Science.gov

Sample records for affect litter size

  1. Does Litter Size Variation Affect Models of Terrestrial Carnivore Extinction Risk and Management?

    PubMed Central

    Devenish-Nelson, Eleanor S.; Stephens, Philip A.; Harris, Stephen; Soulsbury, Carl; Richards, Shane A.

    2013-01-01

    Background Individual variation in both survival and reproduction has the potential to influence extinction risk. Especially for rare or threatened species, reliable population models should adequately incorporate demographic uncertainty. Here, we focus on an important form of demographic stochasticity: variation in litter sizes. We use terrestrial carnivores as an example taxon, as they are frequently threatened or of economic importance. Since data on intraspecific litter size variation are often sparse, it is unclear what probability distribution should be used to describe the pattern of litter size variation for multiparous carnivores. Methodology/Principal Findings We used litter size data on 32 terrestrial carnivore species to test the fit of 12 probability distributions. The influence of these distributions on quasi-extinction probabilities and the probability of successful disease control was then examined for three canid species – the island fox Urocyon littoralis, the red fox Vulpes vulpes, and the African wild dog Lycaon pictus. Best fitting probability distributions differed among the carnivores examined. However, the discretised normal distribution provided the best fit for the majority of species, because variation among litter-sizes was often small. Importantly, however, the outcomes of demographic models were generally robust to the distribution used. Conclusion/Significance These results provide reassurance for those using demographic modelling for the management of less studied carnivores in which litter size variation is estimated using data from species with similar reproductive attributes. PMID:23469140

  2. Size dependent differences in litter consumption of isopods: preliminary results

    PubMed Central

    Vilisics, Ferenc; Szekeres, Sándor; Hornung, Elisabeth

    2012-01-01

    Abstract A series of experiments were applied to test how leaf orientation within microcosms affect consumption rates (Experiment 1), and to discover intra-specific differences in leaf litter consumption (Experiment 2) of the common isopod species Porcellio scaber and Porcellionides pruinosus. A standardised microcosm setup was developed for feeding experiments to maintain standard conditions. A constant amount of freshly fallen black poplar litter was provided to three distinct size class (small, medium, large) of woodlice. We measured litter consumption after a fortnight. We maintained appr. constant isopod biomass for all treatments, and equal densities within each size class. We hypothesized that different size classes differ in their litter consumption, therefore such differences should occur even within populations of the species. We also hypothesized a marked difference in consumption rates for different leaf orientation within microcosms. Our results showed size-specific consumption patterns for Porcellio scaber: small adults showed the highest consumption rates (i.e. litter mass loss / isopod biomass) in high density microcosms, while medium-sized adults of lower densities ate the most litter in containers. Leaf orientation posed no significant effect on litter consumption. PMID:22536112

  3. Size dependent differences in litter consumption of isopods: preliminary results.

    PubMed

    Vilisics, Ferenc; Szekeres, Sándor; Hornung, Elisabeth

    2012-01-01

    A series of experiments were applied to test how leaf orientation within microcosms affect consumption rates (Experiment 1), and to discover intra-specific differences in leaf litter consumption (Experiment 2) of the common isopod species Porcellio scaber and Porcellionides pruinosus. A standardised microcosm setup was developed for feeding experiments to maintain standard conditions. A constant amount of freshly fallen black poplar litter was provided to three distinct size class (small, medium, large) of woodlice. We measured litter consumption after a fortnight. We maintained appr. constant isopod biomass for all treatments, and equal densities within each size class. We hypothesized that different size classes differ in their litter consumption, therefore such differences should occur even within populations of the species. We also hypothesized a marked difference in consumption rates for different leaf orientation within microcosms. Our results showed size-specific consumption patterns for Porcellio scaber: small adults showed the highest consumption rates (i.e. litter mass loss / isopod biomass) in high density microcosms, while medium-sized adults of lower densities ate the most litter in containers. Leaf orientation posed no significant effect on litter consumption.

  4. 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...

  5. Litter Size Predicts Adult Stereotypic Behavior in Female Laboratory Mice

    PubMed Central

    Bechard, Allison; Nicholson, Anthony; Mason, Georgia

    2012-01-01

    Stereotypic behaviors are repetitive invariant behaviors that are common in many captive species and potentially indicate compromised welfare and suitability as research subjects. Adult laboratory mice commonly perform stereotypic bar-gnawing, route-tracing, and back-flipping, although great individual variation in frequency occurs. Early life factors (for example, level of maternal care received) have lasting effects on CNS functioning and abilities to cope with stress and therefore may also affect stereotypic behavior in offspring. Access to maternal resources and care are influenced by the number of pups in a litter; therefore, we examined both litter size and its potential correlate, weight at weaning, as early environmental predictors of adult stereotypic behavior in laboratory mice. Further, we assessed the effects on offspring stereotypic behavior of delaying the separation of mother and pups (weaning) beyond the standard 21 d of age. Analyzing stereotypic behavior in 3 different mouse colonies composed of 2 inbred strains (C57BL/6N and C57BL/6J) and an outbred stock (CD1[ICR]) revealed significant positive correlation between litter size and stereotypic behavior in female, but not male, mice. Weight and age at weaning did not significantly affect levels of stereotypy in either sex. Litter size therefore may be a useful indicator of individual predisposition to stereotypic behavior in female laboratory mice. PMID:23043805

  6. Transcriptomic Analysis of Ovaries from Pigs with High And Low Litter Size

    PubMed Central

    Feng, Yifang; Ding, Yueyun; Ye, Pengfei; Yin, Zongjun

    2015-01-01

    Litter size is one of the most important economic traits for pig production as it is directly related to the production efficiency. Litter size is affected by interactions between multiple genes and the environment. While recent studies have identified some genes associated with prolificacy in pigs, transcriptomic studies of specific genes affecting litter size in porcine ovaries are rare. In order to identify candidate genes associated with litter size in swine, we assessed gene expression differences between the ovaries of Yorkshire pigs with extremely high and low litter sizes using the RNA-Seq method. A total of 1 243 differentially expressed genes were identified: 897 genes were upregulated and 346 genes were downregulated in high litter size ovary samples compared with low litter size ovary samples. A large number of these genes related to steroid hormone regulation in animal ovaries, including 59 Gene Ontology terms and 27 Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathways involved in steroid biosynthesis and ovarian steroidogenesis. From these differentially expressed genes, we identified a total of 11 genes using a bioinformatics screen that may be associated with high litter size in Yorkshire pigs. These results provide a list of new candidate genes for porcine litter size and prolificacy to be further investigated. PMID:26426260

  7. 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.

  8. 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. PMID:25675853

  9. 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.

  10. A Reduction in Litter Size on an Ontario Swine Farm

    PubMed Central

    Friendship, Robert M.

    1987-01-01

    In a 200 sow herd, the litter size fell from an average of 10.5 pigs born alive per litter from January to June, to an average of 9.2 for the remainder of the year. Management changes during the first part of the year resulted in half the sows weaning litters at three weeks of age and half the sows weaning at four weeks of age instead of at six weeks as was previously done. The subsequent litter size was 9.3 pigs born alive per litter for three-week weaned sows compared to 10.0 for four-week weaning. The management of gilt breeding was also altered by the necessity to breed groups of 12 gilts in one-week periods of time and therefore a higher proportion of gilts may have been mated on their first estrus instead of their second or third estrus as had been the case. The difference in litter size of first parity sows between the first six months and the second six months was 1.1 pigs. Parvovirus infection may have been a factor contributing to the reduction in litter size amongst first parity sows; two groups of first parity sows experienced an increase in mummified piglets, a reduced far rowing rate, and smaller litter size. However, no attempt was made at diagnosing an infectious agent. Parity distribution remained relatively unchanged during the year and was not associated with the drop in litter size. PMID:17422742

  11. Accuracy of prediction of canine litter size and gestational age with ultrasound.

    PubMed

    Lenard, Z M; Hopper, B J; Lester, N V; Richardson, J L; Robertson, I D

    2007-06-01

    Different sonographic criteria have been developed to estimate canine fetal age, including fetal mensuration and assessment of fetal organ development. This retrospective study assessed the accuracy of gestational age and litter size predictions in 76 bitches using one of two techniques. The first method used the differential features of fetal organ development that occur in early and mid pregnancy, based on published tables for beagles. The second method used biparietal head and trunk diameters to predict gestational age based on tables published for late gestational Labrador Retrievers. The accuracy of the two methods was compared and the effect of maternal body weight and litter size evaluated. Litter size and maternal body weight did not affect the accuracy of gestational age prediction. Using a combination of both methods, the overall accuracy of predicting parturition date within 65 +/- 1 day and +/- 2 days was 70.8% and 86.1%, respectively. The correct litter size was predicted in 65% of cases, and in 89.5% of cases for +/- 1 pup. Pearson's correlation between actual litter size and predicted litter size was high (R = 0.957, P < 0.001). The organ development method of predicting gestational age was more accurate than late gestational fetal mensuration (P = 0.019). The optimum time for sonographic estimation of fetal age and litter size is early and mid pregnancy.

  12. 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.

  13. Precipitation pulse size and frequency controls on dryland litter decomposition rates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kurupas, K. L.; Throop, H.

    2014-12-01

    Drylands are an important component of the global carbon (C) cycle, accounting for 40% of the land area and 20% of the soil organic C globally. Litter decomposition is a key biogeochemical process, controlling C and nutrient cycling. While simple decomposition models successfully predict decomposition rates in many systems based on climate variables, there is a disconnect between the modeled and measured rates decomposition in drylands. This disconnect may stem from abiotic factors of importance in drylands, such as photodegradation and soil-litter mixing, not being taken into account. Soil-litter mixing can accelerate decomposition, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Potential mechanisms include microclimate buffering, physical abrasion, and enhanced microbial colonization. Recent work suggests that litter decomposition is remarkably insensitive to climate variables, at least when variables are presented as long temporal-scale values (e.g., annual precipitation). We hypothesized that decomposition would be more strongly affected by litter moisture content than total precipitation (PPT) alone. Thus, frequent, small PPT pulses would accelerate decomposition more than larger, but infrequent pulses. Furthermore, soil-litter mixing would enhance decomposition by buffering litter moisture content. To test the combined influence of soil-litter mixing and PPT pulses on decomposition, we incubated litter and soil in a semi-controlled greenhouse which simulated dryland summer temperatures. Two litter types (grass and shrub) were incubated under two levels of soil-litter mixing (no mixing and complete soil-litter mixing) and with 16 different PPT treatments (a factorial combination of four PPT pulses sizes and four PPT frequencies). We measured instantaneous CO2 flux throughout the 30 day incubation and mass loss at the end of the incubation. Shrub litter decomposed faster than grass litter. Flux rates generally peaked at day 8 and declined thereafter. CO2

  14. Failure of vitamin A to increase litter size in sows receiving injections at various stages of gestation.

    PubMed

    Pusateri, A E; Diekman, M A; Singleton, W L

    1999-06-01

    To determine the effectiveness of a single injection of vitamin A to increase litter size, 1,375 sows were assigned randomly to 11 treatment groups (125 sows per treatment). Treatments included injection of 1 x 10(6) IU of vitamin A dissolved in corn oil at weaning or on d 0, 2, 6, 10, 13, 19, 30, 70, or 110 after breeding. Sows in the control group were injected with corn oil on corresponding days. A total of 396 sows were removed from the study following treatment or treatment assignment. Therefore, farrowing data were collected for 979 sows. Injection of vitamin A did not influence (P > . 10) total litter size, live litter size, litter weight, pig weight, number of runts, or number of mummies. Mean live litter size was 10.1 +/- .1 for all sows that farrowed in the experiment. Parity group affected total litter size, live litter size, live litter weight, and number stillborn (P < .01) but not pig weight, number of runts, number of mummies, or gestation length (P > . 10). In this study, a single injection of vitamin A at any time from weaning to farrowing did not increase litter size in sows.

  15. Unrearable litters and prenatal reduction of litter size in the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus).

    PubMed

    Windle, C P; Baker, H F; Ridley, R M; Oerke, A K; Martin, R D

    1999-04-01

    It is widely believed that common marmosets (Callithrx jacchus) typically give birth to twins under natural conditions. In captivity, however, births of triplets or even larger litters are common, although parents rarely succeed in rearing more than two offspring. The traditional interpretation is that captive conditions, notably the ready availability of food, have led to increased reproductive output, perhaps involving a higher ovulation rate. The present paper provides evidence, combined from ultrasound examinations between ovulation and birth and hysterotomies conducted during the late embryonic and early fetal phase, that the litter size can be progressively reduced during pregnancy without spontaneous abortion. There is an unusually long lag phase prior to the onset of embryonic growth in common marmosets; the fetal stage does not begin until day 80 of the 144-day pregnancy. Reduction in litter size occurs during embryonic stages (up to day 80), and continues into the fetal stages. These results indicate that the common marmoset is adapted for flexible modification of litter size between ovulation and birth. The high incidence of triplet births in captive colonies may therefore be an expression of an adapted natural developmental process under artificial circumstances.

  16. Measuring feeding traits of a range of litter-consuming terrestrial snails: leaf litter consumption, faeces production and scaling with body size.

    PubMed

    Astor, Tina; Lenoir, Lisette; Berg, Matty P

    2015-07-01

    Plant litter decomposition is an essential ecosystem function that contributes to energy and nutrient cycling above- and belowground. Terrestrial gastropods can affect this process in various ways: they consume and fragment leaf litter and create suitable habitats for microorganisms through the production of faeces and mucus. We assessed the contributions of ten litter-feeding terrestrial snail species to leaf litter mass loss and checked whether consumption rate and faeces production scale with body size (i.e. shell size and shape), which may indicate that morphological traits can serve as proxies for consumption rate. Additionally, we compared the consumption rates of a subset of these species among litter types of two plant species which differ in resource quality (Fraxinus excelsior and Betula pendula). These snail species differed in their litter consumption rates. Consumption rates differed between the two litter types, whereas the rank order of litter consumption by the different species was independent of litter quality. Consumption rate and faeces production were positively related to shell size, whereas relative consumption rate and faeces production were related to shell shape, with more elongated snail species having lower relative consumption rates and faeces production rates. Our results show that easily measurable morphological traits scale with the feeding traits of snails, and represent useful proxies for consumption rate and faeces production, which are laborious to measure. Thus, estimated potential total consumption rates of snail communities along environmental gradients may be inferred from shell-size distributions. Our study contributes to a systematic trait-based evaluation of the importance of gastropods to litter decomposition.

  17. Correlated responses in male reproductive traits in mice selected for litter size and body weight.

    PubMed

    Eisen, E J; Johnson, B H

    1981-01-01

    Correlated responses in male reproductive traits were determined at 4, 6 and 8 weeks of age in lines of mice selected for large litter size (L+), large 6-week body weight (W+), large litter size and small body weight (L+W-) and small litter size and large body weight (L-W+), and in an unselected control (K). Concentration of serum testosterone and weights of testes, seminal vesicles, epididymides and adrenal glands increased with age. Line differences in testosterone concentration were not detected. L+ and W+ males exhibited positive correlated responses in testes, epididymides and seminal vesicle weights. Testis weight adjusted for body weight was significantly larger for L+ than controls and approached significance for W+. Realized genetic correlation be-testis weight and litter size was 0.60 +/- 0.04, and the realized partial genetic correlation holding body weight constant was 0.42. Therefore, pleiotropic loci, acting via the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, affect testis weight and litter size independently of body weight. Additionally, genes influencing overall growth have a pleiotropic effect on testis weight and litter size in mice; the realized genetic correlations of body weight with testis weight and with litter size were 0.60 +/- 0.03 and 0.52 +/- 0.10. Testis weight increased in both L+W- and L-W+ males. The positive correlated response in L+W- may have resulted from changes in frequency of genes controlling reproductive processes; whereas, in L-W+ it could have been the result of changes in the frequency of genes associated with body weight.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Future increase in temperature more than decrease in litter quality can affect microbial litter decomposition in streams.

    PubMed

    Ferreira, Verónica; Chauvet, Eric

    2011-09-01

    The predicted increase in atmospheric CO(2) concentration for this century is expected to lead to increases in temperature and changes in litter quality that can affect small woodland streams, where water temperature is usually low and allochthonous organic matter constitutes the basis of the food web. We have assessed the individual and interactive effect of water temperature (5 and 10°C) and alder litter quality produced under ambient CO(2) levels (ambient litter) or under CO(2) concentrations predicted for 2050 (elevated litter) on litter decomposition and on fungal activity and assemblage structure. Litter decomposition rates and fungal respiration rates were significantly faster at 10 than at 5°C, but they were not affected by litter quality. Litter quality affected mycelial biomass accrual at 5 but not at 10°C, while increases in temperature stimulated biomass accrual on ambient but not on elevated litter. A similar pattern was observed for conidial production. All variables were stimulated on elevated litter at 10°C (future scenario) compared with ambient litter at 5°C (present scenario), but interactions between temperature and litter quality were additive. Temperature was the factor that most strongly affected the structure of aquatic hyphomycete assemblages. Our results indicate that if future increases in atmospheric CO(2) lead to only slight modifications in litter quality, the litter decomposition and fungal activities and community structure will be strongly controlled by increased water temperature. This may have serious consequences for aquatic systems as faster litter decomposition may lead to food depletion for higher trophic levels. PMID:21461934

  1. 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.

  2. A review of factors influencing litter size in Irish sows

    PubMed Central

    2007-01-01

    Many factors influence litter size. These include genetics, gilt management, lactation length, parity distribution, disease, stress and boar fertility. In the past 20 years, litter size in Irish sows has increased by only one pig. Born alive figures now average at 11.2 pigs per litter. In this regard, Ireland is falling behind our European competitors who have made significant advances over this time. Denmark, for example, has an average figure of 12.7 pigs born alive per litter and France an average of 12.5. The single area that could be improved immediately is sow feeding. It is important that sows are fed correctly throughout pregnancy. If over-fed during pregnancy, sows will have depressed appetite during lactation. If underfed in pregnancy, sows will be too thin at farrowing. The correct way to feed a pregnant sow is to match her feed allocation to her requirement for maintenance, body growth and growth of her developing foetuses. During lactation, sows should be given as much feed as they can eat to prevent excessive loss of body condition. Liquid-feed curves should be such that lactating sows are provided with a minimum mean daily feed supply of 6.2 kg. A small proportion of sows will eat more and this could be given as supplementary dry feed. Where dry feeding is practised in the farrowing house, it is difficult to hand-feed sows to match their appetite. Ideally ad libitum wet/dry feeders should be used. From weaning to service, sows should once again be fed ad libitum. If liquid feeding, this means giving at least 60 MJ DE (digestible energy) per day during this period. If dry feeding, at least 4 kg of lactation diet should be fed daily. The effort spent perfecting sow feeding management on units should yield high dividends in the form of increased pigs born alive per litter. PMID:21851695

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. Incidence of splayleg pigs in Nebraska litter size selection lines.

    PubMed

    Holl, J W; Johnson, R K

    2005-01-01

    Genetic parameters for the splayleg (SL) condition were estimated from 37,673 records of pigs from six lines derived from a Large White-Land-race base population. Random selection for 22 generations was practiced in Lines C1 and C2. Line C2 was derived from C1 at Generation 8. Selection lines were as follows: 1) Line I, selected 11 generations for an index of ovulation rate and embryonic survival followed by 11 generations of selection for litter size; 2) Line IOL, derived from Line I at Generation 8 and which underwent eight generations of two-stage selection for ovulation rate and number of fully formed pigs per litter followed by four generations of litter size selection; 3) Line COL, derived from Line C1 at Generation 8 and selected eight generations in two stages for ovulation rate and number of fully formed pigs followed by four generations of litter size selection; and 4) Line T, selected 12 generations for increased testis size. From logistic models, it was found that boars were 224% more likely to have SL than gilts (P < 0.01). Decreases in birth weight, dam age at puberty, dam nipple number, and dam embryonic survival, and increases in dam litter size and inbreeding increased the odds of SL (P < 0.05). Direct and maternal heritabilities of SL were 0.07 and 0.16, respectively, and the correlation between direct and maternal effects was -0.24. Correlations between direct genetic effects for SL and number born alive, nipple number, birth weight, age at puberty, and embryonic survival were -0.19, -0.36, 0.23, -0.19, and -0.32, respectively. Except for the correlation of 0.32 between maternal effects for SL and direct effects for number of live pigs, correlations of SL maternal genetic effects with direct genetic effects of other traits were less than 0.11. Annual direct genetic trends (%) for SL in I, IOL, COL, T, C1, and C2 were -0.003 +/- 0.003, 0.121 +/- 0.012, -0.273 +/-0.009, 0.243 +/-0.014, -0.274 +/-0.004, and 0.086 +/-0.008, respectively; annual

  6. 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

  7. Multiple Applications of Sodium Bisulfate to Broiler Litter Affect Ammonia Release and Litter Properties.

    PubMed

    Hunolt, Alicia E; Maguire, Rory O; Ogejo, Jactone A; Badgley, Brian D; Frame, W Hunter; Reiter, Mark S

    2015-11-01

    Ammonia (NH) emissions from animal manures can cause air and water quality problems. Poultry litter treatment (PLT, sodium bisulfate; Jones-Hamilton Co.) is an acidic amendment that is applied to litter in poultry houses to decrease NH emissions, but currently it can only be applied once before birds are placed in the houses. This project analyzed the effect of multiple PLT applications on litter properties and NH release. Volatility chambers were used to compare multiple, single, and no application of PLT to poultry litter, all with and without fresh manure applications. A field component consisted of two commercial broiler houses: one had a single, preflock PLT application, while the other received PLT reapplications during the flock using an overhead application system. In the volatility chambers, single and reapplied PLT caused greater litter moisture and lower litter pH and , relative to no PLT. After 14 d, NH released from litter treated with reapplied PLT was significantly less than litter with both single and no applications. Furthermore, total N in litter was greatest in litter treated with reapplied PLT, increasing its fertilizer value. In the commercial poultry houses, PLT reapplication led to a temporary decrease in litter pH and , but these effects did not last because of continued bird excretion. Although one preflock PLT application is currently used as a successful strategy to control NH during early flock growth, repeat PLT application using the overhead reapplication system was not successful because of problems with the reapplication system and litter moisture concerns. PMID:26641342

  8. 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

  9. 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. PMID:27097924

  10. Litter size and piglet traits of gilts with different prolactin receptor genotypes.

    PubMed

    van Rens, Birgitte T T M; van der Lende, Tette

    2002-01-15

    Seventy-seven Large White x Meishan F2 crossbred gilts with prolactin receptor (PRLR) genotype AA (n = 26), AB (n = 36) and BB (n = 15) were compared for teat number (FTm), age at first estrus, gestation length (GL), litter size, and litter means of functional teat number (FTp), birthweight (BW), and pre-weaning growth rate (GR). Own placental information was available for 88% of 620 live-born piglets (62 gilts), since placentae were labeled during farrowing. The effect of PRLR genotype of the mother on average placenta weight (PLW) and placenta efficiency (EFF = BW/PLW), was therefore, also analyzed, PRLR genotype significantly (P < 0.05) affected age at first estrus and, as a result (since the gilts were inseminated at a fixed estrus number), age and bodyweight at insemination. Furthermore, PRLR genotype affected total number of piglets born (TNB, P = 0.056) and number of piglets born alive (NBA, P = 0.072), but it did not affect (P > 0.3) GL, BW or GR, neither before nor after correction for litter size. BB gilts were significantly younger at first estrus and younger and lighter at insemination than AA gilts (P < 0.05). AA gilts had larger TNB (P = 0.047) and tended to have a larger NBA (P = 0.062) than BB gilts. TNB was 11.4 +/- 0.7, 10.8 +/- 0.6, and 8.8 +/- 0.9; NBA was 11.1 +/- 0.6, 10.5 +/- 0.6, and 8.7 +/- 0.9; BW was 1309 +/- 40, 1277 +/- 34, and 1290 +/- 53 g; and GL was 113.6 +/- 0.3, 113.8 +/- 0.3, and 113.5 +/- 0.4 days for AA, AB and BB gilts, respectively. The effects on litter size and age at first estrus are independent effects. PRLR affected PLW (P = 0.050) and EFF (P = 0.066), resulting in a difference between AA and BB gilts. PLW was 160 +/- 9, 181 +/- 7 and 196 +/- 11 g and EFF was 7.6 +/- 0.2, 7.3 +/- 0.2 and 6.7 +/- 0.3 for AA (n = 19), AB (n = 29) and BB (n = 14) gilts, respectively. After correction for TNB, the differences disappeared. Functional teat number of the AA. AB and BB gilts was 15.35 +/- 0.22, 15.53 +/- 0.18, and 15.60 +/- 0

  11. 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.

  12. [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.

  13. Association analysis between variants in KITLG gene and litter size in goats.

    PubMed

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

    2015-03-01

    Xinong Saanen (SN) and Guanzhong (GZ) goat breeds were used to detect single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the coding regions with their intron-exon boundaries and the proximal flanking regions of KITLG gene by DNA sequencing and genotyped by PCR-restriction fragment (PCR-RFLP). Four novel SNPs (g.12654G>A, g.12772G>A, g.12829T>C and g.23683C>T) were identified (GenBank accession No. KM609289). It was shown that Xinong Saanen and Guanzhong goat breeds were in Hardy-Weinberg disequilibrium at g.12654G>A, g.12772G>A and g.12829T>C loci (P<0.05). The g.12654G>A, g.12772G>A and g.12829T>C loci were closely linked in both goat breeds (r(2)>0.33). Results of an association analysis indicated that SNPs g.12654G>A, g.12772G>A and g.12829T>C had significant effects on litter size (P<0.05). The combined genotypes of four SNP loci also affected litter size with the C7(GG/GG/CC/CC) genotype in the SN goat breed and C1(AA/GG/CC/CC) and C7(GG/GG/CC/CC) genotypes in the GZ goat breed having the highest litter size. The biochemical and physiological functions, together with the results obtained in our investigation, suggest that C7(GG/GG/CC/CC) could be used in marker-assisted selection to select the individuals with higher litter size in both goat breeds. The results extend the spectrum of genetic variation of the caprine KITLG gene, which might contribute to goat genetic resources and breeding.

  14. Mechanisms of regulation of litter size in pigs on the genome level.

    PubMed

    Distl, O

    2007-09-01

    Improvement in litter size has become of great interest in pig industry as good fecundity is directly related to a sow's productive life. Genetic regulation of litter size is complex and the main component traits so far defined are ovulation rate, embryonic survival, uterus capacity, foetal survival and pre-weaning losses. Improvements using concepts of the quantitative genetics let expect only slow genetic progress due to its low heritability of approximately 0.09 for number of piglets born alive. Marker assisted selection allows to dissect litter size in its component traits and using molecular genetic markers for the components of litter size traits promises more progress and advantages in optimum balancing of the different physiological mechanisms influencing litter size. In this review, efforts being made to unravel the genetic determinants of litter size are accounted and discussed. For litter size traits, more than 50 quantitative trait loci (QTL) were mapped and in more than 12 candidate genes associations confirmed. The number of useful candidate genes is much larger as shown by expression profiles and in addition, much more QTL can be assumed. These functional genomic approaches, both QTL mapping and candidate gene analysis, have to be merged for a better understanding of a wider application across different pig breeds and lines. Newly developed tools based on microarray techniques comprising DNA variants or expressed tags of many genes or even the whole genome appear useful for in depth understanding of the genetics of litter size in pigs.

  15. 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.

  16. 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. PMID:27389460

  17. How does litter cover, litter diversity and fauna affect sediment discharge and runoff?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goebes, Philipp; Seitz, Steffen; Kühn, Peter; Scholten, Thomas

    2013-04-01

    Litter cover plays a major role in soil erosion processes. It is known that litter cover reduces erosivity of raindrops, decreases sediment discharge and lowers runoff volume compared to bare ground. However, in the context of biodiversity, the composition of litter cover, its effect on sediment discharge and runoff volume and their influence on soil erosion have not yet been analyzed in detail. Focusing on initial soil erosion (splash), our experimental design is designated to get a better understanding of these mechanisms. The experiments were carried out within the DFG research unit "Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning (BEF)-China" in subtropical China. The "New Integrated Litter Experiment (NILEx)" used as platform combining different subprojects of BEF-China dealing with "decomposition and nutrient cycling", "mechanisms of soil erosion" and "functional effects of herbivores, predators and saproxylics" in one experiment. In NILEx, 96 40cm x 40cm runoff plots on two hill slopes inside a castanea molissima forest plantation have been installed and filled with seven different types of litter cover. 16 one-species plots, 24 two-species plots, 4 four-species plots and 4 bare ground plots have been set up, each replicated once. We prepared 48 Plots with traps (Renner solution) for soil macrofauna (diplopods and collembola), so half of the plots were kept free from fauna while the other half was accessible for fauna. Rainfall was generated artificially by using a rainfall simulator with a continuous and stable intensity of 60 mm/h. Our experiments included two runs of 20 minutes duration each, both conducted at two different time steps (summer 2012 and autumn 2012). Runoff volume and sediment discharge were measured every 5 minutes during one rainfall run. Litter coverage and litter mass were recorded at the beginning (summer 2012) and at the end of the experiment (autumn 2012). Our results show that sediment discharge as well as runoff volume decreases

  18. Female prairie vole mate-choice is affected by the males' birth litter composition.

    PubMed

    Curtis, J Thomas

    2010-08-01

    Experimental testing and retrospective examination of breeding records were used to examine the influence of sex composition and/or size of males' birth litters on female mate-choice. Sexually naïve female prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) avoided males derived from all-male litters, but showed no preference for, or aversion to, males from single-male litters or from more typical mixed-sex litters. Examination of the pregnancy status of females after two weeks of pairing with a male allowed us to estimate the probabilites of a pups' intrauterine position relative to siblings for various litter sizes. The typical prairie vole pup derived from a mixed-sex litter comprised of 4.4 pups, and had a 13% chance of being isolated from siblings in utero and a 22% chance of being between siblings in utero. Pups from single-sex litters tended to be larger at weaning than did pups from mixed-sex litters; however, male size did not influence female choice behavior. These results suggest that some aspect of the perinatal experience of prairie vole pups from single sex litters can influence social interactions later in life.

  19. 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.

  20. Factors affecting arsenic and copper runoff from fields fertilized with poultry litter.

    PubMed

    DeLaune, P B; Moore, P A

    2014-07-01

    Arsenic (As) and copper (Cu) runoff from fields fertilized with poultry litter has received increasing attention in recent years, although it is not known if heavy metal runoff from poultry litter poses a significant threat to the environment. The objective of this study was to determine the main factors affecting As and Cu concentrations in runoff water from pastures receiving poultry litter applications. Rainfall simulation studies were conducted to determine the effects of the following treatments on metal runoff: (i) aluminum sulfate (alum) additions, (ii) diet modification using phytase or high available phosphorus corn, (iii) fertilizer type, (iv) poultry litter application rate, and (v) time until the first runoff event occurs after poultry litter application. Results showed that alum additions to poultry litter significantly decreased As and Cu concentrations in runoff water. Copper concentrations were highest in runoff from poultry litter from birds fed phytase diets compared with other diets; however, this effect may have been a result of wet storage conditions rather than diet. Triple superphosphate applications resulted in the lowest heavy metal concentrations in runoff water among all fertilizer treatments, while normal poultry litter resulted in the highest concentrations. Arsenic and Cu concentrations increased in runoff water as poultry litter application rates increased and decreased with increasing time until the first runoff event. These data indicate that adding alum to poultry litter, a cost-effective best management practice, which also results in lower P runoff and ammonia emissions, may also be an effective tool in reducing metal runoff. PMID:25603088

  1. 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. PMID:27242676

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. Ovulation rate and litter size in gilts immunized against androstenedione and 17alpha-hydroxyprogesterone.

    PubMed

    Kreider, D L; Rorie, R; Brown, D; Maxwell, C; Miller, F; Wright, S; Brown, A

    2001-07-01

    Two experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of the immunization of gilts against ovarian steroids on ovulation rate and litter size. In Exp. 1, gilts (n = five gilts/treatment) at 165+/-1.6 d of age were immunized against either carrier (Control), androstenedione, or 17alpha-hydroxyprogesterone. Age at puberty and estrous cycle length averaged 208+/-5.5 (P = 0.67) and 20.3+/-2.8 d (P = 0.41), respectively, and were not affected by treatment. The androstenedione- and 17alpha-hydroxyprogesterone immunized gilts had higher (P < 0.02) ovulation rates than Controls (14.2, 14.2, and 11.4+/-0.8, respectively). Total pigs born (P = 0.66) and pigs born live (P = 0.65) for the androstenedione-treated group were not different from Controls. Gestation length was not different (P = 0.36) between any of the treatments and the Controls (115+/-0.9 d). Procedures used in Exp. 2 were similar to those in Exp. 1, except that only Control (n= 18) and 17alpha-hydroxyprogesterone (n = 16) treatments were included and only litter size at farrowing was measured. Total pigs and pigs born live were higher in the 17a-hydroxyprogesterone-treated gilts than in the Controls (12.6 vs 10.5+/-0.6, P < 0.02; and 11.4 vs 9.2+/-0.6; P < 0.01, respectively). Data from this study indicate that litter size in gilts can be increased by immunization against 17alpha-hydroxyprogesterone.

  6. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-02-01

    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.

  8. Polymorphism identification in goat GNRH1 and GDF9 genes and their association analysis with litter size.

    PubMed

    An, X P; Hou, J X; Zhao, H B; Li, G; Bai, L; Peng, J Y; M Yan, Q; Song, Y X; Wang, J G; Cao, B Y

    2013-04-01

    This study investigated the polymorphisms of GNRH1 and GDF9 genes in 641 goats of three breeds: Xinong Saanen, Guanzhong and Boer. Two allelic variants were identified in the GNRH1 gene (JN645280:g.3548A>G and JN645281:g.3699G>A) and one allelic variant was found in the GDF9 gene (JN655693:g.4093G>A). Furthermore, g.4093G>A was a missense mutation (p.Val397Ile of GDF9). Results of an association analysis indicated that SNPs g.3548A>G and g.4093G>A had significant effects on litter size (P < 0.05). The combination genotypes of SNPs g.3548A>G, g.3699G>A and g.4093G>A also affected litter size with the C5 genotype having the highest litter size in the first, third, fourth and average parity. Hence, the biochemical and physiological functions, together with the results obtained in our investigation, suggest that the GNRH1 and GDF9 genes could serve as genetic markers for litter size in goat breeding.

  9. Association of BF gene polymorphism with litter size in a commercial pig cross population.

    PubMed

    Marantidis, A; Papadopoulos, A I; Michailidis, G; Avdi, M

    2013-09-01

    In the present study, the single nucleotide polymorphism of CFB (Complement Factor B), BF gene, was analyzed by PCR-RFLP in a commercial pig population in Greece. BF gene is coding for properdin, a protein that plays an integral role in the uterine epithelium growth and is found in a QTL region with many other genes associated with specific reproductive traits. BF gene is considered to affect various reproductive traits in pigs and the present study associated the BF gene genotypes with litter size of the sows (TNB, total number born and NBA number born alive piglets/birth). Sows with AB genotype gave statistically significant lower values for TNB and NBA piglets/birth (p<0.05) than the BB genotype. Our results support the concept that BF belongs to the group of genes that control the litter size of the sows and thus BF gene could be used for Marker-assisted selection programmes for the genetic improvement of reproductive characteristics in livestock. PMID:23910636

  10. Riparian forest composition affects stream litter decomposition despite similar microbial and invertebrate communities.

    PubMed

    Kominoski, John S; Marczak, Laurie B; Richardson, John S

    2011-01-01

    Cross-boundary flows of energy and nutrients link biodiversity and functioning in adjacent ecosystems. The composition of forest tree species can affect the structure and functioning of stream ecosystems due to physical and chemical attributes, as well as changes in terrestrial resource subsidies. We examined how variation in riparian canopy composition (coniferous, deciduous, mixed) affects adjacent trophic levels (invertebrate and microbial consumers) and decomposition of organic matter in small, coastal rainforest streams in southwestern British Columbia. Breakdown rates of higher-quality red alder (Alnus rubra) litter were faster in streams with a greater percentage of deciduous than coniferous riparian canopy, whereas breakdown rates of lower-quality western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) litter were independent of riparian forest composition. When invertebrates were excluded using fine mesh, breakdown rates of both litter species were an order of magnitude less and were not significantly affected by riparian forest composition. Stream invertebrate and microbial communities were similar among riparian forest composition, with most variation attributed to leaf litter species. Invertebrate taxa richness and shredder biomass were higher in A. rubra litter; however, taxa evenness was greatest for T. heterophylla litter and both litter species in coniferous streams. Microbial community diversity (determined from terminal restriction fragment length polymorphisms) was unaffected by riparian forest or litter species. Fungal allele richness was higher than bacterial allele richness, and microbial communities associated with lower-quality T. heterophylla litter had higher diversity (allele uniqueness and richness) than those associated with higher-quality A. rubra litter. Percent variation in breakdown rates was mostly attributed to riparian forest composition in the presence of invertebrates and microbes; however, stream consumer biodiversity at adjacent trophic levels

  11. Supplementation of dextrose to the diet during the weaning to estrus interval affects subsequent variation in within-litter piglet birth weight.

    PubMed

    Van den Brand, H; Soede, N M; Kemp, B

    2006-02-01

    Effects of supplementation of dextrose to the diet of sows during the weaning-to-estrus interval (WEI) on subsequent litter size and within-litter variation were investigated. After weaning, 223 sows (first to fifth parity) were fed 3.5 kg/d. Half of the sows additionally received 150 g of dextrose per day as topdressing on the feed. WEI and estrus duration were determined as well as subsequent pregnancy rate and litter size. Piglets were weighed individually at birth and at weaning (day 26.4; S.D.: 2.5). Supplementation of dextrose to the diet during the WEI did not affect WEI (106 h), pregnancy rate (88.2%), farrowing rate (84.2%), subsequent litter size (total born: 13.70), or birth weight (1599 g). The within-litter variation in birth weight was lower in sows on the dextrose treatment (CV: 17.5% versus 21.2% for the dextrose and control group, respectively, P=0.03). From this experiment, we concluded that addition of dextrose during the weaning to estrus interval did not increase litter size, but seems to affect the uniformity in birth weight of the litter. PMID:15967602

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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. PMID:26437356

  15. 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.

  16. Litter size, age-related memory impairments, and microglial changes in rat dentate gyrus: stereological analysis and three dimensional morphometry.

    PubMed

    Viana, L C; Lima, C M; Oliveira, M A; Borges, R P; Cardoso, T T; Almeida, I N F; Diniz, D G; Bento-Torres, J; Pereira, A; Batista-de-Oliveira, M; Lopes, A A C; Silva, R F M; Abadie-Guedes, R; Amâncio Dos Santos, A; Lima, D S C; Vasconcelos, P F C; Cunningham, C; Guedes, R C A; Picanço-Diniz, C W

    2013-05-15

    It has been demonstrated that rat litter size affects the immune cell response, but it is not known whether the long-term effects aggravate age-related memory impairments or microglial-associated changes. To that end, we raised sedentary Wistar rats that were first suckled in small or large litters (6 or 12pups/dam, respectively), then separated into groups of 2-3 rats from the 21st post-natal day to study end. At 4months (young adult) or 23months (aged), all individual rats were submitted to spatial memory and object identity recognition tests, and then sacrificed. Brain sections were immunolabeled with anti-IBA-1 antibodies to selectively identify microglia/macrophages. Microglial morphological changes in the molecular layer of the dentate gyrus were estimated based on three-dimensional reconstructions. The cell number and laminar distribution in the dentate gyrus was estimated with the stereological optical fractionator method. We found that, compared to young rat groups, aged rats from large litters showed significant increases in the number of microglia in all layers of the dentate gyrus. Compared to the microglia in all other groups, microglia in aged individuals from large litters showed a significantly higher degree of tree volume expansion, branch base diameter thickening, and cell soma enlargement. These morphological changes were correlated with an increase in the number of microglia in the molecular layer. Young adult individuals from small litters exhibited preserved intact object identity recognition memory and all other groups showed reduced performance in both spatial and object identity recognition tasks. We found that, in large litters, brain development was, on average, associated with permanent changes in the innate immune system in the brain, with a significant impact on the microglial homeostasis of aged rats.

  17. 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)

  18. 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

  19. Effect of polymorphism in the leukemia inhibitory factor gene on litter size in Large White pigs.

    PubMed

    Lin, H C; Liu, G F; Wang, A G; Kong, L J; Wang, X F; Fu, J L

    2009-09-01

    DNA polymorphism of the porcine leukemia inhibitory factory (LIF) was investigated and used to study the effects on litter size in Large White pigs. A total of 2,167 litter records from 420 sows genotyped at two SNP loci (LIF1 and LIF2) within LIF gene were analyzed to determine whether LIF influenced total number born (TNB) and number born alive (NBA). The results indicated that B allele at LIF1 locus and A allele at LIF2 locus seem to have advantageous effects on litter size. However, the combined analyzed results demonstrated that genotype AAAA, ABBB, and BBBB are better than genotype AAAB, AABB, and ABAB for TNB and NBA in either third to eighth parity or all parities. In all parities, the sows with AAAA genotype had an advantage of 1.76 piglets (P < 0.001) for TNB and 1.44 piglets (P < 0.01) for NBA per litter over the AAAB sows, respectively. The results in this study demonstrated that LIF gene was significantly associated with litter size in pigs. PMID:19002603

  20. Litter Environment Affects Behavior and Brain Metabolic Activity of Adult Knockout Mice

    PubMed Central

    Crews, David; Rushworth, David; Gonzalez-Lima, Francisco; Ogawa, Sonoko

    2009-01-01

    In mammals, the formative environment for social and anxiety-related behaviors is the family unit; in the case of rodents, this is the litter and the mother-young bond. A deciding factor in this environment is the sex ratio of the litter and, in the case of mice lacking functional copies of gene(s), the ratio of the various genotypes in the litter. Both Sex and Genotype ratios of the litter affect the nature and quality of the individual's behavior later in adulthood, as well as metabolic activity in brain nuclei that underlie these behaviors. Mice were raised in litters reconstituted shortly after to birth to control for sex ratio and genotype ratio (wild type pups versus pups lacking a functional estrogen receptor α). In both males and females, the Sex and Genotype of siblings in the litter affected aggressive behaviors as well as patterns of metabolic activity in limbic nuclei in the social behavior network later in adulthood. Further, this pattern in males varied depending upon the Genotype of their brothers and sisters. Principal Components Analysis revealed two components comprised of several amygdalar and hypothalamic nuclei; the VMH showed strong correlations in both clusters, suggesting its pivotal nature in the organization of two neural networks. PMID:19707539

  1. 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. PMID:27435155

  2. 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...

  3. 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.

  4. The effect of litter size on the growth, survival and behaviour of neonatal bulbectomised mice.

    PubMed

    Cooper, A J; Cowley, J J

    1976-01-01

    Bilateral lesions of the olfactory bulbs in 1-day-old mice led to a slow rate of growth both before and after weaning and the growth changes were positively associated with the size of the lesion. Mothers continued to care for the bulbectomised mice which showed no evidence of retarded motor development though their eyes opened later and they were less active when exposed to an artificial perfume. Bulbectomised mice failed to survive in litters of two where both infants were bulbectomised and in litters with a large number of unoperated littermates. Keeping litters small and having both bulbectomised and control mice present enhanced the chances of survival and the presence of infant control mice is a necessary condition for the maintenance of lactation and the survival of the bulbectomised babies. Failure to respond to the odours( pheromones) of the mothers may be responsible for the infrequent suckling and the slow growth and development.

  5. Identification of Differentially Expressed Genes Associated with Litter Size in Berkshire Pig Placenta.

    PubMed

    Kwon, Seul Gi; Hwang, Jung Hye; Park, Da Hye; Kim, Tae Wan; Kang, Deok Gyeong; Kang, Kyung Hee; Kim, Il-Suk; Park, Hwa Chun; Na, Chong-Sam; Ha, Jeongim; Kim, Chul Wook

    2016-01-01

    Improvement in litter size has become of great interest in the pig industry because fecundity is directly related to sow reproductive life. Improved reproduction has thus been achieved by elucidating the molecular functions of genes associated with fecundity. In the present study, we identified differentially expressed genes (DEGs) via transcriptomic analysis using RNA-sequencing (RNA-Seq) in Berkshire pig placentas from larger (LLG, mean litter size >12) and smaller (SLG, mean litter size < 6.5) litter size groups. In total 588 DEGs were identified (p < 0.05, > 1.5-fold change), of which 98 were upregulated, while 490 were downregulated in the LLG compared with the SLG. Gene Ontology (GO) enrichment was also performed. We concluded that 129 of the 588 DEGs were closely related to litter size according to reproduction related genes selected based on previous reports, as 110 genes were downregulated and 19 upregulated in the LLG compared with the SLG. RT-qPCR utilizing specific primers targeting the early growth response 2 (EGR2), pheromaxein c subunit (PHEROC) and endothelial lipase (LIPG) genes showed high accordance with RNA-Seq results. Furthermore, we investigated the upstream regulators of these three genes in the placenta. We found that WNT9B, a Wnt signaling pathway molecule, and IL-6, known inducers of EGR2 and LIPG, respectively, were significantly increased in LLG compared with SLG. We believe that the induction of IL-6 and LIPG may play an important role in increasing nutrition supply through the placenta from the sow to the piglet during gestation. These results provide novel molecular insights into pig reproduction.

  6. Identification of Differentially Expressed Genes Associated with Litter Size in Berkshire Pig Placenta

    PubMed Central

    Kwon, Seul Gi; Hwang, Jung Hye; Park, Da Hye; Kim, Tae Wan; Kang, Deok Gyeong; Kang, Kyung Hee; Kim, Il-Suk; Park, Hwa Chun; Na, Chong-Sam; Ha, Jeongim; Kim, Chul Wook

    2016-01-01

    Improvement in litter size has become of great interest in the pig industry because fecundity is directly related to sow reproductive life. Improved reproduction has thus been achieved by elucidating the molecular functions of genes associated with fecundity. In the present study, we identified differentially expressed genes (DEGs) via transcriptomic analysis using RNA-sequencing (RNA-Seq) in Berkshire pig placentas from larger (LLG, mean litter size >12) and smaller (SLG, mean litter size < 6.5) litter size groups. In total 588 DEGs were identified (p < 0.05, > 1.5-fold change), of which 98 were upregulated, while 490 were downregulated in the LLG compared with the SLG. Gene Ontology (GO) enrichment was also performed. We concluded that 129 of the 588 DEGs were closely related to litter size according to reproduction related genes selected based on previous reports, as 110 genes were downregulated and 19 upregulated in the LLG compared with the SLG. RT-qPCR utilizing specific primers targeting the early growth response 2 (EGR2), pheromaxein c subunit (PHEROC) and endothelial lipase (LIPG) genes showed high accordance with RNA-Seq results. Furthermore, we investigated the upstream regulators of these three genes in the placenta. We found that WNT9B, a Wnt signaling pathway molecule, and IL-6, known inducers of EGR2 and LIPG, respectively, were significantly increased in LLG compared with SLG. We believe that the induction of IL-6 and LIPG may play an important role in increasing nutrition supply through the placenta from the sow to the piglet during gestation. These results provide novel molecular insights into pig reproduction. PMID:27078025

  7. Identification of Differentially Expressed Genes Associated with Litter Size in Berkshire Pig Placenta.

    PubMed

    Kwon, Seul Gi; Hwang, Jung Hye; Park, Da Hye; Kim, Tae Wan; Kang, Deok Gyeong; Kang, Kyung Hee; Kim, Il-Suk; Park, Hwa Chun; Na, Chong-Sam; Ha, Jeongim; Kim, Chul Wook

    2016-01-01

    Improvement in litter size has become of great interest in the pig industry because fecundity is directly related to sow reproductive life. Improved reproduction has thus been achieved by elucidating the molecular functions of genes associated with fecundity. In the present study, we identified differentially expressed genes (DEGs) via transcriptomic analysis using RNA-sequencing (RNA-Seq) in Berkshire pig placentas from larger (LLG, mean litter size >12) and smaller (SLG, mean litter size < 6.5) litter size groups. In total 588 DEGs were identified (p < 0.05, > 1.5-fold change), of which 98 were upregulated, while 490 were downregulated in the LLG compared with the SLG. Gene Ontology (GO) enrichment was also performed. We concluded that 129 of the 588 DEGs were closely related to litter size according to reproduction related genes selected based on previous reports, as 110 genes were downregulated and 19 upregulated in the LLG compared with the SLG. RT-qPCR utilizing specific primers targeting the early growth response 2 (EGR2), pheromaxein c subunit (PHEROC) and endothelial lipase (LIPG) genes showed high accordance with RNA-Seq results. Furthermore, we investigated the upstream regulators of these three genes in the placenta. We found that WNT9B, a Wnt signaling pathway molecule, and IL-6, known inducers of EGR2 and LIPG, respectively, were significantly increased in LLG compared with SLG. We believe that the induction of IL-6 and LIPG may play an important role in increasing nutrition supply through the placenta from the sow to the piglet during gestation. These results provide novel molecular insights into pig reproduction. PMID:27078025

  8. Active immunization against the proregions of GDF9 or BMP15 alters ovulation rate and litter size in mice.

    PubMed

    McIntosh, C Joy; Lawrence, Steve; Smith, Peter; Juengel, Jennifer L; McNatty, Kenneth P

    2012-02-01

    The transforming growth factor β (TGFB) superfamily proteins bone morphogenetic protein 15 (BMP15) and growth differentiation factor 9 (GDF9), are essential for mammalian fertility. Recent in vitro evidence suggests that the proregions of mouse BMP15 and GDF9 interact with their mature proteins after secretion. In this study, we have actively immunized mice against these proregions to test the potential in vivo roles on fertility. Mice were immunized with either N- or C-terminus proregion peptides of BMP15 or GDF9, or a full-length GDF9 proregion protein, each conjugated to keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH). For each immunization group, ovaries were collected from ten mice for histology after immunization, while a further 20 mice were allowed to breed and litter sizes were counted. To link the ovulation and fertility data of these two experimental end points, mice were joined during the time period identified by histology as being the ovulatory period resulting in to the corpora lutea (CL) counted. Antibody titers in sera increased throughout the study period, with no cross-reactivity observed between BMP15 and GDF9 sera and antigens. Compared with KLH controls, mice immunized with the N-terminus BMP15 proregion peptide had ovaries with fewer CL (P<0.05) and produced smaller litters (P<0.05). In contrast, mice immunized with the full-length GDF9 proregion not only had more CL (P<0.01) but also had significantly smaller litter sizes (P<0.01). None of the treatments affected the number of antral follicles per ovary. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that the proregions of BMP15 and GDF9, after secretion by the oocyte, have physiologically important roles in regulating ovulation rate and litter size in mice.

  9. 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.

  10. 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. PMID:26520054

  11. 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

  12. Evidence for mild sediment Pb contamination affecting leaf-litter decomposition in a lake.

    PubMed

    Oguma, Andrew Y; Klerks, Paul L

    2015-08-01

    Much work has focused on the effects of metal-contaminated sediment on benthic community structure, but effects on ecosystem functions have received far less attention. Decomposition has been widely used as an integrating metric of ecosystem function in lotic systems, but not for lentic ones. We assessed the relationship between low-level sediment lead (Pb) contamination and leaf-litter decomposition in a lentic system. We measured 30-day weight loss in 30 litter-bags that were deployed along a Pb-contamination gradient in a cypress-forested lake. At each deployment site we also quantified macrobenthos abundance, dissolved oxygen, water depth, sediment organic content, sediment silt/clay content, and both total sediment and porewater concentrations of Cd, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn. Principal components (PC) analysis revealed a negative relationship between Pb concentration and benthic macroinvertebrate abundance, and this covariation dominated the first PC axis (PC1). Subsequent correlation analyses revealed a negative relationship between PC1 and percent leaf-litter loss. Our results indicate that leaf-litter decomposition was related to sediment Pb and benthic macroinvertebrate abundance. They also showed that ecosystem function may be affected even where sediment Pb concentrations are mostly below threshold-effects sediment quality guidelines--a finding with potential implications for sediment risk assessment. Additionally, the litter-bag technique used in this study showed promise as a tool in risk assessments of metal-contaminated sediments in lentic systems.

  13. Influence of litter size on metabolic status and reproductive axis in primiparous sows.

    PubMed

    Quesnel, H; Etienne, M; Père, M-C

    2007-01-01

    This study on primiparous sows was designed to 1) determine the impact of nursing a large litter on LH secretion and follicular development, and 2) investigate the metabolic adaptations by which milk yield increases with litter size. At farrowing, crossbred, primiparous sows were assigned to 1 of 3 experimental groups differing in litter size and feed allowance. Sows with 13 or 14 piglets (13AL, n = 7) were fed ad libitum. Sows with 7 piglets were fed ad libitum (7AL, n = 6) or were feed-restricted (7R, n = 8). The restriction was based on the estimated energy deficiency for the 13AL sows. On d 9 +/- 1 of lactation, a jugular catheter was surgically implanted. Serial blood samplings and glucose tolerance tests were performed in mid- and late lactation. Sows were slaughtered 3 d after weaning, and ovarian characteristics were recorded. During lactation, the 7AL sows lost no or little body reserves, and their estimated energy balance was near zero. The 13AL and 7R sows exhibited similar negative energy balances and similar losses of backfat and estimated lipid content. Litter growth rate was greater (P < 0.05) in the 13AL than in the 7AL and 7R groups. After weaning, the volume of the largest 14 follicles was smaller (P < 0.05) in sows nursing 13 or 14 piglets than in sows with 7 piglets. Plasma concentrations of LH and LH pulse frequency did not differ between groups (P > 0.1). The longer glucose half-life on d 16 than on d 27 of lactation (22.5 vs. 18.8 min; P < 0.05) indicated a lower glucose tolerance in mid- than in late lactation. The area under the insulin curve was greater in the 7AL than in the 13AL sows (P = 0.08) and intermediate in the 7R group, with no differences in glucose profiles. This led to the suggestion that the 7AL sows were more resistant to insulin than the 13AL sows. In all groups of sows, follicular development after weaning was correlated with LH secretion in midlactation. Active follicular development was associated with prolonged

  14. Intermittent breeding and constraints on litter size: consequences for effective population size per generation (Ne ) and per reproductive cycle (Nb ).

    PubMed

    Waples, Robin S; Antao, Tiago

    2014-06-01

    In iteroparous species, it is easier to estimate Nb (effective number of breeders in one reproductive cycle) than Ne (effective population size per generation). Nb can be used as a proxy for Ne and also can provide crucial insights into eco-evolutionary processes that occur during reproduction. We used analytical and numerical methods to evaluate effects of intermittent breeding and litter/clutch size on inbreeding Nb and Ne . Fixed or random litter sizes ≥ 3 have little effect on either effective-size parameter; however, in species (e.g., many large mammals) in which females can produce only one offspring per cycle, female Nb  = ∞ and overall Nb  = 4Nb (male) . Intermittent breeding reduces the pool of female breeders, which reduces both female and overall Nb ; reductions are larger in high-fecundity species with high juvenile mortality and increase when multiple reproductive cycles are skipped. Simulated data for six model species showed that both intermittent breeding and litter-size constraints increase Ne , but only slightly. We show how to quantitatively account for these effects, which are important to consider when (1) using Nb to estimate Ne , or (2) drawing inferences about male reproductive success based on estimates of female Nb . PMID:24611912

  15. 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

  16. Whole-stream nitrate addition affects litter decomposition and associated fungi but not invertebrates.

    PubMed

    Ferreira, Verónica; Gulis, Vladislav; Graça, Manuel A S

    2006-10-01

    We assessed the effect of whole-stream nitrate enrichment on decomposition of three substrates differing in nutrient quality (alder and oak leaves and balsa veneers) and associated fungi and invertebrates. During the 3-month nitrate enrichment of a headwater stream in central Portugal, litter was incubated in the reference site (mean NO3-N 82 microg l-1) and four enriched sites along the nitrate gradient (214-983 microg NO3-N l-1). A similar decomposition experiment was also carried out in the same sites at ambient nutrient conditions the following year (33-104 microg NO3-N l-1). Decomposition rates and sporulation of aquatic hyphomycetes associated with litter were determined in both experiments, whereas N and P content of litter, associated fungal biomass and invertebrates were followed only during the nitrate addition experiment. Nitrate enrichment stimulated decomposition of oak leaves and balsa veneers, fungal biomass accrual on alder leaves and balsa veneers and sporulation of aquatic hyphomycetes on all substrates. Nitrate concentration in stream water showed a strong asymptotic relationship (Michaelis-Menten-type saturation model) with temperature-adjusted decomposition rates and percentage initial litter mass converted into aquatic hyphomycete conidia for all substrates. Fungal communities did not differ significantly among sites but some species showed substrate preferences. Nevertheless, certain species were sensitive to nitrogen concentration in water by increasing or decreasing their sporulation rate accordingly. N and P content of litter and abundances or richness of litter-associated invertebrates were not affected by nitrate addition. It appears that microbial nitrogen demands can be met at relatively low levels of dissolved nitrate, suggesting that even minor increases in nitrogen in streams due to, e.g., anthropogenic eutrophication may lead to significant shifts in microbial dynamics and ecosystem functioning.

  17. An increased feed intake during early pregnancy improves sow body weight recovery and increases litter size in young sows.

    PubMed

    Hoving, L L; Soede, N M; van der Peet-Schwering, C M C; Graat, E A M; Feitsma, H; Kemp, B

    2011-11-01

    This study evaluated the effect of feeding level and protein content in feed in first- and second-parity sows during the first month of gestation on sow BW recovery, farrowing rate, and litter size during the first month of gestation. From d 3 to 32 after the first insemination, sows were fed either 2.5 kg/d of a standard gestation diet (control, n = 49), 3.25 kg/d (+30%) of a standard gestation diet (plus feed, n = 47), or 2.5 kg/d of a gestation diet with 30% greater ileal digestible AA (plus protein, n = 49). Feed intake during the experimental period was 29% greater for sows in the plus feed group compared with those in the control and plus protein groups (93 vs. 72 kg, P < 0.05). Sows in the plus feed group gained 10 kg more BW during the experimental period compared with those in the control and plus protein groups (24.2 ± 1.2 vs. 15.5 ± 1.2 and 16.9 ± 1.2 kg, respectively, P < 0.001). Backfat gain and loin muscle depth gain were not affected by treatment (P = 0.56 and P = 0.37, respectively). Farrowing rate was smaller, although not significantly, for sows in the plus feed group compared with those in the control and plus protein groups (76.6% vs. 89.8 and 89.8%, respectively, P = 0.16). Litter size, however, was larger for sows in the plus feed group (15.2 ± 0.5 total born) compared with those in the control and plus protein groups (13.2 ± 0.4 and 13.6 ± 0.4 total born, respectively, P = 0.006). Piglet birth weight was not different among treatments (P = 0.65). For both first- and second-parity sows, the plus feed treatment showed similar effects on BW gain, farrowing rate, and litter size. In conclusion, an increased feed intake (+30%) during the first month of gestation improved sow BW recovery and increased litter size, but did not significantly affect farrowing rate in the subsequent parity. Feeding a 30% greater level of ileal digestible AA during the same period did not improve sow recovery or reproductive performance in the subsequent parity.

  18. Association analysis between variants in KISS1 gene and litter size in goats

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Kisspeptins are the peptide products of KISS1 gene, which operate via the G - protein-coupled receptor GPR54. These peptides have emerged as essential upstream regulators of neurons secreting gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), the major hypothalamic node for the stimulatory control of the hypothalamic–pituitary– gonadal (HPG) axis. The present study detected the polymorphisms of caprine KISS1 gene in three goat breeds and investigated the associations between these genetic markers and litter size. Results Three goat breeds (n = 680) were used to detect single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the coding regions with their intron–exon boundaries and the proximal flanking regions of KISS1 gene by DNA sequencing and PCR–RFLP. Eleven novel SNPs (g.384G>A, g.1147T>C, g.1417G>A, g.1428_1429delG, g.2124C>T, g.2270C>T, g.2489T>C, g.2510G>A, g.2540C>T, g.3864_3865delCA and g.3885_3886insACCCC) were identified. It was shown that Xinong Saanen and Guanzhong goat breeds were in Hardy-Weinberg disequilibrium at g.384G>A locus (P < 0.05). Both g.2510G>A and g.2540C>T loci were closely linked in Xinong Saanen (SN), Guanzhong (GZ) and Boer (BG) goat breeds (r2 > 0.33). The g.384G>A, g.2489T>C, g.2510G>A and g.2540C>T SNPs were associated with litter size (P<0.05). Individuals with AATTAATT combinative genotype of SN breed (SC) and TTAATT combinative genotype of BG breed (BC) had higher litter size than those with other combinative genotypes in average parity. The results extend the spectrum of genetic variation of the caprine KISS1 gene, which might contribute to goat genetic resources and breeding. Conclusions This study explored the genetic polymorphism of KISS1 gene, and indicated that four SNPs may play an important role in litter size. Their genetic mechanism of reproduction in goat breeds should be further investigated. The female goats with SC1 (AATTAATT) and BC7 (TTAATT) had higher litter size than those with other combinative genotypes in average

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

    PubMed

    Vallet, J L; Miles, J R; Rempel, L A; Nonneman, D J; Lents, C A

    2015-06-01

    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 amount of colostrum acquired by the piglet in the first day of life. Relationships between serum immunoglobulin immunocrit measures and subsequent growth rates, age at puberty, incidence of puberty failure, litter size, and lactation performance were examined in pigs born and subsequently farrowing between 2009 and 2013. Immunoglobulin immunocrit measures were collected on 16,762 piglets on Day 1 of age. Of these piglets, BW measurements were available from 15,324 (7,684 males and 7,640 females) piglets at a range of ages from weaning to 200 d of age, allowing an assessment of growth rates. Age at puberty was recorded from a subset of 2,857 of the females after observing them for estrous behavior from approximately 170 to 250 d of age. To examine relationships between d 1 immunocrit and puberty failure, gilts with immunocrit measures that failed to reach puberty (n = 119) were matched with littermate gilts with immunocrit measures that achieved puberty (n = 167). Similarly, number born alive was collected on a subset (n = 799) of females from first to fourth parities for which d 1 immunocrits were measured on them as neonates. Finally, d 1 immunocrit effect on adult lactational competence was assessed by measuring litter average (offspring of 440 females) and litter average piglet preweaning growth rate (offspring of 774 females) in females where d 1 immunocrits were available from them as neonates. Results indicated that low d 1 immunocrits were subsequently associated with reduced growth (P < 0.01), increased age at puberty (P < 0.01), reduced number born alive (P < 0.05), reduced litter average immunocrit (P < 0.05), and reduced litter average preweaning growth rate

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. Reducing particle size of corn in lactation diets from 1,200 to 400 micrometers improves sow and litter performance.

    PubMed

    Wondra, K J; Hancock, J D; Kennedy, G A; Hines, R H; Behnke, K C

    1995-02-01

    One hundred primiparous sows were used to determine the effects of particle size of corn in lactation diets on sow and litter performance. The sows were fed a corn-soybean meal-based diet with the corn ground to 1,200, 900, 600, or 400 microns. Particle size of corn had no influence on sow BW or backfat loss (P > .30), subsequent weaning-to-estrus interval (P > .40), or percentage of sows returning to estrus (P > .09). However, ADFI was increased (linear effect, P < .04) as particle size was reduced from 1,200 to 400 microns. Pig survivability was not affected (P > .30) but litter BW gain was increased by 11% when sows were fed diets with 400 vs 1,200 microns corn (linear effect, P < .05). Apparent digestibilities of DM, N, and GE were increased by 5, 7, and 7%, respectively, as particle size was reduced from 1,200 to 400 microns (linear effects, P < .001). Intake of DE was increased 14% (13.7 to 15.6 Mcal/d) as corn particle size was reduced from 1,200 to 400 microns. Intakes of digestible DM and N also were increased (11 and 14%, respectively), whereas fecal excretions of DM and N were decreased by 21 and 31%, respectively (linear effects, P < .001). Reducing particle size increased severity of ulceration and keratinization (nonzero correlations of P < .04 and P < .004, respectively) in the esophageal region of the stomach, although the changes were not associated with reduced sow performance.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. Calcium availability influences litter size and sex ratio in white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus).

    PubMed

    Schmidt, Christina M; Hood, Wendy R

    2012-01-01

    The production of offspring typically requires investment of resources derived from both the environment and maternal somatic reserves. As such, the availability of either of these types of resources has the potential to limit the degree to which resources are allocated to reproduction. Theory and empirical studies have argued that mothers modify reproductive performance relative to exogenous resource availability and maternal condition by adjusting size, number or sex of offspring produced. These relationships have classically been defined relative to availability of energy sources; however, in vertebrates, calcium also plays a critical role in offspring production, as a considerable amount of calcium is required to support the development of offspring skeleton(s). We tested whether the availability of calcium influences reproductive output by providing female white-footed mice with a low-calcium or standard diet from reproductive maturity to senescence. We then compared maternal skeletal condition and reproductive output, based on offspring mass, offspring number and litter sex ratio, between dietary treatments. Mothers on the low-calcium diet exhibited diminished skeletal condition at senescence and produced smaller and strongly female-biased litters. We show that skeletal condition and calcium intake can influence sex ratio and reproductive output following general theoretical models of resource partitioning during reproduction. PMID:22870218

  6. Calcium availability influences litter size and sex ratio in white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus).

    PubMed

    Schmidt, Christina M; Hood, Wendy R

    2012-01-01

    The production of offspring typically requires investment of resources derived from both the environment and maternal somatic reserves. As such, the availability of either of these types of resources has the potential to limit the degree to which resources are allocated to reproduction. Theory and empirical studies have argued that mothers modify reproductive performance relative to exogenous resource availability and maternal condition by adjusting size, number or sex of offspring produced. These relationships have classically been defined relative to availability of energy sources; however, in vertebrates, calcium also plays a critical role in offspring production, as a considerable amount of calcium is required to support the development of offspring skeleton(s). We tested whether the availability of calcium influences reproductive output by providing female white-footed mice with a low-calcium or standard diet from reproductive maturity to senescence. We then compared maternal skeletal condition and reproductive output, based on offspring mass, offspring number and litter sex ratio, between dietary treatments. Mothers on the low-calcium diet exhibited diminished skeletal condition at senescence and produced smaller and strongly female-biased litters. We show that skeletal condition and calcium intake can influence sex ratio and reproductive output following general theoretical models of resource partitioning during reproduction.

  7. 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.

  8. High and low litter size trait and its relationship with serum and urine progesterone, serum zinc, and serum phosphorus in New Zealand white rabbits and improvement for the low litter size trait.

    PubMed

    el-Darawany, A A

    1992-01-01

    A number of does was classified according to their initial litter size to high (> 6 bunnies, group 1) and low (< 5 bunnies, group 2) in New Zealand White rabbits. Incidence of low litter size in the herd in the present study was 23%. The number of matings/conception, total mortality, corpora lutea/foetus, number and percentage of resorbed foeti were markedly higher in group 2 than in group 1. The litter weight, number of foetuses, implantation sites, and corpora lutea in group 2 showed a marked decrease over group 1. Serum and urine progesterone levels in pregnant rabbits of group 2 were significantly (P < 0.01) lower than in group 1, however, non-efficacious progesterone levels were significantly (P < 0.01) lower in group 2. The zinc content in serum, foetal dry weight and uterine horn dry weight, and serum inorganic phosphate in group 2 were significantly (P > 0.01) lower than in group 1. The litter size was significantly (P < 0.01) correlated with zinc and inorganic phosphate in group 2, while it was correlated with serum and urine progesterone in the two groups. The correlation coefficients were significant (P < 0.01) between urine progesterone and serum zinc and between serum progesterone and inorganic phosphate more frequently in group 2 during the gestation period than in group 1. The treatment of group 2 does with calcium carbonate, sodium phosphate dibasic, and zinc acetate in drinking water improved the serum progesterone, urine progesterone, and non-efficacious progesterone in addition to serum zinc and inorganic phosphate, which led to improvement of the number of matings/conception, litter size and litter weight, and lowered total mortality.

  9. 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...

  10. Differential gene expression in ovaries of pregnant pigs with high and low prolificacy levels and identification of candidate genes for litter size.

    PubMed

    Fernandez-Rodriguez, Amanda; Munoz, Maria; Fernandez, Almudena; Pena, Ramona N; Tomas, Anna; Noguera, Jose L; Ovilo, Cristina; Fernandez, Ana I

    2011-02-01

    Previous results from a genome scan in an F(2) Iberian × Meishan pig intercross showed several chromosome regions associated with litter size traits in this species. In order to identify candidate genes underlying these quantitative trait loci (QTL), we performed an ovary gene expression analysis during the sow's pregnancy. F(2) sows were ranked by their estimated breeding values for prolificacy: six sows with the highest estimated breeding value (EBV) (i.e., high prolificacy) and six sows with the lowest EBV (low prolificacy) were selected. Samples were hybridized using an Affymetrix GeneChip porcine genome array. Statistical analysis with a mixed model approach identified 221 differentially expressed probes, representing 189 genes. These genes were functionally annotated in order to identify genetic pathways overrepresented in this list. Among the functional groups most represented was, in first position, immune system response activation against external stimulus. The second group consisted of integrated genes that regulate maternal homeostasis by complement and coagulation cascades. A third group was involved in lipid and fatty acid enzymes of metabolic processes, which participate in the steroidogenesis pathway. In order to identify powerful candidate genes for prolificacy, the second approach of this study was to merge microarray data with the QTL positional information affecting litter size, previously detected in the same experimental cross. As a result, we have identified 27 differentially expressed genes colocalizing with QTL for litter size traits, which fulfill the biological, positional, and functional criteria. PMID:20926806

  11. Genetic analyses of stillbirth in relation to litter size using random regression models.

    PubMed

    Chen, C Y; Misztal, I; Tsuruta, S; Herring, W O; Holl, J; Culbertson, M

    2010-12-01

    Estimates of genetic parameters for number of stillborns (NSB) in relation to litter size (LS) were obtained with random regression models (RRM). Data were collected from 4 purebred Duroc nucleus farms between 2004 and 2008. Two data sets with 6,575 litters for the first parity (P1) and 6,259 litters for the second to fifth parity (P2-5) with a total of 8,217 and 5,066 animals in the pedigree were analyzed separately. Number of stillborns was studied as a trait on sow level. Fixed effects were contemporary groups (farm-year-season) and fixed cubic regression coefficients on LS with Legendre polynomials. Models for P2-5 included the fixed effect of parity. Random effects were additive genetic effects for both data sets with permanent environmental effects included for P2-5. Random effects modeled with Legendre polynomials (RRM-L), linear splines (RRM-S), and degree 0 B-splines (RRM-BS) with regressions on LS were used. For P1, the order of polynomial, the number of knots, and the number of intervals used for respective models were quadratic, 3, and 3, respectively. For P2-5, the same parameters were linear, 2, and 2, respectively. Heterogeneous residual variances were considered in the models. For P1, estimates of heritability were 12 to 15%, 5 to 6%, and 6 to 7% in LS 5, 9, and 13, respectively. For P2-5, estimates were 15 to 17%, 4 to 5%, and 4 to 6% in LS 6, 9, and 12, respectively. For P1, average estimates of genetic correlations between LS 5 to 9, 5 to 13, and 9 to 13 were 0.53, -0.29, and 0.65, respectively. For P2-5, same estimates averaged for RRM-L and RRM-S were 0.75, -0.21, and 0.50, respectively. For RRM-BS with 2 intervals, the correlation was 0.66 between LS 5 to 7 and 8 to 13. Parameters obtained by 3 RRM revealed the nonlinear relationship between additive genetic effect of NSB and the environmental deviation of LS. The negative correlations between the 2 extreme LS might possibly indicate different genetic bases on incidence of stillbirth.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Increased plastic litter cover affects the foraging activity of the sandy intertidal gastropod Nassarius pullus.

    PubMed

    Aloy, Alexander B; Vallejo, Benjamin M; Juinio-Meñez, Marie Antonette

    2011-08-01

    This study analyzed the foraging behavior of the gastropod Nassarius pullus on garbage-impacted sandy shores of Talim Bay, Batangas, Philippines. The effect of different levels of plastic garbage cover on foraging efficiency was investigated. Controlled in situ baiting experiments were conducted to quantify aspects of foraging behavior as affected by the levels of plastic litter cover in the foraging area. The results of the study indicated that the gastropod's efficiency in locating and in moving towards a food item generally decreased as the level of plastic cover increased. Prolonged food searching time and increased self-burial in sand were highly correlated with increased plastic cover. The accuracy of orientation towards the actual position of the bait decreased significantly when the amount of plastic cover increased to 50%. These results are consistent with the significant decreases in the abundance of the gastropod observed during periods of deposition of large amounts of plastic and other debris on the shore.

  15. Identification and verification of differentially expressed genes in the caprine hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis that are associated with litter size.

    PubMed

    Feng, Tao; Cao, Gui-Ling; Chu, Ming-Xing; Di, Ran; Huang, Dong-Wei; Liu, Qiu-Yue; Pan, Zhang-Yuan; Jin, Mei; Zhang, Ying-Jie; Li, Ning

    2015-02-01

    Litter size is a favorable economic trait for the goat industry, but remains a complex trait controlled by multiple genes in multiple organs. Several genes have been identified that may affect embryo survival, follicular development, and the health of fetuses during pregnancy. Jining Grey goats demonstrate the largest litter size among goat breeds indigenous to China. In order to better understand the genetic basis of this trait, six suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH) cDNA libraries were constructed using pooled mRNAs from hypothalamuses, pituitaries, and ovaries of sexually mature and adult polytocous Jining Grey goats, as testers, versus the pooled corresponding mRNAs of monotocous Liaoning Cashmere goats, as drivers. A total of 1,458 true-positive clones--including 955 known genes and 481 known and 22 unknown expressed sequence tags--were obtained from the SSH libraries by sequencing and alignment. The known genes were categorized into cellular processes and signaling information storage and processing, and metabolism. Three genes (FTH1, GH, and SAA) were selected to validate the SSH results by quantitative real-time PCR; all three were up-regulated in the corresponding tissues in the tester group indicating that these are candidate genes associated with the large litter size of Jining Grey goats. Several other identified genes may affect embryo survival, follicular development, and health during pregnancy. This study provides insights into the mechanistic basis by which the caprine hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis affects reproductive traits and provides a theoretical basis for goat production and breeding.

  16. 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.

  17. Litter size manipulation in laboratory mice: an example of how proteomic analysis can uncover new mechanisms underlying the cost of reproduction

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Life history theories predict that investment in current reproduction comes at a cost for future reproduction and survival. Oxidative stress is one of the best documented mechanisms underlying costs of reproduction to date. However, other, yet to be described molecular mechanisms that play a short term role during reproduction may explain the negative relationships underlying the cost of reproduction. To identify such new mechanisms, we used a global proteomic determination of liver protein profiles in laboratory adult female mice whose litter size had been either reduced or enlarged after birth. This litter size manipulation was expected to affect females by either raising or decreasing their current reproductive effort. At the same time, global parameters and levels of oxidative stress were also measured in all females. Results Based on plasma analyses, females with enlarged litters exhibited increased levels of oxidative stress at the date of weaning compared to females with reduced litters, while no significant difference was found between both the latter groups and control females. None of the liver proteins related to oxidative balance were significantly affected by the experimental treatment. In contrast, the liver protein profiles of females with enlarged and reduced litters suggested that calcium metabolism and cell growth regulation were negatively affected by changes in the number of pup reared. Conclusions Plasma oxidative stress levels in reproductive mice revealed that the degree of investment in reproduction can actually incur a cost in terms of plasmatic oxidative stress, their initial investment in reproduction being close to maximum and remaining at a same level when the energy demand of lactation is reduced. Liver proteomic profiles in reproductive females show that hepatic oxidative stress is unlikely to be involved in the cost of reproduction. Reproductive females rather exhibited liver protein profiles similar to those previously

  18. Simulated browsing affects leaf shedding phenology and litter quality of oak and birch saplings.

    PubMed

    Palacio, S; Hester, A J; Maestro, M; Millard, P

    2013-04-01

    Herbivore effects on leaf litter can have a strong impact on ecosystem nutrient cycling. Although such effects are well described for insect herbivory, research on the impacts of browsing by mammalian herbivores on leaf litter dynamics and nutrient cycling has been more limited, particularly at the level of the individual plant. Clipping treatments (66% shoot removal twice, plus unclipped) were applied to analyse the effect of browsing on the phenology (start date and pattern of leaf shedding) and leaf litter quality (nitrogen (N), soluble sugars, starch and total non-structural carbohydrate concentrations, plus C : N ratios) of Betula pubescens Ehrh. and Quercus petraea [Matt.] Liebl. saplings. Clipping decreased leaf litter biomass and delayed leaf senescence and shedding, but did not change the phenological timing of litterfall between senescence and shedding. The quality of leaf litter of both species was increased by simulated browsing, through an increase in N and carbohydrate concentrations (mainly soluble sugars) and a decreased C : N ratio. This is the first evidence we are aware of that browsing may cause changes in leaf shedding phenology, delaying the process without altering its pattern. Our results also indicate that simulated browsing increases the quality of leaf litter. However, the potential positive effect of browsing on N cycling through litter quality may be offset by its negative impact on the amount of N shed per tree.

  19. Polymorphisms of caprine GDF9 gene and their association with litter size in Jining Grey goats.

    PubMed

    Feng, T; Geng, C X; Lang, X Z; Chu, M X; Cao, G L; Di, R; Fang, L; Chen, H Q; Liu, X L; Li, N

    2011-11-01

    The exons 1, 2 and flanking region of growth differentiation factor 9 (GDF9) gene in five randomly selected does of Jining Grey, Boer and Liaoning Cashmere goats were amplified and analyzed. Thirteen nucleotide differences were identified in GDF9 gene between sheep (AF078545) and goats. Four SNPs (G3288A in intron 1, G423A, A959C [Gln320Pro] and G1189A [Val397Ile] in exon 2) were detected in four goat breeds with different prolificacy, in which G3288A was a new SNP in goats. The results showed that loci 3288, 423 and 1189 in Boer goats, loci 3288 and 423 in Guizhou White goats, loci 423 and 1189 in Liaoning Cashmere goats were all in complete linkage disequilibrium (D' = 1, r (2) = 1), respectively. In moderate (Boer goat) and low prolificacy (Liaoning Cashmere goat) breeds, linkage analysis indicated that there were more fervent linkage disequilibrium among loci 3288, 423 and 1189 than high prolificacy (Jining Grey and Guizhou White goats) breeds. For the 959 locus, the genotype distribution showed obvious difference between high prolificacy breeds and moderate or low prolificacy breeds (P < 0.05 or P < 0.01). The Jining Grey goat does with genotype CC or AC had 0.81 (P < 0.01) or 0.63 (P < 0.01) kids more than those with genotype AA, respectively. The present study preliminarily showed an association between allele C at 959 locus of GDF9 gene and high litter size in Jining Grey goats. These results provide further evidence that the GDF9 gene may be significantly correlated with high prolificacy in goats.

  20. 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.

  1. 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. PMID:25331109

  2. Intensive cattle grazing affects pasture litter-fall: an unrecognized nitrous oxide source.

    PubMed

    Pal, Pranoy; Clough, Tim J; Kelliher, Francis M; van Koten, Chikako; Sherlock, Robert R

    2012-01-01

    The rationale for this study came from observing grazing dairy cattle dropping freshly harvested plant material onto the soil surface, hereafter called litter-fall. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) guidelines include NO emissions during pasture renewal but do not consider NO emissions that may result from litter-fall. The objectives of this study were to determine litter-fall rates and to assess indicative NO emission factors (EFs) for the dominant pasture species (perennial ryegrass [ L.] and white clover [ L.]). Herbage was vacuumed from intensively managed dairy pastures before and after 30 different grazing events when cows (84 cows ha) grazed for 24 h according to a rotational system; the interval between grazing events ranged from 21 to 30 d. A laboratory incubation study was performed to assess potential EF values for the pasture species at two soil moisture contents. Finely ground pasture material was incubated under controlled laboratory conditions with soil, and the NO emissions were measured until rates returned to control levels. On average, pre- and postgrazing dry matter yields per grazing event were 2516 ± 636 and 1167 ± 265 kg DM ha (±SD), respectively. Pregrazing litter was absent, whereas postgrazing fresh and senesced litter-fall rates were 53 ± 24 and 19 ± 18 kg DM ha, respectively. Annually, the rotational grazing system resulted in 12 grazing events where fresh litter-fall equaed to 16 kg N ha yr to the soil. Emission factors in the laboratory experiment indicated that the EF for perennial ryegrass and white clover ranged from 0.7 to 3.1%. If such EF values should also occur under field conditions, then we estimate that litter-fall induces an NO emission rate of 0.3 kg NO ha yr. Litter-fall as a source of NO in grazed pastures requires further assessment.

  3. 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

  4. Parasite removal and its impact on litter size and body condition in Columbian ground squirrels (Spermophilus columbianus).

    PubMed

    Neuhaus, Peter

    2003-11-01

    The current interest in studies of parasite-host relationships is focusing on the impact of parasites on mate choice, sexual selection and individual fitness. While most studies have been done on birds and fishes, little is known about the interactions between parasites and reproductive success in mammals. In this study, I experimentally removed ectoparasites (mainly fleas) from some female Columbian ground squirrels using a commercially available powder, whereas other squirrels were left untreated as controls. The anti-parasite treatment led to an increase in female body condition during lactation and at weaning and an increase in litter size. The increase of body mass in treated females between birth of the young and weaning is also different from observations done over 8 years in the same population, where untreated females usually lost mass. In close to 400 litters from untreated females in the same area, only 2% had litter sizes as big as the treated females. I conclude that ectoparasites can have a profound impact not only on individuals but probably on the dynamics of the whole population. PMID:14667386

  5. Leaf litter leachates have the potential to increase lifespan, body size, and offspring numbers in a clone of Moina macrocopa.

    PubMed

    Hofmann, Sylva; Timofeyev, Maxim A; Putschew, Anke; Saul, Nadine; Menzel, Ralph; Steinberg, Christian E W

    2012-03-01

    Leaf litter processing is one major pathway of the global organic carbon cycle. During this process, a variety of small reactive organic compounds are released and transported to the aquatic environment, and may directly impact aquatic organisms as natural xenobiotics. We hypothesize that different forest stockings produce different leachate qualities, which in turn, stress the aquatic communities and, eventually, separate sensitive from tolerant species. Particularly, leachates from coniferous trees are suspected to have strongly adverse impacts on sensitive species. We exposed individuals of a clone of the model organism, Moina macrocopa, to comparable concentrations (approximately 2mM) of litter leachates of Norway spruce, Picea abies, Colorado blue spruce, Picea pungens, black poplar, Populus nigra, and sessile oak, Quercus petraea. The animals were fed ad libitum. The following life trait variables were recorded: growth, lifespan, and lifetime offspring. To identify, whether or not exposure to litter leachates provokes an internal oxidative stress in the exposed animals we measured the superoxide anion radical scavenging capacity via photoluminescence. Except of P. abies, exposure to the leachates reduced this antioxidant capacity by approximately 50%. Leachate exposures, except that of Quercus, increased body size and extended lifespan; furthermore, particularly the leachates of both Picea species significantly increased the offspring numbers. This unexpected behavior of exposed Moina may be based on food supplements (e.g., high carbohydrate contents) in the leachates or on yet to be identified regulatory pathways of energy allocation. Overall, our results suggest that the potentially adverse effects of litter leachates can be overruled by either bacterial-growth supporting fractions in the leachates or an internal compensation mechanism in the Moina individuals. PMID:22115468

  6. 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 (...

  7. 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.

  8. 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…

  9. The influence of environmental temperatures on farrowing rates and litter sizes in South African pig breeding units.

    PubMed

    van Rensburg, Leana Janse; Spencer, Brian T

    2014-11-20

    The reproductive performance of pigs is one of the main determinants of the profit farmers make from pig production. This study was undertaken to describe whether periods of high environmental temperature have an effect on the farrowing rate, litter sizes and number of stillbirths in commercial breeding units in South Africa. Data were collected weekly from four commercial breeding units with good records from December 2010 to August 2012. These data included the number of sows mated, number of sows farrowed and number of piglets born alive, as well as the number of stillbirths. Note was also taken of whether environmental temperature control mechanisms were employed. Temperature data from weather stations within 100 km of the breeding units were obtained from the South African Weather Service. In all breeding units a decrease in farrowing rate following mating during severe average temperatures (> 30 °C) when compared to the farrowing rate following mating during mild average temperatures (< 22 °C) was observed. When mating occurred at higher temperatures, the resultant litter size was marginally decreased in the breeding units that did not employ environmental temperature control, but was unaffected in the breeding units that did. In all four breeding units the trend was for the average number of piglets born alive to increase as the environmental temperature around the time of farrowing increased and the trend in three of the four breeding units was for the percentage of stillbirths per litter to decrease with increased temperature around the time of farrowing. The most significant observation in this study was the trend for farrowing rates to decrease following inseminations during times of high ambient temperatures (> 30 °C). Environmental temperature control did not negate this effect, but the breeding units employing the environmental temperature control did show higher average farrowing rates overall.

  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

    2010-01-01

    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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. Molecular characterization, expression, polymorphism of NR5A2 and its relationship with litter size in Hu sheep.

    PubMed

    Li, Y X; Zhang, J; Qian, Y; Meng, C H; Wang, H L; Tao, X J; Zhong, S; Cao, S X; Li, Q F

    2015-01-01

    NR5A2 has been implicated in processes as diverse as steroidogenesis, cellular proliferation, ovarian follicular development, ovulation, and fertility in mammals. However, data about the relationship between NR5A2 and prolificacy in mammals are lacking. In the present study, we identified and characterized NR5A2 of Hu sheep, and investigated the correlation between NR5A2 and reproductive performance. The full-length coding region was 1488 bp, and the gene was conserved in mammals. We found a positive correlation between NR5A2 mRNA levels in the ovary and the ovulation rate and litter size of Hu sheep. We detected two single nucleotide polymorphisms (T40C and T1419C) in the coding sequence of NR5A2. At the third and average parity, litter size of Hu ewes with CC genotype at T40C locus was larger than those of ewes with TT or TC genotypes; at the T1419C locus, Hu ewes with TT genotype was greater than those of ewes with CC genotype at the third parity. Our findings demonstrated that NR5A2 was associated with reproductive performance in Hu sheep, a high prolificacy breed. PMID:26505427

  14. Comparison of carcass and meat characteristics of three rabbit lines selected for litter size or growth rate.

    PubMed

    Hernández, P; Ariño, B; Grimal, A; Blasco, A

    2006-08-01

    Rabbits from three synthetic lines were compared. Line V and A were selected for litter size at weaning and line R was selected for growth rate between weaning and slaughter time. Forty animals of each line were slaughtered at 9week of age. Comparisons between lines were made using Bayesian statistical techniques. Line R had a higher meat/bone ratio, higher loin percentage and higher ultimate pH of M. Longissimus lumborum (LL) than A and V, but lower dressing out and lower hind part percentages. Some differences between lines in carcass and meat colour were found. No differences were found for percentage of released water of LL and for the activity of energy metabolic enzymes. At present, rabbit carcasses are not costed according to their retail cuts or meat/bone ratio, but dressing out percentage is taken into account, thus breeding companies should be concerned about lower carcass yield of lines selected by growth rate. PMID:22062565

  15. TRIXcell+, a new long-term boar semen extender containing whey protein with higher preservation capacity and litter size

    PubMed Central

    van den Berg, B.M.; Reesink, J.; Reesink, W.

    2014-01-01

    It was the aim of the present study to test whey as protective protein for the sperm cell in the long-term boar semen preservation medium TRIXcell. Analyses of sperm cell motility using computer-assisted semen analysis (CASA) indicated that the whey protein Porex has a similar protective effect as bovine serum albumin (BSA) in maintaining viability of stored boar sperm. Boar sperm diluted in TRIXcell+ maintains commercially acceptable motility (>60%) for 10 days, while swine sperm diluted in the semen preservation medium Beltsville Thawing Solution (BTS) maintains commercially acceptable motility (>60%) for 3-5 days for most boars. To test the on-farm fertility performance of TRIXcell+ compared to BTS, inseminations were started on 35 commercial pig production farms in the summer of 2006. During the period of July 2006 until July 2012 for each farm and each calendar year the mean farrowing rate and litter size for semen diluted in TRIXcell+ and stored for 3-5 days was found higher than that of semen stored for 1-2 days in BTS. Based on data gained from a total of 583.749 sows inseminated through the years 2006-2012, the mean farrowing rate for semen diluted in TRIXcell+ and BTS was 90.4 ± 4.0 and 87.9 ± 3.6, respectively, which is not significantly different. Based on the same data, the mean total number of piglets born alive for semen diluted in TRIXcell+ and BTS was 14.2 ± 0.7 and 13.6 ± 0.6, respectively, which is significantly different. We conclude that whey protein can effectively be used in the long-term preservation medium TRIXcell resulting in a higher litter size. PMID:26623335

  16. Furnished cages for laying hens: study of the effects of group size and litter provision on laying location, zootechnical performance and egg quality.

    PubMed

    Huneau-Salaün, A; Guinebretière, M; Taktak, A; Huonnic, D; Michel, V

    2011-05-01

    The furnished cage is a new housing system for layers. A current trend in furnished cage design is to increase group size and replace the litter box with a mat provided with litter. An experiment was set up to determine the effects of group size and litter provision on laying performance and egg quality of beak-trimmed ISA Brown hens housed in large furnished cages with more than 12 hens. Six treatments, each of 18 furnished cages (768 cm(2)/hen including nest and litter area) were compared in a 3 × 2 experimental trial: three group sizes (S20 (20 hens per cage), S40 (40) and S60 (60)), with or without feed as litter distributed on the mat of the litter area. The provision of facilities per hen was equal in all treatments. Mortality, laying rate, mean egg weight, feed intake and feed conversion ratio were unaffected by group size over the 53-week laying period, and performance exceeded the ISA production standards. The overall percentage of eggs laid in the nest exceeded 95% except that it was slightly lower in group S20 (92.0% ± 6.4% v. S40: 96.0% ± 3.3% and S60: 96.2% ± 2.7%) leading to a higher proportion of dirty eggs (S20: 1.6% ± 2.2%, S40: 1.4% ± 1.5%, S60: 1.0% ± 1.0%). At 66 to 70 weeks, eggs laid outside the nest had a slightly higher count of mesophilic bacteria on the eggshell (5.0 log CFU/egg ± 0.4) than those laid in the nest (4.8 log CFU/egg ± 0.5) but no difference in contamination was observed between group sizes. Litter provision had no effect on mortality, egg weight or egg quality traits except for a higher proportion of broken eggs in cages with litter (5.3% ± 6.2% v. 4.6% ± 5.7%). Providing hens with feed for litter was associated with a higher laying rate (97.3% ± 3.2% v. 94.8% ± 4.4% at 23 weeks) and an apparent improvement in feed efficiency at the beginning of the laying period (feed conversion ratio based on feed consumption at the trough: 2.18 ± 0.06 with litter v. 2.28 ± 0.09 without litter at 25 weeks). The results of

  17. 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. PMID:24820771

  18. Foliar Litter Nitrogen Dynamics as Affected by Forest Gap in the Alpine Forest of Eastern Tibet Plateau

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:24820771

  19. Polymorphisms of caprine POU1F1 gene and their association with litter size in Jining Grey goats.

    PubMed

    Feng, T; Chu, M X; Cao, G L; Tang, Q Q; Di, R; Fang, L; Li, N

    2012-04-01

    Seven pairs of primers were designed to amplify 5' promoter region, six exons and partial introns and to detect the polymorphisms of POU1F1 gene in five goat breeds with different prolificacy. The results showed that six mutations were identified in caprine POU1F1 gene including C256T in exon 3, C53T and T123G in intron 3, and G682T (A228S), T723G and C837T in exon 6. The former four mutations were novel SNPs in goat POU1F1 gene. The 53 and 123 loci were in complete linkage disequilibrium in five caprine breeds. Regarding the 256 locus, the Jining Grey goat does with genotype CT had 0.66 kids more than those with genotype CC (P < 0.05), while does with genotype GT had 0.63 (P < 0.05) kids more than those with genotype GG at the 682 locus. The present study preliminarily showed an association between allele T at the 256 and 682 loci of POU1F1 gene and high litter size in Jining Grey goats. Totally 16 haplotypes and 50 genotypes were identified at the above six loci in POU1F1 gene of five goat breeds. Three common haplotypes (hap2, hap3 and hap4) were identified in five goat breeds joined. Four specific haplotypes (hap7, hap9, hap11 and hap13) were detected in Jining Grey goats. The predominant haplotype was hap1 (35.29% and 48.25%) in both Jining Grey and Guizhou White goats, while hap4 (50%) in Boer goats, and hap2 (42.86% and 38.75%) in both Wendeng Dairy and Liaoning Cashmere goats. The most frequent genotypes at six loci in the above five goat breeds were hap1/hap2 (14.38%) and hap1/hap4 (14.38%), hap1/hap2 (38.60%), hap4/hap4 (40.91%), hap2/hap4 (26.53%), hap2/hap5 (20.00%), respectively. The Jining Grey goat does with nine genotypes analyzed of POU1F1 gene showed no obvious difference in litter size.

  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. Maternal Weight Gain as a Predictor of Litter Size in Swiss Webster, C57BL/6J, and BALB/cJ mice

    PubMed Central

    Finlay, James B; Liu, Xueli; Ermel, Richard W; Adamson, Trinka W

    2015-01-01

    An important task facing both researchers and animal core facilities is producing sufficient mice for a given project. The inherent biologic variability of mouse reproduction and litter size further challenges effective research planning. A lack of precision in project planning contributes to the high cost of animal research, overproduction (thus waste) of animals, and inappropriate allocation of facility resources. To examine the extent daily prepartum maternal weight gain predicts litter size in 2 commonly used mouse strains (BALB/cJ and C57BL/6J) and one mouse stock (Swiss Webster), we weighed ≥ 25 pregnant dams of each strain or stock daily from the morning on which a vaginal plug (day 0) was present. On the morning when dams delivered their pups, we recorded the weight of the dam, the weight of the litter itself, and the number of pups. Litter sizes ranged from 1 to 7 pups for BALB/cJ, 2 to 13 for Swiss Webster, and 5 to 11 for C57BL/6J mice. Linear regression models (based on weight change from day 0) demonstrated that maternal weight gain at day 9 (BALB/cJ), day 11 (Swiss Webster), or day 14 (C57BL/6J) was a significant predictor of litter size. When tested prospectively, the linear regression model for each strain or stock was found to be accurate. These data indicate that the number of pups that will be born can be estimated accurately by using maternal weight gain at specific or stock-specific time points. PMID:26632778

  2. Grazing-induced changes in plant composition affect litter quality and nutrient cycling in flooding Pampa grasslands.

    PubMed

    Garibaldi, Lucas A; Semmartin, María; Chaneton, Enrique J

    2007-04-01

    Changes in plant community composition induced by vertebrate grazers have been found to either accelerate or slow C and nutrient cycling in soil. This variation may reflect the differential effects of grazing-promoted (G+) plant species on overall litter quality and decomposition processes. Further, site conditions associated with prior grazing history are expected to influence litter decay and nutrient turnover. We studied how grazing-induced changes in plant life forms and species identity modified the quality of litter inputs to soil, decomposition rate and nutrient release in a flooding Pampa grassland, Argentina. Litter from G+ forbs and grasses (two species each) and grazing-reduced (G-) grasses (two species) was incubated in long-term grazed and ungrazed sites. G+ species, overall, showed higher rates of decomposition and N and P release from litter. However, this pattern was primarily driven by the low-growing, high litter-quality forbs included among G+ species. Forbs decomposed and released nutrients faster than either G+ or G- grasses. While no consistent differences between G+ and G- grasses were observed, patterns of grass litter decay and nutrient release corresponded with interspecific differences in phenology and photosynthetic pathway. Litter decomposition, N release and soil N availability were higher in the grazed site, irrespective of species litter type. Our results contradict the notion that grazing, by reducing more palatable species and promoting less palatable ones, should decrease nutrient cycling from litter. Plant tissue quality and palatability may not unequivocally link patterns of grazing resistance and litter decomposability within a community, especially where grazing causes major shifts in life form composition. Thus, plant functional groups defined by species' "responses" to grazing may only partially overlap with functional groups based on species "effects" on C and nutrient cycling. PMID:17242908

  3. A Fungal Endosymbiont Affects Host Plant Recruitment Through Seed- and Litter-mediated Mechanisms

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    1. Many grass species are associated with maternally transmitted fungal endophytes. Increasing evidence shows that endophytes enhance host plant success under varied conditions, yet studies have rarely considered alternative mechanisms whereby these mutualistic symbionts may affect regeneration from...

  4. Habitat structure alters top-down control in litter communities.

    PubMed

    Kalinkat, Gregor; Brose, Ulrich; Rall, Björn Christian

    2013-07-01

    The question whether top-down or bottom-up forces dominate trophic relationships, energy flow, and abundances within food webs has fuelled much ecological research with particular focus on soil litter ecosystems. Because litter simultaneously provides habitat structure and a basal resource, disentangling direct trophic and indirect non-trophic effects on different trophic levels remains challenging. Here, we focussed on short-term per capita interaction strengths of generalist predators (centipedes) on their microbi-detritivore prey (springtails) and addressed how the habitat structuring effects of the leaf litter modifies this interaction. We performed a series of laboratory functional response experiments where four levels of habitat structure were constructed by adding different amounts of leaf litter to the experimental arenas. We found that increased leaf litter reduced the consumption rate of the predator. We interpreted this as a dilution effect of the augmented habitat size provided by the increasing leaf litter surface available to the species. Dilution of the prey population decreased encounter rates, whereas the capture success was not affected. Interestingly, our results imply that top-down control by centipedes decreased with increasing resource supply for the microbi-detritivore prey (i.e. the leaf litter that simultaneously provides habitat structure). Therefore, effective top-down control of predators on microbi-detritvore populations seems unlikely in litter-rich ecosystems due to the non-trophic, habitat-structuring effect of the basal litter resource.

  5. Habitat structure alters top-down control in litter communities.

    PubMed

    Kalinkat, Gregor; Brose, Ulrich; Rall, Björn Christian

    2013-07-01

    The question whether top-down or bottom-up forces dominate trophic relationships, energy flow, and abundances within food webs has fuelled much ecological research with particular focus on soil litter ecosystems. Because litter simultaneously provides habitat structure and a basal resource, disentangling direct trophic and indirect non-trophic effects on different trophic levels remains challenging. Here, we focussed on short-term per capita interaction strengths of generalist predators (centipedes) on their microbi-detritivore prey (springtails) and addressed how the habitat structuring effects of the leaf litter modifies this interaction. We performed a series of laboratory functional response experiments where four levels of habitat structure were constructed by adding different amounts of leaf litter to the experimental arenas. We found that increased leaf litter reduced the consumption rate of the predator. We interpreted this as a dilution effect of the augmented habitat size provided by the increasing leaf litter surface available to the species. Dilution of the prey population decreased encounter rates, whereas the capture success was not affected. Interestingly, our results imply that top-down control by centipedes decreased with increasing resource supply for the microbi-detritivore prey (i.e. the leaf litter that simultaneously provides habitat structure). Therefore, effective top-down control of predators on microbi-detritvore populations seems unlikely in litter-rich ecosystems due to the non-trophic, habitat-structuring effect of the basal litter resource. PMID:23188055

  6. 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.

  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

    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. 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 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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. PMID:24111990

  11. 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.

  12. Mutations in bone morphogenetic protein 15 and growth differentiation factor 9 genes are associated with increased litter size in fat-tailed sheep breeds.

    PubMed

    Javanmard, Arash; Azadzadeh, N; Esmailizadeh, Ali K

    2011-03-01

    The objective of this study was to investigate association between GDF9 and BMP15 gene polymorphism and litter size in fat-tailed sheep, a total of 97 mature ewes from four breeds (Afshari=19; Baluchi=18; Makui=30 and Mehraban=30) were genotyped for the BMP15 HinfI and GDF9 HhaI polymorphisms by PCR-RFLP technique. The highest and lowest mutant allele frequencies were found in Makui (0.27) and Afshari (0.10) sheep for the BMP15 gene and in Afshari (0.24) and Mehraban (0.18) sheep for the GDF9 gene, respectively. Litter size was significantly influenced by genotype of the ewe for two genes (P < 0.01). Heterozygous genotypes for both loci showed higher litter size than homozygous genotypes (P < 0.01). None of the individuals carried homozygous genotype for both of the GDF9 and BMP15 variants in these breeds. The individuals carrying the mutant allele for one of the investigated candidate gene still showed fertile phenotype. Thus, existence of homozygosity at one of the BMP15 and GDF9 variant is not probably able to block normal hormonal pathway of reproduction in fat-tailed sheep.

  13. 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

  14. An application of change-point recursive models to the relationship between litter size and number of stillborns in pigs.

    PubMed

    Ibáñez-Escriche, N; López de Maturana, E; Noguera, J L; Varona, L

    2010-11-01

    We developed and implemented change-point recursive models and compared them with a linear recursive model and a standard mixed model (SMM), in the scope of the relationship between litter size (LS) and number of stillborns (NSB) in pigs. The proposed approach allows us to estimate the point of change in multiple-segment modeling of a nonlinear relationship between phenotypes. We applied the procedure to a data set provided by a commercial Large White selection nucleus. The data file consisted of LS and NSB records of 4,462 parities. The results of the analysis clearly identified the location of the change points between different structural regression coefficients. The magnitude of these coefficients increased with LS, indicating an increasing incidence of LS on the NSB ratio. However, posterior distributions of correlations were similar across subpopulations (defined by the change points on LS), except for those between residuals. The heritability estimates of NSB did not present differences between recursive models. Nevertheless, these heritabilities were greater than those obtained for SMM (0.05) with a posterior probability of 85%. These results suggest a nonlinear relationship between LS and NSB, which supports the adequacy of a change-point recursive model for its analysis. Furthermore, the results from model comparisons support the use of recursive models. However, the adequacy of the different recursive models depended on the criteria used: the linear recursive model was preferred on account of its smallest deviance value, whereas nonlinear recursive models provided a better fit and predictive ability based on the cross-validation approach.

  15. Genetic parameters for litter size, piglet growth and sow's early growth and body composition in the Chinese-European line Tai Zumu.

    PubMed

    Banville, M; Riquet, J; Bahon, D; Sourdioux, M; Canario, L

    2015-08-01

    Genetics of piglet growth in association with sow's early growth and body composition were estimated in the Tai Zumu line. Piglet and sow's litter growth traits were calculated from individual weights collected at birth and at 3 weeks of age. Sow's litter traits included the number of piglets born alive (NBA), the mean piglet weight (MW) and the standard deviation of weights within the litter (SDW). Sow's early growth was measured by the age at 100 kg (A100), and body composition included backfat thickness (BF100). A main objective of this study was to estimate separately the direct genetic effect (d) and the maternal genetic effect (m) on piglet weight and daily weight gain during lactation. Variance components were estimated using the restricted maximum likelihood methodology based on animal models. The heritability estimates were 0.19 for NBA, 0.15 and 0.26 for SDW and MW at 3 weeks and 0.42 and 0.70 for A100 and BF100. The NBA was almost independent from SDW. Conversely, the A100 and BF100 were correlated unfavourably with SDW (rg <-0.24, SE<0.12). A stronger selection for litter size should have little effect on litter homogeneity in weights. Selection for lean growth rate tends to favour heterogeneity in weights. The direct effect on piglet weight at birth and daily weight gain accounted for 12% (h(²) (d) = 0.02) and 50% (h(²) (d) = 0.11) of the genetic variance, respectively. The association between d and m for piglet weight was not different from zero at birth (rg = 0.19, SE = 0.27), but a strong antagonism between d and m for daily weight gain from birth to 3 weeks was found (rg = -0.41, SE = 0.17). Substantial direct and maternal genetic effects influenced piglet growth until weaning in opposite way.

  16. Changing leaf litter feedbacks on plant production across contrasting sub-arctic peatland species and growth forms.

    PubMed

    Dorrepaal, Ellen; Cornelissen, Johannes H C; Aerts, Rien

    2007-03-01

    Plant species and growth forms differ widely in litter chemistry, which affects decay and may have important consequences for plant growth via e.g. the release of nutrients and growth-inhibitory compounds. We investigated the overall short-term (9.5 months) and medium-term (21.5 months) feedback effects of leaf litter quality and quantity on plant production, and tested whether growth forms can be used to generalise differences among litter species. Leaf litter effects of 21 sub-arctic vascular peatland species on Poa alpina test plants changed clearly with time. Across all growth forms, litter initially reduced plant biomass compared with untreated plants, particularly litters with a high decomposition rate or low initial lignin/P ratio. In the second year, however, litter effects were neutral or positive, and related to initial litter N concentration (positive), C/N, polyphenol/N and polyphenol/P ratios (all negative), but not to decomposability. Differences in effect size among several litter species were large, while differences in response to increasing litter quantities were not significant or of similar magnitude to differences in response to three contrasting litter species. Growth forms did not differ in initial litter effects, but second-year plant production showed a trend (P<0.10) for differences in response to litters of different growth forms: evergreen shrubslitter effects were predominant across all growth forms, our data indicate that even within nutrient-constrained ecosystems such as northern peatlands, vascular plant species, and possibly growth forms, differ in litter feedbacks to plant growth. Differences in the composition of undisturbed plant communities or species shifts induced by external disturbance, such as climate change, may therefore feedback strongly to plant biomass production and probably nutrient cycling rates in northern peatlands. PMID:17089140

  17. Offspring size in a resident species affects community assembly.

    PubMed

    Davis, Kurt; Marshall, Dustin J

    2014-03-01

    Offspring size is a trait of fundamental importance that affects the ecology and evolution of a range of organisms. Despite the pervasive impact of offspring size for those offspring, the influence of offspring size on other species in the broader community remains unexplored. Such community-wide effects of offspring size are likely, but they have not been anticipated by theory or explored empirically. For a marine invertebrate community, we manipulated the size and density of offspring of a resident species (Watersipora subtorquata) in the field and examined subsequent community assembly around that resident species. Communities that assembled around larger offspring were denser and less diverse than communities that assembled around smaller offspring. Differences in niche usage by colonies from smaller and larger offspring may be driving these community-level effects. Our results suggest that offspring size is an important but unexplored source of ecological variation and that life-history theory must accommodate the effects of offspring size on community assembly. Life-history theory often assumes that environmental variation drives intraspecific variation in offspring size, and our results show that the converse can also occur.

  18. Offspring size in a resident species affects community assembly.

    PubMed

    Davis, Kurt; Marshall, Dustin J

    2014-03-01

    Offspring size is a trait of fundamental importance that affects the ecology and evolution of a range of organisms. Despite the pervasive impact of offspring size for those offspring, the influence of offspring size on other species in the broader community remains unexplored. Such community-wide effects of offspring size are likely, but they have not been anticipated by theory or explored empirically. For a marine invertebrate community, we manipulated the size and density of offspring of a resident species (Watersipora subtorquata) in the field and examined subsequent community assembly around that resident species. Communities that assembled around larger offspring were denser and less diverse than communities that assembled around smaller offspring. Differences in niche usage by colonies from smaller and larger offspring may be driving these community-level effects. Our results suggest that offspring size is an important but unexplored source of ecological variation and that life-history theory must accommodate the effects of offspring size on community assembly. Life-history theory often assumes that environmental variation drives intraspecific variation in offspring size, and our results show that the converse can also occur. PMID:26046291

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Plant structure predicts leaf litter capture in the tropical montane bromeliad Tillandsia turneri.

    PubMed

    Ospina-Bautista, F; Estévez Varón, J V

    2016-05-01

    Leaves intercepted by bromeliads become an important energy and matter resource for invertebrate communities, bacteria, fungi, and the plant itself. The relationship between bromeliad structure, defined as its size and complexity, and accumulated leaf litter was studied in 55 bromeliads of Tillandsia turneri through multiple regression and the Akaike information criterion. Leaf litter accumulation in bromeliads was best explained by size and complexity variables such as plant cover, sheath length, and leaf number. In conclusion, plant structure determines the amount of litter that enters bromeliads, and changes in its structure could affect important processes within ecosystem functioning or species richness. PMID:27143067

  2. 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.

  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. PMID:27420790

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. Association of polymorphisms at the microRNA binding site of the caprine KITLG 3′-UTR with litter size

    PubMed Central

    An, Xiaopeng; Song, Yuxuan; Bu, Shuhai; Ma, Haidong; Gao, Kexin; Hou, Jinxing; Wang, Shan; Lei, Zhang; Cao, Binyun

    2016-01-01

    This study identified three novel single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (c.1389C > T, c.1457A > C and c.1520G > A) in the caprine KITLG 3′-UTR through DNA sequencing. The three SNP loci were closely linked in Guanzhong dairy (GD) goats. Two alleles of the c.1457A > C SNP introduced two miRNA sites (chi-miR-204-5p and chi-miR-211). Individuals with combined genotype TT-CC-AA had a higher litter size compared with those with combined genotypes CC-AA-GG, TC-CC-GA and CC-AC-GG (P < 0.05). Luciferase assays showed that chi-miR-204-5p and chi-miR-211 suppressed luciferase expression in the presence of allele 1457A compared with negative control (NC) and allele 1457C (P < 0.05). Western blot revealed that KITLG significantly decreased in the granulosa cells (GCs) of genotype AA compared with that in the GCs of genotype CC and NC (P < 0.05). The KITLG mRNA levels of the CC-AA-GG carriers significantly decreased compared with those of the TT-CC-AA, TC-CC-GA and CC-AC-GG carriers. In addition, cell proliferation was reduced in haplotype C-A-G GCs compared with that in haplotype T-C-A GCs. These results suggest that SNPs c.1389C > T, c.1457A > C and c.1520G > A account for differences in the litter size of GD goats because chi-miR-204-5p and chi-miR-211 could change the expression levels of the KITLG gene and reduce GC proliferation. PMID:27168023

  9. 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. PMID:26774191

  10. 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.

  11. Developmental plasticity of the microscopic placental architecture in relation to litter size variation in the common marmoset monkey (Callithrix jacchus)

    PubMed Central

    Rutherford, Julienne N.; Tardif, Suzette D.

    2012-01-01

    Fetal demand, shaped by factors such as number of fetuses, may alter placental regulation of exchange, even when maternal nutrition restriction is not overt. The marmoset is an interesting model in which to examine this aspect of placental function due to unique placentation that leads to multiple fetuses sharing a unified placental mass. We demonstrated previously that the triplet marmoset placenta exhibits significantly higher efficiency than does the twin placenta. Here, we test the hypothesis that this increased efficiency is due to changes in the microscopic morphology of the placenta. Stereology was employed to analyze the microscopic architecture of placentas from twin and triplet pregnancies. Compartments of interest were the trabeculae, intertrabecular space, fetal capillaries, and the surface area of the maternal-fetal interface. Placentas from the two litters did not differ significantly in overall volume or individual volumetric compartments, but triplet placentas exhibited significant expansion of the trabecular surface area in comparison to twins (p=0.039). Further, the two groups differed in the isomorphy coefficient, with triplet placentas having a significantly higher coefficient (p=0.001) and potentially a more complex microscopic topography. Differences in the maternal-fetal interface may be due to developmental constraints on gross placental growth that occur earlier in gestation, such that the only option for maintaining sufficient access to maternal resources or signaling pathways late in gestation is via an expansion of the interface. Despite the significant increase in overall surface area, individual triplet fetuses are associated with much less surface area than are individual twins, suggestive of alterations in metabolic efficiency, perhaps via differential amino acid transport regulation. PMID:19038443

  12. 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.

  13. Environmentally-friendly animal litter

    DOEpatents

    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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Rate of language evolution is affected by population size

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:25646448

  17. Decomposition of diverse litter mixtures in streams.

    PubMed

    Lecerf, Antoine; Risnoveanu, Geta; Popescu, Cristina; Gessner, Mark O; Chauvet, Eric

    2007-01-01

    In view of growing interest in understanding how biodiversity affects ecosystem functioning, we investigated effects of riparian plant diversity on litter decomposition in forest streams. Leaf litter from 10 deciduous tree species was collected during natural leaf fall at two locations (Massif Central in France and Carpathians in Romania) and exposed in the field in litter bags. There were 35 species combinations, with species richness ranging 1-10. Nonadditive effects on the decomposition of mixed-species litter were minor, although a small synergistic effect was observed in the Massif Central stream where observed litter mass remaining was significantly lower overall than expected from data on single-species litter. In addition, variability in litter mass remaining decreased with litter diversity at both locations. Mean nitrogen concentration of single- and mixed-species litters (0.68-4.47% of litter ash-free dry mass) accounted for a large part of the variation in litter mass loss across species combinations. For a given species or mixture, litter mass loss was also consistently faster in the Massif Central than in the Carpathians, and the similarity in general stream characteristics, other than temperature, suggests that this effect was largely due to differences in thermal regimes. These results support the notion that decomposition of litter mixtures is primarily driven by litter quality and environmental factors, rather than by species richness per se. However, the observed consistent decrease in variability of decomposition rate with increasing plant species richness indicates that conservation of riparian tree diversity is important even when decomposition rates are not greatly influenced by litter mixing.

  18. Above and belowground controls on litter decomposition in semiarid ecosystems: effects of solar radiation, water availability and litter quality

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Austin, A. T.; Araujo, P. I.; Leva, P. E.; Ballare, C. L.

    2008-12-01

    The integrated controls on soil organic matter formation in arid and semiarid ecosystems are not well understood and appear to stem from a number of interacting controls affecting above- and belowground carbon turnover. While solar radiation has recently been shown to have an important direct effect on carbon loss in semiarid ecosystems as a result of photochemical mineralization of aboveground plant material, the mechanistic basis for photodegradative losses is poorly understood. In addition, there are large potential differences in major controls on above- and belowground decomposition in low rainfall ecosystems. We report on a mesocosm and field study designed to examine the relative importance of different wavelengths of solar radiation, water availability, position of senescent material above- and belowground and the importance of carbon litter quality in determining rates of abiotic and biotic decomposition. In a factorial experiment of mesocosms, we incubated leaf and root litter simultaneously above- and belowground and manipulated water availability with large and small pulses. Significant interactions between position-litter type and position-pulse sizes demonstrated interactive controls on organic mass loss. Aboveground decomposition showed no response to pulse size or litter type, as roots and leaves decomposed equally rapidly under all circumstances. In contrast, belowground decomposition was significantly altered by litter type and water pulses, with roots decomposing significantly slower and small water pulses reducing belowground decomposition. In the field site, using plastic filters which attenuated different wavelengths of natural solar radiation, we found a highly significant effect of radiation exclusion on mass loss and demonstrated that both UV-A and short-wave visible light can have important impacts on photodegradative carbon losses. The combination of position and litter quality effects on litter decomposition appear to be critical for the

  19. Use of meta-analysis to combine candidate gene association studies: application to study the relationship between the ESR PvuII polymorphism and sow litter size.

    PubMed

    Alfonso, Leopoldo

    2005-01-01

    This article investigates the application of meta-analysis on livestock candidate gene effects. The PvuII polymorphism of the ESR gene is used as an example. The association among ESR PvuII alleles with the number of piglets born alive and total born in the first (NBA1, TNB1) and later parities (NBA, TNB) is reviewed by conducting a meta-analysis of 15 published studies including 9329 sows. Under a fixed effects model, litter size values were significantly lower in the "AA" genotype groups when compared with "AB" and "BB" homozygotes. Under the random effects model, the results were similar although differences between "AA" and "AB" genotype groups were not clearly significant for NBA and TNB. Nevertheless, the most noticeable result was the high and significant heterogeneity estimated among studies. This heterogeneity could be assigned to error sampling, genotype by environment interaction, linkage or epistasis, as referred to in the literature, but also to the hypothesis of population admixture/stratification. It is concluded that meta-analysis can be considered as a helpful analytical tool to synthesise and discuss livestock candidate gene effects. The main difficulty found was the insufficient information on the standard errors of the estimated genotype effects in several publications. Consequently, the convenience of publishing the standard errors or the concrete P-values instead of the test significance level should be recommended to guarantee the quality of candidate gene effect meta-analyses.

  20. 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.

  1. 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. PMID:26169393

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Vector activity and propagule size affect dispersal potential by vertebrates.

    PubMed

    van Leeuwen, Casper H A; Tollenaar, Marthe L; Klaassen, Marcel

    2012-09-01

    Many small organisms in various life stages can be transported in the digestive system of larger vertebrates, a process known as endozoochory. Potential dispersal distances of these "propagules" are generally calculated after monitoring retrieval in experiments with resting vector animals. We argue that vectors in natural situations will be actively moving during effective transport rather than resting. We here test for the first time how physical activity of a vector animal might affect its dispersal efficiency. We compared digestive characteristics between swimming, wading (i.e. resting in water) and isolation (i.e. resting in a cage) mallards (Anas platyrhynchos). We fed plastic markers and aquatic gastropods, and monitored retrieval and survival of these propagules in the droppings over 24 h. Over a period of 5 h of swimming, mallards excreted 1.5 times more markers than when wading and 2.3 times more markers than isolation birds, the pattern being reversed over the subsequent period of monitoring where all birds were resting. Retention times of markers were shortened for approximately 1 h for swimming, and 0.5 h for wading birds. Shorter retention times imply higher survival of propagules at increased vector activity. However, digestive intensity measured directly by retrieval of snail shells was not a straightforward function of level of activity. Increased marker size had a negative effect on discharge rate. Our experiment indicates that previous estimates of propagule dispersal distances based on resting animals are overestimated, while propagule survival seems underestimated. These findings have implications for the dispersal of invasive species, meta-population structures and long distance colonization events.

  7. The structure and size of sensory bursts encode stimulus information but only size affects behavior.

    PubMed

    Marsat, Gary; Pollack, Gerald S

    2010-04-01

    Cricket ultrasound avoidance is a classic model system for neuroethology. Avoidance steering is triggered by high-firing-rate bursts of spikes in the auditory command neuron AN2. Although bursting is common among sensory neurons, and although the detailed structure of bursts may encode information about the stimulus, it is as yet unclear whether this information is decoded. We address this question in two ways: from an information coding point of view, by showing the relationship between stimulus and burst structure; and also from a functional point of view by showing the relationship between burst structure and behavior. We conclude that the burst structure carries detailed temporal information about the stimulus but that this has little impact on the behavioral response, which is affected mainly by burst size.

  8. The structure and size of sensory bursts encode stimulus information but only size affects behavior.

    PubMed

    Marsat, Gary; Pollack, Gerald S

    2010-04-01

    Cricket ultrasound avoidance is a classic model system for neuroethology. Avoidance steering is triggered by high-firing-rate bursts of spikes in the auditory command neuron AN2. Although bursting is common among sensory neurons, and although the detailed structure of bursts may encode information about the stimulus, it is as yet unclear whether this information is decoded. We address this question in two ways: from an information coding point of view, by showing the relationship between stimulus and burst structure; and also from a functional point of view by showing the relationship between burst structure and behavior. We conclude that the burst structure carries detailed temporal information about the stimulus but that this has little impact on the behavioral response, which is affected mainly by burst size. PMID:20213110

  9. Mutation in the protease cleavage site of GDF9 increases ovulation rate and litter size in heterozygous ewes and causes infertility in homozygous ewes.

    PubMed

    Souza, C J H; McNeilly, A S; Benavides, M V; Melo, E O; Moraes, J C F

    2014-10-01

    Litter size (LS) in sheep is determined mainly by ovulation rate (OR). Several polymorphisms have been identified in the growth differentiation factor 9 (GDF9) gene that result in an increase in OR and prolificacy of sheep. Screening the databank of the Brazilian Sheep Breeders Association for triplet delivery, we identified flocks of prolific Ile de France ewes. After resequencing of GDF9, a point mutation (c.943C>T) was identified, resulting in a non-conservative amino acid change (p.Arg315Cys) in the cleavage site of the propeptide. This new allele was called Vacaria (FecG(v) ). A flock of half-sib ewes was evaluated for OR in the first three breeding seasons, and Vacaria heterozygotes had higher OR (P < 0.001), averaging 2.1 ± 0.1 when compared to 1.2 ± 0.1 in wild-type ewes. The OR was also influenced by age, increasing in the second and third breeding seasons (P < 0.001). In flocks segregating this allele, the LS was higher in mutant sheep (P < 0.001), averaging 1.61 ± 0.07 in heterozygotes and 1.29 ± 0.03 in wild-type ewes. Analysis of homozygote reproductive tract morphology revealed uterine and ovarian hypoplasia. Ovarian follicles continue to develop up to small antral stages, although with abnormal oocyte morphology and altered arrangement of granulosa cells. After the collapse of the oocyte in most follicles, the remaining cells formed clusters that persisted in the ovary. This SNP is useful to improve selection for dam prolificacy and also as a model to investigate GDF9 post-translation processing and the fate of the follicular cells that remain after the oocyte demise.

  10. Evaluation of broiler litter transportation in northern Alabama, USA.

    PubMed

    Paudel, Krishna P; Adhikari, Murali; Martin, Neil R

    2004-10-01

    The profitability of using broiler litter as a source of crop nutrients was calculated using a phosphorus-consistent litter application rule. A ton of litter can cost effectively be transported up to 164 miles from the production facility. A cost-minimizing phosphorus-consistent transportation model developed to meet the nutrient needs of 29 counties in northern Alabama revealed that not all of the litter can be utilized in the region. The total cost increased when transportation of the litter out of the heavily surplus counties was prioritized. Total litter use was minimally affected by changes in chemical fertilizer prices. Shadow prices indicated the robustness of the model.

  11. 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…

  12. 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

  13. How Supernova Feedback Affects Observed Galaxy Sizes and Structures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Joung, M. K. Ryan; Cen, R.; Bryan, G. L.

    2009-01-01

    Feedback from massive stars is perhaps the least understood aspect of galaxy formation. Based on adaptive mesh refinement (AMR) cosmological simulations and stellar population synthesis models, we compute half-light radii of high redshift galaxies and use them to compare simulated and observed size-mass and size-luminosity relations in the rest-frame UV/optical. The sizes of the simulated galaxies depend on the assumed strength of supernova feedback; we investigate the origin of this relation. We discuss minimum requirements for correct numerical modeling of supernova feedback in starburst galaxies.

  14. Microarthropods accelerate litter decomposition and alter the fate of litter carbon and nitrogen in the soil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Soong, Jennifer; Horton, Andrew; Wall, Diana; Cotrufo, Francesca

    2015-04-01

    Soil fauna have been found to accelerate litter decomposition in some ecosystems, with calls for the need to include them in global models of C and N cycling. However, their influence on the fate of decomposing litter C and N is not clear. Does the acceleration of mass loss affect how much litter C and N end up stored as soil organic matter (SOM), or how much C and N are lost to the atmosphere during decomposition? We will present the results from our three-year, 100% mass loss, tracking of 13C and 15N labeled Andropogon gerardii leaf litter decomposing at a tallgrass prairie site, where we used a naphthalene treatment to suppress microarthropods and examine their effects on the fate of decomposing litter C and N. Initially, leaching was the main pathway of litter inputs to the mineral associated SOM. We found that microarthropods accelerated the first 18 months of litter mass loss, but after 24 months mass loss rates converged. This early acceleration of mass loss was associated with an increase of litter fragment inputs to the soil. This increase in litter inputs to the soil caused by microarthropods resulted in an increase in microbial uptake of litter C (measured by tracing 13C into phospholipid fatty acids), and a shift in the microbial community. The C:N ratio of litter inputs to the soil was significantly increased by the presence of microarthropods. Together these results demonstrate how microarthropods accelerate shredding, mass loss, and litter fragment inputs to the soil during the early stages of decomposition but they do not affect the total amount of litter contribution to SOM over the entire course of decomposition. However, microarthropods do alter the C:N composition of litter inputs to the soil through their top-down influence on the microbial community responsible for decomposing and transforming litter inputs to the soil. Our results reveal the complex interactions between microarthropods, litter mass loss, soil microbes and C:N dynamics, and

  15. 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…

  16. 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...

  17. Fate of tannins in Corsican pine litter.

    PubMed

    Nierop, Klaas G J; Verstraten, Jacobus M

    2006-12-01

    Tannins are ubiquitous in higher plants and also in litter and soils where they affect many biogeochemical processes. Despite this well-recognized role, their fate in litter and mineral soils is hardly known, as often only trace amounts, if any, are measured. In this study, we conducted an incubation experiment with Corsican pine litter to which known amounts of tannic acid (TA) or condensed tannins (CTs) from Corsican pine were added. Using Folin-Ciocalteu as a measure for total phenolics and HCl-butanol as an assay specific for CTs, acetone/water extractable phenolics and tannins decreased with time towards very low levels. Application of thermally assisted hydrolysis and methylation to litter before and after acetone/water extraction revealed that TA concentration decreased. By contrast, CTs remained to a great extent in the litter and could not be extracted suggesting that they were tightly bound.

  18. 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.

  19. 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).

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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). PMID:25964333

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. Growth in body size affects rotational performance in women's gymnastics.

    PubMed

    Ackland, Timothy; Elliott, Bruce; Richards, Joanne

    2003-07-01

    National and state representative female gymnasts (n = 37), aged initially between 10 and 12 years, completed a mixed longitudinal study over 3.3 years, to investigate the effect of body size on gymnastic performance. Subjects were tested at four-monthly intervals on a battery of measures including structural growth, strength and gymnastic performance. The group were divided into 'high growers' and 'low growers' based on height (> 18 cm or < 14 cm/37 months, respectively) and body mass (> 15 kg or < 12 kg/37 months, respectively) for comparative purposes. Development of gymnastic performance was assessed through generic skills (front and back rotations, a twisting jump and a V-sit action) and a vertical jump for maximum height. The results show that the smaller gymnast, with a high strength to mass ratio, has greater potential for performing skills involving whole-body rotations. Larger gymnasts, while able to produce more power and greater angular momentum, could not match the performance of the smaller ones. The magnitude of growth experienced by the gymnast over this period has a varying effect on performance. While some activities were greatly influenced by rapid increases in whole-body moment of inertia (e.g. back rotation), performance on others like the front rotation and vertical jump, appeared partly immune to the physical and mechanical changes associated with growth. PMID:14737925

  8. 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. PMID:18313793

  9. Effects of arginine supplementation during early gestation (day 1 to 30) on litter size and plasma metabolites in gilts and sows.

    PubMed

    Li, J; Xia, H; Yao, W; Wang, T; Li, J; Piao, X; Thacker, P; Wu, G; Wang, F

    2015-11-01

    Two experiments were conducted, under typical commercial swine production conditions, to determine effects of dietary arginine supplementation during early gestation on the performance of gilts and sows. In Exp. 1, between d 1 and 30 of gestation, 62 Landrace gilts and 113 sows consumed a corn- and soybean meal-based diet supplemented with 1.3% -arginine HCl or 2.2% -alanine. Total numbers of piglets born ( < 0.05) and born alive ( < 0.01) per litter and litter birth weights of piglets born ( < 0.05) and born alive ( < 0.05) were increased in the arginine group compared with the control. In Exp. 2, 155 multiparous Landrace sows received 1.3% -arginine HCl supplementation between d 1 and 14 (T2; = 41), d 15 and 30 (T3; = 40), or d 1 and 30 (T4; = 37), whereas the control group received 2.2% -alanine supplementation between d 1 and 30 (T1; = 37). Blood samples were randomly obtained from 6 sows per group on d 1, 14, and 28 of gestation to determine plasma concentrations of AA and related metabolites. Total numbers of piglets born ( = 0.084) and born alive ( = 0.080) per litter tended to be higher for sows supplemented with arginine between d 1 and 14 of gestation (T2) than for control sows (T1). Concentrations of arginine and nitric oxide metabolites were greater ( < 0.05) in T4 compared with T1 and T3 on d 14 of gestation and were also greater in T4 compared with T1 and T2 on d 28 of gestation. Plasma concentrations of spermidine ( < 0.001) were increased in T3 and T4 compared with T1 and T2 on d 28. These results indicate that dietary arginine supplementation during early gestation improves the reproductive performance of gilts and sows, possibly via nitric oxide and polyamine-dependent mechanisms.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. Nano-sized and micro-sized polystyrene particles affect phagocyte function

    PubMed Central

    Prietl, B.; Meindl, C.; Roblegg, E.; Pieber, T. R.; Lanzer, G.; Fröhlich, E.

    2015-01-01

    Adverse effect of nanoparticles may include impairment of phagocyte function. To identify the effect of nanoparticle size on uptake, cytotoxicity, chemotaxis, cytokine secretion, phagocytosis, oxidative burst, nitric oxide production and myeloperoxidase release, leukocytes isolated from human peripheral blood, monocytes and macrophages were studied. Carboxyl polystyrene (CPS) particles in sizes between 20 and 1,000 nm served as model particles. Twenty nanometers CPS particles were taken up passively, while larger CPS particles entered cells actively and passively. Twenty nanometers CPS were cytotoxic to all phagocytes, ≥500 nm CPS particles only to macrophages. Twenty nanometers CPS particles stimulated IL-8 secretion in human monocytes and induced oxidative burst in monocytes. Five hundred nanometers and 1,000 nm CPS particles stimulated IL-6 and IL-8 secretion in monocytes and macrophages, chemotaxis towards a chemotactic stimulus of monocytes and phagocytosis of bacteria by macrophages and provoked an oxidative burst of granulocytes. At very high concentrations, CPS particles of 20 and 500 nm stimulated myeloperoxidase release of granulocytes and nitric oxide generation in macrophages. Cytotoxic effect could contribute to some of the observed effects. In the absence of cytotoxicity, 500 and 1,000 nm CPS particles appear to influence phagocyte function to a greater extent than particles in other sizes. PMID:24292270

  13. 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.

  14. Antibiotic resistance of bacterial litter isolates.

    PubMed

    Kelley, T R; Pancorbo, O C; Merka, W C; Barnhart, H M

    1998-02-01

    Use of antibiotics in subtherapeutic doses as growth-promoting feed additives for animal production is widespread in the U.S. and throughout the world. Previous studies by our research group concluded that size fractionation of poultry (broiler) litter followed by storage facilitated reutilization of litter as a soil amendment or bedding supplement. However, litter microbial contamination, including antibiotic-resistant populations, and accumulation of metals and other elements may limit litter reutilization. Litter from four broiler houses was separated into a fine fraction for use as a soil amendment, and a coarse fraction for reutilization as a bedding supplement in growing subsequent flocks of broilers. Fractions and whole litter were stored in indoor piles simulating farm storage conditions for 4 mo with periodic analysis for metals, other elements, and culturable bacteria (including total and fecal coliform, Aeromonas hydrophila, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Yersinia enterocolitica, and Campylobacter jejuni). Representative bacterial isolates were tested for their sensitivity to 12 common antibiotics (ampicillin, bacitracin, cephalothin, erythromycin, gentamicin, kanamycin, nalidixic acid, neomycin, penicillin, streptomycin, sulfisoxazole, and tetracycline) using the Kirby-Bauer technique. Pathogens and indicator bacteria tested were found to be resistant to multiple antibiotics. Data suggest that microbial contamination of litter should be reduced or eliminated prior to reutilization to minimize environmental health risks related to transfer of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to humans or other animals. PMID:9495488

  15. Molecular size and molecular size distribution affecting traditional balsamic vinegar aging.

    PubMed

    Falcone, Pasquale Massimiliano; Giudici, Paolo

    2008-08-27

    A first attempt at a semiquantitative study of molecular weight (MW) and molecular weight distribution (MWD) in cooked grape must and traditional balsamic vinegar (TBV) with increasing well-defined age was performed by high-performance liquid size exclusion chromatography (SEC) using dual detection, that is, differential refractive index (DRI) and absorbance (UV-vis) based detectors. With this aim, MW and MWD, including number- and weight-average MW and polydispersity, were determined with respect to a secondary standard and then analyzed. All investigated vinegar samples were recognized as compositionally and structurally heterogeneous blends of copolymers (melanoidins) spreading over a wide range of molecular sizes: the relative MW ranged from 2 to >2000 kDa. The extent of the polymerization reactions was in agreement with the TBV browning kinetics. MWD parameters varied asymptotically toward either upper or lower limits during aging, reflecting a nonequilibrium status of the balance between polymerization and depolymerization reactions in TBV. MWD parameters were proposed as potential aging markers of TBV. PMID:18656930

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. Factors Affecting Crater Size-Frequency Distribution Measurements: Insights Supported by the LRO Mission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van der Bogert, C. H.; Hiesinger, H.; Zanetti, M.; Plescia, J. B.; Ostrach, L. R.; Mahanti, P.; Meyer, H. M.; McEwen, A. S.; Pasckert, J. H.; Michael, G.; Kneissl, T.; Robinson, M. S.

    2016-05-01

    CSFD measurements are affected by illumination angle, count area size/slope, secondary cratering, target property effects, and differential degradation. Investigations using LRO data have made progress characterizing and quantifying these factors.

  19. 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…

  20. Loss of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A (VEGFA) Isoforms in Granulosa Cells Using pDmrt-1-Cre or Amhr2-Cre Reduces Fertility by Arresting Follicular Development and by Reducing Litter Size in Female Mice

    PubMed Central

    Sargent, Kevin M.; Lu, Ningxia; Clopton, Debra T.; Pohlmeier, William E.; Brauer, Vanessa M.; Ferrara, Napoleone; Silversides, David W.; Cupp, Andrea S.

    2015-01-01

    Because VEGFA has been implicated in follicle development, the objective of this study was to determine the effects of granulosa- and germ cell-specific VEGFA loss on ovarian morphogenesis, function, and female fertility. pDmrt1-Cre mice were mated to floxed VEGFA mice to develop granulosa-/germ cell-specific knockouts (pDmrt1-Cre;Vegfa-/-). The time from mating to first parturition was increased when pDmrt1-Cre;Vegfa-/- females were mated to control males (P = 0.0008) and tended to be longer for heterozygous females (P < 0.07). Litter size was reduced for pDmrt1-Cre;Vegfa-/- females (P < 0.007). The time between the first and second parturitions was also increased for heterozygous females (P < 0.04) and tended to be increased for pDmrt1-Cre;Vegfa-/- females (P < 0.07). pDmrt1-Cre;Vegfa-/- females had smaller ovaries (P < 0.04), reduced plasma estradiol (P < 0.007), fewer developing follicles (P < 0.008) and tended to have fewer corpora lutea (P < 0.08). Expression of Igf1r was reduced (P < 0.05); expression of Foxo3a tended to be increased (P < 0.06); and both Fshr (P < 0.1) and Sirt6 tended to be reduced (P < 0.06) in pDmrt1-Cre;Vegfa-/- ovaries. To compare VEGFA knockouts, we generated Amhr2-Cre;Vegfa-/- mice that required more time from mating to first parturition (P < 0.003) with variable ovarian size. Both lines had more apoptotic granulosa cells, and vascular staining did not appear different. Taken together these data indicate that the loss of all VEGFA isoforms in granulosa/germ cells (proangiogenic and antiangiogenic) causes subfertility by arresting follicular development, resulting in reduced ovulation rate and fewer pups per litter. PMID:25658474

  1. 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. PMID:24143184

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Effects of dietary enrichment with a marine oil-based n-3 LCPUFA supplement in sows with predicted birth weight phenotypes on birth litter quality and growth performance to weaning.

    PubMed

    Smit, M N; Spencer, J D; Patterson, J L; Dyck, M K; Dixon, W T; Foxcroft, G R

    2015-03-01

    , but was higher (P<0.01) in LBW than MHBW litters. IgG concentration in sow serum was similar between treatments and litter birth weight categories. In conclusion, litter birth weight phenotype was repeatable within sows and LBW litters showed the benchmarks of intra-uterine growth retardation (lower placental weight and brain sparing effects). As maternal mLCPUFA supplementation decreased litter size overall, only improved litter growth rate until weaning in MHBW litters, and did not affect pre-weaning mortality, maternal mLCPUFA supplementation was not an effective strategy in our study for mitigating negative effects of a LBW litter phenotype.

  6. Effects of dietary enrichment with a marine oil-based n-3 LCPUFA supplement in sows with predicted birth weight phenotypes on birth litter quality and growth performance to weaning.

    PubMed

    Smit, M N; Spencer, J D; Patterson, J L; Dyck, M K; Dixon, W T; Foxcroft, G R

    2015-03-01

    , but was higher (P<0.01) in LBW than MHBW litters. IgG concentration in sow serum was similar between treatments and litter birth weight categories. In conclusion, litter birth weight phenotype was repeatable within sows and LBW litters showed the benchmarks of intra-uterine growth retardation (lower placental weight and brain sparing effects). As maternal mLCPUFA supplementation decreased litter size overall, only improved litter growth rate until weaning in MHBW litters, and did not affect pre-weaning mortality, maternal mLCPUFA supplementation was not an effective strategy in our study for mitigating negative effects of a LBW litter phenotype. PMID:25263665

  7. A comparative study of marine litter on the seafloor of coastal areas in the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Seas.

    PubMed

    Ioakeimidis, C; Zeri, C; Kaberi, H; Galatchi, M; Antoniadis, K; Streftaris, N; Galgani, F; Papathanassiou, E; Papatheodorou, G

    2014-12-15

    In the present work, abundance, spatial distribution and qualitative composition, of benthic marine litter, were investigated in five study areas from the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Seas (Saronikos, Patras and Echinades Gulfs; Limassol Gulf; Constanta Bay). Surveys were performed using the monitoring protocol proposed by the Technical Group for Marine Litter. Densities ranged from 24items/km(2) to 1211items/km(2), with the Saronikos Gulf being the most affected area. Plastics were predominant in all study areas ranging from 45.2% to 95%. Metals and Glass/Ceramics reached maximum values of 21.9% and of 22.4%. The size distribution of litter items showed that ⩾50% fall into medium size categories (10×10cm, 20×20cm) along with an elevated percentage of small-sized (<5×5cm) plastic litter items. The comparative analysis of the data highlighted the dependence of the marine litter problem on many local factors (human sources and oceanographic conditions) and the urgent need for specific actions. PMID:25440189

  8. 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. PMID:26763321

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. [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. PMID:24564163

  12. [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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. An Investigation of the Factors Affecting Moral Judgment of Marital Status and Family Size. Final Report.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Drucker, Eugene H.

    This report describes a study of how certain factors influence peoples' attitudes about other peoples' marital status and family size. For the study, stories were prepared describing single or married persons and families with different numbers of children. The stories contained information believed likely to affect the readers' attitudes or moral…

  18. 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)

  19. Agricultural Activities of a Meadow Eliminated Plant Litter from the Periphery of a Farmland in Inner Mongolia, China

    PubMed Central

    Kawada, Kiyokazu; Borjigin, Wuyunna; Nakamura, Toru

    2015-01-01

    The purpose of our investigation was to clarify the effects of agriculture on the process of loss of litter at the periphery of a farmland. This study revealed the generation process of an ecologically unusual phenomenon that is observed around cropland in semi-arid regions. We hypothesized that the vegetation around a farmland cannot supply plant litter to the ground surface because the ecological structure has been changed by agricultural activities. The study was conducted at Xilingol steppe, Xilingol League, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China. Four study lines were established from the edge of an arable field to the surrounding meadow and parallel to the wind direction during the strong wind season. Key measurement for each line was set at the border between the farmland and steppe. Four study sites were set at intervals along each line. Plant litter, soil particle size distribution, plant species composition, plant volume, and species diversity were investigated. Despite using the same mowing method at the meadows of all study sites, the litter at the only periphery of the farmland completely disappeared. Soil particle size distribution in steppe, which was adjacent to the farmland, was similar to that of the farmland. Plant community structure at the periphery of the farmland was different from that of the far side from the farmland. This implies that soil scattered from the farmland affected the species composition of the steppe. Consequently, the change in plant community structure induced litter loss because of mowing. We concluded that plant litter was lost near the farmland because of the combined effects of farming and mowing. The results support our hypothesis that the vegetation around a farmland cannot supply plant litter because the ecological structure has been changed by agricultural activities. PMID:26241943

  20. Highly reduced mass loss rates and increased litter layer in radioactively contaminated areas.

    PubMed

    Mousseau, Timothy A; Milinevsky, Gennadi; Kenney-Hunt, Jane; Møller, Anders Pape

    2014-05-01

    The effects of radioactive contamination from Chernobyl on decomposition of plant material still remain unknown. We predicted that decomposition rate would be reduced in the most contaminated sites due to an absence or reduced densities of soil invertebrates. If microorganisms were the main agents responsible for decomposition, exclusion of large soil invertebrates should not affect decomposition. In September 2007 we deposited 572 bags with uncontaminated dry leaf litter from four species of trees in the leaf litter layer at 20 forest sites around Chernobyl that varied in background radiation by more than a factor 2,600. Approximately one quarter of these bags were made of a fine mesh that prevented access to litter by soil invertebrates. These bags were retrieved in June 2008, dried and weighed to estimate litter mass loss. Litter mass loss was 40% lower in the most contaminated sites relative to sites with a normal background radiation level for Ukraine. Similar reductions in litter mass loss were estimated for individual litter bags, litter bags at different sites, and differences between litter bags at pairs of neighboring sites differing in level of radioactive contamination. Litter mass loss was slightly greater in the presence of large soil invertebrates than in their absence. The thickness of the forest floor increased with the level of radiation and decreased with proportional loss of mass from all litter bags. These findings suggest that radioactive contamination has reduced the rate of litter mass loss, increased accumulation of litter, and affected growth conditions for plants. PMID:24590204

  1. Size does matter! Perceptual stimulus properties affect event-related potentials during feedback processing.

    PubMed

    Pfabigan, Daniela M; Sailer, Uta; Lamm, Claus

    2015-09-01

    The current study investigated whether or not the physical aspect of stimulus size has an effect on neuronal correlates of feedback processing. A time estimation task was administered applying three different feedback stimulus categories: small, middle, and large size stimuli. Apart from early visual ERPs such as P1 and N1 components, later feedback processing stages were also affected by the size of feedback stimuli. In particular, small size stimuli compared to middle and large size ones led to diminished amplitudes in both FRN and P300 components, despite intact discrimination between negative and positive outcomes in these two ERPs. In contrast, time estimation performance was not influenced by feedback size. The current results indicate that small size feedback stimuli were perceived as less salient and hence were processed less deeply than the others. This suggests that future feedback studies could manipulate feedback salience simply by presenting differently sized feedback stimuli, at least when the focus lies on FRN and P300 amplitude variation.

  2. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-07-01

    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

  4. 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.

  5. 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)

  6. Orchestrating immune responses: How size, shape and rigidity affect the immunogenicity of particulate vaccines.

    PubMed

    Benne, Naomi; van Duijn, Janine; Kuiper, Johan; Jiskoot, Wim; Slütter, Bram

    2016-07-28

    Particulate carrier systems are promising drug delivery vehicles for subunit vaccination as they can enhance and direct the type of T cell response. In order to develop vaccines with optimal immunogenicity, a thorough understanding of parameters that could affect the strength and quality of immune responses is required. Pathogens have different dimensions and stimulate the immune system in a specific way. It is therefore not surprising that physicochemical characteristics of particulate vaccines, such as particle size, shape, and rigidity, affect multiple processes that impact their immunogenicity. Among these processes are the uptake of the particles from the site of administration, passage through lymphoid tissue and the uptake, antigen processing and activation of antigen-presenting cells. Herein, we systematically review the role of the size, shape and rigidity of particulate vaccines in enhancing and skewing T cell response and attempted to provide a "roadmap" for rational vaccine design.

  7. Increasing the size of portion options affects intake but not portion selection at a meal.

    PubMed

    Zuraikat, Faris M; Roe, Liane S; Privitera, Gregory J; Rolls, Barbara J

    2016-03-01

    In an environment with large portion sizes, allowing consumers more control over their portion selection could moderate the effects on energy intake. We tested whether having subjects choose a portion from several options influenced the amount selected or consumed when all portion sizes were systematically increased. In a crossover design, 24 women and 26 men ate lunch in the lab once a week for 3 weeks. At each meal, subjects chose a portion of macaroni and cheese from a set of 3 portion options and consumed it ad libitum. Across 3 conditions, portion sizes in the set were increased; the order of the conditions was counterbalanced across subjects. For women the portion sets by weight (g) were 300/375/450, 375/450/525, and 450/525/600; for men the portions were 33% larger. The results showed that increasing the size of available portions did not significantly affect the relative size selected; across all portion sets, subjects chose the smallest available portion at 59% of meals, the medium at 27%, and the largest at 15%. The size of portions offered did, however, influence meal intake (P < 0.0001). Mean intake (±SEM) was 16% greater when the largest set was offered (661 ± 34 kcal) than when the medium and smallest sets were offered (both 568 ± 18 kcal). These results suggest that portions are selected in relation to the other available options, and confirm the robust effect of portion size on intake. Although presenting a choice of portions can allow selection of smaller amounts, the sizes offered are a critical determinant of energy intake. Thus, the availability of choices could help to moderate intake if the portions offered are within an appropriate range for energy needs. PMID:26721718

  8. 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

  9. Labile compounds in plant litter reduce the sensitivity of decomposition to warming and altered precipitation.

    PubMed

    Suseela, Vidya; Tharayil, Nishanth; Xing, Baoshan; Dukes, Jeffrey S

    2013-10-01

    Together, climate and litter quality strongly regulate decomposition rates. Although these two factors and their interaction have been studied across species in continent-scale experiments, few researchers have studied how labile and recalcitrant compounds interact to influence decomposition, or the climate sensitivity of decomposition, within a litter type. Over a period of 3 yr, we studied the effects of warming and altered precipitation on mass loss and compound-specific decomposition using two litter types that possessed similar heteropolymer chemistry, but different proportions of labile and recalcitrant compounds. Climate treatments immediately affected the mass loss of the more recalcitrant litter, but affected the more labile litter only after 2 yr. After 3 yr, although both litter types had lost similar amounts of mass, warming (c. 4°C) and supplemental precipitation (150% of ambient) together accelerated the degradation of alkyl-carbon and lignin only in the more recalcitrant litter, highlighting the role of initial litter quality in determining whether the chemistry of litter residues converges or diverges under different climates. Our finding that labile compounds in litter reduce the climate sensitivity of mass loss and the decomposition of recalcitrant matrix is novel. Our results highlight the potential for litter quality to regulate the effect of climatic changes on the sequestration of litter-derived carbon. PMID:23822593

  10. 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.

  11. 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. PMID:27423144

  12. 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.

  13. Labile Compounds in Plant Litter Reduce the Sensitivity of Decomposition to Warming and Altered Precipitation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Suseela, V.; Tharayil, N.; Xing, B.; Dukes, J. S.

    2013-12-01

    Together, climate and litter quality strongly regulate decomposition rates. While these two factors and their interaction have been studied across species in continent-scale experiments, few researchers have studied how labile and recalcitrant compounds interact to influence decomposition, or the climate sensitivity of decomposition, within a litter type. Over a period of three years, we studied the effects climate change on mass loss and compound-specific decomposition using two litter types that differed in the relative proportions of labile and recalcitrant compounds, but that had heteropolymers with similar molecular structure. We examined how warming and altered precipitation affected the decomposition of two types of Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed) litter (stem litter that was either newly senesced or one year old), at the Boston-Area Climate Experiment (BACE), in Massachusetts, USA. We placed litter bags in an old-field ecosystem exposed to four levels of warming (up to 4oC) and three levels of precipitation (ambient, drought (-50%) and wet (+50%) treatments. The compound-specific degradation of litter was assessed using Diffuse Reflectance Infrared Fourier Transform Spectroscopy and 13C Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy. Climate treatments immediately affected mass loss of the more recalcitrant litter, but affected the more labile litter only after two years. After three years, although both litter types had lost similar amounts of mass, warming (~4oC) and supplemental precipitation (150% of ambient) together accelerated degradation of alkyl-carbon and lignin only in the more recalcitrant litter, highlighting the role of initial litter quality in determining whether the chemistry of litter residues converges or diverges under different climates. The results from this study indicate that the effect of climate on litter decomposition depends on the quality of litter; litter with a greater initial proportion of labile compounds was less

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. Cotyledon damage affects seed number through final plant size in the annual grassland species Medicago lupulina

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Shiting; Zhao, Chuan; Lamb, Eric G.

    2011-01-01

    Background and Aims The effects of cotyledon damage on seedling growth and survival are relatively well established, but little is known about the effects on aspects of plant fitness such as seed number and size. Here the direct and indirect mechanisms linking cotyledon damage and plant fitness in the annual species Medicago lupulina are examined. Methods Growth and reproductive traits, including mature plant size, time to first flowering, flower number, seed number and individual seed mass were monitored in M. lupulina plants when zero, one or two cotyledons were removed at 7 d old. Structural equation modelling (SEM) was used to examine the mechanisms linking cotyledon damage to seed number and seed mass. Key Results Cotyledon damage reduced seed number but not individual seed mass. The primary mechanism was a reduction in plant biomass with cotyledon damage that in turn reduced seed number primarily through a reduction in flower numbers. Although cotyledon damage delayed flower initiation, it had little effect on seed number. Individual seed mass was not affected by cotyledon removal, but there was a trade-off between seed number and seed mass. Conclusions It is shown how a network of indirect mechanisms link damage to cotyledons and fitness in M. lupulina. Cotyledon damage had strong direct effects on both plant size and flowering phenology, but an analysis of the causal relationships among plant traits and fitness components showed that a reduction in plant size associated with cotyledon damage was an important mechanism influencing fitness. PMID:21196450

  17. Brain size affects the behavioural response to predators in female guppies (Poecilia reticulata)

    PubMed Central

    van der Bijl, Wouter; Thyselius, Malin; Kotrschal, Alexander; Kolm, Niclas

    2015-01-01

    Large brains are thought to result from selection for cognitive benefits, but how enhanced cognition leads to increased fitness remains poorly understood. One explanation is that increased cognitive ability results in improved monitoring and assessment of predator threats. Here, we use male and female guppies (Poecilia reticulata), artificially selected for large and small brain size, to provide an experimental evaluation of this hypothesis. We examined their behavioural response as singletons, pairs or shoals of four towards a model predator. Large-brained females, but not males, spent less time performing predator inspections, an inherently risky behaviour. Video analysis revealed that large-brained females were further away from the model predator when in pairs but that they habituated quickly towards the model when in shoals of four. Males stayed further away from the predator model than females but again we found no brain size effect in males. We conclude that differences in brain size affect the female predator response. Large-brained females might be able to assess risk better or need less sensory information to reach an accurate conclusion. Our results provide experimental support for the general idea that predation pressure is likely to be important for the evolution of brain size in prey species. PMID:26203003

  18. Brain size affects the behavioural response to predators in female guppies (Poecilia reticulata).

    PubMed

    van der Bijl, Wouter; Thyselius, Malin; Kotrschal, Alexander; Kolm, Niclas

    2015-08-01

    Large brains are thought to result from selection for cognitive benefits, but how enhanced cognition leads to increased fitness remains poorly understood. One explanation is that increased cognitive ability results in improved monitoring and assessment of predator threats. Here, we use male and female guppies (Poecilia reticulata), artificially selected for large and small brain size, to provide an experimental evaluation of this hypothesis. We examined their behavioural response as singletons, pairs or shoals of four towards a model predator. Large-brained females, but not males, spent less time performing predator inspections, an inherently risky behaviour. Video analysis revealed that large-brained females were further away from the model predator when in pairs but that they habituated quickly towards the model when in shoals of four. Males stayed further away from the predator model than females but again we found no brain size effect in males. We conclude that differences in brain size affect the female predator response. Large-brained females might be able to assess risk better or need less sensory information to reach an accurate conclusion. Our results provide experimental support for the general idea that predation pressure is likely to be important for the evolution of brain size in prey species.

  19. Brain size affects the behavioural response to predators in female guppies (Poecilia reticulata).

    PubMed

    van der Bijl, Wouter; Thyselius, Malin; Kotrschal, Alexander; Kolm, Niclas

    2015-08-01

    Large brains are thought to result from selection for cognitive benefits, but how enhanced cognition leads to increased fitness remains poorly understood. One explanation is that increased cognitive ability results in improved monitoring and assessment of predator threats. Here, we use male and female guppies (Poecilia reticulata), artificially selected for large and small brain size, to provide an experimental evaluation of this hypothesis. We examined their behavioural response as singletons, pairs or shoals of four towards a model predator. Large-brained females, but not males, spent less time performing predator inspections, an inherently risky behaviour. Video analysis revealed that large-brained females were further away from the model predator when in pairs but that they habituated quickly towards the model when in shoals of four. Males stayed further away from the predator model than females but again we found no brain size effect in males. We conclude that differences in brain size affect the female predator response. Large-brained females might be able to assess risk better or need less sensory information to reach an accurate conclusion. Our results provide experimental support for the general idea that predation pressure is likely to be important for the evolution of brain size in prey species. PMID:26203003

  20. Animal Slurry Acidification Affects Particle Size Distribution and Improves Separation Efficiency.

    PubMed

    Regueiro, I; Pociask, M; Coutinho, J; Fangueiro, D

    2016-05-01

    Solid-liquid separation is performed to improve slurry management, and acidification of the slurry is used to reduce ammonia emissions. Acidification is known to affect slurry characteristics, and we hypothesized that it may affect mechanical separation. Our objective in this study was to assess the effects of slurry acidification on particle size distribution and separation efficiency. Two types of slurry, aged pig and fresh dairy, and two different acidification additives, sulfuric acid and aluminum sulfate (alum), were studied. We found that acidification with sulfuric acid promoted phosphorus (P) solubilization for both slurries, but no change was observed with alum. More ammonium was found in the acidified dairy slurry compared with raw dairy slurry, but no difference was found in aged pig slurry. Acidification before separation increased the proportion of the solid fraction in the slurries, and the effect was significantly higher with alum. When alum was used to acidify the slurries, the proportion of particles larger than 100 μm increased significantly, as did the P concentration in this particle size range. The efficiency of P separation increased markedly in both slurries when alum was used, with the removal to the solid fraction of the dairy slurry being almost complete (90%). Because the priority in mechanical separation is to increase the P content in the solid fraction, the use of alum before centrifugation may be the most suitable option for enhancing its nutrient content. We conclude that separation efficiency and particle size distribution are significantly affected by acidification, but the extent of the effects depends on slurry type and on the type of additive used for acidification. PMID:27136179

  1. 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. PMID:24276771

  2. Microbial mineralization of organic nitrogen forms in poultry litters.

    PubMed

    Rothrock, Michael J; Cook, Kimberly L; Warren, Jason G; Eiteman, Mark A; Sistani, Karamat

    2010-01-01

    Ammonia volatilization from the mineralization of uric acid and urea has a major impact on the poultry industry and the environment. Dry acids are commonly used to reduce ammonia emissions from poultry houses; however, little is known about how acidification affects the litter biologically. The goal of this laboratory incubation was to compare the microbiological and physiochemical effects of dry acid amendments (Al+Clear, Poultry Litter Treatment, Poultry Guard) on poultry litter to an untreated control litter and to specifically correlate uric acid and urea contents of these litters to the microbes responsible for their mineralization. Although all three acidifiers eventually produced similar effects within the litter, there was at least a 2-wk delay in the microbiological responses using Poultry Litter Treatment. Acidification of the poultry litter resulted in >3 log increases in total fungal concentrations, with both uricolytic (uric acid degrading) and ureolytic (urea degrading) fungi increasing by >2 logs within the first 2 to 4 wk of the incubation. Conversely, total, uricolytic, and ureolytic bacterial populations all significantly declined during this same time period. While uric acid and urea mineralization occurred within the first 2 wk in the untreated control litter, acidification resulted in delayed mineralization events for both uric acid and urea (2 and 4 wk delay, respectively) once fungal cell concentrations exceeded a threshold level. Therefore, fungi, and especially uricolytic fungi, appear to have a vital role in the mineralization of organic N in low-pH, high-N environments, and the activity of these fungi should be considered in best management practices to reduce ammonia volatilization from acidified poultry litter.

  3. Microbial mineralization of organic nitrogen forms in poultry litters.

    PubMed

    Rothrock, Michael J; Cook, Kimberly L; Warren, Jason G; Eiteman, Mark A; Sistani, Karamat

    2010-01-01

    Ammonia volatilization from the mineralization of uric acid and urea has a major impact on the poultry industry and the environment. Dry acids are commonly used to reduce ammonia emissions from poultry houses; however, little is known about how acidification affects the litter biologically. The goal of this laboratory incubation was to compare the microbiological and physiochemical effects of dry acid amendments (Al+Clear, Poultry Litter Treatment, Poultry Guard) on poultry litter to an untreated control litter and to specifically correlate uric acid and urea contents of these litters to the microbes responsible for their mineralization. Although all three acidifiers eventually produced similar effects within the litter, there was at least a 2-wk delay in the microbiological responses using Poultry Litter Treatment. Acidification of the poultry litter resulted in >3 log increases in total fungal concentrations, with both uricolytic (uric acid degrading) and ureolytic (urea degrading) fungi increasing by >2 logs within the first 2 to 4 wk of the incubation. Conversely, total, uricolytic, and ureolytic bacterial populations all significantly declined during this same time period. While uric acid and urea mineralization occurred within the first 2 wk in the untreated control litter, acidification resulted in delayed mineralization events for both uric acid and urea (2 and 4 wk delay, respectively) once fungal cell concentrations exceeded a threshold level. Therefore, fungi, and especially uricolytic fungi, appear to have a vital role in the mineralization of organic N in low-pH, high-N environments, and the activity of these fungi should be considered in best management practices to reduce ammonia volatilization from acidified poultry litter. PMID:21043291

  4. Effect of the FecX(R) polymorphism in the bone morphogenetic protein 15 gene on natural or equine chorionic gonadotropin-induced ovulation rate and litter size in Rasa Aragonesa ewes and implications for on-farm application.

    PubMed

    Lahoz, B; Alabart, J L; Jurado, J J; Calvo, J H; Martínez-Royo, A; Fantova, E; Folch, J

    2011-11-01

    A new mutation in the bone morphogenetic protein 15 (BMP15) gene (FecX(R) allele) causing increased prolificacy in heterozygous (R+) and sterility in homozygous ewes has been recently described in Rasa Aragonesa, a low-prolificacy Mediterranean breed. The current study determined, first, the effect of this polymorphism on natural and eCG-induced ovulation rate (OR) and the effect of eCG dose on reproductive performance; and second, its effect on prolificacy and its interaction with progestagen + eCG treatment on farms, which have not been reported to date. The FecX(R) allele increased OR by 0.44 and 0.63 ovulations in young (n = 91) and adult (n = 84) R+ ewes, respectively (both, P < 0.01), increments less than reported in prolific breeds carrying other mutations in BMP15. When the standard dose of eCG used on farms (480 IU) was applied to R+ ewes (n = 36), an extremely high OR (3.95) was recorded, which was accompanied by greater partial failure of multiple ovulations (PFMO). On the contrary, OR using 240 IU in R+ ewes (2.90; n = 35) was similar to 480 IU in wildtype (++) ewes (2.82; n = 48; both P < 0.01 when compared with 480 IU in R+ ewes). No differences were found in the birth weight of the offspring between R+ and ++ eCG-stimulated ewes within the same litter size. To validate the genealogy identification on farms, PCR genotyping was carried out in 1,667 ewes from 4 elite flocks, resulting in a negligible misclassification of R+ ewes, which demonstrated that identification by genealogy is a reliable tool to identify FecX(R) ewes within the breeding program. In recorded farms, the natural litter size of ++ ewes (1.34, n = 599,160 lambing records) was increased due to the FecX(R) allele by 0.35 lambs (P < 0.0001, n = 6,593 lambing records). A similar increase (0.30) was observed when comparing ++ and R+ ewes treated with 480 IU of eCG (P < 0.0001, n = 62,055 and n = 866, respectively). When applying 480 IU of eCG to R+ ewes, the increase in prolificacy was

  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. 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)

  8. Atrazine exposure affects longevity, development time and body size in Drosophila melanogaster.

    PubMed

    Marcus, Sarah R; Fiumera, Anthony C

    2016-01-01

    Atrazine is the one of the most widely used herbicides in the United States and non-target organisms may encounter it in the environment. Atrazine is known to affect male reproduction in both vertebrates and invertebrates but less is known about its effects on other fitness traits. Here we assessed the effects of five different chronic exposure levels on a variety of fitness traits in Drosophila melanogaster. We measured male and female longevity, development time, proportion pupated, proportion emerged, body size, female mating rate, fertility and fecundity. Atrazine exposure decreased the proportion pupated, the proportion emerged and adult survival. Development time was also affected by atrazine and exposed flies pupated and emerged earlier than controls. Although development time was accelerated, body size was actually larger in some of the exposures. Atrazine exposure had no effect on female mating rate and the effects on female fertility and fecundity were only observed in one of the two independent experimental blocks. Many of the traits showed non-monotonic dose response curves, where the intermediate concentrations showed the largest effects. Overall this study shows that atrazine influences a variety of life history traits in the model genetic system, D. melanogaster, and future studies should aim to identify the molecular mechanisms of toxicity. PMID:27317622

  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%. PMID:26153914

  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. 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)

  12. 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.

  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. PMID:26422775

  14. Warming and Nitrogen Addition Increase Litter Decomposition in a Temperate Meadow Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Gong, Shiwei; Guo, Rui; Zhang, Tao; Guo, Jixun

    2015-01-01

    Background Litter decomposition greatly influences soil structure, nutrient content and carbon sequestration, but how litter decomposition is affected by climate change is still not well understood. Methodology/Principal Findings A field experiment with increased temperature and nitrogen (N) addition was established in April 2007 to examine the effects of experimental warming, N addition and their interaction on litter decomposition in a temperate meadow steppe in northeastern China. Warming, N addition and warming plus N addition reduced the residual mass of L. chinensis litter by 3.78%, 7.51% and 4.53%, respectively, in 2008 and 2009, and by 4.73%, 24.08% and 16.1%, respectively, in 2010. Warming, N addition and warming plus N addition had no effect on the decomposition of P. communis litter in 2008 or 2009, but reduced the residual litter mass by 5.58%, 15.53% and 5.17%, respectively, in 2010. Warming and N addition reduced the cellulose percentage of L. chinensis and P. communis, specifically in 2010. The lignin percentage of L. chinensis and P. communis was reduced by warming but increased by N addition. The C, N and P contents of L. chinensis and P. communis litter increased with time. Warming and N addition reduced the C content and C:N ratios of L. chinensisand P. communis litter, but increased the N and P contents. Significant interactive effects of warming and N addition on litter decomposition were observed (P<0.01). Conclusion/Significance The litter decomposition rate was highly correlated with soil temperature, soil water content and litter quality. Warming and N addition significantly impacted the litter decomposition rate in the Songnen meadow ecosystem, and the effects of warming and N addition on litter decomposition were also influenced by the quality of litter. These results highlight how climate change could alter grassland ecosystem carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus contents in soil by influencing litter decomposition. PMID:25774776

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Pack size and wolf pup survival: their relationship under varying ecological conditions

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Harrington, F.H.; Mech, L.D.; Fritts, S.H.

    1983-01-01

    The relationship between pack size and two parameters of reproductive success (litter size at 7?8 months and pup weights at 5?6 months) were determined for two wolf (Canis lupus) populations in northern Minnesota. Pup weights were not correlated with pack size for either population. Litter size, however, was correlated with pack size, but the direction of the relationship varied between the two study populations. In the superior National Forest, where prey were scarce and the wolf population was declining from high densities, litter size and pack size were inversely related. Pairs produced more surviving pups than did larger packs with one or more potential helpers. In the Beltrami Island State Forest, where prey were relatively abundant and the wolf population was increasing, pack size and litter size were positively correlated. The results suggest that ecological factors, such as prey availability, affected the ability or willingness of various pack members to provide food or other care for the pups. The lack of correlation between number of auxiliaries and number of pups in canid populations with low and declining prey densities may be explained on the basis of heterogeneous prey density resulting in drastic annual variation in litter production. No study to date has measured the actual benefit that pups derive from helping by auxiliaries, and the costs and benefits of it. The relationships discussed herein can be considered valid only after such research is completed.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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. PMID:27216175

  1. 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

  2. Effect of mountain climatic elevation gradient and litter origin on decomposition processes: long-term experiment with litter-bags

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Klimek, Beata; Niklińska, Maria; Chodak, Marcin

    2013-04-01

    Temperature is one of the most important factors affecting soil organic matter decomposition. Mountain areas with vertical gradients of temperature and precipitation provide an opportunity to observe climate changes similar to those observed at various latitudes and may serve as an approximation for climatic changes. The aim of the study was to compare the effects of climatic conditions and initial properties of litter on decomposition processes and thermal sensitivity of forest litter. The litter was collected at three altitudes (600, 900, 1200 m a.s.l.) in the Beskidy Mts (southern Poland), put into litter-bags and exposed in the field since autumn 2011. The litter collected at single altitude was exposed at the altitude it was taken and also at the two other altitudes. The litter-bags were laid out on five mountains, treated as replicates. Starting on April 2012, single sets of litter-bags were collected every five weeks. The laboratory measurements included determination of dry mass loss and chemical composition (Corg, Nt, St, Mg, Ca, Na, K, Cu, Zn) of the litter. In the additional litter-bag sets, taken in spring and autumn 2012, microbial properties were measured. To determine the effect of litter properties and climatic conditions of elevation sites on decomposing litter thermal sensitivity the respiration rate of litter was measured at 5°C, 15°C and 25°C and calculated as Q10 L and Q10 H (ratios of respiration rate between 5° and 15°C and between 15°C and 25°C, respectively). The functional diversity of soil microbes was measured with Biolog® ECO plates, structural diversity with phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA). Litter mass lost during first year of incubation was characterized by high variability and mean mass lost ranged up to a 30% of initial mass. After autumn sampling we showed, that mean respiration rate of litter (dry mass) from the 600m a.s.l site exposed on 600m a.s.l. was the highest at each tested temperature. In turn, the lowest mean

  3. 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

  4. Fewer but better: Proportionate size of the group affects evaluation of transgressive leaders.

    PubMed

    Travaglino, Giovanni A; Abrams, Dominic; Randsley de Moura, Georgina; Yetkili, Orkun

    2016-06-01

    A group may be badly affected if its leader transgresses important rules. Nonetheless, an emerging body of evidence suggests that in intergroup contexts, group members apply a double standard when judging ingroup leaders - They respond less punitively to transgressions by their leader than by non-leaders. In this article, two experiments investigated how proportionate ingroup size affects reactions to transgressive ingroup leaders. We demonstrate that ingroup leaders from larger, but not smaller, groups benefit from the double standard. The experiments testing the effects of two different types of transgressions (nepotistic favouritism and corruption, respectively) show that transgressive leaders from larger groups are evaluated more positively than both comparable non-leaders and leaders from smaller groups. In contrast, transgressive leaders from smaller groups are evaluated similarly to comparable transgressive non-leaders. Experiment 2 investigated a potential explanation for this phenomenon. Faced with a transgressive leader, members of a smaller group report greater embarrassment than do members of larger groups in relation to the leaders' actions. Implications of these findings and directions for future research are discussed.

  5. Viral kinetics and exhaled droplet size affect indoor transmission dynamics of influenza infection.

    PubMed

    Chen, S C; Chio, C P; Jou, L J; Liao, C M

    2009-10-01

    The purpose of this paper was to investigate the effects of viral kinetics and exhaled droplet size on indoor transmission dynamics of influenza infection. The target cell-limited model with delayed virus production was adopted to strengthen the inner mechanisms of virus infection on human epithelial cell. The particle number and volume involved in the viral kinetics were linked with Wells-Riley mathematical equation to quantify the infection risk. We investigated population dynamics in a specific elementary school by using the seasonal susceptible - exposed - infected - recovery (SEIR) model. We found that exhaled pulmonary bioaerosol of sneeze (particle diameter <10 microm) have 10(2)-fold estimate higher than that of cough. Sneeze and cough caused risk probabilities range from 0.075 to 0.30 and 0.076, respectively; whereas basic reproduction numbers (R(0)) estimates range from 4 to 17 for sneeze and nearly 4 for cough, indicating sneeze-posed higher infection risk. The viral kinetics and exhaled droplet size for sneeze affect indoor transmission dynamics of influenza infection since date post-infection 1-7. This study provides direct mechanistic support that indoor influenza virus transmission can be characterized by viral kinetics in human upper respiratory tracts that are modulated by exhaled droplet size. Practical Implications This paper provides a predictive model that can integrate the influenza viral kinetics (target cell-limited model), indoor aerosol transmission potential (Wells-Riley mathematical equation), and population dynamic model [susceptible - exposed - infected - recovery (SEIR) model] in a proposed susceptible population. Viral kinetics expresses the competed results of human immunity ability with influenza virus generation. By linking the viral kinetics and different exposure parameters and environmental factors in a proposed school setting with five age groups, the influenza infection risk can be estimated. On the other hand, we implicated

  6. Viral kinetics and exhaled droplet size affect indoor transmission dynamics of influenza infection.

    PubMed

    Chen, S C; Chio, C P; Jou, L J; Liao, C M

    2009-10-01

    The purpose of this paper was to investigate the effects of viral kinetics and exhaled droplet size on indoor transmission dynamics of influenza infection. The target cell-limited model with delayed virus production was adopted to strengthen the inner mechanisms of virus infection on human epithelial cell. The particle number and volume involved in the viral kinetics were linked with Wells-Riley mathematical equation to quantify the infection risk. We investigated population dynamics in a specific elementary school by using the seasonal susceptible - exposed - infected - recovery (SEIR) model. We found that exhaled pulmonary bioaerosol of sneeze (particle diameter <10 microm) have 10(2)-fold estimate higher than that of cough. Sneeze and cough caused risk probabilities range from 0.075 to 0.30 and 0.076, respectively; whereas basic reproduction numbers (R(0)) estimates range from 4 to 17 for sneeze and nearly 4 for cough, indicating sneeze-posed higher infection risk. The viral kinetics and exhaled droplet size for sneeze affect indoor transmission dynamics of influenza infection since date post-infection 1-7. This study provides direct mechanistic support that indoor influenza virus transmission can be characterized by viral kinetics in human upper respiratory tracts that are modulated by exhaled droplet size. Practical Implications This paper provides a predictive model that can integrate the influenza viral kinetics (target cell-limited model), indoor aerosol transmission potential (Wells-Riley mathematical equation), and population dynamic model [susceptible - exposed - infected - recovery (SEIR) model] in a proposed susceptible population. Viral kinetics expresses the competed results of human immunity ability with influenza virus generation. By linking the viral kinetics and different exposure parameters and environmental factors in a proposed school setting with five age groups, the influenza infection risk can be estimated. On the other hand, we implicated

  7. 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. PMID:27236291

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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. PMID:23673763

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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. PMID:26344811

  15. 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.

  16. Xanthine dehydrogenase and aldehyde oxidase impact plant hormone homeostasis and affect fruit size in 'Hass' avocado.

    PubMed

    Taylor, Nicky J; Cowan, A Keith

    2004-04-01

    The contribution of xanthine dehydrogenase (XDH, EC 1.1.1.204) to fruit size was investigated using the normal and small-fruit variants of Persea americana Mill. cv. 'Hass'. Inhibition of XDH by treatment of normal fruit, in the linear phase of growth (phase II), with allopurinol (Allo) arrested fruit growth. Adenine (Ade), a less effective inhibitor of this enzyme, also arrested fruit growth when applied in phase II and slowed fruit growth when applied in phase III. A time-course study on the activity of XDH in mesocarp tissue from normal and small fruit showed that maximum activity occurred late in phase II and that the peak in activity was absent in mesocarp of the small fruit. Feeding Ade to growing fruit in phase III caused a transient decline in fruit growth (measured as change in fruit length). Thereafter, growth resumed although fruit size was irreversibly affected. Treatment of fruit with Ade and Ade-containing cytokinins altered activity of another molybdenum enzyme, aldehyde oxidase (EC 1.2.3.1). Cytokinin oxidase was induced by cytokinin and auxin. Purine catabolism via hypoxanthine/xanthine was operative in normal fruit and in mesocarp from the small-fruit variant and as expected, Allo treatment caused accumulation of xanthine and adenine. In the absence of an increase in XDH during growth of the small-fruit phenotype, low levels of Ade were interpreted as resulting from respiration-enhanced adenylate depletion. Stress and/or pathogen induction of the alternative oxidase pathway is proposed as a possible cause.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  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 chemically amended litter on broiler performances, atmospheric ammonia concentration, and phosphorus solubility in litter.

    PubMed

    Do, J C; Choi, I H; Nahm, K H

    2005-05-01

    The effects of 6 different litter amendments on broiler performance, level of atmospheric ammonia (NH3) concentration, and soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) in litter was determined. Through 3 experiments conducted on 2 different commercial farms, one chemical amendment was added to the litter and then was compared with a control. Broiler performance was not affected by any of the amendments except the ferrous sulfate amendment for which mortality was 25.5%. Application of aluminum chloride (AlCl3 x 6H2O) to the litter lowered atmospheric ammonia concentrations at 42 d by 97.2%, whereas ferrous sulfate (FeSO4 x 7H2O) lowered it by 90.77%. Ammonia concentrations were reduced by 86.18, 78.66, 75.52, and 69.00% by aluminum sulfate [alum or Al2(SO4)3 x 14H2O)], alum + CaCO3, aluminum chloride + CaCO3, and potassium permanganate (KMnO4), respectively, when compared with each control at 42 d. Each amendment except KMnO4 significantly reduced SRP contents. Alum and aluminum chloride were the effective compounds evaluated on the commercial farms with respect to reducing ammonia contents, phosphorus solubility, and mortality.

  1. 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

  2. Cardiac cryolesions: factors affecting their size and a means of monitoring their formation.

    PubMed

    Markovitz, L J; Frame, L H; Josephson, M E; Hargrove, W C

    1988-11-01

    Twenty-seven endocardial cryolesions were created in mongrel dogs and analyzed to determine the effects on cryolesion size of both the initial myocardial temperature (37 degrees C versus 12 degrees C) and the pressure within the nitrous oxide delivery line (tank pressure of more than 700 pounds per square inch [psi] versus tank pressure of less than 700 psi). In addition, local myocardial temperatures were monitored to determine their utility in the intraoperative determination of the extent of cryothermic cell death. Cryolesion volume was significantly affected by both the initial myocardial temperature (p less than 0.001) and the line pressure (p = 0.014). In a 37 degrees C myocardium, the mean lesion volume ranged from 0.501 +/- 0.183 cc at line pressures lower than 700 psi to 0.839 +/- 0.258 cc at line pressures greater than 700 psi. In a 12 degrees C myocardium, the mean volume was 1.151 +/- 0.436 cc at line pressures lower than 700 psi and 1.361 +/- 0.288 cc at line pressures higher than 700 psi. A myocardial temperature of 0 degrees C occurs at the edge of the area of cell death. When analyzing the range from -5 degrees to +5 degrees C, the probability of a point at or lower than 0 degrees C falling inside the cryolesion is 84.2%. Monitoring intramyocardial temperature will predict the border of a cryolesion.

  3. 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...

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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. PMID:27220105

  7. 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.

  8. The effect of increasing the dietary valine-to-lysine ratio on sow metabolism, milk production, and litter growth.

    PubMed

    Strathe, A V; Bruun, T S; Zerrahn, J-E; Tauson, A-H; Hansen, C F

    2016-01-01

    A study was conducted to investigate the effect of increasing the dietary valine-to-lysine ratio (Val:Lys) for lactating sows weaning more than 12 piglets. Five hundred fifty-eight sows (parity 1 to 4) were allotted to 6 dietary treatments from 2 d postpartum, when litters were standardized to 14 piglets. Diets were analyzed to have a total dietary Val:Lys of 0.84, 0.86, 0.88, 0.90, 0.95, or 0.99:1. On all 558 sows, BW, back fat thickness (BF), and litter weight were registered at d 108 of gestation and d 2 and 25 (weaning) postpartum. On a subsample of 72 sows, additional measurements were made: sow BW and BF were measured on d 17 and litter weight was measured on d 10 and 17, and blood and urine samples were collected weekly. The litter size at weaning was not affected by the dietary Val:Lys ( = 0.23) and, on average, the sows weaned 13.0 ± 1.1 piglets. Average daily gain of the litter (2.93 ± 0.53 kg/d; = 0.84), litter weight at weaning ( = 0.67), the average milk yield (11.3 ± 1.4 kg/d; = 0.49), and milk contents of fat ( = 0.57), protein ( = 0.18), and lactose ( = 0.20) were not affected by the dietary Val:Lys. Increasing the dietary Val:Lys increased the milk concentration of Val ( < 0.05) and Ile ( < 0.01). The change in sow BW and BF were similar for all sows from d 2 to 17, d 17 to 25, and d 2 to 25 ( > 0.05). During lactation, sows, on average, had a BW and back fat loss of 22.1 ± 12.7 kg and 2.9 ± 1.7 mm, respectively. Plasma concentrations of glucose ( = 0.26), lactate ( = 0.95), urea N ( = 0.84), NEFA ( = 0.24), and creatinine ( = 0.42); urine concentration of creatinine ( = 0.57); and concentrations of AA in whole blood ( > 0.05) were not affected by the dietary Val:Lys. In conclusion, there was no effect of increasing the total dietary Val:Lys above 0.84:1 on sow metabolism and litter performance during lactation.

  9. 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

    2014-05-01

    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. PMID:24805346

  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

    2014-05-01

    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. Links between plant litter chemistry, species diversity, and below-ground ecosystem function.

    PubMed

    Meier, Courtney L; Bowman, William D

    2008-12-16

    Decomposition is a critical source of plant nutrients, and drives the largest flux of terrestrial C to the atmosphere. Decomposing soil organic matter typically contains litter from multiple plant species, yet we lack a mechanistic understanding of how species diversity influences decomposition processes. Here, we show that soil C and N cycling during decomposition are controlled by the composition and diversity of chemical compounds within plant litter mixtures, rather than by simple metrics of plant species diversity. We amended native soils with litter mixtures containing up to 4 alpine plant species, and we used 9 litter chemical traits to evaluate the chemical composition (i.e., the identity and quantity of compounds) and chemical diversity of the litter mixtures. The chemical composition of the litter mixtures was the strongest predictor of soil respiration, net N mineralization, and microbial biomass N. Soil respiration and net N mineralization rates were also significantly correlated with the chemical diversity of the litter mixtures. In contrast, soil C and N cycling rates were poorly correlated with plant species richness, and there was no relationship between species richness and the chemical diversity of the litter mixtures. These results indicate that the composition and diversity of chemical compounds in litter are potentially important functional traits affecting decomposition, and simple metrics like plant species richness may fail to capture variation in these traits. Litter chemical traits therefore provide a mechanistic link between organisms, species diversity, and key components of below-ground ecosystem function.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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. PMID:26216200

  15. Illusory Shrinkage and Growth: Body-Based Rescaling affects the Perception of Size

    PubMed Central

    Linkenauger, Sally A.; Ramenzoni, Veronica; Proffitt, Dennis R.

    2012-01-01

    The notion that apparent sizes are perceived relative to the size of one’s body is supported through the discovery of a new visual illusion. When graspable objects are magnified by wearing magnifying goggles, they appear to shrink back to near normal size when one’s hand (also magnified) is placed next to them. When objects are minified by wearing minifying goggles, the opposite occurs. However, this change in apparent size does not occur when familiar objects or someone else’s hand is placed next to the object. Presumably, objects’ apparent sizes shift closer to their actual size when the hand is viewed, because object sizes relative to the hand are the same with or without the magnifying/minifying goggles. These findings highlight the role of body scaling in size perception. PMID:20729479

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    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. PMID:24976274

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

    2014-01-01

    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. PMID:24976274

  20. 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...

  1. Epigenetic Mutation of RAV6 Affects Leaf Angle and Seed Size in Rice.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Xiangqian; Sun, Jing; Cao, Xiaofeng; Song, Xianwei

    2015-11-01

    Heritable epigenetic variants of genes, termed epialleles, can broaden genetic and phenotypic diversity in eukaryotes. Epialleles may also provide a new source of beneficial traits for crop breeding, but very few epialleles related to agricultural traits have been identified in crops. Here, we identified Epi-rav6, a gain-of-function epiallele of rice (Oryza sativa) RELATED TO ABSCISIC ACID INSENSITIVE3 (ABI3)/VIVIPAROUS1 (VP1) 6 (RAV6), which encodes a B3 DNA-binding domain-containing protein. The Epi-rav6 plants show larger lamina inclination and smaller grain size; these agronomically important phenotypes are inherited in a semidominant manner. We did not find nucleotide sequence variation of RAV6. Instead, we found hypomethylation in the promoter region of RAV6, which caused ectopic expression of RAV6 in Epi-rav6 plants. Bisulfite analysis revealed that cytosine methylation of four CG and two CNG loci within a continuous 96-bp region plays essential roles in regulating RAV6 expression; this region contains a conserved miniature inverted repeat transposable element transposon insertion in cultivated rice genomes. Overexpression of RAV6 in the wild type phenocopied the Epi-rav6 phenotype. The brassinosteroid (BR) receptor BR INSENSITIVE1 and BR biosynthetic genes EBISU DWARF, DWARF11, and BR-DEFICIENT DWARF1 were ectopically expressed in Epi-rav6 plants. Also, treatment with a BR biosynthesis inhibitor restored the leaf angle defects of Epi-rav6 plants. This indicates that RAV6 affects rice leaf angle by modulating BR homeostasis and demonstrates an essential regulatory role of epigenetic modification on a key gene controlling important agricultural traits. Thus, our work identifies a unique rice epiallele, which may represent a common phenomenon in complex crop genomes. PMID:26351308

  2. Mechanics of lipid bilayer junctions affecting the size of a connecting lipid nanotube

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Karlsson, Roger; Kurczy, Michael; Grzhibovskis, Richards; Adams, Kelly L.; Ewing, Andrew G.; Cans, Ann-Sofie; Voinova, Marina V.

    2011-06-01

    In this study we report a physical analysis of the membrane mechanics affecting the size of the highly curved region of a lipid nanotube (LNT) that is either connected between a lipid bilayer vesicle and the tip of a glass microinjection pipette (tube-only) or between a lipid bilayer vesicle and a vesicle that is attached to the tip of a glass microinjection pipette (two-vesicle). For the tube-only configuration (TOC), a micropipette is used to pull a LNT into the interior of a surface-immobilized vesicle, where the length of the tube L is determined by the distance of the micropipette to the vesicle wall. For the two-vesicle configuration (TVC), a small vesicle is inflated at the tip of the micropipette tip and the length of the tube L is in this case determined by the distance between the two interconnected vesicles. An electrochemical method monitoring diffusion of electroactive molecules through the nanotube has been used to determine the radius of the nanotube R as a function of nanotube length L for the two configurations. The data show that the LNT connected in the TVC constricts to a smaller radius in comparison to the tube-only mode and that tube radius shrinks at shorter tube lengths. To explain these electrochemical data, we developed a theoretical model taking into account the free energy of the membrane regions of the vesicles, the LNT and the high curvature junctions. In particular, this model allows us to estimate the surface tension coefficients from R( L) measurements.

  3. Epigenetic Mutation of RAV6 Affects Leaf Angle and Seed Size in Rice1[OPEN

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Xiangqian; Sun, Jing; Cao, Xiaofeng; Song, Xianwei

    2015-01-01

    Heritable epigenetic variants of genes, termed epialleles, can broaden genetic and phenotypic diversity in eukaryotes. Epialleles may also provide a new source of beneficial traits for crop breeding, but very few epialleles related to agricultural traits have been identified in crops. Here, we identified Epi-rav6, a gain-of-function epiallele of rice (Oryza sativa) RELATED TO ABSCISIC ACID INSENSITIVE3 (ABI3)/VIVIPAROUS1 (VP1) 6 (RAV6), which encodes a B3 DNA-binding domain-containing protein. The Epi-rav6 plants show larger lamina inclination and smaller grain size; these agronomically important phenotypes are inherited in a semidominant manner. We did not find nucleotide sequence variation of RAV6. Instead, we found hypomethylation in the promoter region of RAV6, which caused ectopic expression of RAV6 in Epi-rav6 plants. Bisulfite analysis revealed that cytosine methylation of four CG and two CNG loci within a continuous 96-bp region plays essential roles in regulating RAV6 expression; this region contains a conserved miniature inverted repeat transposable element transposon insertion in cultivated rice genomes. Overexpression of RAV6 in the wild type phenocopied the Epi-rav6 phenotype. The brassinosteroid (BR) receptor BR INSENSITIVE1 and BR biosynthetic genes EBISU DWARF, DWARF11, and BR-DEFICIENT DWARF1 were ectopically expressed in Epi-rav6 plants. Also, treatment with a BR biosynthesis inhibitor restored the leaf angle defects of Epi-rav6 plants. This indicates that RAV6 affects rice leaf angle by modulating BR homeostasis and demonstrates an essential regulatory role of epigenetic modification on a key gene controlling important agricultural traits. Thus, our work identifies a unique rice epiallele, which may represent a common phenomenon in complex crop genomes. PMID:26351308

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. Manganese Cycling in a Long-term Plant Litter Decomposition Time Series

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keiluweit, M.; Nico, P. S.; Kleber, M.; Bougoure, J.; Harmon, M. E.; Pett-Ridge, J.

    2012-12-01

    Climate change is predicted to affect the chemical composition of plant litter, and global warming may increase microbial and enzymatic activity, with uncertain consequences for litter decomposition rates in soils. This uncertainty has highlighted the need to better understand the controls on litter decomposition rates and pathways. A key controlling processes that is poorly understood is the coupling between decomposition pathways and the inorganic resources available in fresh litter or the underlying soil. For example, a strong correlation was established between the concentration of manganese (Mn) in needle litter and the degradation of litter lignocellulose across boreal forest ecosystems, suggesting that litter decomposition proceeds more efficiently in the presence of Mn. There is good reason to assume that this is due to the critical role of Mn(III)-ligand complexes acting as potent oxidizers in the fungal decomposition of lignocellulose. Here we investigated how litter decomposing organisms redistribute and repurpose the Mn inherently present in fresh plant litter in order to enhance decomposition. For this purpose, we used two 7-year litter decomposition time series collected at sites at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest with widely differing decomposition rates. Spatially-resolved X-ray absorption spectroscopy and wet-chemical extractions were used to track pathways of microbially-mediated Mn transport and associated changes in its speciation in each annual litter layer. The cycling of Mn and other metal cations (e.g., Ca and Fe) was then related to changes in the litter chemistry as documented by 13C TMAH and FTIR. Our results show that, as litter decomposition progresses, reduced Mn in the vascular system of fresh needles is transformed into oxidized forms concentrated in Mn oxide precipitates. This transformation of Mn into more reactive forms proceeds faster at the site of greater decomposition. Our imaging data suggests that during this process Mn

  7. High litter moisture content suppresses litter ammonia volatilization.

    PubMed

    Miles, D M; Rowe, D E; Cathcart, T C

    2011-07-01

    With global food demand expected to increase by 100% in the next 50 yr, urgency to combine comprehensive strategies for sustainable, efficacious, and environmentally sensible agronomic practices has never been greater. One effort for US meat bird management is to reduce NH(3) volatilization from litter to create a better growing environment for the birds, improve production efficiency, retain N in litter for fertilizer value, and negate the detrimental environmental impacts of NH(3) loss to the air. To derive the fundamental effects of temperature and moisture on litter NH(3) volatilization over the range of conditions found in commercial houses, experiments were conducted using commercial broiler litter that had moisture contents of approximately 20 to 55% while controlling temperatures ranging from 18.3 to 40.6°C. Litter samples (100 g) were placed in 1-L containers that received humidified air at approximately 113 mL/min. Volatilized NH(3) in exhaust air was captured in H(3)BO(3) traps. Ammonia loss (log(10) transformation) was modeled via an equation using linear coefficients for temperature and moisture, an interaction term for temperature × moisture, and a quadratic term for moisture. The surface responses resembled parabolic cylinders, indicating a critical moisture level at which NH(3) no longer increases but is diminished as moisture continues to increase. The critical moisture level lies between 37.4 and 51.1% litter moisture, depending on the temperature. An increase in temperature consistently increased NH(3) generation. When the temperature extremes were compared, the maximum NH(3) was up to 7 times greater at 40.6 vs. 18.3°C. The upper moisture limit at which NH(3) release is maximized and subsequently arrested as moisture continues to increase had not been defined previously for commercial broiler litter. The poultry industry and researchers can use these results as a decision tool to enable management strategies that limit NH(3) production. PMID

  8. The granule size distribution in an anammox-based granular sludge reactor affects the conversion--implications for modeling.

    PubMed

    Volcke, E I P; Picioreanu, C; De Baets, B; van Loosdrecht, M C M

    2012-07-01

    Mathematical models are useful tools to optimize the performance of granular sludge reactors. In these models, typically a uniform granule size is assumed for the whole reactor, even though in reality the granules follow a size distribution and the granule size as such affects the process performance. This study assesses the effect of the granule size distribution on the performance of a granular sludge reactor in which autotrophic nitrogen removal is realized through one-stage partial nitritation-anammox. A comparison is made between different approaches to deal with particle size distributions in one-dimensional biofilm models, from the use of a single characteristic diameter to applying a multiple compartment model. The results show a clear impact on the conversion efficiency of the way in which particle size distribution is modeled, resulting from the effect of the granule size on the competition between nitrite oxidizing and anammox bacteria and from the interaction between granules of different sizes in terms of the exchange of solutes. Whereas the use of a uniform granule size is sufficient in case only the overall reactor behavior needs to be assessed, taking into account the detailed granule size distribution is required to study the solute exchange between particles of different sizes. For the latter purpose, the application of the widespread software package Aquasim is limited and the development of dedicated software applications is required.

  9. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-09-01

    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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-09-01

    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.

  12. Universal Distribution of Litter Decay Rates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Forney, D. C.; Rothman, D. H.

    2008-12-01

    Degradation of litter is the result of many physical, chemical and biological processes. The high variability of these processes likely accounts for the progressive slowdown of decay with litter age. This age dependence is commonly thought to result from the superposition of processes with different decay rates k. Here we assume an underlying continuous yet unknown distribution p(k) of decay rates [1]. To seek its form, we analyze the mass-time history of 70 LIDET [2] litter data sets obtained under widely varying conditions. We construct a regularized inversion procedure to find the best fitting distribution p(k) with the least degrees of freedom. We find that the resulting p(k) is universally consistent with a lognormal distribution, i.e.~a Gaussian distribution of log k, characterized by a dataset-dependent mean and variance of log k. This result is supported by a recurring observation that microbial populations on leaves are log-normally distributed [3]. Simple biological processes cause the frequent appearance of the log-normal distribution in ecology [4]. Environmental factors, such as soil nitrate, soil aggregate size, soil hydraulic conductivity, total soil nitrogen, soil denitrification, soil respiration have been all observed to be log-normally distributed [5]. Litter degradation rates depend on many coupled, multiplicative factors, which provides a fundamental basis for the lognormal distribution. Using this insight, we systematically estimated the mean and variance of log k for 512 data sets from the LIDET study. We find the mean strongly correlates with temperature and precipitation, while the variance appears to be uncorrelated with main environmental factors and is thus likely more correlated with chemical composition and/or ecology. Results indicate the possibility that the distribution in rates reflects, at least in part, the distribution of microbial niches. [1] B. P. Boudreau, B.~R. Ruddick, American Journal of Science,291, 507, (1991). [2] M

  13. 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. PMID:19221809

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Patterns of litter disappearance in a northern hardwood forest invaded by exotic earthworms.

    PubMed

    Suárez, Esteban R; Fahey, Timothy J; Yavitt, Joseph B; Groffman, Peter M; Bohlen, Patrick J

    2006-02-01

    A field study was conducted to evaluate the effects of exotic earthworm invasions on the rates of leaf litter disappearance in a northern hardwood forest in southcentral New York, USA. Specifically, we assessed whether differences in litter quality and the species composition of exotic earthworm communities affected leaf litter disappearance rates. Two forest sites with contrasting communities of exotic earthworms were selected, and disappearance rates of sugar maple and red oak litter were estimated in litter boxes in adjacent earthworm-free, transition, and earthworm-invaded plots within each site. After 540 days in the field, 1.7-3 times more litter remained in the reference plots than in the earthworm-invaded plots. In the earthworm-invaded plots, rates of disappearance of sugar maple litter were higher than for oak litter during the first year, but by the end of the experiment, the amount of sugar maple and oak litter remaining in the earthworm-invaded plots was identical within each site. The composition of the earthworm communities significantly affected the patterns of litter disappearance. In the site dominated by the anecic earthworm Lumbricus terrestris and the endogeic Aporrectodea tuberculata, the percentage of litter remaining after 540 days (approximately 17%) was significantly less than at the site dominated by L. rubellus and Octolasion tyrtaeum (approximately 27%). This difference may be attributed to the differences in feeding behavior of the two litter-feeding species: L. terrestris buries entire leaves in vertical burrows, whereas L. rubellus usually feeds on litter at the soil surface, leaving behind leaf petioles and veins. Our results showed that earthworms not only accelerate litter disappearance rates, but also may reduce the differences in decomposition rates that result from different litter qualities at later stages of decay. Similarly, our results indicate that earthworm effects on decomposition vary with earthworm community

  18. Patterns of litter disappearance in a northern hardwood forest invaded by exotic earthworms.

    PubMed

    Suárez, Esteban R; Fahey, Timothy J; Yavitt, Joseph B; Groffman, Peter M; Bohlen, Patrick J

    2006-02-01

    A field study was conducted to evaluate the effects of exotic earthworm invasions on the rates of leaf litter disappearance in a northern hardwood forest in southcentral New York, USA. Specifically, we assessed whether differences in litter quality and the species composition of exotic earthworm communities affected leaf litter disappearance rates. Two forest sites with contrasting communities of exotic earthworms were selected, and disappearance rates of sugar maple and red oak litter were estimated in litter boxes in adjacent earthworm-free, transition, and earthworm-invaded plots within each site. After 540 days in the field, 1.7-3 times more litter remained in the reference plots than in the earthworm-invaded plots. In the earthworm-invaded plots, rates of disappearance of sugar maple litter were higher than for oak litter during the first year, but by the end of the experiment, the amount of sugar maple and oak litter remaining in the earthworm-invaded plots was identical within each site. The composition of the earthworm communities significantly affected the patterns of litter disappearance. In the site dominated by the anecic earthworm Lumbricus terrestris and the endogeic Aporrectodea tuberculata, the percentage of litter remaining after 540 days (approximately 17%) was significantly less than at the site dominated by L. rubellus and Octolasion tyrtaeum (approximately 27%). This difference may be attributed to the differences in feeding behavior of the two litter-feeding species: L. terrestris buries entire leaves in vertical burrows, whereas L. rubellus usually feeds on litter at the soil surface, leaving behind leaf petioles and veins. Our results showed that earthworms not only accelerate litter disappearance rates, but also may reduce the differences in decomposition rates that result from different litter qualities at later stages of decay. Similarly, our results indicate that earthworm effects on decomposition vary with earthworm community

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

    PubMed

    Franzén, Markus; Nilsson, Sven G

    2010-01-01

    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.

  20. 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. PMID:25791899

  1. 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 ...

  2. Effect of Teacher Structure, Teacher Affect, Cognitive Level of Questions, Group Size and Student Social Status on Reading Achievement.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Creamer, Mary; Lorentz, Jeffrey L.

    The effects of student socioeconomic status (SES) and four teacher behaviors--teacher structure, teacher affect, cognitive level of questions, and group size--on student reading achievement were analyzed. Subjects were 36 fifth and sixth grade classroom teachers and their 820 students. Data were collected with the Reading Comprehension Subtest…

  3. Habitat traits and species interactions differentially affect abundance and body size in pond-breeding amphibians.

    PubMed

    Ousterhout, Brittany H; Anderson, Thomas L; Drake, Dana L; Peterman, William E; Semlitsch, Raymond D

    2015-07-01

    In recent studies, habitat traits have emerged as stronger predictors of species occupancy, abundance, richness and diversity than competition. However, in many cases, it remains unclear whether habitat also mediates processes more subtle than competitive exclusion, such as growth, or whether intra- and interspecific interactions among individuals of different species may be better predictors of size. To test whether habitat traits are a stronger predictor of abundance and body size than intra- and interspecific interactions, we measured the density and body size of three species of larval salamanders in 192 ponds across a landscape. We found that the density of larvae was best predicted by models that included habitat features, while models incorporating interactions among individuals of different species best explained the body size of larvae. Additionally, we found a positive relationship between focal species density and congener density, while focal species body size was negatively related to congener density. We posit that salamander larvae may not experience competitive exclusion and thus reduced densities, but instead compensate for increased competition behaviourally (e.g. reduced foraging), resulting in decreased growth. The discrepancy between larval density and body size, a strong predictor of fitness in this system, also highlights a potential shortcoming in using density or abundance as a metric of habitat quality or population health. PMID:25643605

  4. Habitat traits and species interactions differentially affect abundance and body size in pond-breeding amphibians.

    PubMed

    Ousterhout, Brittany H; Anderson, Thomas L; Drake, Dana L; Peterman, William E; Semlitsch, Raymond D

    2015-07-01

    In recent studies, habitat traits have emerged as stronger predictors of species occupancy, abundance, richness and diversity than competition. However, in many cases, it remains unclear whether habitat also mediates processes more subtle than competitive exclusion, such as growth, or whether intra- and interspecific interactions among individuals of different species may be better predictors of size. To test whether habitat traits are a stronger predictor of abundance and body size than intra- and interspecific interactions, we measured the density and body size of three species of larval salamanders in 192 ponds across a landscape. We found that the density of larvae was best predicted by models that included habitat features, while models incorporating interactions among individuals of different species best explained the body size of larvae. Additionally, we found a positive relationship between focal species density and congener density, while focal species body size was negatively related to congener density. We posit that salamander larvae may not experience competitive exclusion and thus reduced densities, but instead compensate for increased competition behaviourally (e.g. reduced foraging), resulting in decreased growth. The discrepancy between larval density and body size, a strong predictor of fitness in this system, also highlights a potential shortcoming in using density or abundance as a metric of habitat quality or population health.

  5. Particulate Size of Microalgal Biomass Affects Hydrolysate Properties and Bioethanol Concentration

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:24971327

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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. PMID:27500454

  10. 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

  11. 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. PMID:25381837

  12. 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.

  13. 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. PMID:24360332

  14. 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.

  15. 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...

  16. Does population size affect genetic diversity? A test with sympatric lizard species.

    PubMed

    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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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. PMID:23796772

  19. 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.

  20. The effects of litter carrying on rifle shooting.

    PubMed

    Tharion, W J; Rice, V; Sharp, M A; Marlowe, B E

    1993-08-01

    This study investigated whether the use of a shoulder harness would affect shooting accuracy after patient litter carrying. Two- and four-person teams, 12 male and 9 female soldiers, fired at targets before and after (1) a 15-minute bout of rapid, short litter carries and lifts, and (2) a moderate speed 30-minute litter carry with and without a harness for both types of carries. Shooting accuracy was 10% poorer (p < 0.05) after the 15-minute bout (mean +/- SD = 8.9 +/- 1.9 mm) than after the 30-minute carry (8.1 +/- 1.7 mm). Four-person teams using litter-carriage harnesses had 17% tighter shot groups (45.5 +/- 30.4 mm2) (p < 0.05) than four-person teams that did not use harnesses (54.5 +/- 26.1 mm2) and two-person teams with (56.3 +/- 29.1 mm2) or without harnesses (54.9 +/- 30.7 mm2). The harness can potentially improve shooting accuracy after litter carrying. PMID:8414084

  1. Evidence for Extraintestinal Growth of Bacteroidales Originating from Poultry Litter

    PubMed Central

    Mantha, Sirisha; Hair, Elliott; Nayak, Bina; Harwood, Valerie J.

    2014-01-01

    Water quality monitoring techniques that target microorganisms in the order Bacteroidales are potential alternatives to conventional methods for detection of fecal indicator bacteria. Bacteroidales and members of the genus Bacteroides have been the focus of microbial source tracking (MST) investigations for discriminating sources of fecal pollution (e.g., human or cattle feces) in environmental waters. For accurate source apportionment to occur, one needs to understand both the abundance of Bacteroides in host feces and the survival of these host-associated microbial markers after deposition in the environment. Studies were undertaken to evaluate the abundance, persistence, and potential for growth of Bacteroidales originating from poultry litter under oxic and anoxic environmental conditions. Bacteroidales abundance, as determined by quantitative PCR (qPCR) with GenBac primers and probe, increased 2 to 5 log gene copies ml−1 and 2 log gene copies g litter−1 under most conditions during incubation of poultry litter in a variety of laboratory microcosm and field mesocosm studies. DNA sequencing of the Bacteroidales organisms in the litter identified taxa with sequences corresponding exactly to the GenBac primer and probe sequences and that were closely related to Bacteroides uniformis, B. ovatus, and B. vulgatus. These results suggest that MST studies using qPCR methods targeting Bacteroidales in watersheds that are affected by poultry litter should be interpreted cautiously. Growth of Bacteroidales originating from poultry litter in environmental waters may occur while Bacteroidales growth from other fecal sources declines, thus confounding the interpretation of MST results. PMID:25326306

  2. Perturbation of nucleo-cytoplasmic transport affects size of nucleus and nucleolus in human cells.

    PubMed

    Ganguly, Abira; Bhattacharjee, Chumki; Bhave, Madhura; Kailaje, Vaishali; Jain, Bhawik K; Sengupta, Isha; Rangarajan, Annapoorni; Bhattacharyya, Dibyendu

    2016-03-01

    Size regulation of human cell nucleus and nucleolus are poorly understood subjects. 3D reconstruction of live image shows that the karyoplasmic ratio (KR) increases by 30-80% in transformed cell lines compared to their immortalized counterpart. The attenuation of nucleo-cytoplasmic transport causes the KR value to increase by 30-50% in immortalized cell lines. Nucleolus volumes are significantly increased in transformed cell lines and the attenuation of nucleo-cytoplasmic transport causes a significant increase in the nucleolus volume of immortalized cell lines. A cytosol and nuclear fraction swapping experiment emphasizes the potential role of unknown cytosolic factors in nuclear and nucleolar size regulation.

  3. Propagule size and predispersal damage by insects affect establishment and early growth of mangrove seedlings.

    PubMed

    Sousa, Wayne P; Kennedy, Peter G; Mitchell, Betsy J

    2003-05-01

    Variation in rates of seedling recruitment, growth, and survival can strongly influence the rate and course of forest regeneration following disturbance. Using a combination of field sampling and shadehouse experiments, we investigated the influence of propagule size and predispersal insect damage on the establishment and early growth of the three common mangrove species on the Caribbean coast of Panama: Avicennia germinans, Laguncularia racemosa, and Rhizophora mangle. In our field samples, all three species exhibited considerable intraspecific variation in mature propagule size, and suffered moderate to high levels of predispersal attack by larval insects. Rates of insect attack were largely independent of propagule size both within and among trees. Our experimental studies using undamaged mature propagules showed that, for all three species, seedlings established at high rates regardless of propagule size. However, propagule size did have a marked effect on early seedling growth: seedlings that developed from larger propagules grew more rapidly. Predispersal insect infestations that had destroyed or removed a substantial amount of tissue, particularly if that tissue was meristematic or conductive, reduced the establishment of propagules of all three species. The effect of sublethal tissue damage or loss on the subsequent growth of established seedlings varied among the three mangrove species. For Avicennia, the growth response was graded: for a propagule of a given size, the more tissue lost, the slower the growth of the seedling. For Laguncularia, the response to insect attack appeared to be all-or-none. If the boring insect penetrated the outer spongy seed coat and reached the developing embryo, it usually caused sufficient damage to prevent a seedling from developing. On the other hand, if the insect damaged but did not penetrate the seed coat, a completely healthy seedling developed and its growth rate was indistinguishable from a seedling developing from an

  4. 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...

  5. Factors Affecting Teachers' Adoption of Technology in Classrooms: Does School Size Matter?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wu, Hsin-Kai; Hsu, Ying-Shao; Hwang, Fu-Kwun

    2008-01-01

    Researchers in educational technology have searched for factors to explain teachers' acceptance and resistance to using technology for instruction. Among the many identified factors, however, organizational and school factors have not yet been explored and discussed. This study investigates the effects of school size on science and mathematics…

  6. Foraging mode affects the evolution of egg size in generalist predators embedded in complex food webs.

    PubMed

    Verdeny-Vilalta, O; Fox, C W; Wise, D H; Moya-Laraño, J

    2015-06-01

    Ecological networks incorporate myriad biotic interactions that determine the selection pressures experienced by the embedded populations. We argue that within food webs, the negative scaling of abundance with body mass and foraging theory predict that the selective advantages of larger egg size should be smaller for sit-and-wait than active-hunting generalist predators, leading to the evolution of a difference in egg size between them. Because body mass usually scales negatively with predator abundance and constrains predation rate, slightly increasing egg mass should simultaneously allow offspring to feed on more prey and escape from more predators. However, the benefits of larger offspring would be relatively smaller for sit-and-wait predators because (i) due to their lower mobility, encounters with other predators are less common, and (ii) they usually employ a set of alternative hunting strategies that help to subdue relatively larger prey. On the other hand, for active predators, which need to confront prey as they find them, body-size differences may be more important in subduing prey. This difference in benefits should lead to the evolution of larger egg sizes in active-hunting relative to sit-and-wait predators. This prediction was confirmed by a phylogenetically controlled analysis of 268 spider species, supporting the view that the structure of ecological networks may serve to predict relevant selective pressures acting on key life history traits.

  7. 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...

  8. Why does offspring size affect performance? Integrating metabolic scaling with life-history theory.

    PubMed

    Pettersen, Amanda K; White, Craig R; Marshall, Dustin J

    2015-11-22

    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.

  9. Foraging mode affects the evolution of egg size in generalist predators embedded in complex food webs.

    PubMed

    Verdeny-Vilalta, O; Fox, C W; Wise, D H; Moya-Laraño, J

    2015-06-01

    Ecological networks incorporate myriad biotic interactions that determine the selection pressures experienced by the embedded populations. We argue that within food webs, the negative scaling of abundance with body mass and foraging theory predict that the selective advantages of larger egg size should be smaller for sit-and-wait than active-hunting generalist predators, leading to the evolution of a difference in egg size between them. Because body mass usually scales negatively with predator abundance and constrains predation rate, slightly increasing egg mass should simultaneously allow offspring to feed on more prey and escape from more predators. However, the benefits of larger offspring would be relatively smaller for sit-and-wait predators because (i) due to their lower mobility, encounters with other predators are less common, and (ii) they usually employ a set of alternative hunting strategies that help to subdue relatively larger prey. On the other hand, for active predators, which need to confront prey as they find them, body-size differences may be more important in subduing prey. This difference in benefits should lead to the evolution of larger egg sizes in active-hunting relative to sit-and-wait predators. This prediction was confirmed by a phylogenetically controlled analysis of 268 spider species, supporting the view that the structure of ecological networks may serve to predict relevant selective pressures acting on key life history traits. PMID:25882583

  10. Why does offspring size affect performance? Integrating metabolic scaling with life-history theory.

    PubMed

    Pettersen, Amanda K; White, Craig R; Marshall, Dustin J

    2015-11-22

    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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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…

  16. Organoleptic and chemical quality of farmed meagre (Argyrosomus regius) as affected by size.

    PubMed

    Giogios, Ioannis; Grigorakis, Kriton; Kalogeropoulos, Nick

    2013-12-01

    Two fish groups differing in size (average weighing 830±220 and 1600±350 g, respectively) were evaluated for their sensory, somatometric and chemical quality characteristics. No differences were found in the yields and fillet proximate composition of the two groups. Although taste panels indicated high acceptability for both groups, the large fish received significantly better hedonic rates for their overall acceptance. Differences were also observed in the fatty acid profiles of the two groups with the large fish having significantly higher 18:2n-6 and total n-6 contents. Their volatile compounds also differed, with small fish containing higher total amount, as well as more total aldehydes, furans and pyrazines. All these findings indicate size-dependent quality alterations, but also sufficient quality for small fish to be commercialised.

  17. 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.

  18. Gum tragacanth dispersions: Particle size and rheological properties affected by high-shear homogenization.

    PubMed

    Farzi, Mina; Yarmand, Mohammad Saeed; Safari, Mohammad; Emam-Djomeh, Zahra; Mohammadifar, Mohammad Amin

    2015-08-01

    The effect of high-shear homogenization on the rheological and particle size characteristics of three species of gum tragacanth (GT) was detected. Dispersions were subjected to 0-20 min treatment. Static light scattering techniques and rheological tests were used to study the effect of treatment. The results showed that the process caused a decrease in particle size parameters for all three species, but interestingly, the apparent viscosities increased. The highest increase of apparent viscosity was found for solutions containing Astragalus gossypinus, which possessed the highest insoluble fraction. The viscoelastic behaviors of dispersions were also significantly influenced by the process. Homogenization caused an increase in both G' and G″, in all three species. The alterations seem to be highly dependent on GT species and structure. The results could be of high importance in the industry, since the process will lead to textural modifications of food products containing GT.

  19. How community size affects survival chances in cyclic competition games that microorganisms play

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Müller, Ana Paula O.; Gallas, Jason A. C.

    2010-11-01

    Cyclic competition is a mechanism underlying biodiversity in nature and the competition between large numbers of interacting individuals under multifaceted environmental conditions. It is commonly modeled with the popular children’s rock-paper-scissors game. Here we probe cyclic competition systematically in a community of three strains of bacteria Escherichia coli. Recent experiments and simulations indicated the resistant strain of E. coli to win the competition. Other data, however, predicted the sensitive strain to be the final winner. We find a generic feature of cyclic competition that solves this puzzle: community size plays a decisive role in selecting the surviving competitor. Size-dependent effects arise from an easily detectable “period of quasiextinction” and may be tested in experiments. We briefly indicate how.

  20. [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. PMID:25518655

  1. [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.

  2. 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

  3. Fatty acid composition of an oral load affects chylomicron size in human subjects.

    PubMed

    Sakr, S W; Attia, N; Haourigui, M; Paul, J L; Soni, T; Vacher, D; Girard-Globa, A

    1997-01-01

    HDL-phospholipids are determinants in reverse cholesterol transport. They are mostly derived from triacylglycerol (TG)-rich lipoproteins. Chylomicron size is important, therefore, because it is related to the ratio surface phospholipids: core TG and, thus, determines the availability of postprandial phospholipids for transfer to HDL. Eleven healthy young women each ingested four different fat loads supplemented with retinyl palmitate and containing 60 g sunflower oil (SO), oleic-sunflower oil (OSO), mixed oil (MO; (g/kg) linoleic acid 480, oleic acid 380, linolenic acid 13) or beef tallow (BT). At the peak of TG absorption for all loads (4 h) chylomicron diameters, determined by agarose-gel filtration, were larger after SO compared with OSO (P < 0.05) and BT (P = 0.06) and after MO compared with BT (P < 0.05). At 6 h chylomicron size was larger after the vegetable oils compared with BT (P < 0.05 in each case). After each fat load chylomicron size decreased at 6 and 8 h compared with that at 4 h (P < 0.05) except for OSO. Retinyl ester and TG concentrations were lower in chylomicrons after BT than after the other fats but not in the chylomicron-free serum (containing chylomicron remnants), suggesting absorption in the form of very small particles. Compared with the fasting value, the concentration of the Svedberg unit of flotation 20-400 fraction, which contains VLDL and chylomicron remnants, was lower 8 h after MO, the only fat to contain significant amounts of linolenic acid. We conclude that chylomicron size is dependent on the fatty acid composition of ingested fats and the time-course of digestion, being larger for polyunsaturated fatty acid-rich fats and in the early phase of digestion. On the basis of retinyl ester concentration there were no differences between fats in chylomicron-remnant clearance.

  4. Group selection on population size affects life-history patterns in the entomopathogenic nematode Steinernema carpocapsae.

    PubMed

    Bashey, Farrah; Lively, Curtis M

    2009-05-01

    Selection is recognized to operate on multiple levels. In disease organisms, selection among hosts is thought to provide an important counterbalance to selection for faster growth within hosts. We performed three experiments, each selecting for a divergence in group size in the entomopathogenic nematode, Steinernema carpocapsae. These nematodes infect and kill insect larvae, reproduce inside the host carcass, and emerge as infective juveniles. We imposed selection on group size by selecting among hosts for either high or low numbers of emerging nematodes. Our goal was to determine whether this trait could respond to selection at the group level, and if so, to examine what other traits would evolve as correlated responses. One of the three experiments showed a significant response to group selection. In that experiment, the high-selected treatment consistently produced more emerging nematodes per host than the low-selected treatment. In addition, nematodes were larger and they emerged later from hosts in the low-selected lines. Despite small effective population sizes, the effects of inbreeding were small in this experiment. Thus, selection among hosts can be effective, leading to both a direct evolutionary response at the population level, as well as to correlated responses in populational and individual traits.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Effects of subsidy quality on reciprocal subsidies: how leaf litter species changes frog biomass export.

    PubMed

    Earl, Julia E; Castello, Paula O; Cohagen, Kara E; Semlitsch, Raymond D

    2014-05-01

    Spatial subsidies are resources transferred from one ecosystem to another and which can greatly affect recipient systems. Increased subsidy quantity is known to increase these effects, but subsidy quality is likely also important. We examined the effects of leaf litter quality (varying in nutrient and tannin content) in pond mesocosms on gray treefrog (Hyla versicolor) biomass export, as well as water quality and ecosystem processes. We used litter from three different tree species native to Missouri [white oak (Quercus alba), northern red oak (Quercus rubra), and sugar maple (Acer saccharum)], one non-native tree [white pine (Pinus strobus)], and a common aquatic grass [prairie cordgrass (Spartina pectinata)]. We found that leaf litter species affected almost every variable we measured. Gray treefrog biomass export was greatest in mesocosms with grass litter and lowest with white oak litter. Differences in biomass export were affected by high tannin concentrations (or possibly the correlated variable, dissolved oxygen) via their effects on survival, and by primary production, which altered mean body mass. Effects of litter species could often be traced back to the characteristics of the litter itself: leaf nitrogen, phosphorus, and tannin content, which highlights the importance of plant functional traits in affecting aquatic ecosystems. This work and others stress that changes in forest species composition could greatly influence aquatic systems and aquatic-terrestrial linkages. PMID:24399483

  8. Particle size of hydroxyapatite granules calcified from red algae affects the osteogenic potential of human mesenchymal stem cells in vitro.

    PubMed

    Weissenboeck, Martina; Stein, Elisabeth; Undt, Gerhard; Ewers, Rolf; Lauer, Gunter; Turhani, Dritan

    2006-01-01

    Hydroxyapatite (HA) microparticles as a carrier in an injectable tissue-engineered bone filler are considered promising candidates for the treatment of small bone defects in the craniomaxillofacial region. HA granules calcified from red algae, varying in size, were evaluated in vitro for their suitability to be used as a carrier for human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs). Three groups of granules were produced in grain sizes of 10-100, 200-500 and 600-1,000 mum. After seeding and culturing hMSCs under osteogenic differentiation conditions onto HA particles for 3, 6 and 9 days, cellular proliferation (tetrazolium salt, XTT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP)-specific activity and total protein synthesis were investigated. The osteoblastic phenotype of the cells was evaluated by assaying the bone-specific genes osteocalcin, osteopontin and collagen type I. XTT assay revealed significantly higher (p < 0.01) proliferation of cells grown on the smallest grain size after 9 days of culture. Regarding ALP-specific activity, significantly higher levels of activity were detected in cells grown on the smallest grain size. Different grain sizes had no significant effects on the secretion of osteocalcin and osteopontin. Collagen type I production was significantly higher (p < 0.05) in cells grown on the biggest grain size in comparison with the two other grain sizes. These results show that the particle size of HA microparticles affects the osteogenic potential of cultured hMSCs and lead to the conclusion that particle size has differential effects on ALP-specific activity and collagen type I production.

  9. 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.

  10. Litter of the hemiparasite Bartsia alpina enhances plant growth: evidence for a functional role in nutrient cycling.

    PubMed

    Quested, Helen M; Press, Malcolm C; Callaghan, Terry V

    2003-05-01

    Hemiparasitic angiosperms concentrate nutrients in their leaves and also produce high quality litter, which can decompose faster and release more nutrients than that of surrounding species. The impact of these litters on plant growth may be particularly important in nutrient-poor communities where hemiparisites can be abundant, such as the sub-Arctic. We tested the hypothesis that plant growth is enhanced by the litter of the hemiparasite Bartsia alpina, in comparison with litter of co-occurring dwarf shrub species, using a pot based bioassay approach. Growth of Betula nana and Poa alpina was up to 51% and 41% greater, respectively, in the presence of Bartsia alpina litter than when grown with dwarf shrub litter (Vaccinium uliginosum, Betula nana and Empetrum nigrum subsp. hermaphroditum). The nutrient concentrations of Betula nana plants grown with Bartsia alpina litter were almost double those of plants grown with dwarf shrub litter, and a significantly greater proportion of biomass was allocated to shoots rather than roots, strongly suggesting that nutrient availability was higher where Bartsia alpina litter was present. The presence of litter from dwarf shrubs, or the moss Hylocomium splendens, did not reduce the positive effect of Bartsia alpina litter on plant growth. E. nigrum litter did not appear to affect plant growth substantially differently from litter of other dwarf shrub species, despite earlier reports of its allelopathic action. The enhanced nutrient uptake and growth of plants in the presence of Bartsia alpina (and potentially other hemiparasitic species) litter could have important implications for communities in which it occurs, including enhanced survival of seedlings of co-occurring species and increased resource patchiness. PMID:12684861

  11. Thermal developmental plasticity affects body size and water conservation of Drosophila nepalensis from the Western Himalayas.

    PubMed

    Parkash, R; Lambhod, C; Singh, D

    2014-08-01

    In the Western Himalayas, Drosophila nepalensis is more abundant during the colder and drier winter than the warmer rainy season but the mechanistic bases of such adaptations are largely unknown. We tested effects of developmental plasticity on desiccation-related traits (body size, body melanization and water balance traits) that may be consistent with changes in seasonal abundance of this species. D. nepalensis grown at 15°C has shown twofold higher body size, greater melanization (∼15-fold), higher desiccation resistance (∼55 h), hemolymph as well as carbohydrate content (twofold higher) as compared with corresponding values at 25°C. Water loss before succumbing to death was much higher (∼16%) at 15°C than 25°C. Developmental plastic effects on body size are associated with changes in water balance-related traits (bulk water, hemolymph and dehydration tolerance). The role of body melanization was evident from the analysis of assorted darker and lighter flies (from a mass culture of D. nepalensis reared at 21°C) which lacked differences in dry mass but showed differences in desiccation survival hours and rate of water loss. For adult acclimation, we found a slight increase in desiccation resistance of flies reared at lower growth temperature, whereas in flies reared at 25°C such a response was lacking. In D. nepalensis, greater developmental plasticity is consistent with its contrasting levels of seasonal abundance. Finally, in the context of global climate change in the Western Himalayas, D. nepalensis seems vulnerable in the warmer season due to lower adult as well as developmental acclimation potential at higher growth temperature (25°C).

  12. 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

  13. 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. PMID:26047491

  14. 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.

  15. Influence of litter chemistry and stoichiometry on glucan depolymerization during decomposition of beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) litter

    PubMed Central

    Leitner, Sonja; Wanek, Wolfgang; Wild, Birgit; Haemmerle, Ieda; Kohl, Lukas; Keiblinger, Katharina M.; Zechmeister-Boltenstern, Sophie; Richter, Andreas

    2012-01-01

    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. PMID:22761539

  16. Rheological quality of pearl millet porridge as affected by grits size.

    PubMed

    Yadav, Deep N; Chhikara, Navnidhi; Anand, Tanupriya; Sharma, Monika; Singh, Ashish K

    2014-09-01

    Study was conducted to optimize pearl millet grits size for the preparation of acceptable porridge with skimmed milk powder (SMP). Pearl millet porridge was prepared with different grits size (1.410, 0.841, 0.595, and 0.420 mm). A positive (r = 0.904) correlation was observed between water absorption index and grits size. Porridge showed shear thinning behavior as, initially shear stress increased with increase in shear rate and later on decreased. Porridge prepared with larger grits (1.410 mm) exhibited higher firmness (38.4 ± 1.27 N) and viscosity (446 ± 3.9 cP), whereas smaller grits (0.420 mm) resulted in less viscous (118.8 ± 1.74 cP) and firm (20.4 ± 1.85 N) porridge. The medium grits (0.841 mm) produced porridge with acceptable firmness (30.7 ± 1.56 N) and viscosity (298.1 ± 8.81 cP) with moderate (6.0 ± 0.10) acceptability. To improve sensory quality of porridge (grits size 0.841 mm); skimmed milk powder at different levels (0, 5, 10 and 15 %) was added and its effect on various quality parameters was studied. SMP addition significantly (P ≤ 0.05) modified the gelatinization and gelling behavior of grits and decreased (P ≤ 0.05) all the pasting characteristics except pasting temperature, which increased from 77.1 ± 1.85 to 85.9 ± 3.46 °C. The peak (499 ± 6.6 cP) and final viscosity (450 ± 11.9 cP) of porridge (0.841 mm) prepared with 15 % SMP are quite similar. Hence, it maintains viscosity on cooling, similar to maximum viscosity attained during cooking. Keeping in view the rheological, firmness and sensory quality, 0.841 mm grits of pearl millet with 15 % SMP was found optimum for preparation of acceptable porridge.

  17. 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

  18. Winter broiler litter gases and nitrogen compounds: Temporal and spatial trends

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miles, D. M.; Rowe, D. E.; Owens, P. R.

    Understanding how animal activities, management, and barn structure affect litter gases and nutrients is fundamental to developing accurate emission models for meat-bird facilities. This research characterized the temporal and spatial variability of litter ammonia (NH 3) and nitrous oxide (N 2O) flux via a chamber method, as well as determined litter nitrogen (N) compounds by intensive sampling in two commercial broiler houses on aged litter. Thirty-six grid samples were taken during a winter flock in Mississippi on days 2, 22, and 45. On day 45, eight additional samples were taken near the feeders and waterers (F/W). Geostatistical contour plots indicate NH 3 flux on day 2 was elevated in the brood area of house one (H1) where litter and air temperatures were highest; a commercial litter treatment held the NH 3 flux near zero for approximately 45% of the brood area in house two (H2). Day 45 NH 3 fluxes were similar, averaging 694 mg m -2 h -1 in H1 vs. 644 mg m -2 h -1 in H2; both houses exhibited greater NH 3 flux near the cooling pads. Ammonia flux, litter moisture and pH were diminished at the F/W locations. Heavy cake near the exhaust fans provided the lowest recorded litter pH, highest litter moisture and ammonium (NH 4) with no NH 3 flux at the flock's end. Trends in litter condition based on bird activity were evident, but individual differences persisted between the houses. The importance of cake formation over the litter surface and differences based on location, both related to bird activity and house structure, should be considered in NH 3 mitigation strategies.

  19. 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)

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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. PMID:27434187

  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. 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. PMID:19486382

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Interrill erosion, runoff and sediment size distribution as affected by slope steepness and antecedent moisture content

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Defersha, M. B.; Quraishi, S.; Melesse, A.

    2010-08-01

    Soil erosion is a two-phase process consisting of the detachment of individual particles and their transport by erosive agents such as flowing water. The rate at which erosion occurs depends upon the individual as well as interactive effects of different parameters responsible for soil erosion. The study discusses results of a laboratory analysis and evaluates the effect of slope steepness and antecedent moisture content on sediment yield (wash) and runoff rate. Interrill sediment yield, splash detachment, runoff, and sediment size distribution were measured in laboratory erosion pans under simulated total duration of 90 min. Rainfall intensity at 120 mm/hr, 70 mm/hr, and 55 mm/hr were applied sequentially at 9, 25, and 45% slope steepness for three soils (Alemaya Black soil, Regosols, and Cambisols) varied from clay to sandy clay loam in texture with wet and dry antecedent water contents. As slope steepness increased from 9 to 25% splash increased for five treatments and decreased for the remaining treatment; washed sediment increased for all treatments. As slope increased from 25 to 45% splash decreased for five treatments but increased for one treatment, and washed sediment increased for three treatments but decreased for the other three treatments. Pre-wetting decreased splash detachment for all soil treatments and rate of reduction was high for the highly aggregated soil, Alemaya Black soil and low for the less aggregated soil Regosols. Splash sediment and sediment yield was not correlated. Change in splash with increase in slope steepness was also not correlated with change in sediment yield. Change in runoff rate with increase in slope steepness was correlated (r=0.66) with change in sediment yield. For Alemaya Black soil and Regosols, splashed sediment size distribution was correlated with washed sediment size distribution. Interrill erosion models that include runoff and rainfall intensity parameters were a better fit for these data than the rainfall

  9. [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.

  10. [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. PMID:24483084

  11. The state of nano-sized titanium dioxide (TiO2) may affect sunscreen performance.

    PubMed

    Tyner, K M; Wokovich, A M; Godar, D E; Doub, W H; Sadrieh, N

    2011-06-01

    In the past several years, there has been a trend in the sunscreen/cosmetics industry to replace micron-sized titanium dioxide (TiO(2)) particles with nanoscale materials. The increased use of nanoscale TiO(2) has resulted in questions about these and other nanoproducts. This study examines the effects of using nanoscale TiO(2) on ultraviolet (UV) attenuation in simple to complex sunscreen formulations. UV light attenuation, product stability, and potential damage to the skin barrier were examined with both nanoscale and microscale TiO(2) particles. Results indicate that none of the formulations decreased the barrier function of the skin and the best UV attenuation occurs when the TiO(2) particles are stabilized with a coating and evenly distributed such as with non-agglomerated coated nanoscale materials. This indicates that nanoscale TiO(2) may have better efficacy while lacking toxicity. PMID:21265867

  12. 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

  13. Neutrophil motility in extracellular matrix gels: mesh size and adhesion affect speed of migration.

    PubMed Central

    Kuntz, R M; Saltzman, W M

    1997-01-01

    Polymorphonuclear leukocyte (PMN) migration through tissue extracellular space is an essential step in the inflammatory response, but little is known about the factors influencing PMN migration through gels of extracellular matrix (ECM). In this study, PMN migration within reconstituted gels containing collagen type I or collagen type I supplemented with laminin, fibronectin, or heparin was measured by quantitative direct visualization, resulting in a random motility coefficient (mum a quantitative index for rate of cell dispersion) for the migrating cell population. The random motility coefficient in unsupplemented collagen (0.4 mg/ml) gels was approximately 9 x 10(-9) cm2/s. Supplementing gels with heparin or fibronectin produced a significant decrease in mu, even at the lowest concentrations studied (1 microgram/ml fibronectin or 0.4 microgram/ml heparin). At least 100 micrograms/ml of laminin, or 20% of the total gel protein, was required to produce a similar decrease in mu. Scanning electron microscopy revealed two different gel morphologies: laminin or fibronectin appeared to coat the 150-nm collagen fibers whereas heparin appeared to induce fiber bundle formation and, therefore, larger interstitial spaces. The decrease in mu observed in heparin-supplemented gels correlated with the increased mesh size of the fiber network, but the difference observed in mu for fibronectin- and laminin-supplemented gels did not correlate with either mesh size or the mechanical properties of the gel, as determined by rheological measurements. However, PMNs adhered to fibronectin-coated surfaces in greater numbers than to collagen- or laminin-coated surfaces, suggesting that changes in cell adhesion to protein fibers can also produce significant changes in cell motility within an ECM gel. Images FIGURE 2 FIGURE 3 FIGURE 9 PMID:9138592

  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. Bacterial Respiration and Growth Rates Affect the Feeding Preferences, Brood Size and Lifespan of Caenorhabditis elegans

    PubMed Central

    Yu, Li; Yan, Xiaomei; Ye, Chenglong; Zhao, Haiyan; Chen, Xiaoyun; Hu, Feng; Li, Huixin

    2015-01-01

    Bacteria serve as live food and nutrients for bacterial-feeding nematodes (BFNs) in soils, and influence nematodes behavior and physiology through their metabolism. Five bacterial taxa (Bacillus amyloliquefaciens JX1, Variovorax sp. JX14, Bacillus megaterium JX15, Pseudomonas fluorescens Y1 and Escherichia coli OP50) and the typical BFN Caenorhabditis elegans were selected to study the effects of bacterial respiration and growth rates on the feeding preferences, brood size and lifespan of nematodes. P. fluorescens Y1 and E. coli OP50 were found to be more active, with high respiration and rapid growth, whereas B. amyloliquefaciens JX1 and B. megaterium JX15 were inactive. The nematode C. elegans preferred active P. fluorescens Y1 and E. coli OP50 obviously. Furthermore, worms that fed on these two active bacteria produced more offspring but had shorter lifespan, while inactive and less preferred bacteria had increased nematodes lifespan and decreased the brood size. Based on these results, we propose that the bacterial activity may influence the behavior and life traits of C. elegans in the following ways: (1) active bacteria reproduce rapidly and emit high levels of CO2 attracting C. elegans; (2) these active bacteria use more resources in the nematodes’ gut to sustain their survival and reproduction, thereby reducing the worm's lifespan; (3) inactive bacteria may provide less food for worms than active bacteria, thus increasing nematodes lifespan but decreasing their fertility. Nematodes generally require a balance between their preferred foods and beneficial foods, only preferred food may not be beneficial for nematodes. PMID:26222828

  16. Do particle size and surface functionality affect uptake and depuration of gold nanoparticles by aquatic invertebrates?

    PubMed

    Park, Sujung; Woodhall, James; Ma, Guibin; Veinot, Jonathan G C; Boxall, Alistair B A

    2015-04-01

    Because of the widespread use of engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) in consumer and industrial products, it is inevitable that these materials will enter the environment. It is often stated that the uptake of ENPs into organisms in the environment is related to the particle size and surface functionality. To test this assumption, the present study investigated the uptake and depuration of gold nanoparticle (Au NPs) coated with either citrate (Au-citrate NPs), mercaptoundecanoic acid (Au-MUDA NPs), amino polyethylene glycol (PEG) thiol (Au-NH2 NPs), or PEG (Au-PEG NP) by the aquatic invertebrate Gammarus pulex. The studies were performed using a range of standard ecotoxicity media and natural waters, resulting in varying degrees of aggregation of the different NPs. Uptake of gold by G. pulex varied depending on the surface coatings, with Au-MUDA and Au-citrate NPs being taken up to a greater extent than Au-NH2 and Au-PEG NPs in all test media and natural waters. In all test media evaluated, higher amounts of amino and PEG-coated ENPs were eliminated compared with MUDA- and citrate-coated ENPs. No obvious relationships were seen between the aggregation state of the different Au NPs in treatment and uptake, suggesting that the widely accepted assumption that Au NP uptake is related to particle size does not hold for the range of aggregation states studied (67.1-178.8 nm). Positive correlations between particle number concentration in the media and uptake were observed, indicating that this factor might partly explain the differences in uptake of a particle from different media types.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. Allelopathic effects of litter Axonopus compressus against two weedy species and its persistence in soil.

    PubMed

    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

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. The abiotic litter decomposition in the drylands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, H.; Throop, H.; Rahn, T. A.

    2009-12-01

    The decomposition of litter is an important ecosystem function that controls carbon and nutrient cycling, which is well understood from the relationship between temperature and moisture. However, the decomposition in the arid and semiarid environments (hereafter drylands) is relatively poorly predicted due to several abiotic factors such as the effect of ultraviolet radiation and physical mixing of fallen litter with soil. The relative magnitude of these abiotic factors to ecosystem scale litter decomposition is still in debate. Here, we examine the effect of two major abiotic factors in the drylands litter decomposition by conducting a controlled laboratory study using plant litter and soil collected from Sonoran and Chihuahuan desert areas. The first part of the experiment focused on the effect of soil-litter mixing. We established a complete block design of three levels of soil and litter mixing (no mixing, light soil-litter mixing, and complete soil-litter mixing) in combination with three levels of soil moisture (1%, 2%, and 6% volumetric water content) using 2g of two most dominant species litter, grass and mesquite, and 50g of air-dried soils in 500ml mason jar and incubated them under 25C. We measured CO2 fluxes from these soil-litter incubations and harvested the soil and litter at 0, 1, 2, 4, 8, and 16 weeks and analyzed them of carbon and nitrogen content as well as the actual mass loss in the litter. The second part of the experiment focused on the effect of ultraviolet radiation. We established short-term litter incubation on a quartz chamber and used different temperature, moisture, and minerals to find the mechanism of photodegradation of litter. We measured CO2 fluxes from the litter incubation under ultraviolet radiation and also measured 13CO2 from these emissions. We were able to detect changes in the rate of carbon mineralization as a result of our treatments in the first week of soil-litter mixing experiment. The carbon mineralization rate was

  3. Estimating the Size of HIV Key Affected Populations in Chongqing, China, Using the Network Scale-Up Method

    PubMed Central

    Lin, Wen; Wu, Guohui; Zhang, Wei; Hladik, Wolfgang; Abdul-Quader, Abu; Bulterys, Marc; Fuller, Serena; Wang, Lu

    2013-01-01

    Objectives To estimate the average social network size in the general population and the size of HIV key affected populations (KAPs) in Chongqing municipality using the network scale-up method (NSUM). Methods A general population survey was conducted in 2011 through a multistage random sampling method. Participants aged between 18 and 60 years were recruited. The average social network size (c) was estimated and adjusted by known population method. The size of HIV KAP in Chongqing municipality was estimated using the adjusted c value with adjustment for the transmission effect using the scaled respect factor. Results 3,026 inhabitants of Chongqing agreed to the survey, and 2,957 (97.7%) completed the questionnaire. The adjusted c value was 310. The estimated size of KAP was 28,418(95% Confidence Interval (CI):26,636∼30,201) for female sex workers (FSW), 163,199(95%CI:156,490∼169,908) for clients of FSW, 37,959(95%CI: 34,888∼41,030) for drug users (DU), 14,975(95%CI:13,047∼16,904) for injecting drug users (IDU) and 16,767(95%CI:14,602∼18,932) for men who have sex with men (MSM). The ratio of clients to FSW was 5.74∶1, and IDU accounted for 39.5% of the DU population. The estimates suggest that FSW account for 0.37% of the female population aged 15–49 years in Chongqing, and clients of FSW and MSM represent 2.09% and 0.21% of the male population aged 15–49 years in the city, respectively. Conclusion NSUM provides reasonable population size estimates for FSW, their clients, DU and IDU in Chongqing. However, it is likely to underestimate the population size of MSM even after adjusting for the transmission effect. PMID:23967246

  4. [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. PMID:27111995

  5. [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.

  6. Effects of litter addition on ectomycorrhizal associates of a lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) stand in Yellowstone National Park.

    PubMed

    Cullings, Kenneth W; New, Michael H; Makhija, Shilpa; Parker, V Thomas

    2003-07-01

    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. PMID:12839743

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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. PMID:27374555

  10. Overexpression of diacylglycerol acyltransferase in Yarrowia lipolytica affects lipid body size, number and distribution.

    PubMed

    Gajdoš, Peter; Ledesma-Amaro, Rodrigo; Nicaud, Jean-Marc; Čertík, Milan; Rossignol, Tristan

    2016-09-01

    In the oleaginous yeast Yarrowia lipolytica, the diacylglycerol acyltransferases (DGATs) are major factors for triacylglycerol (TAG) synthesis. The Q4 strain, in which the four acyltransferases have been deleted, is unable to accumulate lipids and to form lipid bodies (LBs). However, the expression of a single acyltransferase in this strain restores TAG accumulation and LB formation. Using this system, it becomes possible to characterize the activity and specificity of an individual DGAT. Here, we examined the effects of DGAT overexpression on lipid accumulation and LB formation in Y. lipolytica Specifically, we evaluated the consequences of introducing one or two copies of the Y. lipolytica DGAT genes YlDGA1 and YlDGA2 Overall, multi-copy DGAT overexpression increased the lipid content of yeast cells. However, the size and distribution of LBs depended on the specific DGAT overexpressed. YlDGA2 overexpression caused the formation of large LBs, while YlDGA1 overexpression generated smaller but more numerous LBs. This phenotype was accentuated through the addition of a second copy of the overexpressed gene and might be linked to the distinct subcellular localization of each DGAT, i.e. YlDga1 being localized in LBs, while YlDga2 being localized in a structure strongly resembling the endoplasmic reticulum. PMID:27506614

  11. 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. PMID:25922214

  12. Overexpression of diacylglycerol acyltransferase in Yarrowia lipolytica affects lipid body size, number and distribution.

    PubMed

    Gajdoš, Peter; Ledesma-Amaro, Rodrigo; Nicaud, Jean-Marc; Čertík, Milan; Rossignol, Tristan

    2016-09-01

    In the oleaginous yeast Yarrowia lipolytica, the diacylglycerol acyltransferases (DGATs) are major factors for triacylglycerol (TAG) synthesis. The Q4 strain, in which the four acyltransferases have been deleted, is unable to accumulate lipids and to form lipid bodies (LBs). However, the expression of a single acyltransferase in this strain restores TAG accumulation and LB formation. Using this system, it becomes possible to characterize the activity and specificity of an individual DGAT. Here, we examined the effects of DGAT overexpression on lipid accumulation and LB formation in Y. lipolytica Specifically, we evaluated the consequences of introducing one or two copies of the Y. lipolytica DGAT genes YlDGA1 and YlDGA2 Overall, multi-copy DGAT overexpression increased the lipid content of yeast cells. However, the size and distribution of LBs depended on the specific DGAT overexpressed. YlDGA2 overexpression caused the formation of large LBs, while YlDGA1 overexpression generated smaller but more numerous LBs. This phenotype was accentuated through the addition of a second copy of the overexpressed gene and might be linked to the distinct subcellular localization of each DGAT, i.e. YlDga1 being localized in LBs, while YlDga2 being localized in a structure strongly resembling the endoplasmic reticulum.

  13. What can litter bags tell us about fauna effect on decomposition?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Frouz, J.

    2009-04-01

    Litter bags with various mesh sizes are common method to investigate role of individual size classes of soil organisms on litter decomposition in particular in investigation of fauna effect. These experiments showed that fauna in generally increased litter loss from the bags, which is interpreted as positive effect of fauna on decomposition. If the litter is presented in fine bags, all loss from the bags is likely to occur as CO2 or leaching however, in fauna accessible bags substantial amount of organic matter may loss bags as fauna excitements either because fauna migration out of the bag or just because excrement may mechanically fall out of the bag. Fauna have low assimilation efficiency so these excrements contain large amount of organic matter which is in fact not decomposed but just moved in soil profile. In order to detect this specialized microcosms techniques was applied, using two layer microcosms with litter and mineral layer, this techniques allow to measure not only amount of c that was lost from the litter bag nut also amount of c that accumulate below the bag. Thirteen experiments using these techniques in various parts of the world are revived here, these experiments showed no positive effect of fauna on C loss from the system but positive effect of fauna in litter removal from soil surface and its accumulation in mineral soil.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. A poor start in life negatively affects dominance status in adulthood independent of body size in green swordtails Xiphophorus helleri.

    PubMed

    Royle, Nick J; Lindström, Jan; Metcalfe, Neil B

    2005-09-22

    Whilst there is an abundance of studies revealing how dominance interactions affect access to resources critical for survival and reproductive success, very little is known about how dominance status is influenced by early life experiences. However, there is increasing evidence that early developmental trajectories can shape the physiology and behaviour of the adult. In particular, compensatory growth following a period of poor nutrition can have long-term effects on the phenotype. Since catch-up growth increases daily energy requirements and hence the motivation to acquire sufficient resources, it might either increase or decrease competitive ability and aggression. Here we test whether growth compensation early in life subsequently affects the dominance status of adult male swordtail fishes Xiphophorus helleri, a species with strong sexual dimorphism and male-male competition. Males that experienced a period of restricted food early in life subsequently caught up and achieved the same adult body and ornament size as control males that had been raised on ad libitum food throughout development, but were subordinate to size-matched controls, suggesting a trade-off between sexual attractiveness and competitive ability. This indicates that early life history and/or growth trajectory can be an important determinant of competitive ability independent of current body size. PMID:16191597

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  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. Diet calcium level but not calcium supplement particle size affects bone density and mechanical properties in ovariectomized rats.

    PubMed

    Shahnazari, Mohammad; Martin, Berdine R; Legette, Leecole L; Lachcik, Pamela J; Welch, Jo; Weaver, Connie M

    2009-07-01

    Calcium (Ca) supplements, especially Ca carbonate (CaCO3), are the main alternative sources of dietary Ca and an important part of a treatment regimen for osteoporosis, the most common metabolic bone disorder of aging and menopause. In a female ovariectomized (OVX) rat model for studying postmenopausal osteoporosis, we tested the hypothesis that a small compared with a large particle size of CaCO3 (13.0- vs. 18.5-mum geometric diameter) would result in increased Ca balance and subsequently bone mass and that this would be affected by dietary Ca level. We used 6-mo-old rats that were OVX either at 6 or 3 mo of age as models of early or stable menopausal status, respectively. The rats received semipurified diets that contained either 0.4 or 0.2% dietary Ca provided from CaCO3 of 2 particle sizes. A group of Sham-operated rats with intact ovaries served as control and were fed 0.4% dietary Ca from large particles. Estrogen deficiency as a result of ovariectomy had an adverse effect on bone density, mineral content, and bone mechanical properties (P < 0.001). Reducing dietary Ca from 0.4 to 0.2% resulted in significant adverse effects on bone density and mechanical properties (P < 0.001). The particle size of CaCO3 did not affect total Ca balance, bone dual energy X-ray absorptiometry and peripheral quantitative computed tomography indices, bone ash and Ca content, or the mechanical determinants of bone strength. We conclude that a decrease in particle size of CaCO3 to 70% of that typically found in Ca supplements does not provide a benefit to overall Ca metabolism or bone characteristics and that the amount of Ca consumed is of greater influence in enhancing Ca nutrition and skeletal strength.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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. PMID:23505967

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. Sequential monitoring of beach litter using webcams.

    PubMed

    Kako, Shin'ichiro; Isobe, Atsuhiko; Magome, Shinya

    2010-05-01

    This study attempts to establish a system for the sequential monitoring of beach litter using webcams placed at the Ookushi beach, Goto Islands, Japan, to establish the temporal variability in the quantities of beach litter every 90 min over a one and a half year period. The time series of the quantities of beach litter, computed by counting pixels with a greater lightness than a threshold value in photographs, shows that litter does not increase monotonically on the beach, but fluctuates mainly on a monthly time scale or less. To investigate what factors influence this variability, the time derivative of the quantity of beach litter is compared with satellite-derived wind speeds. It is found that the beach litter quantities vary largely with winds, but there may be other influencing factors. PMID:20392465

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  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. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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 ...

  18. 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)

  19. 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

  20. Combined effects of leaf litter and soil microsite on decomposition process in arid rangelands.

    PubMed

    Carrera, Analía Lorena; Bertiller, Mónica Beatriz

    2013-01-15

    The objective of this study was to analyze the combined effects of leaf litter quality and soil properties on litter decomposition and soil nitrogen (N) mineralization at conserved (C) and disturbed by sheep grazing (D) vegetation states in arid rangelands of the Patagonian Monte. It was hypothesized that spatial differences in soil inorganic-N levels have larger impact on decomposition processes of non-recalcitrant than recalcitrant leaf litter (low and high concentration of secondary compounds, respectively). Leaf litter and upper soil were extracted from modal size plant patches (patch microsite) and the associated inter-patch area (inter-patch microsite) in C and D. Leaf litter was pooled per vegetation state and soil was pooled combining vegetation state and microsite. Concentrations of N and secondary compounds in leaf litter and total and inorganic-N in soil were assessed at each pooled sample. Leaf litter decay and soil N mineralization at microsites of C and D were estimated in 160 microcosms incubated at field capacity (16 month). C soils had higher total N than D soils (0.58 and 0.41 mg/g, respectively). Patch soil of C and inter-patch soil of D exhibited the highest values of inorganic-N (8.8 and 8.4 μg/g, respectively). Leaf litter of C was less recalcitrant and decomposed faster than that of D. Non-recalcitrant leaf litter decay and induced soil N mineralization had larger variation among microsites (coefficients of variation = 25 and 41%, respectively) than recalcitrant leaf litter (coefficients of variation = 12 and 32%, respectively). Changes in the canopy structure induced by grazing disturbance increased leaf litter recalcitrance, and reduced litter decay and soil N mineralization, independently of soil N levels. This highlights the importance of the combined effects of soil and leaf litter properties on N cycling probably with consequences for vegetation reestablishment and dynamics, rangeland resistance and resilience with implications

  1. Combined effects of leaf litter and soil microsite on decomposition process in arid rangelands.

    PubMed

    Carrera, Analía Lorena; Bertiller, Mónica Beatriz

    2013-01-15

    The objective of this study was to analyze the combined effects of leaf litter quality and soil properties on litter decomposition and soil nitrogen (N) mineralization at conserved (C) and disturbed by sheep grazing (D) vegetation states in arid rangelands of the Patagonian Monte. It was hypothesized that spatial differences in soil inorganic-N levels have larger impact on decomposition processes of non-recalcitrant than recalcitrant leaf litter (low and high concentration of secondary compounds, respectively). Leaf litter and upper soil were extracted from modal size plant patches (patch microsite) and the associated inter-patch area (inter-patch microsite) in C and D. Leaf litter was pooled per vegetation state and soil was pooled combining vegetation state and microsite. Concentrations of N and secondary compounds in leaf litter and total and inorganic-N in soil were assessed at each pooled sample. Leaf litter decay and soil N mineralization at microsites of C and D were estimated in 160 microcosms incubated at field capacity (16 month). C soils had higher total N than D soils (0.58 and 0.41 mg/g, respectively). Patch soil of C and inter-patch soil of D exhibited the highest values of inorganic-N (8.8 and 8.4 μg/g, respectively). Leaf litter of C was less recalcitrant and decomposed faster than that of D. Non-recalcitrant leaf litter decay and induced soil N mineralization had larger variation among microsites (coefficients of variation = 25 and 41%, respectively) than recalcitrant leaf litter (coefficients of variation = 12 and 32%, respectively). Changes in the canopy structure induced by grazing disturbance increased leaf litter recalcitrance, and reduced litter decay and soil N mineralization, independently of soil N levels. This highlights the importance of the combined effects of soil and leaf litter properties on N cycling probably with consequences for vegetation reestablishment and dynamics, rangeland resistance and resilience with implications

  2. 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