein expression, either by up-regulating of the existing protein pool or by the synthesizing novel proteins primarily associated with plants antioxidative defense mechanism. Improved protein extraction protocols and advance techniques for identification of novel proteins have been standardized in different plant species at both cellular and whole plant level for better understanding of abiotic stress sensing and intracellular stress signal transduction mechanisms. In contrast, an in-depth proteome study of subcellular organelles could generate much detail information about the intrinsic mechanism of stress response as it correlates the possible relationship between the protein abundance and plant stress tolerance. Although a wealth of reviews devoted to plant proteomics are available, review articles dedicated to plant cell organelle proteins response under abiotic stress are very scanty. In the present review, an attempt has been made to summarize all significant contributions related to abiotic stresses and their impacts on organelle proteomes for better understanding of plants abiotic stress tolerance mechanism at protein level. This review will not only provide new insights into the plants stress response mechanisms, which are necessary for future development of genetically engineered stress tolerant crop plants for the benefit of humankind, but will also highlight the importance of studying changes in protein abundance within the cell organelles in response to abiotic stress.

  18. Autonomous pump against concentration gradient

    PubMed Central

    Xu, Zhi-cheng; Zheng, Dong-qin; Ai, Bao-quan; Zhong, Wei-rong

    2016-01-01

    Using non-equilibrium molecular dynamics and Monte Carlo methods, we have studied the molecular transport in asymmetric nanochannels. The efficiency of the molecular pump depends on the angle and apertures of the asymmetric channel, the environmental temperature and average concentration of the particles. The pumping effect can be explained as the competition between the molecular force field and the thermal disturbance. Our results provide a green approach for pumping fluid particles against the concentration gradient through asymmetric nanoscale thin films without any external forces. It indicates that pumping vacuum can be a spontaneous process. PMID:26996204

  19. Molecular responses of genetically modified maize to abiotic stresses as determined through proteomic and metabolomic analyses.

    PubMed

    Benevenuto, Rafael Fonseca; Agapito-Tenfen, Sarah Zanon; Vilperte, Vinicius; Wikmark, Odd-Gunnar; van Rensburg, Peet Jansen; Nodari, Rubens Onofre

    2017-01-01

    Some genetically modified (GM) plants have transgenes that confer tolerance to abiotic stressors. Meanwhile, other transgenes may interact with abiotic stressors, causing pleiotropic effects that will affect the plant physiology. Thus, physiological alteration might have an impact on the product safety. However, routine risk assessment (RA) analyses do not evaluate the response of GM plants exposed to different environmental conditions. Therefore, we here present a proteome profile of herbicide-tolerant maize, including the levels of phytohormones and related compounds, compared to its near-isogenic non-GM variety under drought and herbicide stresses. Twenty differentially abundant proteins were detected between GM and non-GM hybrids under different water deficiency conditions and herbicide sprays. Pathway enrichment analysis showed that most of these proteins are assigned to energetic/carbohydrate metabolic processes. Among phytohormones and related compounds, different levels of ABA, CA, JA, MeJA and SA were detected in the maize varieties and stress conditions analysed. In pathway and proteome analyses, environment was found to be the major source of variation followed by the genetic transformation factor. Nonetheless, differences were detected in the levels of JA, MeJA and CA and in the abundance of 11 proteins when comparing the GM plant and its non-GM near-isogenic variety under the same environmental conditions. Thus, these findings do support molecular studies in GM plants Risk Assessment analyses.

  20. Molecular responses of genetically modified maize to abiotic stresses as determined through proteomic and metabolomic analyses

    PubMed Central

    Benevenuto, Rafael Fonseca; Agapito-Tenfen, Sarah Zanon; Vilperte, Vinicius; Wikmark, Odd-Gunnar; van Rensburg, Peet Jansen; Nodari, Rubens Onofre

    2017-01-01

    Some genetically modified (GM) plants have transgenes that confer tolerance to abiotic stressors. Meanwhile, other transgenes may interact with abiotic stressors, causing pleiotropic effects that will affect the plant physiology. Thus, physiological alteration might have an impact on the product safety. However, routine risk assessment (RA) analyses do not evaluate the response of GM plants exposed to different environmental conditions. Therefore, we here present a proteome profile of herbicide-tolerant maize, including the levels of phytohormones and related compounds, compared to its near-isogenic non-GM variety under drought and herbicide stresses. Twenty differentially abundant proteins were detected between GM and non-GM hybrids under different water deficiency conditions and herbicide sprays. Pathway enrichment analysis showed that most of these proteins are assigned to energetic/carbohydrate metabolic processes. Among phytohormones and related compounds, different levels of ABA, CA, JA, MeJA and SA were detected in the maize varieties and stress conditions analysed. In pathway and proteome analyses, environment was found to be the major source of variation followed by the genetic transformation factor. Nonetheless, differences were detected in the levels of JA, MeJA and CA and in the abundance of 11 proteins when comparing the GM plant and its non-GM near-isogenic variety under the same environmental conditions. Thus, these findings do support molecular studies in GM plants Risk Assessment analyses. PMID:28245233

  1. Seasonal variation in microhabitat of salamanders: environmental variation or shift of habitat selection?

    PubMed Central

    Manenti, Raoul; Ficetola, Gentile Francesco

    2015-01-01

    Relationships between species and their habitats are not always constant. Different processes may determine changes in species-habitat association: individuals may prefer different habitat typologies in different periods, or they may be forced to occupy a different habitat in order to follow the changing environment. The aim of our study was to assess whether cave salamanders change their habitat association pattern through the year, and to test whether such changes are determined by environmental changes or by changes in preferences. We monitored multiple caves in Central Italy through one year, and monthly measured biotic and abiotic features of microhabitat and recorded Italian cave salamanders distribution. We used mixed models and niche similarity tests to assess whether species-habitat relationships remain constant through the year. Microhabitat showed strong seasonal variation, with the highest variability in the superficial sectors. Salamanders were associated to relatively cold and humid sectors in summer, but not during winter. Such apparent shift in habitat preferences mostly occurred because the environmental gradient changed through the year, while individuals generally selected similar conditions. Nevertheless, juveniles were more tolerant to dry sectors during late winter, when food demand was highest. This suggests that tolerance for suboptimal abiotic conditions may change through time, depending on the required resources. Differences in habitat use are jointly determined by environmental variation through time, and by changes in the preferred habitat. The trade-offs between tolerance and resources requirement are major determinant of such variation. PMID:26290788

  2. Abiotic methane formation during experimental serpentinization of olivine.

    PubMed

    McCollom, Thomas M

    2016-12-06

    Fluids circulating through actively serpentinizing systems are often highly enriched in methane (CH4). In many cases, the CH4 in these fluids is thought to derive from abiotic reduction of inorganic carbon, but the conditions under which this process can occur in natural systems remain unclear. In recent years, several studies have reported abiotic formation of CH4 during experimental serpentinization of olivine at temperatures at or below 200 °C. However, these results seem to contradict studies conducted at higher temperatures (300 °C to 400 °C), where substantial kinetic barriers to CH4 synthesis have been observed. Here, the potential for abiotic formation of CH4 from dissolved inorganic carbon during olivine serpentinization is reevaluated in a series of laboratory experiments conducted at 200 °C to 320 °C. A (13)C-labeled inorganic carbon source was used to unambiguously determine the origin of CH4 generated in the experiments. Consistent with previous high-temperature studies, the results indicate that abiotic formation of CH4 from reduction of dissolved inorganic carbon during the experiments is extremely limited, with nearly all of the observed CH4 derived from background sources. The results indicate that the potential for abiotic synthesis of CH4 in low-temperature serpentinizing environments may be much more limited than some recent studies have suggested. However, more extensive production of CH4 was observed in one experiment performed under conditions that allowed an H2-rich vapor phase to form, suggesting that shallow serpentinization environments where a separate gas phase is present may be more favorable for abiotic synthesis of CH4.

  3. Abiotic methane formation during experimental serpentinization of olivine

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McCollom, Thomas M.

    2016-12-01

    Fluids circulating through actively serpentinizing systems are often highly enriched in methane (CH4). In many cases, the CH4 in these fluids is thought to derive from abiotic reduction of inorganic carbon, but the conditions under which this process can occur in natural systems remain unclear. In recent years, several studies have reported abiotic formation of CH4 during experimental serpentinization of olivine at temperatures at or below 200 °C. However, these results seem to contradict studies conducted at higher temperatures (300 °C to 400 °C), where substantial kinetic barriers to CH4 synthesis have been observed. Here, the potential for abiotic formation of CH4 from dissolved inorganic carbon during olivine serpentinization is reevaluated in a series of laboratory experiments conducted at 200 °C to 320 °C. A 13C-labeled inorganic carbon source was used to unambiguously determine the origin of CH4 generated in the experiments. Consistent with previous high-temperature studies, the results indicate that abiotic formation of CH4 from reduction of dissolved inorganic carbon during the experiments is extremely limited, with nearly all of the observed CH4 derived from background sources. The results indicate that the potential for abiotic synthesis of CH4 in low-temperature serpentinizing environments may be much more limited than some recent studies have suggested. However, more extensive production of CH4 was observed in one experiment performed under conditions that allowed an H2-rich vapor phase to form, suggesting that shallow serpentinization environments where a separate gas phase is present may be more favorable for abiotic synthesis of CH4.

  4. Pattern formation--A missing link in the study of ecosystem response to environmental changes.

    PubMed

    Meron, Ehud

    2016-01-01

    Environmental changes can affect the functioning of an ecosystem directly, through the response of individual life forms, or indirectly, through interspecific interactions and community dynamics. The feasibility of a community-level response has motivated numerous studies aimed at understanding the mutual relationships between three elements of ecosystem dynamics: the abiotic environment, biodiversity and ecosystem function. Since ecosystems are inherently nonlinear and spatially extended, environmental changes can also induce pattern-forming instabilities that result in spatial self-organization of life forms and resources. This, in turn, can affect the relationships between these three elements, and make the response of ecosystems to environmental changes far more complex. Responses of this kind can be expected in dryland ecosystems, which show a variety of self-organizing vegetation patterns along the rainfall gradient. This paper describes the progress that has been made in understanding vegetation patterning in dryland ecosystems, and the roles it plays in ecosystem response to environmental variability. The progress has been achieved by modeling pattern-forming feedbacks at small spatial scales and up-scaling their effects to large scales through model studies. This approach sets the basis for integrating pattern formation theory into the study of ecosystem dynamics and addressing ecologically significant questions such as the dynamics of desertification, restoration of degraded landscapes, biodiversity changes along environmental gradients, and shrubland-grassland transitions.

  5. Response of plant tundra communities to changes in abiotic and biotic environments: Importance of the temporal dimension

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Saccone, P.; Virtanen, R.

    2015-12-01

    Understanding of ecosystem response to changing environment have been improved by the convergence of observational and experimental approaches that allow disentangling mechanisms involved and large scale subsequent patterns. However, such approaches often face context-dependence of underlying processes, and a major challenge of community ecology is to deepen our understanding of this context-dependency for reliable upscaling. Here we used the results from several transplant experiments of heath communities in the Northern Fennoscandian during the last two decades to investigate the relative importance of abiotic and biotic drivers and the plant functional response. The plant community composition of blocks of heath vegetation from diverse origins transplanted in contrasted abiotic and biotic conditions was monitored from 6 to 23 years depending on the design. Considering both abiotic severity and biotic environment, the transplantation along altitudinal gradient constituted major habitat perturbation, in particular for communities from the mountain tundra vulnerable to strong functional shift. In addition, the joint effects of multiple drivers associated to grazing pressure and abiotic micro heterogeneity resulted in divergent community in the long-term. However, the different factors operated on different temporal scales. The vegetation depending on their origin and functional type also showed contrasted patterns from immediate and transient response to strong biological inertia. Our results reveal the potential for alternative response of plant communities depending on the interplay between the multiple drivers and the functional attributes of the vegetation. This interplay should drive plant communities toward divergent alternative states, but our ability to extrapolate longer-term trajectories from partial dynamics is challenged by the temporal differences in drivers pressure and plant response. The responses to manipulation appear as successional processes and

  6. Gradient Driven Fluctuations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cannell, David

    2005-01-01

    We have worked with our collaborators at the University of Milan (Professor Marzio Giglio and his group-supported by ASI) to define the science required to measure gradient driven fluctuations in the microgravity environment. Such a study would provide an accurate test of the extent to which the theory of fluctuating hydrodynamics can be used to predict the properties of fluids maintained in a stressed, non-equilibrium state. As mentioned above, the results should also provide direct visual insight into the behavior of a variety of fluid systems containing gradients or interfaces, when placed in the microgravity environment. With support from the current grant, we have identified three key systems for detailed investigation. These three systems are: 1) A single-component fluid to be studied in the presence of a temperature gradient; 2) A mixture of two organic liquids to be studied both in the presence of a temperature gradient, which induces a steady-state concentration gradient, and with the temperature gradient removed, but while the concentration gradient is dying by means of diffusion; 3) Various pairs of liquids undergoing free diffusion, including a proteidbuffer solution and pairs of mixtures having different concentrations, to allow us to vary the differences in fluid properties in a controlled manner.

  7. Transposable Elements Contribute to Activation of Maize Genes in Response to Abiotic Stress

    PubMed Central

    Makarevitch, Irina; Waters, Amanda J.; West, Patrick T.; Stitzer, Michelle; Hirsch, Candice N.; Ross-Ibarra, Jeffrey; Springer, Nathan M.

    2015-01-01

    Transposable elements (TEs) account for a large portion of the genome in many eukaryotic species. Despite their reputation as “junk” DNA or genomic parasites deleterious for the host, TEs have complex interactions with host genes and the potential to contribute to regulatory variation in gene expression. It has been hypothesized that TEs and genes they insert near may be transcriptionally activated in response to stress conditions. The maize genome, with many different types of TEs interspersed with genes, provides an ideal system to study the genome-wide influence of TEs on gene regulation. To analyze the magnitude of the TE effect on gene expression response to environmental changes, we profiled gene and TE transcript levels in maize seedlings exposed to a number of abiotic stresses. Many genes exhibit up- or down-regulation in response to these stress conditions. The analysis of TE families inserted within upstream regions of up-regulated genes revealed that between four and nine different TE families are associated with up-regulated gene expression in each of these stress conditions, affecting up to 20% of the genes up-regulated in response to abiotic stress, and as many as 33% of genes that are only expressed in response to stress. Expression of many of these same TE families also responds to the same stress conditions. The analysis of the stress-induced transcripts and proximity of the transposon to the gene suggests that these TEs may provide local enhancer activities that stimulate stress-responsive gene expression. Our data on allelic variation for insertions of several of these TEs show strong correlation between the presence of TE insertions and stress-responsive up-regulation of gene expression. Our findings suggest that TEs provide an important source of allelic regulatory variation in gene response to abiotic stress in maize. PMID:25569788

  8. Modulation of thiamine metabolism in Zea mays seedlings under conditions of abiotic stress.

    PubMed

    Rapala-Kozik, Maria; Kowalska, Ewa; Ostrowska, Katarzyna

    2008-01-01

    The responses of plants to abiotic stress involve the up-regulation of numerous metabolic pathways, including several major routes that engage thiamine diphosphate (TDP)-dependent enzymes. This suggests that the metabolism of thiamine (vitamin B1) and its phosphate esters in plants may be modulated under various stress conditions. In the present study, Zea mays seedlings were used as a model system to analyse for any relation between the plant response to abiotic stress and the properties of thiamine biosynthesis and activation. Conditions of drought, high salt, and oxidative stress were induced by polyethylene glycol, sodium chloride, and hydrogen peroxide, respectively. The expected increases in the abscisic acid levels and in the activities of antioxidant enzymes including catalase, ascorbate peroxidase, and glutathione reductase were found under each stress condition. The total thiamine compound content in the maize seedling leaves increased under each stress condition applied, with the strongest effects on these levels observed under the oxidative stress treatment. This increase was also found to be associated with changes in the relative distribution of free thiamine, thiamine monophosphate (TMP), and TDP. Surprisingly, the activity of the thiamine synthesizing enzyme, TMP synthase, responded poorly to abiotic stress, in contrast to the significant enhancement found for the activities of the TDP synthesizing enzyme, thiamine pyrophosphokinase, and a number of the TDP/TMP phosphatases. Finally, a moderate increase in the activity of transketolase, one of the major TDP-dependent enzymes, was detectable under conditions of salt and oxidative stress. These findings suggest a role of thiamine metabolism in the plant response to environmental stress.

  9. The combined effects of biotic and abiotic stress on species richness and connectance.

    PubMed

    Kulkarni, Devdutt; De Laender, Frederik

    2017-01-01

    Food web structure and species richness are both subject to biotic (e.g. predation pressure and resource limitation) and abiotic stress (e.g. environmental change). We investigated the combined effects of both types of stress on richness and connectance, and on their relationship, in a predator-prey system. To this end, we developed a mathematical two trophic level food-web model to investigate the effects of biotic and abiotic stress on food web connectance and species richness. We found negative effects of top-down and bottom-up control on prey and predator richness, respectively. Effects of top-down and bottom-up control were stronger when initial connectance was high and low, respectively. Bottom-up control could either aggravate or buffer negative effects of top-down control. Abiotic stress affecting predator richness had positive indirect effects on prey richness, but only when initial connectance was low. However, no indirect effects on predator richness were observed following direct effects on prey richness. Top-down and bottom-up control selected for weakly connected prey and highly connected predators, thereby decreasing and increasing connectance, respectively. Our simulations suggest a broad range of negative and positive richness-connectance relationships, thereby revisiting the often found negative relationship between richness and connectance in food webs. Our results suggest that (1) initial food-web connectance strongly influences the effects of biotic stress on richness and the occurrence of indirect effects on richness; and (2) the shape of the richness-connectance relationship depends on the type of biotic stress.

  10. Resilience of Penicillium resedanum LK6 and exogenous gibberellin in improving Capsicum annuum growth under abiotic stresses.

    PubMed

    Khan, Abdul Latif; Waqas, Muhammad; Lee, In-Jung

    2015-03-01

    Understanding how endophytic fungi mitigate abiotic stresses in plants will be important in a changing global climate. A few endophytes can produce phytohormones, but their ability to induce physiological changes in host plants during extreme environmental conditions are largely unexplored. In the present study, we investigated the ability of Penicillium resedanum LK6 to produce gibberellins and its role in improving the growth of Capsicum annuum L. under salinity, drought, and heat stresses. These effects were compared with exogenous application of gibberellic acid (GA3). Endophyte treatment significantly increased shoot length, biomass, chlorophyll content, and the photosynthesis rate compared with the uninfected control during abiotic stresses. The endophyte and combined endophyte + GA3 treatments significantly ameliorated the negative effects of stresses compared with the control. Stress-responsive endogenous abscisic acid and its encoding genes, such as zeaxanthin epoxidase, 9-cis-epoxycarotenoid dioxygenase 3, and ABA aldehyde oxidase 3, were significantly reduced in endophyte-treated plants under stress. Conversely, salicylic acid and biosynthesis-related gene (isochorismate synthase) had constitutive expressions while pathogenesis related (PR1 and PR5) genes showed attenuated responses during endophyte treatment under abiotic stresses. The present findings suggest that endophytes have effects comparable to those of exogenous GA3; both can significantly increase plant growth and yield under changing environmental conditions by reprogramming the host plant's physiological responses.

  11. Genetic mapping of abiotic stress responses in sorghum

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Due to rich genetic diversity for tolerance to various abiotic stress conditions, sorghum is an ideal system for genetic mapping and elucidation of genome regions that confer such response among cereal crops. Coupled with the development of DNA marker technologies and most recently the sequencing o...

  12. ABIOTIC DEGRADATION OF TRICHLOROETHYLENE UNDER THERMAL REMEDIATION CONDITIONS

    EPA Science Inventory

    The degradation of TCE (C2HCl3) to carbon dioxide (CO2) and chloride (Cl-) has been reported to occur during thermal remediation of subsurface environments. The overall goal of this study was to evaluate abiotic degradation of TCE at el...

  13. High Gradient Induction Cell

    SciTech Connect

    Caporaso, G J

    2004-11-29

    A concept being developed for high current electron beams may have application to HEDP and is described here. It involves the use of planar Blumlein stacks placed inside an induction cell. The output end of the Blumlein stack is applied across a high gradient insulator (HGI). These insulators have been used successfully in the presence of kilo Ampere-level electron beam currents for tens of nanoseconds at gradients of 20 MV/meter.

  14. Reactive oxygen species signaling in plants under abiotic stress.

    PubMed

    Choudhury, Shuvasish; Panda, Piyalee; Sahoo, Lingaraj; Panda, Sanjib Kumar

    2013-04-01

    Abiotic stresses like heavy metals, drought, salt, low temperature, etc. are the major factors that limit crop productivity and yield. These stresses are associated with production of certain deleterious chemical entities called reactive oxygen species (ROS), which include hydrogen peroxide (H₂O₂), superoxide radical (O₂(-)), hydroxyl radical (OH(-)), etc. ROS are capable of inducing cellular damage by degradation of proteins, inactivation of enzymes, alterations in the gene and interfere in various pathways of metabolic importance. Our understanding on ROS in response to abiotic stress is revolutionized with the advancements in plant molecular biology, where the basic understanding on chemical behavior of ROS is better understood. Understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in ROS generation and its potential role during abiotic stress is important to identify means by which plant growth and metabolism can be regulated under acute stress conditions. ROS mediated oxidative stress, which is the key to understand stress related toxicity have been widely studied in many plants and the results in those studies clearly revealed that oxidative stress is the main symptom of toxicity. Plants have their own antioxidant defense mechanisms to encounter ROS that is of enzymic and non-enzymic nature . Coordinated activities of these antioxidants regulate ROS detoxification and reduces oxidative load in plants. Though ROS are always regarded to impart negative impact on plants, some reports consider them to be important in regulating key cellular functions; however, such reports in plant are limited. Molecular approaches to understand ROS metabolism and signaling have opened new avenues to comprehend its critical role in abiotic stress. ROS also acts as secondary messenger that signals key cellular functions like cell proliferation, apoptosis and necrosis. In higher eukaryotes, ROS signaling is not fully understood. In this review we summarize our understanding on ROS

  15. Abiotic ozone and oxygen in atmospheres similar to prebiotic Earth

    SciTech Connect

    Domagal-Goldman, Shawn D.; Segura, Antígona; Claire, Mark W.; Robinson, Tyler D.; Meadows, Victoria S.

    2014-09-10

    The search for life on planets outside our solar system will use spectroscopic identification of atmospheric biosignatures. The most robust remotely detectable potential biosignature is considered to be the detection of oxygen (O{sub 2}) or ozone (O{sub 3}) simultaneous to methane (CH{sub 4}) at levels indicating fluxes from the planetary surface in excess of those that could be produced abiotically. Here we use an altitude-dependent photochemical model with the enhanced lower boundary conditions necessary to carefully explore abiotic O{sub 2} and O{sub 3} production on lifeless planets with a wide variety of volcanic gas fluxes and stellar energy distributions. On some of these worlds, we predict limited O{sub 2} and O{sub 3} buildup, caused by fast chemical production of these gases. This results in detectable abiotic O{sub 3} and CH{sub 4} features in the UV-visible, but no detectable abiotic O{sub 2} features. Thus, simultaneous detection of O{sub 3} and CH{sub 4} by a UV-visible mission is not a strong biosignature without proper contextual information. Discrimination between biological and abiotic sources of O{sub 2} and O{sub 3} is possible through analysis of the stellar and atmospheric context—particularly redox state and O atom inventory—of the planet in question. Specifically, understanding the spectral characteristics of the star and obtaining a broad wavelength range for planetary spectra should allow more robust identification of false positives for life. This highlights the importance of wide spectral coverage for future exoplanet characterization missions. Specifically, discrimination between true and false positives may require spectral observations that extend into infrared wavelengths and provide contextual information on the planet's atmospheric chemistry.

  16. Genome-wide identification, expression analysis of auxin-responsive GH3 family genes in maize (Zea mays L.) under abiotic stresses.

    PubMed

    Feng, Shangguo; Yue, Runqing; Tao, Sun; Yang, Yanjun; Zhang, Lei; Xu, Mingfeng; Wang, Huizhong; Shen, Chenjia

    2015-09-01

    Auxin is involved in different aspects of plant growth and development by regulating the expression of auxin-responsive family genes. As one of the three major auxin-responsive families, GH3 (Gretchen Hagen3) genes participate in auxin homeostasis by catalyzing auxin conjugation and bounding free indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) to amino acids. However, how GH3 genes function in responses to abiotic stresses and various hormones in maize is largely unknown. Here, the latest updated maize (Zea mays L.) reference genome sequence was used to characterize and analyze the ZmGH3 family genes from maize. The results showed that 13 ZmGH3 genes were mapped on five maize chromosomes (total 10 chromosomes). Highly diversified gene structures and tissue-specific expression patterns suggested the possibility of function diversification for these genes in response to environmental stresses and hormone stimuli. The expression patterns of ZmGH3 genes are responsive to several abiotic stresses (salt, drought and cadmium) and major stress-related hormones (abscisic acid, salicylic acid and jasmonic acid). Various environmental factors suppress auxin free IAA contents in maize roots suggesting that these abiotic stresses and hormones might alter GH3-mediated auxin levels. The responsiveness of ZmGH3 genes to a wide range of abiotic stresses and stress-related hormones suggested that ZmGH3s are involved in maize tolerance to environmental stresses.

  17. Spatially dependent biotic and abiotic factors drive survivorship and physical structure of green roof vegetation.

    PubMed

    Aloisio, Jason M; Palmer, Matthew I; Giampieri, Mario A; Tuininga, Amy R; Lewis, James D

    2017-01-01

    Plant survivorship depends on biotic and abiotic factors that vary at local and regional scales. This survivorship, in turn, has cascading effects on community composition and the physical structure of vegetation. Survivorship of native plant species is variable among populations planted in environmentally stressful habitats like urban roofs, but the degree to which factors at different spatial scales affect survivorship in urban systems is not well understood. We evaluated the effects of biotic and abiotic factors on survivorship, composition, and physical structure of two native perennial species assemblages, one characterized by a mixture of C4 grasses and forbs (Hempstead Plains, HP) and one characterized by a mixture of C3 grasses and forbs (Rocky Summit, RS), that were initially sown at equal ratios of growth forms (5:1:4; grass, N-fixing forb and non-N-fixing forb) in replicate 2-m(2) plots planted on 10 roofs in New York City (New York, USA). Of 24 000 installed plants, 40% survived 23 months after planting. Within-roof factors explained 71% of variation in survivorship, with biotic (species identity and assemblage) factors accounting for 54% of the overall variation, and abiotic (growing medium depth and plot location) factors explaining 17% of the variation. Among-roof factors explained 29% of variation in survivorship and increased solar radiation correlated with decreased survivorship. While growing medium properties (pH, nutrients, metals) differed among roofs there was no correlation with survivorship. Percent cover and sward height increased with increasing survivorship. At low survivorship, cover of the HP assemblage was greater compared to the RS assemblage. Sward height of the HP assemblage was about two times greater compared to the RS assemblage. These results highlight the effects of local biotic and regional abiotic drivers on community composition and physical structure of green roof vegetation. As a result, initial green roof plant

  18. Exploration of Genetic and Genomic Resources for Abiotic and Biotic Stress Tolerance in Pearl Millet

    PubMed Central

    Shivhare, Radha; Lata, Charu

    2017-01-01

    Pearl millet is one of the most important small-grained C4 Panicoid crops with a large genome size (∼2352 Mb), short life cycle and outbreeding nature. It is highly resilient to areas with scanty rain and high temperature. Pearl millet is a nutritionally superior staple crop for people inhabiting hot, drought-prone arid and semi-arid regions of South Asia and Africa where it is widely grown and used for food, hay, silage, bird feed, building material, and fuel. Having excellent nutrient composition and exceptional buffering capacity against variable climatic conditions and pathogen attack makes pearl millet a wonderful model crop for stress tolerance studies. Pearl millet germplasm show a large range of genotypic and phenotypic variations including tolerance to abiotic and biotic stresses. Conventional breeding for enhancing abiotic and biotic stress resistance in pearl millet have met with considerable success, however, in last few years various novel approaches including functional genomics and molecular breeding have been attempted in this crop for augmenting yield under adverse environmental conditions, and there is still a lot of scope for further improvement using genomic tools. Discovery and use of various DNA-based markers such as EST-SSRs, DArT, CISP, and SSCP-SNP in pearl millet not only help in determining population structure and genetic diversity but also prove to be important for developing strategies for crop improvement at a faster rate and greater precision. Molecular marker-based genetic linkage maps and identification of genomic regions determining yield under abiotic stresses particularly terminal drought have paved way for marker-assisted selection and breeding of pearl millet cultivars. Reference collections and marker-assisted backcrossing have also been used to improve biotic stress resistance in pearl millet specifically to downy mildew. Whole genome sequencing of pearl millet genome will give new insights for processing of functional

  19. Resistance Responses of Potato to Vesicular-Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi under Varying Abiotic Phosphorus Levels.

    PubMed

    McArthur, D A; Knowles, N R

    1992-09-01

    In mycorrhizal symbioses, susceptibility of a host plant to infection by fungi is influenced by environmental factors, especially the availability of soil phosphorus. This study describes morphological and biochemical details of interactions between a vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal (VAM) fungus and potato (Solanum tuberosum L. cv Russet Burbank) plants, with a particular focus on the physiological basis for P-induced resistance of roots to infection. Root infection by the VAM fungus Glomus fasciculatum ([Thaxt. sensu Gerdemann] Gerdemann and Trappe) was extensive for plants grown with low abiotic P supply, and plant biomass accumulation was enhanced by the symbiosis. The capacity of excised roots from P-deficient plants to produce ethylene in the presence or absence of exogenous 1-amino cyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) was markedly reduced by VAM infection. This apparent inhibition of ACC oxidase (ACC(ox)) activity was localized to areas containing infected roots, as demonstrated in split-root studies. Furthermore, leachate from VAM roots contained a potent water-soluble inhibitor of ethylene generation from exogenous ACC by nonmycorrhizal (NM) roots. The leachate from VAM-infected roots had a higher concentration of phenolics, relative to that from NM roots. Moreover, the rates of ethylene formation and phenolic concentration in leachates from VAM roots were inversely correlated, suggesting that this inhibitor may be of a phenolic nature. The specific activity of extracellular peroxidase recovered in root leachates was not stimulated by VAM infection, although activity on a fresh weight basis was significantly enhanced, reflecting the fact that VAM roots had higher protein content than NM roots. Polyphenol oxidase activity of roots did not differ between NM and VAM roots. These results characterize the low resistance response of P-deficient plants to VAM infection. When plants were grown with higher abiotic P supply, the relative benefit of the VAM symbiosis

  20. A membrane-bound NAC transcription factor as an integrator of biotic and abiotic stress signals.

    PubMed

    Seo, Pil Joon; Park, Chung-Mo

    2010-05-01

    Transcription factors are central components of gene regulatory networks that mediate virtually all aspects of growth and developmental processes in biological systems. The activity of transcription factors is regulated at multiple steps, such as gene transcription, posttranscriptional RNA processing, posttranslational modification, protein-protein interactions, and controlled protein turnover. Controlled activation of dormant, membrane-bound transcription factor (MTF) is an intriguing regulatory mechanism that ensures quick transcriptional responses to environmental fluctuations in plants, in which various stress hormones serve as signaling mediators. NTL6 is proteolytically activated upon exposure to cold and induces expression of the Pathogenesis-Related (PR) genes. The membrane-mediated cold signaling in inducing pathogen resistance is considered to be an adaptive strategy that protects plants against infection by hydrophilic pathogens frequently occurring during cold season. We found that NTL6 also mediates abscisic acid (ABA) regulation of abiotic stress responses in Arabidopsis. NTL6 is proteolytically activated by ABA. Transgenic plants overexpressing a nuclear NTL6 form (35S:6ΔC) exhibited a hypersensitive response to ABA and high salinity in seed germination. Taken together, these observations indicate that NTL6 plays an integrative role in plant responses to both biotic and abiotic stress conditions.

  1. ABA Inducible Rice Protein Phosphatase 2C Confers ABA Insensitivity and Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Arabidopsis

    PubMed Central

    Singh, Amarjeet; Jha, Saroj K.; Bagri, Jayram; Pandey, Girdhar K.

    2015-01-01

    Arabidopsis PP2C belonging to group A have been extensively worked out and known to negatively regulate ABA signaling. However, rice (Oryza sativa) orthologs of Arabidopsis group A PP2C are scarcely characterized functionally. We have identified a group A PP2C from rice (OsPP108), which is highly inducible under ABA, salt and drought stresses and localized predominantly in the nucleus. Genetic analysis revealed that Arabidopsis plants overexpressing OsPP108 are highly insensitive to ABA and tolerant to high salt and mannitol stresses during seed germination, root growth and overall seedling growth. At adult stage, OsPP108 overexpression leads to high tolerance to salt, mannitol and drought stresses with far better physiological parameters such as water loss, fresh weight, chlorophyll content and photosynthetic potential (Fv/Fm) in transgenic Arabidopsis plants. Expression profile of various stress marker genes in OsPP108 overexpressing plants revealed interplay of ABA dependent and independent pathway for abiotic stress tolerance. Overall, this study has identified a potential rice group A PP2C, which regulates ABA signaling negatively and abiotic stress signaling positively. Transgenic rice plants overexpressing this gene might provide an answer to the problem of low crop yield and productivity during adverse environmental conditions. PMID:25886365

  2. Protein Tyrosine Nitration during Development and Abiotic Stress Response in Plants

    PubMed Central

    Mata-Pérez, Capilla; Begara-Morales, Juan C.; Chaki, Mounira; Sánchez-Calvo, Beatriz; Valderrama, Raquel; Padilla, María N.; Corpas, Francisco J.; Barroso, Juan B.

    2016-01-01

    In recent years, the study of nitric oxide (NO) in plant systems has attracted the attention of many researchers. A growing number of investigations have shown the significance of NO as a signal molecule or as a molecule involved in the response against (a)biotic processes. NO can be responsible of the post-translational modifications (NO-PTM) of target proteins by mechanisms such as the nitration of tyrosine residues. The study of protein tyrosine nitration during development and under biotic and adverse environmental conditions has increased in the last decade; nevertheless, there is also an endogenous nitration which seems to have regulatory functions. Moreover, the advance in proteome techniques has enabled the identification of new nitrated proteins, showing the high variability among plant organs, development stage and species. Finally, it may be important to discern between a widespread protein nitration because of greater RNS content, and the specific nitration of key targets which could affect cell-signaling processes. In view of the above point, we present a mini-review that offers an update about the endogenous protein tyrosine nitration, during plant development and under several abiotic stress conditions. PMID:27895655

  3. Microarray: gateway to unravel the mystery of abiotic stresses in plants.

    PubMed

    Gul, Ambreen; Ahad, Ammara; Akhtar, Sidra; Ahmad, Zarnab; Rashid, Bushra; Husnain, Tayyab

    2016-04-01

    Environmental factors, such as drought, salinity, extreme temperature, ozone poisoning, metal toxicity etc., significantly affect crops. To study these factors and to design a possible remedy, biological experimental data concerning these crops requires the quantification of gene expression and comparative analyses at high throughput level. Development of microarrays is the platform to study the differential expression profiling of the targeted genes. This technology can be applied to gene expression studies, ranging from individual genes to whole genome level. It is now possible to perform the quantification of the differential expression of genes on a glass slide in a single experiment. This review documents recently published reports on the use of microarrays for the identification of genes in different plant species playing their role in different cellular networks under abiotic stresses. The regulation pattern of differentially-expressed genes, individually or in group form, may help us to study different pathways and functions at the cellular and molecular level. These studies can provide us with a lot of useful information to unravel the mystery of abiotic stresses in important crop plants.

  4. Transgenic Alfalfa Plants Expressing the Sweetpotato Orange Gene Exhibit Enhanced Abiotic Stress Tolerance

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Zhi; Ke, Qingbo; Kim, Myoung Duck; Kim, Sun Ha; Ji, Chang Yoon; Jeong, Jae Cheol; Lee, Haeng-Soon; Park, Woo Sung; Ahn, Mi-Jeong; Li, Hongbing; Xu, Bingcheng; Deng, Xiping; Lee, Sang-Hoon; Lim, Yong Pyo; Kwak, Sang-Soo

    2015-01-01

    Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), a perennial forage crop with high nutritional content, is widely distributed in various environments worldwide. We recently demonstrated that the sweetpotato Orange gene (IbOr) is involved in increasing carotenoid accumulation and enhancing resistance to multiple abiotic stresses. In this study, in an effort to improve the nutritional quality and environmental stress tolerance of alfalfa, we transferred the IbOr gene into alfalfa (cv. Xinjiang Daye) under the control of an oxidative stress-inducible peroxidase (SWPA2) promoter through Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation. Among the 11 transgenic alfalfa lines (referred to as SOR plants), three lines (SOR2, SOR3, and SOR8) selected based on their IbOr transcript levels were examined for their tolerance to methyl viologen (MV)-induced oxidative stress in a leaf disc assay. The SOR plants exhibited less damage in response to MV-mediated oxidative stress and salt stress than non-transgenic plants. The SOR plants also exhibited enhanced tolerance to drought stress, along with higher total carotenoid levels. The results suggest that SOR alfalfa plants would be useful as forage crops with improved nutritional value and increased tolerance to multiple abiotic stresses, which would enhance the development of sustainable agriculture on marginal lands. PMID:25946429

  5. The NAC family transcription factor OsNAP confers abiotic stress response through the ABA pathway.

    PubMed

    Chen, Xu; Wang, Yaofeng; Lv, Bo; Li, Jie; Luo, Liqiong; Lu, Songchong; Zhang, Xuan; Ma, Hong; Ming, Feng

    2014-03-01

    Plants respond to environmental stresses by altering gene expression, and several genes have been found to mediate stress-induced expression, but many additional factors are yet to be identified. OsNAP is a member of the NAC transcription factor family; it is localized in the nucleus, and shows transcriptional activator activity in yeast. Analysis of the OsNAP transcript levels in rice showed that this gene was significantly induced by ABA and abiotic stresses, including high salinity, drought and low temperature. Rice plants overexpressing OsNAP did not show growth retardation, but showed a significantly reduced rate of water loss, enhanced tolerance to high salinity, drought and low temperature at the vegetative stage, and improved yield under drought stress at the flowering stage. Microarray analysis of transgenic plants overexpressing OsNAP revealed that many stress-related genes were up-regulated, including OsPP2C06/OsABI2, OsPP2C09, OsPP2C68 and OsSalT, and some genes coding for stress-related transcription factors (OsDREB1A, OsMYB2, OsAP37 and OsAP59). Our data suggest that OsNAP functions as a transcriptional activator that plays a role in mediating abiotic stress responses in rice.

  6. ABA inducible rice protein phosphatase 2C confers ABA insensitivity and abiotic stress tolerance in Arabidopsis.

    PubMed

    Singh, Amarjeet; Jha, Saroj K; Bagri, Jayram; Pandey, Girdhar K

    2015-01-01

    Arabidopsis PP2C belonging to group A have been extensively worked out and known to negatively regulate ABA signaling. However, rice (Oryza sativa) orthologs of Arabidopsis group A PP2C are scarcely characterized functionally. We have identified a group A PP2C from rice (OsPP108), which is highly inducible under ABA, salt and drought stresses and localized predominantly in the nucleus. Genetic analysis revealed that Arabidopsis plants overexpressing OsPP108 are highly insensitive to ABA and tolerant to high salt and mannitol stresses during seed germination, root growth and overall seedling growth. At adult stage, OsPP108 overexpression leads to high tolerance to salt, mannitol and drought stresses with far better physiological parameters such as water loss, fresh weight, chlorophyll content and photosynthetic potential (Fv/Fm) in transgenic Arabidopsis plants. Expression profile of various stress marker genes in OsPP108 overexpressing plants revealed interplay of ABA dependent and independent pathway for abiotic stress tolerance. Overall, this study has identified a potential rice group A PP2C, which regulates ABA signaling negatively and abiotic stress signaling positively. Transgenic rice plants overexpressing this gene might provide an answer to the problem of low crop yield and productivity during adverse environmental conditions.

  7. Abiotic autumnal organic matter deposition and grazing disturbance effects on epilithic biofilm succession.

    PubMed

    Lang, Jennifer M; McEwan, Ryan W; Benbow, M Eric

    2015-06-01

    Stream epilithic biofilm community assembly is influenced in part by environmental factors. Autumn leaf deposition is an annual resource subsidy to streams, but the physical effects of leaves settling on epilithic biofilms has not been investigated.We hypothesized that bacterial and microeukaryotic community assembly would follow a successional sequence that was mediated by abiotic effects that were simulating leaf deposition (reduced light and flow) and by biotic (snail grazing)disturbance. This hypothesis was tested using an in situ experimental manipulation. Ambient biofilms had greater algal biomass and distinct ARISA community profiles compared to biofilms developed under manipulated conditions. There were no significant differences in biofilm characteristics associated with grazing, suggesting that results were driven by reduced light/flow rather than invertebrate disturbance; however, grazing appeared to increase bacterial taxon richness.Interestingly at day 38, all treatments grouped together in ordination space and had similar algal/total biomass ratios. We suggest that algal priming promoted a shift in ambient biofilms but that this effect is dependent upon successional timing of algal establishment. These data demonstrate that abiotic effects were more influential than local grazing disturbance and imply that leaf litter deposition may have bottom-up effects on the stream ecosystem through altered epilithic biofilms.

  8. A database of annotated tentative orthologs from crop abiotic stress transcripts.

    PubMed

    Balaji, Jayashree; Crouch, Jonathan H; Petite, Prasad V N S; Hoisington, David A

    2006-10-07

    A minimal requirement to initiate a comparative genomics study on plant responses to abiotic stresses is a dataset of orthologous sequences. The availability of a large amount of sequence information, including those derived from stress cDNA libraries allow for the identification of stress related genes and orthologs associated with the stress response. Orthologous sequences serve as tools to explore genes and their relationships across species. For this purpose, ESTs from stress cDNA libraries across 16 crop species including 6 important cereal crops and 10 dicots were systematically collated and subjected to bioinformatics analysis such as clustering, grouping of tentative orthologous sets, identification of protein motifs/patterns in the predicted protein sequence, and annotation with stress conditions, tissue/library source and putative function. All data are available to the scientific community at http://intranet.icrisat.org/gt1/tog/homepage.htm. We believe that the availability of annotated plant abiotic stress ortholog sets will be a valuable resource for researchers studying the biology of environmental stresses in plant systems, molecular evolution and genomics.

  9. Modelling Stream-Fish Functional Traits in Reference Conditions: Regional and Local Environmental Correlates

    PubMed Central

    Oliveira, João M.; Segurado, Pedro; Santos, José M.; Teixeira, Amílcar; Ferreira, Maria T.; Cortes, Rui V.

    2012-01-01

    Identifying the environmental gradients that control the functional structure of biological assemblages in reference conditions is fundamental to help river management and predict the consequences of anthropogenic stressors. Fish metrics (density of ecological guilds, and species richness) from 117 least disturbed stream reaches in several western Iberia river basins were modelled with generalized linear models in order to investigate the importance of regional- and local-scale abiotic gradients to variation in functional structure of fish assemblages. Functional patterns were primarily associated with regional features, such as catchment elevation and slope, rainfall, and drainage area. Spatial variations of fish guilds were thus associated with broad geographic gradients, showing (1) pronounced latitudinal patterns, affected mainly by climatic factors and topography, or (2) at the basin level, strong upstream-downstream patterns related to stream position in the longitudinal gradient. Maximum native species richness was observed in midsize streams in accordance with the river continuum concept. The findings of our study emphasized the need to use a multi-scale approach in order to fully assess the factors that govern the functional organization of biotic assemblages in ‘natural’ streams, as well as to improve biomonitoring and restoration of fluvial ecosystems. PMID:23029242

  10. Evaluation of abiotic stresses of temperate estuaries by using resident zooplankton: A community vs. population approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Paul, Sourav; Wooldridge, Tris; Perissinotto, Renzo

    2016-03-01

    By using permanently resident zooplankton, we assessed the ecological level (i.e. community and or population) that provides more in-depth indication of the stress related to salinity and temperature fluctuations in temperate estuaries. In the semi-arid warm temperate South Africa, the Gamtoos estuary experiences a full salinity gradient maintained by irregular but relatively frequent freshwater pulses, whereas the Kromme estuary is euhaline throughout its extent and receives only occasional freshwater inputs when the storage reservoir six km upstream overtops. Changes in the species evenness index of Pielou and the abundances of estuarine resident zooplankton species were modelled against salinity and temperature variations of respective estuaries. In the Gamtoos estuary, response of individual populations provided more in-depth information regarding zooplankton variability. However the most abundant resident zooplankton i.e. Acartia longipatella a copepod was not the best predictor of the salinity and temperature fluctuations. Conversely, the Kromme estuary study provided insights into the potential vulnerability of the resident estuarine zooplankton community to cold. Further, the population level study exposed responses of specific species against salinity changes. We discuss the pros and cons of designing ecological indicators of abiotic stress based on specific species, targeted to specific ecological level, and needs of considering the frequency and magnitude of fresh water inflow in an estuary. A suggestion is to use specific taxonomic group(s) (e.g. Copepods) to better understand the abiotic stress factors of specific set of estuaries (e.g. freshwater rich/starved) until a 'one size fits all' indicator is found for temperate estuaries.

  11. High Gradient Accelerator Research

    SciTech Connect

    Temkin, Richard

    2016-07-12

    The goal of the MIT program of research on high gradient acceleration is the development of advanced acceleration concepts that lead to a practical and affordable next generation linear collider at the TeV energy level. Other applications, which are more near-term, include accelerators for materials processing; medicine; defense; mining; security; and inspection. The specific goals of the MIT program are: • Pioneering theoretical research on advanced structures for high gradient acceleration, including photonic structures and metamaterial structures; evaluation of the wakefields in these advanced structures • Experimental research to demonstrate the properties of advanced structures both in low-power microwave cold test and high-power, high-gradient test at megawatt power levels • Experimental research on microwave breakdown at high gradient including studies of breakdown phenomena induced by RF electric fields and RF magnetic fields; development of new diagnostics of the breakdown process • Theoretical research on the physics and engineering features of RF vacuum breakdown • Maintaining and improving the Haimson / MIT 17 GHz accelerator, the highest frequency operational accelerator in the world, a unique facility for accelerator research • Providing the Haimson / MIT 17 GHz accelerator facility as a facility for outside users • Active participation in the US DOE program of High Gradient Collaboration, including joint work with SLAC and with Los Alamos National Laboratory; participation of MIT students in research at the national laboratories • Training the next generation of Ph. D. students in the field of accelerator physics.

  12. Contrasting assembly processes in a bacterial metacommunity along a desiccation gradient

    PubMed Central

    Valverde, Angel; Makhalanyane, Thulani P.; Cowan, Don A.

    2014-01-01

    Understanding the relative influence of deterministic and stochastic processes in driving community assembly is a major goal in microbial ecology. Here, we have investigated the influence of these processes on bacterial community assembly in the lateral sediments of a salt pan along a desiccation gradient over a three-year period. We show that the role of deterministic processes increases in communities distant from the water line (shaped by drought), probably as a result of the interplay between abiotic and biotic factors. By contrast, the influence of stochastic processes on bacterial community assembly was higher in the sediments closest to the water line, more likely due to lower levels of abiotic stress. Our results demonstrate that both deterministic and stochastic processes influence bacterial community assembly in salt pan sediments, and that their relative influence varies along a desiccation gradient. PMID:25520714

  13. Global weather and local butterflies: variable responses to a large-scale climate pattern along an elevational gradient.

    PubMed

    Pardikes, Nicholas A; Shapiro, Arthur M; Dyer, Lee A; Forister, Matthew L

    2015-11-01

    Understanding the spatial and temporal scales at which environmental variation affects populations of plants and animals is an important goal for modern population biology, especially in the context of shifting climatic conditions. The El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) generates climatic extremes of interannual variation, and has been shown to have significant effects on the diversity and abundance of a variety of terrestrial taxa. However, studies that have investigated the influence of such large-scale climate phenomena have often been limited in spatial and taxonomic scope. We used 23 years (1988-2010) of a long-term butterfly monitoring data set to explore associations between variation in population abundance of 28 butterfly species and variation in ENSO-derived sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTA) across 10 sites that encompass an elevational range of 2750 m in the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California. Our analysis detected a positive, regional effect of increased SSTA on butterfly abundance (wetter and warmer years predict more butterfly observations), yet the influence of SSTA on butterfly abundances varied along the elevational gradient, and also differed greatly among the 28 species. Migratory species had the strongest relationships with ENSO-derived SSTA, suggesting that large-scale climate indices are particularly valuable for understanding biotic-abiotic relationships of the most mobile species. In general, however, the ecological effects of large-scale climatic factors are context dependent between sites and species. Our results illustrate the power of long-term data sets for revealing pervasive yet subtle climatic effects, but also caution against expectations derived from exemplar species or single locations in the study of biotic-abiotic interactions.

  14. Plant-hummingbird interactions in the West Indies: floral specialisation gradients associated with environment and hummingbird size.

    PubMed

    Dalsgaard, Bo; Martín González, Ana M; Olesen, Jens M; Ollerton, Jeff; Timmermann, Allan; Andersen, Laila H; Tossas, Adrianne G

    2009-04-01

    Floral phenotype and pollination system of a plant may be influenced by the abiotic environment and the local pollinator assemblage. This was investigated in seven plant-hummingbird assemblages on the West Indian islands of Grenada, Dominica and Puerto Rico. We report all hummingbird and insect pollinators of 49 hummingbird-pollinated plant species, as well as six quantitative and semi-quantitative floral characters that determine visitor restriction, attraction and reward. Using nonmetric multidimensional scaling analysis, we show that hummingbird-pollinated plants in the West Indies separate in floral phenotypic space into two gradients-one associated with the abiotic environment and another with hummingbird size. Plants pollinated by large, long-billed hummingbirds had flowers with long corolla tube, large amounts of nectar and showy orange-red colouration. These attracted few or no insect species, whereas plants pollinated by small, short-billed hummingbirds were frequently pollinated by insects, particularly lepidopterans. The separation of plants related to environmental factors showed that species in the wet and cold highlands produced large amounts of dilute nectar, possessed no or a weak odour, and were associated with few insects, particularly few hymenopterans, compared to plants in the dry and warm lowlands. The most specialised hummingbird-pollinated plants are found in the West Indian highlands where they are pollinated by mainly large, long-billed hummingbirds. At the other extreme, highly generalised plants growing in the dry and warm lowlands are pollinated by small, short-billed hummingbirds and numerous insect species. This illustrates that, even within the hummingbird-pollinated flora, pollination syndrome and the degree of specialisation may vary tremendously depending on pollinator morphology and environment.

  15. HIGH GRADIENT INDUCTION ACCELERATOR

    SciTech Connect

    Caporaso, G J; Sampayan, S; Chen, Y; Blackfield, D; Harris, J; Hawkins, S; Holmes, C; Krogh, M; Nelson, S; Nunnally, W; Paul, A; Poole, B; Rhodes, M; Sanders, D; Selenes, K; Sullivan, J; Wang, L; Watson, J

    2007-06-21

    A new type of compact induction accelerator is under development at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory that promises to increase the average accelerating gradient by at least an order of magnitude over that of existing induction machines. The machine is based on the use of high gradient vacuum insulators, advanced dielectric materials and switches and is stimulated by the desire for compact flash x-ray radiography sources. Research describing an extreme variant of this technology aimed at proton therapy for cancer will be described. Progress in applying this technology to several applications will be reviewed.

  16. Comprehensive Analysis and Expression Profiling of the OsLAX and OsABCB Auxin Transporter Gene Families in Rice (Oryza sativa) under Phytohormone Stimuli and Abiotic Stresses

    PubMed Central

    Chai, Chenglin; Subudhi, Prasanta K.

    2016-01-01

    The plant hormone auxin regulates many aspects of plant growth and developmental processes. Auxin gradient is formed in plant as a result of polar auxin transportation by three types of auxin transporters such as OsLAX, OsPIN, and OsABCB. We report here the analysis of two rice auxin transporter gene families, OsLAX and OsABCB, using bioinformatics tools, publicly accessible microarray data, and quantitative RT-PCR. There are 5 putative OsLAXs and 22 putative OsABCBs in rice genome, which were mapped on 8 chromosomes. The exon-intron structure of OsLAX genes and properties of deduced proteins were relatively conserved within grass family, while that of OsABCB genes varied greatly. Both constitutive and organ/tissue specific expression patterns were observed in OsLAXs and OsABCBs. Analysis of evolutionarily closely related “gene pairs” together with organ/tissue specific expression revealed possible “function gaining” and “function losing” events during rice evolution. Most OsLAX and OsABCB genes were regulated by drought and salt stress, as well as hormonal stimuli [auxin and Abscisic Acid (ABA)], which suggests extensive crosstalk between abiotic stresses and hormone signaling pathways. The existence of large number of auxin and stress related cis-regulatory elements in promoter regions might account for their massive responsiveness of these genes to these environmental stimuli, indicating complexity of regulatory networks involved in various developmental and physiological processes. The comprehensive analysis of OsLAX and OsABCB auxin transporter genes in this study would be helpful for understanding the biological significance of these gene families in hormone signaling and adaptation of rice plants to unfavorable environments. PMID:27200061

  17. Environmental Gradient Analysis, Ordination, and Classification in Environmental Impact Assessments.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1987-09-01

    the first canonical variate axis and produced a good separation of study sites in canonical space, but was ecologically interpretable on the basis of...generally hierarchical. In other words, the resulting classification produces ranked classes where the members of inferior ranking cluster- become members of...larger h’gher-ranking clusters. The ranking produces the well known dendro- gram tree. This is a logical procedure for taxonomic data and for

  18. An abiotic analogue of the nuclear pore complex hydrogel.

    PubMed

    Bird, Sean P; Baker, Lane A

    2011-09-12

    We describe an abiotic hydrogel that mimics selectivity of the nuclear pore complex. Copolymerization of peptide tetramers (phenylalanine-serine-phenylalanine-glycine, FSFG) with acrylamide results in hydrophobic interactions significant enough to allow the formation of freestanding hydrogel structures. Incorporation of FSFG motifs also renders the hydrogels selective. Selective binding of importins and nuclear transport receptor-cargo complexes is qualitatively demonstrated and compared with polyacrylamide, hydrogels prepared from a control peptide, and hydrogels prepared from the nuclear pore complex protein Nsp1. These abiotic hydrogels will enable further studies of the unique transport mechanisms of the nuclear pore complex and provide an interesting paradigm for the future development of synthetic platforms for separations and selective interfaces.

  19. Abiotic mediation of a mutualism drives herbivore abundance.

    PubMed

    Mooney, Emily H; Phillips, Joseph S; Tillberg, Chadwick V; Sandrow, Cheryl; Nelson, Annika S; Mooney, Kailen A

    2016-01-01

    Species abundance is typically determined by the abiotic environment, but the extent to which such effects occur through the mediation of biotic interactions, including mutualisms, is unknown. We explored how light environment (open meadow vs. shaded understory) mediates the abundance and ant tending of the aphid Aphis helianthi feeding on the herb Ligusticum porteri. Yearly surveys consistently found aphids to be more than 17-fold more abundant on open meadow plants than on shaded understory plants. Manipulations demonstrated that this abundance pattern was not due to the direct effects of light environment on aphid performance, or indirectly through host plant quality or the effects of predators. Instead, open meadows had higher ant abundance and per capita rates of aphid tending and, accordingly, ants increased aphid population growth in meadow but not understory environments. The abiotic environment thus drives the abundance of this herbivore exclusively through the mediation of a protection mutualism.

  20. Abiotic pyrite formation produces a large Fe isotope fractionation.

    PubMed

    Guilbaud, Romain; Butler, Ian B; Ellam, Rob M

    2011-06-24

    The iron isotope composition of sedimentary pyrite has been proposed as a potential proxy to trace microbial metabolism and the redox evolution of the oceans. We demonstrate that Fe isotope fractionation accompanies abiotic pyrite formation in the absence of Fe(II) redox change. Combined fractionation factors between Fe(II)(aq), mackinawite, and pyrite permit the generation of pyrite with Fe isotope signatures that nearly encapsulate the full range of sedimentary δ(56)Fe(pyrite) recorded in Archean to modern sediments. We propose that Archean negative Fe isotope excursions reflect partial Fe(II)(aq) utilization during abiotic pyrite formation rather than microbial dissimilatory Fe(III) reduction. Late Proterozoic to modern sediments may reflect greater Fe(II)(aq) utilization and variations in source composition.

  1. Experiments on the abiotic amplification of optical activity

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bonner, W. A.; Blair, N. E.; Dirbas, F. M.

    1981-01-01

    Experiments concerning the physical mechanisms for the abiotic generation and chemical mechanisms for the amplification of optical activity in biological compounds are reviewed. Attention is given to experiments involving the determination of the differential adsorption of racemic amino acids on d- and l-quartz, the asymmetric photolysis of racemic amino acids by circularly polarized light, and the asymmetric radiolysis of solid amino acids by longitudinally polarized electrons, and the enantiomeric enrichments thus obtained are noted. Further experiments on the amplification of the chirality in the polymerization of D, L-amino acid mixtures and the hydrolysis of D-, L-, and D, L-polypeptides are discussed. It is suggested that a repetitive cycle of partial polymerization-hydrolyses may account for the abiotic genesis of optically enriched polypeptides on the primitive earth.

  2. Transcriptional networks-crops, clocks, and abiotic stress.

    PubMed

    Gehan, Malia A; Greenham, Kathleen; Mockler, Todd C; McClung, C Robertson

    2015-04-01

    Several factors affect the yield potential and geographical range of crops including the circadian clock, water availability, and seasonal temperature changes. In order to sustain and increase plant productivity on marginal land in the face of both biotic and abiotic stresses, we need to more efficiently generate stress-resistant crops through marker-assisted breeding, genetic modification, and new genome-editing technologies. To leverage these strategies for producing the next generation of crops, future transcriptomic data acquisition should be pursued with an appropriate temporal design and analyzed with a network-centric approach. The following review focuses on recent developments in abiotic stress transcriptional networks in economically important crops and will highlight the utility of correlation-based network analysis and applications.

  3. Sustainability of Long-Term Abiotic Attenuation of Chlorinated Ethenes

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2007-09-28

    that contribute to abiotic transformations is critical to assess the feasibility of natural attenuation and promote the rationale design of...anaerobic glovebox. The resulting slurry was mixed for three days and then decanted into polypropylene centrifuge bottles. These bottles were...tightly sealed and centrifuged at 8000 rpm for 10 minutes. The supernatant in the bottles was discarded, and fresh nitrogen-purged deionized water was

  4. Biotic-Abiotic<