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Sample records for affect litter size

  1. Maternal immune activation affects litter success, size and neuroendocrine responses related to behavior in adult offspring.

    PubMed

    French, Susannah S; Chester, Emily M; Demas, Gregory E

    2013-07-02

    It is increasingly evident that influences other than genetics can contribute to offspring phenotype. In particular, maternal influences are an important contributing factor to offspring survival, development, physiology and behavior. Common environmental pathogens such as viral or bacterial microorganisms can induce maternal immune responses, which have the potential to alter the prenatal environment via multiple independent pathways. The effects of maternal immune activation on endocrine responses and behavior are less well studied and provide the basis for the current study. Our approach in the current study was two-pronged: 1) quantify sickness responses during pregnancy in adult female hamsters experiencing varying severity of immune responsiveness (i.e., differing doses of lipopolysaccharide [LPS]), and 2) assess the effects of maternal immune activation on offspring development, immunocompetence, hormone profiles, and social behavior during adulthood. Pregnancy success decreased with increasing doses of LPS, and litter size was reduced in LPS dams that managed to successfully reproduce. Unexpectedly, pregnant females treated with LPS showed a hypothermic response in addition to the more typical anorexic and body mass changes associated with sickness. Significant endocrine changes related to behavior were observed in the offspring of LPS-treated dams; these effects were apparent in adulthood. Specifically, offspring from LPS treated dams showed significantly greater cortisol responses to stressful resident-intruder encounters compared with offspring from control dams. Post-behavior cortisol was elevated in male LPS offspring relative to the offspring of control dams, and was positively correlated with the frequency of bites during agonistic interactions, and cortisol levels in both sexes were related to defensive behaviors, suggesting that changes in hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis responsiveness may play a regulatory role in the observed behavioral

  2. Effects of neonatal litter size and age on ovarian gene expression and follicular development in gilts

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Gilts raised in small litters have greater ovulation rate, stay in the herd longer and produce more pigs. The objective was to understand how neonatal litter size affects gilt development. The hypothesis is that gilts reared in smaller litters have greater ovarian follicular development. Within 24 h...

  3. Fenbendazole treatment and litter size in rats.

    PubMed

    Johnston, Nancy A; Bieszczak, Jeremiah R; Verhulst, Steven; Disney, Kimberly E; Montgomery, Kyle E; Toth, Linda A

    2006-11-01

    Fenbendazole is commonly used in laboratory animal medicine as an anthelmintic for elimination of pinworms. It is generally regarded as a safe drug with minimal side effects. In our facility, 2 breeding colonies of rats were treated with fenbendazole to eliminate pinworms. Analysis of the breeding records revealed that feeding Sprague-Dawley rats a diet containing fenbendazole on a continuous basis for 7 consecutive weeks was associated with a significant reduction in litter size. Although the mechanism underlying this effect is unknown, the finding prompts caution when using fenbendazole to treat valuable breeding colonies or strains that are poor breeders.

  4. Flammability across the gymnosperm phylogeny: the importance of litter particle size.

    PubMed

    Cornwell, William K; Elvira, Alba; van Kempen, Lute; van Logtestijn, Richard S P; Aptroot, André; Cornelissen, J Hans C

    2015-04-01

    Fire is important to climate, element cycles and plant communities, with many fires spreading via surface litter. The influence of species on the spread of surface fire is mediated by their traits which, after senescence and abscission, have 'afterlife' effects on litter flammability. We hypothesized that differences in litter flammability among gymnosperms are determined by litter particle size effects on litterbed packing. We performed a mesocosm fire experiment comparing 39 phylogenetically wide-ranging gymnosperms, followed by litter size and shape manipulations on two chemically contrasting species, to isolate the underlying mechanism. The first-order control on litter flammability was, indeed, litter particle size in both experiments. Most gymnosperms were highly flammable, but a prominent exception was the non-Pinus Pinaceae, in which small leaves abscised singly produced dense, non-flammable litterbeds. There are two important implications: first, ecosystems dominated by gymnosperms that drop small leaves separately will develop dense litter layers, which will be less prone to and inhibit the spread of surface litter fire. Second, some of the needle-leaved species previously considered to be flammable in single-leaf experiments were among the least flammable in litter fuel beds, highlighting the role of the litter traits of species in affecting surface fire regimes.

  5. Do soil organisms affect aboveground litter decomposition in the semiarid Patagonian steppe, Argentina?

    PubMed

    Araujo, Patricia I; Yahdjian, Laura; Austin, Amy T

    2012-01-01

    Surface litter decomposition in arid and semiarid ecosystems is often faster than predicted by climatic parameters such as annual precipitation or evapotranspiration, or based on standard indices of litter quality such as lignin or nitrogen concentrations. Abiotic photodegradation has been demonstrated to be an important factor controlling aboveground litter decomposition in aridland ecosystems, but soil fauna, particularly macrofauna such as termites and ants, have also been identified as key players affecting litter mass loss in warm deserts. Our objective was to quantify the importance of soil organisms on surface litter decomposition in the Patagonian steppe in the absence of photodegradative effects, to establish the relative importance of soil organisms on rates of mass loss and nitrogen release. We estimated the relative contribution of soil fauna and microbes to litter decomposition of a dominant grass using litterboxes with variable mesh sizes that excluded groups of soil fauna based on size class (10, 2, and 0.01 mm), which were placed beneath shrub canopies. We also employed chemical repellents (naphthalene and fungicide). The exclusion of macro- and mesofauna had no effect on litter mass loss over 3 years (P = 0.36), as litter decomposition was similar in all soil fauna exclusions and naphthalene-treated litter. In contrast, reduction of fungal activity significantly inhibited litter decomposition (P < 0.001). Although soil fauna have been mentioned as a key control of litter decomposition in warm deserts, biogeographic legacies and temperature limitation may constrain the importance of these organisms in temperate aridlands, particularly in the southern hemisphere.

  6. Optimal litter size for individual growth of European rabbit pups depends on their thermal environment.

    PubMed

    Rödel, H G; Hudson, R; von Holst, D

    2008-04-01

    In altricial mammals and birds, the presence of a large number of litter or brood mates often affects the development of individual offspring by reducing the share of resources provided by the parents. However, sibling presence can also be favourable, conferring thermoregulatory benefits when ambient temperatures are low. Consequently, shifts in the relation between costs and benefits of sibling presence can be expected as a function of the thermal environment. In a study of a European rabbit population (Oryctolagus cuniculus) living in a field enclosure, we investigated the effects of litter size and soil temperature on pup growth over 7 years. Temperatures inside the subterranean nests were positively correlated with soil temperature and with litter size. Soil temperature varied strongly across the breeding season, ranging from 3 to 21 degrees C. Under warmer soil temperature conditions (10-15 degrees C and >15 degrees C), pup growth decreased with increasing litter size, where litters of two pups (smallest litter size considered) showed the highest growth rates. In contrast, under colder soil temperature conditions (<10 degrees C), the highest growth rates were found in litters of three pups. We also asked if such temperature-dependent differences in the optimal pup growth rates might be explained by differences in maternal characteristics, which might affect lactational performance. We assessed maternal performance using females' postpartum body mass and social rank. However, we did not find consistent differences in maternal characteristics between females giving birth to different-sized litters during different soil temperature conditions, which would have provided an alternative explanation for the observed differences in litter size-dependent pup growth. We conclude that under colder soil temperature conditions, the thermal benefits of a greater number of littermates outweigh the negative consequences of competition for milk, leading to an environment

  7. Experimental evidence that litter size imposes an oxidative challenge to offspring.

    PubMed

    Gibson, Alyssa B; Garratt, Michael; Brooks, Robert C

    2015-12-01

    The post-natal environment in which young develop can substantially impact development, adult phenotype and fitness. In wild mice, competition among litter-mates affects development rate and adult behaviour. We manipulated post-natal litter size in a cross-fostering design to investigate the effects of enlarged and reduced litter sizes on sexual signalling, oxidative stress and the links between them. Oxidative stress causes somatic damage that can limit reproductive success and lifespan, and is predicted to mediate investment in life-history traits, including sexual signals. We predicted that litter enlargement would cause an increase in potential oxidative stress, inhibit growth and reduce sexual signalling in male mice. Males reared in enlarged litters were smaller at weaning and, despite rapid growth immediately after weaning, remained smaller at 10 weeks of age than those reared in smaller litters. Females from enlarged litters were consistently smaller throughout post-weaning development and showed no increase in growth rate compared with females from reduced litters. In enlarged litters, protein thiol concentration was lower at weaning in the liver and kidneys, with this trend continuing at 10 weeks of age in the kidneys only. Aconitase enzyme activity was also lower in mice from enlarged litters at weaning and 10 weeks of age in the kidneys. Male mice from enlarged litters scent marked more frequently and had larger preputial glands than those from reduced litters, indicating greater sexual signalling investment irrespective of this increased oxidative challenge. The results of this study are the first to reveal oxidative costs of developmental stress in small mammals.

  8. One size fits all: Eurasian lynx females share a common optimal litter size.

    PubMed

    Gaillard, Jean-Michel; Nilsen, Erlend B; Odden, John; Andrén, Henrik; Linnell, John D C

    2014-01-01

    Lack proposed that the average clutch size of altricial species should be determined by the average maximum number of young the parents can raise such that all females in a given population should share a common optimal clutch size. Support for this model remains equivocal and recent studies have suggested that intra-population variation in clutch size is adaptive because each female has its own optimal clutch size associated with its intrinsic ability to raise offspring. Although Lack litter size and condition-dependent litter size are presented as two competing models, both are based on the concept of individual optimization. We propose a unified optimal litter size model (called 'adaptive litter size') and identify a set of conditions under which a common vs. a state-dependent optimal litter size should be observed. We test whether females of Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) have a common optimal litter size, or whether they adjust their litter size according to their state. We used a detailed individual-based data set collected from contrasting populations of Eurasian lynx in Scandinavia. Observed reproductive patterns in female lynx provide strong support for the existence of a common optimal litter size. Litter size did not vary according to female body mass or reproductive category, or among contrasted populations and years. A litter size of 2 was associated with a higher fitness than both smaller and larger litters, and thus corresponded to the 'adaptive litter size' for female lynx. We suggest that the reproductive pattern of female lynx might correspond to a risk avoidance tactic common to all individuals, which has evolved in response to strong environmental constraints generated by a highly unpredictable food supply during lactation.

  9. Do leaf-litter attributes affect the richness of leaf-litter ants?

    PubMed

    Silva, Paulo S D; Bieber, A G D; Corrêa, M M; Leal, I R

    2011-10-01

    The search for factors shaping leaf-litter ant communities has received particular attention due to the essential role of these insects in many ecological processes. Here, we aimed to investigate how the number of leaves and leaf morphotypes affect the litter-ant species density at forest edge and interior in an Atlantic Forest remnant in the state of Alagoas, Brazil. This study was developed based on 28 litter plots (1m² each), 14 in the forest interior and 14 in the forest edge. As we early expected, ant species density increased with increasing both the number of leaves and the number of leaf morphotypes, but this result was clearly influenced by plot location. Contrasting with the forest interior, ant species density did not increase as the number of leaves increased in the forest edge. Possibly, factors such as plant species richness, vegetation structure and environmental conditions affect ant species density as well as promote a patchy distribution of species in ant communities along the edge-to-interior gradient. Our findings suggest that edge-affected forests present more simplified ant communities, with different factors shaping its structure. We encourage future studies to include leaf litter heterogeneity as one of the explanatory variables investigated.

  10. Predicting climate change impacts on polar bear litter size.

    PubMed

    Molnár, Péter K; Derocher, Andrew E; Klanjscek, Tin; Lewis, Mark A

    2011-02-08

    Predicting the ecological impacts of climate warming is critical for species conservation. Incorporating future warming into population models, however, is challenging because reproduction and survival cannot be measured for yet unobserved environmental conditions. In this study, we use mechanistic energy budget models and data obtainable under current conditions to predict polar bear litter size under future conditions. In western Hudson Bay, we predict climate warming-induced litter size declines that jeopardize population viability: ∼28% of pregnant females failed to reproduce for energetic reasons during the early 1990s, but 40-73% could fail if spring sea ice break-up occurs 1 month earlier than during the 1990s, and 55-100% if break-up occurs 2 months earlier. Simultaneously, mean litter size would decrease by 22-67% and 44-100%, respectively. The expected timeline for these declines varies with climate-model-specific sea ice predictions. Similar litter size declines may occur in over one-third of the global polar bear population.

  11. Invertebrate grazers affect metal/metalloid fixation during litter decomposition.

    PubMed

    Schaller, Jörg; Brackhage, Carsten

    2015-01-01

    Plant litter and organic sediments are main sinks for metals and metalloids in aquatic ecosystems. The effect of invertebrates as key species in aquatic litter decomposition on metal/metalloid fixation by organic matter is described only for shredders, but for grazers as another important animal group less is known. Consequently, a laboratory batch experiment was conducted to examine the effect of invertebrate grazers (Lymnaea stagnalis L.) on metal/metalloid fixation/remobilization during aquatic litter decomposition. It could be shown that invertebrate grazers facilitate significantly the formation of smaller sizes of particulate organic matter (POM), as shown previously for invertebrate shredders. The metal/metalloid binding capacity of these smaller particles of POM is higher compared to leaf litter residuals. But element enrichment is not as high as shown previously for the effect by invertebrate shredders. Invertebrate grazers enhance also the mobilization of selected elements to the water, in the range also proven for invertebrate shredders but different for the different elements. Nonetheless invertebrate grazers activity during aquatic litter decomposition leads to a metal/metalloid fixation into leaf litter as part of sediment organic matter. Hence, the effect of invertebrate grazers on metal/metalloid fixation/remobilization contrasts partly with former assessments revealing the possibility of an enhanced metal/metalloid fixation.

  12. Genetic determinism for within-litter birth weight variation and its relationship with litter weight and litter size in the Ripollesa ewe breed.

    PubMed

    Casellas, J; Caja, G; Piedrafita, J

    2007-06-01

    Birth weight plays a central role in lamb survival and growth, and the knowledge of its genetic determinism has become essential in worldwide selection programmes. Within this context, within-litter birth weight variation (BWV) has been suggested as an attractive trait to homogenise litters in prolific species, although it has not been analysed in sheep. The objective of this study was to ascertain whether maternal additive genetic variance exists for BWV in Ripollesa ewes, and to study its genetic, permanent environmental and residual relationships with litter weight (LW) and litter size (LS) at birth. Data were recorded in the Ripollesa experimental flock of the Universitat Autònoma of Barcelona, between 1986 and 2005, and included 1 662 litters from 380 ewes, with 712 records of BWV and 1 530 records of LW. Traits were analysed with a multivariate animal model solved through Bayesian methodologies, and with a threshold characterisation of LS. Additionally, the effect of BWV on lamb survival was studied. Additive genetic variance was observed for BWV (h2 = 0.061), as well as for LW (h2 = 0.200) and LS (h2 = 0.141). Nevertheless, genetic correlations among those traits were not substantial (BWV and LW = 0.151; BWV and LS = - 0.219; LW and LS = - 0.320) and suffered from a high degree of uncertainly, with the null correlation included within the highest posterior interval at 95%. Within-litter birth weight variation and LS showed a negative and large permanent environmental correlation ( - 0.872), and LW and LS were negatively correlated due to residual ( - 0.762) and permanent environmental ( - 0.449) random sources of variation. Within-litter birth weight variation influenced lamb mortality during the first 7 days of life (P < 0.05), increasing and decreasing survivability in heavier and lighter littermates, respectively. Nevertheless, stillbirths and lambs died after the 1st week of life were not affected by BWV (P>0.05). The low

  13. Influence of parity and litter size on gestation length in beagle dogs.

    PubMed

    Seki, Makoto; Watanabe, Norio; Ishii, Kenyo; Kinoshita, Yoh-ichi; Aihara, Takehiro; Takeiri, Shuji; Otoi, Takeshige

    2010-01-01

    This study was conducted to investigate the effects of parity and litter size on gestation length in beagle bitches. The mean duration of the initial elevation (>2 ng/mL) in progesterone concentrations after the onset of proestrus was shorter (P < 0.05) in bitches without (nulliparous) whelping experience than in bitches with (multiparous) whelping experience (6.9 d versus 8.0 d). When calculated as the interval between the day of initial elevation in progesterone concentrations and the day of whelping, the gestation length in the nulliparous bitches was noted to be similar to that in the multiparous bitches (64.3 d versus 64.2 d). No significant correlation between gestation length and litter size was observed in any of the bitches. Our results indicate that the gestation length in beagle bitches is not affected by parity or litter size.

  14. Analysis of litter size and average litter weight in pigs using a recursive model.

    PubMed

    Varona, Luis; Sorensen, Daniel; Thompson, Robin

    2007-11-01

    An analysis of litter size and average piglet weight at birth in Landrace and Yorkshire using a standard two-trait mixed model (SMM) and a recursive mixed model (RMM) is presented. The RMM establishes a one-way link from litter size to average piglet weight. It is shown that there is a one-to-one correspondence between the parameters of SMM and RMM and that they generate equivalent likelihoods. As parameterized in this work, the RMM tests for the presence of a recursive relationship between additive genetic values, permanent environmental effects, and specific environmental effects of litter size, on average piglet weight. The equivalent standard mixed model tests whether or not the covariance matrices of the random effects have a diagonal structure. In Landrace, posterior predictive model checking supports a model without any form of recursion or, alternatively, a SMM with diagonal covariance matrices of the three random effects. In Yorkshire, the same criterion favors a model with recursion at the level of specific environmental effects only, or, in terms of the SMM, the association between traits is shown to be exclusively due to an environmental (negative) correlation. It is argued that the choice between a SMM or a RMM should be guided by the availability of software, by ease of interpretation, or by the need to test a particular theory or hypothesis that may best be formulated under one parameterization and not the other.

  15. Genetic components of litter size variability in sheep

    PubMed Central

    SanCristobal-Gaudy, Magali; Bodin, Loys; Elsen, Jean-Michel; Chevalet, Claude

    2001-01-01

    Classical selection for increasing prolificacy in sheep leads to a concomitant increase in its variability, even though the objective of the breeder is to maximise the frequency of an intermediate litter size rather than the frequency of high litter sizes. For instance, in the Lacaune sheep breed raised in semi-intensive conditions, ewes lambing twins represent the economic optimum. Data for this breed, obtained from the national recording scheme, were analysed. Variance components were estimated in an infinitesimal model involving genes controlling the mean level as well as its environmental variability. Large heritability was found for the mean prolificacy, but a high potential for increasing the percentage of twins at lambing while reducing the environmental variability of prolificacy is also suspected. Quantification of the response to such a canalising selection was achieved. PMID:11403747

  16. Mutation in BMPR-IB gene is associated with litter size in Iranian Kalehkoohi sheep.

    PubMed

    Mahdavi, Morteza; Nanekarani, Shahram; Hosseini, Seyed Davood

    2014-06-30

    The single nucleotide polymorphism of BMPR-IB gene (bone morphogenetic protein receptor type IB) was analyzed using PCR-RFLP in Iranian native Kalehkoohi sheep. BMPR-IB which affects the fecundity of Booroola Merino sheep was studied as a candidate gene associated with the prolificacy of Kalehkoohi sheep. Improving the reproductive traits in sheep could be one of the key factors in increasing farm profitability. Major genes for litter size trait provide opportunities for large and rapid increases in the efficiency of sheep production. The same FecB (Booroola) mutation occurred in the BMPR-IB gene in Kalehkoohi sheep as found in Booroola Merino. Allele frequency for B and + was 0.35 and 0.65 respectively. The BB, B+ and ++ genotypes have been identified with the 0.13, 0.446 and 0.424, respectively. The Kalehkoohi sheep with genotypes BB and B+ had 0.52 and 0.35 lambs, more than the homozygous wild-type, respectively (P<0.01). No significant difference was observed between B+ and BB in litter size. Also the effect of parity and flock weren't significant in this study. Results of the present study support the concept that BMPR-IB significantly affected litter size and was associated with litter size in Kalehkoohi sheep and thus it could be used for Marker-assisted selection programmers for the genetic improvement of reproductive characteristics in this breed.

  17. Within-litter differences in personality and physiology relate to size differences among siblings in cavies.

    PubMed

    Guenther, A; Trillmich, F

    2015-06-01

    Many aspects of an animal's early life potentially contribute to long-term individual differences in physiology and behaviour. From several studies on birds and mammals it is known that the early family environment is one of the most prominent factors influencing early development. Most of these studies were conducted on highly altricial species. Here we asked whether in the highly precocial cavy (Cavia aperea) the size rank within a litter, i.e. whether an individual is born as the heaviest, the lightest or an intermediate sibling, affects personality traits directly after birth and after independence. Furthermore, we investigated whether individual states (early growth, baseline cortisol and resting metabolic rate) differ between siblings of different size ranks and assessed their relation to personality traits. Siblings of the same litter differed in personality traits as early as three days after birth. Pups born heaviest in the litter were more explorative and in general more risk-prone than their smaller siblings. Physiological state variables were tightly correlated with personality traits and also influenced by the size rank within litter, suggesting that the size relative to littermates constitutes an important factor in shaping an individual's developmental trajectory. Our data add valuable information on how personalities are shaped during early phases of life and indicate the stability of developmentally influenced behavioural and physiological traits.

  18. Plant Litter Submergence Affects the Water Quality of a Constructed Wetland.

    PubMed

    Pan, Xu; Ping, Yunmei; Cui, Lijuan; Li, Wei; Zhang, Xiaodong; Zhou, Jian; Yu, Fei-Hai; Prinzing, Andreas

    2017-01-01

    Plant litter is an indispensable component of constructed wetlands, but how the submergence of plant litter affects their ecosystem functions and services, such as water purification, is still unclear. Moreover, it is also unclear whether the effects of plant litter submergence depend on other factors such as the duration of litter submergence, water source or litter species identity. Here we conducted a greenhouse experiment by submerging the litter of 7 wetland plant species into three types of water substrates and monitoring changes in water nutrient concentrations. Litter submergence affected water quality positively via decreasing the concentration of nitrate nitrogen and negatively via increasing the concentrations of total nitrogen, ammonium nitrogen and total phosphorus. The effects of litter submergence depended on the duration of litter submergence, the water source, the litter species identity, and the plant life form. Different plant species had different effects on the water nutrient concentrations during litter submergence, and the effects of floating plants might be more negative than that of emergent plants. These results are novel evidence of how the submergence of different plant (life form) litter may affect the purification function of constructed wetlands. For water at low eutrophication levels, submerging a relative small amount of plant litter might improve water quality, via benefiting the denitrification process in water. These findings emphasized the management of floating plant litter (a potential removal) during the maintenance of human-controlled wetland ecosystems and provided a potential tool to improve the water quality of constructed wetlands via submerging plant litter of different types.

  19. Pelage insulation, litter size, and ambient temperature impact maternal energy intake and offspring development during lactation.

    PubMed

    Paul, Matthew J; Tuthill, Christiana; Kauffman, Alexander S; Zucker, Irving

    2010-05-11

    Energy balance during lactation critically influences survival and growth of a mother's offspring, and hence, her reproductive success. Most experiments have investigated the influence of a single factor (e.g., ambient temperature [T(a)] or litter size) on the energetics of lactation. Here, we determined the impact of multiple interventions, including increased conductive heat loss consequent to dorsal fur removal, cold exposure (T(a) of 5 degrees C versus 23 degrees C), and differential lactational load from litters of different sizes (2 or 4 pups), on maternal energy balance and offspring development of Siberian hamsters (Phodopus sungorus). Lower T(a), fur removal, and larger litters were associated with increased maternal food consumption. Females exposed to multiple challenges (e.g., both fur loss and lower T(a)) ate substantially more food than those exposed to a single challenge, with no apparent ceiling to elevated food intake (increases up to 538%). Thus, energy intake of dams under these conditions does not appear to be limited by feeding behavior or the size of the digestive tract. Housing at 5 degrees C attenuated pup weight gain and increased pup mortality to more than 5 times that of litters housed at 23 degrees C. Increases in the dam's conductive heat loss induced by fur removal did not affect pup weight gain or survival, suggesting that effects of low T(a) on pup weight gain and survival reflect limitations in the pups' ability to ingest or incorporate energy.

  20. Pelage insulation, litter size, and ambient temperature impact maternal energy intake and offspring development during lactation

    PubMed Central

    Paul, Matthew J.; Tuthill, Christiana; Kauffman, Alexander S.; Zucker, Irving

    2010-01-01

    Energy balance during lactation critically influences survival and growth of a mother’s offspring, and hence, her reproductive success. Most experiments have investigated the influence of a single factor (e.g., ambient temperature [Ta] or litter size) on the energetics of lactation. Here, we determined the impact of multiple interventions, including increased conductive heat loss consequent to dorsal fur removal, cold exposure (Ta of 5°C versus 23°C), and differential lactational load from litters of different sizes (2 or 4 pups), on maternal energy balance and offspring development of Siberian hamsters (Phodopus sungorus). Lower Ta, fur removal, and larger litters were associated with increased maternal food consumption. Females exposed to multiple challenges (e.g., both fur loss and lower Ta) ate substantially more food than those exposed to a single challenge, with no apparent ceiling to elevated food intake (increases up to 538%). Thus, energy intake of dams under these conditions does not appear to be limited by feeding behavior or the size of the digestive tract. Housing at 5°C attenuated pup weight gain and increased pup mortality to more than 5 times that of litters housed at 23°C. Increases in the dam’s conductive heat loss induced by fur removal did not affect pup weight gain or survival, suggesting that effects of low Ta on pup weight gain and survival reflect limitations in the pups’ ability to ingest or incorporate energy. PMID:20184907

  1. Embryologic changes in rabbit lines selected for litter size variability.

    PubMed

    García, M L; Blasco, A; Argente, M J

    2016-09-15

    A divergent selection experiment on litter size variability was carried out. Correlated response in early embryo survival, embryonic development, size of embryos, and size of embryonic coats after four generations of selection was estimated. A total of 429 embryos from 51 high-line females and 648 embryos from 80 low-line females were used in the experiment. The traits studied were percentage of normal embryos, embryo diameter, zona pellucida thickness, and mucin coat thickness. Traits were measured at 24, 48, and 72 hours postcoitum (hpc); mucin coat thickness was only measured at 48 and 72 hpc. The embryos were classified as zygotes or two-cell embryos at 24 hpc; 16-cell embryos or early morulae at 48 hpc; and early morulae, compacted morulae, or blastocyst at 72 hpc. At 24 hpc, the percentage of normal embryos in the high line was lower than in the low line (-2.5%), and embryos in the high line showed 10% higher zona pellucida thickness than those of the low line. No differences in percentage of zygotes or two-cell embryos were found. At 48 hpc, the high-line embryos were less developed, with a higher percentage of 16-cell embryos (23.4%) and a lower percentage of early morulae (-23.4%). At 72 hpc, high-line embryos continued to be less developed, showing higher percentages of early morulae and compact morulae and lower percentages of blastocyst (-1.8%). No differences in embryo diameter or mucin coat thickness were found at any time. In conclusion, selection for litter size variability has consequences on early embryonic survival and development, with embryos presenting a lower state of development and a lower percentage of normal embryos in the line selected for higher variability.

  2. Paternal care and litter size coevolution in mammals

    PubMed Central

    Hobson, Liane

    2016-01-01

    Biparental care of offspring occurs in diverse mammalian genera and is particularly common among species with socially monogamous mating systems. Despite numerous well-documented examples, however, the evolutionary causes and consequences of paternal care in mammals are not well understood. Here, we investigate the evolution of paternal care in relation to offspring production. Using comparative analyses to test for evidence of evolutionary associations between male care and life-history traits, we explore if biparental care is likely to have evolved because of the importance of male care to offspring survival, or if evolutionary increases in offspring production are likely to result from the evolution of biparental care. Overall, we find no evidence that paternal care has evolved in response to benefits of supporting females to rear particularly costly large offspring or litters. Rather, our findings suggest that increases in offspring production are more likely to follow the evolution of paternal care, specifically where males contribute depreciable investment such as provisioning young. Through coevolution with litter size, we conclude that paternal care in mammals is likely to play an important role in stabilizing monogamous mating systems and could ultimately promote the evolution of complex social behaviours. PMID:27097924

  3. Paternal care and litter size coevolution in mammals.

    PubMed

    Stockley, Paula; Hobson, Liane

    2016-04-27

    Biparental care of offspring occurs in diverse mammalian genera and is particularly common among species with socially monogamous mating systems. Despite numerous well-documented examples, however, the evolutionary causes and consequences of paternal care in mammals are not well understood. Here, we investigate the evolution of paternal care in relation to offspring production. Using comparative analyses to test for evidence of evolutionary associations between male care and life-history traits, we explore if biparental care is likely to have evolved because of the importance of male care to offspring survival, or if evolutionary increases in offspring production are likely to result from the evolution of biparental care. Overall, we find no evidence that paternal care has evolved in response to benefits of supporting females to rear particularly costly large offspring or litters. Rather, our findings suggest that increases in offspring production are more likely to follow the evolution of paternal care, specifically where males contribute depreciable investment such as provisioning young. Through coevolution with litter size, we conclude that paternal care in mammals is likely to play an important role in stabilizing monogamous mating systems and could ultimately promote the evolution of complex social behaviours.

  4. Effective population size and inbreeding depression on litter size in rabbits. A case study.

    PubMed

    Ragab, M; Sánchez, J P; Baselga, M

    2015-02-01

    The purpose of this study is to use demographic and litter size data on four Spanish maternal lines of rabbits (A, V, H and LP), as a case study, in order to: (i) estimate the effective population size of the lines, as a measure of the rate of increase of inbreeding, and (ii) study whether the inbreeding effect on litter size traits depends on the pattern of its accumulation over time. The lines are being selected for litter size at weaning and are kept closed at the same selection nucleus under the same selection and management programme. The study considered 47,794 l and a pedigree of 14,622 animals. Some practices in mating and selection management allow an increase of the inbreeding coefficient lower than 0.01 per generation in these lines of around 25 males and 125 females. Their effective population size (Ne) was around 57.3, showing that the effect of selection, increasing the inbreeding, was counterbalanced by the management practices, intended to reduce the rate of inbreeding increase. The inbreeding of each individual was broken down into three components: old, intermediate and new inbreeding. The coefficients of regression of the old, intermediate and new inbreeding on total born (TB), number born alive (NBA) and number weaned (NW) per litter showed a decreasing trend from positive to negative values. Regression coefficients significantly different from zero were those for the old inbreeding on TB (6.79 ± 2.37) and NBA (5.92 ± 2.37). The contrast between the coefficients of regression between the old and new inbreeding were significant for the three litter size traits: 7.57 ± 1.72 for TB; 6.66 ± 1.73 for NBA and 5.13 ± 1.67 for NW. These results have been interpreted as the combined action of purging unfavourable genes and artificial selection favoured by the inbreeding throughout the generations of selection.

  5. Intestinal Microbiota of Broiler Chickens As Affected by Litter Management Regimens.

    PubMed

    Wang, Lingling; Lilburn, Mike; Yu, Zhongtang

    2016-01-01

    Poultry litter is a mixture of bedding materials and enteric bacteria excreted by chickens, and it is typically reused for multiple growth cycles in commercial broiler production. Thus, bacteria can be transmitted from one growth cycle to the next via litter. However, it remains poorly understood how litter reuse affects development and composition of chicken gut microbiota. In this study, the effect of litter reuse on the microbiota in litter and in chicken gut was investigated using 2 litter management regimens: fresh vs. reused litter. Samples of ileal mucosa and cecal digesta were collected from young chicks (10 days of age) and mature birds (35 days of age). Based on analysis using DGGE and pyrosequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA gene amplicons, the microbiota of both the ileal mucosa and the cecal contents was affected by both litter management regimen and age of birds. Faecalibacterium, Oscillospira, Butyricicoccus, and one unclassified candidate genus closely related to Ruminococcus were most predominant in the cecal samples, while Lactobacillus was predominant in the ileal samples at both ages and in the cecal samples collected at day 10. At days 10 and 35, 8 and 3 genera, respectively, in the cecal luminal microbiota differed significantly in relative abundance between the 2 litter management regimens. Compared to the fresh litter, reused litter increased predominance of halotolerant/alkaliphilic bacteria and Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, a butyrate-producing gut bacterium. This study suggests that litter management regimens affect the chicken GI microbiota, which may impact the host nutritional status and intestinal health.

  6. [Characteristics of pedigree cat breeding in the Netherlands: breeds, population increase and litter size].

    PubMed

    Gerrits, P O; Huisman, T; Knol, B W

    1999-03-01

    A survey of the Dutch Cat Fancy was carried out to determine reproductive, patterns of pedigree cats. The data of the present study were obtained by questioning the pedigree registers of the cat clubs participating in the foundation 'Overleg Platform van de Nederlandse Cat Fancy'. The Dutch Cat Fancy registers 34 different cat breeds. From 1992 up to 1996 a total of 25.985 litters were registered. Over this period the number of litters increased from 4989 to 5313. Litters from Longhair and Exotic Shorthair cats comprised the biggest group and accounted for 55% of the total number of litters. However, over this period, the number of Longhair and Exotic Shorthair litters decreased by 9%. Litters from British Shorthair, Birman, Maine Coon and Norwegian Forrest Cat increased in number as did litters from small breeds such as Ragdoll, Bengal and Sphynx. Litters from Abyssinian, Siamese, Oriental Shorthair cats remained relatively the same. The average litter size of the total cat population, based on pedigree certificates, was calculated at 3.3 kittens per litter. For different breeds litter size varied from 2.7 (Longhair and Exotic Shorthair) to 4.3 (Burmese and Maine Coon). Taking into account an average age of 14 years, the total Dutch pedigree cat population was estimated at 240,000 viz. about 10% of the total cat population.

  7. Plant Litter Submergence Affects the Water Quality of a Constructed Wetland

    PubMed Central

    Cui, Lijuan; Li, Wei; Zhang, Xiaodong; Zhou, Jian; Yu, Fei-Hai; Prinzing, Andreas

    2017-01-01

    Plant litter is an indispensable component of constructed wetlands, but how the submergence of plant litter affects their ecosystem functions and services, such as water purification, is still unclear. Moreover, it is also unclear whether the effects of plant litter submergence depend on other factors such as the duration of litter submergence, water source or litter species identity. Here we conducted a greenhouse experiment by submerging the litter of 7 wetland plant species into three types of water substrates and monitoring changes in water nutrient concentrations. Litter submergence affected water quality positively via decreasing the concentration of nitrate nitrogen and negatively via increasing the concentrations of total nitrogen, ammonium nitrogen and total phosphorus. The effects of litter submergence depended on the duration of litter submergence, the water source, the litter species identity, and the plant life form. Different plant species had different effects on the water nutrient concentrations during litter submergence, and the effects of floating plants might be more negative than that of emergent plants. These results are novel evidence of how the submergence of different plant (life form) litter may affect the purification function of constructed wetlands. For water at low eutrophication levels, submerging a relative small amount of plant litter might improve water quality, via benefiting the denitrification process in water. These findings emphasized the management of floating plant litter (a potential removal) during the maintenance of human-controlled wetland ecosystems and provided a potential tool to improve the water quality of constructed wetlands via submerging plant litter of different types. PMID:28129405

  8. Inbreeding impact on litter size and survival in selected canine breeds.

    PubMed

    Leroy, Grégoire; Phocas, Florence; Hedan, Benoit; Verrier, Etienne; Rognon, Xavier

    2015-01-01

    Data obtained from the French Kennel Club and the Fichier National Canin were used to estimate the effect of inbreeding on average litter size and survival in seven French breeds of dog. Depending on the breed, litter sizes were 3.5-6.3 puppies and longevities were 7.7-12.2 years. Estimated heritabilities were 6.0-10.9% for litter size and 6.1-10.1% for survival at 2 years of age. Regression coefficients indicated a negative effect of inbreeding on both individual survival and litter size. Although the impact of baseline inbreeding within breeds appears to be limited, the improper mating of close relatives will reduce biological fitness through significant reduction of litter size and longevity.

  9. Abundance of pathogens in the gut and litter of broiler chickens as affected by bacitracin and litter management.

    PubMed

    Wei, Shan; Gutek, Amanda; Lilburn, Michael; Yu, Zhongtang

    2013-10-25

    Clostridium perfringens, Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter spp. are food-borne enteric pathogens that are commonly associated with poultry. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of supplemental bacitracin and litter management (fresh vs. reused) on the abundance of these pathogens in commercial broiler chickens. Specific quantitative PCR (qPCR) assays were used to quantify C. perfringens, virulent C. perfringens that carried the genes encoding α-toxin (cpa) and NetB-toxin (netB), Salmonella, and Campylobacter in samples of ileal mucosa, cecal content, and litter. Campylobacter was not detected in any of the samples collected. The abundance of Salmonella was not affected by either bacitracin or litter condition. Generic C. perfringens was detected in the ileal mucosa at very low level at 10 days of age but was much higher at 35 days. Chickens reared on reused litter tended to have a lower abundance of generic C. perfringens compared with those reared on fresh litter. In the ileal mucosa, no cpa or netB was detected at day 10 but was detected at day 35 in the chickens that were not fed supplemental bacitracin. Chicks fed supplemental bacitracin had reduced abundance of generic C. perfringens as well as the cpa and netB genes in the ileal mucosa, cecal content, and litters. A strong positive correlation was found between the abundance of all three measurements of C. perfringens. The abundance of Salmonella spp. and C. perfringens was also shown to be correlated. This is the first study that has examined the effect of dietary bacitracin and litter conditions on the prevalence of these three common enteric pathogens. Unless contaminated from previous flocks, reused litter may not necessarily contain significantly greater abundances of C. perfringens or Salmonella.

  10. Metal/metalloid fixation by litter during decomposition affected by silicon availability during plant growth.

    PubMed

    Schaller, Jörg

    2013-03-01

    Organic matter is known to accumulate high amounts of metals/metalloids, enhanced during the process of decomposition by heterotrophic biofilms (with high fixation capacity for metals/metalloids). The colonization by microbes and the decay rate of the organic matter depends on different litter properties. Main litter properties affecting the decomposition of organic matter such as the nutrient ratios and the content of cellulose, lignin and phenols are currently described to be changed by silicon availability. But less is known about the impact of silicon availability during plant growth on elemental fixation during decay. Hence, this research focuses on the impact of silicon availability during plant growth on fixation of 42 elements during litter decay, by controlling the litter properties. The results of this experiment are a significantly higher metal/metalloid accumulation during decomposition of plant litter grown under low silicon availability. This may be explained by the altered litter properties (mainly nutrient content) affecting the microbial decomposition of the litter, the microbial growth on the litter and possibly by the silicon double layer, which is evident in leaf litter with high silicon content and reduces the binding sites for metals/metalloids. Furthermore, this silicon double layer may also reduce the growing biofilm by reducing the availability of carbon compounds at the litter surface and has to be elucidated in further research. Hence, low silicon availability during plant growth enhances the metal/metalloid accumulation into plant litter during aquatic decomposition.

  11. Debris size and buoyancy influence the dispersal distance of stranded litter.

    PubMed

    Fazey, Francesca M C; Ryan, Peter G

    2016-09-15

    Recent at sea surveys of floating macro-debris in the southeast Atlantic Ocean found that debris increases in size with distance from shore, suggesting that many smaller items, which dominate litter close to urban source areas, sink before dispersing far into the ocean. We test whether this pattern is evident in beach litter in the same region. Freshly stranded beach litter was collected at increasing distances (0km, 100km, 200km and 2800km) from Cape Town, a major urban litter source. Mean size and buoyancy of litter items increased significantly with distance from Cape Town. Size-specific sedimentation due to the ballasting effect of biofouling is a plausible explanation for the disappearance of smaller, less buoyant items. Our results provide further evidence that many low buoyancy items sink and support the hypothesis that size and buoyancy are strong predictors of dispersal distance for floating debris.

  12. Alum affects ammonia-producing microorganisms in poultry litter

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Scientists at the USDA-ARS in Bowling Green, KY and in Fayetteville, AR are working to uncover the microbiology of ammonia production in poultry litter. Poultry litter is a valuable nutrient source for plants and microorganisms that contains high levels of protein, nitrogen, and other minerals. Howe...

  13. Early life overnutrition induced by litter size manipulation decreases social play behavior in adolescent male rats.

    PubMed

    Carvalho, Ana Laura O; Ferri, Bárbara G; de Sousa, Francielly A Lopes; Vilela, Fabiana C; Giusti-Paiva, Alexandre

    2016-10-01

    Several studies have investigated the effects of artificial litter size adjustment on offspring development. Social play behavior is important for neurobehavioral development and is impaired in several developmental psychiatric disorders. This study therefore investigated the effect of litter size on play behavior in adolescent rats. On postnatal day (PND) 2, litters were adjusted to a small litter (SL) size of 3 pups per dam or normal litter (NL) size of 12 pups per dam. Maternal behaviors scored daily during the first week of lactation (PND2-8) revealed that arched nursing and pup licking behaviors were increased in dams with SLs versus those with NLs. SL offspring exhibited accelerated weight gain and advanced development of physical landmarks and reflexes, possibly due to overnutrition. Social isolation lasting 3.5h prior to social play behavioral testing produced a higher frequency and duration of pouncing, pinning, sniffing, and grooming in both male and female offspring. However, male SL offspring exhibited a lower frequency of pouncing and pinning when compared with male NL offspring, while no litter size-dependent differences were observed in social behaviors unrelated to play (sniffing and grooming). These findings identify a possible sexually dimorphic influence of litter size in the development of social behavior. Given that social behaviors such as play behavior are vital for normal cognitive and social development, these findings have important implications for developmental and neuropsychiatric research.

  14. Litter size influences milk composition and energy expenditure of rat pups

    SciTech Connect

    Fiorotto, M.L.; Burrin, D.G.; Perez, M.; Reeds, P.J. )

    1990-02-26

    The authors wished to determine whether differences in milk intake were solely responsible for differences in the weight gain of rat pups suckled in litters of varying sizes (S = 4, C = 10, L = 16 pups/litter; 9 litters/group). Milk intake was measured (by {sup 3}H{sub 2}O dilution) at 4-6, 8-10, and 14-16 d of age (3 litters of each size/time point). Pup (water, protein, and fat) and milk composition (water, fat, protein and lactose) were analyzed at 6, 10, and 16 d. Dam milk output was positively correlated with litter size and duration of lactation. Milk fat concentration was inversely related to dam milk output (r{sup 2} = 0.79). Weight gain was highest in S litters and lowest in L litters. Weight gain was highly correlated to the volume of milk consumed in S and C pups (r{sup 2} = 81%), but was poorly correlated among L pups (r{sup 2} = 23%). The different correlations may have resulted from (1) the disparate relationship between volume and energy intake of L pups compared to S and C pups, or (2) a higher maintenance energy expenditure in L pups up to 10 d of age determined by a comparison of the composition of weight gain and energy intake. Thus, the reduced weight gain of pups suckled in large litters resulted from changes in both milk energy intake and the efficiency of its utilization.

  15. Vocal mother-offspring communication in guinea pigs: females adjust maternal responsiveness to litter size

    PubMed Central

    Kober, Melanie; Trillmich, Fritz; Naguib, Marc

    2008-01-01

    Background In parent-offspring communication, vocal signals are often used to attract attention and offspring might call to induce parental behaviour. In guinea pigs (Cavia aperea f. porcellus) mothers wean larger litters later than small ones, but it is unknown whether this difference depends on processes induced during pregnancy or is influenced post-natally by the number of pups present. We here tested with playback-experiments using pup separation calls whether mothers with cross-fostered large experimental litters (four-pup-litters) were more responsive to offspring calls and maintained responsiveness for longer than mothers with small experimental litters (two-pup-litters). Mothers were tested when two pups were suckling i.e. when both teats were occupied. Results Mothers of four-pup litters responded stronger to broadcast pup separation calls than those with two-pup litters. Additionally, we tested the mothers' responsiveness to pup separation calls in the absence of their pups on day 8 and 20 of lactation. Mothers of four-pup litters responded stronger and showed no decrease in responsiveness from day 8 to 20, whereas mothers of two-pup litters responded less and decreased responsiveness from day 8 to 20. Mothers of four-pup litters also weaned their pups 5 days later than those of two-pup litters. Conclusion Measured by their response to pup calls and by time to weaning, guinea pig mothers adjust maternal responsiveness to litter size. This behaviour is likely to be an adaptive strategy in resource allocation during reproduction. PMID:18783602

  16. Intestinal Microbiota of Broiler Chickens As Affected by Litter Management Regimens

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Lingling; Lilburn, Mike; Yu, Zhongtang

    2016-01-01

    Poultry litter is a mixture of bedding materials and enteric bacteria excreted by chickens, and it is typically reused for multiple growth cycles in commercial broiler production. Thus, bacteria can be transmitted from one growth cycle to the next via litter. However, it remains poorly understood how litter reuse affects development and composition of chicken gut microbiota. In this study, the effect of litter reuse on the microbiota in litter and in chicken gut was investigated using 2 litter management regimens: fresh vs. reused litter. Samples of ileal mucosa and cecal digesta were collected from young chicks (10 days of age) and mature birds (35 days of age). Based on analysis using DGGE and pyrosequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA gene amplicons, the microbiota of both the ileal mucosa and the cecal contents was affected by both litter management regimen and age of birds. Faecalibacterium, Oscillospira, Butyricicoccus, and one unclassified candidate genus closely related to Ruminococcus were most predominant in the cecal samples, while Lactobacillus was predominant in the ileal samples at both ages and in the cecal samples collected at day 10. At days 10 and 35, 8 and 3 genera, respectively, in the cecal luminal microbiota differed significantly in relative abundance between the 2 litter management regimens. Compared to the fresh litter, reused litter increased predominance of halotolerant/alkaliphilic bacteria and Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, a butyrate-producing gut bacterium. This study suggests that litter management regimens affect the chicken GI microbiota, which may impact the host nutritional status and intestinal health. PMID:27242676

  17. Tadpoles of Early Breeding Amphibians are Negatively Affected by Leaf Litter From Invasive Chinese Tallow Trees

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leonard, N. E.

    2005-05-01

    As wetlands are invaded by Chinese tallow trees (Triadica sebifera), native trees are displaced and detrital inputs to amphibian breeding ponds are altered. I used a mesocosm experiment to examine the effect of Chinese tallow leaf litter on the survival to, size at, and time to metamorphosis of amphibian larvae. Fifty 1000-L cattle watering tanks were treated with 1500 g dry weight of one of five leaf litter treatments: Chinese tallow, laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia), water tupelo (Nyssa aquatica), slash pine (Pinus elliottii), or a 3:1:1:1 mixture. Each tank received 45 tadpoles of Pseudacris feriarum, Bufo terrestris, and Hyla cinerea in sequence according to their natural breeding phonologies. Every Pseudacris feriarum and Bufo terrestris tadpole exposed to Chinese tallow died prior to metamorphosis. Hyla cinerea survival in tanks with tallow-only was significantly lower than that observed for all other leaf treatments. Hyla cinerea tadpoles from tallow-only and mixed-leaf treatments were larger at metamorphosis and transformed faster than those in tanks with native leaves only. These results suggest that Chinese tallow leaf litter may negatively affect tadpoles of early breeding frogs and that Chinese tallow invasion may change the structure of amphibian communities in temporary ponds.

  18. Effects of parasitism on host reproductive investment in a rodent-flea system: host litter size matters.

    PubMed

    Warburton, Elizabeth M; Khokhlova, Irina S; Dlugosz, Elizabeth M; Der Mescht, Luther Van; Krasnov, Boris R

    2017-02-01

    Parents may alter offspring phenotype depending on the type of environment they encounter. Parasitism is a common stressor; therefore, maternal reproductive investment could change in response to parasitic infection. However, few experiments have investigated the relationship between parasitism and maternal investment, whereas earlier field studies provided contradictory evidence. We investigated number, sex ratio, and growth of offspring in two rodent species, solitary altricial Meriones crassus and social precocial Acomys cahirinus, exposed to parasitism by fleas Xenopsylla ramesis and Parapulex chephrenis. No effect of treatment on litter size or sex ratio of a litter was found in either rodent species. Flea parasitism was found to affect pre-weaning body mass gain in M. crassus, but not in A. cahirinus pups. Furthermore, it appeared that female M. crassus invested resources into their offspring differently in dependence of litter size. In small litters (1-3 offspring), pups from infested females gained more body mass before weaning than pups from uninfested mothers. However, this trend was reversed in females with large litters indicating that parasitized females have a finite amount of resources with which to provision their young. Thus, M. crassus mothers parasitized by fleas seemed to receive some sort of external cues (e.g., stress caused by infestation) that prompted them to alter offspring provisioning, depending on species-specific possibilities and constraints. Therefore, parasites could be a mediator of environmentally induced maternal effects and offspring provisioning may have adaptive value against parasitism.

  19. Litter lipid content affects dustbathing behavior in laying hens.

    PubMed

    Scholz, B; Kjaer, J B; Urselmans, S; Schrader, L

    2011-11-01

    Within the European Union, the provision of dustbathing material in layer housing systems will be compulsory beginning in 2012. In cage systems, food particles are mainly used as litter material and are provided on scratching mats by an automatic transporting system. However, because dustbathing is a means for hens to remove stale lipids from their plumage, lipid content of a substrate may be an important asset with regard to its adequacy. This study analyzes dustbathing behavior as affected by lipid content of feed used as litter material. A total of 72 laying hens of 2 genotypes (Lohmann Selected Leghorn, Lohmann Brown) were kept in 12 compartments (6 hens each). Compartments were equipped with a plastic grid floor (G) and additionally contained 3 different dustbathing trays (each 1,000 cm(2)/hen) holding low-lipid (0.82%; L), normal-lipid (4.2%; N), and high-lipid (15.7%; H) food particles. The experiment began at 20 wk of life, and video recordings were done at wk 23, 26, and 29. Number of dustbaths, time spent dustbathing, average dustbath duration, foraging, and single behaviors within dustbaths were analyzed during the light period over 2 d in each observation week. Dustbaths occurred most frequently in the L compared with the N, H, and G treatments (all P < 0.001). Total time spent dustbathing was longest in the L treatment compared with the N and H treatments (P < 0.001). No difference in the average duration of single dustbaths was found between the L, N, and H treatments. However, when dustbath interruptions (less than 10 min) were excluded, the duration of single dustbaths was longer in the H compared with the L (P = 0.009) and N (P = 0.024) treatments. Foraging was most frequently observed in the N compared with the L, H, and G treatments (all P < 0.001). More body wing shakes occurred in the L compared with the N treatment, and the number of vertical wing shakes was higher in the N compared with the H treatment (all P ≤ 0.05). Our results showed

  20. [Litter decomposition and its main affecting factors in tidal marshes of Minjiang River Estuary, East China].

    PubMed

    Zhang, Lin-Hai; Zeng, Cong-Sheng; Zhang, Wen-Juan; Wang, Tian-E; Tong, Chuan

    2012-09-01

    By using litterbag method, this paper studied the decomposition of the leaf- and flower litters of two emergent macrophytes, native species Phragmites australis and invasive species Spartina alterniflora, and related affecting factors in the Minjiang River estuary of East China. In the decomposition process of the litters, the decay of standing litter (0-90 days) was an important period, and the loss rate of the flower- and leaf litters dry mass of P. australis and S. alterniflora was 15.0 +/- 3.5% and 13.3 +/- 1.1%, and 31.9 +/- 1.1% and 20.8 +/- 1.4%, respectively. During lodging decay period (91-210 days), the loss rate of the flower- and leaf litters dry mass of P. australis and S. alterniflora was 69.5 +/- 0.6% and 71.5 +/- 2.5%, and 76.8 +/- 1.9% and 67.5 +/- 2.1%, respectively. In standing decay period, the decomposition rate of the two plants litters was positively correlated with the litters C/N but negatively correlated to the litters N/P, and the litters P was an important factor limiting the litters decay. In lodging decay period, the effects of the litters C/N, C/P, and N/P decreased, while the environment factors (climate, soil moisture, soil acidity and salinity, and sediment properties) acted more important roles. The differences in the factors affecting the decay of the litters in different decomposition periods were mainly related to the micro-environment and tidal process for the two plant communities.

  1. Metabolic and biochemical changes in plasma of the periparturient rabbit does with different litter size.

    PubMed

    Minuti, A; Bani, P; Piccioli-Cappelli, F; Uboldi, O; Bacciu, N; Trevisi, E

    2015-04-01

    The aim of this study was to investigate the metabolic and biochemical changes in plasma that occur in the reproductive rabbit doe close to the parturition, as well as if the number of offspring affects the metabolism and the health status of the doe. At -3, 4 and 12 days from parturition (-D3, D4, and D12, respectively) nine rabbit does at their third parity from a commercial hybrid line (HYPLUS PS 19) selected for high prolificacy were weighted and blood was collected for a wide inflammometabolic profile. According to the number of offspring the does were retrospectively divided in two groups: high litter size group (HI; n=5) and low litter size group (LO; n=4). BW was higher (P<0.01) at -D3 and had the lowest values at D4. At D12, the BW was lower (P<0.05) in LO compared with HI. Several metabolites significantly changed from dry to lactation period. Glucose and cholesterol had the lowest levels at -D3; non-esterified fatty acid (NEFA) and aspartate aminotransferase had the highest values before parturition (P<0.05); creatinine and β-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA) were higher at -D3 with respect to D4 (P<0.05). The lowest value of paraoxonase was observed in does at -D3 (P<0.05), whereas at this time ceruloplasmin and total bilirubin had the highest concentration (P<0.05). The differences for blood profile parameters between does grouped according to litter size were mainly evident before parturition (-D3). In particular, BHBA, NEFA and total bilirubin had higher concentrations (P<0.05) in HI v. LO group, whereas albumin and PON were lower in HI group (P<0.01). After parturition there were no significant differences for the metabolic parameters between the two groups. The results show that for reproductive rabbit doe the last days of gestation are very stressful from a metabolic and inflammatory point of view. The genetic selection of does for higher litter size has increased their ability to mobilize body reserves in order to guarantee the nutrients to a high number

  2. Experimental litter size reduction reveals costs of gestation and delayed effects on offspring in a viviparous lizard

    PubMed Central

    Bleu, Josefa; Massot, Manuel; Haussy, Claudy; Meylan, Sandrine

    2012-01-01

    Experimental studies have often been employed to study costs of reproduction, but rarely to study costs of gestation. Disentangling the relative importance of each stage of the reproductive cycle should help to assess the costs and benefits of different reproductive strategies. To that end, we experimentally reduced litter size during gestation in a viviparous lizard. We measured physiological and behavioural parameters during gestation and shortly after parturition, as well as survival and growth of females and their offspring. This study showed four major results. First, the experimental litter size reduction did not significantly affect the cellular immune response, the metabolism and the survival of adult females. Second, females with reduced litter size decreased their basking time. Third, these females also had an increased postpartum body condition. As postpartum body condition is positively related to future reproduction, this result indicates a gestation cost. Fourth, even though offspring from experimentally reduced litters had similar weight and size at birth as other offspring, their growth rate after birth was significantly increased. This shows the existence of a maternal effect during gestation with delayed consequences. This experimental study demonstrates that there are some costs to gestation, but it also suggests that some classical trade-offs associated with reproduction may not be explained by gestation costs. PMID:21715409

  3. Influence of early pregnancy on reproductive rate in lines of mice selected for litter size.

    PubMed

    Eisen, E J

    1980-09-01

    The influence of male-induced early puberty on female reproductive rate was determined in three lines of mice differing in litter size and body weight. The lines originated from a single base population and had undergone 20 generations of selection for the following criteria: large litter size at birth (L(+)), large litter size and small 6-week body weight (L(+)W(-)), or small litter size and large 6-week body weight (L(-)W(+)). Females were paired with a mature intact male of the same line at 3, 5 or 7 weeks of age. Mean mating age, averaged over lines, was 26.5 ± .3, 38.3 ± .3 and 52.7 ± .3 days. Exposure to a mature male accelerated female sexual maturation in each line. When contrasted with their sibs mated at a later age, early-pregnant females from each line exhibited a decline in one or more component of reproductive performance, suggesting that the physiological state of the very young female was not optimum for normal pregnancy. In comparisons of early and later mating ages, all three lines showed a decreased littering rate at first mating, number born alive, and individual birth weight of progeny adjusted for litter size; L(+) and L(+)W(-) mice showed an increased perinatal mortality rate; L(+) and L(-)W(+) had a reduction in litter size at birth. When the L(+), L(+)W(-) and L(-)W(+) lines were compared with an unselected strain and a line selected for high postweaning gain in similar experiments, a genotype by environment interaction was apparent since all lines did not respond in a similar manner to early mating. The line ranking for litter size at birth for each age at male-exposure was L(+)>L(+)W(-)>L(-)W(+), despite the significant line by age interaction. When litter size was adjusted by covariance for body weight at mating, the significant effects of age at male-exposure and line by age interaction were eliminated. All fertile females were remated after they had weaned their first litter to obtain information on litter size in parity two. Line

  4. A Delphi exercise used to identify potential causes of variation in litter size of Ontario swine

    PubMed Central

    Dewey, Catherine E.; Martin, S. Wayne; Friendship, Robert M.; Kennedy, Brain

    1992-01-01

    Forty-eight people, considered to the swine experts, were asked to collaborate in a Delphi exercise to identify the factors which they believed affect litter size in Ontario swine. The panel included 16 animal scientists, 16 pork producers, and 16 veterinarians in swine practice. The ten factors with the highest ratings were parity of the sow, mycotoxins in the feed, infections with porcine parvovirus or Leptospira spp., breeding gilts on their second versus first observed estrus, the timing of breeding with respect to the onset of estrus, purebred versus crossbred sows, boar overuse (bred by a boar that was mated more than six times per week), pen versus hand mating, age of gilt when first bred, and body condition of the sow at the time of conception. The experts did not agree about the effect on litter size of the sow's previous lactation, factors ensuring adequate nutrient intake during lactation, health of the sow and the boar, breed of a purebred sow, or the ease of mating the sow. Key items in the use of the Delphi technique to arrive at a consensus are discussed. PMID:17423928

  5. Effect of litter size (i. e. nutrition) on carbon monoxide-induced persistent heart changes

    SciTech Connect

    Penney, D.G.; Caldwell-Ayre, T.M.; Gargulinski, R.B.; Hawkins, B.J.

    1987-01-01

    It was hypothesized that manipulation of litter size, thus nutrition, which has been shown to alter the neonatal response to cardiovascular stress (i.e. carbon monoxide) might also alter persistent post-stress changes. Rat pups reared in litters of 4 and 16 inhaled 500 ppm CO for 32 days (CO), or served as controls (AIR). Some pups were killed at 14-15 days of age to assess initial cardiomegaly. As adults, right ventricle (RV) mass was greater in CO/4 males and females than in same sex CO/16 rats. Persistent RV cardiomegaly was present in CO/4 males and females compared to AIR's of the same litter size and sex, whereas this was the case only in females comparing CO/16 and AIR/16 rats. RV mass was significantly larger in AIR/4 males than in AIR/16 males. Plots of initial cardiomegaly versus persistent cardiomegaly (RV) for large and small litters produced similar slopes for the two sexes, with females lying above males. Resting heart rate, monitored in males and females, was increased by small litter size, and also by CO, particularly in the males. Resting heart rate was significantly correlated with RV weight. RV DNA content and concentration were increased by small litter size in the males, and concentration also by CO. The male CO/4 rats had the highest DNA content and concentration. In the females, DNA content was increased by small litter size and was greatest in the CO/4 group. Thus, the effects of small litter size have lasting effects: i.e. augmented persistent cardiomegaly, persistent tachycardia, and myocardial DNA content and concentration.

  6. Heterosis and genetic variation in the litter size of purebred and crossbred mink.

    PubMed

    Thirstrup, J P; Larsen, P F; Pertoldi, C; Jensen, J

    2014-12-01

    Crosses between different mink lines from 3 Danish mink farms that use different breeding strategies were studied to estimate heterosis and variance components for litter size. The study was designed to analyze crosses between lines of the same color type, between different color types, and between animals originating from different farms. Effect of heterosis, color type, and variance components were estimated using Average information REML (AI-REML) algorithm implemented in the DMU package for analyzing multivariate mixed models. Females from 7 generations that gave birth to at least 1 offspring were analyzed and the effects of parity and production year were included in the analyses. Genetic trend and the proportions of the total variance explained by the effects of additive genetics (h2), common environment (due to repeated litters from the same female; c2), and dam of the female (granddame of the born litter; d2) were estimated. The results showed that mink of the Black color type potentially produced smaller litters compared to mink of the other studied color types. We found significant general maternal effect of heterosis for litter size. Analyses of specific heterosis showed a significant positive effect of crossing between lines of the same color type. Estimates of variance components revealed h2 levels for farm A, B, and C of 0.15, 0.06, and 0.09, respectively; thus litter size could be selected for in the future. The effect of common environment on litter size was also considerable, with c2 values of 0.005, 0.11, and 0.15 at farms A, B, and C, respectively. In conclusion, we recommend genetic selection as a means of increasing litter size in farmed mink.

  7. Soil Fauna Affects Dissolved Carbon and Nitrogen in Foliar Litter in Alpine Forest and Alpine Meadow.

    PubMed

    Liao, Shu; Yang, Wanqin; Tan, Yu; Peng, Yan; Li, Jun; Tan, Bo; Wu, Fuzhong

    2015-01-01

    Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and total dissolved nitrogen (TDN) are generally considered important active biogeochemical pools of total carbon and nitrogen. Many studies have documented the contributions of soil fauna to litter decomposition, but the effects of the soil fauna on labile substances (i.e., DOC and TDN) in litter during early decomposition are not completely clear. Therefore, a field litterbag experiment was carried out from 13th November 2013 to 23rd October 2014 in an alpine forest and an alpine meadow located on the eastern Tibetan Plateau. Litterbags with different mesh sizes were used to provide access to or prohibit the access of the soil fauna, and the concentrations of DOC and TDN in the foliar litter were measured during the winter (the onset of freezing, deep freezing and thawing stage) and the growing season (early and late). After one year of field incubation, the concentration of DOC in the litter significantly decreased, whereas the TDN concentration in the litter increased. Similar dynamic patterns were detected under the effects of the soil fauna on both DOC and TDN in the litter between the alpine forest and the alpine meadow. The soil fauna showed greater positive effects on decreasing DOC concentration in the litter in the winter than in the growing season. In contrast, the dynamics of TND in the litter were related to seasonal changes in environmental factors, rather than the soil fauna. In addition, the soil fauna promoted a decrease in litter DOC/TDN ratio in both the alpine forest and the alpine meadow throughout the first year of decomposition, except for in the late growing season. These results suggest that the soil fauna can promote decreases in DOC and TDN concentrations in litter, contributing to early litter decomposition in these cold biomes.

  8. Soil Fauna Affects Dissolved Carbon and Nitrogen in Foliar Litter in Alpine Forest and Alpine Meadow

    PubMed Central

    Liao, Shu; Yang, Wanqin; Tan, Yu; Peng, Yan; Li, Jun; Tan, Bo; Wu, Fuzhong

    2015-01-01

    Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and total dissolved nitrogen (TDN) are generally considered important active biogeochemical pools of total carbon and nitrogen. Many studies have documented the contributions of soil fauna to litter decomposition, but the effects of the soil fauna on labile substances (i.e., DOC and TDN) in litter during early decomposition are not completely clear. Therefore, a field litterbag experiment was carried out from 13th November 2013 to 23rd October 2014 in an alpine forest and an alpine meadow located on the eastern Tibetan Plateau. Litterbags with different mesh sizes were used to provide access to or prohibit the access of the soil fauna, and the concentrations of DOC and TDN in the foliar litter were measured during the winter (the onset of freezing, deep freezing and thawing stage) and the growing season (early and late). After one year of field incubation, the concentration of DOC in the litter significantly decreased, whereas the TDN concentration in the litter increased. Similar dynamic patterns were detected under the effects of the soil fauna on both DOC and TDN in the litter between the alpine forest and the alpine meadow. The soil fauna showed greater positive effects on decreasing DOC concentration in the litter in the winter than in the growing season. In contrast, the dynamics of TND in the litter were related to seasonal changes in environmental factors, rather than the soil fauna. In addition, the soil fauna promoted a decrease in litter DOC/TDN ratio in both the alpine forest and the alpine meadow throughout the first year of decomposition, except for in the late growing season. These results suggest that the soil fauna can promote decreases in DOC and TDN concentrations in litter, contributing to early litter decomposition in these cold biomes. PMID:26406249

  9. The influence of environmental and physiological factors on the litter size of wild boar (Sus scrofa) in an agriculture dominated area in Germany.

    PubMed

    Frauendorf, Magali; Gethöffer, Friederike; Siebert, Ursula; Keuling, Oliver

    2016-01-15

    The wild boar population has increased enormously in all of Europe over the last decades and caused problems like crop damage, transmission of diseases, and vehicle accidents. Therefore, it is necessary to investigate the underlying causes of this increase in order to be able to manage populations effectively. The purpose of this study was to analyse how environmental (food and climate) and physiological factors (maternal weight and age) as well as hunting and population density influence the litter size of wild boar populations in Northern Germany. The mean litter size in the studied population for the whole period was 6.6 (range 1–12), which is one of the highest in all of Europe. Litter size was positively influenced by maternal body weight, higher mast yield of oak as well as higher temperature in combination with higher precipitation in summer. Only higher temperature or only higher precipitation in summer however had a negative effect on litter size production. Probably,weather and food conditions act via maternal bodyweight on the litter size variation in wild boar. Hunting as well a s population density did not affect the litter size variation in this study which might indicate that wild boar population did not reach carrying capacity yet.

  10. Effects of inbreeding on reproductive success, performance, litter size, and survival in captive red wolves (Canis rufus).

    PubMed

    Rabon, David R; Waddell, William

    2010-01-01

    Captive-breeding programs have been widely used in the conservation of imperiled species, but the effects of inbreeding, frequently expressed in traits related to fitness, are nearly unavoidable in small populations with few founders. Following its planned extirpation in the wild, the endangered red wolf (Canis rufus) was preserved in captivity with just 14 founders. In this study, we evaluated the captive red wolf population for relationships between inbreeding and reproductive performance and fitness. Over 30 years of managed breeding, the level of inbreeding in the captive population has increased, and litter size has declined. Inbreeding levels were lower in sire and dam wolves that reproduced than in those that did not reproduce. However, there was no difference in the inbreeding level of actual litters and predicted litters. Litter size was negatively affected by offspring and paternal levels of inbreeding, but the effect of inbreeding on offspring survival was restricted to a positive influence. There was no apparent relationship between inbreeding and method of rearing offspring. The observable effects of inbreeding in the captive red wolf population currently do not appear to be a limiting factor in the conservation of the red wolf population. Additional studies exploring the extent of the effects of inbreeding will be required as inbreeding levels increase in the captive population.

  11. 17β-estradiol in runoff as affected by various poultry litter application strategies.

    PubMed

    Delaune, P B; Moore, P A

    2013-02-01

    Steroidal hormones, which are excreted by all mammalian species, have received increasing attention in recent years due to potential environmental implications. The objective of this study was to evaluate 17β-estradiol concentrations in runoff water from plots receiving poultry litter applications using various management strategies. Treatments included the effects of 1) aluminum sulfate (alum) application rates to poultry litter; 2) time until the first runoff event occurs after poultry litter application; 3) poultry litter application rate; 4) fertilizer type; and 5) litter from birds fed modified diets. Rainfall simulators were used to cause continuous runoff from fertilized plots. Runoff samples were collected and analyzed for 17β-estradiol concentrations. Results showed that increasing alum additions to poultry litter decreased 17β-estradiol concentrations in runoff water. A significant exponential decline in 17β-estradiol runoff was also observed with increasing time until the first runoff event after litter application. Concentrations of 17β-estradiol in runoff water increased with increasing litter application rate and remained above background concentrations after three runoff events at higher application rates. Management practices such as diet modification and selection of fertilizer type were also shown to affect 17β-estradiol concentrations in runoff water. Although results from these experiments typically represented a worst case scenario since runoff events generally occurred immediately after litter application, the contaminant loss from pastures fertilized with poultry litter can be expected to be much lower than continual estradiol loadings observed from waste water treatment plants. Management practices such as alum amendment and application timing can significantly reduce the risk of 17β-estradiol losses in the environment.

  12. Differences in pup birth weight, pup variability within litters, and dam weight of mice selected for alternative criteria to increase litter size.

    PubMed

    van Engelen, M A; Nielsen, M K; Ribeiro, E L

    1995-07-01

    Selection for litter size had been practiced for 21 generations and relaxed selection for 13 generations in mice. Three replicates were used with four selection criteria: index of components (ovulation rate and ova success), uterine capacity, litter size, and an unselected control. Especially with selection for litter size and the index relative to the control, number of pups born had increased, and differences also occurred in mating weight. Dams of the three replicates and their litters were used to evaluate the effects of accumulated selection on pup birth weight, variability in weight of littermates, and dam's weight at mating and after littering. Total number born, number born alive, number of males, and number of females were also recorded and studied. Mean pup birth weight did not differ among the criteria; however, variability among littermates in pup weight tended to differ among criteria of selection. Regressions for pup weight and within-litter standard deviation of pup weight on number born were small and negative but significant (P < .001). The distribution of pup weight within litter was normal for 77.2% of the litters, with no differences among the criteria. The difference between weight of male and weight of female pups was significant (P < .001); overall males were 2.5% heavier than females. There was a difference (P < .02) among criteria in mating weight and littering weight; however, the maternal weight gain between mating and littering was not different among criteria. Number born differed (P < .003) among the criteria, but there was no significant difference among criteria in numbers of males and females.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

  13. Increasing shrub abundance and N addition in Arctic tundra affect leaf and root litter decomposition differently

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McLaren, J.; van de Weg, M. J.; Shaver, G. R.; Gough, L.

    2013-12-01

    Changes in global climate have resulted in a ';greening' of the Arctic as the abundance of deciduous shrub species increases. Consequently, not only the living plant community, but also the litter composition changes, which in turn can affect carbon turnover patterns in the Arctic. We examined effects of changing litter composition (both root and leaf litter) on decomposition rates with a litter bag study, and specifically focused on the impact of deciduous shrub Betula nana litter on litter decomposition from two evergreen shrubs (Ledum palustre, and Vaccinium vitis-idaea) and one graminoid (Eriophorum vaginatum) species. Additionally, we investigated how decomposition was affected by nutrient availability by placing the litterbags in an ambient and a fertilized moist acidic tundra environment. Measurements were carried out seasonally over 2 years (after snow melt, mid-growing season, end growing season). We measured litter mass loss over time, as well as the respiration rates (standardized for temperature and moisture) and temperature sensitivity of litter respiration at the time of harvesting the litter bags. For leaves, Betula litter decomposed faster than the other three species, with Eriophorum leaves decomposing the slowest. This pattern was observed for both mass loss and litter respiration rates, although the differences in respiration became smaller over time. Surprisingly, combining Betula with any other species resulted in slower overall weight loss rates than would be predicted based on monoculture weight loss rates. This contrasted with litter respiration at the time of sampling, which showed a positive mixing effect of adding Betula leaf liter to the other species. Apparently, during the first winter months (September - May) Betula litter decomposition is negatively affected by mixing the species and this legacy can still be observed in the total mass loss results later in the year. For root litter there were fewer effects of species identity on root

  14. Lepidium meyenii (Maca) increases litter size in normal adult female mice

    PubMed Central

    Ruiz-Luna, Ana C; Salazar, Stephanie; Aspajo, Norma J; Rubio, Julio; Gasco, Manuel; Gonzales, Gustavo F

    2005-01-01

    Background Lepidium meyenii, known as Maca, grows exclusively in the Peruvian Andes over 4000 m altitude. It has been used traditionally to increase fertility. Previous scientific studies have demonstrated that Maca increases spermatogenesis and epididymal sperm count. The present study was aimed to investigate the effects of Maca on several fertility parameters of female mice at reproductive age. Methods Adult female Balb/C mice were divided at random into three main groups: i) Reproductive indexes group, ii) Implantation sites group and iii) Assessment of uterine weight in ovariectomized mice. Animals received an aqueous extract of lyophilized Yellow Maca (1 g/Kg BW) or vehicle orally as treatment. In the fertility indexes study, animals received the treatment before, during and after gestation. The fertility index, gestation index, post-natal viability index, weaning viability index and sex ratio were calculated. Sexual maturation was evaluated in the female pups by the vaginal opening (VO) day. In the implantation study, females were checked for implantation sites at gestation day 7 and the embryos were counted. In ovariectomized mice, the uterine weight was recorded at the end of treatment. Results Implantation sites were similar in mice treated with Maca and in controls. All reproductive indexes were similar in both groups of treatment. The number of pups per dam at birth and at postnatal day 4 was significantly higher in the group treated with Maca. VO day occurred earlier as litter size was smaller. Maca did not affect VO day. In ovariectomized mice, the treatment with Maca increased significantly the uterine weights in comparison to their respective control group. Conclusion Administration of aqueous extract of Yellow Maca to adult female mice increases the litter size. Moreover, this treatment increases the uterine weight in ovariectomized animals. Our study confirms for the first time some of the traditional uses of Maca to enhance female fertility. PMID

  15. Identification and differential expression of microRNAs in the ovaries of pigs (Sus scrofa) with high and low litter sizes.

    PubMed

    Huang, L; Yin, Z J; Feng, Y F; Zhang, X D; Wu, T; Ding, Y Y; Ye, P F; Fu, K; Zhang, M Q

    2016-10-01

    Litter size affects profitability in the swine industry. Mammalian ovaries play important roles during reproduction, including ovulation and hormone secretion, which are tightly regulated by specific microRNAs (miRNAs). In this study, we investigated the effects of specific miRNAs on porcine litter size. We compared the ovarian miRNAs of Yorkshire pigs with high (YH) and low (YL) litter sizes using Solexa sequencing technology. We identified 327 and 320 miRNAs in the ovaries of YH and YL pigs respectively. A total of 297 miRNAs were co-expressed; 30 and 23 miRNAs respectively were specifically expressed in the two libraries. A total of 83 novel miRNAs were predicted; 37 specific miRNAs were obtained, of which 21 miRNAs were upregulated and 16 miRNAs were downregulated in YH compared with YL. Additionally, 19 628 and 19 250 target genes were predicted in the two libraries respectively. The results revealed that specific miRNAs (i.e., miR-224, miR-99a, let-7c, miR-181c, miR-214 and miR-21) may affect porcine litter size. The results of this study will help in gaining understanding of the role of miRNAs in porcine litter size regulation.

  16. L1 insertion within SPEF2 gene is associated with increased litter size in the Finnish Yorkshire population.

    PubMed

    Sironen, A; Uimari, P; Iso-Touru, T; Vilkki, J

    2012-04-01

    Immotile, short-tail sperm defect (ISTS) expanded in the Finnish Yorkshire population in the end of 1990s. The causal mutation for this defect is a recent L1 insertion within the SPEF2 gene in chromosome 16. Even though all homozygous boars are eliminated from the population because of infertility, the amount of affected boars increased rapidly until marker-assisted selection against the defect was established. To elucidate the associated effects of the ISTS defect on production traits, we have investigated the association of the L1 insertion and PRLR haplotype with reproduction traits in the Finnish Yorkshire population. Two data sets including 357 sows and 491 AI-boars were genotyped for the presence of the L1 insertion and analysed for association with reproduction traits. A Proc Mixed procedure (SAS Inc) and a software package for analysing multivariate mixed models (DMU) were used to study the effect of polymorphisms on reproduction traits. The L1-insertion within SPEF2 gene was associated with litter size in the first parity. The SPEF2 gene is located adjacent to a candidate gene for litter size in the pig, PRLR. Haplotypes within PRLR exon 10 were analysed in data set of 93 AI-boars for the association with reproduction traits. However, no associations were detected within the analysed data set indicating that PRLR sequence variants are not the causal cause for the identified effect on litter size.

  17. Fallout volume and litter type affect (137)Cs concentration difference in litter between forest and stream environments.

    PubMed

    Sakai, Masaru; Gomi, Takashi; Negishi, Junjiro N

    2016-11-01

    It is important to understand the changes in the (137)Cs concentration in litter through leaching when considering that (137)Cs is transferred from basal food resources to animals in forested streams. We found that the difference of (137)Cs activity concentration in litter between forest and stream was associated with both litter type and (137)Cs fallout volume around Fukushima, Japan. The (137)Cs activity concentrations in the litter of evergreen conifers tended to be greater than those in the litter of broad-leaved deciduous trees because of the absence of deciduous leaves during the fallout period in March 2011. Moreover, (137)Cs activity concentrations in forest litter were greater with respect to the (137)Cs fallout volume. The (137)Cs activity concentrations in stream litter were much lower than those in forest litter when those in forest litter were higher. The (137)Cs leaching patterns indicated that the differences in (137)Cs activity concentration between forest and stream litter could change with changes in both fallout volume and litter type. Because litter is an important basal food resource in the food webs of both forests and streams, the (137)Cs concentration gradient reflects to possible (137)Cs transfer from lower to higher trophic animals. Our findings will improve our understanding of the spatial heterogeneity and variability of (137)Cs concentrations in animals resident to the contaminated landscape.

  18. Effect of glucosamine supplementation on litter size in a commercial setting, NPB project #14-238

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Litter size is influenced by ovulation rate, fertilization rate, embryo mortality and uterine capacity. Of these, the most limiting factor is uterine capacity, because increased ovulation rate results in increased number of embryos on day 30 of gestation, but this advantage is lost during later gest...

  19. Parity and litter size effects on maternal behavior of Small Tail Han sheep in China.

    PubMed

    Lv, Shen-Jin; Yang, Yan; Li, Fu-Kuan

    2016-03-01

    The effects of parity and litter size on maternal behavior of Small Tail Han sheep was investigated at Linyi University, China. Sixty-eight ewes were observed from parturition to weaning. Continuous focal animal sampling was used to quantify the duration of maternal behaviors. Ewe feces were collected every 2 days and estradiol concentration was measured with an enzyme immunoassay kit. All lambs were weighed 24 h after parturition and again at 35 days of age. Parity increased sucking, following, grooming, low-pitched bleat, head-up and udder-refusal behavior and decreased aggressive behavior (P < 0.01, P < 0.01, P < 0.05, P < 0.05, P < 0.05, P < 0.05, P < 0.01, respectively), and litter size showed significant effect on sucking, following and low-pitched bleat behavior (P < 0.05, P < 0.01, P < 0.05, respectively). The lambs of multiparous ewes were significantly heavier than primiparous ewes at birth (P < 0.01) and were significantly heavier at weaning age (P < 0.01). Similar results were founded for birth weight and weaning weight gain in litter size (P < 0.01, P < 0.01, respectively). Estradiol concentration in feces was higher in multiparous ewes than primiparous ewes. Parity and litter size may have effects on maternal behavior during lactation. Ewes that have 2-3 lambs may be more suitable for production of Small Tail Han sheep in China.

  20. Nitrogen Addition Significantly Affects Forest Litter Decomposition under High Levels of Ambient Nitrogen Deposition

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Gang; Peng, Yong; Xiao, Yin-long; Hu, Ting-xing; Zhang, Jian; Li, Xian-wei; Liu, Li; Tang, Yi

    2014-01-01

    Background Forest litter decomposition is a major component of the global carbon (C) budget, and is greatly affected by the atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition observed globally. However, the effects of N addition on forest litter decomposition, in ecosystems receiving increasingly higher levels of ambient N deposition, are poorly understood. Methodology/Principal Findings We conducted a two-year field experiment in five forests along the western edge of the Sichuan Basin in China, where atmospheric N deposition was up to 82–114 kg N ha–1 in the study sites. Four levels of N treatments were applied: (1) control (no N added), (2) low-N (50 kg N ha–1 year–1), (3) medium-N (150 kg N ha–1 year–1), and (4) high-N (300 kg N ha–1 year–1), N additions ranging from 40% to 370% of ambient N deposition. The decomposition processes of ten types of forest litters were then studied. Nitrogen additions significantly decreased the decomposition rates of six types of forest litters. N additions decreased forest litter decomposition, and the mass of residual litter was closely correlated to residual lignin during the decomposition process over the study period. The inhibitory effect of N addition on litter decomposition can be primarily explained by the inhibition of lignin decomposition by exogenous inorganic N. The overall decomposition rate of ten investigated substrates exhibited a significant negative linear relationship with initial tissue C/N and lignin/N, and significant positive relationships with initial tissue K and N concentrations; these relationships exhibited linear and logarithmic curves, respectively. Conclusions/Significance This study suggests that the expected progressive increases in N deposition may have a potential important impact on forest litter decomposition in the study area in the presence of high levels of ambient N deposition. PMID:24551152

  1. Litter decay controlled by temperature, not soil properties, affecting future soil carbon.

    PubMed

    Gregorich, Edward G; Janzen, Henry; Ellert, Benjamin H; Helgason, Bobbi L; Qian, Budong; Zebarth, Bernie J; Angers, Denis A; Beyaert, Ronald P; Drury, Craig F; Duguid, Scott D; May, William E; McConkey, Brian G; Dyck, Miles F

    2017-04-01

    Widespread global changes, including rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations, climate warming and loss of biodiversity, are predicted for this century; all of these will affect terrestrial ecosystem processes like plant litter decomposition. Conversely, increased plant litter decomposition can have potential carbon-cycle feedbacks on atmospheric CO2 levels, climate warming and biodiversity. But predicting litter decomposition is difficult because of many interacting factors related to the chemical, physical and biological properties of soil, as well as to climate and agricultural management practices. We applied (13) C-labelled plant litter to soil at ten sites spanning a 3500-km transect across the agricultural regions of Canada and measured its decomposition over five years. Despite large differences in soil type and climatic conditions, we found that the kinetics of litter decomposition were similar once the effect of temperature had been removed, indicating no measurable effect of soil properties. A two-pool exponential decay model expressing undecomposed carbon simply as a function of thermal time accurately described kinetics of decomposition. (R(2)  = 0.94; RMSE = 0.0508). Soil properties such as texture, cation exchange capacity, pH and moisture, although very different among sites, had minimal discernible influence on decomposition kinetics. Using this kinetic model under different climate change scenarios, we projected that the time required to decompose 50% of the litter (i.e. the labile fractions) would be reduced by 1-4 months, whereas time required to decompose 90% of the litter (including recalcitrant fractions) would be reduced by 1 year in cooler sites to as much as 2 years in warmer sites. These findings confirm quantitatively the sensitivity of litter decomposition to temperature increases and demonstrate how climate change may constrain future soil carbon storage, an effect apparently not influenced by soil properties.

  2. Habitat, food, and climate affecting leaf litter anuran assemblages in an Atlantic Forest remnant

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rievers, Camila Rabelo; Pires, Maria Rita Silvério; Eterovick, Paula Cabral

    2014-07-01

    Leaf litter anuran assemblages include both species that have terrestrial development and species that, during the breeding season, aggregate around bodies of water where their tadpoles develop. The resources used by these two groups in the leaf litter are likely to differ, as well as their sampled species richness, abundance and biomass as resource availability changes. We conducted a 12-month survey of leaf litter anuran assemblages at three forest areas in the largest Atlantic Forest remnant in the state of Minas Gerais in southeastern Brazil. Each month we estimated, based on capture rates, anuran species richness, abundance, and biomass as assemblage descriptors. We also measured variables that could potentially affect these descriptors in space and time: invertebrate litter fauna (abundance and richness of taxa), leaf litter biomass, and microclimatic conditions (air humidity, air and soil temperature, soil water content, and rainfall). We tested for differences in these variables among areas. We used general linear models to search for the variables that best explained variation in anuran abundance (based on capture rates) throughout the year. We analyzed species with terrestrial development (TD) and with aquatic larvae (AL) separately. We recorded 326 anurans of 15 species. Sampled anuran abundance (correlated to species richness and biomass) was explained by air humidity and/or invertebrate abundance for species with TD, and by soil water content or air humidity and leaf litter biomass for species with AL. The variability in the results of studies on leaf litter frogs that try to find variables to explain changes in community descriptors may be due to spatial variation of resources among areas and also to the fact that TD and AL species are frequently analyzed together, when in fact they are likely to show different responses to resources present in the leaf litter habitat, reflected on capture rates.

  3. The role of birth weight on litter size and mortality within 24h of life in purebred dogs: What aspects are involved?

    PubMed

    Groppetti, D; Ravasio, G; Bronzo, V; Pecile, A

    2015-12-01

    In humans, scientific evidence emphasizes the role of birth weight on neonatal welfare, morbidity and mortality. In canine species, defining normal ranges of birth weight is a harder issue due to a great morphological variability in size, body weight and breed. The aim of this study was to correlate birth weight with litter size and mortality within 24h of life in 789 pups from 140 litters of purebred dogs and to investigate the aspects that might affect these factors. Birth weight was influenced by maternal size, weight and age (P<0.001). The lightest pups were from toy sized or weighing up to 10 kg bitches. Conversely, bitches aged 2-8 years whelped heavier pups than younger and older mothers. Birth weight was also related both to litter size, with heavier pups in smaller rather than in larger litters from medium sized bitches, and breed (P<0.05). Unexpectedly, birth weight did not differ between live born and stillborn pups. However, birth weight was lower in pups dying within 24h of life (P<0.05). High mortality of pups was related both to short pregnancies (P<0.05), also showing lighter litters (P<0.001), and to dystocic parturitions (P<0.001). Litter size was associated with parity, type and number of mating, and length of pregnancy (P<0.001). Low birth weight appears to predispose to early neonatal mortality suggesting a predominant role of the breed rather than size and weight in determining birth weight in pups.

  4. Using climate data to predict grizzly bear litter size

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Picton, Harold D.; Knight, Richard R.

    1986-01-01

    A 5-year double-bind test was conducted to test the predictive capability of a previously published (Picton 1978) regression (Y= 2.01 + 0.042x), which described the relationship between the littler size of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) and an index of climate plus carrion availability (climate-carrion index). This regression showed an efficient in excess of 99% in predicting the observed grizzly bear littler size. The predictions made using the climate-carrion index had a mean absolute error of less than 25% of forecasts using other methods. The updated climate-carrion index regression, which includes all of the 16 years for which data are available, is Y= 2.009 + 0.042x (r = 0.078; P N = 16). We concluded that the climate-carrion index can be a helpful tool in predicting grizzly bear littler size. The relation of this information to the effects of the closure of Yellowstone Park garbage dumps is discussed.

  5. Bayesian analysis of response to selection: a case study using litter size in Danish Yorkshire pigs.

    PubMed Central

    Sorensen, D; Vernersen, A; Andersen, S

    2000-01-01

    Implementation of a Bayesian analysis of a selection experiment is illustrated using litter size [total number of piglets born (TNB)] in Danish Yorkshire pigs. Other traits studied include average litter weight at birth (WTAB) and proportion of piglets born dead (PRBD). Response to selection for TNB was analyzed with a number of models, which differed in their level of hierarchy, in their prior distributions, and in the parametric form of the likelihoods. A model assessment study favored a particular form of an additive genetic model. With this model, the Monte Carlo estimate of the 95% probability interval of response to selection was (0.23; 0.60), with a posterior mean of 0.43 piglets. WTAB showed a correlated response of -7.2 g, with a 95% probability interval equal to (-33.1; 18.9). The posterior mean of the genetic correlation between TNB and WTAB was -0.23 with a 95% probability interval equal to (-0.46; -0.01). PRBD was studied informally; it increases with larger litters, when litter size is >7 piglets born. A number of methodological issues related to the Bayesian model assessment study are discussed, as well as the genetic consequences of inferring response to selection using additive genetic models. PMID:10978292

  6. Joint analysis of binomial and continuous traits with a recursive model: a case study using mortality and litter size of pigs.

    PubMed

    Varona, Luis; Sorensen, Daniel

    2014-03-01

    This work presents a model for the joint analysis of a binomial and a Gaussian trait using a recursive parametrization that leads to a computationally efficient implementation. The model is illustrated in an analysis of mortality and litter size in two breeds of Danish pigs, Landrace and Yorkshire. Available evidence suggests that mortality of piglets increased partly as a result of successful selection for total number of piglets born. In recent years there has been a need to decrease the incidence of mortality in pig-breeding programs. We report estimates of genetic variation at the level of the logit of the probability of mortality and quantify how it is affected by the size of the litter. Several models for mortality are considered and the best fits are obtained by postulating linear and cubic relationships between the logit of the probability of mortality and litter size, for Landrace and Yorkshire, respectively. An interpretation of how the presence of genetic variation affects the probability of mortality in the population is provided and we discuss and quantify the prospects of selecting for reduced mortality, without affecting litter size.

  7. Joint Analysis of Binomial and Continuous Traits with a Recursive Model: A Case Study Using Mortality and Litter Size of Pigs

    PubMed Central

    Varona, Luis; Sorensen, Daniel

    2014-01-01

    This work presents a model for the joint analysis of a binomial and a Gaussian trait using a recursive parametrization that leads to a computationally efficient implementation. The model is illustrated in an analysis of mortality and litter size in two breeds of Danish pigs, Landrace and Yorkshire. Available evidence suggests that mortality of piglets increased partly as a result of successful selection for total number of piglets born. In recent years there has been a need to decrease the incidence of mortality in pig-breeding programs. We report estimates of genetic variation at the level of the logit of the probability of mortality and quantify how it is affected by the size of the litter. Several models for mortality are considered and the best fits are obtained by postulating linear and cubic relationships between the logit of the probability of mortality and litter size, for Landrace and Yorkshire, respectively. An interpretation of how the presence of genetic variation affects the probability of mortality in the population is provided and we discuss and quantify the prospects of selecting for reduced mortality, without affecting litter size. PMID:24414548

  8. Prior Hydrologic Disturbance Affects Competition between Aedes Mosquitoes via Changes in Leaf Litter.

    PubMed

    Smith, Cassandra D; Freed, T Zachary; Leisnham, Paul T

    2015-01-01

    Allochthonous leaf litter is often the main resource base for invertebrate communities in ephemeral water-filled containers, and detritus quality can be affected by hydrologic conditions. The invasive mosquito Aedes albopictus utilizes container habitats for its development where it competes as larvae for detritus and associated microorganisms with the native Aedes triseriatus. Different hydrologic conditions that containers are exposed to prior to mosquito utilization affect litter decay and associated water quality. We tested the hypothesis that larval competition between A. albopictus and A. triseriatus would be differentially affected by prior hydrologic conditions. Experimental microcosms provisioned with Quercus alba L. litter were subjected to one of three different hydrologic treatments prior to the addition of water and mosquito larvae: dry, flooded, and a wet/dry cycle. Interspecific competition between A. albopictus and A. triseriatus was mediated by hydrologic treatment, and was strongest in the dry treatment vs. the flooded or wet/dry treatments. Aedes triseriatus estimated rate of population change (λ') was lowest in the dry treatment. Aedes albopictus λ' was unaffected by hydrologic treatment, and was on average always increasing (i.e., > 1). Aedes triseriatus λ' was affected by the interaction of hydrologic treatment with interspecific competition, and was on average declining (i.e., < 1.0), at the highest interspecific densities in the dry treatment. Dry treatment litter had the slowest decay rate and leached the highest concentration of tannin-lignin, but supported more total bacteria than the other treatments. These results suggest that dry conditions negatively impact A. triseriatus population performance and may result in the competitive exclusion of A. triseriatus by A. albopictus, possibly by reducing microbial taxa that Aedes species browse. Changing rainfall patterns with climate change are likely to affect competition between A

  9. Genetics of litter size in three maternal lines of rabbits: repeatability versus multiple-trait models.

    PubMed

    Piles, M; García, M L; Rafel, O; Ramon, J; Baselga, M

    2006-09-01

    Variance components were estimated in 3 lines of rabbits selected for litter size at weaning (A, Prat, and V) to test one of the assumptions of the models used for selection: that litter size data at different parities are repeated measurements of the same trait. Multiple-trait analyses were performed for the total number of kits born (TB), the number of kits born alive (BA), and the number of kits weaned (NW) per litter. Estimates were obtained by REML in multivariate analyses, including all of the information of the selection criteria, under a repeatability model or a multiple-trait model, considering litter size at the first, second, and subsequent parities as different traits. Models included the fixed effects of the physiological status of the female and the year-season of mating day, buck and doe random permanent environmental effects, and doe additive genetic effects. Results indicated that prolificacy was determined mainly by doe components and that the service sire had a very small effect. Heritabilities for the first and second parities were greater than the estimates obtained under the repeatability model (0.04 to 0.14 for the repeatability model). In the A and V lines, similar values of heritability were found at the first and second parities, but in the Prat line heritability at the second parity was always greater than at the first and greater parities (values of 0.21, 0.17, and 0.15 for TB, BA, and NW, respectively, in second parities of the Prat line). Genetic correlations between the same traits at different parities were approximately 0.8 for all traits in line A, but much lower in the other 2 lines. On average, the values were 0.64 for TB, 0.48 for BA, and 0.39 for NW between the first and second parities, and 0.65 for TB, 0.56 for BA, and 0.45 for NW between the first and third and greater parities. Genetic correlations between the second and greater parities showed the greatest values (approximately 0.8) in lines A and Prat for all traits, but

  10. Distribution of plant nutrient elements and carbon in particle size fractions of broiler litter ash

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    An estimated 10.8 million tons of broiler litter and 3.0 million tons of turkey litter were produced in the United States in 2009. Poultry litter is a mixture of manure, bedding material (e.g., wood chips, sawdust, or straw), feathers, and spilled feed. Poultry litter contains high levels of Ca, N...

  11. Nerve Growth Factor gene ovarian expression, polymorphism identification, and association with litter size in goats.

    PubMed

    Naicy, T; Venkatachalapathy, R T; Aravindakshan, T V; Radhika, G; Raghavan, K C; Mini, M; Shyama, K

    2016-12-01

    The Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) plays an important role in reproduction by augmenting folliculogenesis. In this study, the coding regions of caprine NGF gene were analyzed to detect single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), their association with litter size, and the relative ovarian expression of NGF gene in the two indigenous goat breeds of South India viz., the prolific Malabari and less-prolific Attappady Black. The sequence analysis of the third exon containing the entire open reading frame of NGF gene was observed to be of 808 bp with one nonsynonymous mutation at 217th position. Later, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was performed to amplify a region of 188 bp covering the region carrying the detected mutation. The genomic DNAs from the goats under study (n = 277) were subjected to PCR and single strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP). On analysis, four diplotypes viz., AA, AB, AC, and AD were observed with respective frequencies of 0.50, 0.22, 0.27, and 0.01. Sequencing of the representative samples revealed an additional synonymous mutation, i.e., g.291C>A. Statistical analysis indicated that NGF diplotypes and the SNP g.217G>A were associated with litter size in goats (P < 0.05). Relative expression of NGF gene was significantly higher in the ovaries of goats with history of multiple than single births (P < 0.05). The results of the present study suggest the significant effect of the NGF gene on litter size in goats and identified SNPs would benefit the selection of prolific animals in future marker-assisted breeding programs. The two novel PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphisms designed, based on the detected SNPs, would help in the rapid screening of large number of animals in a breeding population for identifying individual animals with desired genetic characteristics.

  12. Oxidative Damage Does Not Occur in Striped Hamsters Raising Natural and Experimentally Increased Litter Size.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Xiao-Ya; Zhang, Ji-Ying; Cao, Jing; Zhao, Zhi-Jun

    2015-01-01

    Life-history theory assumes that animals can balance the allocation of limited energy or resources to the competing demands of growth, reproduction and somatic maintenance, while consequently maximizing their fitness. However, somatic damage caused by oxidative stress in reproductive female animals is species-specific or is tissue dependent. In the present study, several markers of oxidative stress (hydrogen peroxide, H2O2 and malonadialdehyde, MDA) and antioxidant (catalase, CAT and total antioxidant capacity, T-AOC) were examined in striped hamsters during different stages of reproduction with experimentally manipulated litter size. Energy intake, resting metabolic rate (RMR), and mRNA expression of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) in brown adipose tissue (BAT) and UCP3 in skeletal muscle were also examined. H2O2 and MDA levels did not change in BAT and liver, although they significantly decreased in skeletal muscle in the lactating hamsters compared to the non-reproductive group. However, H2O2 levels in the brain were significantly higher in lactating hamsters than non-reproductive controls. Experimentally increasing litter size did not cause oxidative stress in BAT, liver and skeletal muscle, but significantly elevated H2O2 levels in the brain. CAT activity of liver decreased, but CAT and T-AOC activity of BAT, skeletal muscle and the brain did not change in lactating hamsters compared to non-reproductive controls. Both antioxidants did not change with the experimentally increasing litter size. RMR significantly increased, but BAT UCP1 mRNA expression decreased with the experimentally increased litter size, suggesting that it was against simple positive links between metabolic rate, UCP1 expression and free radicals levels. It may suggest that the cost of reproduction has negligible effect on oxidative stress or even attenuates oxidative stress in some active tissues in an extensive range of animal species. But the increasing reproductive effort may cause oxidative

  13. The contribution of dominance and inbreeding depression in estimating variance components for litter size in Pannon White rabbits.

    PubMed

    Nagy, I; Gorjanc, G; Curik, I; Farkas, J; Kiszlinger, H; Szendrő, Zs

    2013-08-01

    In a synthetic closed population of Pannon White rabbits, additive (VA ), dominance (VD ) and permanent environmental (VPe ) variance components as well as doe (bF d ) and litter (bF l ) inbreeding depression were estimated for the number of kits born alive (NBA), number of kits born dead (NBD) and total number of kits born (TNB). The data set consisted of 18,398 kindling records of 3883 does collected from 1992 to 2009. Six models were used to estimate dominance and inbreeding effects. The most complete model estimated VA and VD to contribute 5.5 ± 1.1% and 4.8 ± 2.4%, respectively, to total phenotypic variance (VP ) for NBA; the corresponding values for NBD were 1.9 ± 0.6% and 5.3 ± 2.4%, for TNB, 6.2 ± 1.0% and 8.1 ± 3.2% respectively. These results indicate the presence of considerable VD . Including dominance in the model generally reduced VA and VPe estimates, and had only a very small effect on inbreeding depression estimates. Including inbreeding covariates did not affect estimates of any variance component. A 10% increase in doe inbreeding significantly increased NBD (bF d  = 0.18 ± 0.07), while a 10% increase in litter inbreeding significantly reduced NBA (bF l  = -0.41 ± 0.11) and TNB (bF l  = -0.34 ± 0.10). These findings argue for including dominance effects in models of litter size traits in populations that exhibit significant dominance relationships.

  14. Zinc oxide nanoparticles affect carbon and nitrogen mineralization of Phoenix dactylifera leaf litter in a sandy soil.

    PubMed

    Rashid, Muhammad Imtiaz; Shahzad, Tanvir; Shahid, Muhammad; Ismail, Iqbal M I; Shah, Ghulam Mustafa; Almeelbi, Talal

    2017-02-15

    We investigated the impact of zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs; 1000mgkg(-1) soil) on soil microbes and their associated soil functions such as date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) leaf litter (5gkg(-1) soil) carbon and nitrogen mineralization in mesocosms containing sandy soil. Nanoparticles application in litter-amended soil significantly decreased the cultivable heterotrophic bacterial and fungal colony forming units (cfu) compared to only litter-amended soil. The decrease in cfu could be related to lower microbial biomass carbon in nanoparticles-litter amended soil. Likewise, ZnO NPs also reduced CO2 emission by 10% in aforementioned treatment but this was higher than control (soil only). Labile Zn was only detected in the microbial biomass of nanoparticles-litter applied soil indicating that microorganisms consumed this element from freely available nutrients in the soil. In this treatment, dissolved organic carbon and mineral nitrogen were 25 and 34% lower respectively compared to litter-amended soil. Such toxic effects of nanoparticles on litter decomposition resulted in 130 and 122% lower carbon and nitrogen mineralization efficiency respectively. Hence, our results entail that ZnO NPs are toxic to soil microbes and affect their function i.e., carbon and nitrogen mineralization of applied litter thus confirming their toxicity to microbial associated soil functions.

  15. Female multiple mating behaviour, early reproductive failure and litter size variation in mammals.

    PubMed Central

    Stockley, P

    2003-01-01

    Female promiscuity is widespread among mammals, although its function is poorly understood. Recently, much interest has been generated by the hypothesis that female promiscuity, combined with post-copulatory paternity-biasing mechanisms, may function to reduce the costs of reproductive failure resulting from genetic incompatibility. Here, a comparative approach is used to determine if average rates of reproductive failure differ for polytocous mammal species with contrasting levels of female multiple-mating behaviour. After control for phylogeny, promiscuous species were found to have significantly lower rates of early reproductive failure than monogamous and polygynous species, in which females are relatively monandrous. Monandrous females appear to compensate for higher early reproductive failure with increased ova production, and thus produce comparable average litter sizes to those of more promiscuous females. However, there is significantly more variation around the average litter sizes produced by relatively monandrous females. These findings are broadly consistent with predictions of the genetic incompatibility avoidance hypothesis, although it is emphasized that alternative explanations cannot be ruled out on the basis of the comparative evidence presented. Further studies are needed to explore ecological correlates of multiple-mating behaviour, to investigate potential post-copulatory paternity-biasing mechanisms, and to identify the causes of reproductive failure in natural mammal populations. PMID:12614576

  16. Accounting for additive genetic mutations on litter size in Ripollesa sheep.

    PubMed

    Casellas, J; Caja, G; Piedrafita, J

    2010-04-01

    Little is known about mutational variability in livestock, among which only a few mutations with relatively large effects have been reported. In this manuscript, mutational variability was analyzed in 1,765 litter size records from 404 Ripollesa ewes to characterize the magnitude of this genetic source of variation and check the suitability of including mutational effects in genetic evaluations of this breed. Threshold animal models accounting for additive genetic mutations were preferred to models without mutational contributions, with an average difference in the deviance information criterion of more than 5 units. Moreover, the statistical relevance of the additive genetic mutation term was checked through a Bayes factor approach, which showed that the models with mutational variability were 8.5 to 22.7 times more probable than the others. The mutational heritability (percentage of the phenotypic variance accounted for by mutational variance) was 0.6 or 0.9%, depending on whether genetic dominance effects were accounted for by the analytical model. The inclusion of mutational effects in the genetic model for evaluating litter size in Ripollesa ewes called for some minor modifications in the genetic merit order of the individuals evaluated, which suggested that the continuous uploading of new additive mutations could be taken into account to optimize the selection scheme. This study is the first attempt to estimate mutational variances in a livestock species and thereby contribute to better characterization of the genetic background of productive traits of interest.

  17. Decreasing litter size of marmots over time: a life history response to climate change?

    PubMed

    Tafani, Marion; Cohas, Aurélie; Bonenfant, Christophe; Gaillard, Jean-Michel; Allainé, Dominique

    2013-03-01

    The way that plants and animals respond to climate change varies widely among species, but the biological features underlying their actual response remains largely unknown. Here, from a 20-year monitoring study, we document a continuous decrease in litter size of the Alpine marmot (Marmota marmota) since 1990. To cope with harsh winters, Alpine marmots hibernate in burrows and their reproductive output should depend more on spring conditions compared to animals that are active year-round. However, we show that litter size decreased over time because of the general thinning of winter snow cover that has been repeatedly reported to occur in the Alps over the same period, despite a positive effect of an earlier snowmelt in spring. Our results contrast markedly with a recent study on North American yellow-bellied marmots, suggesting that between-species differences in life histories can lead to opposite responses to climate change, even between closely related species. Our case study therefore demonstrates the idiosyncratic nature of the response to climate change and emphasizes, even for related species with similar ecological niches, that it may be hazardous to extrapolate life history responses to climate change from one species to another.

  18. Effect of polymorphism in the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma gene on litter size of pigs.

    PubMed

    Wang, Guiying; Kong, Lujun; Hu, Peng; Fu, Jinlian; Wang, Aiguo

    2011-03-01

    The association of polymorphisms in peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) gene with litter size was studied in Large White and Landrace pig. Three SNP loci (P1, P2 and P7) on PPARγ(2) gene were determined by PCR-SSCP and the results showed that there were A → G mutations at 220 and 324 bp in 5'-regulator region and at 147 bp in exon 6, respectively. Allele frequencies were analysed in two breeds. Information on 2341 litter records from 564 sows was used to analyse the trait total number born (TNB) and number born alive (NBA). In Large White, TNB and NBA of genotype BB for P2 locus were the lowest, and the TNB and NBA of third and following parities and all parities were 0.74 and 0.51 piglets per litter less (P < 0.001) than those of the highest genotype AB, respectively, but for P1 and P7 locus the beneficial genotype AA were more 0.4-0.8 piglets per litter (P < 0.05) than the inferior genotype AB. In landrace, TNB and NBA of the first parity of genotype BB for P1 locus were 2.0 piglets per litter higher than AA (P < 0.05), but for all parities the TNB and NBA of genotype BB were 0.66 and 0.97 piglets per litter (P < 0.05) higher than AA, respectively. At P2 locus, the TNB and NBA of the second parity of genotype AA were obviously higher than those of AB (P < 0.05). And at P7 locus, the TNB and NBA of each parity of genotype AA were both about 2 piglets per litter more than those of BB (P < 0.05). The results indicated that PPARγ gene was significantly associated with litter size in pigs.

  19. Effects of graded doses of the pesticide heptachlor on body weight, mating success, oestrous cycle, gestation length and litter size in laboratory rats.

    PubMed

    Oduma, J A; Wango, E O; Makawiti, D W; Einer-Jensen, N; Oduor-Okelo, D

    1995-02-01

    Adult female Sprague-Dawley rats were injected with 5 or 20 mg/kg body weight heptachlor solution every other day for up to 18 days. They were weighed every day and the stage of oestrus determined by vaginal smears. One experimental group was mated and pregnancy characteristics studied. Heptachlor affected body weights, cycle patterns, length of gestation period and litter sizes in a dose-related manner. At a dose of 20 mg/kg body weight, heptachlor caused a significant decrease in average body weight (P < 0.01), disrupted and/or prolonged oestrous cycles, decreased mating success (P < 0.001), slightly increased gestation length (P < 0.05) and decreased litter size (P < 0.01).

  20. Increased litter size and suckling intensity inhibit KiSS-1 mRNA expression in rat arcuate nucleus

    PubMed Central

    Noroozi, Atefeh; Shirazi, Mohammad Reza Jafarzadeh; Zamiri, Mohammad Javad; Tamadon, Amin; Akhlaghi, Amir; Tanideh, Nader; Niazi, Ali; Moghadam, Ali

    2014-01-01

    Objective(s): The effect of litter size and suckling intensity on the expression of KiSS-1 mRNA in the arcuate nucleus (ARC) of rats were evaluated. Materials and Methods: Thirty two pregnant and four non-lactating ovariectomized (as control group) rats were used in this experiment. Lactating rats were allotted to eight equal groups. In three groups, litter size was adjusted to 5, 10, or 15 pups upon parturition and allowed to suckle their pups continuously by 8 days postpartum. In the other three groups, litter size was adjusted to five upon birth; the pups were separated from the dams for 6 hr on day 8 postpartum, after which the pups were allowed to suckle their dams for 2.5, 5, or 7.5 min prior to killing the dams. Two groups of lactating rats with either 10 or 15 pups were separated from their pups for 6 hr on day 8 postpartum, after which the pups were allowed to suckle their dams for 5 min before the dams were killed on day 8 postpartum. The ARC was removed and the expression of KiSS-1 mRNA was evaluated, using real-time PCR. Results: The expression of KiSS-1 mRNA in the ARC was decreased as the litter size and intensity of suckling stimulus were increased. The effect of suckling intensity on the expression of KiSS-1 mRNA was more pronounced than that of litter size. Conclusion: Increased litter size and suckling intensity decreased KiSS-1 mRNA expression in the ARC which may contribute to lactation anestrus in rat. PMID:25422754

  1. Increased Litter Size and Suckling Intensity Stimulate mRNA of RFamide-related Peptide in Rats

    PubMed Central

    Noroozi, Atefeh; Jafarzadeh Shirazi, Mohammad Reza; Tamadon, Amin; Moghadam, Ali; Niazi, Ali

    2015-01-01

    Background RFamide-related peptide-3 (RFRP-3) inhibits gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) secretion in rats. This study evaluates the effects of litter size and suckling intensity on RFRP mRNA expression in the dorsomedial hypothalamic nucleus (DMH) of rats. Materials and Methods A total of 32 pregnant and 4 non-lactating ovariectomized (control group) Sprague-Dawley rats were used in this experimental study. Lactating rats were allotted to 8 equal groups. In 3 groups, the litter size was adjusted to 5, 10, or 15 pups upon parturition. Dams were allowed to suckle their pups continuously until 8 days postpartum. In the other 3 groups, the litter size was adjusted to 5 pups following birth. These pups were separated from the dams for 6 hours on day 8 postpartum, after which the pups were allowed to suckle for 2.5, 5, or 7.5 minutes prior to killing the dams. In 2 groups, lactating rats with 10 and 15 pups were separated from their pups for 6 hours on day 8 postpartum. In these groups, the pups were allowed to suckle their dams for 5 minutes before the dams were killed. All rats were killed on day 8 postpartum and the DMH was removed from each rat. We evaluated RFRP mRNA expression using realtime polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Results The expression of RFRP mRNA in the DMH increased with increased litter size and suckling intensity compared to the controls. The effect of suckling intensity on the expression of RFRP mRNA was more pronounced compared to the litter size. Conclusion Increased litter size and suckling intensity stimulated RFRP mRNA expression in the DMH which might contribute to lactation anestrus in rats. PMID:26644862

  2. Flower litters of alpine plants affect soil nitrogen and phosphorus rapidly in the eastern Tibetan Plateau

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Jinniu; Xu, Bo; Wu, Yan; Gao, Jing; Shi, Fusun

    2016-10-01

    Litters of reproductive organs have rarely been studied despite their role in allocating nutrients for offspring reproduction. This study determines the mechanism through which flower litters efficiently increase the available soil nutrient pool. Field experiments were conducted to collect plant litters and calculate biomass production in an alpine meadow of the eastern Tibetan Plateau. C, N, P, lignin, cellulose content, and their relevant ratios of litters were analyzed to identify their decomposition features. A pot experiment was performed to determine the effects of litter addition on the soil nutrition pool by comparing the treated and control samples. The litter-bag method was used to verify decomposition rates. The flower litters of phanerophyte plants were comparable with non-flower litters. Biomass partitioning of other herbaceous species accounted for 10-40 % of the aboveground biomass. Flower litter possessed significantly higher N and P levels but less C / N, N / P, lignin / N, and lignin and cellulose concentrations than leaf litter. The litter-bag experiment confirmed that the flower litters of Rhododendron przewalskii and Meconopsis integrifolia decompose approximately 3 times faster than mixed litters within 50 days. Pot experiment findings indicated that flower litter addition significantly increased the available nutrient pool and soil microbial productivity. The time of litter fall significantly influenced soil available N and P, and soil microbial biomass. Flower litters fed the soil nutrition pool and influenced nutrition cycling in alpine ecosystems more efficiently because of their non-ignorable production, faster decomposition rate, and higher nutrient contents compared with non-flower litters. The underlying mechanism can enrich nutrients, which return to the soil, and non-structural carbohydrates, which feed and enhance the transitions of soil microorganisms.

  3. Does Proximity to Subsurface Poultry Litter Affect Corn Seedling Survival and Growth?

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Poultry litter provides a rich nutrient source for crops, but the usual practice of surface broadcasting litter can degrade water quality by allowing storm runoff to transport nutrients into streams and lakes, while much of the ammonia N escapes into the atmosphere. Subsurface application of litter...

  4. Litter size and infant survivorship in wild groups of cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) in Colombia.

    PubMed

    Savage, A; Soto, L; Medina, F; Emeris, G; Soltis, J

    2009-08-01

    Cotton-top tamains (Saguinus oedipus) are a critically endangered primate found only in Colombia. Efforts to conserve this species are centered on developing effective management plans that integrate biological information regarding population dynamics and factors that influence their survival. This study documented infants born to wild cotton-top tamarin females from 1994-2008 at two distinct field sites in northern Colombia. Our studies have shown that wild cotton-top tamarins typically give birth to one litter each year and infant survival to 6 months of age was greater in the wild than has been reported in captive colonies. However, similar to reports from captive colonies, litter size of wild cotton-top tamarins ranges from 1-3 infants, with twin litters most common. Here we report the first occurrence of triplet litters in nearly 20 years of observing wild cotton-top tamarin groups. Over the first 3 months of life, wild-born infants exhibited highest mortality during the first week of life, similar to reports from captive colonies. Infant survival in the wild also increases with successive litters as it does in captivity. However, inter-birth interval, group size, and the number of adult males in the group did not appear to influence infant survival in the wild. The value of such long-term data from field studies aids in the information that can be used to model future population trends and develop effective conservation plans for this critically endangered primate.

  5. Substitution within erythropoietin receptor gene D1 domain associated with litter size in Beijing Black pig, Sus scrofa.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Longchao; Wang, Ligang; Li, Yong; Li, Wen; Yan, Hua; Liu, Xin; Zhao, Kebin; Wang, Lixian

    2011-10-01

    Studies of uterine capacity and litter size in swine have suggested that erythropoietin receptor (EPOR) plays an important role in fetal survival through maturation of red blood cells. In this study, we screened the porcine EPOR gene for mutations and identified three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs): two missense mutations and one synonymous mutation. We then genotyped 272 Beijing Black sows, Sus scrofa, and compared this data with litter sizes from a total of 1523 parities among the sows. The G allele of the nonsynonymous SNP, EPOR c.434A>G, was associated with greater litter size at both first parity (P < 0.05) and at later parities (P < 0.01). This SNP causes His92Arg adjacent to the fourth conserved cysteine residue in the mature protein and is in the D1 domain of the protein. Additionally, we determined the allele frequencies for this SNP among six Chinese indigenous pig breeds (Bamei, Erhualian, Laiwu Black, Mashen, Meishan and Min) and three Western commercial pig breeds (Duroc, Landrace and Large White). The c.434G allele was significantly more common among the more prolific Chinese breeds than the Western breeds, implying that EPOR c.434A>G could be a useful genetic marker to improve litter size in swine.

  6. Do mothers prefer helpers or smaller litters? Birth sex ratio and litter size adjustment in cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus)

    PubMed Central

    Boulton, Rebecca A; Fletcher, Alison W

    2015-01-01

    Sex allocation theory has been a remarkably productive field in behavioral ecology with empirical evidence regularly supporting quantitative theoretical predictions. Across mammals in general and primates in particular, however, support for the various hypotheses has been more equivocal. Population-level sex ratio biases have often been interpreted as supportive, but evidence for small-scale facultative adjustment has rarely been found. The helper repayment (HR) also named the local resource enhancement (LRE) hypothesis predicts that, in cooperatively breeding species, mothers invest more in the sex which assists with rearing future offspring and that this bias will be more pronounced in mothers who require extra assistance (i.e., due to inexperience or a lack of available alloparents). We tested these hypotheses in captive cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) utilizing the international studbook and birth records obtained through a questionnaire from ISIS-registered institutions. Infant sex, litter size, mother's age, parity, and group composition (presence of nonreproductive subordinate males and females) were determined from these records. The HR hypothesis was supported over the entire population, which was significantly biased toward males (the “helpful” sex). We found little support for helper repayment at the individual level, as primiparous females and those in groups without alloparents did not exhibit more extreme tendencies to produce male infants. Primiparous females were, however, more likely to produce singleton litters. Singleton births were more likely to be male, which suggests that there may be an interaction between litter size adjustment and sex allocation. This may be interpreted as supportive of the HR hypothesis, but alternative explanations at both the proximate and ultimate levels are possible. These possibilities warrant further consideration when attempting to understand the ambiguous results of primate sex ratio studies so far

  7. Do mothers prefer helpers or smaller litters? Birth sex ratio and litter size adjustment in cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus).

    PubMed

    Boulton, Rebecca A; Fletcher, Alison W

    2015-02-01

    Sex allocation theory has been a remarkably productive field in behavioral ecology with empirical evidence regularly supporting quantitative theoretical predictions. Across mammals in general and primates in particular, however, support for the various hypotheses has been more equivocal. Population-level sex ratio biases have often been interpreted as supportive, but evidence for small-scale facultative adjustment has rarely been found. The helper repayment (HR) also named the local resource enhancement (LRE) hypothesis predicts that, in cooperatively breeding species, mothers invest more in the sex which assists with rearing future offspring and that this bias will be more pronounced in mothers who require extra assistance (i.e., due to inexperience or a lack of available alloparents). We tested these hypotheses in captive cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) utilizing the international studbook and birth records obtained through a questionnaire from ISIS-registered institutions. Infant sex, litter size, mother's age, parity, and group composition (presence of nonreproductive subordinate males and females) were determined from these records. The HR hypothesis was supported over the entire population, which was significantly biased toward males (the "helpful" sex). We found little support for helper repayment at the individual level, as primiparous females and those in groups without alloparents did not exhibit more extreme tendencies to produce male infants. Primiparous females were, however, more likely to produce singleton litters. Singleton births were more likely to be male, which suggests that there may be an interaction between litter size adjustment and sex allocation. This may be interpreted as supportive of the HR hypothesis, but alternative explanations at both the proximate and ultimate levels are possible. These possibilities warrant further consideration when attempting to understand the ambiguous results of primate sex ratio studies so far.

  8. Prolificacy and Its Relationship with Age, Body Weight, Parity, Previous Litter Size and Body Linear Type Traits in Meat-type Goats

    PubMed Central

    Haldar, Avijit; Pal, Prasenjit; Datta, M.; Paul, Rajesh; Pal, Saumen K.; Majumdar, Debasis; Biswas, Chanchal K.; Pan, Subhransu

    2014-01-01

    Data on age and body weight at breeding, parity, previous litter size, days open and some descriptive body linear traits from 389 meat-type, prolific Black Bengal goats in Tripura State of India, were collected for 3 and 1/2 years (2007 to 2010) and analyzed using logistic regression model. The objectives of the study were i) to evaluate the effect of age and body weight at breeding, parity, previous litter size and days open on litter size of does; and ii) to investigate if body linear type traits influenced litter size in meat-type, prolific goats. The incidence of 68.39% multiple births with a prolificacy rate of 175.07% was recorded. Higher age (>2.69 year), higher parity order (>2.31), more body weight at breeding (>20.5 kg) and larger previous litter size (>1.65) showed an increase likelihood of multiple litter size when compared to single litter size. There was a strong, positive relationship between litter size and various body linear type traits like neck length (>22.78 cm), body length (>54.86 cm), withers height (>48.85 cm), croup height (>50.67 cm), distance between tuber coxae bones (>11.38 cm) and distance between tuber ischii bones (>4.56 cm) for discriminating the goats bearing multiple fetuses from those bearing a single fetus. PMID:25049997

  9. How does litter quality affect the community of soil protists (testate amoebae) of tropical montane rainforests?

    PubMed

    Krashevska, Valentyna; Maraun, Mark; Scheu, Stefan

    2012-06-01

    Litter quality and diversity are major factors structuring decomposer communities. However, little is known on the relationship between litter quality and the community structure of soil protists in tropical forests. We analyzed the diversity, density, and community structure of a major group of soil protists of tropical montane rainforests, that is, testate amoebae. Litterbags containing pure and mixed litter of two abundant tree species at the study sites (Graffenrieda emarginata and Purdiaea nutans) differing in nitrogen concentrations were exposed in the field for 12 months. The density and diversity of testate amoebae were higher in the nitrogen-rich Graffenrieda litter suggesting that nitrogen functions as an important driving factor for soil protist communities. No additive effects of litter mixing were found, rather density of testate amoebae was reduced in litter mixtures as compared to litterbags with Graffenrieda litter only. However, adding of high-quality litter to low-quality litter markedly improved habitat quality, as evaluated by the increase in diversity and density of testate amoebae. The results suggest that local factors, such as litter quality, function as major forces shaping the structure and density of decomposer microfauna that likely feed back to decomposition processes.

  10. Decreased carbon limitation of litter respiration in a mortality-affected piñon-juniper woodland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Berryman, E.; Marshall, J. D.; Rahn, T.; Litvak, M.; Butnor, J.

    2012-10-01

    Microbial respiration depends on microclimatic variables and carbon (C) substrate availability, all of which are altered when ecosystems experience major disturbance. Widespread tree mortality, currently affecting piñon-juniper ecosystems in Southwestern North America, may affect C substrate availability in several ways; for example, via litterfall pulses and loss of root exudation. To determine piñon mortality effects on C and water limitation of microbial respiration, we applied field amendments (sucrose and water) to two piñon-juniper sites in central New Mexico, USA: one with a recent (< 1 yr), experimentally-induced mortality event and a nearby site with live canopy. We monitored the respiration response to water and sucrose applications to the litter surface and to the underlying mineral soil surface, testing the following hypotheses: (1) soil respiration in a piñon-juniper woodland is water- and labile C-limited in both the litter layer and mineral soil; (2) water and sucrose applications increase temperature sensitivity of respiration; (3) the mortality-affected site will show a reduction in C limitation in the litter; (4) the mortality-affected site will show an enhancement of C limitation in the mineral soil. Litter respiration at both sites responded to increased water availability, yet surprisingly, mineral soil respiration was not limited by water. Temperature sensitivity was enhanced by some of the sucrose and water treatments. Consistent with hypothesis 3, C limitation of litter respiration was lower at the recent mortality site compared to the intact canopy site. Results following applications to the mineral soil suggest the presence of abiotic effects of increasing water availability, precluding our ability to measure labile C limitation in soil. Widespread piñon mortality may decrease labile C limitation of litter respiration, at least during the first growing season following mortality.

  11. Plant genetic identity of foundation tree species and their hybrids affects a litter-dwelling generalist predator.

    PubMed

    Wojtowicz, Todd; Compson, Zacchaeus G; Lamit, Louis J; Whitham, Thomas G; Gehring, Catherine A

    2014-11-01

    The effects of plant genetics on predators, especially those not living on the plant itself, are rarely studied and poorly understood. Therefore, we investigated the effect of plant hybridization and genotype on litter-dwelling spiders. Using an 18-year-old cottonwood common garden, we recorded agelenid sheet-web density associated with the litter layers of replicated genotypes of three tree cross types: Populus fremontii, Populus angustifolia, and their F1 hybrids. We surveyed 118 trees for agelenid litter webs at two distances from the trees (0-100 and 100-200 cm from trunk) and measured litter depth as a potential mechanism of web density patterns. Five major results emerged: web density within a 1-m radius of P. angustifolia was approximately three times higher than within a 1-m radius of P. fremontii, with F1 hybrids having intermediate densities; web density responded to P. angustifolia and F1 hybrid genotypes as indicated by a significant genotype × distance interaction, with some genotypes exhibiting a strong decline in web density with distance, while others did not; P. angustifolia litter layers were deeper than those of P. fremontii at both distance classes, and litter depth among P. angustifolia genotypes differed up to 300%; cross type and genotype influenced web density via their effects on litter depth, and these effects were influenced by distance; web density was more sensitive to the effects of tree cross type than genotype. By influencing generalist predators, plant hybridization and genotype may indirectly impact trophic interactions such as intraguild predation, possibly affecting trophic cascades and ecosystem processes.

  12. On the evolutionary consequences of increasing litter size with multiple paternity in wild boar (Sus scrofa scrofa).

    PubMed

    Gayet, Thibault; Devillard, Sébastien; Gamelon, Marlène; Brandt, Serge; Say, Ludovic; Baubet, Eric

    2016-06-01

    Understanding how some species may be able to evolve quickly enough to deal with anthropogenic pressure is of prime interest in evolutionary biology, conservation, and management. Wild boar (Sus scrofa scrofa) populations keep growing all over Europe despite increasing hunting pressure. In wild boar populations subject to male-selective harvesting, the initially described polygynous mating system may switch to a promiscuous/polyandrous one. Such a change in the mating system, where potentially more males sire a litter at one reproductive event, may be associated with the retention of high genetic diversity and an increase of litter size. We tested these hypotheses by estimating the number of sires per litter based on a six-year long monitoring of a wild boar population subject to particularly high harvesting pressure. Our results show a high and stable genetic diversity and high rates of multiple paternity compared to other populations, thus depicting a promiscuous/polyandrous mating system in this population. We also show that litter size is positively linked to the number of sires, suggesting that multiple paternity increases fecundity. We finally discuss that multiple paternity may be one of the factors allowing rapid evolution of this population by maintaining both genetic and phenotypic diversity.

  13. Differences in the sensitivity of fungi and bacteria to season and invertebrates affect leaf litter decomposition in a Mediterranean stream.

    PubMed

    Mora-Gómez, Juanita; Elosegi, Arturo; Duarte, Sofia; Cássio, Fernanda; Pascoal, Cláudia; Romaní, Anna M

    2016-08-01

    Microorganisms are key drivers of leaf litter decomposition; however, the mechanisms underlying the dynamics of different microbial groups are poorly understood. We investigated the effects of seasonal variation and invertebrates on fungal and bacterial dynamics, and on leaf litter decomposition. We followed the decomposition of Populus nigra litter in a Mediterranean stream through an annual cycle, using fine and coarse mesh bags. Irrespective of the season, microbial decomposition followed two stages. Initially, bacterial contribution to total microbial biomass was higher compared to later stages, and it was related to disaccharide and lignin degradation; in a later stage, bacteria were less important and were associated with hemicellulose and cellulose degradation, while fungi were related to lignin decomposition. The relevance of microbial groups in decomposition differed among seasons: fungi were more important in spring, whereas in summer, water quality changes seemed to favour bacteria and slowed down lignin and hemicellulose degradation. Invertebrates influenced litter-associated microbial assemblages (especially bacteria), stimulated enzyme efficiencies and reduced fungal biomass. We conclude that bacterial and fungal assemblages play distinctive roles in microbial decomposition and differ in their sensitivity to environmental changes, ultimately affecting litter decomposition, which might be particularly relevant in highly seasonal ecosystems, such as intermittent streams.

  14. 17B-Estradiol in Runoff as Affected by Various Poultry Litter Application Strategies

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Runoff of estrogen from land fertilized with poultry litter has recently received increased attention. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of various poultry litter application strategies on 17B-estradiol concentrations in runoff water. Treatments included the effects of 1) al...

  15. Factors affecting arsenic and copper runoff from pastures fertilized with poultry litter

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Heavy metal runoff from soils fertilized with poultry litter has received increasing attention in recent years, although it is not really known if heavy runoff from poultry litter poses a significant threat to the environment. The objective of this study was to evaluate arsenic (As) and copper (Cu)...

  16. Decreased carbon limitation of litter respiration in a mortality-affected piñon-juniper woodland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Berryman, E.; Marshall, J. D.; Rahn, T.; Litvak, M.; Butnor, J.

    2013-03-01

    Microbial respiration depends on microclimatic variables and carbon (C) substrate availability, all of which are altered when ecosystems experience major disturbance. Widespread tree mortality, currently affecting piñon-juniper ecosystems in southwestern North America, may affect C substrate availability in several ways, for example, via litterfall pulses and loss of root exudation. To determine piñon mortality effects on C and water limitation of microbial respiration, we applied field amendments (sucrose and water) to two piñon-juniper sites in central New Mexico, USA: one with a recent (< 1 yr), experimentally induced mortality event and a nearby site with live canopy. We monitored the respiration response to water and sucrose applications to the litter surface and to the underlying mineral soil surface, testing the following hypotheses: (1) soil respiration in a piñon-juniper woodland is water- and labile C-limited in both the litter layer and mineral soil; (2) piñon mortality reduces the C limitation of litter respiration; and (3) piñon mortality enhances the C limitation of mineral soil respiration. Litter respiration at both sites responded to increased water availability, yet surprisingly, mineral soil respiration was not limited by water. Consistent with hypothesis 2, C limitation of litter respiration was lower at the recent mortality site compared to the intact canopy site. Applications to the mineral soil showed evidence of reduction in CO2 flux on the girdled site and a non-significant increase on the control. We speculate that the reduction may have been driven by water-induced carbonate dissolution, which serves as a sink for CO2 and would reduce the net flux. Widespread piñon mortality may decrease labile C limitation of litter respiration, at least during the first growing season following mortality.

  17. Does previous use affect litter box appeal in multi-cat households?

    PubMed

    Ellis, J J; McGowan, R T S; Martin, F

    2017-02-14

    It is commonly assumed that cats actively avoid eliminated materials (especially in multi-cat homes), suggesting regular litter box cleaning as the best defense against out-of-box elimination. The relationship between previous use and litter box appeal to familiar subsequent users is currently unknown. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between previous litter box use and the identity of the previous user, type of elimination, odor, and presence of physical/visual obstructions in a multi-cat household scenario. Cats preferred a clean litter box to a dirty one, but the identity of the previous user had no impact on preferences. While the presence of odor from urine and/or feces did not impact litter box preferences, the presence of odorless faux-urine and/or feces did - with the presence of faux-feces being preferred over faux-urine. Results suggest neither malodor nor chemical communication play a role in litter box preferences, and instead emphasize the importance of regular removal of physical/visual obstructions as the key factor in promoting proper litter box use.

  18. Initial phylogenetic relatedness of saprotrophic fungal communities affects subsequent litter decomposition rates.

    PubMed

    Kivlin, Stephanie N; Treseder, Kathleen K

    2015-05-01

    Ecosystem-level consequences of biodiversity loss of macroorganisms are well understood, while the repercussions of species extirpation in microbial systems are not. We manipulated species richness and phylogenetic relatedness of saprotrophic fungi in situ in a boreal forest to address this issue. Litter decomposition rates (as total mass loss) after 2 months were significantly higher in the least phylogenetically related fungal assemblages. Likewise, cellulose loss was also highest in the most distantly related treatments after 1 year. There were marginal effects of species richness on mass loss that only affected decomposition after 2 months. At the end of 1 year of decomposition, most fungal communities had collapsed from their original diversity to two species, mainly in the Penicillium or Hypocrea clades. Two concurrent processes may explain these results: competition between closely related fungal taxa and phylogenetic conservation in cellulose decomposition. Our results suggest that phylogenetic relatedness of fungal communities may be a more appropriate metric than species richness or community composition to predict functional responses of fungal communities to global change.

  19. Limits to sustainable energy budget during lactation in the striped hamster (Cricetulus barabensis) raising litters of different size.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Zhi-Jun; Chi, Qing-Sheng; Cao, Jing

    2010-08-01

    A female animal appears to approach an upper limit to the rate of sustained energy intake/metabolic rate (SusEI/MR) during lactation. However, different species of animals may respond differently to the sustainable limit. Here, we measured energy budget during lactation in female striped hamsters raising litters of natural size (Con), and females whose litter size was manipulated during early lactation to support fewer or more pups (minus pups, MP or plus pups, PP). The striped hamsters significantly decreased their body mass and increased food intake from early to late lactation; and MP females had lower weight loss and food intake than the control and PP females. Litter size of the PP group decreased significantly over the period of lactation, and pups were weaned at a similar weight to that of the controls. MP females supported a significantly lower litter mass throughout lactation compared with the control and PP females, but during late lactation the pups from the MP group were significantly heavier. Resting metabolic rate (RMR) did not differ significantly between the three groups and the gross energy intake during peak lactation was 5.0 ×, 4.2 × and 5.0 × RMR for the control, MP and PP females, respectively. Female striped hamsters reached a plateau in food intake at around 14 g/d during peak lactation, which might signify a limit of SusEI at 5.0 × RMR. However, it was not possible to determine whether the limitation on SusEI was imposed centrally by the capacity of the gastrointestinal tract to process food, peripherally by the capacity of the mammary gland to produce milk, or by the capacity of animals to dissipate heat.

  20. Litter type affects the activity of aerobic decomposers in a boreal peatland more than site nutrient and water table regimes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Straková, P.; Niemi, R. M.; Freeman, C.; Peltoniemi, K.; Toberman, H.; Heiskanen, I.; Fritze, H.; Laiho, R.

    2011-09-01

    Peatlands are carbon (C) storage ecosystems sustained by a high water table (WT). High WT creates anoxic conditions that suppress the activity of aerobic decomposers and provide conditions for peat accumulation. Peatland function can be dramatically affected by WT drawdown caused by climate and/or land-use change. Aerobic decomposers are directly affected by WT drawdown through environmental factors such as increased oxygenation and nutrient availability. Additionally, they are indirectly affected via changes in plant community composition and litter quality. We studied the relative importance of direct and indirect effects of WT drawdown on aerobic decomposer activity in plant litter at two stages of decomposition (incubated in the field for 1 or 2 years). We did this by profiling 11 extracellular enzymes involved in the mineralization of organic C, nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and sulphur. Our study sites represented a three-stage chronosequence from pristine to short-term (years) and long-term (decades) WT drawdown conditions under two nutrient regimes (bog and fen). The litter types included reflected the prevalent vegetation: Sphagnum mosses, graminoids, shrubs and trees. Litter type was the main factor shaping microbial activity patterns and explained about 30 % of the variation in enzyme activities and activity allocation. Overall, enzyme activities were higher in vascular plant litters compared to Sphagnum litters, and the allocation of enzyme activities towards C or nutrient acquisition was related to the initial litter quality (chemical composition). Direct effects of WT regime, site nutrient regime and litter decomposition stage (length of incubation period) summed to only about 40 % of the litter type effect. WT regime alone explained about 5 % of the variation in enzyme activities and activity allocation. Generally, enzyme activity increased following the long-term WT drawdown and the activity allocation turned from P and N acquisition towards C

  1. Heritabilities and genetic correlations for litter size and semen traits in Czech Large White and Landrace pigs.

    PubMed

    Wolf, J

    2010-09-01

    The objective of the present study was to estimate heritabilities and genetic correlations for semen and litter size traits using full animal model analyses. Litter size data were available from 28,485 Czech Large White and 10,410 Czech Landrace sows farrowing between 1995 and 2008. The number of litter records was 91,922 and 30,937, respectively. Records on semen traits (37,137 ejaculates from 778 Large White boars and 51,341 ejaculates from 841 Landrace boars) were available from 22 AI centers in the Czech Republic from 2000 to 2009. All calculations were carried out separately for each breed. Number of functional sperm was defined as total number of sperm times the fraction of motile sperm times (1 - the fraction of abnormal sperm). Among the semen traits, semen volume showed the greatest heritability (0.20 +/- 0.019 in Large White and 0.25 +/- 0.018 in Landrace), followed by sperm concentration with a heritability of 0.18 (SE = 0.012 and 0.014) in both breeds. The heritabilities of the remaining 4 traits (motility, percentage of abnormal sperm, total number of sperm, and number of functional sperm) were around 0.10 (SE = 0.016 to 0.031). Large negative genetic correlations were observed between semen volume and sperm concentration and between motility and percentage of abnormal sperm, especially in Large White. Positive and negative correlations among remaining semen traits were mostly of small magnitude. There was a tendency for increasing litter size to be associated with slight decreases in the total number of sperm and in the number of functional sperm, especially in the Large White breed (genetic correlations of -0.08 to -0.14 and -0.16 to -0.31, respectively, with SE between 0.100 and 0.114). Some of the correlations between semen and litter size traits (especially with the percentage of abnormal sperm) were breed-specific (positive up to 0.63 +/- 0.062 for Large White and negative until -0.41 +/- 0.106 in Landrace). Furthermore, parity

  2. Maternal and affective behaviors of lactating rats reared in overlapping litters.

    PubMed

    Uriarte, Natalia; Fernández, María Victoria; Agrati, Daniella; Zuluaga, María José; Ferreño, Marcela; Ferreira, Annabel

    2014-01-01

    Postpartum mating in rats gives rise to complex family units consisting of the mother and two overlapping litters. As a consequence, newborn pups of the second litter, since the moment they are born, acquire experience not only from interaction with the mother and age-matched littermates but also from interaction with older siblings. Newborn pups reared in overlapping litters (OLs) receive a different pattern of maternal stimulation compared to those reared in single litters (SL: one litter of same aged pups), as the mothers reduce some maternal behavior components and juvenile pups from the first litter develop maternal behavior. Since there is strong evidence showing that variations in maternal behavior are transmitted throughout generations, we hypothesized that the altered pattern of maternal stimulation received by OL reared females would modify their behavior during motherhood. To test this hypothesis maternal behavior, maternal aggression and experimental anxiety of dams reared under OL and SL conditions during the first postpartum week were compared. No differences were found between the groups in their maternal behavior and aggression. This result may be explained by the maternal behavior of the juveniles that could compensate for the deficits in the caregiving behaviors received by OL litters. However, a subtle temporal reorganization of the licking behavior was found in OL reared mothers, together with an increased anxiety-related behavior in the plus maze test. These results suggest dissociation in the effects provoked by early environmental alterations on different behavioral systems, and more importantly, that independently of their early family composition, both groups can cope effectively with the changing demands of the pups.

  3. Assessing effective population size, coancestry and inbreeding effects on litter size using the pedigree and SNP data in closed lines of the Iberian pig breed.

    PubMed

    Silió, L; Barragán, C; Fernández, A I; García-Casco, J; Rodríguez, M C

    2016-04-01

    The complete pedigree of two closed Iberian pig lines (Gamito and Torbiscal), with 798 and 4077 reproducers, has been used to measure the evolution of coancestry (f) and inbreeding (F) for autosomal and X-linked genes along 16 and 28 respective equivalent discrete generations. At the last generation, the mean values of each line were f = 0.41 and 0.22, F = 0.35 and 0.18, fX  = 0.46 and 0.22 and FX  = 0.47 and 0.19, respectively. Other calculated parameters were the effective number of founders (final values, 6.8 and 35.2) and non-founders (1.5 and 2.4), founder genome equivalents (1.2 and 2.3) and effective population size (16.0 and 57.7). Measures of Torbiscal effective size based on rates of coancestry (66.1), inbreeding (65.0) and linkage disequilibrium (71.0) were estimated from whole-genome SNP genotyping data. Values of new and old inbreeding and their respective rates by generation were computed to detect purging effects of natural selection. The analysis of 6854 Torbiscal litters showed significant negative impacts of new and fast inbreeding on litter size, as expected from the purging hypothesis: -0.20 born piglets per litter by a 10% of new inbreeding, and -0.03 and -0.02 piglets by 1% of total and new inbreeding rates, respectively. The analysis performed on 1274 litters of the Gamito line failed to show purging effects. The only significant results were reductions in -0.91 and -0.17 piglets by a 10% of old and X-linked genes inbreeding, respectively. These results may be useful for some practical issues in conservation programs of farm or captive wild animals.

  4. Space Allowance of the Littered Area Affects Lying Behavior in Group-Housed Horses.

    PubMed

    Burla, Joan-Bryce; Rufener, Christina; Bachmann, Iris; Gygax, Lorenz; Patt, Antonia; Hillmann, Edna

    2017-01-01

    Horses can sleep while standing; however, recumbency is required for rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and therefore essential. Previous research indicated a minimal duration of recumbency of 30 min per 24 h to perform a minimal duration of REM sleep. For group-housed horses, suitable lying area represents a potentially limited resource. In Switzerland, minimal dimensions for the space allowance of the littered area are therefore legally required. To assess the effect of different space allowances of the littered area on lying behavior, 38 horses in 8 groups were exposed to 4 treatments for 11 days each; T0: no litter provided, T0.5: 0.5× minimal dimensions, T1: minimal dimensions, and T1.5: 1.5× minimal dimensions. Non-littered areas were covered with hard rubber mats. Lying behavior was observed during the last 72 h of each treatment. The total number of lying bouts per 24 h was similar in treatments providing litter, whereas in treatment T0, recumbency occurred only rarely (F1,93 = 14.74, p = 0.0002) with the majority of horses lying down for less than 30 min per 24 h ([Formula: see text], p = 0.0006). Overall, the total duration of recumbency per 24 h increased with increasing dimensions of the littered area, whereby the effect attenuated between treatment T1 and T1.5 in high-ranking horses but continued in low-ranking horses (F1,91 = 3.22, p = 0.076). Furthermore, low-ranking horses showed considerably more forcedly terminated lying bouts in treatments T0.5 and T1, but were similar to high-ranking horses in T1.5 (F1,76 = 8.43, p = 0.005). Nonetheless, a number of individuals showed durations of recumbency of less than 30 min per 24 h even in treatment T1.5. The lying behavior was dependent on the availability of a soft and deformable surface for recumbency. A beneficial effect of enlarged dimensions of the littered area was shown by increased durations of recumbency and decreased proportion of forcedly terminated

  5. Space Allowance of the Littered Area Affects Lying Behavior in Group-Housed Horses

    PubMed Central

    Burla, Joan-Bryce; Rufener, Christina; Bachmann, Iris; Gygax, Lorenz; Patt, Antonia; Hillmann, Edna

    2017-01-01

    Horses can sleep while standing; however, recumbency is required for rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and therefore essential. Previous research indicated a minimal duration of recumbency of 30 min per 24 h to perform a minimal duration of REM sleep. For group-housed horses, suitable lying area represents a potentially limited resource. In Switzerland, minimal dimensions for the space allowance of the littered area are therefore legally required. To assess the effect of different space allowances of the littered area on lying behavior, 38 horses in 8 groups were exposed to 4 treatments for 11 days each; T0: no litter provided, T0.5: 0.5× minimal dimensions, T1: minimal dimensions, and T1.5: 1.5× minimal dimensions. Non-littered areas were covered with hard rubber mats. Lying behavior was observed during the last 72 h of each treatment. The total number of lying bouts per 24 h was similar in treatments providing litter, whereas in treatment T0, recumbency occurred only rarely (F1,93 = 14.74, p = 0.0002) with the majority of horses lying down for less than 30 min per 24 h (χ12=11.82, p = 0.0006). Overall, the total duration of recumbency per 24 h increased with increasing dimensions of the littered area, whereby the effect attenuated between treatment T1 and T1.5 in high-ranking horses but continued in low-ranking horses (F1,91 = 3.22, p = 0.076). Furthermore, low-ranking horses showed considerably more forcedly terminated lying bouts in treatments T0.5 and T1, but were similar to high-ranking horses in T1.5 (F1,76 = 8.43, p = 0.005). Nonetheless, a number of individuals showed durations of recumbency of less than 30 min per 24 h even in treatment T1.5. The lying behavior was dependent on the availability of a soft and deformable surface for recumbency. A beneficial effect of enlarged dimensions of the littered area was shown by increased durations of recumbency and decreased proportion of forcedly terminated lying

  6. Recruitment in a Colorado population of big brown bats: Breeding probabilities, litter size, and first-year survival

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    O'Shea, T.J.; Ellison, L.E.; Neubaum, D.J.; Neubaum, M.A.; Reynolds, C.A.; Bowen, R.A.

    2010-01-01

    We used markrecapture estimation techniques and radiography to test hypotheses about 3 important aspects of recruitment in big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) in Fort Collins, Colorado: adult breeding probabilities, litter size, and 1st-year survival of young. We marked 2,968 females with passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags at multiple sites during 2001-2005 and based our assessments on direct recaptures (breeding probabilities) and passive detection with automated PIT tag readers (1st-year survival). We interpreted our data in relation to hypotheses regarding demographic influences of bat age, roost, and effects of years with unusual environmental conditions: extreme drought (2002) and arrival of a West Nile virus epizootic (2003). Conditional breeding probabilities at 6 roosts sampled in 2002-2005 were estimated as 0.64 (95% confidence interval [95% CI] = 0.530.73) in 1-year-old females, but were consistently high (95% CI = 0.940.96) and did not vary by roost, year, or prior year breeding status in older adults. Mean litter size was 1.11 (95% CI = 1.051.17), based on examination of 112 pregnant females by radiography. Litter size was not higher in older or larger females and was similar to results of other studies in western North America despite wide variation in latitude. First-year survival was estimated as 0.67 (95% CI = 0.610.73) for weaned females at 5 maternity roosts over 5 consecutive years, was lower than adult survival (0.79; 95% CI = 0.770.81), and varied by roost. Based on model selection criteria, strong evidence exists for complex roost and year effects on 1st-year survival. First-year survival was lowest in bats born during the drought year. Juvenile females that did not return to roosts as 1-year-olds had lower body condition indices in late summer of their natal year than those known to survive. ?? 2009 American Society of Mammalogists.

  7. MINERALIZATION OF NITROGEN FROM BROILER LITTER AS AFFECTED BY SOIL TEXTURE IN THE SOUTHEASTERN COASTAL PLAIN

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    A field study was conducted during 2004-2005 to determine nitrogen (N) mineralization of broiler litter (BL) in two Coastal Plain soils of differing texture, sandy or clayey. The soils were a Tifton loamy sand (fine-loamy, siliceous, thermic, Plinthic Kandiudults) and a Greenville sandy clay loam (...

  8. The effect of litter size before weaning on subsequent body development, feed intake, and reproductive performance of young rabbit does.

    PubMed

    Rommers, J M; Kemp, B; Meijerhof, R; Noordhuizen, J P

    2001-08-01

    An experiment was performed to study the effect of litter size before weaning on subsequent body development and composition, feed intake, and reproductive performance of young rabbit does with the objective to improve reproductive performance. Litter size (LS) before weaning (treatment) was 6, 9, or 12 kits. After weaning (30 d), 58 female kits per treatment (in two successive replicates) were reared and fed for ad libitum intake to 14.5 wk of age (end of rearing). At 14.5 wk of age, receptive does were inseminated. Nonreceptive and nonpregnant does were inseminated at 17.5 wk of age. The experiment ended when the second litter was weaned. Part of the animals was slaughtered to determine body composition at the end of the experiment (replicate one) and at the end of rearing (replicate two). At weaning, BW differed among treatments (P < 0.05; 855, 773, and 664 +/- 15 g for LS6, 9, and 12, respectively). Compensatory growth was observed. At the end of rearing, LS12 does were smaller (P < 0.05) than LS9 and LS6 does (3,524, 3,778, and 3,850 +/- 48 g, respectively). After first lactation, no difference in BW among treatments was found. Compared with LS6, empty body weight (BW minus gut, bladder, and uterus content) of LS12 contained more (P < 0.05) nitrogen (32.5 vs 31.1 +/- 0.3 g/kg), more (P < 0.05) ash (30.7 vs 28.3 +/- 0.6 g/kg), and less (P < 0.05) fat (168.6 vs 200.2 +/- 8.6 g/kg). No differences in body composition among treatments were found at the end of the experiment. During rearing, LS12 had the lowest (P < 0.05) daily feed intake (152, 164, and 169 +/- 2 g/d for LS12, 9, and 6, respectively). During the reproductive period, no differences in feed intake among treatments were found. Kindling rate (the number of kindlings per number of inseminations) was not influenced by treatment. In the first parity, total litter size (number of alive and stillborn kits) was lower (P < 0.10) for LS12 than for LS9 (6.4 vs 8.6 +/- 0.5, respectively). When first mating was

  9. Field Experiments in Litter Control

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Finnie, William C.

    1973-01-01

    A series of urban and highway litter experiments in Richmond (Virginia), St. Louis, and Philadelphia indicated well-designed litter cans reduced littering about 15 percent along city streets and nearly 30 percent along highways. Also, the propensity to litter is critically affected by the characteristics of the individual and environmental…

  10. Factors affecting the abundance of leaf-litter arthropods in unburned and thrice-burned seasonally-dry Amazonian forests.

    PubMed

    Silveira, Juliana M; Barlow, Jos; Louzada, Julio; Moutinho, Paulo

    2010-09-21

    Fire is frequently used as a land management tool for cattle ranching and annual crops in the Amazon. However, these maintenance fires often escape into surrounding forests, with potentially severe impacts for forest biodiversity. We examined the effect of experimental fires on leaf-litter arthropod abundance in a seasonally-dry forest in the Brazilian Amazon. The study plots (50 ha each) included a thrice-burned forest and an unburned control forest. Pitfall-trap samples were collected at 160 randomly selected points in both plots, with sampling stratified across four intra-annual replicates across the dry and wet seasons, corresponding to 6, 8, 10 and 12 months after the most recent fire. Arthropods were identified to the level of order (separating Formicidae). In order to better understand the processes that determine arthropod abundance in thrice-burned forests, we measured canopy openness, understory density and litter depth. All arthropod taxa were significantly affected by fire and season. In addition, the interactions between burn treatment and season were highly significant for all taxa but Isoptera. The burned plot was characterized by a more open canopy, lower understory density and shallower litter depth. Hierarchical partitioning revealed that canopy openness was the most important factor explaining arthropod order abundances in the thrice-burned plot, whereas all three environmental variables were significant in the unburned control plot. These results reveal the marked impact of recurrent wildfires and seasonality on litter arthropods in this transitional forest, and demonstrate the overwhelming importance of canopy-openness in driving post-fire arthropod abundance.

  11. Factors Affecting the Abundance of Leaf-Litter Arthropods in Unburned and Thrice-Burned Seasonally-Dry Amazonian Forests

    PubMed Central

    Silveira, Juliana M.; Barlow, Jos; Louzada, Julio; Moutinho, Paulo

    2010-01-01

    Fire is frequently used as a land management tool for cattle ranching and annual crops in the Amazon. However, these maintenance fires often escape into surrounding forests, with potentially severe impacts for forest biodiversity. We examined the effect of experimental fires on leaf-litter arthropod abundance in a seasonally-dry forest in the Brazilian Amazon. The study plots (50 ha each) included a thrice-burned forest and an unburned control forest. Pitfall-trap samples were collected at 160 randomly selected points in both plots, with sampling stratified across four intra-annual replicates across the dry and wet seasons, corresponding to 6, 8, 10 and 12 months after the most recent fire. Arthropods were identified to the level of order (separating Formicidae). In order to better understand the processes that determine arthropod abundance in thrice-burned forests, we measured canopy openness, understory density and litter depth. All arthropod taxa were significantly affected by fire and season. In addition, the interactions between burn treatment and season were highly significant for all taxa but Isoptera. The burned plot was characterized by a more open canopy, lower understory density and shallower litter depth. Hierarchical partitioning revealed that canopy openness was the most important factor explaining arthropod order abundances in the thrice-burned plot, whereas all three environmental variables were significant in the unburned control plot. These results reveal the marked impact of recurrent wildfires and seasonality on litter arthropods in this transitional forest, and demonstrate the overwhelming importance of canopy-openness in driving post-fire arthropod abundance. PMID:20877720

  12. Neonatal L-glutamine modulates anxiety-like behavior, cortical spreading depression, and microglial immunoreactivity: analysis in developing rats suckled on normal size- and large size litters.

    PubMed

    de Lima, Denise Sandrelly Cavalcanti; Francisco, Elian da Silva; Lima, Cássia Borges; Guedes, Rubem Carlos Araújo

    2017-02-01

    In mammals, L-glutamine (Gln) can alter the glutamate-Gln cycle and consequently brain excitability. Here, we investigated in developing rats the effect of treatment with different doses of Gln on anxiety-like behavior, cortical spreading depression (CSD), and microglial activation expressed as Iba1-immunoreactivity. Wistar rats were suckled in litters with 9 and 15 pups (groups L 9 and L 15; respectively, normal size- and large size litters). From postnatal days (P) 7-27, the animals received Gln per gavage (250, 500 or 750 mg/kg/day), or vehicle (water), or no treatment (naive). At P28 and P30, we tested the animals, respectively, in the elevated plus maze and open field. At P30-35, we measured CSD parameters (velocity of propagation, amplitude, and duration). Fixative-perfused brains were processed for microglial immunolabeling with anti-IBA-1 antibodies to analyze cortical microglia. Rats treated with Gln presented an anxiolytic behavior and accelerated CSD propagation when compared to the water- and naive control groups. Furthermore, CSD velocity was higher (p < 0.001) in the L 15 compared to the L 9 condition. Gln treatment increased Iba1 immunolabeling both in the parietal cortex and CA1 hippocampus, indicating microglial activation. The Gln effect was dose-dependent for anxiety-like behavior and CSD in both litter sizes, and for microglial activation in the L 15 groups. Besides confirming previous electrophysiological findings (CSD acceleration after Gln), our data demonstrate for the first time a behavioral and microglial activation that is associated with early Gln treatment in developing animals, and that is possibly operated via changes in brain excitability.

  13. How Tongue Size and Roughness Affect Lapping

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hubbard, M. J.; Hay, K. M.

    2012-10-01

    The biomechanics of domestic cat lapping (Felis catus) and domestic dog lapping (Canis familiaris) is currently under debate. Lapping mechanics in vertebrates with incomplete cheeks, such as cats and dogs, is a balance of inertia and the force of gravity likely optimized for ingestion and physical necessities. Physiology dictates vertebrate mass, which dictates vertebrate tongue size, which dictates lapping mechanics to achieve optimum liquid ingestion; with either touch lapping, scooping, or a hybrid lapping method. The physics of this optimized system then determines how high a column of liquid can be raised before it collapses due to gravity, and therefore, lapping frequency. Through tongue roughness model variation experiments it was found that pore-scale geometrical roughness does not appear to affect lapping or liquid uptake. Through tongue size model variation experiments it was found that there is a critical tongue radius in the range of 25 mm to 35 mm above which touch lapping is no longer an efficient way to uptake liquid. Vertebrates with incomplete cheeks may use a touch lapping method to ingest water if their tongue radius is less than this critical radius and use an alternative ingestion method if their tongue radius is larger.

  14. Litter quality mediated nitrogen effect on plant litter decomposition regardless of soil fauna presence.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Weidong; Chao, Lin; Yang, Qingpeng; Wang, Qingkui; Fang, Yunting; Wang, Silong

    2016-10-01

    Nitrogen addition has been shown to affect plant litter decomposition in terrestrial ecosystems. The way that nitrogen deposition impacts the relationship between plant litter decomposition and altered soil nitrogen availability is unclear, however. This study examined 18 co-occurring litter types in a subtropical forest in China in terms of their decomposition (1 yr of exposure in the field) with nitrogen addition treatment (0, 0.4, 1.6, and 4.0 mol·N·m(-2) ·yr(-1) ) and soil fauna exclusion (litter bags with 0.1 and 2 cm mesh size). Results showed that the plant litter decomposition rate is significantly reduced because of nitrogen addition; the strength of the nitrogen addition effect is closely related to the nitrogen addition levels. Plant litters with diverse quality responded to nitrogen addition differently. When soil fauna was present, the nitrogen addition effect on medium-quality or high-quality plant litter decomposition rate was -26% ± 5% and -29% ± 4%, respectively; these values are significantly higher than that of low-quality plant litter decomposition. The pattern is similar when soil fauna is absent. In general, the plant litter decomposition rate is decreased by soil fauna exclusion; an average inhibition of -17% ± 1.5% was exhibited across nitrogen addition treatment and litter quality groups. However, this effect is weakly related to nitrogen addition treatment and plant litter quality. We conclude that the variations in plant litter quality, nitrogen deposition, and soil fauna are important factors of decomposition and nutrient cycling in a subtropical forest ecosystem.

  15. Comparison of repeatability and multiple trait threshold models for litter size in sheep using observed and simulated data in Bayesian analyses.

    PubMed

    Mekkawy, W; Roehe, R; Lewis, R M; Davies, M H; Bünger, L; Simm, G; Haresign, W

    2010-08-01

    Bayesian analyses were used to estimate genetic parameters on 5580 records of litter size in the first four parities from 1758 Mule ewes. To examine the appropriateness of fitting repeatability (RM) or multiple trait threshold models (MTM) to litter size of different parities, both models were used to estimate genetic parameters on the observed data and were thereafter compared in a simulation study. Posterior means of the heritabilities of litter size in different parities using a MTM ranged from 0.12 to 0.18 and were higher than the heritability based on the RM (0.08). Posterior means of the genetic correlations between litter sizes of different parities were positive and ranged from 0.24 to 0.71. Data sets were simulated based on the same pedigree structure and genetic parameters of the Mule ewe population obtained from both models. The simulation showed that the relative loss in accuracy and increase in mean squared error (MSE) was substantially higher when using the RM, given that the parameters estimated from the observed data using the opposite model are the true parameters. In contrast, Bayesian information criterion (BIC) selected the RM as most appropriate model given the data because of substantial penalty for the higher number of parameters to be estimated in the MTM model. In conclusion, when the relative change in accuracy and MSE is of main interest for estimation of breeding values of litter size of different parities, the MTM is recommended for the given population. When reduction in risk of using the wrong model is the main aim, the BIC suggest that the RM is the most appropriate model.

  16. Polymorphisms of the Ovine BMPR-IB, BMP-15 and FSHR and Their Associations with Litter Size in Two Chinese Indigenous Sheep Breeds.

    PubMed

    Wang, Weimin; Liu, Shijia; Li, Fadi; Pan, Xiangyu; Li, Chong; Zhang, Xiaoxue; Ma, Youji; La, Yongfu; Xi, Rui; Li, Tingfu

    2015-05-18

    The Small Tailed Han sheep and Hu sheep are two prolific local sheep in China. In this study, the polymorphisms of BMPR-IB (Bone morphogenetic protein receptor IB), BMP-15 (Bone morphogenetic protein 15) and FSHR (follicle stimulating hormone receptor) were investigated to check whether they are associated with litter size in Small Tailed Han sheep and Hu sheep. Consequently, three polymorphisms, FecB mutation in BMPR-IB (c.746A>G), FecG mutation in BMP-15 (c.718C>T) and the mutation (g. 47C>T) in FSHR were found in the above two sheep breeds with a total number of 1630 individuals. The single marker association analysis showed that the three mutations were significantly associated with litter size. The ewes with genotype FecBB/FecBB and FecBB/FecB+ had 0.78 and 0.58 more lambs (p < 0.01) than those with genotype FecB+/FecB+, respectively. The heterozygous Han and Hu ewes with FecXG/FecX+ genotype showed 0.30 (p = 0.05) more lambs than those with the FecX+/FecX+ genotype. For FSHR gene, the ewes with genotype CC had 0.52 (p < 0.01) and 0.75 (p < 0.01) more lambs than those with genotypes TC and TT, respectively. Combined effect analyses indicated an extremely significant interaction (p < 0.01) between the random combinations of BMPR-IB, BMP-15 and FSHR genes on litter size. In addition, the Han and Hu ewes with BB/G+/CC genotype harbor the highest litter size among ewes analyzed in current study. In conclusion, BMPR-IB, BMP-15 and FSHR polymorphisms could be used as genetic markers in multi-gene pyramiding for improving litter size in sheep husbandry.

  17. Expected responses to different strategies of selection to increase heat tolerance assessed by changes in litter size in rabbit.

    PubMed

    Piles, M; Baselga, M; Sánchez, J P

    2014-10-01

    Response on litter size (LS) to selection based on EBV of the own trait and several indexes including EBV of 1 or more parameters of a reaction norm model (RNM) was evaluated by simulation. The RNM described animal's performance under different environmental temperatures assuming that this has an animal-specific effect on LS beyond an animal-specific temperature threshold (i.e., it had 3 parameters: intercept [Int], slope [Slp], and threshold [Thr]). Litter size data were generated assuming this model under 2 environmental conditions (comfort [CC] and comfort-to-heat [CtHC]). Variance components for Int, Slp, Thr, and LS were taken from literature. The initial base population consisted of 125 females and 25 males. Ten generations of selection were conducted keeping constant the population size. Eight different selection criteria were considered, depending on both the evaluation model and the index combining EBV for 1 or more parameters of the RNM. In 1 case selection was based on EBV of the own trait predicted by using a repeatability animal model. In the other 7 cases the genetic evaluation was conducted using the same model as that used in the simulation. For each scenario 25 replicates were conducted and response to selection was assessed within replicate as the difference between generations in the average of trait. Results indicate that, under the studied conditions and for the used genetic parameters, selection based on the observed trait seems to have the same effect as selection based on some index, including EBV of the RNM parameters. In addition, response to selection could be greater under CtHC rather than CC. Animals selected exclusively for EBV of the Slp and Thr are not expected to have good performance under CC. Under CtHC, selection for LS has a major response on those parameters, whereas response on Int was very small. Under CC, response to selection on LS is mainly determined by a change in Int, whereas Slp does not change and Thr slightly

  18. Foliar litter nitrogen dynamics as affected by forest gap in the alpine forest of eastern Tibet Plateau.

    PubMed

    Wu, Qiqian; Wu, Fuzhong; Yang, Wanqin; Zhao, Yeyi; He, Wei; Tan, Bo

    2014-01-01

    There is increasing attention on the effects of seasonal snowpack on wintertime litter decomposition, as well as the processes following it, in cold biomes. However, little information is available on how litter nitrogen (N) dynamics vary with snowpack variations created by tree crown canopies in alpine forests. Therefore, to understand the effects of seasonal snowpack on litter N dynamics during different critical stages, litterbags with fir (Abies faxoniana), birch (Betula albo-sinensis), larch (Larix mastersiana) and cypress (Sabina saltuaria) foliar litter were placed on the forest floor beneath snowpack created by forest gaps in the eastern Tibet Plateau. The litterbags were sampled at the onset of freezing, deep freezing, thawing and growing stages from October 2010 to October 2012. Mass loss and N concentrations in litter were measured. Over two years of decomposition, N release occurred mainly during the first year, especially during the first winter. Litter N release rates (both in the first year and during the entire two-year decomposition study period) were higher in the center of canopy gaps than under closed canopy, regardless of species. Litter N release rates in winter were also highest in the center of canopy gaps and lowest under closed canopy, regardless of species, however the reverse was found during the growing season. Compared with broadleaf litter, needle litter N release comparisons of gap center to closed canopy showed much stronger responses to the changes in snow cover in winter and availability of sunshine during the growing season. As the decomposition proceeded, decomposing litter quality, microbial biomass and environmental temperature were important factors related to litter N release rate. This suggests that if winter warm with climate change, reduced snow cover in winter might slow down litter N release in alpine forest.

  19. Species mixture effects on flammability across plant phylogeny: the importance of litter particle size and the special role for non-Pinus Pinaceae.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Weiwei; Cornwell, William K; van Pomeren, Marinda; van Logtestijn, Richard S P; Cornelissen, Johannes H C

    2016-11-01

    Fire affects and is affected by plants. Vegetation varies in flammability, that is, its general ability to burn, at different levels of ecological organization. To scale from individual plant traits to community flammability states, understanding trait effects on species flammability variation and their interaction is important. Plant traits are the cumulative result of evolution and they show, to differing extents, phylogenetic conservatism. We asked whether phylogenetic distance between species predicts species mixture effects on litterbed flammability. We conducted controlled laboratory burns for 34 phylogenetically wide-ranging species and 34 random two-species mixtures from them. Generally, phylogenetic distance did not predict species mixture effects on flammability. Across the plant phylogeny, most species were flammable except those in the non-Pinus Pinaceae, which shed small needles producing dense, poorly ventilated litterbeds above the packing threshold and therefore nonflammable. Consistently, either positive or negative dominance effects on flammability of certain flammable or those non-flammable species were found in mixtures involving the non-Pinus Pinaceae. We demonstrate litter particle size is key to explaining species nonadditivity in fuelbed flammability. The potential of certain species to influence fire disproportionately to their abundance might increase the positive feedback effects of plant flammability on community flammability state if flammable species are favored by fire.

  20. The effects of parity, litter size, physiological state, and milking frequency on the metabolic profile of Lacaune dairy ewes.

    PubMed

    González-García, E; Tesniere, A; Camous, S; Bocquier, F; Barillet, F; Hassoun, P

    2015-01-01

    Effects of parity (primiparous, PRIM vs multiparous, MULT) and litter size (singletons, SING vs twins, TWIN) on metabolic profiles from 1 wk before lambing to the end of lactation were studied in 48 Lacaune dairy ewes reared in confinement during most of the year and grazed on improved pastures at the end of lactation (summer). Another group of 48 ewes was incorporated during the milking period (ie, from 1 wk after weaning), to measure the effects of milking frequency (1 vs 2 milkings per day) on intake, milk production and composition, and body energy usage. Thus, in a 2 × 2 × 2 factorial design, ewes (n = 96) were allocated to homogeneous groups according to body weight (BW) and body condition score (BCS) and were monitored from late pregnancy to late lactation as a function of parity (PRIM, n = 48; MULT, n = 48), litter size (LSi) (SING, n = 40; TWIN, n = 56) and daily milking frequency (FREQ; milked once, ONE; n = 48; or twice, TWO; n = 48). Individual BW, BCS, plasma metabolites, and metabolic hormones were measured regularly (ie, 9 consecutive sampling dates). The BW was higher in MULT but no differences because of LSi or FREQ were detected at the intra-parity group level. The BCS was higher in MULT and in ewes with SING throughout the experiment. The latter was related to the demands for body reserves mobilization, as expressed by higher nonesterified fatty acids and β-hydroxybutyrate concentrations in ewes with TWIN from late pregnancy to weaning (35 d postpartum) in both PRIM and MULT ewes. This was consistent with higher insulin in MULT and higher triiodothyronine, leptin and insulin-like growth factor 1 in ewes with SING during this period. Differences in energy balance because of FREQ were evident after interpretation of plasma nonesterified fatty acids, glucose, insulin, and leptin concentration during the milking period. At similar feed intakes, ewes in ONE were in positive balance with regard to TWO. Overall, clear effects of parity, LSi

  1. Suberin-derived aliphatic monomers as biomarkers for SOM affected by root litter contribution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kogel-Knabner, I.; Spielvogel, S.-; Prietzel, J.-

    2012-12-01

    The patchy distribution of trees and ground vegetation may have major impact on SOC variability and stability at the small scale. Knowledge about correlations between the pattern of tree and ground vegetation, SOC stocks in different soil depths and the contribution of root- vs. shoot-derived carbon to different SOC fractions is scarce. We have tested analysis of hydrolysable aliphatic monomers derived from the biopolyesters cutin- and suberin to investigate whether their composition can be traced back after decay and transformation into soil organic matter (SOM) to study SOM source, degradation, and stand history. The main objective of this study was to elucidate the relative abundance of cutin and suberin in different particle size and density fractions of a Norway spruce and a European beech site with increasing distance to stems. Soil samples, root, bark and needle/leave samples were analyzed for their cutin and/or suberin signature. Previous to isolation of bound lipids, sequential solvent extraction was used to remove free lipids and other solvent extractable compounds. Cutin- and suberin-derived monomers were extracted from the samples using base hydrolysis. Before analysis by Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS), extracts were derivatized to convert compounds to trimethylsilyl derivatives. Statistical analysis identified four variables which as combined factors discriminated significantly between cutin and suberin based on their structural units. We found a relative enrichment of cutin and suberin contents in the occluded fraction at both sites that decreased with increasing distance to the trees. We conclude from our results that (i) patchy above- and belowground carbon input caused by heterogeneous distribution of trees and ground vegetation has major impact on SOC variability and stability at the small scale, (ii) tree species is an important factor influencing SOC heterogeneity at the stand scale due to pronounced differences in above- and

  2. Peanut hulls as a litter source for broiler breeder replacement pullets.

    PubMed

    Lien, R J; Hess, J B; Conner, D E; Wood, C W; Shelby, R A

    1998-01-01

    Broiler breeder pullets were reared on either peanut hulls or pine shavings to determine effects of litter type on growth performance and litter characteristics. Pullets were reared to 20 wk of age in rooms initially bedded with 8 cm of clean shavings or hulls. Heating and ventilation were standardized in all rooms. Restricted skip-a-day feeding was used to attain recommended growth curves. Water was continuously provided for ad libitum consumption. Litter and environmental variables were measured throughout rearing and 2 wk after pullets were removed from the litter materials. Feed consumption, BW, mortality, and uniformity at 20 wk were not affected by litter type; however, gizzard weights were decreased in pullets reared on hulls. Litter bulk density increased with use and was greater for shavings through 11 wk, but not thereafter. Particle size decreased with use in both litter types. Through 11 wk, there were more particles in the > 4 mm range and less in the < 1.7 mm range with hulls. Litter moisture increased with use but was not affected by litter type. Litter pH was greater in unused shavings, but during and after use was generally greater in hulls. With both litter types, litter and environmental ammonia levels increased to 11 wk then decreased; however, this effect was more pronounced for hulls. Bacteria populations were not affected by litter type; however, greater fungal populations were observed in shavings at 7 and 15 wk. Aflatoxins were detected in unused hulls but not shavings. Because aflatoxin levels decreased during use and Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus populations were not detected in samples collected during use, aflatoxins observed were presumed to have been formed prior to use. Peanut hulls performed similarly to pine shavings as a litter source for breeder pullets; however, the specific influence of the aflatoxins contained in this litter source on bird performance deserves further study.

  3. Polymorphism and DNA methylation in the promoter modulate KISS1 gene expression and are associated with litter size in goats.

    PubMed

    An, X P; Hou, J X; Lei, Y N; Gao, T Y; Cao, B Y

    2015-04-01

    Polymorphisms in the promoter region are likely to impact KISS1 gene transcription and reproductive traits. In this study, Guanzhong (GZ, n=350) and Boer (BE, n=196) goats were used to detect polymorphism in the promoter of the goat KISS1 gene by DNA sequencing. In the GZ goats, the g.1384G>A mutation was identified in the promoter of the goat KISS1 gene. Guanzhong goats were in Hardy-Weinberg disequilibrium at g.1384G>A locus (P<0.05). The 1384A allele was predicted to eliminate methylation, AHR-arnt heterodimers and AHR-related factors (AHRR) and myoblast determining factors (MYOD) transcription factor-binding sites. Statistical results indicated that the g.1384G>A SNP was associated with litter size in the GZ goats (P<0.05). Luciferase assay analysis suggested that the 1384A allele increased luciferase activity when compared to the 1384G allele. The RT-qPCR assay also demonstrated that the 1384A allele had greater amounts of KISS1 mRNA than the 1384G allele in homozygous individuals. Functional analysis suggested that this g.1384G>A SNP may be an important genetic regulator of KISS1 gene expression with effects on downstream processes that are modulated by KISS1 gene because of the changes of methylation and transcription factor-binding sites. Therefore, the current study provides evidence in goats for genetic markers that might be used in breeding programs.

  4. The Effects of Perioperative Analgesia on Litter Size in Crl:CD1(ICR) Mice Undergoing Embryo Transfer

    PubMed Central

    Goulding, David R; Myers, Page H; Goulding, Eugenia H; Blankenship, Terry L; Grant, Mary F; Forsythe, Diane B

    2010-01-01

    The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect on litter size of 2 analgesics used perioperatively during mouse embryo transfer surgery. Day 2.5 pseudopregnant CD1 mice (n = 96) were divided equally into 2 analgesic treatment groups and a saline control group. Each mouse received a single, subcutaneous dose of buprenorphine hydrochloride (0.1 mg/kg), flunixin meglumine (2.5 mg/kg), or saline immediately after induction of anesthesia with 2.5% isoflurane. Each mouse then was prepared for aseptic surgery. Blastocysts had previously been collected from C57BL/6NCrl female mice that were synchronized and superovulated by using pregnant mare serum gonadotropin and human chorionic gonadotropin and mated with C57BL/6NTac male mice 3.5 d before collection. Viable blastocysts were pooled, and 8 were selected arbitrarily and transplanted into the right uterine horn of each pseudopregnant CD1 mouse. Mice were monitored throughout pregnancy, and the number of pups at birth was documented. No statistically significant difference was found between the 3 groups. These results indicate that perioperative analgesic treatment with buprenorphine or flunixin in the CD1 mouse undergoing embryo transfer is not associated with increased embryonic loss. PMID:20819387

  5. Effects of anthropogenic heavy metal contamination on litter decomposition in streams - A meta-analysis.

    PubMed

    Ferreira, Verónica; Koricheva, Julia; Duarte, Sofia; Niyogi, Dev K; Guérold, François

    2016-03-01

    Many streams worldwide are affected by heavy metal contamination, mostly due to past and present mining activities. Here we present a meta-analysis of 38 studies (reporting 133 cases) published between 1978 and 2014 that reported the effects of heavy metal contamination on the decomposition of terrestrial litter in running waters. Overall, heavy metal contamination significantly inhibited litter decomposition. The effect was stronger for laboratory than for field studies, likely due to better control of confounding variables in the former, antagonistic interactions between metals and other environmental variables in the latter or differences in metal identity and concentration between studies. For laboratory studies, only copper + zinc mixtures significantly inhibited litter decomposition, while no significant effects were found for silver, aluminum, cadmium or zinc considered individually. For field studies, coal and metal mine drainage strongly inhibited litter decomposition, while drainage from motorways had no significant effects. The effect of coal mine drainage did not depend on drainage pH. Coal mine drainage negatively affected leaf litter decomposition independently of leaf litter identity; no significant effect was found for wood decomposition, but sample size was low. Considering metal mine drainage, arsenic mines had a stronger negative effect on leaf litter decomposition than gold or pyrite mines. Metal mine drainage significantly inhibited leaf litter decomposition driven by both microbes and invertebrates, independently of leaf litter identity; no significant effect was found for microbially driven decomposition, but sample size was low. Overall, mine drainage negatively affects leaf litter decomposition, likely through negative effects on invertebrates.

  6. Bayesian inference of genetic parameters and selection response for litter size components in pigs.

    PubMed Central

    Blasco, A; Sorensen, D; Bidanel, J P

    1998-01-01

    Three contemporary lines were formed from the progeny of 50 French Large White sows. In the first line, gilts were selected for ovulation rate at puberty. In the second line, they were selected for prenatal survival of the first two parities, corrected for ovulation rate. The control constituted the third line. Ovulation rate at puberty was analyzed using an animal model with a batch effect. Prenatal survival was analyzed with a repeatability animal model that included batch and parity effects. Flat priors were used to represent vague previous knowledge about parity and batch effects. Additive and residual effects were represented assuming that they were a priori normally distributed. Variance components were assumed to follow either uniform or inverted chi-square distributions, a priori. The use of different priors did not affect the results substantially. Heritabilities for ovulation rate ranged from 0.32 to 0.39, and from 0.11 to 0.16 for prenatal survival, depending on the prior used. The mean of the marginal posterior distribution of response to four generations of selection ranged from 0.38 to 0.40 ova per generation, and from 1.1 to 1.3% of the mean survival rate for average survival per generation. PMID:9584104

  7. Fukushima simulation experiment: assessing the effects of chronic low-dose-rate internal 137Cs radiation exposure on litter size, sex ratio, and biokinetics in mice

    PubMed Central

    Nakajima, Hiroo; Yamaguchi, Yoshiaki; Yoshimura, Takashi; Fukumoto, Manabu; Todo, Takeshi

    2015-01-01

    To investigate the transgenerational effects of chronic low-dose-rate internal radiation exposure after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident in Japan, 18 generations of mice were maintained in a radioisotope facility, with free access to drinking water containing 137CsCl (0 and 100 Bq/ml). The 137Cs distribution in the organs of the mice was measured after long-term ad libitum intake of the 137CsCl water. The litter size and the sex ratio of the group ingesting the 137Cs water were compared with those of the control group, for all 18 generations of mice. No significant difference was noted in the litter size or the sex ratio between the mice in the control group and those in the group ingesting the 137Cs water. The fixed internal exposure doses were ∼160 Bq/g and 80 Bq/g in the muscles and other organs, respectively. PMID:26825299

  8. Fukushima simulation experiment: assessing the effects of chronic low-dose-rate internal 137Cs radiation exposure on litter size, sex ratio, and biokinetics in mice.

    PubMed

    Nakajima, Hiroo; Yamaguchi, Yoshiaki; Yoshimura, Takashi; Fukumoto, Manabu; Todo, Takeshi

    2015-12-01

    To investigate the transgenerational effects of chronic low-dose-rate internal radiation exposure after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident in Japan, 18 generations of mice were maintained in a radioisotope facility, with free access to drinking water containing (137)CsCl (0 and 100 Bq/ml). The (137)Cs distribution in the organs of the mice was measured after long-term ad libitum intake of the (137)CsCl water. The litter size and the sex ratio of the group ingesting the (137)Cs water were compared with those of the control group, for all 18 generations of mice. No significant difference was noted in the litter size or the sex ratio between the mice in the control group and those in the group ingesting the (137)Cs water. The fixed internal exposure doses were ∼160 Bq/g and 80 Bq/g in the muscles and other organs, respectively.

  9. Does anthracene affect microbial activities and organic matter decomposition? A comparative study in Pinus halepensis litters from Mediterranean coastal and inland areas.

    PubMed

    Qasemian, Leila; Guiral, Daniel; Ziarelli, Fabio; Ruaudel, Florence; Farnet, Anne-Marie

    2012-10-01

    The widespread concern about pollution caused by Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) raises the question of how they affect soil microbial communities which are potentially involved in the transformation of these pollutants. Using microcosms, we describe the effect of anthracene, a model PAH, on microbial communities inhabiting a Pinus halepensis litter from both coastal (COS) and inland (INL) Mediterranean sites. The microcosms were incubated over 3 months (25°C, 60% WHC) and the effects of anthracene on microbial activities of both litters were monitored. Different enzyme activities (laccase, cellulase, β-glucosidase and acid phosphatase) and microbial respiration were measured and variations in litter chemical composition over incubation were determined using (13)C Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) from both sites. Our results show that lignocellulolytic enzymes increased markedly after a 3-month incubation in COS microcosms, especially in the presence of anthracene, whereas INL microcosms were not similarly affected. These results show that anthracene not only has no toxic effect on the microbial activities tested but actually enhances the lignocellulolytic activities of the fungal communities from coastal litters, demonstrating the detoxification potential and resistance of stressed Mediterranean coastal ecosystems.

  10. Environmentally friendly animal litter

    SciTech Connect

    Chett, Boxley; McKelvie, Jessica

    2013-08-20

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

  11. Influence of month and climatic factors on the period of birth, litter size, birth weight and preweaning mortality of sheep in Ghana

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kabuga, J. D.; Akowuah, F.

    1990-09-01

    Relationships between month and clinatic factors-rainfall, ambient temperature, relative humidity (RH) and temperature-humidity index (THI)-with time of parturition, litter size, birth weight and preweaning mortality were studied in Djallonke and Dja lonke x Sahelian sheep. Births (4142) occurred all year round although there were significant differences in the number of births per month. Maximum litter size did not coincide with the maximum births. Peak conceptions occurred in the early parts of the major rainy season. There were also significant differences in birth weights and mortalities (%) per month. Maximum and minimum values (of birth weighs and mortalities) occurred in the latter part of the rainy seasons and dry periods respectively. There were significant positive correlations between litter size and cumulative rainfall in the 4th 6th months periods prior to lambing. Birth weights of both males and females were positively and significantly associated with minimum temperature and cumulative rain-fall in the 2- and 3-months period prior to lambing respectively. There were significant positive correlations between mortality and minimum and maximum RH and cumulative rainfall in the 3 months after lambing.

  12. The association of two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in growth hormone (GH) gene with litter size and superovulation response in goat-breeds

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Chunyan; Liu, Yun; Huang, Kunkun; Zeng, Wenbing; Xu, Deqing; Wen, Qunying; Yang, Liguo

    2011-01-01

    Two active mutations (A 781 G and A 1575 G) in growth hormone (GH) gene, and their associations with litter size (LS), were investigated in both a high prolificacy (Matou, n = 182) and a low prolificacy breed (Boer, n = 352) by using the PCR-RFLP method. Superovulation experiments were designed in 57 dams, in order to evaluate the effect of different genotypes of the GH gene on superovulation response. Two genotypes (AA and AB, CC and CD) in each mutation were detected in these two goat breeds. Neither BB nor DD homozygous genotypes were observed. The genotypic frequencies of AB and CC were significantly higher than those of AA and CD. In the third parity, Matou dams with AB or CC genotypes had significantly larger litter sizes than those with AA and CD (p < 0.05). On combining the two loci, both Matou and Boer dams with ABCD genotype had the largest litter sizes when compared to the other genotypes (p < 0.05). When undergoing like superovulation treatments, a significantly higher number of corpora lutea and ova, with a lower incidence of ovarian cysts, were harvested in the AB and CC genotypes than in AA and CD. These results show that the two loci of GH gene are highly associated with abundant prolificacy and superovulation response in goat breeds. PMID:21637543

  13. Soil respiration as affected by long-term broiler litter application to a udult in the ozark highlands.

    PubMed

    McMullen, Richard L; Brye, Kristofor R; Gbur, Edward E

    2015-01-01

    The United States produced 8.4 billion broiler chickens () and an estimated 10.1 to 14.3 million Mg of broiler litter (BL) in 2012. Arkansas' production of 1 billion broilers in 2012 produced an estimated 1.2 to 1.7 million Mg of BL, most of which was concentrated in the Ozark Highlands region of northwest Arkansas. Increased CO release from soils associated with agricultural practices has generated concerns regarding the contribution of certain agricultural management practices to global warming. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effects of long-term (>6 yr) BL application to a Udult on soil respiration and annual C emissions and to determine the predictability of soil respiration based on soil temperature and moisture in the Ozark Highlands region of northwest Arkansas. Soil respiration was measured routinely between May 2009 and May 2012 in response to annual BL application rates of 0, 5.6, and 11.2 Mg dry litter ha that began in 2003. Soil respiration varied ( < 0.01) with BL rate, measurement date, and year. Additions of BL stimulated respiration after application, and rainfall events after dry-soil conditions stimulated respiration in all years. Soil temperature at the 10-cm depth, 0- to 6-cm soil volumetric water content (VWC), and annual CO-C emissions were unaffected ( > 0.05) by BL application rate but differed ( < 0.01) among study years. Multiple regression indicated that soil respiration could be reasonably predicted using 2-cm-depth soil temperature (T) and the product of T and VWC as predictors ( = 0.52; < 0.01). Results indicate that organic amendments, such as BL, can stimulate release of CO from the soil to the atmosphere, potentially negatively affecting atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations; thus, there may be application rates above which the benefits of organic amendments may be diminished by adverse environmental effects. Improved BL management strategies are needed to lessen the loss of CO from BL-amended soils.

  14. Effects of sex, litter size and periconceptional ewe nutrition on offspring behavioural and physiological response to isolation.

    PubMed

    Hernandez, C E; Matthews, L R; Oliver, M H; Bloomfield, F H; Harding, J E

    2010-12-02

    Maternal periconceptional undernutrition alters fetal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis development. However, the effects of this early nutritional insult on postnatal HPA axis function and stress-related behaviours are unknown. We investigated in sheep the effects of different periods of undernutrition, and of sex and litter size, on offspring behavioural and cortisol responses to isolation stress. We studied four nutritional groups: controls well nourished throughout pregnancy (n=39), or ewes undernourished (UN, 10-15% body weight reduction) before mating (-60 to 0d, n=26), after mating (-2 to +30d, n=20) or both (-60 to +30d, n=36). At 4 and 18months of age, offspring were isolated for 5min, their behaviour video recorded, and plasma cortisol concentrations measured. Offspring of all undernourished groups demonstrated 50% fewer escape attempts than controls at 4 months of age, and offspring of UN-60+30 ewes had 20% lower plasma cortisol area under the curve in response to isolation at 18months. Females had higher cortisol concentrations and vocalised more than males at 4 and 18months, and were more active at 18months. After isolation, UN-2+30 males had higher cortisol concentrations than UN-2+30 females whereas in all other groups males had lower concentrations than females. Singleton males made more escape attempts than females, whereas in twins females made more escape attempts than males. These findings suggest that maternal periconceptional undernutrition in sheep can suppress behavioural reactions and cortisol secretion in response to isolation stress in the offspring into adulthood, and that these effects differ between males and females.

  15. Temperature affects leaf litter decomposition in low-order forest streams: field and microcosm approaches.

    PubMed

    Martínez, Aingeru; Larrañaga, Aitor; Pérez, Javier; Descals, Enrique; Pozo, Jesús

    2014-01-01

    Despite predicted global warming, the temperature effects on headwater stream functioning are poorly understood. We studied these effects on microbial-mediated leaf decomposition and the performance of associated aquatic hyphomycete assemblages. Alder leaves were incubated in three streams differing in winter water temperature. Simultaneously, in laboratory, leaf discs conditioned in these streams were incubated at 5, 10 and 15 °C. We determined mass loss, leaf N and sporulation rate and diversity of aquatic hyphomycete communities. In the field, decomposition rate correlated positively with temperature. Decomposition rate and leaf N presented a positive trend with dissolved nutrients, suggesting that temperature was not the only factor determining the process velocity. Under controlled conditions, it was confirmed that decomposition rate and leaf N were positively correlated with temperature, leaves from the coldest stream responding most clearly. Sporulation rate correlated positively with temperature after 9 days of incubation, but negatively after 18 and 27 days. Temperature rise affected negatively the sporulating fungi richness and diversity only in the material from the coldest stream. Our results suggest that temperature is an important factor determining leaf processing and aquatic hyphomycete assemblages and that composition and activity of fungal communities adapted to cold environments could be more affected by temperature rises. Highlight: Leaf decomposition rate and associated fungal communities respond to temperature shifts in headwater streams.

  16. Effects of lactation length and weaning-to-service interval on subsequent farrowing rate and litter size in Landrace and Yorkshire sows in Thailand.

    PubMed

    Tantasuparuk, W; Lundeheim, N; Dalin, A M; Kunavongkrit, A; Einarsson, S

    2000-12-01

    The aim of the present study was to investigate the influence of lactation length (LL) on weaning-to-service interval (WSI), and the effect of LL and WSI on the subsequent farrowing rate and litter size among purebred Landrace and Yorkshire sows under tropical conditions. The variation in litter weight at weaning (LWW) was also studied. Data were analyzed from three purebred sow herds located in the central part of Thailand, including sows weaned during the period from January 1993 to December 1996. Data were analyzed with analysis of variance using SAS software. The procedure MIXED was used for analysis of the continuous outcome variables (namely LL, LWW, WSI, number of total born and number of live born piglets). The GLIMMIX macro was used for analysis of the categorical outcome variable, farrowing rate (FR). In the statistical analyses, WSI was grouped into 7 groups, when it was an independent variable, as follows: 1 to 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, to 10, and 11 to 21 days. Lactation length was grouped into 4 groups as follows: 17 to 24, 25 to 27, 28 to 30 and 31 to 35 days. Parities were grouped into 4 groups as follows: 1, 2, 3 + 4, and 5 to 8. Landrace sows had significantly higher LWW (P < 0.001) compared with Yorkshire sows (56.1 vs. 53.6 kg). The LL was significantly (P < 0.05) shorter during the cool season than during the other seasons while no difference was found in LWW between the hot and the cool season. The LL had no effect on WSI, FR and litter sizes. The FR was significantly lower when the WSI was 7 to 10 days than when the WSI was 1 to 6 days. An increase in WSI between Days 9 to 10 and Day 21 resulted in a significant increase in FR. Subsequent litter size decreased by about 0.5 piglets when the WSI increased from 1 to 5 days to 6 to 7 days. Thereafter, litter size increased as the WSI increased from 9 to 10 days to 21 days.

  17. Affective stimulus properties influence size perception and the Ebbinghaus illusion

    PubMed Central

    Semin, Gün R.; Oudejans, Raôul R. D.; Beek, Peter J.

    2007-01-01

    In the New Look literature of the 1950s, it has been suggested that size judgments are dependent on the affective content of stimuli. This suggestion, however, has been ‘discredited’ due to contradictory findings and methodological problems. In the present study, we revisited this forgotten issue in two experiments. The first experiment investigated the influence of affective content on size perception by examining judgments of the size of target circles with and without affectively loaded (i.e., positive, neutral, and negative) pictures. Circles with a picture were estimated to be smaller than circles without a picture, and circles with a negative picture were estimated to be larger than circles with a positive or a neutral picture confirming the suggestion from the 1950s that size perception is influenced by affective content, an effect notably confined to negatively loaded stimuli. In a second experiment, we examined whether affective content influenced the Ebbinghaus illusion. Participants judged the size of a target circle whereby target and flanker circles differed in affective loading. The results replicated the first experiment. Additionally, the Ebbinghaus illusion was shown to be weakest for a negatively loaded target with positively loaded and blank flankers. A plausible explanation for both sets of experimental findings is that negatively loaded stimuli are more attention demanding than positively loaded or neutral stimuli. PMID:17410379

  18. Forest type affects the influence of harvest on annual and cumulative litter decay in forest and wetland sites across Canada.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Trofymow, J. A.; Thompson, E.; Cameron, A.; Pare, D.; Lavigne, M.; Flanagan, L.; Moore, T.; Amiro, B.; Smyth, C.

    2007-12-01

    A litter decomposition study was established in 16 sites at 7 stations of the Fluxnet Canada Research Network. These sites included paired mature and clearcut forest sites at 5 upland stations (BC, SK, ON, QC, NB) as well as one site at each of two wetland stations (AW, QW) . All sites are instrumented for in situ measurements of soil moisture and temperature. Litterbags were prepared using one of four standard material types (aspen leaves - AL, black spruce needles BS, Douglas fir needles DF and birch wood sticks BW). Six replicate plots were located at each site, each plot contained sufficient numbers of surface litterbags of each material type to allow for four annual collections (2004 - 2007). As well unconfined birch chopsticks were placed at three depths down the soil profile (surface, 5cm, 15cm) and replaced annually to examine the effects of interannual variability on decay. Cumulative litter decay after three years litters rank by % mass remaining had ALlitters decay more rapidly in clearcut than forests, other than birchwood at one site (QC). Decay of surface birch sticks were similar and interannual variability was less than variability down the soil profile. The effects of clearcut varied with forest site type, on wetter sites surface BW decayed faster in clearcuts than closed forest, however this was reversed in drier forest site types. At lower soil depths on drier sites, decay was more rapid in clearcuts than closed forest. Work is continuing to relate insitu microclimates to decay rates.

  19. How interacting fungal species and mineral nitrogen inputs affect transfer of nitrogen from litter via arbuscular mycorrhizal mycelium.

    PubMed

    He, Yuejun; Cornelissen, J Hans C; Zhong, Zhangcheng; Dong, Ming; Jiang, Changhong

    2017-04-01

    In the karst landscape, widespread in the world including southern China, soil nutrient supply is strongly constrained. In such environments, arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi may facilitate plant nutrient uptake. However, the possible role of different AM fungal species, and their interactions, especially in transferring nitrogen (N) from litter to plant, is poorly understood. We conducted two microcosm experiments to investigate the role that two karst soil AM fungi, Glomus etunicatum and Glomus mosseae, play in the transfer of N from decomposing litter to the host plant and to determine how N availability influences these processes. In experiment 1, Cinnamomum camphora tree seedlings were grown in compartments inoculated with G. etunicatum. Lolium perenne leaf litter labeled with δ(15)N was added to the soil in unplanted compartments. Compartments containing the δ(15)N labeled litter were either accessible to hyphae but not to seedling roots or were not accessible to hyphae or roots. The addition of mineral N to one of the host compartments at the start of the experiment significantly increased the biomass of the C. camphora seedlings, N content and N:P ratio, AM mycelium length, and soil microbial biomass carbon and N. However, significantly, more δ(15)N was acquired, from the leaf litter by the AM hyphae and transferred to the host when mineral N was not added to the soil. In experiment 2, in which C. camphora seedlings were inoculated with both G. etunicatum and G. mosseae rather than with G. mosseae alone, there was a significant increase in mycelial growth (50.21%), in soil microbial biomass carbon (417.73%) in the rhizosphere, and in the amount of δ(15)N that was transferred to the host. These findings suggest that maintaining AM fungal diversity in karst soils could be important for mediating N transfer from organic material to host plants in N-poor soils.

  20. Influence of Inorganic Substrata Size, Leaf Litter and Woody Debris Removal on Benthic Invertebrates Resistance to Floods in Two Contrasting Headwater Streams

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bosco Imbert, J.; Gonzalez, Jose Manuel; Basaguren, Ana; Pozo, Jesus

    2005-02-01

    We studied the influence of inorganic substrata size, leaf litter and woody debris removal on the resistance of benthic invertebrates to floods in two contrasting forested headwater streams of the Agüera basin (northern Spain): Cuchillo stream (stream bed dominated by cobbles and pebbles) and Salderrey stream (stream bed dominated by bedrock and boulders). Generally, floods had a greater effect on benthic invertebrates resistance in the Salderrey stream, apparently due to the high presence of loose substrata overlaying bedrock and the higher scouring of sediment in this stream. Unlike Salderrey stream total number of individuals of Simuliidae, Echinogammarus tarragonensis and Protonemura spp. in riffles greatly increased at the reach scale in the Cuchillo stream after two floods, suggesting that Cuchillo was more retentive than Salderrey. A positive relationship between substrata size and invertebrate resistance to floods was found in the Cuchillo stream but not in the Salderrey stream. It appears that the flood disturbances in the Salderrey stream were too strong to find an increase in resistance as substrata size increased. Invertebrate resistance on leaf litter and resistance predictability were also higher in the Cuchillo stream; the former result suggests that retention of leaf packs was greater in the Cuchillo stream. The lack of a statistically significant effect of woody debris removal may imply that the composition and stability of inorganic substrata have more influence on invertebrate resistance to floods than woody debris at the reach scale in these headwater streams dominated by relatively stable substrata.

  1. Hypergravity effects on litter size, nursing activity, prolactin, TSH, T3, and T4 in the rat

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Megory, E.; Oyama, J.

    1984-01-01

    In a recent study of the effects of hypergravity (HG) on the reproductive system of the rat, it was found that the estrous cycle is perturbed in a pseudopregnancy-like pattern upon first exposure of animals to HG. This can be prevented by previous exposure to HG or by administration of bromergo cryptin. Adapted rats can mate and deliver in HG. However, little is known of the condition of the individual pregnant rat, fetuses, and newborn pups in this environment. There are also questions regarding the effects of HG on the number of fetuses, the mortality rate in different HG levels, and the effects on production and secretion of PRL and TSH. The present investigation is concerned with such questions, taking into account possible approaches to avoid or minimize the lethal effects of HG. The obtained results suggest that peripartum plasma PRL levels and thyroid hormone levels are critical for the survival of the litter.

  2. Physiological adaptations to reproduction. I. Experimentally increasing litter size enhances aspects of antioxidant defence but does not cause oxidative damage in mice.

    PubMed

    Garratt, Michael; Pichaud, Nicolas; King, Edith D Aloise; Brooks, Robert C

    2013-08-01

    Life history theory suggests that investment in reproduction can trade off against growth, longevity and both reproduction and performance later in life. One possible reason for this trade-off is that reproduction directly causes somatic damage. Oxidative stress, an overproduction of reactive oxygen species in relation to cellular defences, can correlate with reproductive investment and has been implicated as a pathway leading to senescence. This has led to the suggestion that this aspect of physiology could be an important mechanism underlying the trade-off between reproduction and lifespan. We manipulated female reproductive investment to test whether oxidative stress increases with reproduction in mice. Each female's pups were cross-fostered to produce litters of either two or eight, representing low and high levels of reproductive investment for wild mice. No differences were observed between reproductive groups at peak lactation for several markers of oxidative stress in the heart and gastrocnemius muscle. Surprisingly, oxidative damage to proteins was lower in the livers of females with a litter size of eight than in females with two pups or non-reproductive control females. While protein oxidation decreased, activity levels of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase increased in the liver, suggesting this may be one pathway used to protect against oxidative stress. Our results highlight the need for caution when interpreting correlative relationships and suggest that oxidative stress does not increase with enhanced reproductive effort during lactation.

  3. Sneaker Males Affect Fighter Male Body Size and Sexual Size Dimorphism in Salmon.

    PubMed

    Weir, Laura K; Kindsvater, Holly K; Young, Kyle A; Reynolds, John D

    2016-08-01

    Large male body size is typically favored by directional sexual selection through competition for mates. However, alternative male life-history phenotypes, such as "sneakers," should decrease the strength of sexual selection acting on body size of large "fighter" males. We tested this prediction with salmon species; in southern populations, where sneakers are common, fighter males should be smaller than in northern populations, where sneakers are rare, leading to geographical clines in sexual size dimorphism (SSD). Consistent with our prediction, fighter male body size and SSD (fighter male∶female size) increase with latitude in species with sneaker males (Atlantic salmon Salmo salar and masu salmon Oncorhynchus masou) but not in species without sneakers (chum salmon Oncorhynchus keta and pink salmon Oncorhynchus gorbuscha). This is the first evidence that sneaker males affect SSD across populations and species, and it suggests that alternative male mating strategies may shape the evolution of body size.

  4. Effects of litter manipulation on litter decomposition in a successional gradients of tropical forests in southern China.

    PubMed

    Chen, Hao; Gurmesa, Geshere A; Liu, Lei; Zhang, Tao; Fu, Shenglei; Liu, Zhanfeng; Dong, Shaofeng; Ma, Chuan; Mo, Jiangming

    2014-01-01

    Global changes such as increasing CO2, rising temperature, and land-use change are likely to drive shifts in litter inputs to forest floors, but the effects of such changes on litter decomposition remain largely unknown. We initiated a litter manipulation experiment to test the response of litter decomposition to litter removal/addition in three successional forests in southern China, namely masson pine forest (MPF), mixed coniferous and broadleaved forest (MF) and monsoon evergreen broadleaved forest (MEBF). Results showed that litter removal decreased litter decomposition rates by 27%, 10% and 8% and litter addition increased litter decomposition rates by 55%, 36% and 14% in MEBF, MF and MPF, respectively. The magnitudes of changes in litter decomposition were more significant in MEBF forest and less significant in MF, but not significant in MPF. Our results suggest that change in litter quantity can affect litter decomposition, and this impact may become stronger with forest succession in tropical forest ecosystem.

  5. Effects of Litter Manipulation on Litter Decomposition in a Successional Gradients of Tropical Forests in Southern China

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Hao; Gurmesa, Geshere A.; Liu, Lei; Zhang, Tao; Fu, Shenglei; Liu, Zhanfeng; Dong, Shaofeng; Ma, Chuan; Mo, Jiangming

    2014-01-01

    Global changes such as increasing CO2, rising temperature, and land-use change are likely to drive shifts in litter inputs to forest floors, but the effects of such changes on litter decomposition remain largely unknown. We initiated a litter manipulation experiment to test the response of litter decomposition to litter removal/addition in three successional forests in southern China, namely masson pine forest (MPF), mixed coniferous and broadleaved forest (MF) and monsoon evergreen broadleaved forest (MEBF). Results showed that litter removal decreased litter decomposition rates by 27%, 10% and 8% and litter addition increased litter decomposition rates by 55%, 36% and 14% in MEBF, MF and MPF, respectively. The magnitudes of changes in litter decomposition were more significant in MEBF forest and less significant in MF, but not significant in MPF. Our results suggest that change in litter quantity can affect litter decomposition, and this impact may become stronger with forest succession in tropical forest ecosystem. PMID:24901698

  6. Litter chemistry prevails over litter consumers in mediating effects of past steel industry activities on leaf litter decomposition.

    PubMed

    Lucisine, Pierre; Lecerf, Antoine; Danger, Michaël; Felten, Vincent; Aran, Delphine; Auclerc, Apolline; Gross, Elisabeth M; Huot, Hermine; Morel, Jean-Louis; Muller, Serge; Nahmani, Johanne; Maunoury-Danger, Florence

    2015-12-15

    Soil pollution has adverse effects on the performance and life history traits of microorganisms, plants, and animals, yet evidence indicates that even the most polluted sites can support structurally-complex and dynamic ecosystems. The present study aims at determining whether and how litter decomposition, one of the most important soil ecological processes leaf, is affected in a highly trace-metal polluted site. We postulated that past steel mill activities resulting in soil pollution and associated changes in soil characteristics would influence the rate of litter decomposition through two non-exclusive pathways: altered litter chemistry and responses of decomposers to lethal and sub-lethal toxic stress. We carried out a litter-bag experiment using Populus tremula L. leaf litter collected at, and allowed to decompose in, a trace metal polluted site and in three unpolluted sites used as controls. We designed a fully-factorial transplant experimental design to assess effects of litter origin and exposure site on the rate of litter decomposition. We further determined initial litter chemistry, fungal biomass, mesofauna abundance in litter bags, and the soil macrofauna community. Irrespective of the site of litter exposure, litter originating from the polluted site had a two-fold faster decomposition than litter from the unpolluted sites. Litter chemistry, notably the lignin content, seemed most important in explaining the degradation rate of the leaf litter. Abundance of meso and macro-detritivores was higher at the polluted site than at the unpolluted sites. However, litter decomposition proceeded at similar rates in polluted and unpolluted sites. Our results show that trace metal pollution and associated soil and litter changes do not necessarily weaken consumer control on litter decomposition through lethal and sub-lethal toxic stress.

  7. Climate and litter quality differently modulate the effects of soil fauna on litter decomposition across biomes.

    PubMed

    García-Palacios, Pablo; Maestre, Fernando T; Kattge, Jens; Wall, Diana H

    2013-08-01

    Climate and litter quality have been identified as major drivers of litter decomposition at large spatial scales. However, the role played by soil fauna remains largely unknown, despite its importance for litter fragmentation and microbial activity. We synthesised litterbag studies to quantify the effect sizes of soil fauna on litter decomposition rates at the global and biome scales, and to assess how climate, litter quality and soil fauna interact to determine such rates. Soil fauna consistently enhanced litter decomposition at both global and biome scales (average increment ~ 37%). [corrected]. However, climate and litter quality differently modulated the effects of soil fauna on decomposition rates between biomes, from climate-driven biomes to those where climate effects were mediated by changes in litter quality. Our results advocate for the inclusion of biome-specific soil fauna effects on litter decomposition as a mean to reduce the unexplained variation in large-scale decomposition models.

  8. Climate and litter quality differently modulate the effects of soil fauna on litter decomposition across biomes

    PubMed Central

    García-Palacios, Pablo; Maestre, Fernando T.; Kattge, Jens; Wall, Diana H.

    2015-01-01

    Climate and litter quality have been identified as major drivers of litter decomposition at large spatial scales. However, the role played by soil fauna remains largely unknown, despite its importance for litter fragmentation and microbial activity. We synthesized litterbag studies to quantify the effect sizes of soil fauna on litter decomposition rates at the global and biome scales, and to assess how climate, litter quality and soil fauna interact to determine such rates. Soil fauna consistently enhanced litter decomposition at both global and biome scales (average increment ~27%). However, climate and litter quality differently modulated the effects of soil fauna on decomposition rates between biomes, from climate-driven biomes to those where climate effects were mediated by changes in litter quality. Our results advocate for the inclusion of biome-specific soil fauna effects on litter decomposition as a mean to reduce the unexplained variation in large-scale decomposition models. PMID:23763716

  9. Methodology significantly affects genome size estimates: quantitative evidence using bryophytes.

    PubMed

    Bainard, Jillian D; Fazekas, Aron J; Newmaster, Steven G

    2010-08-01

    Flow cytometry (FCM) is commonly used to determine plant genome size estimates. Methodology has improved and changed during the past three decades, and researchers are encouraged to optimize protocols for their specific application. However, this step is typically omitted or undescribed in the current plant genome size literature, and this omission could have serious consequences for the genome size estimates obtained. Using four bryophyte species (Brachythecium velutinum, Fissidens taxifolius, Hedwigia ciliata, and Thuidium minutulum), three methodological approaches to the use of FCM in plant genome size estimation were tested. These included nine different buffers (Baranyi's, de Laat's, Galbraith's, General Purpose, LB01, MgSO(4), Otto's, Tris.MgCl(2), and Woody Plant), seven propidium iodide (PI) staining periods (5, 10, 15, 20, 45, 60, and 120 min), and six PI concentrations (10, 25, 50, 100, 150, and 200 microg ml(-1)). Buffer, staining period and staining concentration all had a statistically significant effect (P = 0.05) on the genome size estimates obtained for all four species. Buffer choice and PI concentration had the greatest effect, altering the 1C-values by as much as 8% and 14%, respectively. As well, the quality of the data varied with the different methodology used. Using the methodology determined to be the most accurate in this study (LB01 buffer and PI staining for 20 min at 150 microg ml(-1)), three new genome size estimates were obtained: B. velutinum: 0.46 pg, H. ciliata: 0.30 pg, and T. minutulum: 0.46 pg. While the peak quality of flow cytometry histograms is important, researchers must consider that changes in methodology can also affect the relative peak positions and therefore the genome size estimates obtained for plants using FCM.

  10. Does body size affect a bird's sensitivity to patch size and landscape structure?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Winter, M.; Johnson, D.H.; Shaffer, J.A.

    2006-01-01

    Larger birds are generally more strongly affected by habitat loss and fragmentation than are smaller ones because they require more resources and thus larger habitat patches. Consequently, conservation actions often favor the creation or protection of larger over smaller patches. However, in grassland systems the boundaries between a patch and the surrounding landscape, and thus the perceived size of a patch, can be indistinct. We investigated whether eight grassland bird species with different body sizes perceived variation in patch size and landscape structure in a consistent manner. Data were collected from surveys conducted in 44 patches of northern tallgrass prairie during 1998-2001. The response to patch size was very similar among species regardless of body size (density was little affected by patch size), except in the Greater Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido), which showed a threshold effect and was not found in patches smaller than 140 ha. In landscapes containing 0%-30% woody vegetation, smaller species responded more negatively to increases in the percentage of woody vegetation than larger species, but above an apparent threshold of 30%, larger species were not detected. Further analyses revealed that the observed variation in responses to patch size and landscape structure among species was not solely due to body size per se, but to other differences among species. These results indicate that a stringent application of concepts requiring larger habitat patches for larger species appears to limit the number of grassland habitats that can be protected and may not always be the most effective conservation strategy. ?? The Cooper Ornithological Society 2006.

  11. Environmentally-friendly animal litter

    DOEpatents

    Boxley, Chett; McKelvie, Jessica

    2013-09-03

    An animal litter composition that includes geopolymerized ash particulates having a network of repeating aluminum-silicon units is described herein. Generally, the animal litter is made from a quantity of a pozzolanic ash mixed with an alkaline activator to initiate a geopolymerization reaction that forms geopolymerized ash. This geopolymerization reaction may occur within a pelletizer. After the geopolymerized ash is formed, it may be dried and sieved to a desired size. These geopolymerized ash particulates may be used to make a non-clumping or clumping animal litter or other absorbing material. Aluminum sulfate, clinoptilolite, silica gel, sodium alginate and mineral oil may be added as additional ingredients.

  12. Environmentally-friendly animal litter

    SciTech Connect

    Boxley, Chett; McKelvie, Jessica

    2012-08-28

    An animal litter composition including geopolymerized ash particulates having a network of repeating aluminum-silicon units is described herein. Generally, the animal litter is made from a quantity of a pozzolanic ash mixed with a sufficient quantity of water and an alkaline activator to initiate a geopolymerization reaction that forms geopolymerized ash. After the geopolymerized ash is formed, it is dried, broken into particulates, and sieved to a desired size. These geopolymerized ash particulates are used to make a non-clumping or clumping animal litter. Odor control is accomplished with the addition of a urease inhibitor, pH buffer, an odor eliminating agent, and/or fragrance.

  13. Measurement of broiler litter production rates and nutrient content using recycled litter.

    PubMed

    Coufal, C D; Chavez, C; Niemeyer, P R; Carey, J B

    2006-03-01

    It is important for broiler producers to know litter production rates and litter nutrient content when developing nutrient management plans. Estimation of broiler litter production varies widely in the literature due to factors such as geographical region, type of housing, size of broiler produced, and number of flocks reared on the same litter. Published data for N, P, and K content are also highly variable. In addition, few data are available regarding the rate of production, characteristics, and nutrient content of caked litter (cake). In this study, 18 consecutive flocks of broilers were reared on the same litter in experimental pens under simulated commercial conditions. The mass of litter and cake produced was measured after each flock. Samples of all litter materials were analyzed for pH, moisture, N, P, and K. Average litter and cake moisture content were 26.4 and 46.9%, respectively. Significant variation in litter and cake nutrient content was observed and can largely be attributed to ambient temperature differences. Average litter, cake, and total litter (litter plus cake) production rates were 153.3, 74.8, and 228.2 g of dry litter material per kg of live broiler weight (g/kg) per flock, respectively. Significant variation in litter production rates among flocks was also observed. Cumulative litter, cake, and total litter production rates after 18 flocks were 170.3, 78.7, and 249.0 g/kg, respectively. The data produced from this research can be used by broiler producers to estimate broiler litter and cake production and the nutrient content of these materials.

  14. Rate of language evolution is affected by population size.

    PubMed

    Bromham, Lindell; Hua, Xia; Fitzpatrick, Thomas G; Greenhill, Simon J

    2015-02-17

    The effect of population size on patterns and rates of language evolution is controversial. Do languages with larger speaker populations change faster due to a greater capacity for innovation, or do smaller populations change faster due to more efficient diffusion of innovations? Do smaller populations suffer greater loss of language elements through founder effects or drift, or do languages with more speakers lose features due to a process of simplification? Revealing the influence of population size on the tempo and mode of language evolution not only will clarify underlying mechanisms of language change but also has practical implications for the way that language data are used to reconstruct the history of human cultures. Here, we provide, to our knowledge, the first empirical, statistically robust test of the influence of population size on rates of language evolution, controlling for the evolutionary history of the populations and formally comparing the fit of different models of language evolution. We compare rates of gain and loss of cognate words for basic vocabulary in Polynesian languages, an ideal test case with a well-defined history. We demonstrate that larger populations have higher rates of gain of new words whereas smaller populations have higher rates of word loss. These results show that demographic factors can influence rates of language evolution and that rates of gain and loss are affected differently. These findings are strikingly consistent with general predictions of evolutionary models.

  15. Relationships between day one piglet serum immunoglobulin immunocrit and subsequent growth, puberty attainment, litter size, and lactation performance

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Colostrum affects gut and uterine gland development in the neonatal piglet, suggesting that subsequent growth and reproductive performance may be affected. Measuring immunoglobulin in piglet serum using the immunoglobulin immunocrit on day 1 of age provides a simple inexpensive indication of the amo...

  16. Chemical Variations Affect Seismic Velocities Less Than Grain Size Variations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Jong, B. H.; Jacobs, M. H.

    2001-12-01

    It is well known that mantle velocities depend on the ``Magnesium number'' of constituent minerals. According to our recently developed equation of state (Jacobs & Oonk, Calphad 24, 133--147, 2000) this speed varies almost linearly between 6.7422 (Mg2SiO4) and 6.0113 (Fe2SiO4) km/sec at 10 GPa and 1500 K, i.e. a velocity contrast of 730 m/sec, the canonical mantle composition at 400 km depth being 52% Mg2SiO4 in accordance with the estimates by Lee et al. (1998). We have shown experimentally elsewhere that grain size variations of isochemical, equal density, holocrystalline alkali disilicates affect acoustic velocities. These vary at room temperature and ambient pressure between 6.6 km/sec (coarse grained) and 7.7 km/sec (fine grained), a difference of 1100 m/sec, i.e. substantially larger than the above mentioned 730 m/sec for chemical variations. Such differences in grain size occur because of variations in time, temperature, transformation (TTT) conditions to which a material is subjected. Thus velocity variations as observed in the mantle do not necessarily reflect current hottter or colder localities or compositional variations. They more likely reflect different TTT conditions with concomitant fabric variation during subduction.

  17. Responses of litter invertebrate communities to litter manipulation in a Japanese conifer plantation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yoshida, Tomohiro; Takito, Yuki; Soga, Masashi; Hijii, Naoki

    2013-08-01

    We examined how the litter invertebrate communities were affected by the temporal changes in the mass and structural complexity of the litter resources by adding and removing litter on the forest floor of a temperate conifer plantation (Cryptomeria japonica) in Japan. We showed that litter mass and depth in the litter-addition (L+) plots changed rapidly into a steady-state condition similar to those in the control plots, mainly due to accelerated decomposition processes during the rainy season. Higher area-based densities of litter invertebrates in the L+ plots, similar mass-based densities between the L+ and control plots, and significant positive correlations between litter mass and the number of individuals implied that the abundance of litter invertebrates would be governed by litter mass rather than by the litter depth. Many litter invertebrates including detritivores were collected even in the litter-removal (L-) area. The relative abundances of invertebrate predators collecting pitfall traps were higher in the L- plots and lower in the L+ plots compared to those in the control plots, whereas those collecting Tullgren funnels were higher in the L+ plots than in the control plots. In the L+ plots, the range of variation in the community compositions among the samples decreased significantly over time in response to a drastic decrease in litter mass, in contrast to the control plots, which showed a relatively constant community composition during the study period. Our litter manipulation experiment reveals some of the mechanisms responsible for maintaining an equilibrium state of forest-floor litter mass and for the responses of litter invertebrate communities to temporal changes in the litter.

  18. Litter sex composition influences dominance status of Alpine marmots (Marmota marmota).

    PubMed

    Dupont, Pierre; Pradel, Roger; Lardy, Sophie; Allainé, Dominique; Cohas, Aurélie

    2015-11-01

    In social species, the hierarchical status of an individual has important consequences for its fitness. While many studies have focused on individual condition to explain access to dominance, very few have investigated the influence of the social environment, especially during early life. Yet it is known that environmental conditions early in life may influence several traits at adulthood. Here, we examine the influence of early social environment on accession to dominance by investigating the influence of litter size and sex composition on survival and the probability of ascending to dominance later in life using a 20-year dataset from a wild population of Alpine marmots (Marmota marmota). Although litter size had no effect on the fate of individuals, litter sex composition affected male juvenile survival and both male and female probabilities of reaching dominant status when adult. Male juveniles incur lower survival when the number of male juveniles in the litter increases, and individuals of both sexes from male-biased litters are more likely to become dominant than individuals from female-biased litters. However, the absolute number of sisters in the litter, rather than the sex ratio, seems to be an important predictor of the probability of acquiring dominant status: pups having more sisters are less likely to become dominant. Several potential mechanisms to explain these results are discussed.

  19. Implant Size Availability Affects Reproduction of Distal Femoral Anatomy.

    PubMed

    Morris, William Z; Gebhart, Jeremy J; Goldberg, Victor M; Wera, Glenn D

    2016-07-01

    A total knee arthroplasty system offers more distal femoral implant anterior-posterior (AP) sizes than its predecessor. The purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of increased size availability on an implant system's ability to reproduce the AP dimension of the native distal femur. We measured 200 cadaveric femora with the AP-sizing guides of Zimmer (Warsaw, IN) NexGen (8 sizes) and Zimmer Persona (12 sizes) total knee arthroplasty systems. We defined "size deviation" as the difference in the AP dimension between the anatomic size of the native femur and the closest implant size. We defined satisfactory reproduction of distal femoral dimensions as < 1 mm difference between the implant and native femur size. The NexGen system was associated with a mean 0.46 mm greater implant size deviation than Persona (p < 0.001). When using a 1 mm size deviation as a cutoff for satisfactory replication of the native distal femoral anatomy, 85/200 specimens (42.5%) were a poor fit by NexGen, but a satisfactory fit by Persona. Only 1/200 specimens (0.5%) was a poor fit by Persona, but a satisfactory fit by NexGen (p < 0.001). The novel knee system with 12 versus 8 sizes reproduces the AP dimension of the native distal femur more closely than its predecessor. Further study is needed to determine the clinical impact of these differences.

  20. Water addition, evaporation and water holding capacity of poultry litter.

    PubMed

    Dunlop, Mark W; Blackall, Patrick J; Stuetz, Richard M

    2015-12-15

    Litter moisture content has been related to ammonia, dust and odour emissions as well as bird health and welfare. Improved understanding of the water holding properties of poultry litter as well as water additions to litter and evaporation from litter will contribute to improved litter moisture management during the meat chicken grow-out. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how management and environmental conditions over the course of a grow-out affect the volume of water A) applied to litter, B) able to be stored in litter, and C) evaporated from litter on a daily basis. The same unit of measurement has been used to enable direct comparison-litres of water per square metre of poultry shed floor area, L/m(2), assuming a litter depth of 5cm. An equation was developed to estimate the amount of water added to litter from bird excretion and drinking spillage, which are sources of regular water application to the litter. Using this equation showed that water applied to litter from these sources changes over the course of a grow-out, and can be as much as 3.2L/m(2)/day. Over a 56day grow-out, the total quantity of water added to the litter was estimated to be 104L/m(2). Litter porosity, water holding capacity and water evaporation rates from litter were measured experimentally. Litter porosity decreased and water holding capacity increased over the course of a grow-out due to manure addition. Water evaporation rates at 25°C and 50% relative humidity ranged from 0.5 to 10L/m(2)/day. Evaporation rates increased with litter moisture content and air speed. Maintaining dry litter at the peak of a grow-out is likely to be challenging because evaporation rates from dry litter may be insufficient to remove the quantity of water added to the litter on a daily basis.

  1. The effect of diet and litter size on the elimination of 2,4,5,2 prime ,4 prime ,5 prime -( sup 14 C)hexachlorobiphenyl from lactating mice

    SciTech Connect

    Ring, B.J.; Seitz, K.R.; Gallenberg, L.A.; Vodicnik, M.J. )

    1990-06-01

    It was shown that 2,4,5,2',4',5'-hexachlorobiphenyl (6-CB) administered to adult female mice accumulated in their nursing offspring more rapidly than a dose administered to weanling mice when treated animals were bred at equivalent ages. This suggested that the PCB was eliminated from the maternal animal relative to its time of sequestration into storage depots. Using a model which more closely approximates conditions during human lactation, the influence of a high-fat diet and decreased litter size on this phenomenon was examined. Female ICR mice were treated with 4 mg/kg (14C)-6-CB as 13-g weanlings (dW) at 3 weeks of age or as adults (dA) at 11 weeks of age. All animals were mated at 11 weeks of age. On Day 1 of pregnancy, mice were placed on a low-fat (11.5% of the total calories) or high-fat (43.8% of total calories) diet. At parturition, litters were adjusted to either two or eight within each diet group. Elimination of maternal 6-CB was determined by assessing radioactivity in offspring carcasses on Day 15 of gestation or Day 1, 3, 5, 10, or 15 postpartum. Consumption of a high-fat diet significantly extended the t1/2 of elimination of 6-CB from mothers nursing a litter of two in the dW group (low fat = 7.3 days; high fat = 12.4 days) and in both the dW and dA groups nursing litters of eight (dW: low fat = 4.6 days; high fat = 6.8 days; and dA: low fat = 1.8 days; high fat = 3.0 days). Within diet and group, reducing litter size to two also significantly decreased the rate of elimination of 6-CB from maternal animals. 6-CB was eliminated to offspring more rapidly from the dA group when compared to the dW group regardless of diet in animals nursing litters of eight. This relationship was not observed in maternal animals nursing litters of two. In general, exposure to a high-fat diet increased the t1/2 of elimination of 6-CB from maternal animals.

  2. High dietary biotin levels affect the footpad and hock health of broiler chickens reared at different stocking densities and litter conditions.

    PubMed

    Sun, Z W; Fan, Q H; Wang, X X; Guo, Y M; Wang, H J; Dong, X

    2016-04-14

    Responses to stocking density (SD), dietary biotin concentration and litter condition were evaluated on 2016 Ross 308 male broilers in the fattening period (day 22-day 42). The birds were placed in 48 pens with either dry or wet litter to simulate the final stocking density of 30 kg (12 broilers/m(2) ; normal stocking density, NSD) and 40 kg (16 broilers/m(2) ; high stocking density, HSD) of body weight (BW)/m(2) floor space. A corn-soybean meal-based diet was supplemented with biotin to provide a normal (NB; 155 μg/kg) or high (HB, 1521 μg/kg) level of dietary biotin. There were six repetitions per treatment. The inappropriate moisture content of litter associated with HSD was avoided (p < 0.05) by good management (SD difference: dry litter, 6.65% vs. wet litter, 13.23%; 42 days), which made it advantageous (p < 0.01) for footpad (SD difference: dry litter, 0.118 vs. wet litter, 0.312; weekly average value) and hock health (SD difference: dry litter, 0.090 vs. wet litter, 0.303; weekly average value) of HSD birds, but not (p > 0.05) for growth and processing yield. In HSD, the biotin effect (gains, FCR) was significantly higher (p < 0.01) than in NSD. The similar response of HSD birds to supplemental biotin was observed (p < 0.05) for lesion scores of footpad and hock in particularly finishing chickens, and a significant interaction (p < 0.01) among stocking density, biotin supplementation and litter condition existed from 35 to 42 days of age. Taken together, increasing dietary biotin improves the performance and well-being of broiler chickens stocked at high densities in litter-independent and litter-dependent manners respectively.

  3. Statistical analysis of litter experiments in teratology

    SciTech Connect

    Williams, R.; Buschbom, R.L.

    1982-11-01

    Teratological data is binary response data (each fetus is either affected or not) in which the responses within a litter are usually not independent. As a result, the litter should be taken as the experimental unit. For each litter, its size, n, and the number of fetuses, x, possessing the effect of interest are recorded. The ratio p = x/n is then the basic data generated by the experiment. There are currently three general approaches to the analysis of teratological data: nonparametric, transformation followed by t-test or ANOVA, and parametric. The first two are currently in wide use by practitioners while the third is relatively new to the field. These first two also appear to possess comparable power levels while maintaining the nominal level of significance. When transformations are employed, care must be exercised to check that the transformed data has the required properties. Since the data is often highly asymmetric, there may be no transformation which renders the data nearly normal. The parametric procedures, including the beta-binomial model, offer the possibility of increased power.

  4. Litter-Spinning Retarders

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wilson, John C.

    1995-01-01

    Aerodynamic plates stop litter from spinning during hoisting by helicopter. Features of proposed litter-spinning retarders include convenience of deployment and independence from ground restraint. Retarder plate(s) folded flat against bottom of litter during storage or while litter is loaded. Plate(s) held in storage position by latch that releases manually or automatically as litter is hoisted. Upon release, springs move plates into deployed position.

  5. How Methodological Features Affect Effect Sizes in Education

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Cheung, Alan; Slavin, Robert

    2016-01-01

    As evidence-based reform becomes increasingly important in educational policy, it is becoming essential to understand how research design might contribute to reported effect sizes in experiments evaluating educational programs. The purpose of this study was to examine how methodological features such as types of publication, sample sizes, and…

  6. Consequences of a low litter birth weight phenotype for postnatal lean growth performance and neonatal testicular morphology in the pig.

    PubMed

    Smit, M N; Spencer, J D; Almeida, F R C L; Patterson, J L; Chiarini-Garcia, H; Dyck, M K; Foxcroft, G R

    2013-10-01

    The consequences of a low litter average birth weight phenotype for postnatal growth performance and carcass quality of all progeny, and testicular development in male offspring, were investigated. Using data from 25 sows with one, and 223 sows with two consecutive farrowing events, individual birth weight (BW) was measured and each litter between 9 and 16 total pigs born was classified as low (LBW), medium (MBW) or high (HBW) birth weight: low and high BW being defined as >1 standard deviation below or above, respectively, the population mean for each litter size. Litter average BW was repeatable within sows. At castration, testicular tissue was collected from 40 male pigs in LBW and HBW litters with individual BW close to their litter average BW and used for histomorphometric analysis. LBW piglets had a lower absolute number of germ cells, Sertoli cells and Leydig cells in their testes and a higher brain : testis weight ratio than HBW piglets. Overall, LBW litters had lower placental weight and higher brain : liver, brain : intestine and brain : Semitendinosus muscle weight ratios than MBW and HBW litters. In the nursery and grow-finish (GF) phase, pigs were kept in pens by BW classification (9 HBW, 17 MBW and 10 LBW pens) with 13 males and 13 females per pen. Average daily gain tended to be lower in LBW than HBW litters in lactation (P = 0.06) and throughout the nursery and GF phases (P < 0.01), resulting in an increasing difference in body weight between LBW, MBW and HBW litters (P < 0.05). Average daily feed intake was lower (P < 0.001) in LBW than HBW litters in the nursery and GF phases. Feed utilization efficiency (feed/gain) was similar for LBW and HBW litters in the nursery, but was lower (P < 0.001) in HBW than LBW litters in the GF phase. By design, slaughter weight was similar between BW classifications; however, LBW litters needed 9 more days to reach the same slaughter weight than HBW litters (P < 0.001). BW classification did not affect carcass

  7. The influence of prenatal and postnatal fraternity size on reproduction in mice.

    PubMed

    Kirkpatrick, B W; Rutledge, J J

    1987-05-01

    Effects of prenatal and postnatal fraternity size (size of litter in which an individual is reared) on age at vaginal opening, growth, and subsequent litter production were examined by rearing mice in standardized prenatal and postnatal fraternities in a 3 X 3 factorial design. Prenatal fraternity size was standardized by reducing litters of 14 or more to either 14, 10, or 6 fetuses on Day 9 of gestation. Postnatal fraternity size was standardized by assigning pups randomly to nurse in litters of 5, 10, or 15 pups within 24 h of birth. Both prenatal and postnatal fraternity size affected growth of the mice (p = 0.02 and p less than 0.01, respectively) with mice reared in small fraternities attaining greater weights throughout the study. Prenatal fraternity size had a negative linear effect on litter size at second parity and tended to have a positive linear effect on age at vaginal opening. Postnatal fraternity size affected age at vaginal opening (p less than 0.01), litter size at first parity (p less than 0.01), and litter size at second parity (p = 0.03). These effects were positive and linear for age at vaginal opening (p less than 0.01; small fraternity size associated with younger age at vaginal opening) and negative and linear for litter size at first and second parity (p less than 0.01 and p = 0.10, respectively; smaller fraternity size associated with larger litter size). There was no interaction between prenatal and postnatal fraternity size effects on age at vaginal opening or litter size (p greater than 0.20).

  8. Drinking spout orifice size affects licking behavior in inbred mice.

    PubMed

    Dotson, Cedrick D; Spector, Alan C

    2005-08-07

    Using a lickometer, we assessed the effect of drinking spout orifice size on the licking behavior of inbred mice [C57BL/6J, SWR/J, 129P3/J and DBA/2J]. Animals licked from drinking spout sipper tubes that had what were defined as either a large (2.7 mm) or a small (1.5 mm) orifice. Mice took approximately twice as many licks from a stationary single small orifice drinking spout than when licking from a spout with a large orifice during separate 30-min sessions. However, their total intake volume was approximately the same. We calculated that mice received a mean of 0.55 muL per lick from the drinking tubes with a small orifice and a mean of 1.15 muL per lick from the drinking tubes with a large orifice. Thus, the animals appear to have regulated their fluid intake by proportionally adjusting their licking as a function of the lick volume. On average, this regulation occurred through modulation of the size of licking bursts and not their frequency. However, strain differences in compensation strategy were observed. When licking was restricted to a series of 5-s trials in a 30-min brief access test session, the smaller orifice size increased the range of responsiveness that was expressed. Mice increased their average licks per trial by 20% and took 60% more trials when licking from a spout with a small orifice. Interestingly, when the orifice size was quasi-randomly varied within a brief access session, licking was greater from large orifice drinking spouts, suggesting that water delivered from the two orifice sizes differs in its reinforcement efficacy. These findings demonstrate that drinking spout orifice size can significantly influence experimental outcomes in licking tests involving mice and care should be taken in controlling this variable in testing the effects of taste or other factors on ingestive behavior.

  9. How Methodological Features Affect Effect Sizes in Education

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Cheung, Alan C. K.; Slavin, Robert E.

    2016-01-01

    As evidence becomes increasingly important in educational policy, it is essential to understand how research design might contribute to reported effect sizes in experiments evaluating educational programs. A total of 645 studies from 12 recent reviews of evaluations of preschool, reading, mathematics, and science programs were studied. Effect…

  10. Radish (Raphanus sativus) seed size affects germination response to coumarin

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The inhibition of seed germination by an allelochemical is generally greater in small seeds than in large seeds. Studies reporting these results used a large number of plant species that varied in seed size, which might have introduced differences in germination characteristics or various parameter...

  11. Natural zeolites in diet or litter of broilers.

    PubMed

    Schneider, A F; Almeida, D S De; Yuri, F M; Zimmermann, O F; Gerber, M W; Gewehr, C E

    2016-04-01

    This study aims to analyse the influence of adding natural zeolites (clinoptilolite) to the diet or litter of broilers and their effects on growth performance, carcass yield and litter quality. Three consecutive flocks of broilers were raised on the same sawdust litter, from d 1 to d 42 of age, and distributed in three treatments (control with no added zeolites, addition of 5 g/kg zeolite to diet and addition of 100 g/kg zeolites to litter). The addition of zeolites to the diet or litter did not affect growth performance or carcass yield. The addition of zeolites to the diet did not influence moisture content of the litter, ammonia volatilisation was reduced only in the first flock and pH of litter was reduced in the second and third flock. However, the addition of zeolites to the litter reduced moisture content, litter pH and ammonia volatilisation in all flocks analysed. The addition of 5 g/kg zeolite to the diet in three consecutive flocks was not effective in maintaining litter quality, whereas the addition of 100 g/kg natural zeolites to sawdust litter reduced litter moisture and ammonia volatilisation in three consecutive flocks raised on the same litter.

  12. A mathematical model to predict the size of the pellets formed in freeze pelletization techniques: parameters affecting pellet size.

    PubMed

    Cheboyina, Sreekhar; O'Haver, John; Wyandt, Christy M

    2006-01-01

    A mathematical model was developed based on the theory of drop formation to predict the size of the pellets formed in the freeze pelletization process. Further the model was validated by studying the effect of various parameters on the pellet size such as viscosity of the pellet forming and column liquids, surface/interfacial tension, density difference between pellet forming and column liquids; size, shape, and material of construction of the needle tips and temperatures maintained in the columns. In this study, pellets were prepared from different matrices including polyethylene glycols and waxes. The column liquids studied were silicone oils and aqueous glycerol solutions. The surface/interfacial tension, density difference between pellet forming and column liquids and needle tip size were found to be the most important factors affecting pellet size. The viscosity of the column liquid was not found to significantly affect the size of the pellets. The size of the pellets was also not affected by the pellet forming liquids of low viscosities. An increase in the initial column temperature slightly decreased the pellet size. The mathematical model developed was found to successfully predict the size of the pellets with an average error of 3.32% for different matrices that were studied.

  13. Body size affects the evolution of eyespots in caterpillars

    PubMed Central

    Skelhorn, John; Breinholt, Jesse W.; Kawahara, Akito Y.; Sherratt, Thomas N.

    2015-01-01

    Many caterpillars have conspicuous eye-like markings, called eyespots. Despite recent work demonstrating the efficacy of eyespots in deterring predator attack, a fundamental question remains: Given their protective benefits, why have eyespots not evolved in more caterpillars? Using a phylogenetically controlled analysis of hawkmoth caterpillars, we show that eyespots are associated with large body size. This relationship could arise because (i) large prey are innately conspicuous; (ii) large prey are more profitable, and thus face stronger selection to evolve such defenses; and/or (iii) eyespots are more effective on large-bodied prey. To evaluate these hypotheses, we exposed small and large caterpillar models with and without eyespots in a 2 × 2 factorial design to avian predators in the field. Overall, eyespots increased prey mortality, but the effect was particularly marked in small prey, and eyespots decreased mortality of large prey in some microhabitats. We then exposed artificial prey to naïve domestic chicks in a laboratory setting following a 2 × 3 design (small or large size × no, small, or large eyespots). Predators attacked small prey with eyespots more quickly, but were more wary of large caterpillars with large eyespots than those without eyespots or with small eyespots. Taken together, these data suggest that eyespots are effective deterrents only when both prey and eyespots are large, and that innate aversion toward eyespots is conditional. We conclude that the distribution of eyespots in nature likely results from selection against eyespots in small caterpillars and selection for eyespots in large caterpillars (at least in some microhabitats). PMID:25964333

  14. Luminance controlled pupil size affects Landolt C task performance

    SciTech Connect

    Berman, S.M. ); Fein, G. ); Jewett, D.L.; Ashford, F. )

    1993-02-01

    Subjects judged the orientation of a 2 min. gap Landolt C located at a distance of 2.4 m. The stimuli were presented in central vision on a CRT, at low to medium contrast. The effects of varying the spectrum and luminance of surround lighting were assessed on both pupil size (measured using infrared pupillometry during task performance) and task accuracy. The task display was protected from the surround lighting, so that its luminance and contrast could be varied independently of the changes in the surround lighting. Indirect surround illumination was provided by either two illuminants of very different scotopic spectral content but with the same photopic luminance (Experiments 1 and 3), or by using the same illuminant at two different luminance levels (Experiment 2). In Experiment 3, the effect of changing surround spectrum was compared to the effect of varying task background luminance between 12 cd/m[sup 2] and 73 cd/m[sup 2]. In all experiments, scotopically enhanced surround lighting produced pupil areas which were reduced by almost 50% in comparison with surround lighting with relatively less scotopic luminance. Concomitantly there was improvement in Landolt C task performance with the scotopically enhanced surround lighting at all contrast and luminance levels. In these experiments, smaller pupil sizes were associated with significantly better visual-task performance in spite of lower task retinal illuminance when compared to the condition with larger pupils. These results suggest that changes in surround spectrum can compensate for the effect on task performance of a reduction in task luminance and supports the hypothesis that lighting energy savings could accrue in the workplace by shifting lamp spectra to obtain greater scotopic efficacy.

  15. Luminance controlled pupil size affects Landolt C task performance. Revision

    SciTech Connect

    Berman, S.M.; Fein, G.; Jewett, D.L.; Ashford, F.

    1993-02-01

    Subjects judged the orientation of a 2 min. gap Landolt C located at a distance of 2.4 m. The stimuli were presented in central vision on a CRT, at low to medium contrast. The effects of varying the spectrum and luminance of surround lighting were assessed on both pupil size (measured using infrared pupillometry during task performance) and task accuracy. The task display was protected from the surround lighting, so that its luminance and contrast could be varied independently of the changes in the surround lighting. Indirect surround illumination was provided by either two illuminants of very different scotopic spectral content but with the same photopic luminance (Experiments 1 and 3), or by using the same illuminant at two different luminance levels (Experiment 2). In Experiment 3, the effect of changing surround spectrum was compared to the effect of varying task background luminance between 12 cd/m{sup 2} and 73 cd/m{sup 2}. In all experiments, scotopically enhanced surround lighting produced pupil areas which were reduced by almost 50% in comparison with surround lighting with relatively less scotopic luminance. Concomitantly there was improvement in Landolt C task performance with the scotopically enhanced surround lighting at all contrast and luminance levels. In these experiments, smaller pupil sizes were associated with significantly better visual-task performance in spite of lower task retinal illuminance when compared to the condition with larger pupils. These results suggest that changes in surround spectrum can compensate for the effect on task performance of a reduction in task luminance and supports the hypothesis that lighting energy savings could accrue in the workplace by shifting lamp spectra to obtain greater scotopic efficacy.

  16. Body size affects the evolution of eyespots in caterpillars.

    PubMed

    Hossie, Thomas John; Skelhorn, John; Breinholt, Jesse W; Kawahara, Akito Y; Sherratt, Thomas N

    2015-05-26

    Many caterpillars have conspicuous eye-like markings, called eyespots. Despite recent work demonstrating the efficacy of eyespots in deterring predator attack, a fundamental question remains: Given their protective benefits, why have eyespots not evolved in more caterpillars? Using a phylogenetically controlled analysis of hawkmoth caterpillars, we show that eyespots are associated with large body size. This relationship could arise because (i) large prey are innately conspicuous; (ii) large prey are more profitable, and thus face stronger selection to evolve such defenses; and/or (iii) eyespots are more effective on large-bodied prey. To evaluate these hypotheses, we exposed small and large caterpillar models with and without eyespots in a 2 × 2 factorial design to avian predators in the field. Overall, eyespots increased prey mortality, but the effect was particularly marked in small prey, and eyespots decreased mortality of large prey in some microhabitats. We then exposed artificial prey to naïve domestic chicks in a laboratory setting following a 2 × 3 design (small or large size × no, small, or large eyespots). Predators attacked small prey with eyespots more quickly, but were more wary of large caterpillars with large eyespots than those without eyespots or with small eyespots. Taken together, these data suggest that eyespots are effective deterrents only when both prey and eyespots are large, and that innate aversion toward eyespots is conditional. We conclude that the distribution of eyespots in nature likely results from selection against eyespots in small caterpillars and selection for eyespots in large caterpillars (at least in some microhabitats).

  17. Placental insulin-like growth factor II (IGF-II) and its relation to litter size in the common marmoset monkey (Callithrix jacchus).

    PubMed

    Rutherford, Julienne N; Eklund, Amy; Tardif, Suzette

    2009-12-01

    The primate placenta produces a wide variety of hormones throughout gestation that regulate placental function and fetal growth. One such hormone is insulin-like growth factor-II (IGF-II), a peptide implicated in cell division, differentiation, and amino acid transport. IGF-II concentrations were measured in 23 common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) term placentas from twin and triplet litters in order to determine whether previously described differences in fetoplacental phenotype such as placental and litter mass and placental surface area were related to differences in endocrine function. IGF-II was extracted from frozen tissue samples and measured using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kit designed for human tissue, which was validated for marmoset placenta. IGF-II concentrations were not related to placental or litter mass, and twin and triplet placentas did not differ in total concentration. However, per individual fetus, triplets were associated with a significant 42% reduction in IGF-II concentration (P = 0.03), and IGF-II concentration per gram of fetal mass was a third lower in triplet litters. The triplet placenta exhibits a global expansion of the surface area which was contrasted by a per unit area reduction in IGF-II concentration (r = -0.75, P = 0.01), a pattern that explains why twin and triplet placentas overall did not differ in concentration. Per fetus, triplet pregnancies are associated with relatively less maternal mass, placental mass and microscopic surface area suggesting that the intrauterine growth of triplets is supported by systems that increase the efficiency of nutrient transfer. The finding that individual triplet fetuses are also associated with significantly lower IGF-II concentrations is consistent with the view that the marmoset fetoplacental unit exhibits a flexible pattern of placental allocation and metabolism. Plasticity in placental endocrine and metabolic function is likely to play an important role in the ability of the

  18. How does poaching affect the size of national parks?

    PubMed

    Dobson, Andy; Lynes, Laura

    2008-04-01

    A variety of human activities have detrimental impacts on populations of species the park is designed to protect. These impacts range from direct hunting for trophy or subsistence needs, through vehicular collisions, to the direct loss of habitat due to forestry and agricultural activity. These impacts reduce the effective size of the parks and require changes in management policy that deal both with the direct cause of the problem and the underlying social conflicts that the presence of parks can place on humans in the surrounding communities. Recent studies from the Serengeti illustrate that increases in anti-poaching patrols increase the risk of poacher detection and lead to dramatic declines in levels of poaching. The economic arguments that support investment in anti-poaching patrols, rather than increased sentences for poachers who are caught, can be generalized to examine the costs and benefits of other changes in natural resource management that arise when attempting to manage the impact of anthropogenic activities in and around national parks.

  19. Factors affecting desired family size among preliterate New Guinea mothers.

    PubMed

    Pust, R E; Newman, J S; Senf, J; Stotik, E

    1985-10-01

    A random sample of 331 Enga mothers in Papua New Guinea perceived that an average of 5.96 live births (S.D. = 1.88) were needed to achieve their mean desired completed family size (DFS) of 4.65 children (S.D. = 1.32). The mean of the personal child mortality rates projected by the individual mothers. 194/1000, is very close to the rate of 198/1000 (224 deaths among 1134 live births) experienced by the women as a group and the 177/1000 documented in a 1972 prospective study in the area. This suggests that as a group preliterate women may possess an accurate estimate of prevailing child mortality rates. Considerable interest in family planning was shown. However for cultural or linguistic reasons, the majority (except in the case of the pill and tubal ligation) expressed no opinions about their readiness to use specific modern methods. The mean parity of 43 women seeking tubal ligation was 5.98 (S.D. = 1.81). An integrated maternal health and family planning program focusing on the health benefits to mother and child of the current 3-4-year birth interval seems indicated.

  20. Non-native plant litter enhances soil carbon dioxide emissions in an invaded annual grassland.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Ling; Wang, Hong; Zou, Jianwen; Rogers, William E; Siemann, Evan

    2014-01-01

    Litter decomposition is a fundamental ecosystem process in which breakdown and decay of plant detritus releases carbon and nutrients. Invasive exotic plants may produce litter that differs from native plant litter in quality and quantity. Such differences may impact litter decomposition and soil respiration in ways that depend on whether exotic and native plant litters decompose in mixtures. However, few field experiments have examined how exotic plants affect soil respiration via litter decomposition. Here, we conducted an in situ study of litter decomposition of an annual native grass (Eragrostis pilosa), a perennial exotic forb (Alternanthera philoxeroides), and their mixtures in an annual grassland in China to examine potential invasion effects on soil respiration. Alternanthera litter decomposed faster than Eragrostis litter when each was incubated separately. Mass loss in litter mixes was more rapid than predicted from rates in single species bags (only 35% of predicted mass remained at 8 months) showing synergistic effects. Notably, exotic plant litter decomposition rate was unchanged but native plant litter decomposition rate was accelerated in mixtures (decay constant k = 0.20 month(-1)) compared to in isolation (k = 0.10 month(-1)). On average, every litter type increased soil respiration compared to bare soil from which litter was removed. However, the increases were larger for mixed litter (1.82 times) than for Alternanthera litter (1.58 times) or Eragrostis litter (1.30 times). Carbon released as CO2 relative to litter carbon input was also higher for mixed litter (3.34) than for Alternathera litter (2.29) or Eragrostis litter (1.19). Our results indicated that exotic Alternanthera produces rapidly decomposing litter which also accelerates the decomposition of native plant litter in litter mixtures and enhances soil respiration rates. Thus, this exotic invasive plant species will likely accelerate carbon cycling and increase soil respiration

  1. Nitrogen and Phosphorus Loads in an Agricultural Watershed Affected by Poultry Litter Application and Wastewater Effluent, Northeastern Oklahoma and Northwestern Arkansas, 2002-2009

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Esralew, R.; Tortorelli, R. L.

    2010-12-01

    The Eucha-Spavinaw Basin in Northeastern Oklahoma and Northwestern Arkansas is the source of water for Lake Eucha and Spavinaw Lake, which are part of the water supply for the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Lake Eucha and Spavinaw Lakes have experienced deteriorating water quality largely due to growth of algae, notably cyanobacteria, from the excess input of nutrients. As a result, the city of Tulsa has spent millions of dollars to eliminate taste and odor problems resulting from production of algal and bacterial byproducts. To evaluate changes in nutrient loading resulting from a reduction in land application of poultry litter, installation of best management practices, and reductions in the phosphorus concentrations in wastewater effluent, the U.S. Geological Survey investigated nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations from samples collected during baseflow and runoff and used regression models to estimate nitrogen and phosphorus loads, yields, and flow-weighted concentrations in two major tributaries to Lake Eucha, Spavinaw and Beaty Creeks, for the period 2002-2009. Estimated mean flow-weighted total unfiltered nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations in the basin were about 5 to 10 times greater than the 75th percentile of flow-weighted nutrient concentrations in other mostly undeveloped basins of the United States. Spavinaw and Beaty Creeks contributed an estimated mean annual total load of about 762,500 kilograms of nitrogen and 49,200 kilograms of phosphorus per year, 76 to 91 percent of which was transported to Lake Eucha by runoff. Thirty-four percent of the nitrogen load and 48 percent of the phosphorus load to Lake Eucha occurred during the year 2008 which was the wettest year on record for the Eucha-Spavinaw Basin. The results of this analysis indicate that although efforts were made to control nutrient loading, nutrient concentrations, especially phosphorus, were substantially augmented by non-point sources and that most loading occurs during runoff events

  2. Changes in litter quality induced by nutrient addition alter litter decomposition in an alpine meadow on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

    PubMed Central

    Zhu, Wenyan; Wang, Jinzhou; Zhang, Zhenhua; Ren, Fei; Chen, Litong; He, Jin-Sheng

    2016-01-01

    The effects of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) addition on litter decomposition are poorly understood in Tibetan alpine meadows. Leaf litter was collected from plots within a factorial N × P addition experiment and allowed to decompose over 708 days in an unfertilized plot to determine the effects of N and/or P addition on litter decomposition. Results showed that nutrient addition significantly affected initial P and P-related biochemical properties of litter from all four species. However, the responses of litter N and N-related biochemical properties to nutrient addition were quite species-specific. Litter C decomposition and N release were species-specific. However, N and P addition significantly affected litter P release. Ratios of Hemicellulose + Cellulose to N and P were significantly related to litter C decomposition; C:N ratio was a determinant of litter N release; and C:P and (Hemicellulose + Cellulose):P controlled litter P release. Overall, litter C decomposition was controlled by litter quality of different plant species, and strongly affected by P addition. Increasing N availability is likely to affect litter C decomposition more indirectly by shifting plant species composition than directly by improving litter quality, and may accelerate N and P cycles, but shift the ecosystem to P limitation. PMID:27694948

  3. Changes in litter quality induced by nutrient addition alter litter decomposition in an alpine meadow on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Wenyan; Wang, Jinzhou; Zhang, Zhenhua; Ren, Fei; Chen, Litong; He, Jin-Sheng

    2016-10-03

    The effects of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) addition on litter decomposition are poorly understood in Tibetan alpine meadows. Leaf litter was collected from plots within a factorial N × P addition experiment and allowed to decompose over 708 days in an unfertilized plot to determine the effects of N and/or P addition on litter decomposition. Results showed that nutrient addition significantly affected initial P and P-related biochemical properties of litter from all four species. However, the responses of litter N and N-related biochemical properties to nutrient addition were quite species-specific. Litter C decomposition and N release were species-specific. However, N and P addition significantly affected litter P release. Ratios of Hemicellulose + Cellulose to N and P were significantly related to litter C decomposition; C:N ratio was a determinant of litter N release; and C:P and (Hemicellulose + Cellulose):P controlled litter P release. Overall, litter C decomposition was controlled by litter quality of different plant species, and strongly affected by P addition. Increasing N availability is likely to affect litter C decomposition more indirectly by shifting plant species composition than directly by improving litter quality, and may accelerate N and P cycles, but shift the ecosystem to P limitation.

  4. SOA Formation Potential of Emissions from Soil and Leaf Litter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Faiola, C. L.; Vanderschelden, G. S.; Wen, M.; Cobos, D. R.; Jobson, B. T.; VanReken, T. M.

    2013-12-01

    In the United States, emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from natural sources exceed all anthropogenic sources combined. VOCs participate in oxidative chemistry in the atmosphere and impact the concentrations of ozone and particulate material. The formation of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) is particularly complex and is frequently underestimated using state-of-the-art modeling techniques. We present findings that suggest emissions of important SOA precursors from soil and leaf litter are higher than current inventories would suggest, particularly under conditions typical of Fall and Spring. Soil and leaf litter samples were collected at Big Meadow Creek from the University of Idaho Experimental Forest. The dominant tree species in this area of the forest are ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir, and western larch. Samples were transported to the laboratory and housed within a 0.9 cubic meter Teflon dynamic chamber where VOC emissions were continuously monitored with a GC-FID-MS and PTR-MS. Aerosol was generated from soil and leaf litter emissions by pumping the emissions into a 7 cubic meter Teflon aerosol growth chamber where they were oxidized with ozone in the absence of light. The evolution of particle microphysical and chemical characteristics was monitored over the following eight hours. Particle size distribution and chemical composition were measured with a SMPS and HR-ToF-AMS respectively. Monoterpenes dominated the emission profile with emission rates up to 283 micrograms carbon per meter squared per hour. The dominant monoterpenes emitted were beta-pinene, alpha-pinene, and delta-3-carene in descending order. The composition of the SOA produced was similar to biogenic SOA formed from oxidation of ponderosa pine emissions and alpha-pinene. Measured soil/litter monoterpene emission rates were compared with modeled canopy emissions. Results suggest that during fall and spring when tree emissions are lower, monoterpene emissions within forests may be

  5. Mixing effects on litter decomposition rates in a young tree diversity experiment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Setiawan, Nuri Nurlaila; Vanhellemont, Margot; De Schrijver, An; Schelfhout, Stephanie; Baeten, Lander; Verheyen, Kris

    2016-01-01

    Litter decomposition is an essential process for biogeochemical cycling and for the formation of new soil organic matter. Mixing litter from different tree species has been reported to increase litter decomposition rates through synergistic effects. We assessed the decomposition rates of leaf litter from five tree species in a recently established tree diversity experiment on a post-agriculture site in Belgium. We used 20 different leaf litter compositions with diversity levels ranging from 1 up to 4 species. Litter mass loss in litterbags was assessed 10, 20, 25, 35, and 60 weeks after installation in the field. We found that litter decomposition rates were higher for high-quality litters, i.e., with high nitrogen content and low lignin content. The decomposition rates of mixed litter were more affected by the identity of the litter species within the mixture than by the diversity of the litter per se, but the variability in litter decomposition rates decreased as the litter diversity increased. Among the 15 different mixed litter compositions in our study, only three litter combinations showed synergistic effects. Our study suggests that admixing tree species with high-quality litter in post-agricultural plantations helps in increasing the mixture's early-stage litter decomposition rate.

  6. How do respiratory state and measurement method affect bra size calculations?

    PubMed Central

    McGhee, D E; Steele, J R

    2006-01-01

    Objectives To investigate the effects of respiratory state and measurement method on bra size calculation. Methods The bra sizes of 16 large‐breasted women were measured during two respiratory states, end voluntary inspiration and relaxed voluntary expiration, and using two sizing methods, which were compared against subject‐reported bra sizes. Results Both respiratory state and measurement method significantly affected bra size estimations, whereby measuring chest circumference during inspiration increased both band and decreased cup size. However, whereas bra size calculated using the standard method differed significantly from subject‐reported bra size, cup size calculated using the breast hemi‐circumference method did not differ significantly from subject‐reported cup size. Conclusions As respiratory state significantly affects bra sizes, it should be standardised during bra size measurements. A more valid and reliable bra sizing method should be developed, possibly using the breast hemi‐circumference method for cup size estimations and raw under‐bust chest circumference values for band size. PMID:17021004

  7. Within-litter variation in birth weight: impact of nutritional status in the sow.

    PubMed

    Yuan, Tao-lin; Zhu, Yu-hua; Shi, Meng; Li, Tian-tian; Li, Na; Wu, Guo-yao; Bazer, Fuller W; Zang, Jian-jun; Wang, Feng-lai; Wang, Jun-jun

    2015-06-01

    Accompanying the beneficial improvement in litter size from genetic selection for high-prolificacy sows, within-litter variation in birth weight has increased with detrimental effects on post-natal growth and survival due to an increase in the proportion of piglets with low birth-weight. Causes of within-litter variation in birth weight include breed characteristics that affect uterine space, ovulation rate, degree of maturation of oocytes, duration of time required for ovulation, interval between ovulation and fertilization, uterine capacity for implantation and placentation, size and efficiency of placental transport of nutrients, communication between conceptus/fetus and maternal systems, as well as nutritional status and environmental influences during gestation. Because these factors contribute to within-litter variation in birth weight, nutritional status of the sow to improve fetal-placental development must focus on the following three important stages in the reproductive cycle: pre-mating or weaning to estrus, early gestation and late gestation. The goal is to increase the homogeneity of development of oocytes and conceptuses, decrease variations in conceptus development during implantation and placentation, and improve birth weights of newborn piglets. Though some progress has been made in nutritional regulation of within-litter variation in the birth weight of piglets, additional studies, with a focus on and insights into molecular mechanisms of reproductive physiology from the aspects of maternal growth and offspring development, as well as their regulation by nutrients provided to the sow, are urgently needed.

  8. Within-litter variation in birth weight: impact of nutritional status in the sow*

    PubMed Central

    Yuan, Tao-lin; Zhu, Yu-hua; Shi, Meng; Li, Tian-tian; Li, Na; Wu, Guo-yao; Bazer, Fuller W.; Zang, Jian-jun; Wang, Feng-lai; Wang, Jun-jun

    2015-01-01

    Accompanying the beneficial improvement in litter size from genetic selection for high-prolificacy sows, within-litter variation in birth weight has increased with detrimental effects on post-natal growth and survival due to an increase in the proportion of piglets with low birth-weight. Causes of within-litter variation in birth weight include breed characteristics that affect uterine space, ovulation rate, degree of maturation of oocytes, duration of time required for ovulation, interval between ovulation and fertilization, uterine capacity for implantation and placentation, size and efficiency of placental transport of nutrients, communication between conceptus/fetus and maternal systems, as well as nutritional status and environmental influences during gestation. Because these factors contribute to within-litter variation in birth weight, nutritional status of the sow to improve fetal-placental development must focus on the following three important stages in the reproductive cycle: pre-mating or weaning to estrus, early gestation and late gestation. The goal is to increase the homogeneity of development of oocytes and conceptuses, decrease variations in conceptus development during implantation and placentation, and improve birth weights of newborn piglets. Though some progress has been made in nutritional regulation of within-litter variation in the birth weight of piglets, additional studies, with a focus on and insights into molecular mechanisms of reproductive physiology from the aspects of maternal growth and offspring development, as well as their regulation by nutrients provided to the sow, are urgently needed. PMID:26055904

  9. Development of behavior in the litter huddle in rat pups: within- and between-litter differences.

    PubMed

    Bautista, Amando; García-Torres, Esmeralda; Prager, Geraldine; Hudson, Robyn; Rödel, Heiko G

    2010-01-01

    Early postnatal growth in mammals can be considerably influenced by litter size and often differs among littermates in relation to birth mass. In a study of Long Evans laboratory rats we asked whether within- and between-litter differences in body mass and growth are related to behavioral development during early postnatal life. For this, we analyzed the amount of general motor activity and the display of directed, seemingly goal-oriented interactions within the litter huddle in previsual pups. During the study period from postnatal days 2 to 11, we found significant changes in pup behavior, showing a nonlinear, quadratic shape. General motor activity and, more specifically, the display of behaviors apparently directed to reaching central positions in the litter huddle increased during the first postnatal days and then decreased again. However, pups from small litters that grow more rapidly than pups from large litters, showed a faster increase in both behaviors, whereas the young from large litters reached a higher maximum. We also found striking within-litter differences in the amount of directed behavior performed by light and heavy pups, with higher levels in the former group, most probably because light pups that have a less favorable body mass-to-volume ratio and more often occupy peripheral positions in the litter huddle, make a greater effort to reach thermally favorable central positions. In conclusion, our study shows there to be consistent between-litter as well as within-litter differences in behavioral patterns during early life. These differences might have important implications for an individual's long-term behavioral and physiological performance.

  10. Mixing effects of understory plant litter on decomposition and nutrient release of tree litter in two plantations in Northeast China.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Lei; Hu, Ya-Lin; Lin, Gui-Gang; Gao, Yong-chao; Fang, Yun-Ting; Zeng, De-Hui

    2013-01-01

    Understory vegetation plays a crucial role in carbon and nutrient cycling in forest ecosystems; however, it is not clear how understory species affect tree litter decomposition and nutrient dynamics. In this study, we examined the impacts of understory litter on the decomposition and nutrient release of tree litter both in a pine (Pinus sylvestris var. mongolica) and a poplar (Populus × xiaozhuanica) plantation in Northeast China. Leaf litter of tree species, and senesced aboveground materials from two dominant understory species, Artemisia scoparia and Setaria viridis in the pine stand and Elymus villifer and A. sieversiana in the poplar stand, were collected. Mass loss and N and P fluxes of single-species litter and three-species mixtures in each of the two forests were quantified. Data from single-species litterbags were used to generate predicted mass loss and N and P fluxes for the mixed-species litterbags. In the mixture from the pine stand, the observed mass loss and N release did not differ from the predicted value, whereas the observed P release was greater than the predicted value. However, the presence of understory litter decelerated the mass loss and did not affect N and P releases from the pine litter. In the poplar stand, litter mixture presented a positive non-additive effect on litter mass loss and P release, but an addition effect on N release. The presence of understory species accelerated only N release of poplar litter. Moreover, the responses of mass loss and N and P releases of understory litter in the mixtures varied with species in both pine and poplar plantations. Our results suggest that the effects of understory species on tree litter decomposition vary with tree species, and also highlight the importance of understory species in litter decomposition and nutrient cycles in forest ecosystems.

  11. Litter Supply as a Driver of Microbial Activity and Community Structure on Decomposing Leaves: a Test in Experimental Streams

    PubMed Central

    Gerull, Linda; Mutz, Michael

    2013-01-01

    Succession of newly created landscapes induces profound changes in plant litter supplied to streams. Grasses dominate inputs into open-land streams, whereas tree litter is predominant in forested streams. We set out to elucidate whether the activity and structure of microbial communities on decomposing leaves are determined by litter quality (i.e., grass or tree leaves colonized) or whether changes during riparian succession affecting litter standing stocks on the stream bed play an overriding role. We used 15 outdoor experimental streams to simulate changes in litter supplies reflecting five stages of riparian succession: (i) a biofilm stage with no litter, (ii) an open-land stage characterized by grass litter inputs, (iii) a transitional stage with a mix of grass and tree litter, (iv) an early forested stage with tree litter, and (v) an advanced forested stage with 2.5 times the amount of tree litter. Microbial activities on tree (Betula pendula) and grass (Calamagrostis epigejos) litter were unaffected by either the quantity or type of litter supplied to the experimental streams (i.e., litter standing stock) but differed between the two litter types. This was in stark contrast with bacterial and fungal community structure, which markedly differed on grass and tree litter and, to a lesser extent, also among streams receiving different litter inputs. These patterns reveal distinct responses of microbial community structure and activity to the bulk litter available in streams but consistent responses to the litter type colonized. PMID:23770903

  12. Litter supply as a driver of microbial activity and community structure on decomposing leaves: a test in experimental streams.

    PubMed

    Frossard, Aline; Gerull, Linda; Mutz, Michael; Gessner, Mark O

    2013-08-01

    Succession of newly created landscapes induces profound changes in plant litter supplied to streams. Grasses dominate inputs into open-land streams, whereas tree litter is predominant in forested streams. We set out to elucidate whether the activity and structure of microbial communities on decomposing leaves are determined by litter quality (i.e., grass or tree leaves colonized) or whether changes during riparian succession affecting litter standing stocks on the stream bed play an overriding role. We used 15 outdoor experimental streams to simulate changes in litter supplies reflecting five stages of riparian succession: (i) a biofilm stage with no litter, (ii) an open-land stage characterized by grass litter inputs, (iii) a transitional stage with a mix of grass and tree litter, (iv) an early forested stage with tree litter, and (v) an advanced forested stage with 2.5 times the amount of tree litter. Microbial activities on tree (Betula pendula) and grass (Calamagrostis epigejos) litter were unaffected by either the quantity or type of litter supplied to the experimental streams (i.e., litter standing stock) but differed between the two litter types. This was in stark contrast with bacterial and fungal community structure, which markedly differed on grass and tree litter and, to a lesser extent, also among streams receiving different litter inputs. These patterns reveal distinct responses of microbial community structure and activity to the bulk litter available in streams but consistent responses to the litter type colonized.

  13. Littering Behavior in Public Places

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Robinson, Stuart N.

    1976-01-01

    This review summarizes the present state of knowledge concerning littering behavior. Available studies are categorized according to the variables that influence littering--individual and environmental. Theoretical issues of attitude-behavior consistency and incentive effectiveness are analyzed with respect to littering and litter control. Results…

  14. Abundance of litter on Condor seamount (Azores, Portugal, Northeast Atlantic)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pham, C. K.; Gomes-Pereira, J. N.; Isidro, E. J.; Santos, R. S.; Morato, T.

    2013-12-01

    Marine litter is an emerging problem for the world's ocean health but little is known on its distribution and abundance on seamounts and how it affects deep-sea ecosystems. The scientific underwater laboratory set up on Condor seamount offered an ideal case study for the first documentation of litter distribution on a shallow seamount with historical fishing. A total of 48 video transects deployed on the summit (n=45) and the northern flank (n=3) covered an area of 0.031 and 0.025km2, respectively, revealing 55 litter items. Litter density on the summit was 1439 litter items km-2, whilst on the deeper northern flank, estimates indicate densities of 397 litter items km-2. Lost fishing line was the dominant litter item encountered on both areas (73% of total litter on the summit and 50% on northern flank), all being entirely or partly entangled in the locally abundant gorgonians Dentomuricea cf. meteor and Viminella flagellum. Other items included lost weights, anchors and glass bottles. The predominance of lost fishing gear identifies the source of litter on Condor seamount as exclusively ocean-based and related to fishing activities. Abundance of litter on the Condor seamount was much lower than that reported from other locations closer to populated areas.

  15. Stages of litter transformation in bog birch forests

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Efremova, T. T.; Avrova, A. F.; Efremov, S. P.; Melent'eva, N. V.

    2009-10-01

    In the litters (peaty, weakly decomposed, and strongly decomposed) of bog birch forests, the biochemical transformation of plant material includes several discrete stages. The best prediction of the decomposition stages is the set of indices characterizing the humus status of the soils: the C/N ratio, (ΣHA + ΣFA)/Cpolysaccharides, and the contents of humic and fulvic acids of fraction 1 in the groups of plant debris of different sizes. The discrimination of the litters according to the level of the biochemical transformation of the organic residues was observed when using the (ΣHA + ΣFA)/Cpolysaccharides ratio, which is 6.3 in the peaty litter and 11.2 and 18.4 in the weakly decomposed and strongly decomposed litters, respectively. The biochemical classification of litters in the bog birch forests is in agreement with the morphological classification of litters.

  16. Ingestion of marine litter by loggerhead sea turtles, Caretta caretta, in Portuguese continental waters.

    PubMed

    Nicolau, Lídia; Marçalo, Ana; Ferreira, Marisa; Sá, Sara; Vingada, José; Eira, Catarina

    2016-02-15

    The accumulation of litter in marine and coastal environments is a major threat to marine life. Data on marine litter in the gastrointestinal tract of stranded loggerhead turtles, Caretta caretta, found along the Portuguese continental coast was presented. Out of the 95 analysed loggerheads, litter was present in 56 individuals (59.0%) and most had less than 10 litter items (76.8%) and less than 5 g (dm) (96.8%). Plastic was the main litter category (frequency of occurrence=56.8%), while sheet (45.3%) was the most relevant plastic sub-category. There was no influence of loggerhead stranding season, cause of stranding or size on the amount of litter ingested (mean number and dry mass of litter items per turtle). The high ingested litter occurrence frequency in this study supports the use of the loggerhead turtle as a suitable tool to monitor marine litter trends, as required by the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

  17. Soil fauna slow down decomposition of leaf litter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Frouz, J.

    2009-04-01

    In one year incubation laboratory experiment, decomposition of alder, oak and willow litter was compared with decomposition of excrements of St marks Fly larvae (Bibio marci), produced from the same liter. Decomposition (amount of CO2 produced) was significantly higher in leas litter than in excrements. Invertebrates affect litter by many ways liter is fragmented mechanically during feeding exposed to alkaline environment and enzymes in the gut and coated by clay mineral during gut passage. In order to explore potential mechanisms that may be responsible for reduction of decomposition process 3 litter treatments with mimic certain aspects of invertebrate influence was prepared: fragmented litter, litter treated by alkaline solution and mixed with clay (kaolinite). Among those treatments Alkalization has the most strong effect on decomposition slow down.

  18. Neonatal taurine and alanine modulate anxiety-like behavior and decelerate cortical spreading depression in rats previously suckled under different litter sizes.

    PubMed

    Francisco, Elian da Silva; Guedes, Rubem Carlos Araújo

    2015-11-01

    The amino acids taurine and alanine play a role in several physiological processes, including behavior and the electrical activity of the brain. In this study, we investigated the effect of treatment with taurine or alanine on anxiety-like behavior and the excitability-dependent phenomenon known as cortical spreading depression (CSD), using rats suckled in litters with 9 and 15 pups (groups L9 and L15). From postnatal days 7 to 27, the animals received per gavage 300 mg/kg/day of taurine or alanine or both. At 28 days, we tested the animals in the elevated plus maze, and at 33-35 days, we recorded CSD and analyzed its velocity of propagation, amplitude, and duration. Compared with water-treated controls, the L9 groups treated with taurine or alanine displayed anxiolytic behavior (higher number of entries in the open arms; p < 0.05), and reduced CSD velocity (p < 0.001). The effect of both amino acids on CSD was also found in the L15 groups and in five additional L9 groups (naïve, water, taurine, alanine, or both) treated at adulthood (90-110 days). The L15 condition resulted in smaller durations and higher CSD velocities compared with the L9 condition. Besides reinforcing previous evidence of behavioral modulation by taurine and alanine, our data are the first confirmation that treatment with these amino acids decelerates CSD regardless of lactation conditions (normal versus unfavorable lactation) or age at amino acid administration (young versus adult). The results suggest a modulating role for both amino acids on anxiety behavior and neuronal electrical activity.

  19. Control of climate and litter quality on leaf litter decomposition in different climatic zones.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Xinyue; Wang, Wei

    2015-09-01

    Climate and initial litter quality are the major factors influencing decomposition rates on large scales. We established a comprehensive database of terrestrial leaf litter decomposition, including 785 datasets, to examine the relationship between climate and litter quality and evaluate the factors controlling decomposition on a global scale, the arid and semi-arid (AS) zone, the humid middle and humid low (HL) latitude zones. Initial litter nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) concentration only increased with mean annual temperature (MAT) in the AS zone and decreased with mean annual precipitation (MAP) in the HL zone. Compared with nutrient content, MAT imposed less effect on initial litter lignin content than MAP. MAT were the most important decomposition driving factors on a global scale as well as in different climatic zones. MAP only significantly affected decomposition constants in AS zone. Although litter quality parameters also showed significant influence on decomposition, their importance was less than the climatic factors. Besides, different litter quality parameters exerted significant influence on decomposition in different climatic zones. Our results emphasized that climate consistently exerted important effects on decomposition constants across different climatic zones.

  20. [Effects of environmental factors on litter decomposition in arid and semi-arid regions: A review].

    PubMed

    Wang, Xin-Yuan; Zhao, Xue-Yong; Li, Yu-Lin; Lian, Jie; Qu, Hao; Yue, Xiang-Fei

    2013-11-01

    Litter decomposition is one of the important biochemical processes in arid and semi-arid regions, and a key component of regional nutrient turnover and carbon cycling, which is mainly affected by climate, litter quality, and decomposer community. In order to deeply understand the relationships between litter decomposition and environmental factors in arid and semi-arid regions, this paper summarized the research progress in the effects of abiotic factors (soil temperature, precipitation, and ultraviolet-B radiation) and biotic factors (litter quality, soil microbial and animal composition and community structure) on the litter decomposition in these regions. Among the factors, precipitation and ultraviolet-B radiation are considered to be the main limiting factors of litter decomposition. In arid and semi-arid regions, precipitation can significantly increase the litter decomposition rate in a short term, while the photo-degradation induced by ultraviolet-B radiation, due to the strong and long-term radiation, can increase the decomposition rate of terrestrial litter. Litter quality, soil microbial and animal composition and community structure are mainly affected by the type of ecosystems in a long term. However, the affecting mechanisms of these environmental factors on litter decomposition are still not very clear. It was suggested that the future litter ecological research should be paid more attention to the interaction of environmental factors under climate change, the variations of litter decomposition at different spatial scales, and the establishment of litter decomposition models in relation to the synergistic interactions of multiple factors.

  1. Genetic analysis of litter size, parturition length, and birth assistance requirements in primiparous sows using a joint linear-threshold animal model.

    PubMed

    Holm, B; Bakken, M; Vangen, O; Rekaya, R

    2004-09-01

    The aim of this study was to investigate whether selection for number of live born piglets has led to prolonged parturition and increased requirement for birth assistance, resulting in increased numbers of stillborn piglets. Data were collected from 6,718 primiparous Norwegian Landrace sows farrowing between 2001 and 2003. The need for birth assistance was recorded as a binary response. Physical intervention in the birth of piglets and/or hormonal treatment by the farmer was recorded as birth assistance. The duration of the parturition was analyzed as a binary trait (<4 h and >4 h). The statistical model used for analysis included contemporary groups of herd-year, litter breed, season of farrowing, parity in which the sow was born, a regression on the age of sow at farrowing, an additive genetic effect, and a service sire effect. A full Bayesian approach via Gibbs sampling was adopted to estimate the genetic relationships between these four traits. A total chain length of 100,000 iterations was run. The first 10,000 samples were discarded as burn-in, and the remaining 90,000 iterations were retained without thinning for post-Gibbs analysis. The highest direct heritability was estimated for the number of live-born piglets (h2 = 0.07), followed by the duration of farrowing (h2 = 0.05), the need for birth assistance (h2 = 0.05), and the number of stillborn piglets (h2 = 0.04). The genetic correlations revealed that the number of live and stillborn piglets was uncorrelated; however, the number of live piglets born had a moderate genetic correlation to the need for birth assistance (rg = 0.24 +/- 0.01) and duration of farrowing (rg = -0.20 +/- 0.01), whereas the number of stillborn piglets was highly correlated to the need for birth assistance (rg = 0.74 +/- 0.01) and the duration of parturition (rg = 0.66 +/- 0.01). The duration of farrowing and the need for birth assistance were genetically highly correlated (rg = 0.89 +/- 0.00). For all traits, the service sire

  2. Decay Rates and Semi-stable Fraction Formation after 12 years of Foliar Litter Decomposition in Canadian Forests

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Trofymow, J. A.; Smyth, C.; Moore, T.; Prescott, C.; Titus, B.; Siltanen, M.; Visser, S.; Preston, C. M.; Nault, J.

    2009-12-01

    relative importance of factors eg. temperature, which affect decomposition. Initial litter quality will have little influence during the later phase as chemical properties of well decayed litter converge. Since site factors other than climate were related to the size of the semi-stable fraction, this may reflect the role site chemistry and biota on decay rates during the semi-stable phase. Even with 12 years of data, results were not sufficient to determine late phase decay rates suggesting either even longer-term studies or other experimental approaches will be needed to determine the fate and factors affecting rates of organic matter sequestration and loss.

  3. A meta-analysis of the effects of nutrient enrichment on litter decomposition in streams.

    PubMed

    Ferreira, Verónica; Castagneyrol, Bastien; Koricheva, Julia; Gulis, Vladislav; Chauvet, Eric; Graça, Manuel A S

    2015-08-01

    The trophic state of many streams is likely to deteriorate in the future due to the continuing increase in human-induced nutrient availability. Therefore, it is of fundamental importance to understand how nutrient enrichment affects plant litter decomposition, a key ecosystem-level process in forest streams. Here, we present a meta-analysis of 99 studies published between 1970 and 2012 that reported the effects of nutrient enrichment on litter decomposition in running waters. When considering the entire database, which consisted of 840 case studies, nutrient enrichment stimulated litter decomposition rate by approximately 50%. The stimulation was higher when the background nutrient concentrations were low and the magnitude of the nutrient enrichment was high, suggesting that oligotrophic streams are most vulnerable to nutrient enrichment. The magnitude of the nutrient-enrichment effect on litter decomposition was higher in the laboratory than in the field experiments, suggesting that laboratory experiments overestimate the effect and their results should be interpreted with caution. Among field experiments, effects of nutrient enrichment were smaller in the correlative than in the manipulative experiments since in the former the effects of nutrient enrichment on litter decomposition were likely confounded by other environmental factors, e.g. pollutants other than nutrients commonly found in streams impacted by human activity. However, primary studies addressing the effect of multiple stressors on litter decomposition are still few and thus it was not possible to consider the interaction between factors in this review. In field manipulative experiments, the effect of nutrient enrichment on litter decomposition depended on the scale at which the nutrients were added: stream reach > streamside channel > litter bag. This may have resulted from a more uniform and continuous exposure of microbes and detritivores to nutrient enrichment at the stream-reach scale. By

  4. The Effect of Litter Position on Ultraviolet Photodegradation of Standing Dead Litter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lin, Y.; King, J. Y.

    2012-12-01

    In dryland ecosystems, models incorporating only biotic mechanisms usually underestimate the decay rate of plant litter. Photodegradation, an abiotic process through which solar radiation breaks down organic matter, has recently been proposed as an important pathway of litter decomposition in dryland ecosystems, accounting for as much as 25 to 60% of mass loss. However, it remains unclear what factors control the relative importance of photodegradation and biotic decomposition. It is hypothesized that this balance is affected by the location of litter within the litter layer (or thatch): in upper layers of thatch, photodegradation is significant because litter is exposed to sunlight; in lower layers where litter is strongly shaded, photodegradation is negligible compared to biotic decomposition. In August 2011, a field experiment was initiated at the University of California's Sedgwick Reserve, Santa Ynez, CA, in order to understand how ultraviolet (UV) radiation and litter position within the thatch affect litter decomposition. Two levels of UV radiation (280-400 nm) are achieved by screens: "UV-Pass" (transmitting > 81% of UV radiation) and "UV-Block" (transmitting < 8% of UV radiation). Litterbags were placed either at the top or at the bottom of the thatch. Results after 9 months of field exposure show that at the top of the thatch, litter mass loss was 13% higher in UV-Pass than in UV-Block, suggesting the occurrence of UV photodegradation. Surprisingly, litter mass loss was 52% higher in UV-Pass at the bottom of the thatch, even though very limited UV radiation penetrated through the thatch (at least 10 cm thick). The relative humidity in the thatch was higher in UV-Pass than in UV-Block treatments, especially at night; thus it is speculated that the UV manipulation not only alters the incoming radiation spectrum but also affects microclimate, consequently changing biotic decomposition. At the bottom of the thatch, lignin concentration of plant litter was 19

  5. Brain size affects female but not male survival under predation threat

    PubMed Central

    Kotrschal, Alexander; Buechel, Séverine D; Zala, Sarah M; Corral-Lopez, Alberto; Penn, Dustin J; Kolm, Niclas; Sorci, Gabriele

    2015-01-01

    There is remarkable diversity in brain size among vertebrates, but surprisingly little is known about how ecological species interactions impact the evolution of brain size. Using guppies, artificially selected for large and small brains, we determined how brain size affects survival under predation threat in a naturalistic environment. We cohoused mixed groups of small- and large-brained individuals in six semi-natural streams with their natural predator, the pike cichlid, and monitored survival in weekly censuses over 5 months. We found that large-brained females had 13.5% higher survival compared to small-brained females, whereas the brain size had no discernible effect on male survival. We suggest that large-brained females have a cognitive advantage that allows them to better evade predation, whereas large-brained males are more colourful, which may counteract any potential benefits of brain size. Our study provides the first experimental evidence that trophic interactions can affect the evolution of brain size. PMID:25960088

  6. The Unintended Effects of a Posted Sign on Littering Attitudes and Stated Intentions.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Horsley, A. Doyne

    1988-01-01

    Compares the effect of two different anti-littering signs. Results suggest that the ambiguously worded litterbug sign was interpreted differently by individuals and that it did not encourage an anti-littering attitude or affect stated intention to litter. (CW)

  7. Increased decomposer diversity accelerates and potentially stabilises litter decomposition.

    PubMed

    Kitz, Florian; Steinwandter, Michael; Traugott, Michael; Seeber, Julia

    2015-04-01

    Little is known about the effect of decomposer diversity on litter decomposition in alpine areas. Especially under the premise that alpine ecosystems are very sensitive to global change and are currently undergoing extensive land-use changes, a better understanding is needed to predict how environmental change will affect litter decomposition. A mesocosm experiment was conducted to compare the effects of the most common and functionally diverse invertebrates (earthworms, millipedes and sciarid larvae) found in alpine soils on decomposition rates and to assess how decomposer diversity affects litter decomposition. Experimental and estimated (i.e. projected to field decomposer-biomass) litter mass loss was 13-33% higher in the three-species treatment. Notably, the variability in decomposition was greatly reduced when decomposer diversity was high, indicating a portfolio effect. Our results suggest that invertebrate decomposer diversity is essential for sustaining litter decomposition in alpine areas and for the stability of this service.

  8. Eutrophication triggers contrasting multilevel feedbacks on litter accumulation and decomposition in fens.

    PubMed

    Emsens, W-J; Aggenbach, C J S; Grootjans, A P; Nfor, E E; Schoelynck, J; Struyf, E; van Diggelen, R

    2016-10-01

    eutrophication affects litter accumulation and -decomposition at multiple levels, in which stimulatory and inhibitory effects interact. The cumulative effect of these interactions ultimately determine whether peatlands remain sinks or become sources of carbon under eutrophic conditions.

  9. Genome size variation affects song attractiveness in grasshoppers: evidence for sexual selection against large genomes.

    PubMed

    Schielzeth, Holger; Streitner, Corinna; Lampe, Ulrike; Franzke, Alexandra; Reinhold, Klaus

    2014-12-01

    Genome size is largely uncorrelated to organismal complexity and adaptive scenarios. Genetic drift as well as intragenomic conflict have been put forward to explain this observation. We here study the impact of genome size on sexual attractiveness in the bow-winged grasshopper Chorthippus biguttulus. Grasshoppers show particularly large variation in genome size due to the high prevalence of supernumerary chromosomes that are considered (mildly) selfish, as evidenced by non-Mendelian inheritance and fitness costs if present in high numbers. We ranked male grasshoppers by song characteristics that are known to affect female preferences in this species and scored genome sizes of attractive and unattractive individuals from the extremes of this distribution. We find that attractive singers have significantly smaller genomes, demonstrating that genome size is reflected in male courtship songs and that females prefer songs of males with small genomes. Such a genome size dependent mate preference effectively selects against selfish genetic elements that tend to increase genome size. The data therefore provide a novel example of how sexual selection can reinforce natural selection and can act as an agent in an intragenomic arms race. Furthermore, our findings indicate an underappreciated route of how choosy females could gain indirect benefits.

  10. Photodegradation of roxarsone in poultry litter leachates

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bednar, A.J.; Garbarino, J.R.; Ferrer, I.; Rutherford, D.W.; Wershaw, R. L.; Ranville, J.F.; Wildeman, T.R.

    2003-01-01

    Arsenic compounds have been used extensively in agriculture in the US for applications ranging from cotton herbicides to animal feed supplements. Roxarsone (3-nitro-4-hydroxyphenylarsonic acid), in particular, is used widely in poultry production to control coccidial intestinal parasites. It is excreted unchanged in the manure and introduced into the environment when litter is applied to farmland as fertilizer. Although the toxicity of roxarsone is less than that of inorganic arsenic, roxarsone can degrade, biotically and abiotically, to produce more toxic inorganic forms of arsenic, such as arsenite and arsenate. Experiments were conducted on aqueous litter leachates to test the stability of roxarsone under different conditions. Laboratory experiments have shown that arsenite can be cleaved photolytically from the roxarsone moiety at pH 4-8 and that the degradation rate increases with increasing pH. Furthermore, the rate of photodegradation increases with nitrate and natural organic matter concentration, reactants that are commonly found in poultry-litter-water leachates. Additional photochemical reactions rapidly oxidize the cleaved arsenite to arsenate. The formation of arsenate is not entirely undesirable, because it is less mobile in soil systems and less toxic than arsenite. A possible mechanism for the degradation of roxarsone in poultry litter leachates is proposed. The results suggest that poultry litter storage and field application practices could affect the degradation of roxarsone and subsequent mobilization of inorganic arsenic species. ?? 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

  11. The Experimental Control of Littering

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Clark, Roger N.; And Others

    1972-01-01

    Behavior, incentives, and education programs were researched as factors relating to littering. Experiments in theaters, forest campgrounds, and hiking and dispersed car camping areas indicate incentive systems are necessary and feasible for curbing litter problems. (BL)

  12. The effect of lignin photodegradation on decomposability of Calamagrostis epigeios grass litter.

    PubMed

    Frouz, Jan; Cajthaml, Tomáš; Mudrák, Ondřej

    2011-11-01

    The common grass Calamagrostis epigeions produces a large amount of dead biomass, which remain above the soil surface for many months. In this study, we determined how exposure of dead biomass above the soil affects its subsequent decomposition in soil. Collected dead standing biomass was divided in two parts, the first one (initial litter) was stored in a dark, dry place. The other part was placed in litterbags in the field. The litterbags were located in soil, on the soil surface, or hanging in the air without contact with soil but exposed to the sun and rain. After 1 year of field exposure, litter mass loss and C and N content were measured, and changes in litter chemistry were explored using NMR and thermochemolysis-GC-MS. The potential decomposability of the litter was quantified by burying the litter from the litterbags and the initial litter in soil microcosms and measuring soil respiration. Soil respiration was greater with litter that had been hanging in air than with all other kinds of litter. These finding could not be explained by changes in litter mass or C:N ratio. NMR indicated a decrease in polysaccharides relative to lignin in litter that was buried in soil but not in litter that was placed on soil surface or that was hanging in the air. Thermochemolysis indicated that the syringyl units of the litter lignin were decomposed when the litter was exposed to light. We postulate that photochemical decay of lignin increase decomposability of dead standing biomass.

  13. Clonal Patch Size and Ramet Position of Leymus chinensis Affected Reproductive Allocation

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Zhuo; Yang, Yunfei

    2015-01-01

    Reproductive allocation is critically important for population maintenance and usually varies with not only environmental factors but also biotic ones. As a typical rhizome clonal plant in China's northern grasslands, Leymus chinensis usually dominates the steppe communities and grows in clonal patches. In order to clarify the sexual reproductive allocation of L. chinensis in the process of the growth and expansion, we selected L. chinensis clonal patches of a range of sizes to examine the reproductive allocation and allometric growth of the plants. Moreover, the effects of position of L. chinensis ramets within the patch on their reproductive allocation were also examined. Clonal patch size and position both significantly affected spike biomass, reproductive tiller biomass and SPIKE/TILLER biomass ratio. From the central to the marginal zone, both the spike biomass and reproductive tiller biomass displayed an increasing trend in all the five patch size categories except for reproductive tiller biomass in 15–40m2 category. L. chinensis had significantly larger SPIKE/TILLER biomass ratio in marginal zone than in central zone of clonal patches that are larger than 15 m2 in area. Regression analysis showed that the spike biomass and SPIKE/TILLER biomass ratio were negatively correlated with clonal patch size while patch size showed significantly positive effect on SEED/SPIKE biomass ratio, but the reproductive tiller biomass and SEED/TILLER biomass ratio were not dependent on clonal patch size. The relationships between biomass of spike and reproductive tiller, between mature seed biomass and spike biomass and between mature seed biomass and reproductive tiller biomass were significant allometric for all or some of patch size categories, respectively. The slopes of all these allometric relationships were significantly different from 1. The allometric growth of L. chinensis is patch size-dependent. This finding will be helpful for developing appropriate practices for

  14. Stream carbon and nitrogen supplements during leaf litter decomposition: contrasting patterns for two foundation species.

    PubMed

    Pastor, Ada; Compson, Zacchaeus G; Dijkstra, Paul; Riera, Joan L; Martí, Eugènia; Sabater, Francesc; Hungate, Bruce A; Marks, Jane C

    2014-12-01

    Leaf litter decomposition plays a major role in nutrient dynamics in forested streams. The chemical composition of litter affects its processing by microorganisms, which obtain nutrients from litter and from the water column. The balance of these fluxes is not well known, because they occur simultaneously and thus are difficult to quantify separately. Here, we examined C and N flow from streamwater and leaf litter to microbial biofilms during decomposition. We used isotopically enriched leaves ((13)C and (15)N) from two riparian foundation tree species: fast-decomposing Populus fremontii and slow-decomposing Populus angustifolia, which differed in their concentration of recalcitrant compounds. We adapted the isotope pool dilution method to estimate gross elemental fluxes into litter microbes. Three key findings emerged: litter type strongly affected biomass and stoichiometry of microbial assemblages growing on litter; the proportion of C and N in microorganisms derived from the streamwater, as opposed to the litter, did not differ between litter types, but increased throughout decomposition; gross immobilization of N from the streamwater was higher for P. fremontii compared to P. angustifolia, probably as a consequence of the higher microbial biomass on P. fremontii. In contrast, gross immobilization of C from the streamwater was higher for P. angustifolia, suggesting that dissolved organic C in streamwater was used as an additional energy source by microbial assemblages growing on slow-decomposing litter. These results indicate that biofilms on decomposing litter have specific element requirements driven by litter characteristics, which might have implications for whole-stream nutrient retention.

  15. Effects of Enrichment and Litter Parity on Reproductive Performance and Behavior in BALB/c and 129/Sv Mice

    PubMed Central

    Whitaker, Julia W; Moy, Sheryl S; Pritchett-Corning, Kathleen R; Fletcher, Craig A

    2016-01-01

    We examined the effect of adding species-appropriate environmental enrichment items to breeding cages of BALB/cAnNCrl and 129S2/SvPasCrl mice. The 3 enrichment conditions were: 1) cotton nesting material; 2) nesting material plus a paper shelter and rolled paper bedding; and 3) an igloo dome with an exercise wheel in addition to the shelter-group enrichments. We measured litter size, litter survival to weaning age, average pup weight at 21 d, and the interlitter interval to evaluate reproductive performance. A random subset of the first- or second-litter offspring from each enrichment condition and strain was assessed in multiple behavioral tests. Enrichment significantly affected anxiety-like behavior and sociability, with the direction of change dependent on strain and sex. Litter parity had greater effects on some reproductive parameters than did the enrichment condition, and this effect was not solely due to a difference between the first compared with subsequent litters. The significant effects of litter parity on the number of pups born and weaned, female pup weight, and interlitter interval were dependent on the enrichment condition in BALB/c but not 129/Sv mice. Offspring from the first or second litter were included in a generational component to investigate whether enrichment effects on reproduction persist in adult offspring after transfer to a different facility for breeding. Natal cage enrichment had no effect on any reproductive parameter in the transferred mice. Overall, additional enrichment beyond nesting material had a beneficial effect on the interlitter interval in BALB/c mice and on the number of pups weaned in 129/Sv mice. PMID:27423144

  16. Effects of Enrichment and Litter Parity on Reproductive Performance and Behavior in BALB/c and 129/Sv Mice.

    PubMed

    Whitaker, Julia W; Moy, Sheryl S; Pritchett-Corning, Kathleen R; Fletcher, Craig A

    2016-01-01

    We examined the effect of adding species-appropriate environmental enrichment items to breeding cages of BALB/cAnNCrl and 129S2/SvPasCrl mice. The 3 enrichment conditions were: 1) cotton nesting material; 2) nesting material plus a paper shelter and rolled paper bedding; and 3) an igloo dome with an exercise wheel in addition to the shelter-group enrichments. We measured litter size, litter survival to weaning age, average pup weight at 21 d, and the interlitter interval to evaluate reproductive performance. A random subset of the first- or second-litter offspring from each enrichment condition and strain was assessed in multiple behavioral tests. Enrichment significantly affected anxiety-like behavior and sociability, with the direction of change dependent on strain and sex. Litter parity had greater effects on some reproductive parameters than did the enrichment condition, and this effect was not solely due to a difference between the first compared with subsequent litters. The significant effects of litter parity on the number of pups born and weaned, female pup weight, and interlitter interval were dependent on the enrichment condition in BALB/c but not 129/Sv mice. Offspring from the first or second litter were included in a generational component to investigate whether enrichment effects on reproduction persist in adult offspring after transfer to a different facility for breeding. Natal cage enrichment had no effect on any reproductive parameter in the transferred mice. Overall, additional enrichment beyond nesting material had a beneficial effect on the interlitter interval in BALB/c mice and on the number of pups weaned in 129/Sv mice.

  17. Particle size distribution of rice flour affecting the starch enzymatic hydrolysis and hydration properties.

    PubMed

    de la Hera, Esther; Gomez, Manuel; Rosell, Cristina M

    2013-10-15

    Rice flour is becoming very attractive as raw material, but there is lack of information about the influence of particle size on its functional properties and starch digestibility. This study evaluates the degree of dependence of the rice flour functional properties, mainly derived from starch behavior, with the particle size distribution. Hydration properties of flours and gels and starch enzymatic hydrolysis of individual fractions were assessed. Particle size heterogeneity on rice flour significantly affected functional properties and starch features, at room temperature and also after gelatinization; and the extent of that effect was grain type dependent. Particle size heterogeneity on rice flour induces different pattern in starch enzymatic hydrolysis, with the long grain having slower hydrolysis as indicated the rate constant (k). No correlation between starch digestibility and hydration properties or the protein content was observed. It seems that in intact granules interactions with other grain components must be taken into account. Overall, particle size fractionation of rice flour might be advisable for selecting specific physico-chemical properties.

  18. Predicting nitrogen loading with land-cover composition: how can watershed size affect model performance?

    PubMed

    Zhang, Tao; Yang, Xiaojun

    2013-01-01

    Watershed-wide land-cover proportions can be used to predict the in-stream non-point source pollutant loadings through regression modeling. However, the model performance can vary greatly across different study sites and among various watersheds. Existing literature has shown that this type of regression modeling tends to perform better for large watersheds than for small ones, and that such a performance variation has been largely linked with different interwatershed landscape heterogeneity levels. The purpose of this study is to further examine the previously mentioned empirical observation based on a set of watersheds in the northern part of Georgia (USA) to explore the underlying causes of the variation in model performance. Through the combined use of the neutral landscape modeling approach and a spatially explicit nutrient loading model, we tested whether the regression model performance variation over the watershed groups ranging in size is due to the different watershed landscape heterogeneity levels. We adopted three neutral landscape modeling criteria that were tied with different similarity levels in watershed landscape properties and used the nutrient loading model to estimate the nitrogen loads for these neutral watersheds. Then we compared the regression model performance for the real and neutral landscape scenarios, respectively. We found that watershed size can affect the regression model performance both directly and indirectly. Along with the indirect effect through interwatershed heterogeneity, watershed size can directly affect the model performance over the watersheds varying in size. We also found that the regression model performance can be more significantly affected by other physiographic properties shaping nitrogen delivery effectiveness than the watershed land-cover heterogeneity. This study contrasts with many existing studies because it goes beyond hypothesis formulation based on empirical observations and into hypothesis testing to

  19. Landscape composition, patch size, and distance to edges: Interactions affecting duck reproductive success

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Horn, David Joseph; Phillips, Michael L.; Koford, Rolf R.; Clark, William R.; Sovada, Marsha A.; Greenwood, Raymond J.

    2005-01-01

    Prairies and other North American grasslands, although highly fragmented, provide breeding habitat for a diverse array of species, including species of tremendous economic and ecological importance. Conservation and management of these species requires some understanding of how reproductive success is affected by edge effects, patch size, and characteristics of the landscape. We examined how differences in the percentage of grassland in the landscape influenced the relationships between the success of nests of upland-nesting ducks and (1) field size and (2) distance to nearest field and wetland edges. We collected data on study areas composed of 15–20% grassland and areas composed of 45–55% grassland in central North Dakota, USA during the 1996 and 1997 nesting seasons. Daily survival rates (DSRs) of duck nests were greater in study areas with 45–55% grassland than with 15–20% grassland. Within study areas, we detected a curvilinear relationship between DSR and field size: DSRs were highest in small and large fields and lowest in moderately sized fields. In study areas with 15–20% grassland, there was no relationship between probability of hatching and distance to nearest field edge, whereas in study areas with 45–55% grassland, there was a positive relationship between these two variables. Results of this study support the conclusion that both landscape composition and configuration affect reproductive success of ground-nesting birds. We are prompted to question conservation strategies that favor clustering moderately sized patches of nesting habitat within agricultural landscapes because our results show that such patches would have low nest success, most likely caused by predation. Understanding the pattern of nest success, and the predator–prey mechanisms that produce the pattern, will enable design of patch configurations that are most conducive to meeting conservation goals.

  20. Sediment size distribution and composition in a reservoir affected by severe water level fluctuations.

    PubMed

    López, Pilar; López-Tarazón, José A; Casas-Ruiz, Joan P; Pompeo, Marcelo; Ordoñez, Jaime; Muñoz, Isabel

    2016-01-01

    The reservoir sediments are important sinks for organic carbon (OC), the OC burial being dependent on two opposite processes, deposition and mineralization. Hence factors such as severe water level fluctuations are expected to influence the rate of OC accumulation as they may affect both deposition and mineralization. The Barasona Reservoir has been historically threatened by siltation, whilst the use of water for irrigation involves a drastic decrease of the water level. In this context, we have studied the physical and chemical characteristics (grain size, major and minor elemental compositions, organic and inorganic carbon, and nitrogen) of the recent sediments of the Barasona Reservoir and the relationships among them in order to: a) elucidate the main processes governing OC accumulation, b) evaluate the rate of OC mineralization and c) approach the effect of drought on the sediment characteristics in this system. Our results indicated that Barasona sediments were dominated by fine silts (>60%) and clays (>20%), the mean particle size decreasing from tail to dam. Desiccation increased particle sorting and size distribution became bimodal, but no effect on average size was observed. Attending to the composition, Barasona sediments were very homogeneous with low concentrations of nitrogen (TN) and phosphorus (<1.2 g kg(-1) dw and <0.6 g kg(-1) dw, respectively) and high concentration of OC (≈36 g kg(-1) dw). TN was negatively related to dry weight. Sediment mixing due to drastic changes in water level may have favoured the observed homogeneity of Barasona sediments affecting carbon, major ions and grain size. The high amount of OC deposited in Barasona sediment suggested that the adsorption of OC onto fine particles was more important than in boreal lakes. The rate of oxygen consumption by wet sediment ranged from 2.26 to 3.15 mg O2 m(-2) day(-1), values close to those compiled for Mediterranean running waters.

  1. How do different data logger sizes and attachment positions affect the diving behaviour of little penguins?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ropert-Coudert, Yan; Knott, Nathan; Chiaradia, André; Kato, Akiko

    2007-02-01

    It is crucial in any bio-logging study to establish the potential effect that attachment of loggers may have on the animal. This ensures that the behaviour monitored by the loggers has a biological relevance, as well as for ethical reasons. Evaluation of the effects of externally attached loggers shows that they increase the drag of swimming animals and increase their energy expenditure. Nevertheless, little research has been done on the effects of size or position of such loggers. In this study, we tested whether the size (i.e. large: 4.9% versus small: 3.4% of the bird's frontal area) or the place of attachment (middle versus lower back) affected the diving behaviour of male and female little penguins ( Eudyptula minor). The positioning of the data logger on the middle or lower section of little penguins' back had little, if no effect, on the diving variables measured in this study. Size of the loggers, however, had strong effects. Birds with large loggers made shorter dives and reached shallower depths than those with small loggers. In addition, birds with large loggers made more dives probably to compensate for the extra cost of carrying a large logger. The measured variables also differed between the sexes, with males diving deeper and longer than females. Logger size had a sex-specific effect on the trip duration and descent speed, with males equipped with large loggers staying longer at sea than those with small loggers, and females with large loggers descending faster than those with small loggers. From our results, it appears that effects of logger position do not exist or are very small in comparison with the effects of logger size. The results of the current study indicate that the effects of size of loggers be evaluated more commonly in bio-logging research into the diving activity of free-ranging birds.

  2. Factors affecting ground-water exchange and catchment size for Florida lakes in mantled karst terrain

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lee, Terrie Mackin

    2002-01-01

    In the mantled karst terrain of Florida, the size of the catchment delivering ground-water inflow to lakes is often considerably smaller than the topographically defined drainage basin. The size is determined by a balance of factors that act individually to enhance or diminish the hydraulic connection between the lake and the adjacent surficial aquifer, as well as the hydraulic connection between the surficial aquifer and the deeper limestone aquifer. Factors affecting ground-water exchange and the size of the ground-water catchment for lakes in mantled karst terrain were examined by: (1) reviewing the physical and hydrogeological characteristics of 14 Florida lake basins with available ground-water inflow estimates, and (2) simulating ground-water flow in hypothetical lake basins. Variably-saturated flow modeling was used to simulate a range of physical and hydrogeologic factors observed at the 14 lake basins. These factors included: recharge rate to the surficial aquifer, thickness of the unsaturated zone, size of the topographically defined basin, depth of the lake, thickness of the surficial aquifer, hydraulic conductivity of the geologic units, the location and size of karst subsidence features beneath and onshore of the lake, and the head in the Upper Floridan aquifer. Catchment size and the magnitude of ground-water inflow increased with increases in recharge rate to the surficial aquifer, the size of the topographically defined basin, hydraulic conductivity in the surficial aquifer, the degree of confinement of the deeper Upper Floridan aquifer, and the head in the Upper Floridan aquifer. The catchment size and magnitude of ground-water inflow increased with decreases in the number and size of karst subsidence features in the basin, and the thickness of the unsaturated zone near the lake. Model results, although qualitative, provided insights into: (1) the types of lake basins in mantled karst terrain that have the potential to generate small and large

  3. Female brain size affects the assessment of male attractiveness during mate choice

    PubMed Central

    Corral-López, Alberto; Bloch, Natasha I.; Kotrschal, Alexander; van der Bijl, Wouter; Buechel, Severine D.; Mank, Judith E.; Kolm, Niclas

    2017-01-01

    Mate choice decisions are central in sexual selection theory aimed to understand how sexual traits evolve and their role in evolutionary diversification. We test the hypothesis that brain size and cognitive ability are important for accurate assessment of partner quality and that variation in brain size and cognitive ability underlies variation in mate choice. We compared sexual preference in guppy female lines selected for divergence in relative brain size, which we have previously shown to have substantial differences in cognitive ability. In a dichotomous choice test, large-brained and wild-type females showed strong preference for males with color traits that predict attractiveness in this species. In contrast, small-brained females showed no preference for males with these traits. In-depth analysis of optomotor response to color cues and gene expression of key opsins in the eye revealed that the observed differences were not due to differences in visual perception of color, indicating that differences in the ability to process indicators of attractiveness are responsible. We thus provide the first experimental support that individual variation in brain size affects mate choice decisions and conclude that differences in cognitive ability may be an important underlying mechanism behind variation in female mate choice. PMID:28345039

  4. Genotypic diversity of an invasive plant species promotes litter decomposition and associated processes.

    PubMed

    Wang, Xiao-Yan; Miao, Yuan; Yu, Shuo; Chen, Xiao-Yong; Schmid, Bernhard

    2014-03-01

    Following studies that showed negative effects of species loss on ecosystem functioning, newer studies have started to investigate if similar consequences could result from reductions of genetic diversity within species. We tested the influence of genotypic richness and dissimilarity (plots containing one, three, six or 12 genotypes) in stands of the invasive plant Solidago canadensis in China on the decomposition of its leaf litter and associated soil animals over five monthly time intervals. We found that the logarithm of genotypic richness was positively linearly related to mass loss of C, N and P from the litter and to richness and abundance of soil animals on the litter samples. The mixing proportion of litter from two sites, but not genotypic dissimilarity of mixtures, had additional effects on measured variables. The litter diversity effects on soil animals were particularly strong under the most stressful conditions of hot weather in July: at this time richness and abundance of soil animals were higher in 12-genotype litter mixtures than even in the highest corresponding one-genotype litter. The litter diversity effects on decomposition were in part mediated by soil animals: the abundance of Acarina, when used as covariate in the analysis, fully explained the litter diversity effects on mass loss of N and P. Overall, our study shows that high genotypic richness of S. canadensis leaf litter positively affects richness and abundance of soil animals, which in turn accelerate litter decomposition and P release from litter.

  5. Size, but not experience, affects the ontogeny of constriction performance in ball pythons (Python regius).

    PubMed

    Penning, David A; Dartez, Schuyler F

    2016-03-01

    Constriction is a prey-immobilization technique used by many snakes and is hypothesized to have been important to the evolution and diversification of snakes. However, very few studies have examined the factors that affect constriction performance. We investigated constriction performance in ball pythons (Python regius) by evaluating how peak constriction pressure is affected by snake size, sex, and experience. In one experiment, we tested the ontogenetic scaling of constriction performance and found that snake diameter was the only significant factor determining peak constriction pressure. The number of loops applied in a coil and its interaction with snake diameter did not significantly affect constriction performance. Constriction performance in ball pythons scaled differently than in other snakes that have been studied, and medium to large ball pythons are capable of exerting significantly higher pressures than those shown to cause circulatory arrest in prey. In a second experiment, we tested the effects of experience on constriction performance in hatchling ball pythons over 10 feeding events. By allowing snakes in one test group to gain constriction experience, and manually feeding snakes under sedation in another test group, we showed that experience did not affect constriction performance. During their final (10th) feedings, all pythons constricted similarly and with sufficiently high pressures to kill prey rapidly. At the end of the 10 feeding trials, snakes that were allowed to constrict were significantly smaller than their non-constricting counterparts.

  6. Species-abundance--seed-size patterns within a plant community affected by grazing disturbance.

    PubMed

    Wu, Gao-lin; Shang, Zhan-huan; Zhu, Yuan-jun; Ding, Lu-ming; Wang, Dong

    2015-04-01

    Seed size has been advanced as a key factor that influences the dynamics of plant communities, but there are few empirical or theoretical predictions of how community dynamics progress based on seed size patterns. Information on the abundance of adults, seedlings, soil seed banks, seed rains, and the seed mass of 96 species was collected in alpine meadows of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (China), which had different levels of grazing disturbance. The relationships between seed-mass-abundance patterns for adults, seedlings, the soil seed bank, and seed rain in the plant community were evaluated using regression models. Results showed that grazing levels affected the relationship between seed size and abundance properties of adult species, seedlings, and the soil seed bank, suggesting that there is a shift in seed-size--species-abundance relationships as a response to the grazing gradient. Grazing had no effect on the pattern of seed-size-seed-rain-abundance at four grazing levels. Grazing also had little effect on the pattern of seed-size--species-abundance and pattern of seed-size--soil-seed-bank-abundance in meadows with no grazing, light grazing, and moderate grazing), but there was a significant negative effect in meadows with heavy grazing. Grazing had little effect on the pattern of seed-size--seedling-abundance with no grazing, but had significant negative effects with light, moderate, and heavy grazing, and the |r| values increased with grazing levels. This indicated that increasing grazing pressure enhanced the advantage of smaller-seeded species in terms of the abundances of adult species, seedlings, and soil seed banks, whereas only the light grazing level promoted the seed rain abundance of larger-seeded species in the plant communities. This study suggests that grazing disturbances are favorable for increasing the species abundance for smaller-seeded species but not for the larger-seeded species in an alpine meadow community. Hence, there is a clear

  7. Linkage between isozyme markers and a locus affecting seed size in Phaseolus vulgaris L.

    PubMed

    Vallejos, C E; Chase, C D

    1991-03-01

    Backcross and F2 progenies were produced between two bean genotypes, 'XR-235' and 'Calima,' which differ in seed weight by a factor of two. The small-seeded 'XR-235' was used as the pistillate and recurrent parent. These genotypes showed polymorphisms at nine isozyme loci and at the phaseolin locus. Seed size parameters (weight, length, width, and thickness) were determined for each BC1 and F2 individual, i.e., for seeds harvested from 'XR-235' after pollination with F1 and from the F1 after selfing, respectively. A combination of starch gel electrophoresis and enzyme activity staining was used to determine the genotype of each BC1 and F2 individual at the segregating loci. SDS-PAGE and Coomassie blue staining were used to determine geno-type at the phaseolin locus. Tests for independent assortment using two-way contingency and maximum likelihood tables revealed three linkage pairs: Aco-1 - 20 cM - Dia-1; Adh-1 - 2 cM - Got-2; and Est-2 - 11 cM - Pha. Statistical comparisons were made between the means of genotype classes at each segregating locus for all seed size parameters. The results from two independently obtained BC1s and the F2 consistently indicated that the Adh-1-Got-2 segment was linked to a locus that affected seed size and overcame maternal control over seed size. This locus has been designated Ssz-1. This gene exhibited additive gene action and accounted for 30-50% of the seed size difference between the parents.

  8. Sorting it out: bedding particle size and nesting material processing method affect nest complexity.

    PubMed

    Robinson-Junker, Amy; Morin, Amelia; Pritchett-Corning, Kathleen; Gaskill, Brianna N

    2017-04-01

    As part of routine husbandry, an increasing number of laboratory mice receive nesting material in addition to standard bedding material in their cages. Nesting material improves health outcomes and physiological performance in mice that receive it. Providing usable nesting material uniformly and efficiently to various strains of mice remains a challenge. The aim of this study was to determine how bedding particle size, method of nesting material delivery, and processing of the nesting material before delivery affected nest building in mice of strong (BALB/cAnNCrl) and weak (C3H/HeNCrl) gathering abilities. Our data suggest that processing nesting material through a grinder in conjunction with bedding material, although convenient for provision of bedding with nesting material 'built-in', negatively affects the integrity of the nesting material and subsequent nest-building outcomes. We also found that C3H mice, previously thought to be poor nest builders, built similarly scored nests to those of BALB/c mice when provided with unprocessed nesting material. This was true even when nesting material was mixed into the bedding substrate. We also observed that when nesting material was mixed into the bedding substrate, mice of both strains would sort their bedding by particle size more often than if it were not mixed in. Our findings support the utility of the practice of distributing nesting material mixed in with bedding substrate, but not that of processing the nesting material with the bedding in order to mix them.

  9. Factors Affecting Pathogen Survival in Finished Dairy Compost with Different Particle Sizes Under Greenhouse Conditions.

    PubMed

    Diao, Junshu; Chen, Zhao; Gong, Chao; Jiang, Xiuping

    2015-09-01

    This study investigated the survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella Typhimurium in finished dairy compost with different particle sizes during storage as affected by moisture content and temperature under greenhouse conditions. The mixture of E. coli O157:H7 and S. Typhimurium strains was inoculated into the finished composts with moisture contents of 20, 30, and 40%, separately. The finished compost samples were then sieved into 3 different particle sizes (>1000, 500-1000, and <500 μm) and stored under greenhouse conditions. For compost samples with moisture contents of 20 and 30%, the average Salmonella reductions in compost samples with particle sizes of >1000, 500-1000, and <500 μm were 2.15, 2.27, and 2.47 log colony-forming units (CFU) g(-1) within 5 days of storage in summer, respectively, as compared with 1.60, 2.03, and 2.26 log CFU g(-1) in late fall, respectively, and 2.61, 3.33, and 3.67 log CFU g(-1) in winter, respectively. The average E. coli O157:H7 reductions in compost samples with particle sizes of >1000, 500-1000, and <500 μm were 1.98, 2.30, and 2.54 log CFU g(-1) within 5 days of storage in summer, respectively, as compared with 1.70, 2.56, and 2.90 log CFU g(-1) in winter, respectively. Our results revealed that both Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7 in compost samples with larger particle size survived better than those with smaller particle sizes, and the initial rapid moisture loss in compost may contribute to the fast inactivation of pathogens in the finished compost. For the same season, the pathogens in the compost samples with the same particle size survived much better at the initial moisture content of 20% compared to 40%.

  10. Offspring size at weaning affects survival to recruitment and reproductive performance of primiparous gray seals

    PubMed Central

    Bowen, William D; den Heyer, Cornelia E; McMillan, Jim I; Iverson, Sara J

    2015-01-01

    Offspring size affects survival and subsequent reproduction in many organisms. However, studies of offspring size in large mammals are often limited to effects on juveniles because of the difficulty of following individuals to maturity. We used data from a long-term study of individually marked gray seals (Halichoerus grypus; Fabricius, 1791) to test the hypothesis that larger offspring have higher survival to recruitment and are larger and more successful primiparous mothers than smaller offspring. Between 1998 and 2002, 1182 newly weaned female pups were branded with unique permanent marks on Sable Island, Canada. Each year through 2012, all branded females returning to the breeding colony were identified in weekly censuses and a subset were captured and measured. Females that survived were significantly longer offspring than those not sighted, indicating size-selective mortality between weaning and recruitment. The probability of female survival to recruitment varied among cohorts and increased nonlinearly with body mass at weaning. Beyond 51.5 kg (mean population weaning mass) weaning mass did not influence the probability of survival. The probability of female survival to recruitment increased monotonically with body length at weaning. Body length at primiparity was positively related to her body length and mass at weaning. Three-day postpartum mass (proxy for birth mass) of firstborn pups was also positively related to body length of females when they were weaned. However, females that were longer or heavier when they were weaned did not wean heavier firstborn offspring. PMID:25897381

  11. Reducing Children's Littering on a Nature Trail

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    LaHart, David E.; Bailey, Jon S.

    1975-01-01

    This study compared incentives and educational methods to motivate children to pick up litter and to prevent littering. Incentives did aid in getting litter picked up. One-sentence anti-litter statements, educational materials, and lectures reduced littering, but incentives did not. (MR)

  12. Quantifying the effect size of changing environmental controls on carbon release from permafrost-affected soils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schaedel, C.; Bader, M. K. F.; Schuur, E. A. G.; Bracho, R. G.; Capek, P.; De Baets, S. L.; Diakova, K.; Ernakovich, J. G.; Hartley, I. P.; Iversen, C. M.; Kane, E. S.; Knoblauch, C.; Lupascu, M.; Natali, S.; Norby, R. J.; O'Donnell, J. A.; Roy Chowdhury, T.; Santruckova, H.; Shaver, G. R.; Sloan, V. L.; Treat, C. C.; Waldrop, M. P.

    2014-12-01

    High-latitude surface air temperatures are rising twice as fast as the global mean, causing permafrost to thaw and thereby exposing large quantities of previously frozen organic carbon (C) to microbial decomposition. Increasing temperatures in high latitude ecosystems not only increase C emissions from previously frozen C in permafrost but also indirectly affect the C cycle through changes in regional and local hydrology. Warmer temperatures increase thawing of ice-rich permafrost, causing land surface subsidence where soils become waterlogged, anoxic conditions prevail and C is released in form of anaerobic CO2 and CH4. Although substrate quality, physical protection, and nutrient availability affect C decomposition, increasing temperatures and changes in surface and sub-surface hydrology are likely the dominant factors affecting the rate and form of C release from permafrost; however, their effect size on C release is poorly quantified. We have compiled a database of 24 incubation studies with soils from active layer and permafrost from across the entire permafrost zone to quantify a) the effect size of increasing temperatures and b) the changes from aerobic to anaerobic environmental soil conditions on C release. Results from two different meta-analyses show that a 10°C increase in temperature increased C release by a factor of two in boreal forest, peatland and tundra ecosystems. Under aerobic incubation conditions, soils released on average three times more C than under anaerobic conditions with large variation among the different ecosystems. While peatlands showed similar amounts of C release under aerobic and anaerobic soil conditions, tundra and boreal forest ecosystems released up to 8 times more C under anoxic conditions. This pan-arctic synthesis shows that boreal forest and tundra soils will have a larger impact on climate change when newly thawed permafrost C decomposes in an aerobic environment compared to an anaerobic environment even when

  13. Nano-sized polystyrene affects feeding, behavior and physiology of brine shrimp Artemia franciscana larvae.

    PubMed

    Bergami, Elisa; Bocci, Elena; Vannuccini, Maria Luisa; Monopoli, Marco; Salvati, Anna; Dawson, Kenneth A; Corsi, Ilaria

    2016-01-01

    Nano-sized polymers as polystyrene (PS) constitute one of the main challenges for marine ecosystems, since they can distribute along the whole water column affecting planktonic species and consequently disrupting the energy flow of marine ecosystems. Nowadays very little knowledge is available on the impact of nano-sized plastics on marine organisms. Therefore, the present study aims to evaluate the effects of 40nm anionic carboxylated (PS-COOH) and 50nm cationic amino (PS-NH2) polystyrene nanoparticles (PS NPs) on brine shrimp Artemia franciscana larvae. No signs of mortality were observed at 48h of exposure for both PS NPs at naplius stage but several sub-lethal effects were evident. PS-COOH (5-100μg/ml) resulted massively sequestered inside the gut lumen of larvae (48h) probably limiting food intake. Some of them were lately excreted as fecal pellets but not a full release was observed. Likewise, PS-NH2 (5-100µg/ml) accumulated in larvae (48h) but also adsorbed at the surface of sensorial antennules and appendages probably hampering larvae motility. In addition, larvae exposed to PS-NH2 undergo multiple molting events during 48h of exposure compared to controls. The activation of a defense mechanism based on a physiological process able to release toxic cationic NPs (PS-NH2) from the body can be hypothesized. The general observed accumulation of PS NPs within the gut during the 48h of exposure indicates a continuous bioavailability of nano-sized PS for planktonic species as well as a potential transfer along the trophic web. Therefore, nano-sized PS might be able to impair food uptake (feeding), behavior (motility) and physiology (multiple molting) of brine shrimp larvae with consequences not only at organism and population level but on the overall ecosystem based on the key role of zooplankton on marine food webs.

  14. The Effects of Litter on Littering Behavior in a Forest Environment

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Crump, S. Larry; And Others

    1977-01-01

    The effects of littered and nonlittered areas on littering behavior were determined in picnic areas in the Uinta National Forest, Utah. Littered and nonlittered conditions were controlled by spreading or removing litter from specified areas. Observations revealed that in the nonlittered areas there was more litter than in the littered areas. (CS)

  15. Heterogeneous hosts: how variation in host size, behaviour and immunity affects parasite aggregation.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Pieter T J; Hoverman, Jason T

    2014-09-01

    Infection heterogeneity is one of the most fundamental patterns in disease ecology, yet surprisingly few studies have experimentally explored its underlying drivers. Here, we used large-scale field assessments to evaluate the degree of parasite aggregation within amphibian host populations followed by a novel experimental approach to assess the potential influence of host size, behaviour and immunity in reproducing such heterogeneity. Among 227 wetlands, 2468 hosts and seven parasite species, infections were consistently aggregated among host individuals within populations of the Pacific chorus frog (Pseudacris regilla). For each parasite species, the relationship between the log-mean and log-variance of infection load was strongly linear (R(2): 0·91-0·98) with a slope between 1·37 and 1·67, indicative of aggregation relative to the expected Poisson slope of unity. In laboratory trials with P. regilla and the most virulent trematode (Ribeiroia ondatrae), experimental reductions in either host immunity (through corticosterone exposure) or antiparasite behaviours (through anaesthesia exposure) increased parasite infection loads in isolated hosts by 62-102% relative to unmanipulated individuals. In a second experiment designed to test how variation in host immunity, behaviour and body size affected variation in infection load within small groups (dyads), a reduction in immune function or behaviour of one host significantly amplified infection heterogeneity within the group, effectively doubling the variance-to-mean ratio. However, immunity affected aggregation only in the absence of behavioural manipulation, and changing the size distribution of hosts did not appreciably affect aggregation. Using Taylor's Power Law to integrate field and laboratory data, we found that only treatments involving behavioural reductions achieved aggregation levels comparable to natural host populations. Thus, despite their short duration, our treatments generated heterogeneity in

  16. Sex allocation and secondary sex ratio in Cuban boa (Chilabothrus angulifer): mother's body size affects the ratio between sons and daughters.

    PubMed

    Frynta, Daniel; Vejvodová, Tereza; Šimková, Olga

    2016-06-01

    Secondary sex ratios of animals with genetically determined sex may considerably deviate from equality. These deviations may be attributed to several proximate and ultimate factors. Sex ratio theory explains some of them as strategic decisions of mothers improving their fitness by selective investment in sons or daughters, e.g. local resource competition hypothesis (LRC) suggests that philopatric females tend to produce litters with male-biased sex ratios to avoid future competition with their daughters. Until now, only little attention has been paid to examine predictions of sex ratio theory in snakes possessing genetic sex determination and exhibiting large variance in allocation of maternal investment. Cuban boa is an endemic viviparous snake producing large-bodied newborns (∼200 g). Extremely high maternal investment in each offspring increases importance of sex allocation. In a captive colony, we collected breeding records of 42 mothers, 62 litters and 306 newborns and examined secondary sex ratios (SR) and sexual size dimorphism (SSD) of newborns. None of the examined morphometric traits of neonates appeared sexually dimorphic. The sex ratio was slightly male biased (174 males versus 132 females) and litter sex ratio significantly decreased with female snout-vent length. We interpret this relationship as an additional support for LRC as competition between mothers and daughters increases with similarity of body sizes between competing snakes.

  17. Sex allocation and secondary sex ratio in Cuban boa ( Chilabothrus angulifer): mother's body size affects the ratio between sons and daughters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Frynta, Daniel; Vejvodová, Tereza; Šimková, Olga

    2016-06-01

    Secondary sex ratios of animals with genetically determined sex may considerably deviate from equality. These deviations may be attributed to several proximate and ultimate factors. Sex ratio theory explains some of them as strategic decisions of mothers improving their fitness by selective investment in sons or daughters, e.g. local resource competition hypothesis (LRC) suggests that philopatric females tend to produce litters with male-biased sex ratios to avoid future competition with their daughters. Until now, only little attention has been paid to examine predictions of sex ratio theory in snakes possessing genetic sex determination and exhibiting large variance in allocation of maternal investment. Cuban boa is an endemic viviparous snake producing large-bodied newborns (˜200 g). Extremely high maternal investment in each offspring increases importance of sex allocation. In a captive colony, we collected breeding records of 42 mothers, 62 litters and 306 newborns and examined secondary sex ratios (SR) and sexual size dimorphism (SSD) of newborns. None of the examined morphometric traits of neonates appeared sexually dimorphic. The sex ratio was slightly male biased (174 males versus 132 females) and litter sex ratio significantly decreased with female snout-vent length. We interpret this relationship as an additional support for LRC as competition between mothers and daughters increases with similarity of body sizes between competing snakes.

  18. Riparian litter inputs to streams in the central Oregon Coast Range

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hart, Stephanie K.; Hibbs, David E.; Perakis, Steven S.

    2013-01-01

    Riparian-zone vegetation can influence terrestrial and aquatic food webs through variation in the amount, timing, and nutritional content of leaf and other litter inputs. We investigated how riparian-forest community composition, understory density, and lateral slope shaped vertical and lateral litter inputs to 16 streams in the Oregon Coast Range. Riparian forests dominated by deciduous red alder delivered greater annual vertical litter inputs to streams (504 g m−2 y−1) than did riparian forests dominated by coniferous Douglas-fir (394 g m−2 y−1). Deciduous forests also contributed greater lateral litter inputs per meter of stream bank on one side (109 g m−1 y−1) than did coniferous forests (63 g m−1 y−1). Total litter inputs from deciduous forests exceeded those from coniferous forests most strongly in November, coincident with an autumn peak in litter inputs. Lateral litter inputs contributed most to total inputs during winter in both forest types. Annual lateral litter movement increased with slope at deciduous sites, but only in spring/summer months at coniferous sites. Neither experimental removal of understory vegetation nor installation of mesh fences to block downslope litter movement affected lateral litter inputs to streams, suggesting that ground litter moves <5 m downslope annually. N concentrations of several litter fractions were higher at deciduous sites and, when combined with greater litter amounts, yielded twice as much total litter N flux to streams in deciduous than coniferous sites. The presence of red alder in riparian forests along many small streams of the deeply incised and highly dendritic basins of the Oregon Coast Range enhances total fluxes and seasonality of litter delivery to both terrestrial and aquatic food webs in this region and complements the shade and large woody debris provided by large coniferous trees.

  19. In situ characterization of forest litter using ground-penetrating radar

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    André, Frédéric; Jonard, François; Jonard, Mathieu; Lambot, Sébastien

    2016-03-01

    Decomposing litter accumulated on the soil surface in forests plays a major role in several ecosystem processes; its detailed characterization is therefore essential for thorough understanding of ecosystem functioning. In addition, litter is known to affect remote sensing radar data over forested areas and their proper processing requires accurate quantification of litter scattering properties. In the present study, ultrawideband (0.8-2.2 GHz) ground-penetrating radar (GPR) data were collected in situ for a wide range of litter types to investigate the potential of the technique to reconstruct litter horizons in undisturbed natural conditions. Radar data were processed resorting to full-wave inversion. Good agreement was generally found between estimated and measured litter layer thicknesses, with root-mean-square error values around 1 cm for recently fallen litter (OL layer) and around 2 cm for fragmented litter in partial decomposition (OF layer) and total litter (OL + OF). Nevertheless, significant correlations between estimated and measured thicknesses were found for total litter only. Inaccuracies in the reconstruction of the individual litter horizons were mainly attributed to weak dielectric contrasts amongst litter layers, with absolute differences in relative dielectric permittivity values often lower than 2 between humus horizons, and to uncertainties in the ground truth values. Radar signal inversions also provided reliable estimates of litter electromagnetic properties, with average relative dielectric permittivity values around 2.9 and 6.3 for OL and OF litters, respectively. These results are encouraging for the use of GPR for noninvasive characterization and mapping of forest litter. Perspectives for the application of the technique in biogeosciences are discussed.

  20. Mower/Litter Removal

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1996-01-01

    The Burg Corporation needed to get more power out of the suction system in their Vac 'N Bag grass mower/litter remover. The president submitted a problem statement to the Marshall Space Flight Center Technology Transfer Office, which devised a way to guide heavier items of trash to a point where suction was greatest, and made changes to the impeller and the exhaust port, based on rocket propulsion technology. The improved system is used by highway departments, city governments and park authorities, reducing work time by combining the tasks of grass cutting and vacuuming trash and grass clippings.

  1. Selective rapid eye movement sleep deprivation affects cell size and number in kitten locus coeruleus.

    PubMed

    Shaffery, James P; Allard, Joanne S; Manaye, Kebreten F; Roffwarg, Howard P

    2012-01-01

    Cells in the locus coeruleus (LC) constitute the sole source of norepinephrine (NE) in the brain and change their discharge rates according to vigilance state. In addition to its well established role in vigilance, NE affects synaptic plasticity in the postnatal critical period (CP) of development. One form of CP synaptic plasticity affected by NE results from monocular occlusion, which leads to physiological and cytoarchitectural alterations in central visual areas. Selective suppression of rapid eye movement sleep (REMS) in the CP kitten enhances the central effects of monocular occlusion. The mechanisms responsible for heightened cortical plasticity following REMS deprivation (REMSD) remain undetermined. One possible mediator of an increase in plasticity is continuous NE outflow, which presumably persists during extended periods of REMSD. Tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) is the rate-limiting enzyme in the synthesis of NE and serves as a marker for NE-producing cells. We selectively suppressed REMS in kittens for 1 week during the CP. The number and size of LC cells expressing immunoreactivity to tyrosine hydroxylase (TH-ir) was assessed in age-matched REMS-deprived (RD)-, treatment-control (TXC)-, and home cage-reared (HCC) animals. Sleep amounts and slow wave activity (SWA) were also examined relative to baseline. Time spent in REMS during the study was lower in RD compared to TXC animals, and RD kittens increased SWA delta power in the latter half of the REMSD period. The estimated total number of TH-ir cells in LC was significantly lower in the RD than in the TXC kittens and numerically lower than in the HCC animals. The size of LC cells expressing TH-ir was greatest in the HCC group. HCC cells were significantly larger than TH-ir cells in the RD kittens. These data are consistent with presumed reduction in NE in forebrain areas, including visual cortex, caused by 1 week of REMSD.

  2. Detecting differential transmissibilities that affect the size of self-limited outbreaks.

    PubMed

    Blumberg, Seth; Funk, Sebastian; Pulliam, Juliet R C

    2014-10-01

    Our ability to respond appropriately to infectious diseases is enhanced by identifying differences in the potential for transmitting infection between individuals. Here, we identify epidemiological traits of self-limited infections (i.e. infections with an effective reproduction number satisfying [0 < R eff < 1) that correlate with transmissibility. Our analysis is based on a branching process model that permits statistical comparison of both the strength and heterogeneity of transmission for two distinct types of cases. Our approach provides insight into a variety of scenarios, including the transmission of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the Arabian peninsula, measles in North America, pre-eradication smallpox in Europe, and human monkeypox in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. When applied to chain size data for MERS-CoV transmission before 2014, our method indicates that despite an apparent trend towards improved control, there is not enough statistical evidence to indicate that R eff has declined with time. Meanwhile, chain size data for measles in the United States and Canada reveal statistically significant geographic variation in R eff, suggesting that the timing and coverage of national vaccination programs, as well as contact tracing procedures, may shape the size distribution of observed infection clusters. Infection source data for smallpox suggests that primary cases transmitted more than secondary cases, and provides a quantitative assessment of the effectiveness of control interventions. Human monkeypox, on the other hand, does not show evidence of differential transmission between animals in contact with humans, primary cases, or secondary cases, which assuages the concern that social mixing can amplify transmission by secondary cases. Lastly, we evaluate surveillance requirements for detecting a change in the human-to-human transmission of monkeypox since the cessation of cross-protective smallpox vaccination. Our

  3. Long-term effects of poultry litter, alum-treated litter, and ammonium nitrate on aluminum availability in soils.

    PubMed

    Moore, P A; Edwards, D R

    2005-01-01

    Research has shown that alum [Al(2)(SO(4))(3).14H(2)O] applications to poultry litter can greatly reduce phosphorus (P) runoff, as well as decrease ammonia (NH(3)) volatilization. However, the long-term effects of fertilizing with alum-treated litter are unknown. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the long-term effects of normal poultry litter, alum-treated litter, and ammonium nitrate (NH(4)NO(3)) on aluminum (Al) availability in soils, Al uptake by tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.), and tall fescue yields. A long-term study was initiated in April of 1995. There were 13 treatments (unfertilized control, four rates of normal litter, four rates of alum-treated litter, and four rates of NH(4)NO(3)) in a randomized block design. All fertilizers were broadcast applied to 52 small plots (3.05 x 1.52 m) cropped to tall fescue annually in the spring. Litter application rates were 2.24, 4.49, 6.73, and 8.98 Mg ha(-1) (1, 2, 3, and 4 tons acre(-1)); NH(4)NO(3) rates were 65, 130, 195, and 260 kg N ha(-1) and were based on the amount of N applied with alum-treated litter. Soil pH, exchangeable Al (extracted with potassium chloride), Al uptake by fescue, and fescue yields were monitored periodically over time. Ammonium nitrate applications resulted in reductions in soil pH beginning in Year 3, causing exchangeable Al values to increase from less than 1 mg Al kg(-1) soil in Year 2 to over 100 mg Al kg(-1) soil in Year 7 for many of the NH(4)NO(3) plots. In contrast, normal and alum-treated litter resulted in an increase in soil pH, which decreased exchangeable Al when compared to unfertilized controls. Severe yield reductions were observed with NH(4)NO(3) beginning in Year 6, which were due to high levels of acidity and exchangeable Al. Aluminum uptake by forage and Al runoff from the plots were not affected by treatment. Fescue yields were highest with alum-treated litter (annual average = 7.36 Mg ha(-1)), followed by normal litter (6.93 Mg ha(-1)), NH(4)NO

  4. Effects of prenatal and postnatal fraternity size on long-term reproduction in mice.

    PubMed

    Kirkpatrick, B W; Arias, J A; Rutledge, J J

    1988-01-01

    Effects of prenatal and postnatal fraternity size (size of litter in which an animal develops prior to birth or is reared following birth) on long-term reproduction were studied by rearing 178 female ICR mice in standardized prenatal and postnatal fraternities. Three levels of prenatal and postnatal fraternity sizes were used in a 3 x 3 factorial experiment. Prenatal fraternity size was standardized by selectively terminating fetal development in pregnant females carrying at least 14 conceptuses. Prenatal fraternities were standardized to either 6, 10 or 14 fetuses, and postnatal fraternities were standardized by randomly assigning individuals to nurse litters of 5, 10 or 15 pups. Prenatal fraternity size negatively affected average pup weight at birth (P less than .05) but had little subsequent effect on growth or reproduction. Postnatal fraternity size negatively affected weight at weaning (P less than .01), with mice reared in smaller postnatal fraternities being heavier than those reared in larger fraternities. Following weaning, mice reared in smaller fraternities gained weight less rapidly (P less than .01) but still tended to be heavier at maturity (P = .11). Vaginal opening occurred at older ages in females reared in larger postnatal litters (P less than .01). An interval mating system was used to examine fraternity size effects on long-term reproduction. Females were exposed to males six times at 8-wk intervals with initial mating at 7 wk of age. Postnatal fraternity size and age at mating jointly affected litter size (P less than .05).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

  5. Influence of habitat, litter type, and soil invertebrates on leaf-litter decomposition in a fragmented Amazonian landscape.

    PubMed

    Vasconcelos, Heraldo L; Laurance, William F

    2005-07-01

    Amazonian forest fragments and second-growth forests often differ substantially from undisturbed forests in their microclimate, plant-species composition, and soil fauna. To determine if these changes could affect litter decomposition, we quantified the mass loss of two contrasting leaf-litter mixtures, in the presence or absence of soil macroinvertebrates, and in three forest habitats. Leaf-litter decomposition rates in second-growth forests (>10 years old) and in fragment edges (<100 m from the edge) did not differ from that in the forest interior (>250 m from the edges of primary forests). In all three habitats, experimental exclusion of soil invertebrates resulted in slower decomposition rates. Faunal-exclosure effects were stronger for litter of the primary forest, composed mostly of leaves of old-growth trees, than for litter of second-growth forests, which was dominated by leaves of successional species. The latter had a significantly lower initial concentration of N, higher C:N and lignin:N ratios, and decomposed at a slower rate than did litter from forest interiors. Our results indicate that land-cover changes in Amazonia affect decomposition mainly through changes in plant species composition, which in turn affect litter quality. Similar effects may occur on fragment edges, particularly on very disturbed edges, where successional trees become dominant. The drier microclimatic conditions in fragment edges and second-growth forests (>10 years old) did not appear to inhibit decomposition. Finally, although soil invertebrates play a key role in leaf-litter decomposition, we found no evidence that differences in the abundance, species richness, or species composition of invertebrates between disturbed and undisturbed forests significantly altered decomposition rates.

  6. Forest composition modifies litter dynamics and decomposition in regenerating tropical dry forest.

    PubMed

    Schilling, Erik M; Waring, Bonnie G; Schilling, Jonathan S; Powers, Jennifer S

    2016-09-01

    We investigated how forest composition, litter quality, and rainfall interact to affect leaf litter decomposition across three successional tropical dry forests in Costa Rica. We monitored litter stocks and bulk litter turnover in 18 plots that exhibit substantial variation in soil characteristics, tree community structure, fungal communities (including forests dominated by ecto- or arbuscular mycorrhizal host trees), and forest age. Simultaneously, we decomposed three standard litter substrates over a 6-month period spanning an unusually intense drought. Decay rates of standard substrates depended on the interaction between litter identity and forest type. Decomposition rates were correlated with tree and soil fungal community composition as well as soil fertility, but these relationships differed among litter types. In low fertility soils dominated by ectomycorrhizal oak trees, bulk litter turnover rates were low, regardless of soil moisture. By contrast, in higher fertility soils that supported mostly arbuscular mycorrhizal trees, bulk litter decay rates were strongly dependent on seasonal water availability. Both measures of decomposition increased with forest age, as did the frequency of termite-mediated wood decay. Taken together, our results demonstrate that soils and forest age exert strong control over decomposition dynamics in these tropical dry forests, either directly through effects on microclimate and nutrients, or indirectly by affecting tree and microbial community composition and traits, such as litter quality.

  7. Vegetation patches increase wind-blown litter accumulation in a semi-arid steppe of northern China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yan, Yuchun; Xin, Xiaoping; Xu, Xingliang; Wang, Xu; Yan, Ruirui; Murray, Philip J.

    2016-12-01

    Litter decomposition is an important source of soil organic matter and nutrients; however, few studies have explored how vegetation patches affect wind-driven litter mobility and accumulation. In this study, we aimed to test the following hypotheses: (1) vegetation patches can reduce litter removal and facilitate litter accumulation, (2) litter mobility results in the heterogeneous redistribution of carbon and nutrients over the land surface, and (3) litter removal rates differ among different litter types (e.g., leaf and stem). Four vegetation patch types and six litter types were used to investigate the impacts of vegetation patches on litter mobility and accumulation. The results show that compared with almost bare ground patches, patches with vegetation cover had significantly higher litter accumulation, with the shrub patch type having the highest accumulation amount. The rate of litter removal due to wind was highest for the almost bare surface type (P4) and lowest for the shrub patch (P1) and Stipa grandis community (P2) types. There were significant differences in the removal rate among the different litter types. These findings indicate that wind-based litter redistribution among bare, S. grandis-dominated, and shrub-dominated patches is at least partially responsible for increasing the spatial heterogeneity of resources on a landscape scale.

  8. Effects of dietary coarsely ground corn and litter type on broiler live performance, litter characteristics, gastrointestinal tract development, apparent ileal digestibility of energy and nitrogen, and intestinal morphology.

    PubMed

    Xu, Y; Stark, C R; Ferket, P R; Williams, C M; Auttawong, S; Brake, J

    2015-03-01

    The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effects of the dietary inclusion of 2 coarsely ground corn (CC) levels (0 or 50%) in diets of broilers reared on 2 litter types (new wood shavings or used litter) on live performance, litter characteristics, gastrointestinal tract (GIT) development, apparent ileal digestibility (AID) of energy and nitrogen (N), and intestinal morphology. No interaction effects between CC level and litter type were observed on live performance. No litter effect was observed on live performance. Dietary inclusion of 50% CC increased BW at 35 d (P<0.01) and improved cumulative feed conversion ratio (FCR) at 35 and 49 d of age (P<0.01). The 50% CC treatment increased absolute and relative gizzard weight (P<0.01) and decreased jejunum unit weight (g/cm) (P<0.01). The new litter treatment (litter N) increased absolute and relative proventriculus weight (P<0.05) but did not affect gizzard weight. An interaction effect between CC level and litter type was observed for litter N, where the 50% CC treatment reduced litter N regardless of litter type (P<0.01), but litter N was reduced by new litter only among birds fed 0% CC (P<0.05). The 50% CC inclusion increased litter pH (P<0.05) and improved the AID of energy and N by 6.8% (P<0.01) and 3.5% (P<0.05), respectively. The 50% CC treatment increased jejunum villi tip width (P<0.05) and villi surface area (P<0.01), and decreased the muscularis layer thickness (P<0.01), whereas new litter increased jejunum villi and ileum villi height (P<0.05), jejunum villi surface area (P<0.01), and the ratio of jejunum villi height to crypt depth (P<0.01). This study showed that birds fed pelleted and screened diets containing 50% CC exhibited improved BW, FCR, and AID of energy and N, in conjunction with altered morphology of the GIT and intestinal mucosa. Litter type affected some GIT traits and functions but did not affect live performance.

  9. Emulsion oil droplet size significantly affects satiety: A pre-ingestive approach.

    PubMed

    Lett, Aaron M; Norton, Jennifer E; Yeomans, Martin R

    2016-01-01

    Previous research has demonstrated that the manipulation of oil droplet size within oil-in-water emulsions significantly affects sensory characteristics, hedonics and expectations of food intake, independently of energy content. Smaller oil droplets enhanced perceived creaminess, increased Liking and generated greater expectations of satiation and satiety, indicating that creaminess is a satiety-relevant sensory cue within these systems. This paper extends these findings by investigating the effect of oil droplet size (d4,3: 2 and 50 μm) on food intake and appetite. Male participants (n = 34 aged 18-37; BMI of 22.7 ± 1.6 kg/m(2); DEBQ restricted eating score of 1.8 ± 0.1.) completed two test days, where they visited the laboratory to consume a fixed-portion breakfast, returning 3 h later for a "drink", which was the emulsion preload containing either 2 or 50 μm oil droplets. This was followed 20 min later with an ad libitum pasta lunch. Participants consumed significantly less at the ad libitum lunch after the preload containing 2 μm oil droplets than after the 50 μm preload, with an average reduction of 12% (62.4 kcal). Despite the significant differences in intake, no significant differences in sensory characteristics were noted. The findings show that the impact that an emulsion has on satiety can be enhanced without producing significantly perceivable differences in sensory properties. Therefore, by introducing a processing step which results in a smaller droplets, emulsion based liquid food products can be produced that enhance satiety, allowing covert functional redesign. Future work should consider the mechanism responsible for this effect.

  10. Group Size and Nest Spacing Affect Buggy Creek Virus (Togaviridae: Alphavirus) Infection in Nestling House Sparrows

    PubMed Central

    O'Brien, Valerie A.; Brown, Charles R.

    2011-01-01

    The transmission of parasites and pathogens among vertebrates often depends on host population size, host species diversity, and the extent of crowding among potential hosts, but little is known about how these variables apply to most vector-borne pathogens such as the arboviruses (arthropod-borne viruses). Buggy Creek virus (BCRV; Togaviridae: Alphavirus) is an RNA arbovirus transmitted by the swallow bug (Oeciacus vicarius) to the cliff swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) and the introduced house sparrow (Passer domesticus) that has recently invaded swallow nesting colonies. The virus has little impact on cliff swallows, but house sparrows are seriously affected by BCRV. For house sparrows occupying swallow nesting colonies in western Nebraska, USA, the prevalence of BCRV in nestling sparrows increased with sparrow colony size at a site but decreased with the number of cliff swallows present. If one nestling in a nest was infected with the virus, there was a greater likelihood that one or more of its nest-mates would also be infected than nestlings chosen at random. The closer a nest was to another nest containing infected nestlings, the greater the likelihood that some of the nestlings in the focal nest would be BCRV-positive. These results illustrate that BCRV represents a cost of coloniality for a vertebrate host (the house sparrow), perhaps the first such demonstration for an arbovirus, and that virus infection is spatially clustered within nests and within colonies. The decreased incidence of BCRV in sparrows as cliff swallows at a site increased reflects the “dilution effect,” in which virus transmission is reduced when a vector switches to feeding on a less competent vertebrate host. PMID:21966539

  11. Group size and nest spacing affect Buggy Creek virus (Togaviridae: Alphavirus) infection in nestling house sparrows.

    PubMed

    O'Brien, Valerie A; Brown, Charles R

    2011-01-01

    The transmission of parasites and pathogens among vertebrates often depends on host population size, host species diversity, and the extent of crowding among potential hosts, but little is known about how these variables apply to most vector-borne pathogens such as the arboviruses (arthropod-borne viruses). Buggy Creek virus (BCRV; Togaviridae: Alphavirus) is an RNA arbovirus transmitted by the swallow bug (Oeciacus vicarius) to the cliff swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) and the introduced house sparrow (Passer domesticus) that has recently invaded swallow nesting colonies. The virus has little impact on cliff swallows, but house sparrows are seriously affected by BCRV. For house sparrows occupying swallow nesting colonies in western Nebraska, USA, the prevalence of BCRV in nestling sparrows increased with sparrow colony size at a site but decreased with the number of cliff swallows present. If one nestling in a nest was infected with the virus, there was a greater likelihood that one or more of its nest-mates would also be infected than nestlings chosen at random. The closer a nest was to another nest containing infected nestlings, the greater the likelihood that some of the nestlings in the focal nest would be BCRV-positive. These results illustrate that BCRV represents a cost of coloniality for a vertebrate host (the house sparrow), perhaps the first such demonstration for an arbovirus, and that virus infection is spatially clustered within nests and within colonies. The decreased incidence of BCRV in sparrows as cliff swallows at a site increased reflects the "dilution effect," in which virus transmission is reduced when a vector switches to feeding on a less competent vertebrate host.

  12. Runoff quality from no-till cotton fertilized with broiler litter in subsurface bands.

    PubMed

    Adeli, A; Tewolde, H; Shankle, M W; Way, T R; Brooks, J P; McLaughlin, M R

    2013-01-01

    Surface broadcast of broiler litter to no-till row crops exposes the litter and its nutrients to risks of loss in runoff water and volatilization and may limit the potential benefit of litter to the crops. Subsurface banding of litter could alleviate these risks. A field study was conducted in 2008 and 2009 on an upland Falkner silt loam soil to determine the effect of broiler litter placement on runoff nutrient losses from no-till cotton ( L.). Treatments included surface broadcast broiler litter applied manually, subsurface-banded litter applied by tractor-drawn equipment, and no broiler litter, all in combination with or without winter wheat ( L.) cover crop residue. Broiler litter rate was 5.6 Mg ha. The experimental design was a randomized complete block with a split-plot arrangement of treatments replicated three times. In 2008, simulated rainfall was used to generate runoff 27 d after litter application. Subsurface-banded litter reduced runoff total C, N, P, NH, NO, Cu, Zn and water-soluble P (WP) concentrations by 72, 64, 51, 49, 70, 36, 65, and 77%, respectively, compared with surface broadcast. The reductions were greater in 2009 where runoff occurred 1 d after litter application. Bacterial runoff was decreased by one log with subsurface-banded litter compared to surface broadcast. Except for C, NH, N, and WP, the presence of winter cover crop residue did not affect the load or runoff nutrient concentrations in either year. The results indicate that subsurface banding litter to no-till cotton substantially reduces nutrient and bacterial losses in runoff compared with surface broadcasting.

  13. Countervailing effects on pine and oak leaf litter decomposition in human-altered Mediterranean ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Sheffer, Efrat; Canham, Charles D; Kigel, Jaime; Perevolotsky, Avi

    2015-04-01

    Species affect the dynamics of litter decay through the intrinsic properties of their litter, but also by influencing the environmental conditions imposed by their canopy, roots, and litter layers. We examined how human-induced changes in the relative abundances of two dominant Mediterranean trees-Pinus halepensis and Quercus calliprinos-impact leaf litter decomposition. A reciprocal transplant experiment tested decomposition of pine, oak, and mixed leaf litter in oak woodland and pine forest ecosystems with different relative abundances of pine and oak. Using likelihood methods, we tested the importance and magnitude of the environmental effects of local species abundance, litter layer composition, and soil properties on litter mass loss. Oak litter decomposition was slower than pine, and had an antagonistic effect on mixed litter decay. These results differ from other reported pine-oak associations, and are probably associated with a higher content of tannins and phenols in oak compared to pine litter in our study sites. The environmental effects of the two species were opposite to their litter decomposition dynamics. An increased proportion of pine in the oak woodlands and a higher content of pine needles in the litter layer of pine forests reduced decay rates. The presence of more oak and broadleaf litter in the litter layer accelerated decomposition in pine forests. Our results highlight the importance of considering multidimensional species effects mediated by both chemical and physical properties, and imply that man-made changes in the composition and configuration of plant communities may result in complex unpredicted consequences to ecosystem biogeochemistry.

  14. Influence of Litter Diversity on Dissolved Organic Matter Release and Soil Carbon Formation in a Mixed Beech Forest

    PubMed Central

    Scheibe, Andrea; Gleixner, Gerd

    2014-01-01

    We investigated the effect of leaf litter on below ground carbon export and soil carbon formation in order to understand how litter diversity affects carbon cycling in forest ecosystems. 13C labeled and unlabeled leaf litter of beech (Fagus sylvatica) and ash (Fraxinus excelsior), characterized by low and high decomposability, were used in a litter exchange experiment in the Hainich National Park (Thuringia, Germany). Litter was added in pure and mixed treatments with either beech or ash labeled with 13C. We collected soil water in 5 cm mineral soil depth below each treatment biweekly and determined dissolved organic carbon (DOC), δ13C values and anion contents. In addition, we measured carbon concentrations and δ13C values in the organic and mineral soil (collected in 1 cm increments) up to 5 cm soil depth at the end of the experiment. Litter-derived C contributes less than 1% to dissolved organic matter (DOM) collected in 5 cm mineral soil depth. Better decomposable ash litter released significantly more (0.50±0.17%) litter carbon than beech litter (0.17±0.07%). All soil layers held in total around 30% of litter-derived carbon, indicating the large retention potential of litter-derived C in the top soil. Interestingly, in mixed (ash and beech litter) treatments we did not find a higher contribution of better decomposable ash-derived carbon in DOM, O horizon or mineral soil. This suggest that the known selective decomposition of better decomposable litter by soil fauna has no or only minor effects on the release and formation of litter-derived DOM and soil organic matter. Overall our experiment showed that 1) litter-derived carbon is of low importance for dissolved organic carbon release and 2) litter of higher decomposability is faster decomposed, but litter diversity does not influence the carbon flow. PMID:25486628

  15. Influence of litter diversity on dissolved organic matter release and soil carbon formation in a mixed beech forest.

    PubMed

    Scheibe, Andrea; Gleixner, Gerd

    2014-01-01

    We investigated the effect of leaf litter on below ground carbon export and soil carbon formation in order to understand how litter diversity affects carbon cycling in forest ecosystems. 13C labeled and unlabeled leaf litter of beech (Fagus sylvatica) and ash (Fraxinus excelsior), characterized by low and high decomposability, were used in a litter exchange experiment in the Hainich National Park (Thuringia, Germany). Litter was added in pure and mixed treatments with either beech or ash labeled with 13C. We collected soil water in 5 cm mineral soil depth below each treatment biweekly and determined dissolved organic carbon (DOC), δ13C values and anion contents. In addition, we measured carbon concentrations and δ13C values in the organic and mineral soil (collected in 1 cm increments) up to 5 cm soil depth at the end of the experiment. Litter-derived C contributes less than 1% to dissolved organic matter (DOM) collected in 5 cm mineral soil depth. Better decomposable ash litter released significantly more (0.50±0.17%) litter carbon than beech litter (0.17±0.07%). All soil layers held in total around 30% of litter-derived carbon, indicating the large retention potential of litter-derived C in the top soil. Interestingly, in mixed (ash and beech litter) treatments we did not find a higher contribution of better decomposable ash-derived carbon in DOM, O horizon or mineral soil. This suggest that the known selective decomposition of better decomposable litter by soil fauna has no or only minor effects on the release and formation of litter-derived DOM and soil organic matter. Overall our experiment showed that 1) litter-derived carbon is of low importance for dissolved organic carbon release and 2) litter of higher decomposability is faster decomposed, but litter diversity does not influence the carbon flow.

  16. Litter manipulation and associated invertebrate fauna in secondary forest, central Amazonia, Brazil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Santos, Evanira M. R.; Franklin, Elizabeth; Luizão, Flávio J.

    2008-11-01

    Plant litter from selected tree species has been used for improving soil productivity in low-input systems of secondary vegetation in Central Amazon, leading to different conditions for invertebrates. Soil invertebrate assemblages were monitored to test the effects of adding litter types of contrasting nutritional quality and periods of exposure on the development of the community. We established four second growth plots with 80 subplots of 3 m 2 from which the original litter was removed and replaced in 60 subplots. Twenty subplots received Hevea brasiliensis leaves, 20 others Carapa guianensis leaves, and another 20 an equal mixture of H. brasiliensis, C. guianensis and Vismia guianensis. Twenty subplots were left with the original litter. Litter and mineral soil (5 cm deep) sub-horizons were collected after 45, 100, 160, 240 and 300 days of exposure. The invertebrates were extracted using Kempson apparatus. At the day 210, the litter was replenished to match the surrounding litter. Regression analyses showed no significant effect of litter type, but the period of exposure did affect the community in both sub-horizons. Only after the litter replenishment, the type of litter and periods of exposure affected the community in the litter sub-horizon. Because we tried to isolate the effects of litter composition from other large-scale phenomena, several factors interfered in the experiment and potential problems were identified to optimize the investigation. The sampling design must be improved by using a larger number of subsamples for each kind of litter within each plot. Coarse parameters of Order and Family were suited to detect major environmental patterns on soil invertebrates, but taxonomic resolution to species and/or morphospecies is required to detect more subtle effects. Future manipulations should also be done on a longer time scale, and the replicates need to be spread over larger areas to capture the natural variations within the ecosystems.

  17. A delay in pubertal onset affects the covariation of body weight, estradiol, and bone size.

    PubMed

    Yingling, Vanessa R

    2009-04-01

    The skeletal system functions as a locomotive organ and a mineral reservoir and combinations of genetic and environmental factors affect the skeletal system. Although delayed puberty is associated with compromised bone mass, suppression of estrogen should be beneficial to cortical strength. The purpose was to employ path analysis to study bone strength and delayed puberty. Forty-five female rats were randomly assigned to a control group (n = 15) and an experimental group (n = 30) that received injections of gonadotropin releasing hormone antagonist (GnRH-a). Causal models were constructed by specifying directed paths between bone traits. The first model tested the hypothesis that the functional relationships between bone traits and body weight were altered by a delay in pubertal onset. GnRH-a injections during puberty altered the covariation between body weight and bone size. The second model was constructed to test the hypothesis that variability in stiffness was causally related to variability in body weight. The model also tested the relationship between the periosteal and endocortical surfaces and their relationship to stiffness. There was no change in the relationship between the surfaces in the GnRH-a group. The third model determined the effect of estradiol on both total area and relative cortical area in both groups. The relationship between periosteal surface and serum estradiol levels was only significant during estrogen suppression. These data suggest that increases in body weight during or prior to puberty may not be protective of bone strength.

  18. Fractal Scaling of Particle Size Distribution and Relationships with Topsoil Properties Affected by Biological Soil Crusts

    PubMed Central

    Gao, Guang-Lei; Ding, Guo-Dong; Wu, Bin; Zhang, Yu-Qing; Qin, Shu-Gao; Zhao, Yuan-Yuan; Bao, Yan-Feng; Liu, Yun-Dong; Wan, Li; Deng, Ji-Feng

    2014-01-01

    Background Biological soil crusts are common components of desert ecosystem; they cover ground surface and interact with topsoil that contribute to desertification control and degraded land restoration in arid and semiarid regions. Methodology/Principal Findings To distinguish the changes in topsoil affected by biological soil crusts, we compared topsoil properties across three types of successional biological soil crusts (algae, lichens, and mosses crust), as well as the referenced sandland in the Mu Us Desert, Northern China. Relationships between fractal dimensions of soil particle size distribution and selected soil properties were discussed as well. The results indicated that biological soil crusts had significant positive effects on soil physical structure (P<0.05); and soil organic carbon and nutrients showed an upward trend across the successional stages of biological soil crusts. Fractal dimensions ranged from 2.1477 to 2.3032, and significantly linear correlated with selected soil properties (R2 = 0.494∼0.955, P<0.01). Conclusions/Significance Biological soil crusts cause an important increase in soil fertility, and are beneficial to sand fixation, although the process is rather slow. Fractal dimension proves to be a sensitive and useful index for quantifying changes in soil properties that additionally implies desertification. This study will be essential to provide a firm basis for future policy-making on optimal solutions regarding desertification control and assessment, as well as degraded ecosystem restoration in arid and semiarid regions. PMID:24516668

  19. Direct and indirect effects of UV-B exposure on litter decomposition: a meta-analysis.

    PubMed

    Song, Xinzhang; Peng, Changhui; Jiang, Hong; Zhu, Qiuan; Wang, Weifeng

    2013-01-01

    Ultraviolet-B (UV-B) exposure in the course of litter decomposition may have a direct effect on decomposition rates via changing states of photodegradation or decomposer constitution in litter while UV-B exposure during growth periods may alter chemical compositions and physical properties of plants. Consequently, these changes will indirectly affect subsequent litter decomposition processes in soil. Although studies are available on both the positive and negative effects (including no observable effects) of UV-B exposure on litter decomposition, a comprehensive analysis leading to an adequate understanding remains unresolved. Using data from 93 studies across six biomes, this introductory meta-analysis found that elevated UV-B directly increased litter decomposition rates by 7% and indirectly by 12% while attenuated UV-B directly decreased litter decomposition rates by 23% and indirectly increased litter decomposition rates by 7%. However, neither positive nor negative effects were statistically significant. Woody plant litter decomposition seemed more sensitive to UV-B than herbaceous plant litter except under conditions of indirect effects of elevated UV-B. Furthermore, levels of UV-B intensity significantly affected litter decomposition response to UV-B (P<0.05). UV-B effects on litter decomposition were to a large degree compounded by climatic factors (e.g., MAP and MAT) (P<0.05) and litter chemistry (e.g., lignin content) (P<0.01). Results suggest these factors likely have a bearing on masking the important role of UV-B on litter decomposition. No significant differences in UV-B effects on litter decomposition were found between study types (field experiment vs. laboratory incubation), litter forms (leaf vs. needle), and decay duration. Indirect effects of elevated UV-B on litter decomposition significantly increased with decay duration (P<0.001). Additionally, relatively small changes in UV-B exposure intensity (30%) had significant direct effects on litter

  20. Effects of Litter Removal and Addition on the Nutrient Mineralization Dynamics in Hyperseasonal Tropical Savannas of the Brazilian Pantanal

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hentz, C. S.; Pinto-Jr, O. B.; Vourlitis, G. L.

    2015-12-01

    The tropical savanna of Brazil (cerrado) is extremely species diverse and it encompasses many different physiognomic features, which are influenced by rainfall, fire, and soil nutrient availability. Plant litter decomposition recycles nutrients to the soil, and in turn, assists plant growth. However the rate at which these nutrients become available to the soil is poorly understood. Thus, a six month field experiment that encompassed the wet and dry seasons was conducted to assess how different quantities of litter inputs affect nutrient (P, N, C, K, Ca, and Mg) availability. It was hypothesized that nutrient mineralization would be significantly influenced by manipulation of the surface litter and that there would be a positive correlation between soil moisture and nutrient mineralization. Initial results indicate that there were significant differences in mineralization over time for all nutrients, except P, supporting our hypothesis of changes in mineralization with soil moisture. However, there were no significant differences between litter treatments and net mineralization rates for all the nutrients tested. Our results indicate that litterpool size has little effect on short-term nutrient mineralization dynamics.

  1. Contrasting effects of plant species traits and moisture on the decomposition of multiple litter fractions.

    PubMed

    Riggs, Charlotte E; Hobbie, Sarah E; Cavender-Bares, Jeannine; Savage, Jessica A; Wei, Xiaojing

    2015-10-01

    Environmental variation in moisture directly influences plant litter decomposition through effects on microbial activity, and indirectly via plant species traits. Whether the effects of moisture and plant species traits are mutually reinforcing or counteracting during decomposition are unknown. To disentangle the effects of moisture from the effects of species traits that vary with moisture, we decomposed leaf litter from 12 plant species in the willow family (Salicaceae) with different native habitat moisture preferences in paired mesic and wetland plots. We fit litter mass loss data to an exponential decomposition model and estimated the decay rate of the rapidly cycling litter fraction and size of the remaining fraction that decays at a rate approaching zero. Litter traits that covaried with moisture in the species' native habitat significantly influenced the decomposition rate of the rapidly cycling litter fraction, but moisture in the decomposition environment did not. In contrast, for the slowly cycling litter fraction, litter traits that did not covary with moisture in the species' native habitat and moisture in the decomposition environment were significant. Overall, the effects of moisture and plant species traits on litter decomposition were somewhat reinforcing along a hydrologic gradient that spanned mesic upland to wetland (but not permanently surface-saturated) plots. In this system, plant trait and moisture effects may lead to greater in situ decomposition rates of wetland species compared to upland species; however, plant traits that do not covary with moisture will also influence decomposition of the slowest cycling litter fraction.

  2. Foliar litter decomposition in an alpine forest meta-ecosystem on the eastern Tibetan Plateau.

    PubMed

    Yue, Kai; Yang, Wanqin; Peng, Changhui; Peng, Yan; Zhang, Chuan; Huang, Chunping; Tan, Yu; Wu, Fuzhong

    2016-10-01

    Litter decomposition is a biological process fundamental to element cycling and a main nutrient source within forest meta-ecosystems, but few studies have looked into this process simultaneously in individual ecosystems, where environmental factors can vary substantially. A two-year field study conducted in an alpine forest meta-ecosystem with four litter species (i.e., willow: Salix paraplesia, azalea: Rhododendron lapponicum, cypress: Sabina saltuaria, and larch: Larix mastersiana) that varied widely in chemical traits showed that both litter species and ecosystem type (i.e., forest floor, stream and riparian zone) are important factors affecting litter decomposition, and their effects can be moderated by local-scale environmental factors such as temperature and nutrient availability. Litter decomposed fastest in the streams followed by the riparian zone and forest floor regardless of species. For a given litter species, both the k value and limit value varied significantly among ecosystems, indicating that the litter decomposition rate and extent (i.e., reaching a limit value) can be substantially affected by ecosystem type and the local-scale environmental factors. Apart from litter initial acid unhydrolyzable residue (AUR) concentration and its ratio to nitrogen concentration (i.e., AUR/N ratio), the initial nutrient concentrations of phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), and magnesium (Mg) were also important litter traits that affected decomposition depending on the ecosystem type.

  3. Researchers' choice of the number and range of levels in experiments affects the resultant variance-accounted-for effect size.

    PubMed

    Okada, Kensuke; Hoshino, Takahiro

    2016-08-08

    In psychology, the reporting of variance-accounted-for effect size indices has been recommended and widely accepted through the movement away from null hypothesis significance testing. However, most researchers have paid insufficient attention to the fact that effect sizes depend on the choice of the number of levels and their ranges in experiments. Moreover, the functional form of how and how much this choice affects the resultant effect size has not thus far been studied. We show that the relationship between the population effect size and number and range of levels is given as an explicit function under reasonable assumptions. Counterintuitively, it is found that researchers may affect the resultant effect size to be either double or half simply by suitably choosing the number of levels and their ranges. Through a simulation study, we confirm that this relation also applies to sample effect size indices in much the same way. Therefore, the variance-accounted-for effect size would be substantially affected by the basic research design such as the number of levels. Simple cross-study comparisons and a meta-analysis of variance-accounted-for effect sizes would generally be irrational unless differences in research designs are explicitly considered.

  4. Subsurface band application of poultry litter

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Broiler litter is commonly used as a fertilizer on pastures and cropland. Poultry litter is typically land-applied by broadcasting the litter on the soil surface. Rain falling on soil to which poultry litter has been applied, may carry phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) nutrients from the soil into s...

  5. Anogenital distance and condition as predictors of litter sex ratio in two mouse species: a study of the house mouse (Mus musculus) and mound-building mouse (Mus spicilegus).

    PubMed

    Szenczi, Péter; Bánszegi, Oxána; Groó, Zita; Altbäcker, Vilmos

    2013-01-01

    The Trivers - Willard hypothesis (1973) suggests that the maternal condition may affect the female's litter size and sex ratio. Since then other factors had been found. Previous findings revealed in the case of some mammalian species, that females with larger anogenital distance have smaller litters, while the sex ratio is male-biased. That has only been demonstrated in laboratory animals, while the genetic diversity of a wild population could mask the phenomenon seen in laboratory colonies. We examined the connection between morphological traits (weight and anogenital distance) and the reproductive capacity of two wild mice species, the house mouse and the mound-building mice. We showed in both species that anogenital distance and body weight correlated positively in pre-pubertal females, but not in adults. Neither the house mouse nor the mound-building mouse mothers' weight had effect on their litter's size and sex ratio. Otherwise connection was found between the mothers' anogenital distance and their litters' sex ratio in both species. The results revealed that females with larger anogenital distance delivered male biased litter in both species. The bias occurred as while the number of female pups remained the same; mothers with large anogenital distance delivered more male pups compared to the mothers with small anogenital distance. We concluded that a female's prenatal life affects her reproductive success more than previously anticipated.

  6. No evidence for leaf-trait dissimilarity effects on litter decomposition, fungal decomposers, and nutrient dynamics.

    PubMed

    Frainer, André; Moretti, Marcelo S; Xu, Wenjing; Gessner, Mark O

    2015-02-01

    Biodiversity and ecosystem-functioning theory suggest that litter mixtures composed of dissimilar leaf species can enhance decomposition due to species trait complementarity. Here we created a continuous gradient of litter chemistry trait variability within species mixtures to assess effects of litter dissimilarity on three related processes in a natural stream: litter decomposition, fungal biomass accrual in the litter, and nitrogen and phosphorus immobilization. Litter from a pool of eight leaf species was analyzed for chemistry traits affecting decomposition (lignin, nitrogen, and phosphorus) and assembled in all of the 28 possible two-species combinations. Litter dissimilarity was characterized in terms of a range of trait-diversity measures, using Euclidean and Gower distances and dendrogram-based indices. We found large differences in decomposition rates among leaf species, but no significant relationships between decomposition rate of individual leaf species and litter trait dissimilarity, irrespective of whether decomposition was mediated by microbes alone or by both microbes and litter-consuming invertebrates. Likewise, no effects of trait dissimilarity emerged on either fungal biomass accrual or changes during decomposition of nitrogen or phosphorus concentrations in individual leaf species. In line with recent meta-analyses, these results provide support for the contention that litter diversity effects on decomposition, at least in streams, are less pronounced than effects on terrestrial primary productivity.

  7. Disparate radiocesium leaching from two woody species by acceleration of litter decomposition using microbial inoculation.

    PubMed

    Hashida, Shin-Nosuke; Yoshihara, Toshihiro

    2016-10-01

    Studies focusing on the migration of radionuclides in the forest floor have demonstrated that the ecological half-life of radiocesium on organic layer containing the debris of plant litter with various fungi and microorganisms is shorter than that in the deeper soil zone, suggesting that the litter decomposition affects radiocesium mobilization. Here, we showed the involvement of lignin, one of the major cell wall components of plant litter, in the fate of contaminated radiocesium during the process of fungal litter decomposition. In this study, litter decomposition of two different woody species, broadleaf deciduous Japanese cherry consisted of hardwood lignin and coniferous evergreen Japanese cedar with softwood lignin, were accelerated by in vitro fungal inoculation. In vitro inoculation exhibited 1.93- to 2.59-times faster decomposition than field experiment. Then, the cherry litter lost approximately 25% of initially contaminated radiocesium within 1 month of in vitro decomposition, whereas the cedar litter kept initial level at least for 6 month. The retention of radiocesium correlated with thioglycolate lignin content in cedar litter but not in cherry litter. Consequently, the behavior of radiocesium contaminated in litter fall may vary depending on the contamination pathway or the manner of nutrient mobilization at the stage of abscission between evergreen and deciduous trees.

  8. Increased rainfall variability and N addition accelerate litter decomposition in a restored prairie.

    PubMed

    Schuster, Michael J

    2016-03-01

    Anthropogenic nitrogen deposition and projected increases in rainfall variability (the frequency of drought and heavy rainfall events) are expected to strongly influence ecosystem processes such as litter decomposition. However, how these two global change factors interact to influence litter decomposition is largely unknown. I examined how increased rainfall variability and nitrogen addition affected mass and nitrogen loss of litter from two tallgrass prairie species, Schizachyrium scoparium and Solidago canadensis, and isolated the effects of each during plant growth and during litter decomposition. I increased rainfall variability by consolidating ambient rainfall into larger events and simulated chronic nitrogen deposition using a slow-release urea fertilizer. S. scoparium litter decay was more strongly regulated by the treatments applied during plant growth than by those applied during decomposition. During plant growth, increased rainfall variability resulted in S. scoparium litter that subsequently decomposed more slowly and immobilized more nitrogen than litter grown under ambient conditions, whereas nitrogen addition during plant growth accelerated subsequent mass loss of S. scoparium litter. In contrast, S. canadensis litter mass and N losses were enhanced under either N addition or increased rainfall variability both during plant growth and during decomposition. These results suggest that ongoing changes in rainfall variability and nitrogen availability are accelerating nutrient cycling in tallgrass prairies through their combined effects on litter quality, environmental conditions, and plant community composition.

  9. Litter contribution to soil organic carbon in the agriculture abandons processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Novara, Agata; Francaviglia, Dario; La Mantia, tommaso; Gristina, Luciano; La Bella, Salvatore; Tuttolomondo, Teresa

    2015-04-01

    Mechanisms of litter decomposition, translocation and stabilization into soil layers are fundamental processes in ecosystem functioning as it regulates the cycle of soil organic matter (SOM), CO2 emission into the atmosphere, carbon sequestration into the soil. In this study, it was investigated the contribution of litters of different stages of Mediterranean secondary succession on Carbon sequestration, analyzing the role of earthworms on translocation of SOM into soil profile. For this purpose δ13C difference between meadow C4-C soil and C3-C litter were used in a field experiment. Four undisturbed litters of different stages of succession were collected (45, 70, 100 and 120 since agriculture abandon) and placed on the top of isolated soil cores. The litter contribution to C stock was affected by plant species and increased with the age of the stage of secondary succession. The soil organic carbon after 1 year since litter position increased up to 40% in comparison to no litter treatment in soil with litter of 120 years since abandon. The new carbon derived from C3-litter was decomposed and transferred into soil profile thanks to earthworms and dissolved organic carbon leaching. After 1 years the carbon increase attributed to earthworm activity ranged from 6% to 13% in soil under litter in field abandoned since 120 and 45 years, respectively.

  10. Consequences of biodiversity loss for litter decomposition across biomes.

    PubMed

    Handa, I Tanya; Aerts, Rien; Berendse, Frank; Berg, Matty P; Bruder, Andreas; Butenschoen, Olaf; Chauvet, Eric; Gessner, Mark O; Jabiol, Jérémy; Makkonen, Marika; McKie, Brendan G; Malmqvist, Björn; Peeters, Edwin T H M; Scheu, Stefan; Schmid, Bernhard; van Ruijven, Jasper; Vos, Veronique C A; Hättenschwiler, Stephan

    2014-05-08

    The decomposition of dead organic matter is a major determinant of carbon and nutrient cycling in ecosystems, and of carbon fluxes between the biosphere and the atmosphere. Decomposition is driven by a vast diversity of organisms that are structured in complex food webs. Identifying the mechanisms underlying the effects of biodiversity on decomposition is critical given the rapid loss of species worldwide and the effects of this loss on human well-being. Yet despite comprehensive syntheses of studies on how biodiversity affects litter decomposition, key questions remain, including when, where and how biodiversity has a role and whether general patterns and mechanisms occur across ecosystems and different functional types of organism. Here, in field experiments across five terrestrial and aquatic locations, ranging from the subarctic to the tropics, we show that reducing the functional diversity of decomposer organisms and plant litter types slowed the cycling of litter carbon and nitrogen. Moreover, we found evidence of nitrogen transfer from the litter of nitrogen-fixing plants to that of rapidly decomposing plants, but not between other plant functional types, highlighting that specific interactions in litter mixtures control carbon and nitrogen cycling during decomposition. The emergence of this general mechanism and the coherence of patterns across contrasting terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems suggest that biodiversity loss has consistent consequences for litter decomposition and the cycling of major elements on broad spatial scales.

  11. Decomposition of Phragmites australis litter retarded by invasive Solidago canadensis in mixtures: an antagonistic non-additive effect.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Ling; Zhang, Yaojun; Zou, Jianwen; Siemann, Evan

    2014-06-30

    Solidago canadensis is an aggressive invader in China. Solidago invasion success is partially attributed to allelopathic compounds release and more benefits from AM fungi, which potentially makes the properties of Solidago litter different from co-occurring natives. These properties may comprehensively affect litter decomposition of co-occurring natives. We conducted a field experiment to examine litter mixing effects in a Phragmites australis dominated community invaded by Solidago in southeast China. Solidago had more rapid mass and N loss rate than Phragmites when they decomposed separately. Litter mixing decreased N loss rate in Phragmites litter and increased that of Solidago. Large decreases in Phragmites mass loss and smaller increases in Solidago mass loss caused negative non-additive effect. Solidago litter extracts reduced soil C decomposition and N processes, suggested an inhibitory effect of Solidago secondary compounds. These results are consistent with the idea that nutrient transfer and secondary compounds both affected litter mixtures decomposition.

  12. Decomposition of Phragmites australis litter retarded by invasive Solidago canadensis in mixtures: an antagonistic non-additive effect

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Ling; Zhang, Yaojun; Zou, Jianwen; Siemann, Evan

    2014-06-01

    Solidago canadensis is an aggressive invader in China. Solidago invasion success is partially attributed to allelopathic compounds release and more benefits from AM fungi, which potentially makes the properties of Solidago litter different from co-occurring natives. These properties may comprehensively affect litter decomposition of co-occurring natives. We conducted a field experiment to examine litter mixing effects in a Phragmites australis dominated community invaded by Solidago in southeast China. Solidago had more rapid mass and N loss rate than Phragmites when they decomposed separately. Litter mixing decreased N loss rate in Phragmites litter and increased that of Solidago. Large decreases in Phragmites mass loss and smaller increases in Solidago mass loss caused negative non-additive effect. Solidago litter extracts reduced soil C decomposition and N processes, suggested an inhibitory effect of Solidago secondary compounds. These results are consistent with the idea that nutrient transfer and secondary compounds both affected litter mixtures decomposition.

  13. The Binding Ring Illusion: assimilation affects the perceived size of a circular array

    PubMed Central

    Caplovitz, Gideon P

    2013-01-01

    Our perception of an object’s size arises from the integration of multiple sources of visual information including retinal size, perceived distance and its size relative to other objects in the visual field. This constructive process is revealed through a number of classic size illusions such as the Delboeuf Illusion, the Ebbinghaus Illusion and others illustrating size constancy. Here we present a novel variant of the Delbouef and Ebbinghaus size illusions that we have named the Binding Ring Illusion. The illusion is such that the perceived size of a circular array of elements is underestimated when superimposed by a circular contour – a binding ring – and overestimated when the binding ring slightly exceeds the overall size of the array. Here we characterize the stimulus conditions that lead to the illusion, and the perceptual principles that underlie it. Our findings indicate that the perceived size of an array is susceptible to the assimilation of an explicitly defined superimposed contour. Our results also indicate that the assimilation process takes place at a relatively high level in the visual processing stream, after different spatial frequencies have been integrated and global shape has been constructed. We hypothesize that the Binding Ring Illusion arises due to the fact that the size of an array of elements is not explicitly defined and therefore can be influenced (through a process of assimilation) by the presence of a superimposed object that does have an explicit size. PMID:24555042

  14. The Binding Ring Illusion: assimilation affects the perceived size of a circular array.

    PubMed

    McCarthy, J Daniel; Kupitz, Colin; Caplovitz, Gideon P

    2013-01-01

    Our perception of an object's size arises from the integration of multiple sources of visual information including retinal size, perceived distance and its size relative to other objects in the visual field. This constructive process is revealed through a number of classic size illusions such as the Delboeuf Illusion, the Ebbinghaus Illusion and others illustrating size constancy. Here we present a novel variant of the Delbouef and Ebbinghaus size illusions that we have named the Binding Ring Illusion. The illusion is such that the perceived size of a circular array of elements is underestimated when superimposed by a circular contour - a binding ring - and overestimated when the binding ring slightly exceeds the overall size of the array. Here we characterize the stimulus conditions that lead to the illusion, and the perceptual principles that underlie it. Our findings indicate that the perceived size of an array is susceptible to the assimilation of an explicitly defined superimposed contour. Our results also indicate that the assimilation process takes place at a relatively high level in the visual processing stream, after different spatial frequencies have been integrated and global shape has been constructed. We hypothesize that the Binding Ring Illusion arises due to the fact that the size of an array of elements is not explicitly defined and therefore can be influenced (through a process of assimilation) by the presence of a superimposed object that does have an explicit size.

  15. Effects of parity and selection for uterine capacity on sow litter performance traits

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Selection for 11 generations for uterine capacity (UC) was previously reported to increase litter size in gilts by 1.6 more fully formed pigs at birth compared to an unselected control line (CO) despite averaging 1 less ova shed. Our objective was to characterize litter performance traits in each li...

  16. The effect of leaf litter cover on surface runoff and soil erosion in Northern China.

    PubMed

    Li, Xiang; Niu, Jianzhi; Xie, Baoyuan

    2014-01-01

    The role of leaf litter in hydrological processes and soil erosion of forest ecosystems is poorly understood. A field experiment was conducted under simulated rainfall in runoff plots with a slope of 10%. Two common types of litter in North China (from Quercus variabilis, representing broadleaf litter, and Pinus tabulaeformis, representing needle leaf litter), four amounts of litter, and five rainfall intensities were tested. Results revealed that the litter reduced runoff and delayed the beginning of runoff, but significantly reduced soil loss (p<0.05). Average runoff yield was 29.5% and 31.3% less than bare-soil plot, and for Q. variabilis and P. tabulaeformis, respectively, and average sediment yield was 85.1% and 79.9% lower. Rainfall intensity significantly affected runoff (R = 0.99, p<0.05), and the efficiency in runoff reduction by litter decreased considerably. Runoff yield and the runoff coefficient increased dramatically by 72.9 and 5.4 times, respectively. The period of time before runoff appeared decreased approximately 96.7% when rainfall intensity increased from 5.7 to 75.6 mm h-1. Broadleaf and needle leaf litter showed similarly relevant effects on runoff and soil erosion control, since no significant differences (p≤0.05) were observed in runoff and sediment variables between two litter-covered plots. In contrast, litter mass was probably not a main factor in determining runoff and sediment because a significant correlation was found only with sediment in Q. variabilis litter plot. Finally, runoff yield was significantly correlated (p<0.05) with sediment yield. These results suggest that the protective role of leaf litter in runoff and erosion processes was crucial, and both rainfall intensity and litter characteristics had an impact on these processes.

  17. [Effects of the decomposition of poplar and alder mixed leaf litters on soil microbial biomass].

    PubMed

    Chen, Qin; Fang, Sheng-Zuo; Tian, Ye

    2012-08-01

    An incubation test was conducted to study the effects of the decomposition of poplar and trabeculate alder leaf litters with different mixed ratios and under different application ways on soil microbial biomass carbon (MBC) and nitrogen (MBN). The mixed ratio of the litters had significant effects on soil MBC and MBN. On the 30th day of incubation, soil MBC and MBN were significantly higher in the treatments with > or = 50% of alder litter than in the treatment with poplar litter only and the control. On the 75th day of incubation, the soil MBC in the treatments with > or = 40% of alder litter and the soil MBN in the treatments with > or = 30% of alder litter were significantly greater than those in the treatment with poplar litter only and the control. After 135 days incubation, soil MBC and MBN were significant higher in the treatments with > or = 20% and > or = 40% of alder litter than in the treatment with poplar litter only and the control, respectively. There was no significant difference in the soil MBC/MBN between the treatments with different mixed ratios of poplar and alder leaf litters and the control. Overall, soil MBC/MBN increased during the early period of incubation and decreased in the later period, suggesting that soil microflora changed during the decomposition of the litters. In the whole incubation period, the application ways of the litters had lesser effects on the soil MBC, MBN, and MBC/MBN, indicating that the addition ways of the litters did not affect soil microflora.

  18. The Effect of Leaf Litter Cover on Surface Runoff and Soil Erosion in Northern China

    PubMed Central

    Li, Xiang; Niu, Jianzhi; Xie, Baoyuan

    2014-01-01

    The role of leaf litter in hydrological processes and soil erosion of forest ecosystems is poorly understood. A field experiment was conducted under simulated rainfall in runoff plots with a slope of 10%. Two common types of litter in North China (from Quercus variabilis, representing broadleaf litter, and Pinus tabulaeformis, representing needle leaf litter), four amounts of litter, and five rainfall intensities were tested. Results revealed that the litter reduced runoff and delayed the beginning of runoff, but significantly reduced soil loss (p<0.05). Average runoff yield was 29.5% and 31.3% less than bare-soil plot, and for Q. variabilis and P. tabulaeformis, respectively, and average sediment yield was 85.1% and 79.9% lower. Rainfall intensity significantly affected runoff (R = 0.99, p<0.05), and the efficiency in runoff reduction by litter decreased considerably. Runoff yield and the runoff coefficient increased dramatically by 72.9 and 5.4 times, respectively. The period of time before runoff appeared decreased approximately 96.7% when rainfall intensity increased from 5.7 to 75.6 mm h−1. Broadleaf and needle leaf litter showed similarly relevant effects on runoff and soil erosion control, since no significant differences (p≤0.05) were observed in runoff and sediment variables between two litter-covered plots. In contrast, litter mass was probably not a main factor in determining runoff and sediment because a significant correlation was found only with sediment in Q. variabilis litter plot. Finally, runoff yield was significantly correlated (p<0.05) with sediment yield. These results suggest that the protective role of leaf litter in runoff and erosion processes was crucial, and both rainfall intensity and litter characteristics had an impact on these processes. PMID:25232858

  19. Interactions of tissue and fertilizer nitrogen on decomposition dynamics of lignin-rich conifer litter

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Perakis, Steven S.; Matkins, Joselin J.; Hibbs, David E.

    2012-01-01

    High tissue nitrogen (N) accelerates decomposition of high-quality leaf litter in the early phases of mass loss, but the influence of initial tissue N variation on the decomposition of lignin-rich litter is less resolved. Because environmental changes such as atmospheric N deposition and elevated CO2 can alter tissue N levels within species more rapidly than they alter the species composition of ecosystems, it is important to consider how within-species variation in tissue N may shape litter decomposition and associated N dynamics. Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii ) is a widespread lignin-rich conifer that dominates forests of high carbon (C) storage across western North America, and displays wide variation in tissue and litter N that reflects landscape variation in soil N. We collected eight unique Douglas-fir litter sources that spanned a two-fold range in initial N concentrations (0.67–1.31%) with a narrow range of lignin (29–35%), and examined relationships between initial litter chemistry, decomposition, and N dynamics in both ambient and N fertilized plots at four sites over 3 yr. High initial litter N slowed decomposition rates in both early (0.67 yr) and late (3 yr) stages in unfertilized plots. Applications of N fertilizer to litters accelerated early-stage decomposition, but slowed late-stage decomposition, and most strongly affected low-N litters, which equalized decomposition rates across litters regardless of initial N concentrations. Decomposition of N-fertilized litters correlated positively with initial litter manganese (Mn) concentrations, with litter Mn variation reflecting faster turnover of canopy foliage in high N sites, producing younger litterfall with high N and low Mn. Although both internal and external N inhibited decomposition at 3 yr, most litters exhibited net N immobilization, with strongest immobilization in low-N litter and in N-fertilized plots. Our observation for lignin-rich litter that high initial N can slow decomposition

  20. Changes in pollinator fauna affect altitudinal variation of floral size in a bumblebee-pollinated herb

    PubMed Central

    Nagano, Yusuke; Abe, Kota; Kitazawa, Tomoaki; Hattori, Mitsuru; Hirao, Akira S; Itino, Takao

    2014-01-01

    Geographic trait variations are often caused by locally different selection regimes. As a steep environmental cline along altitude strongly influences adaptive traits, mountain ecosystems are ideal for exploring adaptive differentiation over short distances. We investigated altitudinal floral size variation of Campanula punctata var. hondoensis in 12 populations in three mountain regions of central Japan to test whether the altitudinal floral size variation was correlated with the size of the local bumblebee pollinator and to assess whether floral size was selected for by pollinator size. We found apparent geographic variations in pollinator assemblages along altitude, which consequently produced a geographic change in pollinator size. Similarly, we found altitudinal changes in floral size, which proved to be correlated with the local pollinator size, but not with altitude itself. Furthermore, pollen removal from flower styles onto bees (plant's male fitness) was strongly influenced by the size match between flower style length and pollinator mouthpart length. These results strongly suggest that C. punctata floral size is under pollinator-mediated selection and that a geographic mosaic of locally adapted C. punctata exists at fine spatial scale. PMID:25535556

  1. Evaluation of litter type and dietary coarse ground corn inclusion on broiler live performance, gastrointestinal tract development, and litter characteristics.

    PubMed

    Xu, Y; Stark, C R; Ferket, P R; Williams, C M; Nusairat, B; Brake, J

    2015-03-01

    Two 49 d floor pen studies were conducted to evaluate the effects of litter type and dietary coarse ground corn (CC) inclusion on broiler live performance, gastrointestinal tract (GIT) development, and litter characteristics. Experiment 1 was a 2×2 factorial arrangement of 2 genders (male or female) and 2 CC levels (0 or 50%). From 15 to 35 d, the addition of CC decreased feed intake (P<0.01) and BW gain (P<0.05) of males but not females. The inclusion of CC decreased feed intake (P<0.01) and BW gain (P<0.01) from 0 to 49 d but improved adjusted feed conversion ratio (AdjFCR) from 35 to 49 d (P<0.05). Male broilers exhibited better live performance than females during the study as evidenced by greater feed intake (P<0.01) and BW gain (P<0.01), and improved FCR (P<0.01), but with increased mortality (P<0.05). The inclusion of CC increased relative gizzard weight (P<0.01) and decreased relative proventriculus weight (P<0.01) at 49 d. Experiment 2 was a 2×2 factorial arrangement of 2 CC levels (0 or 50%) and 2 litter types (ground old litter or new wood shavings litter). The inclusion of CC decreased feed intake throughout the experiment without affecting final BW when only males were used and improved FCR after 25 d (P<0.01). New litter improved FCR from 1 to 14 d (P<0.01). At 49 d, the birds fed the CC diet had reduced excreta nitrogen (P<0.05) and litter moisture (P<0.05). In conclusion, 50% CC inclusion initially produced negative effects on live performance that became positive as BW increased. The effects of CC became evident at an earlier age for males. New litter had only a marginal benefit on broiler live performance.

  2. Effects of Litter on Seedling Emergence and Seed Persistence of Three Common Species on the Loess Plateau in Northwestern China.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Rui; Hu, Xiaowen; Baskin, Jerry M; Baskin, Carol C; Wang, Yanrong

    2017-01-01

    Litter accumulation resulting from land use change (enclosure) is one of the key variables influencing seedling recruitment and consequently the regeneration of plant populations and seed persistence in the soil seed bank. A better understanding of the effects of litter on seed germination and seedling emergence is crucial for developing a new set of indicators for grassland ecosystem health and for grassland management policy. We investigated the effects of seed position in litter and amount of litter covering the seed on seedling emergence and seed persistence of three common species on the Loess Plateau in northwestern China. Seed position beneath the litter layer provided a suitable environment for seedling emergence of the three species. A moderate amount of litter (160 g/m(2)) was beneficial for seedling emergence of the small-seeded species Stipa bungeana and Lespedeza davurica from seeds from beneath the litter layer. The large-seeded species Setaria glauca was more tolerant of a high amount of litter (240 g/m(2)) than the two small-seeded species. Seed persistence in the soil differed among the three species and also was affected by seed position in litter and amount of litter cover. The proportion of viable seeds of Stipa bungeana and Setaria glauca on top of the litter layer increased with an increase in amount of litter. Seedling emergence and seed persistence varied significantly among species, amount of litter and seed position in litter. A moderate amount of litter and seeds positioned beneath the litter layer were better for seedling recruitment than for those on top of the litter layer. A high amount of litter was more favorable for persistence of seeds positioned on top of the litter than for those beneath the litter. Our study showed that maintaining litter amount between 80 and 160 g/m(2) is optimal for S. bungeana dominated grassland on the Loess Plateau. We suggest that litter amount can serve as a guide for monitoring and managing grassland

  3. Effects of Litter on Seedling Emergence and Seed Persistence of Three Common Species on the Loess Plateau in Northwestern China

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Rui; Hu, Xiaowen; Baskin, Jerry M.; Baskin, Carol C.; Wang, Yanrong

    2017-01-01

    Litter accumulation resulting from land use change (enclosure) is one of the key variables influencing seedling recruitment and consequently the regeneration of plant populations and seed persistence in the soil seed bank. A better understanding of the effects of litter on seed germination and seedling emergence is crucial for developing a new set of indicators for grassland ecosystem health and for grassland management policy. We investigated the effects of seed position in litter and amount of litter covering the seed on seedling emergence and seed persistence of three common species on the Loess Plateau in northwestern China. Seed position beneath the litter layer provided a suitable environment for seedling emergence of the three species. A moderate amount of litter (160 g/m2) was beneficial for seedling emergence of the small-seeded species Stipa bungeana and Lespedeza davurica from seeds from beneath the litter layer. The large-seeded species Setaria glauca was more tolerant of a high amount of litter (240 g/m2) than the two small-seeded species. Seed persistence in the soil differed among the three species and also was affected by seed position in litter and amount of litter cover. The proportion of viable seeds of Stipa bungeana and Setaria glauca on top of the litter layer increased with an increase in amount of litter. Seedling emergence and seed persistence varied significantly among species, amount of litter and seed position in litter. A moderate amount of litter and seeds positioned beneath the litter layer were better for seedling recruitment than for those on top of the litter layer. A high amount of litter was more favorable for persistence of seeds positioned on top of the litter than for those beneath the litter. Our study showed that maintaining litter amount between 80 and 160 g/m2 is optimal for S. bungeana dominated grassland on the Loess Plateau. We suggest that litter amount can serve as a guide for monitoring and managing grassland

  4. Post-deposition early-phase migration and retention behavior of radiocesium in a litter-mineral soil system in a Japanese deciduous forest affected by the Fukushima nuclear accident.

    PubMed

    Koarashi, Jun; Nishimura, Syusaku; Nakanishi, Takahiro; Atarashi-Andoh, Mariko; Takeuchi, Erina; Muto, Kotomi

    2016-12-01

    The fate of radiocesium ((137)Cs) derived from the Fukushima nuclear accident and associated radiation risks are largely dependent on its migration and retention behavior in the litter-soil system of Japanese forest ecosystems. However, this behavior has not been well quantified. We established field lysimeters in a Japanese deciduous broad-leaved forest soon after the Fukushima nuclear accident to continuously monitor the downward transfer of (137)Cs at three depths: the litter-mineral soil boundary and depths of 5 cm and 10 cm in the mineral soil. Observations were conducted at two sites within the forest from May 2011 to May 2015. Results revealed similar temporal and depth-wise variations in (137)Cs downward fluxes for both sites. The (137)Cs downward fluxes generally decreased year by year at all depths, indicating that (137)Cs was rapidly leached from the forest-floor litter layer and was then immobilized in the upper (0-5 cm) mineral soil layer through its interaction with clay minerals. The (137)Cs fluxes also showed seasonal variation, which was in accordance with variations in the throughfall and soil temperature at the sites. There was no detectable (137)Cs flux at a depth of 10 cm in the mineral soil in the third and fourth years after the accident. The decreased inventory of mobile (or bioavailable) (137)Cs observed during early stages after deposition indicates that the litter-soil system in the Japanese deciduous forest provides only a temporary source for (137)Cs recycling in plants.

  5. Invertebrates control metal/metalloid sequestration and the quality of DOC/DON released during litter decay in slightly acidic environments.

    PubMed

    Schaller, Jörg; Machill, Susanne

    2012-11-01

    Plant litter and organic sediments are a main sink for metals and metalloids in aquatic ecosystems. The effect of invertebrate shredder (a key species in litter decay) on metal/metalloid fixation by organic matter is described only under alkaline water conditions whereas for slightly acidic waters nothing can be found. Furthermore, less is known about the effect of invertebrate shredders on the quality of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and nitrogen (DON) released during litter decay. We conducted an experiment to investigate the impact of invertebrate shredder (Gammarus pulex) on metal/metalloid fixation/remobilization and on the quality of DOC/DON released under slightly acidic water conditions. During decomposition of leaf litter, invertebrate shredder facilitated significantly the emergence of smaller particle sizes of organic matter. The capacity of metal fixation was significantly higher in smaller particles (POM 2,000-63 μm) compared to original leaf litter and litter residues. Thus, G. pulex enhanced metal fixation by organic partition of sediments by increasing the amount of smaller particle of organic matter in aquatic ecosystems. In contrast, the capacity of metal/metalloid fixation in the smallest fraction of POM (<63 μm) was lower compared with leaf residues in treatment without invertebrates. Remobilization of metals and metalloids was very low for all measured elements. A significant effect of invertebrates on quantitative formation of DOC/DON was confirmed. The quality of released DOC/DON, which may affect metal/metalloid remobilization, was also significantly affected by invertebrate shredders (e.g., more carboxylates). Hence, invertebrate shredder enhanced significantly the fixation of metals/metalloids into POM in slightly acidic environments.

  6. Connecting plant-microbial interactions above and belowground: a fungal endophyte affects decomposition.

    PubMed

    Lemons, Alisha; Clay, Keith; Rudgers, Jennifer A

    2005-10-01

    Mutualisms can strongly affect the structure of communities, but their influence on ecosystem processes is not well resolved. Here we show that a plant-microbial mutualism affects the rate of leaf litter decomposition using the widespread interaction between tall fescue grass (Lolium arundinaceum) and the fungal endophyte Neotyphodium coenophialum. In grasses, fungal endophytes live symbiotically in the aboveground tissues, where the fungi gain protection and nutrients from their host and often protect host plants from biotic and abiotic stress. In a field experiment, decomposition rate depended on a complex interaction between the litter source (collected from endophyte-infected or endophyte-free plots), the decomposition microenvironment (endophyte-infected or endophyte-free plots), and the presence of mesoinvertebrates (manipulated by the mesh size of litter bags). Over all treatments, decomposition was slower for endophyte-infected fescue litter than for endophyte-free litter. When mesoinvertebrates were excluded using fine mesh and litter was placed in a microenvironment with the endophyte, the difference between endophyte-infected and endophyte-free litter was strongest. In the presence of mesoinvertebrates, endophyte-infected litter decomposed faster in microenvironments with the endophyte than in microenvironments lacking the endophyte, suggesting that plots differ in the detritivore assemblage. Indeed, the presence of the endophyte in plots shifted the composition of Collembola, with more Hypogastruridae in the presence of the endophyte and more Isotomidae in endophyte-free plots. In a separate outdoor pot experiment, we did not find strong effects of the litter source or the soil microbial/microinvertebrate community on decomposition, which may reflect differences between pot and field conditions or other differences in methodology. Our work is among the first to demonstrate an effect of plant-endophyte mutualisms on ecosystem processes under field

  7. Effect of moisture content on the heating profile in composted broiler litter

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Moisture content can affect the magnitude of heat generation during composting. Temperature was recorded every 2 min for 7 d at 10-cm increments throughout the vertical profile of broiler litter treated with five quantities of water addition. Water additions were applied to achieve litter moisture...

  8. A test of bone mobilization relative to reproductive demand: skeletal quality is improved in cannibalistic females with large litters.

    PubMed

    Hood, Wendy R

    2012-01-01

    In species with repeated bouts of reproduction, a female's ability to retain sufficient tissue for self-maintenance is essential to her survival and capacity for future reproduction. Loss of bone mineral content results in bone fragility and the possibility of reduced survival, so females should guard against the overuse of their bone mineral during reproduction. Given these constraints, I predicted that bone mobilization would increase with litter size in mice but plateau before maximum litter size was reached. To test this idea, I manipulated the litter sizes of house mice on the day of parturition to 3, 8, 13, and 18 offspring. At weaning, I euthanized the females and calculated whole-body and bone mineral composition. The total mineral content of females' femurs dropped as litter size increased to the average litter size for this strain of mouse (13) but surprisingly, femoral mineral content was higher for females assigned the largest litter sizes (18). Seven of the nine females assigned 18 young cannibalized some of their offspring. For females assigned to these larger litters, femoral ash content was not correlated with number of young consumed, suggesting that mineral recycling had little effect on final bone mineral content. However, nursing effort (accounting for young lost to cannibalism) was correlated with maternal femoral ash at weaning. These finding suggest that the high bone mineral content of females assigned the largest litters was associated with a reduction in endogenous mineral allocated to the litter.

  9. Calibration of radiographs by a reference metal ball affects preoperative selection of implant size.

    PubMed

    Schropp, Lars; Stavropoulos, Andreas; Gotfredsen, Erik; Wenzel, Ann

    2009-12-01

    The aim was to evaluate the impact of a reference ball for calibration of periapical and panoramic radiographs on preoperative selection of implant size for three implant systems. Presurgical digital radiographs (70 panoramic, 43 periapical) from 70 patients scheduled for single-tooth implant treatment, recorded with a metal ball placed in the edentulous area, were evaluated by three observers with the intent to select the appropriate implant size. Four reference marks corresponding to the margins of the metal ball were manually placed on the digital image by means of computer software. Additionally, an implant with proper dimensions for the respective site was outlined by manually placing four reference marks. The diameter of the metal ball and the unadjusted length and width of the implant were calculated. Implant size was adjusted according to a "standard" calibration method (SCM; magnification factor 1.25 in panoramic images and 1.05 in periapical images) and according to a reference ball calibration method (RCM; true magnification). Based on the unadjusted as well as the adjusted implant dimensions, the implant size was selected among those available in a given implant system. For periapical radiographs, when comparing SCM and RCM with unadjusted implant dimensions, implant size changed in 42% and 58%, respectively. When comparing SCM and RCM, implant size changed in 24%. For panoramic radiographs, comparing SCM and RCM changed implant size in 48%. The use of a reference metal ball for calibration of periapical and panoramic radiographs when selecting implant size during treatment planning might be advantageous.

  10. Climate change affects low trophic level marine consumers: warming decreases copepod size and abundance.

    PubMed

    Garzke, Jessica; Ismar, Stefanie M H; Sommer, Ulrich

    2015-03-01

    Concern about climate change has re-ignited interest in universal ecological responses to temperature variations: (1) biogeographical shifts, (2) phenology changes, and (3) size shifts. In this study we used copepods as model organisms to study size responses to temperature because of their central role in the pelagic food web and because of the ontogenetic length constancy between molts, which facilitates the definition of size of distinct developmental stages. In order to test the expected temperature-induced shifts towards smaller body size and lower abundances under warming conditions, a mesocosm experiment using plankton from the Baltic Sea at three temperature levels (ambient, ambient +4 °C, ambient -4 °C) was performed in summer 2010. Overall copepod and copepodit abundances, copepod size at all life stages, and adult copepod size in particular, showed significant temperature effects. As expected, zooplankton peak abundance was lower in warm than in ambient treatments. Copepod size-at-immature stage significantly increased in cold treatments, while adult size significantly decreased in warm treatments.

  11. Body size, but not cooling rate, affects supercooling points in the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.

    PubMed

    Hahn, Daniel A; Martin, Adam R; Porter, Sanford D

    2008-10-01

    The level of an animal's stress resistance is set by multiple intrinsic physiological and extrinsic environmental parameters. Body size is a critical intrinsic parameter that affects numerous fitness-related organismal traits including fecundity, survival, mating success, and stress resistance. The rate of cooling is a critical extrinsic environmental factor that can affect thermal stress resistance. Workers of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), display considerable variation in adult body size. Therefore, developing ecologically realistic models of thermotolerance in this species requires a consideration of body size. We tested the hypothesis that body size and cooling rate would interact to set the supercooling point in fire ant workers by exposing workers of a range of body sizes to three different cooling regimens: a very fast ramp of -10 degrees C/min, an intermediate ramp of -1 degrees C/min, and an ecologically relevant slow ramp of -0.1 degrees C/min. Specifically, we asked whether large workers were more susceptible to differences in cooling rate than smaller workers. We found that body size had a considerable effect on supercooling point with the largest workers freezing at a temperature approximately 3 degrees C higher than the smallest workers. Cooling rate had a very small effect on supercooling point, and there was no interaction between the two factors. Therefore, the allometry of supercooling points across the range of worker body sizes does not change with cooling rate.

  12. Both population size and patch quality affect local extinctions and colonizations.

    PubMed

    Franzén, Markus; Nilsson, Sven G

    2010-01-07

    Currently, the habitat of many species is fragmented, resulting in small local populations with individuals occasionally dispersing between the remaining habitat patches. In a solitary bee metapopulation, extinction probability was related to both local bee population sizes and pollen resources measured as host plant population size. Patch size, on the other hand, had no additional predictive power. The turnover rate of local bee populations in 63 habitat patches over 4 years was high, with 72 extinction events and 31 colonization events, but the pollen plant population was stable with no extinctions or colonizations. Both pollen resources and bee populations had strong and independent effects on extinction probability, but connectivity was not of importance. Colonizations occurred more frequently within larger host plant populations. For metapopulation survival of the bee, large pollen plant populations are essential, independent of current bee population size.

  13. Effect of Leaf Litter Diversity on Dissolved Organic Matter Export in a Deciduous Forest Soil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scheibe*, A.; Eißfeller, V.; Langenbruch, C.; Seven, J.; Gleixner, G.

    2012-04-01

    We investigated sources and fate of dissolved organic matter (DOM) in soils in order to understand the effect of tree diversity on below ground processes. We established a leaf litter exchange experiment in the National Park Hainich (Thuringia, Germany) in December 2008. Labeled (13C) and unlabeled leaf litter of beach (Fagus sylvatica) and ash (Fraxinus excelsior) were exposed to study the decomposition process. Soil water was collected biweekly with glass suction plates (1 μm pore size, UMS, Munich, Germany) in 5 cm soil depth and pH, conductivity, DOC and anions (Cl-, NO3-, NO2-, PO43-, SO42-, F-) were determined. The 13DOC values were measured using high performance liquid chromatography - isotope ratio mass spectrometry (HPLC-IRMS). The values of conductivity and pH in the soil water indicate slower decomposition processes for leaf litter of beech in comparison to ash leaf litter. The conductivity was correlated with the Cl- ion during the first spring, which suggests the export of carbon due to leaching processes. However during the summer the conductivity correlated with the NO3- ions, which indicates mineralization as driving process. Surprisingly, the contribution of litter 13C into the dissolved carbon pool was very low. The highest contribution with up to 8.6% DOC labeled by ash litter derived carbon was found in the first 3 month of application. However, in the mean only 1.2% and 2.6% of DOC was labeled by carbon of the beech and ash litter, respectively. This represents in total only up to 0.41% of labeled litter carbon that was added. The higher percentages of ash litter derived 13C in DOM of soil water compared to beech indicates a positive effect of litter quality on decomposition. However, we did not find a faster decomposition or higher ash litter derived carbon export in mixed (ash and beech litter) treatments, which would indicate food selection or biodiversity effects.

  14. The generation and cost of litter resulting from the curbside collection of recycling.

    PubMed

    Wagner, Travis P; Broaddus, Nathan

    2016-04-01

    This study examined the generation of litter, defined as spillage and uncollected residue, from a curbside collection system for residential recycling. The primary recycling containers used in the study were 18-gal (68 L), open-top bins. The study, conducted over a seven-week period, was comprised of both an urban and suburban area. Six litter characterizations were conducted in which all new litter larger than 1 in.(2) was collected, segregated, counted, and weighed. We found that each week the open-top recycling bins contributed approximately 20,590 pieces of litter over 1 in. in size per every 1000 households, which resulted in the generation of 3.74 tons of litter per 1000 households per year. In addition to the bins having no top, the primary root causes of the litter were constantly overflowing recycling bins, the method of collection, and material scavenging. Based on an estimated cost of litter cleanup ranging from $0.17 to $0.79 per piece of litter, the direct economic costs from the collection of litter and loss in recycling revenues were estimated at US$3920 to US$19,250 per 1000 households per year. Other notable impacts from the litter, such as increased risk of flood damage from storm drain impairment and marine ecosystem damages exist, but were not monetized. The results strongly suggest that modification of the curbside collection system would decrease the amount and associated cost of litter by replacing existing curbside collection containers with larger volume containers with covers and by modifying the task-based incentive system to emphasize litter prevention rather than the current aim of completing the task most quickly.

  15. Particulate size of microalgal biomass affects hydrolysate properties and bioethanol concentration.

    PubMed

    Harun, Razif; Danquah, Michael K; Thiruvenkadam, Selvakumar

    2014-01-01

    Effective optimization of microalgae-to-bioethanol process systems hinges on an in-depth characterization of key process parameters relevant to the overall bioprocess engineering. One of the such important variables is the biomass particle size distribution and the effects on saccharification levels and bioethanol titres. This study examined the effects of three different microalgal biomass particle size ranges, 35 μm ≤ x ≤ 90 μm, 125 μm ≤ x ≤ 180 μm, and 295 μm ≤ x ≤ 425 μm, on the degree of enzymatic hydrolysis and bioethanol production. Two scenarios were investigated: single enzyme hydrolysis (cellulase) and double enzyme hydrolysis (cellulase and cellobiase). The glucose yield from biomass in the smallest particle size range (35 μm ≤ x ≤ 90 μm) was the highest, 134.73 mg glucose/g algae, while the yield from biomass in the larger particle size range (295 μm ≤ x ≤ 425 μm) was 75.45 mg glucose/g algae. A similar trend was observed for bioethanol yield, with the highest yield of 0.47 g EtOH/g glucose obtained from biomass in the smallest particle size range. The results have shown that the microalgal biomass particle size has a significant effect on enzymatic hydrolysis and bioethanol yield.

  16. Body size, but not cooling rate affects supercooling points in the red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The level of an animal’s stress resistance is set by multiple intrinsic physiological and extrinsic environmental parameters. Body size is a critical intrinsic parameter that affects numerous fitness-related organismal traits including fecundity, survival, mating success, and stress resistance. The ...

  17. Atmospheric water vapor as driver of litter decomposition during rainless seasons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dirks, I.; Navon, Y.; Kanas, D.; Dumbur, R.; Grünzweig, José

    2010-05-01

    Litter production in many drought-affected ecosystems coincides with the beginning of an extended season of no or limited rainfall. Because of lack of moisture litter decomposition during such periods has been largely ignored so far, despite potential importance for the overall decay process in such ecosystems. To determine drivers and extent of litter decay in rainless periods a litterbag study was conducted in Mediterranean shrublands, dwarf shrublands and grasslands. Heterogeneous local and common straw litter was left to decompose in open and shaded patches of various field sites in two study regions. Fresh local litter lost 4-18% of its initial mass over about 4 months without rainfall, which amounted to 15-50% of total annual decomposition. Lab incubations and changes in chemical composition suggested that litter was degraded by microbial activity, enabled by absorption of water vapor from the atmosphere. High mean relative humidity of 85% was measured during 8-9 h of most nights, but the possibility of fog deposition or dew formation at the soil surface was excluded. Over 95% of the variation in mass loss and changes in litter nitrogen were explained by characteristics of water-vapor uptake by litter. Photodegradation induced by the intense solar radiation was an additional mechanism of litter decomposition as indicated by lignin dynamics. Lignin loss from litter increased with exposure to ultraviolet radiation and with initial lignin concentration, together explaining 90-97% of the variation in lignin mass change. Results indicate that water vapor is a driver of litter decay which has been ignored so far. Water-vapor absorption presumably enables microbial degradation, which, together with solar radiation and litter quality, controls decomposition and changes in litter chemistry during rainless seasons. Warmer and drier conditions as a consequence of climate change will result in enhanced drying of litter layers also outside currently classified drylands

  18. Negative and positive interactions among plants: effects of competitors and litter on seedling emergence and growth of forest and grassland species.

    PubMed

    Loydi, A; Donath, T W; Otte, A; Eckstein, R L

    2015-05-01

    Living plant neighbours, but also their dead aboveground remains (i.e. litter), may individually exert negative or positive effects on plant recruitment. Although living plants and litter co-occur in most ecosystems, few studies have addressed their combined effects, and conclusions are ambivalent. Therefore, we examined the response in terms of seedling emergence and growth of herbaceous grassland and forest species to different litter types and amounts and the presence of competitors. We conducted a pot experiment testing the effects of litter type (grass, oak), litter amount (low, medium, high) and interspecific competition (presence or absence of four Festuca arundinacea individuals) on seedling emergence and biomass of four congeneric pairs of hemicryptophytes from two habitat types (woodland, grassland). Interactions between litter and competition were weak. Litter presence increased competitor biomass. It also had positive effects on seedling emergence at low litter amounts and negative effects at high litter amounts, while competition had no effect on seedling emergence. Seedling biomass was negatively affected by the presence of competitors, and this effect was stronger in combination with high amounts of litter. Litter affected seedling emergence while competition determined the biomass of the emerged individuals, both affecting early stages of seedling recruitment. High litter accumulation also reduced seedling biomass, but this effect seemed to be additive to competitor effects. This suggests that live and dead plant mass can affect species recruitment in natural systems, but the mechanisms by which they operate and their timing differ.

  19. The importance of biotic factors in predicting global change effects on decomposition of temperate forest leaf litter.

    PubMed

    Rouifed, Soraya; Handa, I Tanya; David, Jean-François; Hättenschwiler, Stephan

    2010-05-01

    Increasing atmospheric CO(2) and temperature are predicted to alter litter decomposition via changes in litter chemistry and environmental conditions. The extent to which these predictions are influenced by biotic factors such as litter species composition or decomposer activity, and in particular how these different factors interact, is not well understood. In a 5-week laboratory experiment we compared the decomposition of leaf litter from four temperate tree species (Fagus sylvatica, Quercus petraea, Carpinus betulus and Tilia platyphyllos) in response to four interacting factors: elevated CO(2)-induced changes in litter quality, a 3 degrees C warmer environment during decomposition, changes in litter species composition, and presence/absence of a litter-feeding millipede (Glomeris marginata). Elevated CO(2) and temperature had much weaker effects on decomposition than litter species composition and the presence of Glomeris. Mass loss of elevated CO(2)-grown leaf litter was reduced in Fagus and increased in Fagus/Tilia mixtures, but was not affected in any other leaf litter treatment. Warming increased litter mass loss in Carpinus and Tilia, but not in the other two litter species and in none of the mixtures. The CO(2)- and temperature-related differences in decomposition disappeared completely when Glomeris was present. Overall, fauna activity stimulated litter mass loss, but to different degrees depending on litter species composition, with a particularly strong effect on Fagus/Tilia mixtures (+58%). Higher fauna-driven mass loss was not followed by higher C mineralization over the relatively short experimental period. Apart from a strong interaction between litter species composition and fauna, the tested factors had little or no interactive effects on decomposition. We conclude that if global change were to result in substantial shifts in plant community composition and macrofauna abundance in forest ecosystems, these interacting biotic factors could have

  20. Litter contribution to soil organic carbon in the agriculture abandons processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Novara, A.; Rühl, J.; La Mantia, T.; Gristina, L.; La Bella, S.; Tuttolomondo, T.

    2015-02-01

    Mechanisms of litter decomposition, translocation and stabilization into soil layers are fundamental processes in ecosystem functioning as it regulates the cycle of soil organic matter (SOM), CO2 emission into the atmosphere, carbon sequestration into the soil. In this study, it was investigated the contribution of litters of different stages of Mediterranean secondary succession on Carbon sequestration, analyzing the role of earthworms on translocation of SOM into soil profile. For this purpose δ13C difference between meadow C4-Csoil and C3-Clitter were used in a field experiment. Four undisturbed litters of different stages of succession were collected (45, 70, 100 and 120 since agriculture abandon) and placed on the top of isolated soil cores. The litter contribution to C stock was affected by plant species and increased with the age of the stage of secondary succession. The soil organic carbon after 1 year since litter position increased up to 40% in comparison to no litter treatment in soil with litter of 120 years since abandon. The new carbon derived from C3-litter was decomposed and transferred into soil profile thanks to earthworms and dissolved organic carbon leaching. After 1 years the carbon increase attributed to earthworm activity ranged from 6 to 13% in soil under litter in field abandoned since 120 and 45 years, respectively.

  1. Litter contribution to soil organic carbon in the processes of agriculture abandon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Novara, A.; Rühl, J.; La Mantia, T.; Gristina, L.; La Bella, S.; Tuttolomondo, T.

    2015-04-01

    The mechanisms of litter decomposition, translocation and stabilization into soil layers are fundamental processes in the functioning of the ecosystem, as they regulate the cycle of soil organic matter (SOM) and CO2 emission into the atmosphere. In this study the contribution of litters of different stages of Mediterranean secondary succession on carbon sequestration was investigated, analyzing the role of earthworms in the translocation of SOM into the soil profile. For this purpose the δ13C difference between meadow C4-C soil and C3-C litter was used in a field experiment. Four undisturbed litters of different stages of succession (45, 70, 100 and 120 since agriculture abandon) were collected and placed on the top of isolated C4 soil cores. The litter contribution to C stock was affected by plant species and it increased with the age of the stage of secondary succession. One year after the litter position, the soil organic carbon increased up to 40% in comparison to soils not treated with litter after 120 years of abandon. The new carbon derived from C3 litter was decomposed and transferred into soil profile thanks to earthworms and the leaching of dissolved organic carbon. After 1 year the carbon increase attributed to earthworm activity was 6 and 13% in the soils under litter of fields abandoned for 120 and 45 years, respectively.

  2. Role of leaf litter nitrogen immobilization in the nitrogen budget of a swamp stream

    SciTech Connect

    Qualls, R.G.

    1984-01-01

    Attempts were made to determine if immobilization-mobilization of N in the litter layer is of a sufficient magnitude to affect the concentrations of inorganic N in the overlying water, and to determine the effect of concentrations of dissolved nutrients and hydroperiod on litter decomposition, N uptake, and N release by litter. The study was conducted in two blackwater stream swamps in North Carolina: Creeping Swamp (CR) and Chicod Creek (CH). With the low levels of dissolved nutrients in CR, there was little difference in litter decomposition rate along elevation gradients. Decomposition was faster at the inundated sites in CH and the faster decomposition was associated with nutrient enrichment. Exogenous N immobilized in litter reached higher levels in the enriched swamp CH. Despite faster decomposition in CH, no substantial mineralization of litter N had occurred prior to June. A budget of litter N and dissolved inorganic N inflow showed that immobilization by flooded litter over 1 linear km of CR during the sampling period was 87 kg, equivalent to about 25% of the inorganic N inflow. This proportion shows that litter can play a significant role in controlling N concentration in stream water in small swamp streams. 24 references, 3 figures, 3 tables.

  3. Effects of Elevated CO2 on Litter Chemistry and Subsequent Invertebrate Detritivore Feeding Responses

    PubMed Central

    Dray, Matthew W.; Crowther, Thomas W.; Thomas, Stephen M.; A’Bear, A. Donald; Godbold, Douglas L.; Ormerod, Steve J.; Hartley, Susan E.; Jones, T. Hefin

    2014-01-01

    Elevated atmospheric CO2 can change foliar tissue chemistry. This alters leaf litter palatability to macroinvertebrate detritivores with consequences for decomposition, nutrient turnover, and food-web structure. Currently there is no consensus on the link between CO2 enrichment, litter chemistry, and macroinvertebrate-mediated leaf decomposition. To identify any unifying mechanisms, we presented eight invertebrate species from aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems with litter from Alnus glutinosa (common alder) or Betula pendula (silver birch) trees propagated under ambient (380 ppm) or elevated (ambient +200 ppm) CO2 concentrations. Alder litter was largely unaffected by CO2 enrichment, but birch litter from leaves grown under elevated CO2 had reduced nitrogen concentrations and greater C/N ratios. Invertebrates were provided individually with either (i) two litter discs, one of each CO2 treatment (‘choice’), or (ii) one litter disc of each CO2 treatment alone (‘no-choice’). Consumption was recorded. Only Odontocerum albicorne showed a feeding preference in the choice test, consuming more ambient- than elevated-CO2 birch litter. Species’ responses to alder were highly idiosyncratic in the no-choice test: Gammarus pulex and O. albicorne consumed more elevated-CO2 than ambient-CO2 litter, indicating compensatory feeding, while Oniscus asellus consumed more of the ambient-CO2 litter. No species responded to CO2 treatment when fed birch litter. Overall, these results show how elevated atmospheric CO2 can alter litter chemistry, affecting invertebrate feeding behaviour in species-specific ways. The data highlight the need for greater species-level information when predicting changes to detrital processing–a key ecosystem function–under atmospheric change. PMID:24465985

  4. The use of beached bird surveys for marine plastic litter monitoring in Ireland.

    PubMed

    Acampora, Heidi; Lyashevska, Olga; Van Franeker, Jan Andries; O'Connor, Ian

    2016-09-01

    Marine plastic litter has become a major threat to wildlife. Marine animals are highly susceptible to entanglement and ingestion of debris at sea. Governments all around the world are being urged to monitor litter sources and inputs, and to mitigate the impacts of marine litter, which is primarily composed of plastics. European policies, such as Oslo-Paris Convention (OSPAR) and Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) have adopted the monitoring of a seabird species, the Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis), as an environmental quality indicator through the analysis of stomach contents of beached Fulmar specimens. The aims of this research were to: firstly set a baseline investigation of multispecies of seabirds in Ireland affected by the ingestion of litter and, secondly to investigate the feasibility of using Fulmar and/or other potential species of seabird as an indicator for marine debris in Ireland through beached bird surveys. Within 30 months, 121 birds comprising 16 different species were collected and examined for the presence of litter. Of these, 27.3% (n = 33) comprising 12 different species were found to ingest litter, mainly plastics. The average mass of ingested litter was 0.141 g. Among 14 sampled Northern Fulmars, 13 (93%) had ingested plastic litter, all of them over the 0.1 g threshold used in OSPAR and MSFD policy target definitions. Results show that seabirds in Ireland are ingesting marine litter, as in many other countries in the world. Monitoring seabird litter ingestion has the potential to form part of a wider marine litter monitoring programme that can help to inform mitigation and management measures for marine litter.

  5. Radiocesium leaching from contaminated litter in forest streams.

    PubMed

    Sakai, Masaru; Gomi, Takashi; Naito, Risa S; Negishi, Junjiro N; Sasaki, Michiko; Toda, Hiroto; Nunokawa, Masanori; Murase, Kaori

    2015-06-01

    In Japanese forests suffering from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, litter fall provides a large amount of radiocesium from forests to streams. Submerged litter is processed to become a vital food resource for various stream organisms through initial leaching and subsequent decomposition. Although leaching from litter can detach radiocesium similarly to potassium, radiocesium leaching and its migration are poorly understood. We examined both radiocesium and potassium leaching to the water column and radiocesium allocation to minerals (glass beads, silica sand, and vermiculite) in the laboratory using soaked litter with and without minerals on a water column. The mineral types did not affect radiocesium leaching from litter, but soaking in water for 1, 7, and 30 days decreased the radiocesium concentration in litter by ×0.71, ×0.66, and ×0.56, respectively. Meanwhile, the 1-, 7-, and 30-day experiments decreased potassium concentration in litter by ×0.17, ×0.11, and ×0.09, respectively. Leached radiocesium remained in a dissolved form when there was no mineral phases present in the water, whereas there was sorption onto the minerals when they were present. In particular, vermiculite adsorbed radiocesium by two to three orders of magnitude more effectively than the other minerals. Because radiocesium forms (such as that dissolved or adsorbed to organic matter or minerals) can further mobilize to ecosystems, our findings will increase our understanding regarding the dynamics of radiocesium in stream ecosystems.

  6. Differential responses of ammonia/ammonium-oxidizing microorganisms in mangrove sediment to amendment of acetate and leaf litter.

    PubMed

    Wang, Yong-Feng; Li, Xiao-Yan; Gu, Ji-Dong

    2014-04-01

    The effects of acetate and leaf litter powder on ammonia/ammonium-oxidizing microorganisms (AOMs) in mangrove sediment were investigated in a laboratory incubation study for a period of 60 days. The results showed that different AOMs responded differently to the addition of acetate and leaf litter. A higher diversity of anaerobic ammonium-oxidizing (anammox) bacteria was observed when acetate or leaf litter was added than the control. However, acetate and leaf litter generally inhibited the growth of anammox bacteria despite that leaf litter promoted their growth in the first 5 days. The inhibitory effects on anammox bacteria were more pronounced by acetate than by leaf litter. Neither acetate nor leaf litter affected ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) community structures, but promoted their growth. For ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB), the addition of acetate or leaf litter resulted in changes of community structures and promoted their growth in the early phase of the incubation. In addition, the promoting effects by leaf litter on AOB growth were more obvious than acetate. These results indicated that organic substances affect AOM community structures and abundances. The study suggests that leaf litter has an important influence on the community structures and abundances of AOMs in mangrove sediment and affects the nitrogen cycle in such ecosystem.

  7. Does population size affect genetic diversity? A test with sympatric lizard species

    PubMed Central

    Hague, M T J; Routman, E J

    2016-01-01

    Genetic diversity is a fundamental requirement for evolution and adaptation. Nonetheless, the forces that maintain patterns of genetic variation in wild populations are not completely understood. Neutral theory posits that genetic diversity will increase with a larger effective population size and the decreasing effects of drift. However, the lack of compelling evidence for a relationship between genetic diversity and population size in comparative studies has generated some skepticism over the degree that neutral sequence evolution drives overall patterns of diversity. The goal of this study was to measure genetic diversity among sympatric populations of related lizard species that differ in population size and other ecological factors. By sampling related species from a single geographic location, we aimed to reduce nuisance variance in genetic diversity owing to species differences, for example, in mutation rates or historical biogeography. We compared populations of zebra-tailed lizards and western banded geckos, which are abundant and short-lived, to chuckwallas and desert iguanas, which are less common and long-lived. We assessed population genetic diversity at three protein-coding loci for each species. Our results were consistent with the predictions of neutral theory, as the abundant species almost always had higher levels of haplotype diversity than the less common species. Higher population genetic diversity in the abundant species is likely due to a combination of demographic factors, including larger local population sizes (and presumably effective population sizes), faster generation times and high rates of gene flow with other populations. PMID:26306730

  8. Manipulation of Auxin Response Factor 19 affects seed size in the woody perennial Jatropha curcas

    PubMed Central

    Sun, Yanwei; Wang, Chunming; Wang, Ning; Jiang, Xiyuan; Mao, Huizhu; Zhu, Changxiang; Wen, Fujiang; Wang, Xianghua; Lu, Zhijun; Yue, Genhua; Xu, Zengfu; Ye, Jian

    2017-01-01

    Seed size is a major determinant of seed yield but few is known about the genetics controlling of seed size in plants. Phytohormones cytokinin and brassinosteroid were known to be involved in the regulation of herbaceous plant seed development. Here we identified a homolog of Auxin Response Factor 19 (JcARF19) from a woody plant Jatropha curcas and genetically demonstrated its functions in controlling seed size and seed yield. Through Virus Induced Gene Silencing (VIGS), we found that JcARF19 was a positive upstream modulator in auxin signaling and may control plant organ size in J. curcas. Importantly, transgenic overexpression of JcARF19 significantly increased seed size and seed yield in plants Arabidopsis thaliana and J. curcas, indicating the importance of auxin pathway in seed yield controlling in dicot plants. Transcripts analysis indicated that ectopic expression of JcARF19 in J. curcas upregulated auxin responsive genes encoding essential regulators in cell differentiation and cytoskeletal dynamics of seed development. Our data suggested the potential of improving seed traits by precisely engineering auxin signaling in woody perennial plants. PMID:28102350

  9. Nectar foraging behaviour is affected by ant body size in Camponotus mus.

    PubMed

    Medan, Violeta; Josens, Roxana B

    2005-08-01

    The nectivorous ant Camponotus mus shows a broad size variation within the worker caste. Large ants can ingest faster and larger loads than small ones. Differences in physiological abilities in fluid ingestion due to the insect size could be related to differences in decision-making according to ant size during nectar foraging. Sucrose solutions of different levels of sugar concentration (30% or 60%w/w), viscosity (high or low) or flow rate (ad libitum or 1microl/min) were offered in combination to analyse the behavioural responses to each of these properties separately. Differences were found depending on ant body size and the property compared. A regulated flow produced smaller crop loads for medium and large ants compared to the same solution given ad libitum. All foragers remained longer times feeding at the regulated flow source but larger ants often made longer interruptions. When sugar concentration was constant but viscosity was high, only large ants increased feeding time. Constant viscosity with different sugar concentration determined longer feeding time and bigger loads for the most concentrated solution for small but not for large ants. Small ants reached similar crop loads in a variety of conditions while large ants did not. These differences could be evidence of a possible specialization for nectar foraging based on ant body size.

  10. Habitat richness affects home range size in a monogamous large rodent.

    PubMed

    Lovari, Sandro; Sforzi, Andrea; Mori, Emiliano

    2013-10-01

    In monogamous species, after pair formation, the main reason for ranging movements is not searching for a mate, but for other important resources e.g. food. We monitored a total of 20 radio-tagged adult, paired crested porcupines in four areas of different habitat richness. No sexual size dimorphism was assessed. Body mass and habitat richness showed collinearity. For both sexes, home range size was correlated to habitat richness, with a significant inverse exponential regression. Opposite to natural foragers, living in poor habitats, crop foragers had smaller home ranges, with their dens significantly closer to cultivations. Both availability of food resources and den sites are key variables to determine home range size.

  11. Litter survey detects the South Atlantic 'garbage patch'.

    PubMed

    Ryan, Peter G

    2014-02-15

    A distance-based technique was used to assess the distribution and abundance of floating marine debris (>1cm) in the southeast Atlantic Ocean between Cape Town and Tristan da Cunha, crossing the southern edge of the South Atlantic 'garbage patch' predicted by surface drift models. Most litter was made of plastic (97%). Detection distances were influenced by the size and buoyancy of litter items. Litter density decreased from coastal waters off Cape Town (>100 items km(-2)) to oceanic waters (<10 items km(-2)), and was consistently higher (6.2 ± 1.3 items km(-2)) from 3 to 8°E than in adjacent oceanic waters (2.7 ± 0.3 items km(-2)) or in the central South Atlantic around Tristan (1.0 ± 0.4 items km(-2)). The area with high litter density had few seaweeds, suggesting that most litter had been drifting for a long time. The results indicate that floating debris is accumulating in the South Atlantic gyre as far south as 34-35°S.

  12. Size of clearcut opening affects species composition, growth rate, and stand characteristics. Forest Service research paper (Final)

    SciTech Connect

    Dale, M.E.; Smith, H.C.; Pearcy, J.N.

    1995-05-22

    In the late 1950`s and early 1960`s, a series of studies was installed in the central hardwood forest to determine if size of clearcut opening affects the growth rate and species composition of new stands. In 1991, about 30 years after cutting, stand data were collected in 89 openings ranging in size from 0.04 to 1.61 acres. The number of stems per acre increased with opening size; however, the number of shade-tolerant species constituted a greater proportion of the stand in small openings (<0.5 acre), while the porportion of shade-intolerant species increased in larger openings. Results of this study indicate that opening size has a major influence on stand characteristics after about 30 years.

  13. Litter-of-origin trait effects on gilt development

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The preweaning litter environment of gilts can affect subsequent development. In a recent experiment designed to test the effects of diet on gilt development, individual birth weights, immunocrits, sow parity, number weaned, and individual weaning weights were collected for gilts during the preweani...

  14. Do Birth Order, Family Size and Gender Affect Arithmetic Achievement in Elementary School?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Desoete, Annemie

    2008-01-01

    Introduction: For decades birth order and gender differences have attracted research attention. Method: Birth order, family size and gender, and the relationship with arithmetic achievement is studied among 1152 elementary school children (540 girls, 612 boys) in Flanders. Children were matched on socioeconomic status of the parents and…

  15. Entrapment of ovalbumin into liposomes--factors affecting entrapment efficiency, liposome size, and zeta potential.

    PubMed

    Brgles, Marija; Jurasin, Darija; Sikirić, Maja Dutour; Frkanec, Ruza; Tomasić, Jelka

    2008-01-01

    Various amounts of Ovalbumin (OVA) were encapsulated into positively and negatively charged multilamellar liposomes, with the aim to investigate the entrapment efficiency in different buffers and to study their effects on the liposome size and zeta potential. Results showed that the entrapment efficiency of OVA in anionic liposomes was the same in 10 mM Phosphate Buffer (PB) as in Phosphate-Buffered Saline (PBS; PB + 0.15 M NaCl). Also, liposome size was approximately 1200 nm for all anionic liposomes incorporating OVA. The entrapment efficiency of OVA in cationic liposomes was highly dependent on ionic strength. The size of cationic liposomes was approximately 1200 nm in PBS, regardless of protein content, but increased with the amount of the incorporated protein in PB. Aggregation of cationic liposomes in PB was observed when the mass of the protein was 2.5 mg or greater. The zeta potential of anionic liposomes was negative and of cationic liposomes positive in the whole range of protein mass tested. These results show how different compositions of lipid and aqueous phases can be used to vary the entrapment efficiency, liposome size, and zeta potential--the factors that are of great importance for the use of liposomes as drug carriers.

  16. Navy bean flour particle size and protein content affect cake baking and batter quality

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Whole navy bean flour and its fine and coarse particle size fractions were used to completely replace wheat flour in cakes. Replacement of wheat flour with whole bean flour significantly increased the protein content. The protein content was adjusted to three levels with navy bean starch. The effect...

  17. Why does offspring size affect performance? Integrating metabolic scaling with life-history theory

    PubMed Central

    Pettersen, Amanda K.; White, Craig R.; Marshall, Dustin J.

    2015-01-01

    Within species, larger offspring typically outperform smaller offspring. While the relationship between offspring size and performance is ubiquitous, the cause of this relationship remains elusive. By linking metabolic and life-history theory, we provide a general explanation for why larger offspring perform better than smaller offspring. Using high-throughput respirometry arrays, we link metabolic rate to offspring size in two species of marine bryozoan. We found that metabolism scales allometrically with offspring size in both species: while larger offspring use absolutely more energy than smaller offspring, larger offspring use proportionally less of their maternally derived energy throughout the dependent, non-feeding phase. The increased metabolic efficiency of larger offspring while dependent on maternal investment may explain offspring size effects—larger offspring reach nutritional independence (feed for themselves) with a higher proportion of energy relative to structure than smaller offspring. These findings offer a potentially universal explanation for why larger offspring tend to perform better than smaller offspring but studies on other taxa are needed. PMID:26559952

  18. Mating status and body size in Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) affect host finding and DEET repellency

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Variations in the conditions accompanying mosquito development and mating can result in females of variable size that have not been inseminated. In this study, we compared the host finding activity of mated and unmated large and small Aedes albopictus and the repellency to these mosquitoes of 25% D...

  19. How the Assumed Size Distribution of Dust Minerals Affects the Predicted Ice Forming Nuclei

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Perlwitz, Jan P.; Fridlind, Ann M.; Garcia-Pando, Carlos Perez; Miller, Ron L.; Knopf, Daniel A.

    2015-01-01

    The formation of ice in clouds depends on the availability of ice forming nuclei (IFN). Dust aerosol particles are considered the most important source of IFN at a global scale. Recent laboratory studies have demonstrated that the mineral feldspar provides the most efficient dust IFN for immersion freezing and together with kaolinite for deposition ice nucleation, and that the phyllosilicates illite and montmorillonite (a member of the smectite group) are of secondary importance.A few studies have applied global models that simulate mineral specific dust to predict the number and geographical distribution of IFN. These studies have been based on the simple assumption that the mineral composition of soil as provided in data sets from the literature translates directly into the mineral composition of the dust aerosols. However, these tables are based on measurements of wet-sieved soil where dust aggregates are destroyed to a large degree. In consequence, the size distribution of dust is shifted to smaller sizes, and phyllosilicates like illite, kaolinite, and smectite are only found in the size range 2 m. In contrast, in measurements of the mineral composition of dust aerosols, the largest mass fraction of these phyllosilicates is found in the size range 2 m as part of dust aggregates. Conversely, the mass fraction of feldspar is smaller in this size range, varying with the geographical location. This may have a significant effect on the predicted IFN number and its geographical distribution.An improved mineral specific dust aerosol module has been recently implemented in the NASA GISS Earth System ModelE2. The dust module takes into consideration the disaggregated state of wet-sieved soil, on which the tables of soil mineral fractions are based. To simulate the atmospheric cycle of the minerals, the mass size distribution of each mineral in aggregates that are emitted from undispersed parent soil is reconstructed. In the current study, we test the null

  20. How the Assumed Size Distribution of Dust Minerals Affects the Predicted Ice Forming Nuclei

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Perlwitz, J. P.; Fridlind, A. M.; Pérez García-Pando, C.; Miller, R. L.; Knopf, D. A.

    2015-12-01

    The formation of ice in clouds depends on the availability of ice forming nuclei (IFN). Dust aerosol particles are considered the most important source of IFN at a global scale. Recent laboratory studies have demonstrated that the mineral feldspar provides the most efficient dust IFN for immersion freezing and together with kaolinite for deposition ice nucleation, and that the phyllosilicates illite and montmorillonite (a member of the smectite group) are of secondary importance.A few studies have applied global models that simulate mineral specific dust to predict the number and geographical distribution of IFN. These studies have been based on the simple assumption that the mineral composition of soil as provided in data sets from the literature translates directly into the mineral composition of the dust aerosols. However, these tables are based on measurements of wet-sieved soil where dust aggregates are destroyed to a large degree. In consequence, the size distribution of dust is shifted to smaller sizes, and phyllosilicates like illite, kaolinite, and smectite are only found in the size range <2 μm. In contrast, in measurements of the mineral composition of dust aerosols, the largest mass fraction of these phyllosilicates is found in the size range >2 μm as part of dust aggregates. Conversely, the mass fraction of feldspar is smaller in this size range, varying with the geographical location. This may have a significant effect on the predicted IFN number and its geographical distribution.An improved mineral specific dust aerosol module has been recently implemented in the NASA GISS Earth System ModelE2. The dust module takes into consideration the disaggregated state of wet-sieved soil, on which the tables of soil mineral fractions are based. To simulate the atmospheric cycle of the minerals, the mass size distribution of each mineral in aggregates that are emitted from undispersed parent soil is reconstructed. In the current study, we test the null

  1. Cell Number Regulator1 affects plant and organ size in maize: implications for crop yield enhancement and heterosis.

    PubMed

    Guo, Mei; Rupe, Mary A; Dieter, Jo Ann; Zou, Jijun; Spielbauer, Daniel; Duncan, Keith E; Howard, Richard J; Hou, Zhenglin; Simmons, Carl R

    2010-04-01

    Genes involved in cell number regulation may affect plant growth and organ size and, ultimately, crop yield. The tomato (genus Solanum) fruit weight gene fw2.2, for instance, governs a quantitative trait locus that accounts for 30% of fruit size variation, with increased fruit size chiefly due to increased carpel ovary cell number. To expand investigation of how related genes may impact other crop plant or organ sizes, we identified the maize (Zea mays) gene family of putative fw2.2 orthologs, naming them Cell Number Regulator (CNR) genes. This family represents an ancient eukaryotic family of Cys-rich proteins containing the PLAC8 or DUF614 conserved motif. We focused on native expression and transgene analysis of the two maize members closest to Le-fw2.2, namely, CNR1 and CNR2. We show that CNR1 reduced overall plant size when ectopically overexpressed and that plant and organ size increased when its expression was cosuppressed or silenced. Leaf epidermal cell counts showed that the increased or decreased transgenic plant and organ size was due to changes in cell number, not cell size. CNR2 expression was found to be negatively correlated with tissue growth activity and hybrid seedling vigor. The effects of CNR1 on plant size and cell number are reminiscent of heterosis, which also increases plant size primarily through increased cell number. Regardless of whether CNRs and other cell number-influencing genes directly contribute to, or merely mimic, heterosis, they may aid generation of more vigorous and productive crop plants.

  2. A size-mediated effect can compensate for transient chilling stress affecting maize (Zea mays) leaf extension.

    PubMed

    Louarn, Gaëtan; Andrieu, Bruno; Giauffret, Catherine

    2010-07-01

    *In this study, we examined the impact of transient chilling in maize (Zea mays). We investigated the respective roles of the direct effects of stressing temperatures and indirect whorl size-mediated effects on the growth of leaves chilled at various stages of development. *Cell production, individual leaf extension and final leaf size of plants grown in a glasshouse under three temperature regimes (a control and two short chilling transfers) were studied using two genotypes contrasting in terms of their architecture. *The kinetics of all the leaves emerging after the stress were affected, but not all final leaf lengths were affected. No size-mediated propagation of an initial growth reduction was observed, but a size-mediated effect was associated with a longer duration of leaf elongation which compensated for reduced leaf elongation rates when leaves were stressed during their early growth. Both cell division and cell expansion contributed to explaining cold-induced responses at the leaf level. *These results demonstrate that leaf elongation kinetics and final leaf length are under the control of processes at the n - 1 (cell proliferation and expansion) and n + 1 (whorl size signal) scales. Both levels may respond to chilling stress with different time lags, making it possible to buffer short-term responses.

  3. Decreased toxicity of Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis to mosquito larvae after contact with leaf litter.

    PubMed

    Tetreau, Guillaume; Stalinski, Renaud; Kersusan, Dylann; Veyrenc, Sylvie; David, Jean-Philippe; Reynaud, Stéphane; Després, Laurence

    2012-08-01

    Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis is a bacterium producing crystals containing Cry and Cyt proteins, which are toxic for mosquito larvae. Nothing is known about the interaction between crystal toxins and decaying leaf litter, which is a major component of several mosquito breeding sites and represents an important food source. In the present work, we investigated the behavior of B. thuringiensis subsp. israelensis toxic crystals sprayed on leaf litter. In the presence of leaf litter, a 60% decrease in the amount of Cyt toxin detectable by immunology (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays [ELISAs]) was observed, while the respective proportions of Cry toxins were not affected. The toxicity of Cry toxins toward Aedes aegypti larvae was not affected by leaf litter, while the synergistic effect of Cyt toxins on all B. thuringiensis subsp. israelensis Cry toxins was decreased by about 20% when mixed with leaf litter. The toxicity of two commercial B. thuringiensis subsp. israelensis strains (VectoBac WG and VectoBac 12AS) and a laboratory-produced B. thuringiensis subsp. israelensis strain decreased by about 70% when mixed with leaf litter. Taken together, these results suggest that Cyt toxins interact with leaf litter, resulting in a decreased toxicity of B. thuringiensis subsp. israelensis in litter-rich environments and thereby dramatically reducing the efficiency of mosquitocidal treatments.

  4. Decreased Toxicity of Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis to Mosquito Larvae after Contact with Leaf Litter

    PubMed Central

    Stalinski, Renaud; Kersusan, Dylann; Veyrenc, Sylvie; David, Jean-Philippe; Reynaud, Stéphane; Després, Laurence

    2012-01-01

    Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis is a bacterium producing crystals containing Cry and Cyt proteins, which are toxic for mosquito larvae. Nothing is known about the interaction between crystal toxins and decaying leaf litter, which is a major component of several mosquito breeding sites and represents an important food source. In the present work, we investigated the behavior of B. thuringiensis subsp. israelensis toxic crystals sprayed on leaf litter. In the presence of leaf litter, a 60% decrease in the amount of Cyt toxin detectable by immunology (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays [ELISAs]) was observed, while the respective proportions of Cry toxins were not affected. The toxicity of Cry toxins toward Aedes aegypti larvae was not affected by leaf litter, while the synergistic effect of Cyt toxins on all B. thuringiensis subsp. israelensis Cry toxins was decreased by about 20% when mixed with leaf litter. The toxicity of two commercial B. thuringiensis subsp. israelensis strains (VectoBac WG and VectoBac 12AS) and a laboratory-produced B. thuringiensis subsp. israelensis strain decreased by about 70% when mixed with leaf litter. Taken together, these results suggest that Cyt toxins interact with leaf litter, resulting in a decreased toxicity of B. thuringiensis subsp. israelensis in litter-rich environments and thereby dramatically reducing the efficiency of mosquitocidal treatments. PMID:22610426

  5. Orthographic Consistency Affects Spoken Word Recognition at Different Grain-Sizes

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dich, Nadya

    2014-01-01

    A number of previous studies found that the consistency of sound-to-spelling mappings (feedback consistency) affects spoken word recognition. In auditory lexical decision experiments, words that can only be spelled one way are recognized faster than words with multiple potential spellings. Previous studies demonstrated this by manipulating…

  6. Does size and buoyancy affect the long-distance transport of floating debris?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ryan, Peter G.

    2015-08-01

    Floating persistent debris, primarily made from plastic, disperses long distances from source areas and accumulates in oceanic gyres. However, biofouling can increase the density of debris items to the point where they sink. Buoyancy is related to item volume, whereas fouling is related to surface area, so small items (which have high surface area to volume ratios) should start to sink sooner than large items. Empirical observations off South Africa support this prediction: moving offshore from coastal source areas there is an increase in the size of floating debris, an increase in the proportion of highly buoyant items (e.g. sealed bottles, floats and foamed plastics), and a decrease in the proportion of thin items such as plastic bags and flexible packaging which have high surface area to volume ratios. Size-specific sedimentation rates may be one reason for the apparent paucity of small plastic items floating in the world’s oceans.

  7. Does Cation Size Affect Occupancy and Electrostatic Screening of the Nucleic Acid Ion Atmosphere?

    PubMed

    Gebala, Magdalena; Bonilla, Steve; Bisaria, Namita; Herschlag, Daniel

    2016-08-31

    Electrostatics are central to all aspects of nucleic acid behavior, including their folding, condensation, and binding to other molecules, and the energetics of these processes are profoundly influenced by the ion atmosphere that surrounds nucleic acids. Given the highly complex and dynamic nature of the ion atmosphere, understanding its properties and effects will require synergy between computational modeling and experiment. Prior computational models and experiments suggest that cation occupancy in the ion atmosphere depends on the size of the cation. However, the computational models have not been independently tested, and the experimentally observed effects were small. Here, we evaluate a computational model of ion size effects by experimentally testing a blind prediction made from that model, and we present additional experimental results that extend our understanding of the ion atmosphere. Giambasu et al. developed and implemented a three-dimensional reference interaction site (3D-RISM) model for monovalent cations surrounding DNA and RNA helices, and this model predicts that Na(+) would outcompete Cs(+) by 1.8-2.1-fold; i.e., with Cs(+) in 2-fold excess of Na(+) the ion atmosphere would contain an equal number of each cation (Nucleic Acids Res. 2015, 43, 8405). However, our ion counting experiments indicate that there is no significant preference for Na(+) over Cs(+). There is an ∼25% preferential occupancy of Li(+) over larger cations in the ion atmosphere but, counter to general expectations from existing models, no size dependence for the other alkali metal ions. Further, we followed the folding of the P4-P6 RNA and showed that differences in folding with different alkali metal ions observed at high concentration arise from cation-anion interactions and not cation size effects. Overall, our results provide a critical test of a computational prediction, fundamental information about ion atmosphere properties, and parameters that will aid in the

  8. Microclimatic Divergence in a Mediterranean Canyon Affects Richness, Composition, and Body Size in Saproxylic Beetle Assemblages.

    PubMed

    Buse, Jörn; Fassbender, Samuel; Entling, Martin H; Pavlicek, Tomas

    2015-01-01

    Large valleys with opposing slopes may act as a model system with which the effects of strong climatic gradients on biodiversity can be evaluated. The advantage of such comparisons is that the impact of a change of climate can be studied on the same species pool without the need to consider regional differences. The aim of this study was to compare the assemblage of saproxylic beetles on such opposing slopes at Lower Nahal Oren, Mt. Carmel, Israel (also known as "Evolution Canyon") with a 200-800% higher solar radiation on the south-facing (SFS) compared to the north-facing slope (NFS). We tested specific hypotheses of species richness patterns, assemblage structure, and body size resulting from interslope differences in microclimate. Fifteen flight-interception traps per slope were distributed over three elevation levels ranging from 50 to 100 m a.s.l. Richness of saproxylic beetles was on average 34% higher on the SFS compared with the NFS, with no detected influence of elevation levels. Both assemblage structure and average body size were determined by slope aspect, with more small-bodied beetles found on the SFS. Both the increase in species richness and the higher prevalence of small species on the SFS reflect ecological rules present on larger spatial grain (species-energy hypothesis and community body size shift hypothesis), and both can be explained by the metabolic theory of ecology. This is encouraging for the complementary use of micro- and macroclimatic gradients to study impacts of climate warming on biodiversity.

  9. Flowering synchrony and floral display size affect pollination success in a deceit-pollinated tropical orchid

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Parra-Tabla, Victor; Vargas, Carlos F.

    2007-07-01

    ue to frequency-dependent negative selection, a strong relationship between reproductive phenology traits and pollination success is expected in deceit-pollinated species. This paper assesses the effects of floral display size on both female (fruit production) and male (pollen removal) pollination success in a population of the deceit-pollinated tropical orchid Myrmecophila christinae during two consecutive years (1998-1999). Low pollen removal (˜9% of total flowers) and fruit production values (˜3% of total flowers) were recorded during both years. As expected, binary logistic regressions showed a significant negative effect of floral synchrony, and a positive effect of floral display size on both male and female success, although these effects varied across years. Pollination rates in the field and in hand pollinations suggest a doubling in pollinator abundance between years. Results suggest that floral display size and flowering synchrony are of adaptive value for M. christinae. However, between-year fluctuations might indicate that reproductive phenology traits in deceit-pollinated species undergo fluctuating selection regimes among years and are probably linked to short-term changes in environmental (abiotic and biotic) conditions.

  10. COVERING THEIR BUTTS: RESPONSES TO THE CIGARETTE LITTER PROBLEM

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Elizabeth A.; McDaniel, Patricia A.

    2011-01-01

    Background Cigarette butt litter is a potential target of tobacco control. In addition to its toxicity and non-biodegradability, it can justify environmental regulation and policies that raise the price of tobacco and further denormalize its use. This paper examines how the tobacco industry has managed the cigarette butt litter issue and how the issue has been covered in the media. Methods We searched the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library (http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu) using a snowball strategy. We analyzed data from approximately 700 documents, dated 1959–2006, using an interpretive approach. We also searched two newspaper databases, Lexis/Nexis and Newsbank, and found 406 relevant articles, dated 1982–2009 which we analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively. Results The tobacco industry monitored and developed strategies for dealing with the cigarette litter issue because it affected the social acceptability of smoking, created the potential for alliances between tobacco control and environmental advocates, and created a target for regulation. The industry developed anti-litter programs with Keep America Beautiful (KAB) and similar organizations. Media coverage focused on industry-acceptable solutions, such as volunteer clean-ups and installation of ashtrays; stories that mentioned KAB were also more frequently positive toward the tobacco industry. Among alternative approaches, clean outdoor air laws received the most media attention. Conclusions Cigarette litter, like secondhand smoke, is the result of smoker behavior and affects nonsmokers. The tobacco industry has tried and failed to mitigate the impact of cigarette litter. Tobacco control advocates should explore alliances with environmental groups and propose policy options that hold the industry accountable for cigarette waste. PMID:20966130

  11. [Decomposition and phosphorus dynamics of the litters in standing and litterbag of the Hangzhou Bay coastal wetland ].

    PubMed

    Shao, Xue-xin; Liang, Xin-qiang; Wu, Ming; Ye, Xiao-qi; Jiang, Ke-yi

    2014-09-01

    Wetlands litter decomposition affects wetlands nutrient cycling. The decomposition progress of standing litter was monitored and the litterbag simulation experiment was carried out in order to analyze dynamics of litter decomposition and phosphorus release in Phragmites australis (PA), Spartina alterniflora (SA) and Scirpus mariqueter (SM) marshes of Hangzhou Bay coastal wetland. Results show that the dry mass of standing litter and P concentration decrease gradually and the litter drops to the sediment surface after 180 d. There are distinctive stages of the plant litter decomposition in litterbag simulation experiments. The loss rate is faster during 0- 15 d than that of later days. The loss rate in root decomposition of three plants are SM > PA > SA, while the trend is opposite for that of aboveground tissues. The time needed for 95% of dry mass decomposition in the plant tissues is between 1. 2- 8. 3 a. The P concentration in litters decreases rapidly in the initial stage and then increases slowly while the net P pools decreases all the time. Pearson's correlation coefficient shows that there is no significant correlation between the litter decomposition rate and C/N ratio. However, the litter C/P ratio affects greatly on plant decomposition rate. Environmental factors in the atmospheric temperature also have an impact on the decomposition rate of leaves. The different decomposition progresses between standing litter and litterbag are caused by environmental factors.

  12. 46 CFR 108.709 - Litter.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-10-01

    ... 46 Shipping 4 2010-10-01 2010-10-01 false Litter. 108.709 Section 108.709 Shipping COAST GUARD, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (CONTINUED) A-MOBILE OFFSHORE DRILLING UNITS DESIGN AND EQUIPMENT Miscellaneous Equipment § 108.709 Litter. Each unit must have a litter that is— (a) Stowed in a location that...

  13. Poultry Industry Trends for Litter Utilization

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Broiler litter utilization falls primarily into two broad categories, as fertilizer or in litter-to-energy processes. Without economic, environmentally sound litter uses, potential or real regional litigation may force alternative management that can be detrimental to the grower’s bottom line as wel...

  14. 46 CFR 108.709 - Litter.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-10-01

    ... 46 Shipping 4 2011-10-01 2011-10-01 false Litter. 108.709 Section 108.709 Shipping COAST GUARD, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (CONTINUED) A-MOBILE OFFSHORE DRILLING UNITS DESIGN AND EQUIPMENT Miscellaneous Equipment § 108.709 Litter. Each unit must have a litter that is— (a) Stowed in a location that...

  15. Microsatellite DNA suggests that group size affects sex-biased dispersal patterns in red colobus monkeys.

    PubMed

    Miyamoto, Michael M; Allen, Julie M; Gogarten, Jan F; Chapman, Colin A

    2013-05-01

    Dispersal is a major life history trait of social organisms influencing the behavioral and genetic structure of their groups. Unfortunately, primate dispersal is difficult to quantify, because of the rarity of these events and our inability to ascertain if individuals dispersed or died when they disappear. Socioecological models have been partially developed to understand the ecological causes of different dispersal systems and their social consequences. However, these models have yielded confusing results when applied to folivores. The folivorous red colobus monkey (Procolobus rufomitratus) in Kibale National Park, Uganda is thought to exhibit female-biased dispersal, although both sexes have been observed to disperse and there remains considerable debate over the selective pressures favoring the transfers of males and females and the causes of variation in the proportion of each sex to leave the natal group. We circumvent this problem by using microsatellite DNA data to investigate the prediction that female dispersal will be more frequent in larger groups as compared to smaller ones. The rationale for this prediction is that red colobus exhibit increased within-group competition in bigger groups, which should favor higher female dispersal rates and ultimately lower female relatedness. Genetic data from two unequally sized neighboring groups of red colobus demonstrate increased female relatedness within the smaller group, suggesting females are less likely to disperse when there is less within-group competition. We suggest that the dispersal system is mediated to some degree by scramble competition and group size. Since red colobus group sizes have increased throughout Kibale by over 50% in the last decade, these changes may have major implications for the genetic structure and ultimately the population viability of this endangered primate.

  16. Hypothyroidism affects differentially the cell size of epithelial cells among oviductal regions of rabbits.

    PubMed

    Anaya-Hernández, A; Rodríguez-Castelán, J; Nicolás, L; Martínez-Gómez, M; Jiménez-Estrada, I; Castelán, F; Cuevas, E

    2015-02-01

    Oviductal regions show particular histological characteristics and functions. Tubal pathologies and hypothyroidism are related to primary and secondary infertility. The impact of hypothyroidism on the histological characteristics of oviductal regions has been scarcely studied. Our aim was to analyse the histological characteristics of oviductal regions in control and hypothyroid rabbits. Hypothyroidism was induced by oral administration of methimazole (MMI) for 30 days. For both groups, serum concentrations of thyroid and gonadal hormones were determined. Sections of oviductal regions were stained with the Masson's trichrome technique to analyse both epithelial and smooth muscle layers. The percentage of proliferative epithelial cells (anti-Ki67) in diverse oviductal regions was also quantified. Data were compared with Student t-test, Mann-Whitney U-test, or Fischer's test. In comparison with the control group, the hypothyroid group showed: (i) a low concentration of T3 and T4, but a high level of TSH; (ii) similar values of serum estradiol, progesterone and testosterone; (iii) a large size of ciliated cells in the ampulla (AMP), isthmus (IST) and utero-tubal junction (UTJ); (iv) a large size of secretory cells in the IST region; (v) a low percentage of proliferative secretory cells in the fimbria-infundibulum (FIM-INF) region; and (vi) a similar thickness of the smooth muscle layer and the cross-sectional area in the AMP and IST regions. Modifications in the size of the oviductal epithelium in hypothyroid rabbits could be related to changes in the cell metabolism that may impact on the reproductive functions achieved by oviduct.

  17. Microsatellite DNA Suggests that Group Size Affects Sex-biased Dispersal Patterns in Red Colobus Monkeys

    PubMed Central

    Miyamoto, Michael M.; Allen, Julie M.; Gogarten, Jan F.; Chapman, Colin A.

    2013-01-01

    Dispersal is a major life history trait of social organisms influencing the behavioral and genetic structure of their groups. Unfortunately, primate dispersal is difficult to quantify, because of the rarity of these events and our inability to ascertain if individuals dispersed or died when they disappear. Socioecological models have been partially developed to understand the ecological causes of different dispersal systems and their social consequences. However, these models have yielded confusing results when applied to folivores. The folivorous red colobus monkey (Procolobus rufomitratus) in Kibale National Park, Uganda is thought to exhibit female-biased dispersal, although both sexes have been observed to disperse and there remains considerable debate over the selective pressures favoring the transfers of males and females and the causes of variation in the proportion of each sex to leave the natal group. We circumvent this problem by using microsatellite DNA data to investigate the prediction that female dispersal will be more frequent in larger groups as compared to smaller ones. The rationale for this prediction is that red colobus exhibit increased within-group competition in bigger groups, which should favor higher female dispersal rates and ultimately lower female relatedness. Genetic data from two unequally sized neighboring groups of red colobus demonstrate increased female relatedness within the smaller group, suggesting females are less likely to disperse when there is less within-group competition. We suggest that the dispersal system is mediated to some degree by scramble competition and group size. Since red colobus group sizes have increased throughout Kibale by over 50% in the last decade, these changes may have major implications for the genetic structure and ultimately the population viability of this endangered primate. PMID:23307485

  18. Microclimatic Divergence in a Mediterranean Canyon Affects Richness, Composition, and Body Size in Saproxylic Beetle Assemblages

    PubMed Central

    Buse, Jörn; Fassbender, Samuel; Entling, Martin H.; Pavlicek, Tomas

    2015-01-01

    Large valleys with opposing slopes may act as a model system with which the effects of strong climatic gradients on biodiversity can be evaluated. The advantage of such comparisons is that the impact of a change of climate can be studied on the same species pool without the need to consider regional differences. The aim of this study was to compare the assemblage of saproxylic beetles on such opposing slopes at Lower Nahal Oren, Mt. Carmel, Israel (also known as “Evolution Canyon”) with a 200–800% higher solar radiation on the south-facing (SFS) compared to the north-facing slope (NFS). We tested specific hypotheses of species richness patterns, assemblage structure, and body size resulting from interslope differences in microclimate. Fifteen flight-interception traps per slope were distributed over three elevation levels ranging from 50 to 100 m a.s.l. Richness of saproxylic beetles was on average 34% higher on the SFS compared with the NFS, with no detected influence of elevation levels. Both assemblage structure and average body size were determined by slope aspect, with more small-bodied beetles found on the SFS. Both the increase in species richness and the higher prevalence of small species on the SFS reflect ecological rules present on larger spatial grain (species-energy hypothesis and community body size shift hypothesis), and both can be explained by the metabolic theory of ecology. This is encouraging for the complementary use of micro- and macroclimatic gradients to study impacts of climate warming on biodiversity. PMID:26047491

  19. Variability of aboveground litter inputs alters soil physicochemical and biological processes: a meta-analysis of litterfall-manipulation experiments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xu, S.; Liu, L.; Sayer, E. J.

    2013-03-01

    Global change has been shown to greatly alter the amount of aboveground litter inputs to soil, which could cause substantial cascading effects on belowground biogeochemical cyling. Although having been studied extensively, there is uncertainty about how changes in aboveground litter inputs affect soil carbon and nutrient turnover and transformation. Here, we conducted a comprehensive compilation of 68 studies on litter addition or removal experiments, and used meta-analysis to assess the responses of soil physicochemical properties and carbon and nutrient cycling under changed aboveground litter inputs. Our results suggested that litter addition or removal could significantly alter soil temperature and moisture, but not soil pH. Litter inputs were more crucial in buffering soil temperature and moisture fluctuations in grassland than in forest. Soil respiration, soil microbial biomass carbon and total carbon in the mineral soil increased with increasing litter inputs, suggesting that soil acted as a~net carbon sink although carbon loss and transformation increased with increasing litter inputs. Total nitrogen and the C : N ratio in the mineral soil increased with increased litter inputs. However, there was no correlation between litter inputs and extractable inorganic nitrogen in the mineral soil. Compared to other ecosystems, tropical and subtropical forests are more sensitive to variation in litter inputs. Increased or decreased litter inputs altered the turnover and accumulation of soil carbon and nutrient in tropical and subtropical forests more substantially over a shorter time period compared to other ecosystems. Overall, our study suggested that, although the magnitude of responses differed greatly among ecosystems, increased litter inputs generally accelerated the decomposition and accumulation of carbon and nutrients in soil, and decreased litter inputs reduced them.

  20. Body size affects individual winter foraging strategies of thick-billed murres in the Bering Sea.

    PubMed

    Orben, Rachael A; Paredes, Rosana; Roby, Daniel D; Irons, David B; Shaffer, Scott A

    2015-11-01

    Foraging and migration often require different energetic and movement strategies. Though not readily apparent, constraints during one phase might influence the foraging strategies observed in another. For marine birds that fly and dive, body size constraints likely present a trade-off between foraging ability and migration as smaller bodies reduce flight costs, whereas larger bodies are advantageous for diving deeper. This study examines individual wintering strategies of deep diving thick-billed murres (Uria lomvia) breeding at three colonies in the south-eastern Bering Sea: St Paul, St George and Bogoslof. These colonies, arranged north to south, are located such that breeding birds forage in a gradient from shelf to deep-water habitats. We used geolocation time-depth recorders and stable isotopes from feathers to determine differences in foraging behaviour and diet of murres during three non-breeding periods, 2008-2011. Body size was quantified by a principal component analysis (wing, culmen, head+bill and tarsus length). A hierarchical cluster analysis identified winter foraging strategies based on individual movement, diving behaviour and diet (inferred from stable isotopes). Structural body size differed by breeding island. Larger birds from St Paul had higher wing loading than smaller birds from St George. Larger birds, mainly from St Paul, dove to deeper depths, spent more time in the Bering Sea, and likely consumed higher trophic-level prey in late winter. Three winter foraging strategies were identified. The main strategy, employed by small birds from all three breeding colonies in the first 2 years, was characterized by high residency areas in the North Pacific south of the Aleutians and nocturnal diving. In contrast, 31% of birds from St Paul remained in the Bering Sea and foraged mainly during the day, apparently feeding on higher trophic-level prey. Throat feather stable isotopes indicated that individuals exhibited flexibility in the use of this

  1. Seasonality, weather and climate affect home range size in roe deer across a wide latitudinal gradient within Europe.

    PubMed

    Morellet, Nicolas; Bonenfant, Christophe; Börger, Luca; Ossi, Federico; Cagnacci, Francesca; Heurich, Marco; Kjellander, Petter; Linnell, John D C; Nicoloso, Sandro; Sustr, Pavel; Urbano, Ferdinando; Mysterud, Atle

    2013-11-01

    1. Because many large mammal species have wide geographical ranges, spatially distant populations may be confronted with different sets of environmental conditions. Investigating how home range (HR) size varies across environmental gradients should yield a better understanding of the factors affecting large mammal ecology. 2. We evaluated how HR size of a large herbivore, the roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), varies in relation to seasonality, latitude (climate), weather, plant productivity and landscape features across its geographical range in Western Europe. As roe deer are income breeders, expected to adjust HR size continuously to temporal variation in food resources and energetic requirements, our baseline prediction was for HR size to decrease with proxies of resource availability. 3. We used GPS locations of roe deer collected from seven study sites (EURODEER collaborative project) to estimate fixed-kernel HR size at weekly and monthly temporal scales. We performed an unusually comprehensive analysis of variation in HR size among and within populations over time across the geographical range of a single species using generalized additive mixed models and linear mixed models, respectively. 4. Among populations, HR size decreased with increasing values for proxies of forage abundance, but increased with increases in seasonality, stochastic variation of temperature, latitude and snow cover. Within populations, roe deer HR size varied over time in relation to seasonality and proxies of forage abundance in a consistent way across the seven populations. Thus, our findings were broadly consistent across the distributional range of this species, demonstrating a strong and ubiquitous link between the amplitude and timing of environmental seasonality and HR size at the continental scale. 5. Overall, the variability in average HR size of roe deer across Europe reflects the interaction among local weather, climate and seasonality, providing valuable insight into the

  2. Social group size affects Mycobacterium bovis infection in European badgers (Meles meles).

    PubMed

    Woodroffe, Rosie; Donnelly, Christl A; Wei, Gao; Cox, D R; Bourne, F John; Burke, Terry; Butlin, Roger K; Cheeseman, C L; Gettinby, George; Gilks, Peter; Hedges, Simon; Jenkins, Helen E; Johnston, W Thomas; McInerney, John P; Morrison, W Ivan; Pope, Lisa C

    2009-07-01

    1. In most social animals, the prevalence of directly transmitted pathogens increases in larger groups and at higher population densities. Such patterns are predicted by models of Mycobacterium bovis infection in European badgers (Meles meles). 2. We investigated the relationship between badger abundance and M. bovis prevalence, using data on 2696 adult badgers in 10 populations sampled at the start of the Randomized Badger Culling Trial. 3. M. bovis prevalence was consistently higher at low badger densities and in small social groups. M. bovis prevalence was also higher among badgers whose genetic profiles suggested that they had immigrated into their assigned social groups. 4. The association between high M. bovis prevalence and small badger group size appeared not to have been caused by previous small-scale culling in study areas, which had been suspended, on average, 5 years before the start of the current study. 5. The observed pattern of prevalence might occur through badgers in smaller groups interacting more frequently with members of neighbouring groups; detailed behavioural data are needed to test this hypothesis. Likewise, longitudinal data are needed to determine whether the size of infected groups might be suppressed by disease-related mortality. 6. Although M. bovis prevalence was lower at high population densities, the absolute number of infected badgers was higher. However, this does not necessarily mean that the risk of M. bovis transmission to cattle is highest at high badger densities, since transmission risk depends on badger behaviour as well as on badger density.

  3. Putting Up a Big Front: Car Design and Size Affect Road-Crossing Behaviour.

    PubMed

    Klatt, Wilhelm K; Chesham, Alvin; Lobmaier, Janek S

    2016-01-01

    Previous research suggests that people tend to see faces in car fronts and that they attribute personality characteristics to car faces. In the present study we investigated whether car design influences pedestrian road-crossing behaviour. An immersive virtual reality environment with a zebra crossing scenario was used to determine a) whether the minimum accepted distance for crossing the street is larger for cars with a dominant appearance than for cars with a friendly appearance and b) whether the speed of dominant-looking cars is overestimated as compared to friendly-looking cars. Participants completed both tasks while either standing on the pavement or on the centre island. We found that people started to cross the road later in front of friendly-looking low-power cars compared to dominant-looking high-power cars, but only if the cars were relatively large in size. For small cars we found no effect of power. The speed of smaller cars was estimated to be higher compared to large cars (size-speed bias). Furthermore, there was an effect of starting position: From the centre island, participants entered the road significantly later (i. e. closer to the approaching car) and left the road later than when starting from the pavement. Similarly, the speed of the cars was estimated significantly lower when standing on the centre island compared to the pavement. To our knowledge, this is the first study to show that car fronts elicit responses on a behavioural level.

  4. Putting Up a Big Front: Car Design and Size Affect Road-Crossing Behaviour

    PubMed Central

    Klatt, Wilhelm K.; Chesham, Alvin; Lobmaier, Janek S.

    2016-01-01

    Previous research suggests that people tend to see faces in car fronts and that they attribute personality characteristics to car faces. In the present study we investigated whether car design influences pedestrian road-crossing behaviour. An immersive virtual reality environment with a zebra crossing scenario was used to determine a) whether the minimum accepted distance for crossing the street is larger for cars with a dominant appearance than for cars with a friendly appearance and b) whether the speed of dominant-looking cars is overestimated as compared to friendly-looking cars. Participants completed both tasks while either standing on the pavement or on the centre island. We found that people started to cross the road later in front of friendly-looking low-power cars compared to dominant-looking high-power cars, but only if the cars were relatively large in size. For small cars we found no effect of power. The speed of smaller cars was estimated to be higher compared to large cars (size-speed bias). Furthermore, there was an effect of starting position: From the centre island, participants entered the road significantly later (i. e. closer to the approaching car) and left the road later than when starting from the pavement. Similarly, the speed of the cars was estimated significantly lower when standing on the centre island compared to the pavement. To our knowledge, this is the first study to show that car fronts elicit responses on a behavioural level. PMID:27434187

  5. Alterations in seed development gene expression affect size and oil content of Arabidopsis seeds.

    PubMed

    Fatihi, Abdelhak; Zbierzak, Anna Maria; Dörmann, Peter

    2013-10-01

    Seed endosperm development in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) is under control of the polycomb group complex, which includes Fertilization Independent Endosperm (FIE). The polycomb group complex regulates downstream factors, e.g. Pheres1 (PHE1), by genomic imprinting. In heterozygous fie mutants, an endosperm develops in ovules carrying a maternal fie allele without fertilization, finally leading to abortion. Another endosperm development pathway depends on MINISEED3 (a WRKY10 transcription factor) and HAIKU2 (a leucine-rich repeat kinase). While the role of seed development genes in the embryo and endosperm establishment has been studied in detail, their impact on metabolism and oil accumulation remained unclear. Analysis of oil, protein, and sucrose accumulation in mutants and overexpression plants of the four seed development genes revealed that (1) seeds carrying a maternal fie allele accumulate low oil with an altered composition of triacylglycerol molecular species; (2) homozygous mutant seeds of phe1, mini3, and iku2, which are smaller, accumulate less oil and slightly less protein, and starch, which accumulates early during seed development, remains elevated in mutant seeds; (3) embryo-specific overexpression of FIE, PHE1, and MINI3 has no influence on seed size and weight, nor on oil, protein, or sucrose content; and (4) overexpression of IKU2 results in seeds with increased size and weight, and oil content of overexpressed IKU2 seeds is increased by 35%. Thus, IKU2 overexpression represents a novel strategy for the genetic manipulation of the oil content in seeds.

  6. How body size affects middle-ear structure and function and auditory sensitivity in gekkonoid lizards.

    PubMed

    Werner, Y L; Montgomery, L G; Safford, S D; Igic, P G; Saunders, J C

    1998-02-01

    Gekkonoid lizards increase in body size throughout life, and the present study investigates whether changes in auditory function accompany these increases. Middle-ear structures in four groups of animals, adults and juveniles of two gekkonoid species (Eublepharis macularius and Oedura marmorata), were examined. Tympanic membrane velocity and phase were also measured in all four groups. An indication of peripheral auditory function was obtained for each group by measuring compound action potentials (CAPs) from the round window membrane. The middle-ear contribution to CAP thresholds was obtained by comparing threshold levels of the CAP response with and without an intact middle-ear system. The results from these studies indicated that significant changes occurred in middle-ear structure, tympanic membrane velocity and CAP threshold between the younger and older animals. In addition, the adults of both species exhibited better auditory function when the acoustic stimulus was delivered to the tympanic membrane than when it was delivered to the columella footplate. The findings show clearly that increased body size (or age) is accompanied by functional changes in the auditory periphery.

  7. Shrub encroachment in Arctic tundra: Betula nana effects on above- and belowground litter decomposition.

    PubMed

    McLaren, Jennie R; Buckeridge, Kate M; van de Weg, Martine J; Shaver, Gaius R; Schimel, Joshua P; Gough, Laura

    2017-03-06

    Rapid arctic vegetation change as a result of global warming includes an increase in the cover and biomass of deciduous shrubs. Increases in shrub abundance will result in a proportional increase of shrub litter in the litter community, potentially affecting carbon turnover rates in arctic ecosystems. We investigated the effects of leaf and root litter of a deciduous shrub, Betula nana, on decomposition, by examining species-specific decomposition patterns, as well as effects of Betula litter on the decomposition of other species. We conducted a 2-yr decomposition experiment in moist acidic tundra in northern Alaska, where we decomposed three tundra species (Vaccinium vitis-idaea, Rhododendron palustre, and Eriophorum vaginatum) alone and in combination with Betula litter. Decomposition patterns for leaf and root litter were determined using three different measures of decomposition (mass loss, respiration, extracellular enzyme activity). We report faster decomposition of Betula leaf litter compared to other species, with support for species differences coming from all three measures of decomposition. Mixing effects were less consistent among the measures, with negative mixing effects shown only for mass loss. In contrast, there were few species differences or mixing effects for root decomposition. Overall, we attribute longer-term litter mass loss patterns to patterns created by early decomposition processes in the first winter. We note numerous differences for species patterns between leaf and root decomposition, indicating that conclusions from leaf litter experiments should not be extrapolated to below-ground decomposition. The high decomposition rates of Betula leaf litter aboveground, and relatively similar decomposition rates of multiple species below, suggest a potential for increases in turnover in the fast-decomposing carbon pool of leaves and fine roots as the dominance of deciduous shrubs in the Arctic increases, but this outcome may be tempered by

  8. Annual litter fall in an intact mixed dipterocarp forest of Brunei Darussalam

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roh, Yujin; Lee, Jongyeol; Lee, Sohye; Abu Salim, Kamariah; Davies, Stuart James; Son, Yowhan

    2016-04-01

    Estimating litter dynamics in an intact tropical forests is important for understanding tropical forests. Litter fall varies with seasonality, forest type or species composition, forest age, soil water retention, and soil fertility. These parameters are known to be strongly affected by elevation. The objective of this study was to estimate annual litter fall along a relative elevation in an intact mixed dipterocarp forest of Brunei Darussalam. This study was conducted in the Kuala Belalong lowland MDF, which is part of the Ulu Tembulong National Park, Brunei Darussalam. Five 0.36 ha plots were established within the permanent 25 ha UBD-CTFS plot. The plots were divided into three groups by relative elevation of the site: 1) high (N = 1), 2) middle (N = 2) and 3) low (N = 2). In January 2015, nine litter traps were installed in each plot and falling litter was collected every month from February to November, 2015. The collected litter was separated into leaves and other materials, and then weighed after drying at 80oC. The average annual litter fall in this site was 8.70 ± 0.16 Mg ha-1 yr-1, and this was within the range reported in previous studies which were conducted in tropical forests. Litter fall at high, middle and low plots was 9.09 ± 0.46, 8.90 ± 0.29 and 8.06 ± 0.29 Mg ha-1 yr-1, respectively. Litter fall was not significantly different among the groups (P>0.05). The results of regression analysis showed that litter fall was not significantly increased with altitude. We suppose that litter fall may be relatively constant in this site. *Supported by research grants from the Korea Forest Service (S121314L130100)

  9. The reconstruction of choice value in the brain: a look into the size of consideration sets and their affective consequences.

    PubMed

    Kim, Hye-Young; Shin, Yeonsoon; Han, Sanghoon

    2014-04-01

    It has been proposed that choice utility exhibits an inverted U-shape as a function of the number of options in the choice set. However, most researchers have so far only focused on the "physically extant" number of options in the set while disregarding the more important psychological factor, the "subjective" number of options worth considering to choose-that is, the size of the consideration set. To explore this previously ignored aspect, we examined how variations in the size of a consideration set can produce different affective consequences after making choices and investigated the underlying neural mechanism using fMRI. After rating their preferences for art posters, participants made a choice from a presented set and then reported on their level of satisfaction with their choice and the level of difficulty experienced in choosing it. Our behavioral results demonstrated that enlarged assortment set can lead to greater choice satisfaction only when increases in both consideration set size and preference contrast are involved. Moreover, choice difficulty is determined based on the size of an individual's consideration set rather than on the size of the assortment set, and it decreases linearly as a function of the level of contrast among alternatives. The neuroimaging analysis of choice-making revealed that subjective consideration set size was encoded in the striatum, the dACC, and the insula. In addition, the striatum also represented variations in choice satisfaction resulting from alterations in the size of consideration sets, whereas a common neural specificity for choice difficulty and consideration set size was shown in the dACC. These results have theoretical and practical importance in that it is one of the first studies investigating the influence of the psychological attributes of choice sets on the value-based decision-making process.

  10. Galling by Rhopalomyia solidaginis alters Solidago altissima architecture and litter nutrient dynamics in an old-field ecosystem

    SciTech Connect

    Crutsinger, Greg; Habenicht, Melissa N; Classen, Aimee T; Schweitzer, Jennifer A; Sanders, Dr. Nathan James

    2008-01-01

    Plant-insect interactions can alter ecosystem processes, especially if the insects modify plant architecture, quality, or the quantity of leaf litter inputs. In this study, we investigated the interactions between the gall midge Rhopalomyia solidaginis and tall goldenrod, Solidago altissima, to quantify the degree to which the midge alters plant architecture and how the galls affect rates of litter decomposition and nutrient release in an old-field ecosystem. R. solidaginis commonly leads to the formation of a distinct apical rosette gall on S. altissima and approximately 15% of the ramets in a S. altissima patch were galled (range: 3-34%). Aboveground biomass of galled ramets was 60% higher and the leaf area density was four times greater on galled leaf tissue relative to the portions of the plant that were not affected by the gall. Overall decomposition rate constants did not differ between galled and ungalled leaf litter. However, leaf-litter mass loss was lower in galled litter relative to ungalled litter, which was likely driven by modest differences in initial litter chemistry; this effect diminished after 12 weeks of decomposition in the field. The proportion of N remaining was always higher in galled litter than in ungalled litter at each collection date indicating differential release of nitrogen in galled leaf litter. Several studies have shown that plant-insect interactions on woody species can alter ecosystem processes by affecting the quality or quantity of litter inputs. Our results illustrate how plant-insect interactions in an herbaceous species can affect ecosystem processes by altering the quality and quantity of litter inputs. Given that S. altissima dominates fields and roadsides and that R. solidaginis galls are highly abundant throughout eastern North America, these interactions are likely to be important for both the structure and function of old-field ecosystems.

  11. Influence of litter chemistry and stoichiometry on glucan depolymerization during decomposition of beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) litter.

    PubMed

    Leitner, Sonja; Wanek, Wolfgang; Wild, Birgit; Haemmerle, Ieda; Kohl, Lukas; Keiblinger, Katharina M; Zechmeister-Boltenstern, Sophie; Richter, Andreas

    2012-07-01

    highly correlated to cellulase activities, suggesting that cellulose was the primary substrate for glucan depolymerization at this stage of decomposition. Litter stoichiometry did not affect glucan depolymerization or glucose consumption rates early in decomposition. At later stages, however, we found significant negative relationships between glucan depolymerization and litter C:N and AUR:N ratio and a positive relationship between glucan depolymerization and litter N concentration. Litter C:N and C:P ratios were negatively related to cellulase, peroxidase and phenoloxidase activities three and six months after incubation, further corroborating the importance of resource stoichiometry for glucan depolymerization after the initial pulse of starch degradation.

  12. [Soluble organic carbon in plant litters on Loess Plateau: content and biodegradability].

    PubMed

    Wang, Chun-yang; Zhou, Jian-bin; Xia, Zhi-min; Chen, Xing-li

    2010-12-01

    The litters of eight plant species from the Loess Plateau were cut into pieces with 2 mm and 1 cm in size, and extracted with distilled water and 0.01 mol x L(-1) CaCl2 to determine the soluble organic carbon (SOC) content. In the meantime, a 7-day indoor incubation test was conducted at (25 +/- 3) degrees C to investigate their biodegradability. The SOC content and the ratio of SOC to total carbon (SOC/TC) in the litters were 18.20-156.82 g x kg(-1) and 4.21%-32.84%, respectively. Shrub litter had a slightly higher SOC content than tree litter, while grass litter had the lowest SOC content. After 7-day incubation, the biodegradation rate of SOC in the plant litters ranged from 44.5% to 80.6% (62.9% on average), and decreased in the order of shrub > tree > grass. By the end of the incubation, the proportion of soluble organic matter in solution had a significant increasing trend, which was related to the rapid biodegradation of labile composition in the litters. The higher content and higher biodegradation rate of SOC in plant litters might play important roles in nutrient cycling and energy flow during the vegetation restoration on Loess Plateau.

  13. [Sizes of soil macropores and related main affecting factors on a vegetated basalt slope].

    PubMed

    Guan, Qi; Xu, Ze-Min; Tian, Lin

    2013-10-01

    The landslide on vegetated slopes caused by extreme weather has being increased steadily, and the preferential flow in soil macropores plays an important role in the landslide. By using water breakthrough curve and Poiseuille equation, this paper estimated the radius range, amount, and average volume of soil macropores on a vegetated basalt slope of Maka Mountain, Southwest China, and analyzed the distribution of the soil macropores and the main affecting factors. In the study area, the radius of soil macropores ranged from 0.3 to 1.8 mm, mainly between 0.5 and 1.2 mm. The large-radius macropores (1.4-1.8 mm) were lesser, while the small-radius macropores (< 1.4 mm) were more. With the development of soil profile, soil macropores were more in upper layers and lesser in deeper layers. The average volume of the macropores contributed 84.7% to the variance of steady effluent rate. Among the factors affecting the average volume of the large macropores, vegetations root mass had a linear relationship, with the correlation coefficient being 0.70, and soil organic matter content also had a linear relationship, with the correlation coefficient being 0.64.

  14. Nitrogen stress affects the turnover and size of nitrogen pools supplying leaf growth in a grass.

    PubMed

    Lehmeier, Christoph Andreas; Wild, Melanie; Schnyder, Hans

    2013-08-01

    The effect of nitrogen (N) stress on the pool system supplying currently assimilated and (re)mobilized N for leaf growth of a grass was explored by dynamic ¹⁵N labeling, assessment of total and labeled N import into leaf growth zones, and compartmental analysis of the label import data. Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) plants, grown with low or high levels of N fertilization, were labeled with ¹⁵NO₃⁻/¹⁴NO₃⁻ from 2 h to more than 20 d. In both treatments, the tracer time course in N imported into the growth zones fitted a two-pool model (r² > 0.99). This consisted of a "substrate pool," which received N from current uptake and supplied the growth zone, and a recycling/mobilizing "store," which exchanged with the substrate pool. N deficiency halved the leaf elongation rate, decreased N import into the growth zone, lengthened the delay between tracer uptake and its arrival in the growth zone (2.2 h versus 0.9 h), slowed the turnover of the substrate pool (half-life of 3.2 h versus 0.6 h), and increased its size (12.4 μg versus 5.9 μg). The store contained the equivalent of approximately 10 times (low N) and approximately five times (high N) the total daily N import into the growth zone. Its turnover agreed with that of protein turnover. Remarkably, the relative contribution of mobilization to leaf growth was large and similar (approximately 45%) in both treatments. We conclude that turnover and size of the substrate pool are related to the sink strength of the growth zone, whereas the contribution of the store is influenced by partitioning between sinks.

  15. Size of food bowl and scoop affects amount of food owners feed their dogs.

    PubMed

    Murphy, M; Lusby, A L; Bartges, J W; Kirk, C A

    2012-04-01

    The incidence of canine obesity appears to be increasing dramatically and understanding factors impacting the amount of food pet owners provide their dogs may improve weight management. Human research has shown the size of food bowls, plates and utensils can significantly impact the amount of food portioned and consumed. This effect can be attributed to both the Delboeuf optical illusion and the Ebbinghaus-Titchener size-contrast illusion. To investigate the existence of a similar effect with dog owners, 54 dogs and their owners were recruited for a four treatment randomized prospective trial. Owners scooped out a normal kibble-based meal using a small bowl and small scoop, small bowl and large scoop, large bowl and small scoop or a large bowl and large scoop. Each treatment was used once per owner over four visits. Repeated measures anova revealed the mean amount of food portioned using the small bowl and small scoop was significantly less than all other bowl and scoop combinations (150.7 g vs. 171.5 g vs. 172.7 g vs. 184.5 g, p < 0.05). The small bowl and large scoop combination did not differ from large bowl and small scoop (171.5 g vs. 172.7 g, p > 0.05). Owners were more likely to portion a larger amount of food with a large bowl and large scoop. Results are consistent with human data and emphasize the need for owners to use standard measuring cups. Results also suggest owner compliance during weight loss programs may be improved with smaller bowls and serving scoops.

  16. Incorporation of microplastics from litter into burrows of Lumbricus terrestris.

    PubMed

    Huerta Lwanga, Esperanza; Gertsen, Hennie; Gooren, Harm; Peters, Piet; Salánki, Tamás; van der Ploeg, Martine; Besseling, Ellen; Koelmans, Albert A; Geissen, Violette

    2017-01-01

    Pollution caused by plastic debris is an urgent environmental problem. Here, we assessed the effects of microplastics in the soil surface litter on the formation and characterization of burrows built by the anecic earthworm Lumbricus terrestris in soil and quantified the amount of microplastics that was transported and deposited in L. terrestris burrows. Worms were exposed to soil surface litter treatments containing microplastics (Low Density Polyethylene) for 2 weeks at concentrations of 0%, 7%, 28%, 45% and 60%. The latter representing environmentally realistic concentrations found in hot spot soil locations. There were significantly more burrows found when soil was exposed to the surface treatment composed of 7% microplastics than in all other treatments. The highest amount of organic matter in the walls of the burrows was observed after using the treatments containing 28 and 45% microplastics. The highest microplastic bioturbation efficiency ratio (total microplastics (mg) in burrow walls/initial total surface litter microplastics (mg)) was found using the concentration of 7% microplastics, where L. terrestris introduced 73.5% of the surface microplastics into the burrow walls. The highest burrow wall microplastic content per unit weight of soil (11.8 ± 4.8 g kg-(1)) was found using a concentration of 60% microplastics. L. terrestris was responsible for size-selective downward transport when exposed to concentrations of 7, 28 and 45% microplastics in the surface litter, as the fraction ≤50 μm microplastics in burrow walls increased by 65% compared to this fraction in the original surface litter plastic. We conclude that the high biogenic incorporation rate of the small-fraction microplastics from surface litter into burrow walls causes a risk of leaching through preferential flow into groundwater bodies. Furthermore, this leaching may have implications for the subsequent availability of microplastics to terrestrial organisms or for the transport

  17. CO-FIRING COAL: FEEDLOT AND LITTER BIOMASS FUELS

    SciTech Connect

    Dr. Kalyan Annamalai; Dr. John Sweeten; Dr. Sayeed Mukhtar

    2001-05-10

    The following are proposed activities for quarter 3 (12/15/00-3/14/01): (1) Conduct TGA and fuel characterization studies - Task 1; (2) Continue to perform re-burn experiments. - Task 2; (3) Design fixed bed combustor. - Task 3; and (4) Modify the PCGC2 code to include moisture evaporation model - Task 4. The following were achieved During Quarter 3 (12/15/0-3/14/01): (1) Conducted TGA and Fuel Characterization studies (Appendix I). A comparison of -fuel properties, TGA traces etc is given in Appendix I. Litter has 3 and 6 times more N compared to coal on mass and heat basis. The P of litter is almost 2 % (Task 1). Both litter biomass (LB) and feedlot biomass (FB) have been pulverized. The size distributions are similar for both litter and FB in that 75 % pass through 150 {micro}m sieve while for coal 75 % pass through 60 {micro}m sieve. Rosin Rammler curve parameters are given. The TGA characteristics of FB and LB are similar and pyrolysis starts at 100 C below that of coal; (2) Reburn experiments with litter and with FB have been performed (Appendix II) -Task 2. Litter is almost twice effective (almost 70--90 % reduction) compared to coal in reducing the NOx possibly due to presence of N in the form of NH{sub 3}; (3) Designed fixed bed gasifier/combustor (Appendix III) - Task 3; and (4) Modified PCGC2 to include moisture evaporation model in coal and biomass particles. (Appendix IV) - Task 4.

  18. Using experimental manipulation to assess the roles of leaf litter in the functioning of forest ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Sayer, Emma J

    2006-02-01

    The widespread use of forest litter as animal bedding in central Europe for many centuries gave rise to the first litter manipulation studies, and their results demonstrated that litter and its decomposition are a vital part of ecosystem function. Litter plays two major roles in forest ecosystems: firstly, litterfall is an inherent part of nutrient and carbon cycling, and secondly, litter forms a protective layer on the soil surface that also regulates microclimatic conditions. By reviewing 152 years of litter manipulation experiments, I show that the effects of manipulating litter stem from changes in one, or both, of these two functions, and interactions between the variables influenced by the accumulation of litter can result in feedback mechanisms that may intensify treatment effects or mask responses, making the interpretation of results difficult.Long-term litter removal increased soil bulk density, overland flow, erosion, and temperature fluctuations and upset the soil water balance, causing lower soil water content during dry periods. Soil pH increased or decreased in response to manipulation treatments depending on forest type and initial soil pH, but it is unclear why there was no uniform response. Long-term litter harvesting severely depleted the forests of nutrients. Decreases in the concentrations of available P, Ca, Mg, and K in the soil occurred after only three to five years. The decline in soil N occurred over longer periods of time, and the relative loss was greater in soils with high initial nitrogen concentration. Tree growth declined with long-term litter removal, probably due to lower nutrient availability. Litter manipulation also added or removed large amounts of carbon thereby affecting microbial communities and altering soil respiration rates. Litter manipulation experiments have shown that litter cover acts as a physical barrier to the shoot emergence of small-seeded species; further, the microclimate maintained by the litter layer may be

  19. Portion size variably affects food intake of 6-year-old and 4-year-old children in Kunming, China.

    PubMed

    Smith, Lindsey; Conroy, Katharine; Wen, Hongmei; Rui, Li; Humphries, Debbie

    2013-10-01

    Age and portion size have been found to influence food intake in American children but have not been examined in an international context. This study evaluated the association between age and the effects of portion size on the food intake of kindergarteners in Kunming, China. Using a within-subjects crossover design in a classroom setting, 173 children in two age groups, mean age 4.2 years and 6.1 years, were served a predefined reference, small (-30%) and large (+30%) portion of rice, vegetables, and a protein source during lunchtime over three consecutive days. Each portion was weighed before and after the meal to determine amount of food consumed. Linear mixed modeling, controlling for repeated measures and clustering by classroom, was used to compare food intake under small and large portion size conditions to the reference portion. Children ate significantly less food when served small portions. When served a large portion, 6-year-old children increased food intake while 4-year-old children decreased food intake in comparison to the reference portion. Findings indicate that portion size affects food intake in Chinese children 4-6-years old. Older children show larger increases in food intake with increased portion size than do younger children.

  20. Allelopathic Effects of Litter Axonopus compressus against Two Weedy Species and Its Persistence in Soil

    PubMed Central

    Samedani, B.; Juraimi, A. S.; Rafii, M. Y.; Anuar, A. R.; Sheikh Awadz, S. A.; Anwar, M. P.

    2013-01-01

    This study investigated the allelopathic effect of Axonopus compressus litter on Asystasia gangetica and Pennisetum polystachion. In experiment 1 the bioassays with 0, 10, 30, and 50 g L−1 of aqueous A. compressus litter leachate were conducted. Experiment 2 was carried out by incorporating 0, 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 g L−1 of A. compressus litter leachate into soil. In experiment 3, the fate of A. compressus litter leachate phenolics in the soil was investigated. A. compressus leachates did not affect the germination percentage of A. gangetica and P. polystachion, but delayed germination of A. gangetica seeds and decreased seed germination time of P. polystachion. A. compressus litter leachates affected weeds hypocotyl length. Hypocotyl length reductions of 18 and 31% were observed at the highest concentration (50 g L−1) compared to the control in A. gangetica and P. polystachion, respectively. When concentration of A. compressus litter leachate-amended soil increased A. gangetica and P. polystachion seedling shoot length, root length, seedling weight and chlorophyll concentration were not affected. The 5-week decomposition study of A. compressus showed that the phenolic compounds in A. compressus litter abruptly decreased about 52% after two weeks and remained steady until the end of the incubation. PMID:24260020

  1. Impacts of poultry house environment on poultry litter bacterial community composition.

    PubMed

    Dumas, Michael D; Polson, Shawn W; Ritter, Don; Ravel, Jacques; Gelb, Jack; Morgan, Robin; Wommack, K Eric

    2011-01-01

    Viral and bacterial pathogens are a significant economic concern to the US broiler industry and the ecological epicenter for poultry pathogens is the mixture of bedding material, chicken excrement and feathers that comprises the litter of a poultry house. This study used high-throughput sequencing to assess the richness and diversity of poultry litter bacterial communities, and to look for connections between these communities and the environmental characteristics of a poultry house including its history of gangrenous dermatitis (GD). Cluster analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences revealed differences in the distribution of bacterial phylotypes between Wet and Dry litter samples and between houses. Wet litter contained greater diversity with 90% of total bacterial abundance occurring within the top 214 OTU clusters. In contrast, only 50 clusters accounted for 90% of Dry litter bacterial abundance. The sixth largest OTU cluster across all samples classified as an Arcobacter sp., an emerging human pathogen, occurring in only the Wet litter samples of a house with a modern evaporative cooling system. Ironically, the primary pathogenic clostridial and staphylococcal species associated with GD were not found in any house; however, there were thirteen 16S rRNA gene phylotypes of mostly gram-positive phyla that were unique to GD-affected houses and primarily occurred in Wet litter samples. Overall, the poultry house environment appeared to substantially impact the composition of litter bacterial communities and may play a key role in the emergence of food-borne pathogens.

  2. Impacts of Poultry House Environment on Poultry Litter Bacterial Community Composition

    PubMed Central

    Dumas, Michael D.; Polson, Shawn W.; Ritter, Don; Ravel, Jacques; Gelb, Jack; Morgan, Robin; Wommack, K. Eric

    2011-01-01

    Viral and bacterial pathogens are a significant economic concern to the US broiler industry and the ecological epicenter for poultry pathogens is the mixture of bedding material, chicken excrement and feathers that comprises the litter of a poultry house. This study used high-throughput sequencing to assess the richness and diversity of poultry litter bacterial communities, and to look for connections between these communities and the environmental characteristics of a poultry house including its history of gangrenous dermatitis (GD). Cluster analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences revealed differences in the distribution of bacterial phylotypes between Wet and Dry litter samples and between houses. Wet litter contained greater diversity with 90% of total bacterial abundance occurring within the top 214 OTU clusters. In contrast, only 50 clusters accounted for 90% of Dry litter bacterial abundance. The sixth largest OTU cluster across all samples classified as an Arcobacter sp., an emerging human pathogen, occurring in only the Wet litter samples of a house with a modern evaporative cooling system. Ironically, the primary pathogenic clostridial and staphylococcal species associated with GD were not found in any house; however, there were thirteen 16S rRNA gene phylotypes of mostly Gram-positive phyla that were unique to GD-affected houses and primarily occurred in Wet litter samples. Overall, the poultry house environment appeared to substantially impact the composition of litter bacterial communities and may play a key role in the emergence of food-borne pathogens. PMID:21949751

  3. Genetic Based Plant Resistance and Susceptibility Traits to Herbivory Influence Needle and Root Litter Nutrient Dynamics

    SciTech Connect

    Classen, Aimee T; Chapman, Samantha K.; Whitham, Thomas G; Hart, Stephen C; Koch, George W

    2007-01-01

    It is generally assumed that leaf and root litter decomposition have similar drivers and that nutrient release from these substrates is synchronized. Few studies have examined these assumptions, and none has examined how plant genetics (i.e., plant susceptibility to herbivory) could affect these relationships. Here we examine the effects of herbivore susceptibility and resistance on needle and fine root litter decomposition of pi on pine, Pinus edulis. The study population consists of individual trees that are either susceptible or resistant to herbivory by the pi on needle scale, Matsucoccus acalyptus, or the stem-boring moth, Dioryctria albovittella. Genetic analyses and experimental removals and additions of these insects have identified trees that are naturally resistant and susceptible to these insects. These herbivores increase the chemical quality of litter inputs and alter soil microclimate, both of which are important decomposition drivers. Our research leads to four major conclusions: Herbivore susceptibility and resistance effects on 1) needle litter mass loss and phosphorus (P) retention in moth susceptible and resistant litter are governed by microclimate, 2) root litter nitrogen (N) and P retention, and needle litter N retention are governed by litter chemical quality, 3) net nutrient release from litter can reverse over time, 4) root and needle litter mass loss and nutrient release are determined by location (above- vs. belowground), suggesting that the regulators of needle and root decomposition differ at the local scale. Understanding of decomposition and nutrient retention in ecosystems requires consideration of herbivore effects on above- and belowground processes and how these effects may be governed by plant genotype. Because an underlying genetic component to herbivory is common to most ecosystems of the world and herbivory may increase in climatic change scenarios, it is important to evaluate the role of plant genetics in affecting carbon and

  4. Effects of nutrient enrichment on mangrove leaf litter decomposition.

    PubMed

    Keuskamp, Joost A; Hefting, Mariet M; Dingemans, Bas J J; Verhoeven, Jos T A; Feller, Ilka C

    2015-03-01

    Nutrient enrichment of mangroves, a common phenomenon along densely populated coastlines, may negatively affect mangrove ecosystems by modifying internal carbon and nutrient cycling. The decomposition of litter exerts a strong influence on these processes and is potentially modified by eutrophication. This study describes effects of N and P enrichment on litter decomposition rate and mineralisation/immobilisation patterns. By making use of reciprocal litter transplantation experiments among fertiliser treatments, it was tested if nutrient addition primarily acts on the primary producers (i.e. changes in litter quantity and quality) or on the microbial decomposers (i.e. changes in nutrient limitation for decomposition). Measurements were done in two mangrove forests where primary production was either limited by N or by P, which had been subject to at least 5 years of experimental N and P fertilisation. Results of this study indicated that decomposers were always N-limited regardless of the limitation of the primary producers. This leads to a differential nutrient limitation between decomposers and primary producers in sites where mangrove production was P-limited. In these sites, fertilisation with P caused litter quality to change, resulting in a higher decomposition rate. This study shows that direct effects of fertilisation on decomposition through an effect on decomposer nutrient availability might be non-significant, while the indirect effects through modifying litter quality might be quite substantial in mangroves. Our results show no indication that eutrophication increases decomposition without stimulating primary production. Therefore we do not expect a decline in carbon sequestration as a result of eutrophication of mangrove ecosystems.

  5. RNA interference silencing of a major lipid droplet protein affects lipid droplet size in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.

    PubMed

    Moellering, Eric R; Benning, Christoph

    2010-01-01

    Eukaryotic cells store oils in the chemical form of triacylglycerols in distinct organelles, often called lipid droplets. These dynamic storage compartments have been intensely studied in the context of human health and also in plants as a source of vegetable oils for human consumption and for chemical or biofuel feedstocks. Many microalgae accumulate oils, particularly under conditions limiting to growth, and thus have gained renewed attention as a potentially sustainable feedstock for biofuel production. However, little is currently known at the cellular or molecular levels with regard to oil accumulation in microalgae, and the structural proteins and enzymes involved in the biogenesis, maintenance, and degradation of algal oil storage compartments are not well studied. Focusing on the model green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, the accumulation of triacylglycerols and the formation of lipid droplets during nitrogen deprivation were investigated. Mass spectrometry identified 259 proteins in a lipid droplet-enriched fraction, among them a major protein, tentatively designated major lipid droplet protein (MLDP). This protein is specific to the green algal lineage of photosynthetic organisms. Repression of MLDP gene expression using an RNA interference approach led to increased lipid droplet size, but no change in triacylglycerol content or metabolism was observed.

  6. Granular size of potato starch affects structural properties, octenylsuccinic anhydride modification and flowability.

    PubMed

    Wang, Chan; Tang, Chuan-He; Fu, Xiong; Huang, Qiang; Zhang, Bin

    2016-12-01

    Native potato starch (PS) granules were separated into three size fractions: larger than 30μm (P-L), 15-30μm (P-M), and smaller than 15μm (P-S). The morphological and crystalline structure of fractionated potato starches were investigated by light and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The P-L fraction showed ellipsoidal shape and B-type X-ray pattern, whereas the P-S fraction had spherical shape and A-type pattern. The fluorophore-assisted capillary electrophoresis data showed that the P-L fraction had more B2 chains and less short A and B1 chains than the P-S counterparts. Smaller granules with larger specific surface area had higher degree of substitution when reacted with octenylsuccinic anhydride (OSA), and showed more uniform distribution of octenylsuccinate substituents. Both OSA modified and unmodified P-S samples showed higher flowability compared with the P-L counterparts.

  7. Navy Bean Flour Particle Size and Protein Content Affect Cake Baking and Batter Quality(1).

    PubMed

    Singh, Mukti; Byars, Jeffrey A; Liu, Sean X

    2015-06-01

    Whole navy bean flour and its fine and coarse particle size fractions were used to completely replace wheat flour in cakes. Replacement of wheat flour with whole bean flour significantly increased the protein content. The protein content was adjusted to 3 levels with navy bean starch. The effect of navy bean flour and its fractions at 3 levels of protein on cake batter rheology and cake quality was studied and compared with wheat flour samples. Batters prepared from navy bean flour and its fractions had higher viscosity than the cake flour. Reducing the protein content by addition of starch significantly lowered the viscosity of cake batters. The whole navy bean flour and coarse bean fraction cakes were softer than cakes made with wheat flour but had reduced springiness. Principal component analysis showed a clear discrimination of cakes according to protein. It also showed that low protein navy bean flour cakes were similar to wheat flour cakes. Navy bean flour with protein content adjusted to the level of cake (wheat) flour has potential as a healthy alternative in gluten-free cakes.

  8. [Relationships between decomposition rate of leaf litter and initial quality across the alpine timberline ecotone in Western Sichuan, China].

    PubMed

    Yang, Lin; Deng, Chang-chun; Chen Ya-mei; He, Run-lian; Zhang, Jian; Liu, Yang

    2015-12-01

    The relationships between litter decomposition rate and their initial quality of 14 representative plants in the alpine forest ecotone of western Sichuan were investigated in this paper. The decomposition rate k of the litter ranged from 0.16 to 1.70. Woody leaf litter and moss litter decomposed much slower, and shrubby litter decomposed a little faster. Then, herbaceous litters decomposed fastest among all plant forms. There were significant linear regression relationships between the litter decomposition rate and the N content, lignin content, phenolics content, C/N, C/P and lignin/N. Lignin/N and hemicellulose content could explain 78.4% variation of the litter decomposition rate (k) by path analysis. The lignin/N could explain 69.5% variation of k alone, and the direct path coefficient of lignin/N on k was -0.913. Principal component analysis (PCA) showed that the contribution rate of the first sort axis to k and the decomposition time (t) reached 99.2%. Significant positive correlations existed between lignin/N, lignin content, C/N, C/P and the first sort axis, and the closest relationship existed between lignin/N and the first sort axis (r = 0.923). Lignin/N was the key quality factor affecting plant litter decomposition rate across the alpine timberline ecotone, with the higher the initial lignin/N, the lower the decomposition rate of leaf litter.

  9. Effects of litter addition on ectomycorrhizal associates of a lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) stand in Yellowstone National Park

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cullings, Kenneth W.; New, Michael H.; Makhija, Shilpa; Parker, V. Thomas

    2003-01-01

    Increasing soil nutrients through litter manipulation, pollution, or fertilization can adversely affect ectomycorrhizal (EM) communities by inhibiting fungal growth. In this study, we used molecular genetic methods to determine the effects of litter addition on the EM community of a Pinus contorta stand in Yellowstone National Park that regenerated after a stand-replacing fire. Two controls were used; in unmodified control plots nothing was added to the soil, and in perlite plots perlite, a chemically neutral substance, was added to maintain soil moisture and temperature at levels similar to those under litter. We found that (i) species richness did not change significantly following perlite addition (2.6 +/- 0.3 species/core in control plots, compared with 2.3 +/- 0.3 species/core in perlite plots) but decreased significantly (P < 0.05) following litter addition (1.8 +/- 0.3 species/core); (ii) EM infection was not affected by the addition of perlite but increased significantly (P < 0.001) in response to litter addition, and the increase occurred only in the upper soil layer, directly adjacent to the added litter; and (iii) Suillus granulatus, Wilcoxina mikolae, and agaricoid DD were the dominant organisms in controls, but the levels of W. mikolae and agaricoid DD decreased significantly in response to both perlite and litter addition. The relative levels of S. granulatus and a fourth fungus, Cortinariaceae species 2, increased significantly (P < 0.01 and P < 0.05, respectively) following litter addition. Thus, litter addition resulted in some negative effects that may be attributable to moisture-temperature relationships rather than to the increased nutrients associated with litter. Some species respond positively to litter addition, indicating that there are differences in their physiologies. Hence, changes in the EM community induced by litter accumulation also may affect ecosystem function.

  10. Do nursing home chain size and proprietary status affect experiences with care?

    PubMed Central

    You, Kai; Li, Yue; Intrator, Orna; Stevenson, David; Hirth, Richard; Grabowski, David; Banaszak-Holl, Jane

    2015-01-01

    Background In 2012, over half of nursing homes were operated by corporate chains. Facilities owned by the largest for-profit chains were reported to have lower quality of care. However, it is unknown how nursing home chain ownerships are related with experiences of care. Objectives To study the relationship between nursing home chain characteristics (chain size and profit status) with patients' family member reported ratings on experiences with care. Data Sources and Study Design Maryland nursing home care experience reports, the Online Survey, Certification, And Reporting (OSCAR) files, and Area Resource Files are used. Our sample consists of all non-governmental nursing homes in Maryland from 2007 to 2010. Consumer ratings were reported for: overall care; recommendation of the facility; staff performance; care provided; food and meals; physical environment; and autonomy and personal rights. We identified chain characteristics from OSCAR, and estimated multivariate random effect linear models to test the effects of chain ownership on care experience ratings. Results Independent nonprofit nursing homes have the highest overall rating score of 8.9, followed by 8.6 for facilities in small nonprofit chains, and 8.5 for independent for-profit facilities. Facilities in small, medium and large for-profit chains have even lower overall ratings of 8.2, 7.9, and 8.0, respectively. We find similar patterns of differences in terms of recommendation rate, and important areas such as staff communication and quality of care. Conclusions Evidence suggests that Maryland nursing homes affiliated with large- and medium- for-profit chains had lower ratings of family reported experience with care. PMID:26765147

  11. Fire affects size and shape of Fabiana imbricata Shurblands in northwestern Patagonia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oddi, Facundo; Ghermandi, Luciana

    2010-05-01

    Fire is a major environmental ecological agent acting in the landscape configuration and a factor that models vegetation in Mediterranean environments. Fire impacts differently in the landscape due to the intrinsic heterogeneity of the environments and the characteristics associated with each fire event. After fire, density of patches may be increased and the size of them may be reduced because fire generates areas of different successional stages. Landscape ecology seems to be the ideal theoretical approach to study the fire impact in fire prone environments. Landscape ecology has been greatly favoured by a significant progress in the last years of geographic information technologies (GIT) (remote sensing, GIS, GPS). The study area of this work is the San Ramon ranch (22,000 ha) located in Northwester Patagonia in the ecotone between the sub Antarctic forest in the West and the Patagonian steppe in the East. We studied sectors of the ranch with different fire recurrence in the last 40 years and we mapped Fabiana imbricata shrubland with GPS. This specie is a native shrub characteristic of Northwester Patagonia grasslands and its dynamic is not very known. Shrublands compete for the space with palatable grasses that are used for forage and livestock production, the main economic resource of the region. We analysed the mapped patches with GIS software, and we assessed landscape metrics to determine differences between sites with different fire recurrence. In the future we foresee the integrated use of satellite imagery with different resolution to add to GIS other important spatial variables (topography, hydrography, aspect, soil) to develop models that can explain landscape metrics, spatial configuration and the potential shrub invasion in the grassland.

  12. Urban bat communities are affected by wetland size, quality, and pollution levels.

    PubMed

    Straka, Tanja Maria; Lentini, Pia Eloise; Lumsden, Linda Faye; Wintle, Brendan Anthony; van der Ree, Rodney

    2016-07-01

    Wetlands support unique biota and provide important ecosystem services. These services are highly threatened due to the rate of loss and relative rarity of wetlands in most landscapes, an issue that is exacerbated in highly modified urban environments. Despite this, critical ecological knowledge is currently lacking for many wetland-dependent taxa, such as insectivorous bats, which can persist in urban areas if their habitats are managed appropriately. Here, we use a novel paired landscape approach to investigate the role of wetlands in urban bat conservation and examine local and landscape factors driving bat species richness and activity. We acoustically monitored bat activity at 58 urban wetlands and 35 nonwetland sites (ecologically similar sites without free-standing water) in the greater Melbourne area, southeastern Australia. We analyzed bat species richness and activity patterns using generalized linear mixed-effects models. We found that the presence of water in urban Melbourne was an important driver of bat species richness and activity at a landscape scale. Increasing distance to bushland and increasing levels of heavy metal pollution within the waterbody also negatively influenced bat richness and individual species activity. Areas with high levels of artificial night light had reduced bat species richness, and reduced activity for all species except those adapted to urban areas, such as the White-striped free-tailed bat (Austronomus australis). Increased surrounding tree cover and wetland size had a positive effect on bat species richness. Our findings indicate that wetlands form critical habitats for insectivorous bats in urban environments. Large, unlit, and unpolluted wetlands flanked by high tree cover in close proximity to bushland contribute most to the richness of the bat community. Our findings clarify the role of wetlands for insectivorous bats in urban areas and will also allow for the preservation, construction, and management of wetlands

  13. Meal size and frequency affect neuronal plasticity and vulnerability to disease: cellular and molecular mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Mattson, Mark P; Duan, Wenzhen; Guo, Zhihong

    2003-02-01

    Although all cells in the body require energy to survive and function properly, excessive calorie intake over long time periods can compromise cell function and promote disorders such as cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes and cancers. Accordingly, dietary restriction (DR; either caloric restriction or intermittent fasting, with maintained vitamin and mineral intake) can extend lifespan and can increase disease resistance. Recent studies have shown that DR can have profound effects on brain function and vulnerability to injury and disease. DR can protect neurons against degeneration in animal models of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases and stroke. Moreover, DR can stimulate the production of new neurons from stem cells (neurogenesis) and can enhance synaptic plasticity, which may increase the ability of the brain to resist aging and restore function following injury. Interestingly, increasing the time interval between meals can have beneficial effects on the brain and overall health of mice that are independent of cumulative calorie intake. The beneficial effects of DR, particularly those of intermittent fasting, appear to be the result of a cellular stress response that stimulates the production of proteins that enhance neuronal plasticity and resistance to oxidative and metabolic insults; they include neurotrophic factors such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), protein chaperones such as heat-shock proteins, and mitochondrial uncoupling proteins. Some beneficial effects of DR can be achieved by administering hormones that suppress appetite (leptin and ciliary neurotrophic factor) or by supplementing the diet with 2-deoxy-d-glucose, which may act as a calorie restriction mimetic. The profound influences of the quantity and timing of food intake on neuronal function and vulnerability to disease have revealed novel molecular and cellular mechanisms whereby diet affects the nervous system, and are leading to novel preventative and

  14. Interdisciplinary mathematics and science: Characteristics, forms, and related effect sizes for student achievement and affective outcomes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hurley, Marlene M.

    1999-12-01

    This study provides an analytic description of quasi-experimental studies that may either support or deny the wisdom of educational reform through interdisciplinary mathematics and science. Interdisciplinarity is examined on two dimensions, the philosophic and the pedagogic, and by two methodologies, meta-analytic and qualitative, in a search for greater understanding of the definitions, forms, characteristics, and effects from studies of interdisciplinary mathematics and science. Thirty-four studies were collected from a search of the literature that spanned the century, the grade levels, and included many forms of interdisciplinarity. Several research questions were asked: (1) What forms of interdisciplinarity, philosophically and practically, are represented by the studies? (2) What are their qualitative effects in school settings? (3) What are the characteristics of interdisciplinary quasi-experimental research? (4) What achievement effects typify the interdisciplinary comparative studies? (5) What factors account for variation in these achievement effects? (6) What claims or criticisms regarding interdisciplinarity are supported or refuted by the qualitative analysis of forms and effects and the quantitative meta-analytic study? Results from this study support the concerns that terms of interdisciplinarity are used without regard for context and that there is a trend toward a great diversity of ideas regarding the nature of interdisciplinary education. Student achievement data were provided by the 34 studies for mathematics and/or science. The mean effect sizes for student achievement were computed as: mathematics achievement, .27 (SE = .09); science achievement, .37 (SE = .12). Curricular materials developed by teachers were significantly less related to student achievement than materials developed by researchers or commercially. The methods of integration employed by the 34 studies formed a continuum from sequenced instructional integration to total

  15. Type C botulism in cattle being fed ensiled poultry litter.

    PubMed

    Neill, S D; McLoughlin, M F; McIlroy, S G

    1989-05-27

    A botulinum toxin from ensiled poultry litter which caused a major outbreak of bovine botulism was characterised as type C1. The litter produced transient ataxia when fed to two experimental calves and the clinical signs were accompanied by a transient appearance of serum toxin. Type C1 toxin was demonstrated in muscle tissues which had been taken during the outbreak from an affected animal with high circulating serum toxin, and held frozen for seven months. Clostridium botulinum type C organisms were demonstrated in faeces from another affected animal and also in kidney tissue from a third animal. These observations have implications for the diagnosis and management of future outbreaks of botulism and for the potential health risk from the meat of affected animals.

  16. Effects of top-dressing recycled broiler litter on litter production, litter characteristics, and nitrogen mass balance.

    PubMed

    Coufal, C D; Chavez, C; Niemeyer, P R; Carey, J B

    2006-03-01

    Top-dressing is a method of broiler litter management in which a thin layer of new, clean litter material is spread over the top of previously used litter prior to placement of a new flock. This fresh layer of bedding material increases the absorptive capacity of the litter and decreases litter caking. Although this practice has been widely used in the poultry industry for many years, no research has been conducted to quantify the effects the practice has on broiler performance, litter production rates, and nutrient content, or the ability of broiler litter to retain manure N and prevent volatilization. An experiment was conducted to quantify these parameters under simulated commercial conditions in a research facility. Nine consecutive flocks of broilers were reared on recycled broiler litter that had previously been used for 9 flocks. Control pens received no litter treatment whereas top-dressed pens received a thin layer of new rice hulls (1 to 2 cm) before the placement of each flock. Nitrogen loss was calculated using the mass balance method. Average broiler performance was not different between the top-dressed and control pens. Top-dressing of litter significantly (P < 0.05) reduced caked litter production compared with control pens in 6 of 9 flocks. However, average total litter production over all 9 flocks was not different between the 2 litter management strategies. In all flocks, litter N content was significantly reduced in top-dressed pens compared with control pens. As a result, litter C:N ratios were significantly higher for pens with top-dressed litter. Differences in N loss between the treatments were not consistent. Average N loss for all flocks was 10.61 and 11.92 g of N/kg of marketed broiler for control and top-dressed pens, respectively, or 20.1 and 22.5% of N inputs, respectively. Based on this experiment, top-dressing of recycled broiler litter would not be recommended as a strategy to reduce the volatilization of N from broiler rearing

  17. Effect of Bacillus Subtilis-based Direct-fed Microbials on Immune Status in Broiler Chickens Raised on Fresh or Used Litter.

    PubMed

    Lee, K W; Lillehoj, H S; Jang, S I; Lee, S H; Bautista, D A; Siragusa, G R

    2013-11-01

    Type of dietary direct-fed microbials (DFMs) or poultry litter could directly influence the composition of gut microbiota. Gut microbiota plays an important role in shaping the developing immune system and maintaining the homeostasis of the mature immune system in mammal and chickens. The present study was carried out to investigate the interaction among litter, DFMs and immunity in broiler chickens exposed to a field-simulated environment. Immune status of broiler chickens was assessed by serum antibodies against Eimeria spp. and Clostridium spp. and intestinal cytokine mRNA expression. The current experimental design had a 3 ×2 factorial arrangement of treatments with three types of litter, i.e., fresh litter or used litter that was obtained from a farm with no disease outbreak (used litter) or a farm with history of a gangrenous dermatitis outbreak (GD litter), and two dietary treatments with or without DFMs. It was found that either DFM addition or type of litter significantly affected anticoccidial antibody levels of broiler chickens at d 42. In general, dietary DFMs increased the anticoccidial antibodies in the fresh-litter raised chickens, but lowered the levels in the GD-litter raised chickens. Serum antibodies against Clostridium perfringens α-toxin were significantly (p<0.05) higher in chickens raised on GD litter compared with those raised on fresh litter. Cytokine mRNA expression was significantly (p<0.05) altered by either the type of litter or DFMs. Of interest, dietary DFMs lowered interferon-γ, interleukin 1beta, and CXCLi2 cytokine mRNA expression in chickens raised on fresh litter but increased them in GD-litter raised chickens. In conclusion, dietary DFMs modulate various immune parameters of broiler chickens, but the DFM-mediated effects were dependent upon the type of litter on which chickens were raised.

  18. Effects of snow condition on microbial respiration of Scots pine needle litter in a boreal forest

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ohnuki, Masataka; Domisch, Timo; Dannoura, Masako; Ataka, Mioko; Finér, Leena; Repo, Tapani; Osawa, Akira

    2016-04-01

    Climate warming scenarios predict decreasing snow depths and increasing winter precipitation in boreal forests ("rain on snow"). I These conditions may affect the decomposition and the microbial respiration of leaf litter, contributing a major part of tree litters, To understand how different snow conditions during winter would affect the microbial respiration of Scots pine needle litter in a boreal forest, we conducted a laboratory experiment using needle litter of two age classes (newly dropped and older litter). The experiment simulated four different winter treatments, followed by spring and early summer : (1) ambient snow cover (SNOW), (2) Compressed snow and ice encasement (ICE), (3) frozen flood (FLOOD) and (4) no snow cover at all (NO SNOW). The experiment was carried out in four walk-in dasotrons (n=3) with soil temperatures of -2° C and air temperatures of 2° C during winter and increased to 15° C and 20° C during spring, respectively . Needle litter samples were collected three times (prior to the winter, just after winter and at the end of the experiment). We evaluated the microbial respiration from the litter at several temperatures (-5° C, 0° C, 5° C and 12° C), the SIR index (an index estimating the microbial biomass), and the C/N ratio .And we calculated Q10 value (index of microbial respiration activity) using microbial respiration data. We found significant differences in microbial respiration between the newly dropped and older litter at the beginning and at the end of the experiment. However, there were no significant differences in Q10 value and the SIR (index of microbial biomass) between the different winter treatments. All samples showed decrease of microbial activity with time. Finally, we conclude that the winter snow conditions with mild air temperatures as used in our experiment, are not detrimentally affecting the Scots pine needle litter decomposition and its respiration.

  19. Orchid bees as bio-indicators for organic coffee farms in Costa Rica: does farm size affect their abundance?

    PubMed

    Hedström, Ingemar; Denzel, Andrew; Owens, Gareth

    2006-09-01

    The potential of Euglossini bees, especially Euglossa, as biological indicators of organic vs nonorganic coffee farms was studied in Atenas and San Isidro, Alajuela, Costa Rica using 1.8-cineole as lure. Observations were made for three days at each of four farms and complemented with data from a year of observations. Orchid bees were in greater abundance in the organic farms (t-Student test). However, lower abundances suggest that an organic farm may be negatively affected by the proximity of non-organic farms, depending on its size and distance. Orchid bees may be indicators of organic coffee farms.

  20. Influence of Poultry Litter Applications on Nematode Communities in Cotton Agroecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Koenning, S. R.; Barker, K. R.

    2004-01-01

    The effects of the application of poultry litter at 0.0, 6.7, 13.4, and 20.1 tons/ha on population changes during the growing season on nematode communities were evaluated in two cotton production fields in North Carolina. Numbers of bactivorous nematodes increased at midseason in response to the rate at which litter was applied but decreased with increasing litter application rates at cotton harvest. Numbers of fungivores at cotton harvest were related positively to the rate of litter applied, and this affected a positive increase in the fungivore-to-bacterivore ratio at this sampling date. The rate at which poultry litter was applied resulted in an increase in the bacterivore to plant-parasite ratio, and this corresponded with increased cotton lint yield. Trophic diversity was increased by litter application rate at cotton harvest at one location but not at another. The plant-parasite maturity index was greater consistently at one site than at a second site where the Hoplolaimus columbus population density was above the damage threshold for cotton. The population density of H. columbus was suppressed with increasing rates of poultry litter application, but other plant-parasitic nematodes were affected marginally. PMID:19262834

  1. Can interface features affect aggression resulting from violent video game play? An examination of realistic controller and large screen size.

    PubMed

    Kim, Ki Joon; Sundar, S Shyam

    2013-05-01

    Aggressiveness attributed to violent video game play is typically studied as a function of the content features of the game. However, can interface features of the game also affect aggression? Guided by the General Aggression Model (GAM), we examine the controller type (gun replica vs. mouse) and screen size (large vs. small) as key technological aspects that may affect the state aggression of gamers, with spatial presence and arousal as potential mediators. Results from a between-subjects experiment showed that a realistic controller and a large screen display induced greater aggression, presence, and arousal than a conventional mouse and a small screen display, respectively, and confirmed that trait aggression was a significant predictor of gamers' state aggression. Contrary to GAM, however, arousal showed no effects on aggression; instead, presence emerged as a significant mediator.

  2. Marine litter prediction by artificial intelligence.

    PubMed

    Balas, Can Elmar; Ergin, Aysen; Williams, Allan T; Koc, Levent

    2004-03-01

    Artificial intelligence techniques of neural network and fuzzy systems were applied as alternative methods to determine beach litter grading, based on litter surveys of the Antalya coastline (the Turkish Riviera). Litter measurements were categorized and assessed by artificial intelligence techniques, which lead to a new litter categorization system. The constructed neural network satisfactorily predicted the grading of the Antalya beaches and litter categories based on the number of litter items in the general litter category. It has been concluded that, neural networks could be used for high-speed predictions of litter items and beach grading, when the characteristics of the main litter category was determined by field studies. This can save on field effort when fast and reliable estimations of litter categories are required for management or research studies of beaches--especially those concerned with health and safety, and it has economic implications. The main advantages in using fuzzy systems are that they consider linguistic adjectival definitions, e.g. many/few, etc. As a result, additional information inherent in linguistic comments/refinements and judgments made during field studies can be incorporated in grading systems.

  3. 78 FR 51746 - Trade Barriers That U.S. Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Perceive as Affecting Exports to the...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2013-08-21

    ... COMMISSION Trade Barriers That U.S. Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Perceive as Affecting Exports to the... Barriers that U.S. Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Perceive as Affecting Exports to the European Union... ). Persons with mobility impairments who will need special assistance in gaining access to the...

  4. 78 FR 45969 - Trade Barriers That U.S. Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Perceive as Affecting Exports to the...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2013-07-30

    ... COMMISSION Trade Barriers That U.S. Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Perceive as Affecting Exports to the... and Medium- sized Enterprises Perceive as Affecting Exports to the European Union. DATES: September 13... ). Persons with mobility impairments who will need special assistance in gaining access to the...

  5. 13 CFR 107.760 - How a change in size or activity of a Portfolio Concern affects the Licensee and the Portfolio...

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-01-01

    ... of a Portfolio Concern affects the Licensee and the Portfolio Concern. 107.760 Section 107.760... § 107.760 How a change in size or activity of a Portfolio Concern affects the Licensee and the Portfolio Concern. (a) Effect on Licensee of a change in size of a Portfolio Concern. If a Portfolio Concern...

  6. 7 CFR 4290.760 - How a change in size or activity of a Portfolio Concern affects the RBIC and the Portfolio Concern.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-01-01

    ... 7 Agriculture 15 2010-01-01 2010-01-01 false How a change in size or activity of a Portfolio Concern affects the RBIC and the Portfolio Concern. 4290.760 Section 4290.760 Agriculture Regulations of... size or activity of a Portfolio Concern affects the RBIC and the Portfolio Concern. (a) Effect on...

  7. 13 CFR 108.760 - How a change in size or activity of a Portfolio Concern affects the NMVC Company and the...

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-01-01

    ... of a Portfolio Concern affects the NMVC Company and the Portfolio Concern. 108.760 Section 108.760... Financing § 108.760 How a change in size or activity of a Portfolio Concern affects the NMVC Company and the Portfolio Concern. (a) Effect on NMVC Company of a change in size of a Portfolio Concern. If a...

  8. Floral display size, conspecific density and florivory affect fruit set in natural populations of Phlox hirsuta, an endangered species

    PubMed Central

    Ruane, Lauren G.; Rotzin, Andrew T.; Congleton, Philip H.

    2014-01-01

    Background and Aims Natural variation in fruit and seed set may be explained by factors that affect the composition of pollen grains on stigmas. Self-incompatible species require compatible outcross pollen grains to produce seeds. The siring success of outcross pollen grains, however, can be hindered if self (or other incompatible) pollen grains co-occur on stigmas. This study identifies factors that determine fruit set in Phlox hirsuta, a self-sterile endangered species that is prone to self-pollination, and its associated fitness costs. Methods Multiple linear regressions were used to identify factors that explain variation in percentage fruit set within three of the five known populations of this endangered species. Florivorous beetle density, petal colour, floral display size, local conspecific density and pre-dispersal seed predation were quantified and their effects on the ability of flowers to produce fruits were assessed. Key Results In all three populations, percentage fruit set decreased as florivorous beetle density increased and as floral display size increased. The effect of floral display size on fruit set, however, often depended on the density of nearby conspecific plants. High local conspecific densities offset – even reversed – the negative effects of floral display size on percentage fruit set. Seed predation by mammals decreased fruit set in one population. Conclusions The results indicate that seed production in P. hirsuta can be maximized by selectively augmenting populations in areas containing isolated large plants, by reducing the population sizes of florivorous beetles and by excluding mammals that consume unripe fruits. PMID:24557879

  9. Allelopathy of Bracken Fern (Pteridium arachnoideum): New Evidence from Green Fronds, Litter, and Soil.

    PubMed

    de Jesus Jatoba, Luciana; Varela, Rosa Maria; Molinillo, José Maria Gonzalez; Ud Din, Zia; Juliano Gualtieri, Sonia Cristina; Rodrigues-Filho, Edson; Macías, Francisco Antonio

    2016-01-01

    The neotropical bracken fern Pteridium arachnoideum (Kaulf.) Maxon. (Dennstaedtiaceae) is described as an aggressive pioneer plant species. It invades abandoned or newly burned areas and represents a management challenge at these invaded sites. Native to the Atlantic Forest and Cerrado (Tropical Savanna) Brazilian biomes, P. arachnoideum has nevertheless become very problematic in these conservation hotspots. Despite some reports suggesting a possible role of allelopathy in this plant's dominance, until now there has been little evidence of isolated and individually identified compounds with phytotoxic activities present in its tissues or in the surrounding environment. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the allelopathic potential of P. arachnoideum by isolating and identifying any secondary metabolites with phytotoxic activity in its tissues, litter, and soil. Bioguided phytochemical investigation led to the isolation and identification of the proanthocyanidin selligueain A as the major secondary compound in the green fronds and litter of this fern. It is produced by P. arachnoideum in its green fronds, remains unaltered during the senescence process, and is the major secondary compound present in litter. Selligueain A showed phytotoxic activity against the selected target species sesame (Sesamum indicum) early development. In particular, the compound inhibited root and stem growth, and root metaxylem cell size but did not affect chlorophyll content. This compound can be considered as an allelochemical because it is present in the soil under P. arachnoideum patches as one of the major compounds in the soil solution. This is the first report of the presence of selligueain A in any member of the Dennstaedtiaceae family and the first time an isolated and identified allelochemical produced by members of the Pteridium species complex has been described. This evidence of selligueain A as a putative allelochemical of P. arachnoideum reinforces the role of

  10. Allelopathy of Bracken Fern (Pteridium arachnoideum): New Evidence from Green Fronds, Litter, and Soil

    PubMed Central

    Juliano Gualtieri, Sonia Cristina; Rodrigues-Filho, Edson; Macías, Francisco Antonio

    2016-01-01

    The neotropical bracken fern Pteridium arachnoideum (Kaulf.) Maxon. (Dennstaedtiaceae) is described as an aggressive pioneer plant species. It invades abandoned or newly burned areas and represents a management challenge at these invaded sites. Native to the Atlantic Forest and Cerrado (Tropical Savanna) Brazilian biomes, P. arachnoideum has nevertheless become very problematic in these conservation hotspots. Despite some reports suggesting a possible role of allelopathy in this plant’s dominance, until now there has been little evidence of isolated and individually identified compounds with phytotoxic activities present in its tissues or in the surrounding environment. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the allelopathic potential of P. arachnoideum by isolating and identifying any secondary metabolites with phytotoxic activity in its tissues, litter, and soil. Bioguided phytochemical investigation led to the isolation and identification of the proanthocyanidin selligueain A as the major secondary compound in the green fronds and litter of this fern. It is produced by P. arachnoideum in its green fronds, remains unaltered during the senescence process, and is the major secondary compound present in litter. Selligueain A showed phytotoxic activity against the selected target species sesame (Sesamum indicum) early development. In particular, the compound inhibited root and stem growth, and root metaxylem cell size but did not affect chlorophyll content. This compound can be considered as an allelochemical because it is present in the soil under P. arachnoideum patches as one of the major compounds in the soil solution. This is the first report of the presence of selligueain A in any member of the Dennstaedtiaceae family and the first time an isolated and identified allelochemical produced by members of the Pteridium species complex has been described. This evidence of selligueain A as a putative allelochemical of P. arachnoideum reinforces the role of

  11. The tale of the shrinking weapon: seasonal changes in nutrition affect weapon size and sexual dimorphism, but not contemporary evolution.

    PubMed

    Miller, C W; McDonald, G C; Moore, A J

    2016-11-01

    Sexually selected traits are often highly variable in size within populations due to their close link with the physical condition of individuals. Nutrition has a large impact on physical condition, and thus, any seasonal changes in nutritional quality are predicted to alter the average size of sexually selected traits as well as the degree of sexual dimorphism in populations. However, although traits affected by mate choice are well studied, we have a surprising lack of knowledge of how natural variation in nutrition affects the expression of sexually selected weapons and sexual dimorphism. Further, few studies explicitly test for differences in the heritability and mean-scaled evolvability of sexually selected traits across conditions. We studied Narnia femorata (Hemiptera: Coreidae), an insect where males use their hind legs as weapons and the femurs are enlarged, to understand the extent to which weapon expression, sexual dimorphism and evolvability change across the actual range of nutrition available in the wild. We found that insects raised on a poor diet (cactus without fruit) are nearly monomorphic, whereas those raised on a high-quality diet (cactus with ripe fruit) are distinctly sexually dimorphic via the expression of large hind leg weapons in males. Contrary to our expectations, we found little evidence of a potential for evolutionary change for any trait measured. Thus, although we show weapons are highly condition dependent, and changes in weapon expression and dimorphism could alter evolutionary dynamics, our populations are unlikely to experience further evolutionary changes under current conditions.

  12. Biochemical Composition Suggests Different Roles of Leaf Litter and Fine Roots in Soil Carbon Formation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xia, M.; Pregitzer, K. S.; Talhelm, A. F.

    2012-12-01

    stimulate the decay of lignin by providing required energy. Therefore, fine roots of Acer saccharum have a relatively recalcitrant nature based on their distinct biochemical composition, suggesting fine roots may be the major driver of soil carbon formation in the ecosystems we studied. Litter type and N addition had significant interactions on lignin, holocellulose, and NSC (P< 0.05), indicating these traits of different litter types respond differently to N addition. In leaf litter, the concentrations of lignin, NSC, and bound CT were affected by N addition (P< 0.05). By contrast, N addition only reduced the soluble protein concentration in fine roots (P< 0.05). Hence, substrate quality of leaf litter and fine roots responds differently to the simulated N deposition, and may eventually lead to different responses in decomposition pattern. This is one of few studies comparing the detailed biochemical profile of leaf litter and fine roots in a dominant tree species. Different biochemical traits of fine roots and leaf litter may reflect the different specializations for their physiological functions. This work highlights the importance of fine root in the soil carbon formation due to its recalcitrant nature, and emphasizes the necessity of differentiating the responses of leaf litter and fine root decompositions to environmental changes when modeling biogeochemical cycles.

  13. Enhancement of broiler litter to improve the fertilizer quality of litter

    SciTech Connect

    Ransom, J.M.; Strickland, R.C.

    1992-12-01

    This document presents efforts to utilize poultry litter for feed, fertilizer, and soil amendments. Historical and programmatic efforts by TVA are discussed. Current methods of drying and pelleting the litter, along with more direct methods of composting are reported.

  14. Enhancement of broiler litter to improve the fertilizer quality of litter

    SciTech Connect

    Ransom, J.M.; Strickland, R.C.

    1992-01-01

    This document presents efforts to utilize poultry litter for feed, fertilizer, and soil amendments. Historical and programmatic efforts by TVA are discussed. Current methods of drying and pelleting the litter, along with more direct methods of composting are reported.

  15. Diet and Cell Size Both Affect Queen-Worker Differentiation through DNA Methylation in Honey Bees (Apis mellifera, Apidae)

    PubMed Central

    Shi, Yuan Yuan; Huang, Zachary Y.; Zeng, Zhi Jiang; Wang, Zi Long; Wu, Xiao Bo; Yan, Wei Yu

    2011-01-01

    Background Young larvae of the honey bee (Apis mellifera) are totipotent; they can become either queens (reproductives) or workers (largely sterile helpers). DNA methylation has been shown to play an important role in this differentiation. In this study, we examine the contributions of diet and cell size to caste differentiation. Methodology/Principal Findings We measured the activity and gene expression of one key enzyme involved in methylation, Dnmt3; the rates of methylation in the gene dynactin p62; as well as morphological characteristics of adult bees developed either from larvae fed with worker jelly or royal jelly; and larvae raised in either queen or worker cells. We show that both diet type and cell size contributed to the queen-worker differentiation, and that the two factors affected different methylation sites inside the same gene dynactin p62. Conclusions/Significance We confirm previous findings that Dnmt3 plays a critical role in honey bee caste differentiation. Further, we show for the first time that cell size also plays a role in influencing larval development when diet is kept the same. PMID:21541319

  16. When size matters: differences in demineralized bone matrix particles affect collagen structure, mesenchymal stem cell behavior, and osteogenic potential.

    PubMed

    Dozza, B; Lesci, I G; Duchi, S; Della Bella, E; Martini, L; Salamanna, F; Falconi, M; Cinotti, S; Fini, M; Lucarelli, E; Donati, D

    2017-04-01

    Demineralized bone matrix (DBM) is a natural, collagen-based, osteoinductive biomaterial. Nevertheless, there are conflicting reports on the efficacy of this product. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether DBM collagen structure is affected by particle size and can influence DBM cytocompatibility and osteoinductivity. Sheep cortical bone was ground and particles were divided in three fractions with different sizes, defined as large (L, 1-2 mm), medium (M, 0.5-1 mm), and small (S, <0.5 mm). After demineralization, the chemical-physical analysis clearly showed a particle size-dependent alteration in collagen structure, with DBM-M being altered but not as much as DBM-S. DBM-M displayed a preferable trend in almost all biological characteristics tested, although all DBM particles revealed an optimal cytocompatibility. Subcutaneous implantation of DBM particles into immunocompromised mice resulted in bone induction only for DBM-M. When sheep MSC were seeded onto particles before implantation, all DBM particles were able to induce new bone formation with the best incidence for DBM-M and DBM-S. In conclusion, the collagen alteration in DBM-M is likely the best condition to promote bone induction in vivo. Furthermore, the choice of 0.5-1 mm particles may enable to obtain more efficient and consistent results among different research groups in bone tissue-engineering applications. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A: 105A: 1019-1033, 2017.

  17. Planting densities and bird and rodent absence affect size distributions of four dicots in synthetic tallgrass communities.

    PubMed

    Martínez-Garza, Cristina; Saha, Sonali; Torres, Veronica; Brown, Joel S; Howe, Henry F

    2004-05-01

    Variability in the size distributions of populations is usually studied in monocultures or in mixed plantings of two species. Variability of size distributions of populations in more complex communities has been neglected. The effects of seeding density (35 or 350 seeds/species/m2) and presence of small vertebrates on the variability of size distributions were studied for a total of 1,920 individuals of 4 species in replicated synthetic communities of 18 species in northern Illinois. End-of season height and above-ground biomass were measured for prairie perennials Dalea purpurea (purple prairie clover), Echinacea purpurea (purple coneflower), Desmanthus illinoensis (Illinois bundleflower) and Heliopsis helianthoides (early sunflower). Variability in biomass distribution of the four target species was twice as great at low than at high densities when small vertebrates were excluded. Our results suggest that inter- and intraspecific competition may affect all individuals more under high-density conditions, thereby reducing the variability in their biomass distributions within this community. This result, a consequence of plant-plant interaction, is obscured when small birds or mammals are present, presumably because either or both add variance that overwhelms the pattern.

  18. Microsatellite size homoplasies and null alleles do not affect species diagnosis and population genetic analysis in a fungal species complex.

    PubMed

    Queloz, V; Duò, A; Sieber, T N; Grünig, C R

    2010-03-01

    The suitability of 13 microsatellite loci for species diagnosis and population genetics in 11 species of the Phialocephala fortinii s.l.-Acephala applanata species complex (PAC) was assessed. Two data sets were compared to test possible biases in species typing and clone detection resulting from null alleles and size homoplasies. The first data set was based on fragment lengths derived from a multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay and the second data set was received from singleplex PCR at lower stringency and sequencing. Most null alleles observed in the multiplex PCR assay could be amplified during singleplex PCR under less stringent conditions. Size homoplasies resulting from mutations in flanking regions and differences in microsatellite structures were observed. For example, Phialocephala uotolensis possessed a (CT)(13) in addition to the (GT)(x) motif at locus mPF_0644. Despite the occurrence of null alleles and size homoplasies, species diagnosis and population genetic analysis studies were not affected. These markers will facilitate studies on population biology, ecology and biogeography of PAC species.

  19. The Langerhans islet cells of female rabbits are differentially affected by hypothyroidism depending on the islet size.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez-Castelán, J; Nicolás, L; Morimoto, S; Cuevas, E

    2015-04-01

    Effects of hypothyroidism on the glucose and insulin levels are controversial, and its impact on the Langerhans islet morphology of adult subjects has been poorly addressed. In spite of hypothyroidism and diabetes mellitus are more frequent in females than in males, most studies using animal models have been done in males. The effect of hypothyroidism on the immunolabeling of thyroid hormone receptors (TRs) and thyrotropin receptor (TSHR) of islet cells is unknown. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of hypothyroidism on the glucose and insulin concentrations, morphometry of islets, and immunostaining of TRs α1-2 and β1 and TSHR of islet cells in female rabbits. Control and hypothyroid (0.02% of methimazole for 30 days) animals were used to quantify blood levels of glucose and insulin, density of islets, cross-sectional area (CSA) of islets, number of cells per islet, cell proliferation, and the immunolabeling of TRs α1-2, TRβ1, and TSHR. Student's t or Mann-Whitney-U tests, two-way ANOVAs, and Fischer's tests were applied. Concentrations of glucose and insulin, as well as the insulin resistance were similar between groups. Hypothyroidism did not affect the density or the CSA of islets. The analysis of islets by size showed that hypothyroidism reduced the cell number in large and medium islets, but not in small ones. In small islets, cell proliferation was increased. The immunoreactivity of TRα1-2, TRβ1, and TSHR was increased by hypothyroidism in all islet sizes. Our results show that hypothyroidism affects differentially the islet cells depending on the size of islets.

  20. Mouse ovarian follicles secrete factors affecting the growth and development of like-sized ovarian follicles in vitro.

    PubMed

    Spears, Norah; Baker, Stuart; Srsen, Vlastimil; Lapping, Rebecca; Mullan, Julie; Nelson, Robert; Allison, Vivian

    2002-12-01

    A series of experiments have been carried out to determine whether follicles secrete factors able to affect the growth and development of other, like-sized follicles. Late preantral mouse ovarian follicles were either cocultured or cultured in media conditioned by previously cultured follicles. In particular, the experiments examined whether follicles do secrete such factors, whether the level of FSH in the culture media can affect that process, and what the nature of such secretory factor(s) might be. First, pairs of follicles were cocultured across a polycarbonate membrane containing pores. This showed that communication between the follicles resulted in the stimulation of growth and that the stimulation was due, at least in part, to the production of secretory factor(s). In subsequent experiments, follicles were cultured in media that had been preconditioned by previously cultured follicles. The concentration of FSH in the cultures determined the effect of the conditioned media: conditioned media was stimulatory to follicle growth when levels of FSH remained high throughout the culture, but inhibitory when FSH levels were dropped midway through the cultures. Heat inactivation removed this inhibitory effect, showing that the factor was likely to be a protein; addition of follistatin to the conditioned media did not alter its effect, indicating that the factor was unlikely to be activin. We have shown through a series of culture experiments that mouse follicles secrete factor(s) that can affect the development of other like-sized follicles when cultured from the late preantral to Graafian stages. Furthermore, we have shown that the effect (or production) of such factors is dependent on the FSH environment of the follicles.

  1. Effects of natural and anthropogenic processes in the distribution of marine litter in the deep Mediterranean Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ramirez-Llodra, Eva; De Mol, Ben; Company, Joan B.; Coll, Marta; Sardà, Francesc

    2013-11-01

    The distribution, type and quantity of marine litter accumulated on the bathyal and abyssal Mediterranean seafloor has been studied in the framework of the Spanish national projects PROMETEO and DOS MARES and the ESF-EuroDEEP project BIOFUN. Litter was collected with an otter trawl and Agassiz trawl while sampling for megafauna on the Blanes canyon and adjacent slope (Catalan margin, north-western Mediterranean) between 900 and 2700 m depth, and on the western, central and eastern Mediterranean basins at 1200, 2000 and 3000 m depth. All litter was sorted into 8 categories (hard plastic, soft plastic, glass, metal, clinker, fabric, longlines and fishing nets) and weighed. The distribution of litter was analysed in relation to depth, geographic area and natural (bathymetry, currents and rivers) and anthropogenic (population density and shipping routes) processes. The most abundant litter types were plastic, glass, metal and clinker. Lost or discarded fishing gear was also commonly found. On the Catalan margin, although the data indicated an accumulation of litter with increasing depth, mean weight was not significantly different between depths or between the open slope and the canyon. We propose that litter accumulated in the canyon, with high proportions of plastics, has predominantly a coastal origin, while litter collected on the open slope, dominated by heavy litter, is mostly ship-originated, especially at sites under major shipping routes. Along the trans-Mediterranean transect, although a higher amount of litter seemed to be found on the Western Mediterranean, differences of mean weight were not significant between the 3 geographic areas and the 3 depths. Here, the shallower sites, also closer to the coast, had a higher proportion of plastics than the deeper sites, which had a higher proportion of heavy litter and were often affected by shipping routes. The weight of litter was also compared to biomass of megafauna from the same samples. On the Blanes slope

  2. Developmental 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) impairs sequential and spatial but not cued learning independent of growth, litter effects or injection stress.

    PubMed

    Williams, Michael T; Morford, LaRonda L; Wood, Sandra L; Rock, Stephanie L; McCrea, Anne E; Fukumura, Masao; Wallace, Tanya L; Broening, Harry W; Moran, Mary S; Vorhees, Charles V

    2003-04-04

    Previously, we have shown that rats administered MDMA from postnatal (P) days 11-20 had reductions in body weight during the period of treatment and as adults they had deficits in sequential and spatial learning and memory. In the present study, to control for weight reductions, we used litters with double the number of offspring to induce growth restriction comparable to that of standard size litters treated with MDMA. Litters were treated twice daily from P11 to 20 with vehicle or MDMA (20 mg/kg) or only weighed. Males, but not females, exposed to MDMA had longer latencies and more errors in the Cincinnati water maze compared to males of the other treatments. In the Morris water maze (210 cm pool, 10x10 cm platform), the MDMA animals were impaired relative to all other treatments during acquisition. Only the MDMA females showed deficits when the platform was shifted to a new location, however, both MDMA males and females were impaired when the location of the platform was again shifted and a reduced platform (5x5 cm) used. No differences were observed in the ability to swim a straight channel, locate a platform with a cue, or the endocrine response to forced swim among the treatment groups. No differences were seen between animals injected with saline and those only weighed. The data suggest that factors, such as growth retardation, multiple injections, or the composition of the litter, do not affect the development of learning and memory impairments resulting from P11 to 20 MDMA exposure. The large litter approach offers a novel method to control for undernutrition during the preweaning period in rodents.

  3. [Litter decomposition and associated macro-invertebrate functional feeding groups in a third-order stream of northern Guangdong].

    PubMed

    Yan, Ling; Zhao, Ying; Han, Cui-xiang; Tong, Xiao-li

    2007-11-01

    By placing 5 mm- and 0.1 mm mesh bags with Dracontomelon duperreanum (Anacardiaceae) and Syzygium jambos (Myrtaceae) litters in the Hengshishui Stream, a third-order stream in northern Guangdong of China, this paper studied the decomposition of the litters and the colonization of macro-invertebrates over a 101-day period. The results showed that the decomposition rate of D. duperreanum litter in 5 mm- and 0.1 mm mesh bags was 0.0247 d(-1) and 0.0151 d(-1), while that of S. jambos litter was 0.0108 d(-1) and 0.0095 d(-1), respectively, indicating that D. duperreanum litter decomposed faster than S. jambos litter, and the decomposition rates of these two kinds of litters were higher in coarse mesh bag than in fine mesh bag. Among the colonized macro-invertebrate functional feeding groups, scraper occupied the highest proportion (36%), followed by collector (33%), predator (25%), and shredder (6%). At the middle and late stages of the experiment, the total number of individuals and the numbers and densities of dominant groups of macroinvertebrates on D. duperreanum litter were significantly higher than those on S. jambos litter. It was suggested that in the subtropical medium-size streams where shredders are few or absent, scrapers play an important role in the breakdown of litter. The low decomposition rate of S. jambos litter was mainly due to its high content of polyphenols which inhibits microbial activity and makes the litter less eatable to the macro-invertebrates.

  4. Cigarette litter: smokers' attitudes and behaviors.

    PubMed

    Rath, Jessica M; Rubenstein, Rebecca A; Curry, Laurel E; Shank, Sarah E; Cartwright, Julia C

    2012-06-01

    Cigarette butts are consistently the most collected items in litter clean-up efforts, which are a costly burden to local economies. In addition, tobacco waste may be detrimental to our natural environment. The tobacco industry has conducted or funded numerous studies on smokers' littering knowledge and behavior, however, non-industry sponsored research is rare. We sought to examine whether demographics and smokers' knowledge and beliefs toward cigarette waste as litter predicts littering behavior. Smokers aged 18 and older (n = 1,000) were interviewed about their knowledge and beliefs towards cigarette waste as litter. Respondents were members of the Research Now panel, an online panel of over three million respondents in the United States. Multivariate logistic regressions were conducted to determine factors significantly predictive of ever having littered cigarette butts or having littered cigarette butts within the past month (p-value < 0.05). The majority (74.1%) of smokers reported having littered cigarette butts at least once in their life, by disposing of them on the ground or throwing them out of a car window. Over half (55.7%) reported disposing of cigarette butts on the ground, in a sewer/gutter, or down a drain in the past month. Those who did not consider cigarette butts to be litter were over three and half times as likely to report having ever littered cigarette butts (OR = 3.68, 95%CI = 2.04, 6.66) and four times as likely to have littered cigarette butts in the past month (OR = 4.00, 95%CI = 2.53, 6.32). Males were significantly more likely to have littered cigarette butts in the past month compared to females (OR = 1.49, 95%CI = 1.14, 1.94). Holding the belief that cigarette butts are not litter was the only belief in this study that predicted ever or past-month littering of cigarette waste. Messages in anti-cigarette-litter campaigns should emphasize that cigarette butts are not just litter but are toxic waste and are harmful when disposed of

  5. Cigarette Litter: Smokers’ Attitudes and Behaviors

    PubMed Central

    Rath, Jessica M.; Rubenstein, Rebecca A.; Curry, Laurel E.; Shank, Sarah E.; Cartwright, Julia C.

    2012-01-01

    Cigarette butts are consistently the most collected items in litter clean-up efforts, which are a costly burden to local economies. In addition, tobacco waste may be detrimental to our natural environment. The tobacco industry has conducted or funded numerous studies on smokers’ littering knowledge and behavior, however, non-industry sponsored research is rare. We sought to examine whether demographics and smokers’ knowledge and beliefs toward cigarette waste as litter predicts littering behavior. Smokers aged 18 and older (n = 1,000) were interviewed about their knowledge and beliefs towards cigarette waste as litter. Respondents were members of the Research Now panel, an online panel of over three million respondents in the United States. Multivariate logistic regressions were conducted to determine factors significantly predictive of ever having littered cigarette butts or having littered cigarette butts within the past month (p-value < 0.05). The majority (74.1%) of smokers reported having littered cigarette butts at least once in their life, by disposing of them on the ground or throwing them out of a car window. Over half (55.7%) reported disposing of cigarette butts on the ground, in a sewer/gutter, or down a drain in the past month. Those who did not consider cigarette butts to be litter were over three and half times as likely to report having ever littered cigarette butts (OR = 3.68, 95%CI = 2.04, 6.66) and four times as likely to have littered cigarette butts in the past month (OR = 4.00, 95%CI = 2.53, 6.32). Males were significantly more likely to have littered cigarette butts in the past month compared to females (OR = 1.49, 95%CI = 1.14, 1.94). Holding the belief that cigarette butts are not litter was the only belief in this study that predicted ever or past-month littering of cigarette waste. Messages in anti-cigarette-litter campaigns should emphasize that cigarette butts are not just litter but are toxic waste and are harmful when disposed of

  6. Crop size, plant aggregation, and microhabitat type affect fruit removal by birds from individual melastome plants in the Upper Amazon.

    PubMed

    Blendinger, Pedro G; Loiselle, Bette A; Blake, John G

    2008-11-01

    We studied the efficiency (proportion of the crop removed) and quantitative effectiveness (number of fruits removed) of dispersal of Miconia fosteri and M. serrulata (Melastomataceae) seeds by birds in lowland tropical wet forest of Ecuador. Specifically, we examined variation in fruit removal in order to reveal the spatial scale at which crop size influences seed dispersal outcome of individual plants, and to evaluate how the effect of crop size on plant dispersal success may be affected by conspecific fruit abundance and by the spatial distribution of frugivore abundance. We established two 9-ha plots in undisturbed terra-firme understory, where six manakin species (Pipridae) disperse most seeds of these two plant species. Mean levels of fruit removal were low for both species, with high variability among plants. In general, plants with larger crop sizes experienced greater efficiency and effectiveness of fruit removal than plants with smaller crops. Fruit removal, however, was also influenced by microhabitat, such as local topography and local neighborhood. Fruit-rich and disperser-rich patches overlapped spatially for M. fosteri but not M. serrulata, nonetheless fruit removal of M. serrulata was still much greater in fruit-rich patches. Fruit removal from individual plants did not decrease in patches with many fruiting conspecifics and, in fact, removal effectiveness was enhanced for M. fosteri with small crop sizes when such plants were in patches with more conspecifics. These results suggest that benefits of attracting dispersers to a patch balanced or outweighed the costs of competition for dispersers. Spatial pattern of fruit removal, a measure of plant fitness, depended on a complex interaction among plant traits, spatial patterns of plant distribution, and disperser behavior.

  7. Pore size distribution of soil near saturation as affected by soil type, land use, and soil amendments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mamedov, A. I.; Wagner, L. E.; Levy, G. J.

    2008-12-01

    Storage and flow of water in soil voids, which are related to the size and geometry of the voids and flow rate are usually controlled by the void of the smallest size. Another reason for the complexity of water flow in soils is the intricate nature and change of the soil pores due to the modification of soil structure under different agricultural management and climatic conditions. Shrinking and swelling stresses enhance breakdown of aggregates and to subsequent collapse of pores, thus adversely affecting the movement of water and solutes in the soil. Our objective was to study the role of soil type, nature of cultivation, waste and soil stabilizers application, and soil condition on disturbed soil pore-size distribution, drainable porosity and water holding capacity at near saturation (infiltration porosity) using the high energy moisture characteristic method. In this method, the wetting process of the aggregates is accurately controlled, and the energy of hydration and entrapped air are the main forces responsible for aggregate breakdown. We studied a large number (> 300) of soil samples from different climatic regions varying (i) in their inherent properties (clay mineralogy, dispersion potential, texture, organic matter, Fe and Al oxides content), and; (ii) the conditions prevailing in the soil (water quality, salinity, sodicity, redox potential, type of tillage); and finally that were subjected to the addition of different soil amendments (polymers, gypsum, manure, sludge). The results showed that structural stability and pore size distribution strongly depended on soil type, conditions prevailing in the soil and the type of amendment used. Detailed analyses of the results provided valuable information on inter- and intra- aggregate porosities that may have vital bearing on the understanding of (i) solution transport processes in different soil types under different treatments or with different solute concentration, and (ii) down-profile transport of soil

  8. Litter composition effects on decomposition across the litter-soil interface

    EPA Science Inventory

    Background/Question/Methods Many studies have investigated the influence of plant litter species composition on decomposition dynamics, but given the variety of communities and environments around the world, a variety of consequences of litter-mixing have been reported. Litter ...

  9. McDonald's Litter Hunt: A Community Litter Control System for Youth.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    McNees, M. Patrick; And Others

    1979-01-01

    Describes a community litter control program. Special adhesive stickers were randomly placed on existing litter throughout a community and youth were rewarded with special prizes for participating in the program. Litter was reduced 32 percent across the city. (Author/MA)

  10. The Effects of Fire Severity on Macroinvertebrate Detritivores and Leaf Litter Decomposition

    PubMed Central

    Buckingham, Sebastian; Murphy, Nick; Gibb, Heloise

    2015-01-01

    High severity wildfire events are a feature of forests globally and are likely to be more prevalent with climate change. As a disturbance process, fire has the potential to change important ecological functions, such as decomposition, through its impact on biodiversity. Despite the recognised importance of decomposition in terms of fuel loads and energy flow, little is known about the post-fire effects of fire severity on decomposition by litter-dwelling macroinvertebrate detritivores. We tested the hypotheses that: 1) increasing fire severity is associated with decreased rates of leaf litter decomposition by macroinvertebrate detritivores; and 2) the abundance and biomass of macroinvertebrate detritivores decreases with increasing fire severity, while body size increases. We used a litterbag experiment at long-unburnt, ground-burnt and crown-burnt sites (n = 7 for all treatments) to test the effect of fire severity on: a) macroinvertebrate-driven break-down of litter fuel loads; and b) the size and abundance of macroinvertebrate detritivores three years after fire. Microhabitat conditions differed among fire severity classes. Macroinvertebrate exclusion reduced litter decomposition by 34.7%. Macroinvertebrate detritivores were larger and less abundant following higher severity fires, possibly as a result of fire-induced changes in habitat structure. Opposing effects of fire severity on macroinvertebrate abundance and body size resulted in both similar detritivore biomass and, most interestingly, no differences in leaf litter decomposition under different fire severities. This suggests that the diversity of macroinvertebrates enhances functional resilience of litter decomposition to fire and that litter-breakdown is not inhibited within three years following a high severity fire in this forest type and where recolonisation sources are readily available. We found no support for the hypothesis that high severity fires reduce litter decomposition and therefore

  11. The effects of fire severity on macroinvertebrate detritivores and leaf litter decomposition.

    PubMed

    Buckingham, Sebastian; Murphy, Nick; Gibb, Heloise

    2015-01-01

    High severity wildfire events are a feature of forests globally and are likely to be more prevalent with climate change. As a disturbance process, fire has the potential to change important ecological functions, such as decomposition, through its impact on biodiversity. Despite the recognised importance of decomposition in terms of fuel loads and energy flow, little is known about the post-fire effects of fire severity on decomposition by litter-dwelling macroinvertebrate detritivores. We tested the hypotheses that: 1) increasing fire severity is associated with decreased rates of leaf litter decomposition by macroinvertebrate detritivores; and 2) the abundance and biomass of macroinvertebrate detritivores decreases with increasing fire severity, while body size increases. We used a litterbag experiment at long-unburnt, ground-burnt and crown-burnt sites (n = 7 for all treatments) to test the effect of fire severity on: a) macroinvertebrate-driven break-down of litter fuel loads; and b) the size and abundance of macroinvertebrate detritivores three years after fire. Microhabitat conditions differed among fire severity classes. Macroinvertebrate exclusion reduced litter decomposition by 34.7%. Macroinvertebrate detritivores were larger and less abundant following higher severity fires, possibly as a result of fire-induced changes in habitat structure. Opposing effects of fire severity on macroinvertebrate abundance and body size resulted in both similar detritivore biomass and, most interestingly, no differences in leaf litter decomposition under different fire severities. This suggests that the diversity of macroinvertebrates enhances functional resilience of litter decomposition to fire and that litter-breakdown is not inhibited within three years following a high severity fire in this forest type and where recolonisation sources are readily available. We found no support for the hypothesis that high severity fires reduce litter decomposition and therefore

  12. Who is who in litter decomposition? Metaproteomics reveals major microbial players and their biogeochemical functions.

    PubMed

    Schneider, Thomas; Keiblinger, Katharina M; Schmid, Emanuel; Sterflinger-Gleixner, Katja; Ellersdorfer, Günther; Roschitzki, Bernd; Richter, Andreas; Eberl, Leo; Zechmeister-Boltenstern, Sophie; Riedel, Kathrin

    2012-09-01

    Leaf-litter decomposition is a central process in carbon cycling; however, our knowledge about the microbial regulation of this process is still scarce. Metaproteomics allows us to link the abundance and activity of enzymes during nutrient cycling to their phylogenetic origin based on proteins, the 'active building blocks' in the system. Moreover, we employed metaproteomics to investigate the influence of environmental factors and nutrients on the decomposer structure and function during beech litter decomposition. Litter was collected at forest sites in Austria with different litter nutrient content. Proteins were analyzed by 1-D-SDS-PAGE followed by liquid-chromatography and tandem mass-spectrometry. Mass spectra were assigned to phylogenetic and functional groups by a newly developed bioinformatics workflow, assignments being validated by complementary approaches. We provide evidence that the litter nutrient content and the stoichiometry of C:N:P affect the decomposer community structure and activity. Fungi were found to be the main producers of extracellular hydrolytic enzymes, with no bacterial hydrolases being detected by our metaproteomics approach. Detailed investigation of microbial succession suggests that it is influenced by litter nutrient content. Microbial activity was stimulated at higher litter nutrient contents via a higher abundance and activity of extracellular enzymes.

  13. Short-term facilitation of microbial litter decomposition by ultraviolet radiation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lin, Y.; King, J. Y.

    2015-12-01

    In arid and semi-arid ecosystems, solar radiation plays an important role in C cycling by increasing the decomposition rate of plant litter and soil organic matter (i.e. photodegradation). Recent studies suggest that exposure to solar radiation can facilitate microbial decomposition of litter by altering litter chemistry and consequently litter degradability. However, it remains unclear at what time scale this facilitation mechanism operates. Does radiation exposure during the day facilitate microbial decomposition at night? In a laboratory jar incubation experiment, a common grass litter was exposed to either a cycle of alternating ultraviolet (UV) radiation and dark phases (2 days in UV phase and 2 days in dark phase) or a continuous dark treatment in order to examine the impacts of UV radiation on CO2 production. The litter samples were also incubated under either wet or dry conditions to separate the contributions of abiotic photochemical and microbial processes to CO2 production. Under wet conditions, radiation regime did not affect CO2 production for the first half of the 4-month experiment; interestingly, in the second half of the experiment, wet litter in the alternating treatment produced at least 15% more CO2, regardless of UV or dark phase, than wet litter in the continuous dark treatment. This difference in CO2 production was significant even after accounting for higher temperature in the alternating treatment that may have stimulated microbial respiration or generated thermal CO2 production. Under dry conditions, litter in the alternating treatment produced 1.6 times more CO2 than litter in the continuous dark treatment, which we interpret to be abiotic photochemical CO2 production. However, this abiotic flux was minimal compared to the microbial respiration flux, as cumulative CO2 production from dry litter was less than 1% of that from wet litter. Overall, these results confirm that UV radiation does facilitate microbial decomposition at a diel scale

  14. Earthworms and legumes control litter decomposition in a plant diversity gradient.

    PubMed

    Milcu, Alexandru; Partsch, Stephan; Scherber, Christoph; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Scheu, Stefan

    2008-07-01

    The role of species and functional group diversity of primary producers for decomposers and decomposition processes is little understood. We made use of the "Jena Biodiversity Experiment" and tested the hypothesis that increasing plant species (1, 4, and 16 species) and functional group diversity (1, 2, 3, and 4 groups) beneficially affects decomposer density and activity and therefore the decomposition of plant litter material. Furthermore, by manipulating the densities of decomposers (earthworms and springtails) within the plant diversity gradient we investigated how the interactions between plant diversity and decomposer densities affect the decomposition of litter belonging to different plant functional groups (grasses, herbs, and legumes). Positive effects of increasing plant species or functional group diversity on earthworms (biomass and density) and microbial biomass were mainly due to the increased incidence of legumes with increasing diversity. Neither plant species diversity nor functional group diversity affected litter decomposition, However, litter decomposition varied with decomposer and plant functional group identity (of both living plants and plant litter). While springtail removal generally had little effect on decomposition, increased earthworm density accelerated the decomposition of nitrogen-rich legume litter, and this was more pronounced at higher plant diversity. The results suggest that earthworms (Lumbricus terrestris L.) and legumes function as keystone organisms for grassland decomposition processes and presumably contribute to the recorded increase in primary productivity with increasing plant diversity.

  15. Spectral albedo/reflectance of littered forest snow during the melt season

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Melloh, Rae A.; Hardy, Janet P.; Davis, Robert E.; Robinson, Peggy B.

    2001-12-01

    Despite the importance of litter on forest floor albedo and brightness, previous studies have not documented forest floor albedo or litter cover in any detail. Our objective was to describe the seasonal influence of litter on spectral albedos and nadir reflectances of a forest snowpack in a mixed-hardwood stand in the Sleepers River Research Watershed (SRRW) in Danville, Vermont (37°39 N, 119°2 W). Experimental measurements in a nearby open area at the Snow Research Station of the SRRW nearly duplicated the spectral trend observed in the forest. Spectral albedo and nadir reflectance measurements in the visible and near infrared (350-2500 nm) transitioned from a gently curved shape through the visible range (for finer-grained, lightly littered snow) to one having a peak in the red/near-infrared (near 760 nm) as the snowmelt season progressed (for coarser-grained, more heavily littered snow). The snowpack became optically thin as surface litter reached high percentages. A point-in-time digital photographic survey of the late-lying snowpacks of three forest stands and the open showed that median litter cover percentages in the coniferous, deciduous, mixed-forest, and an open area were 17·5, 6·1, 1·2, and 0·04 respectively. A Kruskal-Wallis ANOVA on ranks and pairwise comparisons using Dunn's test indicated that the litter covers of the three forest stands were significantly different with >95% confidence. The snowpack was relatively shallow (<1 m), as is typical for this area of Vermont. From a remote-sensing standpoint, and since shallow snow and increased grain size also lower the visible albedo, we can expect that snowpack litter will cause decreased albedo earlier in the snowmelt season, at deeper snow depths, and will tend to shift the maximum albedo peak to the red/NIR range as the melt season progresses. Published in 2001 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

  16. Effects of stoichiometry and temperature perturbations on beech litter decomposition, enzyme activities and protein expression

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keiblinger, K. M.; Schneider, T.; Roschitzki, B.; Schmid, E.; Eberl, L.; Hämmerle, I.; Leitner, S.; Richter, A.; Wanek, W.; Riedel, K.; Zechmeister-Boltenstern, S.

    2011-12-01

    Microbes are major players in leaf litter decomposition and therefore advances in the understanding of their control on element cycling are of paramount importance. Our aim was to investigate the influence of leaf litter stoichiometry in terms of carbon (C) : nitrogen (N) : phosphorus (P) on the decomposition process, and to follow changes in microbial community structure and function in response to temperature-stress treatments. To elucidate how the stoichiometry of beech litter (Fagus sylvatica L.) and stress treatments interactively affect the decomposition processes, a terrestrial microcosm experiment was conducted. Beech litter from different Austrian sites covering C:N ratios from 39 to 61 and C:P ratios from 666 to 1729 were incubated at 15 °C and 60% moisture for six months. Part of the microcosms were then subjected to severe changes in temperature (+30 °C and -15 °C) to monitor the influence of temperature stress. Extracellular enzyme activities were assayed and respiratory activities measured. A semi-quantitative metaproteomics approach (1D-SDS PAGE combined with liquid chromatography and tandem mass-spectrometry; unique spectral counting) was employed to investigate the impact of the applied stress treatments in dependency of litter stoichiometry on structure and function of the decomposing community. In litter with narrow C:nutrient ratios microbial decomposers were most abundant. Cellulase, chitinase, phosphatase and protease activity decreased after heat and frost treatments. Decomposer communities and specific functions varied with site i.e. stoichiometry. The applied stress evoked strong changes of enzyme activities, dissolved organic nitrogen and litter pH. Freeze treatments resulted in a decline in residual plant litter material, and increased fungal abundance indicating slightly accelerated decomposition. Overall, we could detect a strong effect of litter stoichiometry on microbial community structure as well as function. Temperature

  17. Response of leaf litter decomposition to rises in atmospheric CO2 and temperature

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hammrich, A.; Flury, S.; Gessner, M. O.

    2007-05-01

    Atmospheric concentrations of CO2 have considerably increased in the last century and are expected to rise further. Elevated CO2 concentrations not only increase global temperature but also have potential to change plant litter quality, for example by increasing lignin content, changing C:N ratios and altering tannin contents. These chemical changes may interact with increased temperature to alter litter decomposition. To test whether changes in litter quality and warming affect decomposition, we conducted a field experiment with leaf litter collected from six species of mature deciduous trees exposed to either ambient or elevated CO2 levels. We used a set of 16 enclosures installed in four blocks in a freshwater marsh in a prealpine lake to test for the effects of CO2-mediated litter quality and temperature and the interaction of both factors. We measured leaf mass loss of the twelve litter types in control and heated enclosures (4 °C above ambient) and also in the open marsh. In contrast to expectations, species decomposing at low (oak and beech) and medium (hornbeam and maple) rates showed faster mass loss when leaves were grown under elevated CO2 conditions, whereas fast-decomposing species (cherry and basswood) showed no clear response. The accelerated decomposition of CO2-enriched litter could be due to higher amounts of nonstructural carbohydrates, which may have been either leached or readily degraded. Warming had a surprisingly small influence on mass loss of the tested litter species, and interactive effects were weak. These results suggest that direct and indirect effects of elevated CO2 levels on litter decomposition may not be readily predictable from first principles.

  18. Biochemical Control of Fungal Biomass and Enzyme Production During Native Hawaiian Litter Degradation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Amatangelo, K. L.; Cordova, T. P.; Vitousek, P. M.

    2007-12-01

    Microbial growth and enzyme production during decomposition is controlled by the availability of carbon substrates, essential elements, and the ratios of these (such as lignin:N). We manipulated carbon:nutrient stoichiometry during decomposition using a natural fertility gradient in Hawaii and litter of varying initial biochemistry. We collected freshly senesced litter of seven biochemically distinct species from three sites offering differing levels of N, P, cations, and 15N , but similar yearly rainfall and temperature patterns. Litter types were decomposed at both the sites they were collected, and at the other site(s) that species was found. Litter was collected at multiple time points, and after one year of decomposition, calculated K constants varied an order of magnitude, from 0.276 to 2.76. Decomposition rates varied significantly with both litter site of origin and deployment, except at the oldest, P-limited site, where litter site of origin was not significantly correlated with decomposition within species. As microbial exocellular enzymes provide the catalyst for the breakdown of organic molecules including phenols, cellulose, and cutin, we assayed polyphenol oxidase, cellobiohydrolase, cutinase, chitinase, and lignin peroxidase to evaluate the breakdown sequence of different litter types. To measure the fungal biomass accumulating during decomposition, we extracted (22E)-Ergosta-5,7,22-trien-3beta- ol (ergosterol) on a subset of samples. The production of particular exocellular enzymes on litter species responded distinctly to origin and decomposition sites: after six months, chitinase and cellobiohydrolase were significantly affected by origin site, whereas polyphenol oxidase activity was controlled by deployment site. We conclude that site characteristics can alter the interaction between litter carbon:nutrient ratios and decomposition rate, mediated through microbial biomass and enzyme production.

  19. Breakfasts with different fiber and macronutrient contents do not differentially affect timing, size or microstructure of the subsequent lunch.

    PubMed

    Silberbauer, C; Frey-Rindova, P; Langhans, W

    1996-12-01

    The effects of four equienergetic breakfasts with varying fiber and macronutrient contents on hunger and satiety ratings, on subsequent lunch intake, and on postprandial carbohydrate and fat metabolism were investigated in normal weight male subjects in two experiments, in which lunch was offered at a predetermined time (Experiment 1) or in which the subjects were free to choose when to eat lunch (Experiment 2). Consumption of either a commercially available high fiber cereal (HFC, 10% fiber), a medium fiber cereal (MFC, 7% fiber), a low fiber cereal (LFC, 3% fiber), or a standard continental breakfast (0% fiber) on nonconsecutive days did not differentially affect hunger and satiety ratings, the size or microstructure of the subsequent lunch, and the breakfast to lunch intermeal interval (in Experiment 2). Plasma concentrations of glucose, lactate, and insulin increased more after the LFC breakfast than after the other breakfast varieties. A reactive postprandial hypoglycaemia occurred after the LFC breakfast, shortly before lunch. The plasma concentrations of fat metabolites (triglycerides, free fatty acids, beta-hydroxybutyrate) and of glucagon were not differentially affected by the breakfast varieties. The results are consistent with the assumption that energy content of a meal is the major determinant of subsequent energy intake in man and the fiber content and macronutrient composition have only a modulating effect.

  20. Enzymatic activities in coniferous leaf litter

    SciTech Connect

    Spalding, B.P.

    1980-07-01

    Assays for measuring the activities of cellulase, xylanase, mannase, amylase, ..beta..-glucosidase, invertase, and protease employing buffered suspensions of ground coniferous and deciduous leaf litter exhibited zero-order kinetics. Only a small percentage of the whole-litter activities of invertase, ..beta..-glucosidase, and protease were extractable into 0.05M potassium acetate, pH 5.0; however, extractable activities of cellulase and xylanase represented from 39 to 174% of the whole-litter activities indicating their soluble exocellar nature. Extractable protease and amylase activities were best correlated with the average daily rates of CO/sub 2/ evolution in a group of 90 leaf litter samples equally representing 18 coniferous species. Enzymatic activities were readily detectable in extracts of all samples but classification of the samples by species provided little differentiation in the distribution of either enzymatic activities or rates of CO/sub 2/ evolution. Mannase, cellulase, and xylanase activities were well-correlated with each other in all samples. Assays attempting to measure a pool of readily-metabolizable substances in litter by extractable reducing substances, ninhydrin-positive substances, glucose, and phenolics failed to show correlation coefficients >0.41 with rates of CO/sub 2/ evolution. Addition of D-(+)-catechin to litter extracts, up to levels equivalent to those observed in the group of samples, did not inhibit any carbohydrase thus suggesting the lack of inhibition of litter-decomposing enzymes by the concentrations of phenolics present in these coniferous leaf litters.

  1. Poultry litter application on pastures and hayfields

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Poultry litter is widely used on pastures and hayfields in Georgia. There are many benefits when it is used wisely. Producers should use nutrient management planning and recommended rates to ensure poultry litter is used in ways that maximize its benefits without harming the environment....

  2. Broiler house litter sampling: the final frontier

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Today, the sustainability of broiler operations reaches beyond the need for litter nutrient management plans that came to the forefront of the industry’s attention in the last fifteen years. Thorough characterization of litter within houses provides the basis for emission models to benefit growers,...

  3. 33 CFR 144.01-35 - Litter.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... 33 Navigation and Navigable Waters 2 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Litter. 144.01-35 Section 144.01-35 Navigation and Navigable Waters COAST GUARD, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (CONTINUED) OUTER CONTINENTAL SHELF ACTIVITIES LIFESAVING APPLIANCES Manned Platforms § 144.01-35 Litter. On each...

  4. Poultry litter toxicity comparison from various bioassays

    SciTech Connect

    Gupta, G.; Kelly, P. )

    1992-01-01

    Poultry litter contains many toxic chemicals including Cu, As, Pb, Cd, Hg, Se and PCBs. Poultry litter leachate has been shown to be more toxic to marine luminescent organisms (Photobacterium phosphoreum) than other farm animal manures. A comparison of toxicity of the poultry litter leachate was undertaken using various bioassays. The EC{sub 50} (or LC{sub 50}) value for the leachate with the Microtox and Daphnia bioassays was 2.9 g/L/ Nitrobacter and Pseudomonas bioassays were not useful in determining the leachate toxicity because of the nutritional properties of the litter. Poultry litter leachate was found to be mutagenic to strains TA 97, TA 98, TA 100 and TA 102 using the Ames Test.

  5. Salmonella and fecal indicator bacteria in tile waters draining poultry litter application fields in central Iowa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hruby, C.; Soupir, M.

    2012-12-01

    E. coli and enterococci are commonly used as pathogen indicators in surface waters. Along with these indicators, pathogenic Salmonella are prevalent in poultry litter, and have the potential to be transported from land-application areas to tile waters and ultimately to impact waters that are used for drinking-water and recreation. The fate and transport of these bacteria to drainage tiles from application fields, and the correlation of fecal indicator bacteria to pathogens in this setting, is poorly understood. In this field study, samples were obtained from poultry litter, soil, and drainage tile waters below chisel-plowed and no-till cornfields in central Iowa where poultry litter was applied each year in late spring prior to planting. Litter was applied at three different rates; commercial fertilizer with no litter, a low application rate based on the nitrogen requirements of the corn (PL1), and double the low rate (PL2). This site is characterized by low sloping (0-9%) Clarion and Nicollet soils, which are derived from glacial till. Samples were collected from April to September for three years (2010-12) when tiles were flowing. Record high precipitation fell during the sampling period in 2010, while 2011 and 2012 were exceptionally dry years at this location. Grab samples were taken directly from flowing tiles after every rainfall event (>2 cm in less than 24 hours) and samples were collected hourly throughout selected events using an automatic sampling device. Concentrations of E. coli, enterococci and Salmonella spp. were quantified by membrane filtration and growth on selective agars. Peak bacteria concentrations following rainfall events were often one order of magnitude higher in tile waters discharging from no-till plots, despite the smaller size and lower tile flow rates at these plots compared to the chisel-plowed plots. Bacteria concentrations regularly varied by two orders of magnitude in response to rainfall events. Bacteria transport via macropores

  6. Marine litter on deep Arctic seafloor continues to increase and spreads to the North at the HAUSGARTEN observatory

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