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Sample records for affect plant communities

  1. Herbicide drift affects plant and arthropod communities

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Field edges, old fields, and other semi-natural habitats in agricultural landscapes support diverse plant communities that help sustain pollinators, predators, and other beneficial arthropods. These plant and arthropod communities may be at persistent ecotoxicological risk from herbicides applied to...

  2. Herbivory of an invasive slug is affected by earthworms and the composition of plant communities

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Biodiversity loss and species invasions are among the most important human-induced global changes. Moreover, these two processes are interlinked as ecosystem invasibility is considered to increase with decreasing biodiversity. In temperate grasslands, earthworms serve as important ecosystem engineers making up the majority of soil faunal biomass. Herbivore behaviour has been shown to be affected by earthworms, however it is unclear whether these effects differ with the composition of plant communities. To test this we conducted a mesocosm experiment where we added earthworms (Annelida: Lumbricidae) to planted grassland communities with different plant species composition (3 vs. 12 plant spp.). Plant communities had equal plant densities and ratios of the functional groups grasses, non-leguminous forbs and legumes. Later, Arion vulgaris slugs (formerly known as A. lusitanicus; Gastropoda: Arionidae) were added and allowed to freely choose among the available plant species. This slug species is listed among the 100 worst alien species in Europe. We hypothesized that (i) the food choice of slugs would be altered by earthworms’ specific effects on the growth and nutrient content of plant species, (ii) slug herbivory will be less affected by earthworms in plant communities containing more plant species than in those with fewer plant species because of a more readily utilization of plant resources making the impacts of earthworms less pronounced. Results Slug herbivory was significantly affected by both earthworms and plant species composition. Slugs damaged 60% less leaves when earthworms were present, regardless of the species composition of the plant communities. Percent leaf area consumed by slugs was 40% lower in communities containing 12 plant species; in communities containing only three species earthworms increased slug leaf area consumption. Grasses were generally avoided by slugs. Leaf length and number of tillers was increased in mesocosms

  3. Fuel breaks affect nonnative species abundance in Californian plant communities

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Merriam, K.E.; Keeley, J.E.; Beyers, J.L.

    2006-01-01

    We evaluated the abundance of nonnative plants on fuel breaks and in adjacent untreated areas to determine if fuel treatments promote the invasion of nonnative plant species. Understanding the relationship between fuel treatments and nonnative plants is becoming increasingly important as federal and state agencies are currently implementing large fuel treatment programs throughout the United States to reduce the threat of wildland fire. Our study included 24 fuel breaks located across the State of California. We found that nonnative plant abundance was over 200% higher on fuel breaks than in adjacent wildland areas. Relative nonnative cover was greater on fuel breaks constructed by bulldozers (28%) than on fuel breaks constructed by other methods (7%). Canopy cover, litter cover, and duff depth also were significantly lower on fuel breaks constructed by bulldozers, and these fuel breaks had significantly more exposed bare ground than other types of fuel breaks. There was a significant decline in relative nonnative cover with increasing distance from the fuel break, particularly in areas that had experienced more numerous fires during the past 50 years, and in areas that had been grazed. These data suggest that fuel breaks could provide establishment sites for nonnative plants, and that nonnatives may invade surrounding areas, especially after disturbances such as fire or grazing. Fuel break construction and maintenance methods that leave some overstory canopy and minimize exposure of bare ground may be less likely to promote nonnative plants. ?? 2006 by the Ecological Society of America.

  4. Does a decade of elevated [CO2] affect a desert perennial plant community?

    PubMed

    Newingham, Beth A; Vanier, Cheryl H; Kelly, Lauren J; Charlet, Therese N; Smith, Stanley D

    2014-01-01

    Understanding the effects of elevated [CO2 ] on plant community structure is crucial to predicting ecosystem responses to global change. Early predictions suggested that productivity in deserts would increase via enhanced water-use efficiency under elevated [CO2], but the response of intact arid plant communities to elevated [CO2 ] is largely unknown. We measured changes in perennial plant community characteristics (cover, species richness and diversity) after 10 yr of elevated [CO2] exposure in an intact Mojave Desert community at the Nevada Desert Free-Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) Facility. Contrary to expectations, total cover, species richness, and diversity were not affected by elevated [CO2]. Over the course of the experiment, elevated [CO2] had no effect on changes in cover of the evergreen C3 shrub, Larrea tridentata; alleviated decreases in cover of the C4 bunchgrass, Pleuraphis rigida; and slightly reduced the cover of C3 drought-deciduous shrubs. Thus, we generally found no effect of elevated [CO2] on plant communities in this arid ecosystem. Extended drought, slow plant growth rates, and highly episodic germination and recruitment of new individuals explain the lack of strong perennial plant community shifts after a decade of elevated [CO2]. PMID:24117700

  5. Different Degrees of Plant Invasion Significantly Affect the Richness of the Soil Fungal Community

    PubMed Central

    Si, Chuncan; Liu, Xueyan; Wang, Congyan; Wang, Lei; Dai, Zhicong; Qi, Shanshan; Du, Daolin

    2013-01-01

    Several studies have shown that soil microorganisms play a key role in the success of plant invasion. Thus, ecologists have become increasingly interested in understanding the ecological effects of biological invasion on soil microbial communities given continuing increase in the effects of invasive plants on native ecosystems. This paper aims to provide a relatively complete depiction of the characteristics of soil microbial communities under different degrees of plant invasion. Rhizospheric soils of the notorious invasive plant Wedelia trilobata with different degrees of invasion (uninvaded, low-degree, and high-degree using its coverage in the invaded ecosystems) were collected from five discrete areas in Hainan Province, P. R. China. Soil physicochemical properties and community structure of soil microorganisms were assessed. Low degrees of W. trilobata invasion significantly increased soil pH values whereas high degrees of invasion did not significantly affected soil pH values. Moreover, the degree of W. trilobata invasion exerted significant effects on soil Ca concentration but did not significantly change other indices of soil physicochemical properties. Low and high degrees of W. trilobata invasion increased the richness of the soil fungal community but did not pose obvious effects on the soil bacterial community. W. trilobata invasion also exerted obvious effects on the community structure of soil microorganisms that take part in soil nitrogen cycling. These changes in soil physicochemical properties and community structure of soil microbial communities mediated by different degrees of W. trilobata invasion may present significant functions in further facilitating the invasion process. PMID:24392015

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-19

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

  7. Plant hybrid zones affect biodiversity: Tools for a genetic-based understanding of community structure

    SciTech Connect

    Whitham, T.G.; Martinsen, G.D.; Keim, P.; Floate, K.D.; Dungey, H.S. |; Potts, B.M.

    1999-03-01

    Plant hybrid zones are dynamic centers of ecological and evolutionary processes for plants and their associated communities. Studies in the wild and in gardens with synthetic crosses showed that hybrid eucalypts supports the greatest species richness and abundances of insect and fungal taxa. In an updated review of 152 case studies of taxa associated with diverse hybridizing systems, there were 43 (28%) cases of hybrids being more susceptible than their parent species, 7 (5%) resistant, 35 (23%) additive, 35 (23%) dominant, and 32 (21%) showed no response to hybridization. Thus, most taxa respond to hybrids in ways that result in equal or greater abundance, and hybrids tend to accumulate the taxa of their parent species. These studies suggest that genetic-based plant traits affect the distribution of many species and that the variation in hybrids can be used as tools to examine the genetic components of community structure and biodiversity.

  8. 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

  9. Drought induced changes of plant belowground carbon allocation affect soil microbial community function in a subalpine meadow

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fuchslueger, L.; Bahn, M.; Fritz, K.; Hasibeder, R.; Richter, A.

    2012-12-01

    There is growing evidence that climate extremes may affect ecosystem carbon dynamics more strongly than gradual changes in temperatures or precipitation. Climate projections suggest more frequent heat waves accompanied by extreme drought periods in many parts of Europe, including the Alps. Drought is considered to decrease plant C uptake and turnover, which may in turn decrease belowground C allocation and potentially has significant consequences for microbial community composition and functioning. However, information on effects of drought on C dynamics at the plant-soil interface in real ecosystems is still scarce. Our study aimed at understanding how summer drought affects soil microbial community composition and the uptake of recently assimilated plant C by different microbial groups in grassland. We hypothesized that under drought 1) the microbial community shifts, fungi being less affected than bacteria, 2) plants decrease belowground C allocation, which further reduces C transfer to soil microbes and 3) the combined effects of belowground C allocation, reduced soil C transport due to reduced soil moisture and shift in microbial communities cause an accumulation of extractable organic C in the soil. Our study was conducted as part of a rain-exclusion experiment in a subalpine meadow in the Austrian Central Alps. After eight weeks of rain exclusion we pulse labelled drought and control plots with 13CO2 and traced C in plant biomass, extractable organic C (EOC) and soil microbial communities using phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA). Drought induced a shift of the microbial community composition: gram-positive bacteria became more dominant, whereas gram-negative bacteria were not affected by drought. Also the relative abundance of fungal biomass was not affected by drought. While total microbial biomass (as estimated by total microbial PLFA content) increased during drought, less 13C was taken up. This reduction was pronounced for bacterial biomarkers. It reflects

  10. Agave salmiana Plant Communities in Central Mexico as Affected by Commercial Use

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martínez Salvador, Martin; Mata-González, Ricardo; Morales Nieto, Carlos; Valdez-Cepeda, Ricardo

    2012-01-01

    Agave salmiana is a native plant species harvested for the commercial production of mezcal ( Agave spirits) in the highlands of central Mexico. The objective of this study was to identify vegetation changes in natural communities where A. salmiana has been differentially harvested for commercial purposes. Three plant community categories were identified in the state of Zacatecas based on their history of A. salmiana utilization: short (less than 10 years of use), moderate (about 25 years), and long (60 or more years). Species cover, composition, and density were evaluated in field surveys by use category. A gradient of vegetation structure of the communities parallels the duration of A. salmiana use. A. salmiana density was greatest (3,125 plants ha-1) in the short-use areas and less (892 plants ha-1) in the moderate-use areas, associated with markedly greater density of shrubs (200%) and Opuntia spp. (50%) in moderate-use areas. The main shrubs were Larrea tridentata, Mimosa biuncifera, Jatropha dioica and Buddleia scordioides while the main Opuntia species were Opuntia leucotricha and Opuntia robusta. A. salmiana density was least (652 plants ha-1) in the long-use areas where shrubs were less abundant but Opuntia spp. density was 25% higher than in moderate-use areas. We suggest that shrubs may increase with moderate use creating an intermediate successional stage that facilitates the establishment of Opuntia spp. Long-term Agave use is generating new plant communities dominated by Opuntia spp. (nopaleras) as a replacement of the original communities dominated by A. salmiana (magueyeras).

  11. Do postfire mulching treatments affect plant community recovery in California coastal sage scrub lands?

    PubMed

    McCullough, Sarah A; Endress, Bryan A

    2012-01-01

    In recent years, the use of postfire mulch treatments to stabilize slopes and reduce soil erosion in shrubland ecosystems has increased; however, the potential effects on plant recovery have not been examined. To evaluate the effects of mulching treatments on postfire plant recovery in southern California coastal sage scrub, we conducted a field experiment with three experimental treatments, consisting of two hydromulch products and an erosion control blanket, plus a control treatment. The area burned in 2007, and treatments were applied to six plot blocks before the 2008 growing season. Treatment effects on plant community recovery were analyzed with a mixed effects ANOVA analysis using a univariate repeated measures approach. Absolute plant cover increased from 13 to 90% by the end of the second growing season, and the mean relative cover of exotic species was 32%. The two hydromulch treatments had no effect on any plant community recovery response variable measured. For the erosion control blanket treatment, the amount of bare ground cover at the end of the second growing season was significantly lower (P = 0.01), and greater shrub height was observed (P < 0.01). We conclude that postfire mulch treatments did not provide either a major benefit or negative impact to coastal sage scrub recovery on the study area. PMID:22042409

  12. Rhizosphere microbial community composition affects cadmium and zinc uptake by the metal-hyperaccumulating plant Arabidopsis halleri.

    PubMed

    Muehe, E Marie; Weigold, Pascal; Adaktylou, Irini J; Planer-Friedrich, Britta; Kraemer, Ute; Kappler, Andreas; Behrens, Sebastian

    2015-03-01

    The remediation of metal-contaminated soils by phytoextraction depends on plant growth and plant metal accessibility. Soil microorganisms can affect the accumulation of metals by plants either by directly or indirectly stimulating plant growth and activity or by (im)mobilizing and/or complexing metals. Understanding the intricate interplay of metal-accumulating plants with their rhizosphere microbiome is an important step toward the application and optimization of phytoremediation. We compared the effects of a "native" and a strongly disturbed (gamma-irradiated) soil microbial communities on cadmium and zinc accumulation by the plant Arabidopsis halleri in soil microcosm experiments. A. halleri accumulated 100% more cadmium and 15% more zinc when grown on the untreated than on the gamma-irradiated soil. Gamma irradiation affected neither plant growth nor the 1 M HCl-extractable metal content of the soil. However, it strongly altered the soil microbial community composition and overall cell numbers. Pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons of DNA extracted from rhizosphere samples of A. halleri identified microbial taxa (Lysobacter, Streptomyces, Agromyces, Nitrospira, "Candidatus Chloracidobacterium") of higher relative sequence abundance in the rhizospheres of A. halleri plants grown on untreated than on gamma-irradiated soil, leading to hypotheses on their potential effect on plant metal uptake. However, further experimental evidence is required, and wherefore we discuss different mechanisms of interaction of A. halleri with its rhizosphere microbiome that might have directly or indirectly affected plant metal accumulation. Deciphering the complex interactions between A. halleri and individual microbial taxa will help to further develop soil metal phytoextraction as an efficient and sustainable remediation strategy. PMID:25595759

  13. Rhizosphere Microbial Community Composition Affects Cadmium and Zinc Uptake by the Metal-Hyperaccumulating Plant Arabidopsis halleri

    PubMed Central

    Muehe, E. Marie; Weigold, Pascal; Adaktylou, Irini J.; Planer-Friedrich, Britta; Kraemer, Ute; Kappler, Andreas

    2015-01-01

    The remediation of metal-contaminated soils by phytoextraction depends on plant growth and plant metal accessibility. Soil microorganisms can affect the accumulation of metals by plants either by directly or indirectly stimulating plant growth and activity or by (im)mobilizing and/or complexing metals. Understanding the intricate interplay of metal-accumulating plants with their rhizosphere microbiome is an important step toward the application and optimization of phytoremediation. We compared the effects of a “native” and a strongly disturbed (gamma-irradiated) soil microbial communities on cadmium and zinc accumulation by the plant Arabidopsis halleri in soil microcosm experiments. A. halleri accumulated 100% more cadmium and 15% more zinc when grown on the untreated than on the gamma-irradiated soil. Gamma irradiation affected neither plant growth nor the 1 M HCl-extractable metal content of the soil. However, it strongly altered the soil microbial community composition and overall cell numbers. Pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons of DNA extracted from rhizosphere samples of A. halleri identified microbial taxa (Lysobacter, Streptomyces, Agromyces, Nitrospira, “Candidatus Chloracidobacterium”) of higher relative sequence abundance in the rhizospheres of A. halleri plants grown on untreated than on gamma-irradiated soil, leading to hypotheses on their potential effect on plant metal uptake. However, further experimental evidence is required, and wherefore we discuss different mechanisms of interaction of A. halleri with its rhizosphere microbiome that might have directly or indirectly affected plant metal accumulation. Deciphering the complex interactions between A. halleri and individual microbial taxa will help to further develop soil metal phytoextraction as an efficient and sustainable remediation strategy. PMID:25595759

  14. Roads in northern hardwood forests affect adjacent plant communities and soil chemistry in proportion to the maintained roadside area.

    PubMed

    Neher, Deborah A; Asmussen, David; Lovell, Sarah Taylor

    2013-04-01

    The spatial extent of the transported materials from three road types was studied in forest soil and vegetative communities in Vermont. Hypotheses were two-fold: 1) soil chemical concentrations above background environment would reflect traffic volume and road type (highway>2-lane paved>gravel), and 2) plant communities close to the road and near roads with greater traffic will be disturbance-tolerant and adept at colonization. Soil samples were gathered from 12 randomly identified transects for each of three road types classified as "highway," "two-lane paved," and "gravel." Using GIS mapping, transects were constructed perpendicular to the road, and samples were gathered at the shoulder, ditch, backslope, 10 m from the edge of the forest, and 50 m from road center. Sample locations were analyzed for a suite of soil elements and parameters, as well as percent area coverage by plant species. The main effects from roads depended on the construction modifications required for a roadway (i.e., vegetation clearing and topography modification). The cleared area defined the type of plant community and the distance that road pollutants travel. Secondarily, road presence affected soil chemistry. Metal concentrations (e.g., Pb, Cd, Cu, and Zn) correlated positively with road type. Proximity to all road types made the soils more alkaline (pH 7.7) relative to the acidic soil of the adjacent native forest (pH 5.6). Roadside microtopography had marked effects on the composition of plant communities based on the direction of water flow. Ditch areas supported wetland plant species, greater soil moisture and sulfur content, while plant communities closer to the road were characteristic of drier upland zones. The area beyond the edge of the forest did not appear to be affected chemically or physically by any of the road types, possibly due to the dense vegetation that typically develops outside of the managed right-of-way. PMID:23435063

  15. Plant Host Species and Geographic Distance Affect the Structure of Aboveground Fungal Symbiont Communities, and Environmental Filtering Affects Belowground Communities in a Coastal Dune Ecosystem.

    PubMed

    David, Aaron S; Seabloom, Eric W; May, Georgiana

    2016-05-01

    Microbial symbionts inhabit tissues of all plants and animals. Their community composition depends largely on two ecological processes: (1) filtering by abiotic conditions and host species determining the environments that symbionts are able to colonize and (2) dispersal-limitation determining the pool of symbionts available to colonize a given host and community spatial structure. In plants, the above- and belowground tissues represent such distinct habitats for symbionts that we expect different effects of filtering and spatial structuring on their symbiont communities. In this study, we characterized above- and belowground communities of fungal endophytes--fungi living asymptomatically within plants--to understand the contributions of filtering and spatial structure to endophyte community composition. We used a culture-based approach to characterize endophytes growing in leaves and roots of three species of coastal beachgrasses in dunes of the USA Pacific Northwest. For leaves, endophyte isolation frequency and OTU richness depended primarily on plant host species. In comparison, for roots, both isolation frequency and OTU richness increased from the nutrient-poor front of the dune to the higher-nutrient backdune. Endophyte community composition in leaves exhibited a distance-decay relationship across the region. In a laboratory assay, faster growth rates and lower spore production were more often associated with leaf- than root-inhabiting endophytes. Overall, our results reveal a greater importance of biotic filtering by host species and dispersal-limitation over regional geographic distances for aboveground leaf endophyte communities and stronger effects of abiotic environmental filtering and locally patchy distributions for belowground root endophyte communities. PMID:26626912

  16. CO2, Temperature, and Soil Moisture Interactions Affect NDVI and Reproductive Phenology in Old-Field Plant Communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Engel, C.; Weltzin, J.; Norby, R.

    2004-12-01

    Plant community composition and ecosystem function may be altered by global atmospheric and climate change, including increased atmospheric [CO2], temperature, and varying precipitation regimes. We are conducting an experiment at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) utilizing open-top chambers to administer experimental treatments of elevated CO2 (+300 ppm), warming (+ 3 degrees Celsius), and varying soil moisture availability to experimental plant communities constructed of seven common old-field species, including C3 and C4 grasses, forbs, and legumes. During 2004 we monitored plant community phenology (NDVI) and plant reproductive phenology. Early in the year, NDVI was greater in wet treatment plots, and was unaffected by main effects of temperature or CO2. This result suggests that early in the season warming is insufficient to affect early canopy development. Differences in soil moisture sustained throughout the winter and into early spring may constitute an important control on early canopy greenup. Elevated CO2 alleviated detrimental effects of warming on NDVI, but only early in the season. As ambient temperatures increased, elevated temperatures negatively impacted NDVI only in the dry plots. Wetter conditions ameliorate the effects of warming on canopy greenness during the warmer seasons of the year. Warming increased rates of bolting, number of inflorescences, and time to reproductive maturity for Andropogon virginicus (a C4 bunchgrass). Solidago Canadensis (a C3 late-season forb) also produced flowers earlier in elevated temperatures. Conversely, none of the C3 grasses and forbs that bolt or flower in late spring or early summer responded to temperature or CO2. Results indicate that warming and drought may impact plant community phenology, and plant species reproductive phenology. Clearly community phenology is driven by complex interactions among temperature, water, and CO2 that change throughout the season. Our data stresses the importance of

  17. Late Holocene to present climatic and anthropogenic drivers affecting wetland plant communities, Florida Everglades, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bernhardt, C. E.; Willard, D. A.

    2011-12-01

    We synthesize the paleoecological results of dozens of sediment cores to evaluate the complex interactions of regional climate variability and anthropogenic modifications during the late Holocene affecting the development, stability, and resilience of the Florida Everglades wetlands. The Everglades is a mosaic of wetland types whose distributions are controlled by water depth, hydroperiod, fire, and substrate. External stressors could trigger shifts in the vegetation composition and change the community structure. Episodic severe periods of aridity during the late Holocene caused regional shifts in vegetation including the initiation and development of tree islands and sawgrass ridges, which became established during abrupt drought events. While the timing varies site to site, most droughts occurred during well-documented global climate events like the Medieval Climate Anomaly and the Little Ice Age. However, slough vegetation is more resilient to climate variability and quickly returns to its original composition after droughts. Twentieth century modification to the natural Everglades hydrology saw the distribution wetlands severely altered. The response was not homogeneous. Some communities were drowned by prolonged hydroperiods whereas other communities, such as marl prairies became drier. However, slough vegetation in the ridge and slough landscape did not respond to 20th century land use but instead has been sensitive to changes in precipitation associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation.

  18. The community structure of endophytic bacteria in different parts of Huanglongbing-affected citrus plants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The analyses methods of Pearson correlation coefficient (PCC), hierarchical cluster analysis and diversity index were used to study the relevance between citrus huanglongbing (HLB) and the endophytic bacteria in different branches and leaves as well as roots of huanglongbing (HLB)-affected citrus tr...

  19. WHEAT LEAF RUST SEVERITY AS AFFECTED BY PLANT DENSITY AND SPECIES PROPORTION IN SIMPLE COMMUNITIES OF WHEAT AND WILD OATS

    EPA Science Inventory

    While it is generally accepted that dense stands of plants exacerbate epidermics caused by foliar pathogens, there is little experimental evidence to support this view. We grew model plant communities consisting of wheat and wild oats at different densities and proportions and ex...

  20. WHEAT LEAF RUST SEVERITY AS AFFECTED BY PLANT DENSITY AND SPECIES PROPORTION IN SIMPLE COMMUNITIES OF WHEAT AND WILD OATS

    EPA Science Inventory

    While it is generally accepted that dense stands of plants exacerbate epidemics caused by foliar pathogens, there is little experimental evidence to support this view. We grew model plant communities consisting of wheat and wild oats at different densities and proportions and exp...

  1. How does altered precipitation and annual grass invasion affect plant N uptake in a native semi-arid shrub community?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mauritz, M.; Lipson, D.; Cleland, E. E.

    2012-12-01

    Climate change is expected to alter precipitation patterns, which will change the timing and amount of plant resources. Precipitation patterns determine water and nitrogen (N) availability, because water stimulates microbial N turnover and N transport. In order for plants to utilize water and N, they must coincide with the phenology and meet physiological requirements of the plant. As resource supply shifts, differences in species' ability to acquire resources will affect plant community composition. Semiarid ecosystems, such as shrublands in Southern California, are particularly sensitive to shifts in precipitation because they are severely water limited. This study takes advantage of the altered phenology and resource demands presented by invasive annual grasses in a native semiarid shrubland. The goal is to understand how altered precipitation patterns affect plant N uptake. Rainfall levels were manipulated to 50% and 150% of ambient levels. It is expected that higher rainfall levels promote annual grass invasion because grasses have higher water and N requirements and begin to grow earlier in the season than shrubs. A 15N tracer was added with the first rain event and plant samples were collected regularly to track the movement of N into the plants. Net soil N accumulation was determined using resin bags. Invasive grasses altered the timing and amount of N uptake but amount of rainfall had less effect on N distribution. 15N was detected sooner and at higher level in grasses than shrubs. 24hours after the first rain event 15N was detectable in grasses, 15N accumulated rapidly and peaked 2 months earlier than shrubs. Shrub 15N levels remained at pre-rain event levels for the first 2 months and began to increase at the beginning of spring, peak mid-spring and decline as the shrubs entered summer dormancy. One year later 15N levels in annual grass litter remained high, while 15N levels in shrubs returned to initial background levels as a result of resorption. 15N

  2. How do soil texture, plant community composition and earthworms affected the infiltration rate in a grassland plant diversity experiment depending on season?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fischer, Christine; Britta, Merkel; Nico, Eisenhauer; Christiane, Roscher; Sabine, Attinger; Stefan, Scheu; Anke, Hildebrandt

    2013-04-01

    Background and aims: In this study we analyzed the influences of plant community characteristics, soil texture and earthworm presence on infiltration rates on a managed grassland plant diversity experiment assessing the role of biotic and abiotic factors on soil hydrology. Methods: We measured infiltration using a hood infiltrometer in subplots with ambient and reduced earthworm density (earthworm extraction) nested in plots of different plant species richness (1, 4, and 16), plant functional group number and composition (1 to 4; legumes, grasses, small herbs, tall herbs) in early summer (June) and autumn (September, October) 2011. Results: The presence of certain plant functional groups such as grasses and legumes influenced infiltration rates and this effect enhanced during the growing season. Infiltration was significantly higher in plots containing legumes than in plots without, and it was significantly lower in the presence of grasses than in their absence. In early summer, earthworm presence and biomass increased the infiltration rates, independently of plant species richness. In October, plant species richness only affected infiltration rates in reduced earthworm plots. At the end of the growing season earthworm populations were negatively influenced by grasses and positively by legumes. In September, infiltration rates were positive related to the proportion of finer grains. The correlation disappears when removing all plots containing legumes from the sample. For all measurements the infiltration rates decreases from early summer to autumn at the matric potentials at pressure zero and -0.02 m, but not for smaller macropores at matric potentials -0.04 and -0.06m. Conclusions: Considering infiltration rates as ecosystem function, this function will largely depend on the ecosystem composition and season, not on biodiversity per se. Our results indicate that biotic factors are of overriding influence for shaping infiltration rates mainly for larger macropores

  3. Governmental Policies Affecting Community Colleges.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Cohen, Arthur M.

    This document traces the influence of governmental policies on American community colleges, focusing on how different levels of government have affected the colleges at various stages of their development with respect to college organization and governance, finance, enrollment, and curriculum. The community college's main contribution has been to…

  4. Soil microbial abundance, activity and diversity response in two different altitude-adapted plant communities affected by wildfire in Sierra Nevada National Park (Granada, Spain)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bárcenas-Moreno, Gema; Zavala, Lorena; Jordan, Antonio; Bååth, Erland; Mataix-Beneyto, Jorge

    2013-04-01

    Plant communities can play an important role in fire severity and post-fire ecosystem recovery due to their role as combustible and different plant-soil microorganisms interactions. Possible differences induced by plant and microorganisms response after fire could affect the general ecosystem short and long-term response and its sustainability. The main objective of this work was the evaluation of the effect of wildfire on soil microbial abundance, activity and diversity in two different plant communities associated to different altitudes in Sierra Nevada National Park (Granada, Spain). Samples were collected in two areas located on the Sierra Nevada Mountain between 1700 and 2000 m above sea level which were affected by a large wildfire in 2005. Two samplings were carried out 8 and 20 months after fire and samples were collected in both burned and unburned (control) zones in each plant community area. Area A is located at 1700m and it is formed by Quercus rotundifolia forest while area B is located at 2000 m altitude and is composed of alpine vegetation formed by creeping bearing shrubs. Microbial biomass measured by Fumigation-Extraction method followed the same trend in both areas showing slight and no significant differences between burned and unburned area during the study period while viable and cultivable bacteria abundance were markedly higher in fire affected samples than in the control ones in both samplings. Viable and cultivable filamentous fungi had different behavior depending of plant vegetation community studied showing no differences between burned and unburned area in area A while was significantly higher in burned samples than in the control ones in area B. Microbial activity monitoring with soil microbial respiration appears to had been affected immediately after fire since microbial respiration was lower in burned samples from area A than in unburned one only 8 months after fire and no significant differences were observed between burned and

  5. Plant assemblage composition and soil P concentration differentially affect communities of AM and total fungi in a semi-arid grassland.

    PubMed

    Klabi, Rim; Bell, Terrence H; Hamel, Chantal; Iwaasa, Alan; Schellenberg, Mike; Raies, Aly; St-Arnaud, Marc

    2015-01-01

    Adding inorganic P- and N-fixing legumes to semi-arid grasslands can increase forage yield, but soil nutrient concentrations and plant cover may also interact to modify soil fungal populations, impacting short- and long-term forage production. We tested the effect of plant assemblage (seven native grasses, seven native grasses + the domesticated N-fixing legume Medicago sativa, seven native grasses + the native N-fixing legume Dalea purpurea or the introduced grass Bromus biebersteinii + M. sativa) and soil P concentration (addition of 0 or 200 P2O5 kg ha(-1) at sowing) on the diversity and community structure of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi and total fungi over two consecutive years, using 454-pyrosequencing of 18S rDNA and ITS amplicons. Treatment effects were stronger in the wet year (2008) than the dry year (2009). The presence of an N-fixing legume with native grasses generally increased AM fungal diversity, while the interaction between soil P concentration and plant assemblage modified total fungal community structure in 2008. Excluding interannual variations, which are likely driven by moisture and plant productivity, AM fungal communities in semi-arid grasslands appear to be primarily affected by plant assemblage composition, while the composition of other fungi is more closely linked to soil P. PMID:25764537

  6. How commissioning affects community nursing.

    PubMed

    Cook, Jane; Horrocks, Susan; Gibbard, Emma; Harland, Lizanne; Wye, Lesley

    Community nurses have direct experience of how changes in the local health economy affect the quality of care patients receive, so it is important that they engage with commissioning to influence decisions made about the quality and direction of their service. This article seeks to demystify commissioning priorities by drawing on findings from a survey of Commissioning for Quality and Innovation indicators for community nursing conducted in England, 2014-15. The article focuses specifically on organisational goals, highlighting the impact of the Francis report and other NHS priorities on quality assessment in community nursing. PMID:26721091

  7. Factors Affecting Soil Microbial Community Structure in Tomato Cropping Systems

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Soil and rhizosphere microbial communities in agroecosystems may be affected by soil, climate, plant species, and management. We identified some of the most important factors controlling microbial biomass and community structure in an agroecosystem utilizing tomato plants with the following nine tre...

  8. Plant Communities of Rough Rock.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Jacobs, Linda

    A unit of study on plants grown in the Navajo community of Rough Rock, Arizona, is presented in sketches providing the common Navajo name for the plant, a literal English translation, the English name of the plant, and the Latin name. A brief description of each plant includes where the plant grows, how the Navajos use the plant, and the color and…

  9. Season and tissue type affect fungal endophyte communities of the Indian medicinal plant Tinospora cordifolia more strongly than geographic location.

    PubMed

    Mishra, Ashish; Gond, Surendra K; Kumar, Anuj; Sharma, Vijay K; Verma, Satish K; Kharwar, Ravindra N; Sieber, Thomas N

    2012-08-01

    A total of 1,151 endophytic fungal isolates representing 29 taxa were isolated from symptom-less, surface-sterilized segments of stem, leaf, petiole, and root of Tinospora cordifolia which had been collected at three locations differing in air pollution in India (Ramnagar, Banaras Hindu University, Maruadih) during three seasons (summer, monsoon, winter). Endophytes were most abundant in leaf tissues (29.38% of all isolates), followed by stem (18.16%), petiole (10.11%), and root segments (6.27%). The frequency of colonization (CF) varied more strongly among tissue type and season than location. CF was maximal during monsoon followed by winter and minimal during summer. A species each of Guignardia and Acremonium could only be isolated from leaves, whereas all other species occurred in at least two tissue types. Penicillium spp. were dominant (12.62% of all isolates), followed by Colletotrichum spp. (11.8%), Cladosporium spp. (8.9%), Chaetomium globosum (8.1%), Curvularia spp. (7.6%), and Alternaria alternata (6.8%). Species richness, evenness, and the Shannon-Wiener diversity index followed the same pattern as the CF with the tissue type and the season having the greatest effect on these indices, suggesting that tissue type and season are more influential than geography. Dissimilarity of endophyte communities in regards to species composition was highest among seasons. Colletotrichum linicola occurred almost exclusively in winter, Fusarium oxysporum only in winter and summer but never during monsoon and Curvularia lunata only in winter and during monsoon but never in summer. Emissions of NO(2), SO(2), and suspended particulate matter were negatively correlated with the CF. Ozone did not have any effect. The frequency of most species declined with increasing pollution, but some showed an opposite trend (e.g., Aspergillus flavus). Five unnamed taxa (sterile mycelia) were identified as Aspergillus tubingensis, Colletotrichum crassipes, Botryosphaeria rhodina

  10. Air Pollution Affects Community Health

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Shy, Carl M.; Finklea, John F.

    1973-01-01

    Community Health and Environmental Surveillance System (CHESS), a nationwide program relating community health to environmental quality, is designed to evaluate existing environmental standards, obtain health intelligence for new standards, and document health benefits of air pollution control. (BL)

  11. Pyrodiversity begets plant-pollinator community diversity.

    PubMed

    Ponisio, Lauren C; Wilkin, Kate; M'Gonigle, Leithen K; Kulhanek, Kelly; Cook, Lindsay; Thorp, Robbin; Griswold, Terry; Kremen, Claire

    2016-05-01

    negatively affect the richness of plant-pollinator communities across large spatial scales. PMID:26929389

  12. Industrial contaminants and risks to plant communities

    SciTech Connect

    Vedagiri, U.

    1994-12-31

    Much of the ecological risk assessment work being done today is focused on invertebrates, herbivores and top carnivores at a site. The ecosystem is treated minimally as a backdrop for site characterization. Effects on vegetation, when considered, are mostly confined to single species toxicity tests. However, plant community-based assessment endpoints are also highly desirable for ERAs. This paper will present examples and case studies of metal, pesticide and organic contamination to illustrate the following: (a) The nature of the plant community is integral to defining the character and biogeochemistry of ecosystems and in governing the heterotrophic species composition and food webs occurring at a site, (b) impacts to the vegetation community affect not only the habitats and food webs, but also contaminant fate, transport and ecotoxicity, and assessment of the plant communities at a site is an essential part of the problem formulation, exposure, effects and risk characterization phases of a risk assessment.

  13. A 3-Year Study Reveals That Plant Growth Stage, Season and Field Site Affect Soil Fungal Communities while Cultivar and GM-Trait Have Minor Effects

    PubMed Central

    Hannula, Silja Emilia; de Boer, Wietse; van Veen, Johannes

    2012-01-01

    In this three year field study the impact of different potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) cultivars including a genetically modified (GM) amylopectin-accumulating potato line on rhizosphere fungal communities are investigated using molecular microbiological methods. The effects of growth stage of a plant, soil type and year on the rhizosphere fungi were included in this study. To compare the effects, one GM cultivar, the parental isoline, and four non-related cultivars were planted in the fields and analysed using T-RFLP on the basis of fungal phylum specific primers combined with multivariate statistical methods. Additionally, fungal biomass and some extracellular fungal enzymes (laccases, Mn-peroxidases and cellulases) were quantified in order to gain insight into the function of the fungal communities. Plant growth stage and year (and agricultural management) had the strongest effect on both diversity and function of the fungal communities while the GM-trait studied was the least explanatory factor. The impact of cultivar and soil type was intermediate. Occasional differences between cultivars, the amylopectin-accumulating potato line, and its parental variety were detected, but these differences were mostly transient in nature and detected either only in one soil, one growth stage or one year. PMID:22529898

  14. Herbivore preference drives plant community composition.

    PubMed

    Kempel, Anne; Razanajatovo, Mialy; Stein, Claudia; Unsicker, Sybille B; Auge, Harald; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Fischer, Markus; Prati, Daniel

    2015-11-01

    Herbivores are important drivers of plant species coexistence and community assembly. However, detailed mechanistic information on how herbivores affect dominance hierarchies between plant species is scarce. Here, we used data of a multi-site herbivore exclusion experiment in grasslands to assess changes in the cover of 28 plant species in response to aboveground pesticide. application. Moreover, we assessed species-specific values of plant defense of these 28 species measured as the performance of a generalist caterpillar, and the preference of the caterpillar and a slug species in no-choice and choice feeding experiments, respectively. We show that more preferred species in the feeding experiments were those that increased in cover after herbivore exclusion in the field, whereas less preferred ones decreased. Herbivore performance and several measured leaf traits were not related to the change in plant cover in the field in response to herbivore removal. Additionally, the generalist slug and the generalist caterpillar preferred and disliked the same plant species, indicating that they perceive the balance between defense and nutritional value similarly. We conclude that the growth-defense trade-off in grassland species acts via the preference of herbivores and that among-species variation in plant growth and preference to herbivores drives plant community composition. PMID:27070012

  15. ASSESSING OFF-TARGET IMPACTS OF HERBICIDE DRIFT ON NATIVE PLANTS - IMPLICATIONS FOR PLANT COMMUNITIES AND WILDLIFE

    EPA Science Inventory

    The off target movement of herbicidess onto nontarget vegetation can affect native plants, plant communities and ecosystems. Within the agroecosystem, plants provide the basis for food and shelter for wildlife. The risk assessment process to determine potential pesticide impacts...

  16. The organization of plant communities: negative plant-soil feedbacks and semiarid grasslands

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Estimates of species losses and evidence of positive plant diversity-productivity relationships have spurred interest in understanding the mechanism(s) regulating species coexistence and relative abundance. Plant-soil biota feedbacks appear to affect plant diversity and community structure by eithe...

  17. Soil microbes and plant invasions—how soil-borne pathogens regulate plant populations and affect plant invasions

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Exotic plant invaders are a major global threat to biodiversity and ecosystem function. Here I present multiple lines of evidence suggesting that soil microbial communities affect the population growth rates of Prunus serotina in its native range and affect its invasiveness abroad. Research often ...

  18. Complementarity among plant growth promoting traits in rhizospheric bacterial communities promotes plant growth

    PubMed Central

    Singh, Mangal; Awasthi, Ashutosh; Soni, Sumit K.; Singh, Rakshapal; Verma, Rajesh K.; Kalra, Alok

    2015-01-01

    An assessment of roles of rhizospheric microbial diversity in plant growth is helpful in understanding plant-microbe interactions. Using random combinations of rhizospheric bacterial species at different richness levels, we analysed the contribution of species richness, compositions, interactions and identity on soil microbial respiration and plant biomass. We showed that bacterial inoculation in plant rhizosphere enhanced microbial respiration and plant biomass with complementary relationships among bacterial species. Plant growth was found to increase linearly with inoculation of rhizospheric bacterial communities with increasing levels of species or plant growth promoting trait diversity. However, inoculation of diverse bacterial communities having single plant growth promoting trait, i.e., nitrogen fixation could not enhance plant growth over inoculation of single bacteria. Our results indicate that bacterial diversity in rhizosphere affect ecosystem functioning through complementary relationship among plant growth promoting traits and may play significant roles in delivering microbial services to plants. PMID:26503744

  19. Multispectral scanner imagery for plant community classification.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Driscoll, R. S.; Spencer, M. M.

    1973-01-01

    Optimum channel selection among 12 channels of multispectral scanner imagery identified six as providing the best information for computerized classification of 11 plant communities and two nonvegetation classes. Intensive preprocessing of the spectral data was required to eliminate bidirectional reflectance effects of the spectral imagery caused by scanner view angle and varying geometry of the plant canopy. Generalized plant community types - forest, grassland, and hydrophytic systems - were acceptably classified based on ecological analysis. Serious, but soluble, errors occurred with attempts to classify specific community types within the grassland system. However, special clustering analyses provided for improved classification of specific grassland communities.

  20. Do alterations in mesofauna community affect earthworms?

    PubMed

    Uvarov, Alexei V; Karaban, Kamil

    2015-11-01

    Interactions between the saprotrophic animal groups that strongly control soil microbial activities and the functioning of detrital food webs, such as earthworms and mesofauna, are not well understood. Earthworm trophic and engineering activities strongly affect mesofauna abundance and diversity through various direct and indirect pathways. In contrast, mesofauna effects on earthworm populations are less evident; however, their importance may be high, considering the keystone significance of earthworms for the functioning of the soil system. We studied effects of a diverse mesofauna community of a deciduous forest on two earthworm species representing epigeic (Lumbricus rubellus) and endogeic (Aporrectodea caliginosa) ecological groups. In microcosms, the density of total mesofauna or its separate groups (enchytraeids, collembolans, gamasid mites) was manipulated (increased) and responses of earthworms and soil systems were recorded. A rise in mesofauna density resulted in a decrease of biomass and an increased mortality in L. rubellus, presumably due to competition with mesofauna for litter resources. In contrast, similar mesofauna manipulations promoted reproduction of A. caliginosa, suggesting a facilitated exploitation of litter resources due to increased mesofauna activities. Changes of microcosm respiration rates, litter organic matter content and microbial activities across the manipulation treatments indicate that mesofauna modify responses of soil systems in the presence of earthworms. However, similar mesofauna manipulations could induce different responses in soil systems with either epigeic or endogeic lumbricids, which suggests that earthworm/mesofauna interactions are species-specific. Thus, mesofauna impacts should be treated as a factor affecting the engineering activities of epigeic and endogeic earthworms in the soil. PMID:26188519

  1. A 2-Year Field Study Shows Little Evidence That the Long-Term Planting of Transgenic Insect-Resistant Cotton Affects the Community Structure of Soil Nematodes

    PubMed Central

    Li, Xiaogang; Liu, Biao

    2013-01-01

    Transgenic insect-resistant cotton has been released into the environment for more than a decade in China to effectively control the cotton bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera) and other Lepidoptera. Because of concerns about undesirable ecological side-effects of transgenic crops, it is important to monitor the potential environmental impact of transgenic insect-resistant cotton after commercial release. Our 2-year study included 1 cotton field where non-transgenic cotton had been planted continuously and 2 other cotton fields where transgenic insect-resistant cotton had been planted for different lengths of time since 1997 and since 2002. In 2 consecutive years (2009 and 2010), we took soil samples from 3 cotton fields at 4 different growth stages (seedling, budding, boll-forming and boll-opening stages), collected soil nematodes from soil with the sugar flotation and centrifugation method and identified the soil nematodes to the genus level. The generic composition, individual densities and diversity indices of the soil nematodes did not differ significantly between the 2 transgenic cotton fields and the non-transgenic cotton field, but significant seasonal variation was found in the individual densities of the principal trophic groups and in the diversity indices of the nematodes in all 3 cotton fields. The study used a comparative perspective to monitor the impact of transgenic insect-resistant cotton grown in typical ‘real world’ conditions. The results of the study suggested that more than 10 years of cultivation of transgenic insect-resistant cotton had no significant effects–adverse or otherwise–on soil nematodes. This study provides a theoretical basis for ongoing environmental impact monitoring of transgenic plants. PMID:23613899

  2. Intraspecific genetic variation and species coexistence in plant communities.

    PubMed

    Ehlers, Bodil K; Damgaard, Christian F; Laroche, Fabien

    2016-01-01

    Many studies report that intraspecific genetic variation in plants can affect community composition and coexistence. However, less is known about which traits are responsible and the mechanisms by which variation in these traits affect the associated community. Focusing on plant-plant interactions, we review empirical studies exemplifying how intraspecific genetic variation in functional traits impacts plant coexistence. Intraspecific variation in chemical and architectural traits promotes species coexistence, by both increasing habitat heterogeneity and altering competitive hierarchies. Decomposing species interactions into interactions between genotypes shows that genotype × genotype interactions are often intransitive. The outcome of plant-plant interactions varies with local adaptation to the environment and with dominant neighbour genotypes, and some plants can recognize the genetic identity of neighbour plants if they have a common history of coexistence. Taken together, this reveals a very dynamic nature of coexistence. We outline how more traits mediating plant-plant interactions may be identified, and how future studies could use population genetic surveys of genotype distribution in nature and methods from trait-based ecology to better quantify the impact of intraspecific genetic variation on plant coexistence. PMID:26790707

  3. The soil microbial community composition and soil microbial carbon uptake are more affected by soil type than by different vegetation types (C3 and C4 plants) and seasonal changes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Griselle Mellado Vazquez, Perla; Lange, Markus; Gleixner, Gerd

    2016-04-01

    This study investigates the influence of different vegetation types (C3 and C4 plants), soil type and seasonal changes on the soil microbial biomass, soil microbial community composition and soil microbial carbon (C) uptake. We collected soil samples in winter (non-growing season) and summer (growing season) in 2012 from an experimental site cropping C3 and C4 plants for 6 years on two different soil types (sandy and clayey). The amount of phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs) and their compound-specific δ13C values were used to determined microbial biomass and the flow of C from plants to soil microorganisms, respectively. Higher microbial biomass was found in the growing season. The microbial community composition was mainly explained by soil type. Higher amounts of SOC were driving the predominance of G+ bacteria, actinobacteria and cyclic G- bacteria in sandy soils, whereas root biomass was significantly related to the increased proportions of G- bacteria in clayey soils. Plant-derived C in G- bacteria increased significantly in clayey soils in the growing season. This increase was positively and significantly driven by root biomass. Moreover, changes in plant-derived C among microbial groups pointed to specific capabilities of different microbial groups to decompose distinct sources of C. We concluded that soil texture and favorable growth conditions driven by rhizosphere interactions are the most important factors controlling the soil microbial community. Our results demonstrate that a change of C3 plants vs. C4 plants has only a minor effect on the soil microbial community. Thus, such experiments are well suited to investigate soil organic matter dynamics as they allow to trace the C flow from plants into the soil microbial community without changing the community abundance and composition.

  4. Corridors affect plants, animals, and their interactions in fragmented landscapes.

    SciTech Connect

    Tewksbury, Joshua, J.; Levey, Douglas, J.; Haddad, Nick, M.; Sargent, Sarah; Orrock, John, L.; Weldon, Aimee; Danielson, Brent, J.; Brinkerhoff, Jory; Damschen, Ellen, I.; Townsend, Patricia

    2002-10-01

    Tewksbury, J.J., D.J. Levey, N.M. Haddad, S. Sargent, J.L. Orrock, A. Weldon, B.J. Danielson, J. Brinkerhoff, E.I. Damschen, and P. Townsend. 2002. Corridors affect plants, animals, and their interactions in fragmented landscapes. PNAS 99(20):12923-12926. Among the most popular strategies for maintaining populations of both plants and animals in fragmented landscapes is to connect isolated patches with thin strips of habitat, called corridors. Corridors are thought to increase the exchange of individuals between habitat patches, promoting genetic exchange and reducing population fluctuations. Empirical studies addressing the effects of corridors have either been small in scale or have ignored confounding effects of increased habitat area created by the presence of a corridor. These methodological difficulties, coupled with a paucity of studies examining the effects of corridors on plants and plant-animal interactions, have sparked debate over the purported value of corridors in conservation planning. We report results of a large-scale experiment that directly address this debate. We demonstrate that corridors not only increase the exchange of animals between patches, but also facilitate two key plant-animal interactions: pollination and seed dispersal. Our results show that the beneficial effects of corridors extend beyond the area they add, and suggest that increased plant and animal movement through corridors will have positive impacts on plant populations and community interactions in fragmented landscapes.

  5. Contrasting effects of different mammalian herbivores on sagebrush plant communities.

    PubMed

    Veblen, Kari E; Nehring, Kyle C; McGlone, Christopher M; Ritchie, Mark E

    2015-01-01

    Herbivory by both grazing and browsing ungulates shapes the structure and functioning of terrestrial ecosystems worldwide, and both types of herbivory have been implicated in major ecosystem state changes. Despite the ecological consequences of differences in diets and feeding habits among herbivores, studies that experimentally distinguish effects of grazing from spatially co-occurring, but temporally segregated browsing are extremely rare. Here we use a set of long-term exclosures in northern Utah, USA, to determine how domestic grazers vs. wild ungulate herbivores (including browsers and mixed feeders) affect sagebrush-dominated plant communities that historically covered ~62 million ha in North America. We sampled plant community properties and found that after 22 years grazing and browsing elicited perceptible changes in overall plant community composition and distinct responses by individual plant species. In the woody layer of the plant community, release from winter and spring wild ungulate herbivory increased densities of larger Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata, ssp. wyomingensis) at the expense of small sagebrush, while disturbance associated with either cattle or wild ungulate activity alone was sufficient to increase bare ground and reduce cover of biological soil crusts. The perennial bunchgrass, bottlebrush squirretail (Elymus elymoides), responded positively to release from summer cattle grazing, and in turn appeared to competitively suppress another more grazing tolerant perennial grass, Sandberg's blue grass (Poa secunda). Grazing by domestic cattle also was associated with increased non-native species biomass. Together, these results illustrate that ungulate herbivory has not caused sagebrush plant communities to undergo dramatic state shifts; however clear, herbivore-driven shifts are evident. In a dry, perennial-dominated system where plant community changes can occur very slowly, our results provide insights into potential long

  6. Contrasting Effects of Different Mammalian Herbivores on Sagebrush Plant Communities

    PubMed Central

    Veblen, Kari E.; Nehring, Kyle C.; McGlone, Christopher M.; Ritchie, Mark E.

    2015-01-01

    Herbivory by both grazing and browsing ungulates shapes the structure and functioning of terrestrial ecosystems worldwide, and both types of herbivory have been implicated in major ecosystem state changes. Despite the ecological consequences of differences in diets and feeding habits among herbivores, studies that experimentally distinguish effects of grazing from spatially co-occurring, but temporally segregated browsing are extremely rare. Here we use a set of long-term exclosures in northern Utah, USA, to determine how domestic grazers vs. wild ungulate herbivores (including browsers and mixed feeders) affect sagebrush-dominated plant communities that historically covered ~62 million ha in North America. We sampled plant community properties and found that after 22 years grazing and browsing elicited perceptible changes in overall plant community composition and distinct responses by individual plant species. In the woody layer of the plant community, release from winter and spring wild ungulate herbivory increased densities of larger Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata, ssp. wyomingensis) at the expense of small sagebrush, while disturbance associated with either cattle or wild ungulate activity alone was sufficient to increase bare ground and reduce cover of biological soil crusts. The perennial bunchgrass, bottlebrush squirretail (Elymus elymoides), responded positively to release from summer cattle grazing, and in turn appeared to competitively suppress another more grazing tolerant perennial grass, Sandberg’s blue grass (Poa secunda). Grazing by domestic cattle also was associated with increased non-native species biomass. Together, these results illustrate that ungulate herbivory has not caused sagebrush plant communities to undergo dramatic state shifts; however clear, herbivore-driven shifts are evident. In a dry, perennial-dominated system where plant community changes can occur very slowly, our results provide insights into potential long

  7. Plant community succession in modern Yellow River Delta, China*

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Gao-sheng; Wang, Ren-qing; Song, Bai-min

    2007-01-01

    Data were collected in different successional stages using a simultaneous sampling method and analyzed through quantitative classification method. Three large groups and 12 classes were made to represent the community patterns of three succession stages and 12 succession communities. The succession series of plant community in the study area was as follows: saline bare land→community Suaeda salsa→community Tamarix chinensis→grassland. Succession degree and succession process of 12 succession communities were calculated. Most of these communities were in the lower succession stage, however, community Phragmites communis+Glycine soja and community Imperata cylindrica+G. soja were close to the succession stage of grassland climax. Five species diversity indices were used to study the changes in species richness, species evenness and diversity during succession of community. Heterogeneity index and richness index increased gradually during the community succession process, but species evenness tended to decrease with succession development. The relation between succession and environment was studied by ordination technique, and the results showed that the soil salt content was an important factor to halarch succession of the modern Yellow River Delta. It affected community structure, species composition and succession process. PMID:17657854

  8. Plant community succession in modern Yellow River Delta, China.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Gao-sheng; Wang, Ren-qing; Song, Bai-min

    2007-08-01

    Data were collected in different successional stages using a simultaneous sampling method and analyzed through quantitative classification method. Three large groups and 12 classes were made to represent the community patterns of three succession stages and 12 succession communities. The succession series of plant community in the study area was as follows: saline bare land-->community Suaeda salsa-->community Tamarix chinensis-->grassland. Succession degree and succession process of 12 succession communities were calculated. Most of these communities were in the lower succession stage, however, community Phragmites communis+Glycine soja and community Imperata cylindrica+G. soja were close to the succession stage of grassland climax. Five species diversity indices were used to study the changes in species richness, species evenness and diversity during succession of community. Heterogeneity index and richness index increased gradually during the community succession process, but species evenness tended to decrease with succession development. The relation between succession and environment was studied by ordination technique, and the results showed that the soil salt content was an important factor to halarch succession of the modern Yellow River Delta. It affected community structure, species composition and succession process. PMID:17657854

  9. Microbial Population and Community Dynamics on Plant Roots and Their Feedbacks on Plant Communities

    PubMed Central

    Bever, James D.; Platt, Thomas G.; Morton, Elise R.

    2012-01-01

    The composition of the soil microbial community can be altered dramatically due to association with individual plant species, and these effects on the microbial community can have important feedbacks on plant ecology. Negative plant-soil feedback plays primary roles in maintaining plant community diversity, whereas positive plant-soil feedback may cause community conversion. Host-specific differentiation of the microbial community results from the trade-offs associated with overcoming plant defense and the specific benefits associated with plant rewards. Accumulation of host-specific pathogens likely generates negative feedback on the plant, while changes in the density of microbial mutualists likely generate positive feedback. However, the competitive dynamics among microbes depends on the multidimensional costs of virulence and mutualism, the fine-scale spatial structure within plant roots, and active plant allocation and localized defense. Because of this, incorporating a full view of microbial dynamics is essential to explaining the dynamics of plant-soil feedbacks and therefore plant community ecology. PMID:22726216

  10. Microbial Community Structure in the Rhizosphere of Rice Plants

    PubMed Central

    Breidenbach, Björn; Pump, Judith; Dumont, Marc G.

    2016-01-01

    The microbial community in the rhizosphere environment is critical for the health of land plants and the processing of soil organic matter. The objective of this study was to determine the extent to which rice plants shape the microbial community in rice field soil over the course of a growing season. Rice (Oryza sativa) was cultivated under greenhouse conditions in rice field soil from Vercelli, Italy and the microbial community in the rhizosphere of planted soil microcosms was characterized at four plant growth stages using quantitative PCR and 16S rRNA gene pyrotag analysis and compared to that of unplanted bulk soil. The abundances of 16S rRNA genes in the rice rhizosphere were on average twice that of unplanted bulk soil, indicating a stimulation of microbial growth in the rhizosphere. Soil environment type (i.e., rhizosphere versus bulk soil) had a greater effect on the community structure than did time (e.g., plant growth stage). Numerous phyla were affected by the presence of rice plants, but the strongest effects were observed for Gemmatimonadetes, Proteobacteria, and Verrucomicrobia. With respect to functional groups of microorganisms, potential iron reducers (e.g., Geobacter, Anaeromyxobacter) and fermenters (e.g., Clostridiaceae, Opitutaceae) were notably enriched in the rhizosphere environment. A Herbaspirillum species was always more abundant in the rhizosphere than bulk soil and was enriched in the rhizosphere during the early stage of plant growth. PMID:26793175

  11. Fire reduces morphospace occupation in plant communities.

    PubMed

    Pausas, Juli G; Verdú, Miguel

    2008-08-01

    The two main assembly processes claimed to structure plant communities are habitat filtering and competitive interactions. The set of species growing in fire-prone communities has been filtered in such a way that species without fire-persistence traits have not successfully entered the community. Because plant traits are evolutionarily conserved and fire traits are correlated with other plant traits, communities under high fire frequency should not include all possible trait combinations, and thus the morphospace occupation by species in these communities should be lower than expected by chance (underoccupied). In contrast, communities under low fire frequency would lack the filtering factor, and thus their underoccupation of the morphospace is not expected. We test this prediction by comparing the morphospace occupation by species in communities located in the western Mediterranean Basin, five of them subject to high fire frequency (HiFi) and four to low fire frequency (LowFi). We first compile a set of morphological and functional traits for the species growing on the nine sites, then we compute the morphospace occupation of each site as a convex hull volume, and finally, to assert that our results are not a product of a random branching pattern of evolution, we simulate our traits under a null model of neutral evolution and compare the morphospace occupation of the simulated traits with the results from the empirical data. The results suggest that, as predicted, there is a clear differential morphospace occupation between communities under different fire regimes in such a way that the morphospace is underoccupied in HiFi communities only. The simulation of a neutral evolutionary model does not replicate the observed pattern of differential morphospace occupation, and thus it should be attributed to assembly processes. In conclusion, our results suggest that fire is a strong community assembling process, filtering the species that have fire-persistent traits and

  12. Diversity protects plant communities against generalist molluscan herbivores

    PubMed Central

    Fabian, Yvonne; Sandau, Nadine; Bruggisser, Odile T; Kehrli, Patrik; Aebi, Alexandre; Rohr, Rudolf P; Naisbit, Russell E; Bersier, Louis-Félix

    2012-01-01

    Wildflower strips are used to increase natural enemies of crop pests and to conserve insect diversity on farmland. Mollusks, especially slugs, can affect the vegetation development in these strips considerably. Although recent theoretical work suggests that more diverse plant communities will exhibit greater resistance against herbivore pressure, empirical studies are scarce. We conducted a semi-natural experiment in wildflower strips, manipulating trophic structure (reduction in herbivorous mollusks and reduction in major predators) and plant diversity (2, 6, 12, 20 and 24 sown species). This design allowed us to assess the effect of plant diversity, biomass and composition on mollusks, and vice versa, the effect of mollusc abundance on vegetation. Seven species of mollusks were found in the strips, with the slugs Arion lusitanicus, Deroceras reticulatum and Deroceras panormitanum being most frequent. We found a negative relationship between plant diversity and mollusk abundance, which was due predominantly to a decrease in the agricultural pest species A. lusitanicus. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that plant diversity can reduce the impact of herbivores. However, plant identity also had an effect on mollusks, and accounted for a much larger fraction of the variation in mollusk communities than biodiversity effects. While overall plant diversity decreased during the 3 years of the study, in the final year the highest plant diversity was found in the plots where mollusk populations were experimentally reduced. We conclude that selective feeding by generalist herbivores leads to changes in plant community composition and hence reduced plant diversity. Our results highlight the importance of plant biodiversity as protection against generalist herbivores, which if abundant can in the long term negatively impact plant diversity, driving the system along a “low plant diversity – high mollusk abundance” trajectory. PMID:23145332

  13. Global change and terrestrial plant community dynamics

    PubMed Central

    Franklin, Janet; Serra-Diaz, Josep M.; Syphard, Alexandra D.; Regan, Helen M.

    2016-01-01

    Anthropogenic drivers of global change include rising atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses and resulting changes in the climate, as well as nitrogen deposition, biotic invasions, altered disturbance regimes, and land-use change. Predicting the effects of global change on terrestrial plant communities is crucial because of the ecosystem services vegetation provides, from climate regulation to forest products. In this paper, we present a framework for detecting vegetation changes and attributing them to global change drivers that incorporates multiple lines of evidence from spatially extensive monitoring networks, distributed experiments, remotely sensed data, and historical records. Based on a literature review, we summarize observed changes and then describe modeling tools that can forecast the impacts of multiple drivers on plant communities in an era of rapid change. Observed responses to changes in temperature, water, nutrients, land use, and disturbance show strong sensitivity of ecosystem productivity and plant population dynamics to water balance and long-lasting effects of disturbance on plant community dynamics. Persistent effects of land-use change and human-altered fire regimes on vegetation can overshadow or interact with climate change impacts. Models forecasting plant community responses to global change incorporate shifting ecological niches, population dynamics, species interactions, spatially explicit disturbance, ecosystem processes, and plant functional responses. Monitoring, experiments, and models evaluating multiple change drivers are needed to detect and predict vegetation changes in response to 21st century global change. PMID:26929338

  14. Global change and terrestrial plant community dynamics.

    PubMed

    Franklin, Janet; Serra-Diaz, Josep M; Syphard, Alexandra D; Regan, Helen M

    2016-04-01

    Anthropogenic drivers of global change include rising atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses and resulting changes in the climate, as well as nitrogen deposition, biotic invasions, altered disturbance regimes, and land-use change. Predicting the effects of global change on terrestrial plant communities is crucial because of the ecosystem services vegetation provides, from climate regulation to forest products. In this paper, we present a framework for detecting vegetation changes and attributing them to global change drivers that incorporates multiple lines of evidence from spatially extensive monitoring networks, distributed experiments, remotely sensed data, and historical records. Based on a literature review, we summarize observed changes and then describe modeling tools that can forecast the impacts of multiple drivers on plant communities in an era of rapid change. Observed responses to changes in temperature, water, nutrients, land use, and disturbance show strong sensitivity of ecosystem productivity and plant population dynamics to water balance and long-lasting effects of disturbance on plant community dynamics. Persistent effects of land-use change and human-altered fire regimes on vegetation can overshadow or interact with climate change impacts. Models forecasting plant community responses to global change incorporate shifting ecological niches, population dynamics, species interactions, spatially explicit disturbance, ecosystem processes, and plant functional responses. Monitoring, experiments, and models evaluating multiple change drivers are needed to detect and predict vegetation changes in response to 21st century global change. PMID:26929338

  15. Can transgenic maize affect soil microbial communities?

    PubMed

    Mulder, Christian; Wouterse, Marja; Raubuch, Markus; Roelofs, Willem; Rutgers, Michiel

    2006-09-29

    The aim of the experiment was to determine if temporal variations of belowground activity reflect the influence of the Cry1Ab protein from transgenic maize on soil bacteria and, hence, on a regulatory change of the microbial community (ability to metabolize sources belonging to different chemical guilds) and/or a change in numerical abundance of their cells. Litter placement is known for its strong influence on the soil decomposer communities. The effects of the addition of crop residues on respiration and catabolic activities of the bacterial community were examined in microcosm experiments. Four cultivars of Zea mays L. of two different isolines (each one including the conventional crop and its Bacillus thuringiensis cultivar) and one control of bulk soil were included in the experimental design. The growth models suggest a dichotomy between soils amended with either conventional or transgenic maize residues. The Cry1Ab protein appeared to influence the composition of the microbial community. The highly enhanced soil respiration observed during the first 72 h after the addition of Bt-maize residues can be interpreted as being related to the presence of the transgenic crop residues. This result was confirmed by agar plate counting, as the averages of the colony-forming units of soils in conventional treatments were about one-third of those treated with transgenic straw. Furthermore, the addition of Bt-maize appeared to induce increased microbial consumption of carbohydrates in BIOLOG EcoPlates. Three weeks after the addition of maize residues to the soils, no differences between the consumption rate of specific chemical guilds by bacteria in soils amended with transgenic maize and bacteria in soils amended with conventional maize were detectable. Reaped crop residues, comparable to post-harvest maize straw (a common practice in current agriculture), rapidly influence the soil bacterial cells at a functional level. Overall, these data support the existence of short

  16. Can Transgenic Maize Affect Soil Microbial Communities?

    PubMed Central

    Mulder, Christian; Wouterse, Marja; Raubuch, Markus; Roelofs, Willem; Rutgers, Michiel

    2006-01-01

    The aim of the experiment was to determine if temporal variations of belowground activity reflect the influence of the Cry1Ab protein from transgenic maize on soil bacteria and, hence, on a regulatory change of the microbial community (ability to metabolize sources belonging to different chemical guilds) and/or a change in numerical abundance of their cells. Litter placement is known for its strong influence on the soil decomposer communities. The effects of the addition of crop residues on respiration and catabolic activities of the bacterial community were examined in microcosm experiments. Four cultivars of Zea mays L. of two different isolines (each one including the conventional crop and its Bacillus thuringiensis cultivar) and one control of bulk soil were included in the experimental design. The growth models suggest a dichotomy between soils amended with either conventional or transgenic maize residues. The Cry1Ab protein appeared to influence the composition of the microbial community. The highly enhanced soil respiration observed during the first 72 h after the addition of Bt-maize residues can be interpreted as being related to the presence of the transgenic crop residues. This result was confirmed by agar plate counting, as the averages of the colony-forming units of soils in conventional treatments were about one-third of those treated with transgenic straw. Furthermore, the addition of Bt-maize appeared to induce increased microbial consumption of carbohydrates in BIOLOG EcoPlates. Three weeks after the addition of maize residues to the soils, no differences between the consumption rate of specific chemical guilds by bacteria in soils amended with transgenic maize and bacteria in soils amended with conventional maize were detectable. Reaped crop residues, comparable to post-harvest maize straw (a common practice in current agriculture), rapidly influence the soil bacterial cells at a functional level. Overall, these data support the existence of short

  17. Impacts of climate change drivers on C4 grassland productivity: Scaling driver effects through the plant community

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Climate change drivers affect the plant community productivity via three pathways: 1) direct effects of drivers on plants, 2) the response of species abundances to drivers (community response), and 3) the feedback effect of community change on productivity (community effect). The contribution of e...

  18. Does mechanical disturbance affect the performance and species composition of submerged macrophyte communities?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Qian; Xu, Ying-Shou; Huang, Lin; Xue, Wei; Sun, Gong-Qi; Zhang, Ming-Xiang; Yu, Fei-Hai

    2014-05-01

    Submerged macrophyte communities are frequently subjected to disturbance of various frequency and strength. However, there is still little experimental evidence on how mechanical disturbance affects the performance and species composition of such plant communities. In a greenhouse experiment, we constructed wetland communities consisting of five co-occurring clonal submerged macrophyte species (Hydrilla verticillata, Elodea canadensis, Ceratophyllum demersum, Chara fragilis, and Myriophyllum spicatum) and subjected these communities to three mechanical disturbance regimes (no, moderate and strong disturbance). Strong mechanical disturbance greatly decreased overall biomass, number of shoot nodes and total shoot length, and increased species diversity (evenness) of the total community. It also substantially decreased the growth of the most abundant species (H. verticillata), but did not affect growth of the other four species. Our data reveal that strong disturbance can have different effects on different submerged macrophyte species and thus alters the performance and species composition of submerged macrophyte communities.

  19. Does mechanical disturbance affect the performance and species composition of submerged macrophyte communities?

    PubMed

    Zhang, Qian; Xu, Ying-Shou; Huang, Lin; Xue, Wei; Sun, Gong-Qi; Zhang, Ming-Xiang; Yu, Fei-Hai

    2014-01-01

    Submerged macrophyte communities are frequently subjected to disturbance of various frequency and strength. However, there is still little experimental evidence on how mechanical disturbance affects the performance and species composition of such plant communities. In a greenhouse experiment, we constructed wetland communities consisting of five co-occurring clonal submerged macrophyte species (Hydrilla verticillata, Elodea canadensis, Ceratophyllum demersum, Chara fragilis, and Myriophyllum spicatum) and subjected these communities to three mechanical disturbance regimes (no, moderate and strong disturbance). Strong mechanical disturbance greatly decreased overall biomass, number of shoot nodes and total shoot length, and increased species diversity (evenness) of the total community. It also substantially decreased the growth of the most abundant species (H. verticillata), but did not affect growth of the other four species. Our data reveal that strong disturbance can have different effects on different submerged macrophyte species and thus alters the performance and species composition of submerged macrophyte communities. PMID:24811826

  20. Biotic and Abiotic Properties Mediating Plant Diversity Effects on Soil Microbial Communities in an Experimental Grassland

    PubMed Central

    Lange, Markus; Habekost, Maike; Eisenhauer, Nico; Roscher, Christiane; Bessler, Holger; Engels, Christof; Oelmann, Yvonne; Scheu, Stefan; Wilcke, Wolfgang; Schulze, Ernst-Detlef; Gleixner, Gerd

    2014-01-01

    Plant diversity drives changes in the soil microbial community which may result in alterations in ecosystem functions. However, the governing factors between the composition of soil microbial communities and plant diversity are not well understood. We investigated the impact of plant diversity (plant species richness and functional group richness) and plant functional group identity on soil microbial biomass and soil microbial community structure in experimental grassland ecosystems. Total microbial biomass and community structure were determined by phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) analysis. The diversity gradient covered 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 and 60 plant species and 1, 2, 3 and 4 plant functional groups (grasses, legumes, small herbs and tall herbs). In May 2007, soil samples were taken from experimental plots and from nearby fields and meadows. Beside soil texture, plant species richness was the main driver of soil microbial biomass. Structural equation modeling revealed that the positive plant diversity effect was mainly mediated by higher leaf area index resulting in higher soil moisture in the top soil layer. The fungal-to-bacterial biomass ratio was positively affected by plant functional group richness and negatively by the presence of legumes. Bacteria were more closely related to abiotic differences caused by plant diversity, while fungi were more affected by plant-derived organic matter inputs. We found diverse plant communities promoted faster transition of soil microbial communities typical for arable land towards grassland communities. Although some mechanisms underlying the plant diversity effect on soil microorganisms could be identified, future studies have to determine plant traits shaping soil microbial community structure. We suspect differences in root traits among different plant communities, such as root turnover rates and chemical composition of root exudates, to structure soil microbial communities. PMID:24816860

  1. Biotic and abiotic properties mediating plant diversity effects on soil microbial communities in an experimental grassland.

    PubMed

    Lange, Markus; Habekost, Maike; Eisenhauer, Nico; Roscher, Christiane; Bessler, Holger; Engels, Christof; Oelmann, Yvonne; Scheu, Stefan; Wilcke, Wolfgang; Schulze, Ernst-Detlef; Gleixner, Gerd

    2014-01-01

    Plant diversity drives changes in the soil microbial community which may result in alterations in ecosystem functions. However, the governing factors between the composition of soil microbial communities and plant diversity are not well understood. We investigated the impact of plant diversity (plant species richness and functional group richness) and plant functional group identity on soil microbial biomass and soil microbial community structure in experimental grassland ecosystems. Total microbial biomass and community structure were determined by phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) analysis. The diversity gradient covered 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 and 60 plant species and 1, 2, 3 and 4 plant functional groups (grasses, legumes, small herbs and tall herbs). In May 2007, soil samples were taken from experimental plots and from nearby fields and meadows. Beside soil texture, plant species richness was the main driver of soil microbial biomass. Structural equation modeling revealed that the positive plant diversity effect was mainly mediated by higher leaf area index resulting in higher soil moisture in the top soil layer. The fungal-to-bacterial biomass ratio was positively affected by plant functional group richness and negatively by the presence of legumes. Bacteria were more closely related to abiotic differences caused by plant diversity, while fungi were more affected by plant-derived organic matter inputs. We found diverse plant communities promoted faster transition of soil microbial communities typical for arable land towards grassland communities. Although some mechanisms underlying the plant diversity effect on soil microorganisms could be identified, future studies have to determine plant traits shaping soil microbial community structure. We suspect differences in root traits among different plant communities, such as root turnover rates and chemical composition of root exudates, to structure soil microbial communities. PMID:24816860

  2. Multiple climate drivers accelerate Arctic plant community senescence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Livensperger, C.; Steltzer, H.; Wallenstein, M. D.; Weintraub, M. N.

    2015-12-01

    Alteration of seasonal phenology cues due to climate change has led to changes in the onset and duration of the growing season. While photoperiod often acts as an ultimate control on phenological events, recent studies have shown that environmental cues such as temperature and soil water content can modify the direction and rate of senescence processes. Warmer temperatures have resulted in an observed trend towards delayed senescence across temperate latitudes. However, Arctic regions are characterized by extreme seasonality and rapidly decreasing photoperiod, and consequently senescence may not shift as climate warms. We monitored the timing of Arctic plant community senescence for three years under the framework of an experimental manipulation that altered seasonal phenological cues through warming and earlier snowmelt. Alternative models of senescence were tested to determine if microclimate (air temperature, soil temperature, and soil moisture) or start of season phenology affect the timing and rate of community senescence. We found that all three microclimate predictors contributed to explaining variation in timing of senescence, suggesting that photoperiod is not the sole control on timing of senescence in Arctic plant communities. Rather, increased air and soil temperatures along with drier soil conditions, led to acceleration in the onset of senescence at a community level. Our data suggest that (1) multiple climate drivers predict timing of plant community senescence, and (2) climate change could result in a shorter peak season due to earlier onset of senescence, which would decrease the potential carbon uptake in moist acidic tundra.

  3. How have fisheries affected parasite communities?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wood, Chelsea L.; Lafferty, Kevin D.

    2015-01-01

    To understand how fisheries affect parasites, we conducted a meta-analysis of studies that contrasted parasite assemblages in fished and unfished areas. Parasite diversity was lower in hosts from fished areas. Larger hosts had a greater abundance of parasites, suggesting that fishing might reduce the abundance of parasites by selectively removing the largest, most heavily parasitized individuals. After controlling for size, the effect of fishing on parasite abundance varied according to whether the host was fished and the parasite's life cycle. Parasites of unfished hosts were more likely to increase in abundance in response to fishing than were parasites of fished hosts, possibly due to compensatory increases in the abundance of unfished hosts. While complex life cycle parasites tended to decline in abundance in response to fishing, directly transmitted parasites tended to increase. Among complex life cycle parasites, those with fished hosts tended to decline in abundance in response to fishing, while those with unfished hosts tended to increase. However, among directly transmitted parasites, responses did not differ between parasites with and without fished hosts. This work suggests that parasite assemblages are likely to change substantially in composition in increasingly fished ecosystems, and that parasite life history and fishing status of the host are important in predicting the response of individual parasite species or groups to fishing.

  4. Between-Population Outbreeding Affects Plant Defence

    PubMed Central

    Leimu, Roosa; Fischer, Markus

    2010-01-01

    Between-population crosses may replenish genetic variation of populations, but may also result in outbreeding depression. Apart from direct effects on plant fitness, these outbreeding effects can also alter plant-herbivore interactions by influencing plant tolerance and resistance to herbivory. We investigated effects of experimental within- and between-population outbreeding on herbivore resistance, tolerance and plant fitness using plants from 13 to 19 Lychnis flos-cuculi populations. We found no evidence for outbreeding depression in resistance reflected by the amount of leaf area consumed. However, herbivore performance was greater when fed on plants from between-population compared to within-population crosses. This can reflect outbreeding depression in resistance and/or outbreeding effects on plant quality for the herbivores. The effects of type of cross on the relationship between herbivore damage and plant fitness varied among populations. This demonstrates how between-population outbreeding effects on tolerance range from outbreeding depression to outbreeding benefits among plant populations. Finally, herbivore damage strengthened the observed outbreeding effects on plant fitness in several populations. These results raise novel considerations on the impact of outbreeding on the joint evolution of resistance and tolerance, and on the evolution of multiple defence strategies. PMID:20838662

  5. Designing Invasion Resistant Plant Communities: The Role of Plant Functional Traits

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Establishing and maintaining weed-resistant plant communities is a central goal of sustainable invasive plant management programs. Plant community characteristics that improve invasion resistance, however, are poorly understood. Here we synthesize data from multiple studies and show traits related ...

  6. Plant Hormones: How They Affect Root Formation.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Reinhard, Diana Hereda

    This science study aid, produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, includes a series of plant rooting activities for secondary science classes. The material in the pamphlet is written for students and includes background information on plant hormones, a vocabulary list, and five learning activities. Objectives, needed materials, and…

  7. Curvilinear Effects of Invasive Plants on Plant Diversity: Plant Community Invaded by Sphagneticola trilobata

    PubMed Central

    Zhai, De-Li; Chen, Si-Chong; Si, Chun-Can; Huang, Ping; Wang, Rui-Ping; Zhong, Qiong-Xin; Du, Dao-Lin

    2014-01-01

    The effects of invasive plants on the species diversity of plant communities are controversial, showing either a positive or negative linear relationship. Based on community data collected from forty 5 m×5 m plots invaded by Sphagneticola trilobata in eight cities across Hainan Island, China, we found S. trilobata decreased plant community diversity once its cover was beyond 10%. We demonstrated that the effects of invasive/native plants on the plant diversity of communities invaded by S. trilobata were curvilinear. These effects, which showed peaks under different degrees of vegetation cover, appeared not only for S. trilobata and all invasive plants, but also for all native plants. Invasive plants primarily had negative effects on plant diversity when they became abundant at a much lower cover level (less than 35%), compared with the native plants (over 60%). Thus, it is necessary to distinguish a range for assessing the effects of plants, especially invasive plants. Our results also confirmed that the invasion intensity of invasive alien plants increased with the intensity of local economic development. We highlight and further discuss the critical importance of curvilinear effects of biological invasion to provide ideas regarding the conservation of local biodiversity and the management of invasive plants. PMID:25426856

  8. Effects of trampling limitation on coastal dune plant communities.

    PubMed

    Santoro, Riccardo; Jucker, Tommaso; Prisco, Irene; Carboni, Marta; Battisti, Corrado; Acosta, Alicia T R

    2012-03-01

    Sandy coastlines are sensitive ecosystems where human activities can have considerable negative impacts. In particular, trampling by beach visitors is a disturbance that affects dune vegetation both at the species and community level. In this study we assess the effects of the limitation of human trampling on dune vegetation in a coastal protected area of Central Italy. We compare plant species diversity in two recently fenced sectors with that of an unfenced area (and therefore subject to human trampling) using rarefaction curves and a diversity/dominance approach during a two year study period. Our results indicate that limiting human trampling seems to be a key factor in driving changes in the plant diversity of dune systems. In 2007 the regression lines of species abundance as a function of rank showed steep slopes and high Y-intercept values in all sectors, indicating a comparable level of stress and dominance across the entire study site. On the contrary, in 2009 the regression lines of the two fenced sectors clearly diverge from that of the open sector, showing less steep slopes. This change in the slopes of the tendency lines, evidenced by the diversity/dominance diagrams and related to an increase in species diversity, suggests the recovery of plant communities in the two fences between 2007 and 2009. In general, plant communities subject to trampling tended to be poorer in species and less structured, since only dominant and tolerant plant species persisted. Furthermore, limiting trampling appears to have produced positive changes in the dune vegetation assemblage after a period of only two years. These results are encouraging for the management of coastal dune systems. They highlight how a simple and cost-effective management strategy, based on passive recovery conservation measures (i.e., fence building), can be a quick (1–2 years) and effective method for improving and safeguarding the diversity of dune plant communities. PMID:22302225

  9. Effects of Trampling Limitation on Coastal Dune Plant Communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Santoro, Riccardo; Jucker, Tommaso; Prisco, Irene; Carboni, Marta; Battisti, Corrado; Acosta, Alicia T. R.

    2012-03-01

    Sandy coastlines are sensitive ecosystems where human activities can have considerable negative impacts. In particular, trampling by beach visitors is a disturbance that affects dune vegetation both at the species and community level. In this study we assess the effects of the limitation of human trampling on dune vegetation in a coastal protected area of Central Italy. We compare plant species diversity in two recently fenced sectors with that of an unfenced area (and therefore subject to human trampling) using rarefaction curves and a diversity/dominance approach during a two year study period. Our results indicate that limiting human trampling seems to be a key factor in driving changes in the plant diversity of dune systems. In 2007 the regression lines of species abundance as a function of rank showed steep slopes and high Y-intercept values in all sectors, indicating a comparable level of stress and dominance across the entire study site. On the contrary, in 2009 the regression lines of the two fenced sectors clearly diverge from that of the open sector, showing less steep slopes. This change in the slopes of the tendency lines, evidenced by the diversity/dominance diagrams and related to an increase in species diversity, suggests the recovery of plant communities in the two fences between 2007 and 2009. In general, plant communities subject to trampling tended to be poorer in species and less structured, since only dominant and tolerant plant species persisted. Furthermore, limiting trampling appears to have produced positive changes in the dune vegetation assemblage after a period of only two years. These results are encouraging for the management of coastal dune systems. They highlight how a simple and cost-effective management strategy, based on passive recovery conservation measures (i.e., fence building), can be a quick (1-2 years) and effective method for improving and safeguarding the diversity of dune plant communities.

  10. Trophic network architecture of root-associated bacterial communities determines pathogen invasion and plant health

    PubMed Central

    Wei, Zhong; Yang, Tianjie; Friman, Ville-Petri; Xu, Yangchun; Shen, Qirong; Jousset, Alexandre

    2015-01-01

    Host-associated bacterial communities can function as an important line of defence against pathogens in animals and plants. Empirical evidence and theoretical predictions suggest that species-rich communities are more resistant to pathogen invasions. Yet, the underlying mechanisms are unclear. Here, we experimentally test how the underlying resource competition networks of resident bacterial communities affect invasion resistance to the plant pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum in microcosms and in tomato plant rhizosphere. We find that bipartite resource competition networks are better predictors of invasion resistance compared with resident community diversity. Specifically, communities with a combination of stabilizing configurations (low nestedness and high connectance), and a clear niche overlap with the pathogen, reduce pathogen invasion success, constrain pathogen growth within invaded communities and have lower levels of diseased plants in greenhouse experiments. Bacterial resource competition network characteristics can thus be important in explaining positive diversity–invasion resistance relationships in bacterial rhizosphere communities. PMID:26400552

  11. Trophic network architecture of root-associated bacterial communities determines pathogen invasion and plant health.

    PubMed

    Wei, Zhong; Yang, Tianjie; Friman, Ville-Petri; Xu, Yangchun; Shen, Qirong; Jousset, Alexandre

    2015-01-01

    Host-associated bacterial communities can function as an important line of defence against pathogens in animals and plants. Empirical evidence and theoretical predictions suggest that species-rich communities are more resistant to pathogen invasions. Yet, the underlying mechanisms are unclear. Here, we experimentally test how the underlying resource competition networks of resident bacterial communities affect invasion resistance to the plant pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum in microcosms and in tomato plant rhizosphere. We find that bipartite resource competition networks are better predictors of invasion resistance compared with resident community diversity. Specifically, communities with a combination of stabilizing configurations (low nestedness and high connectance), and a clear niche overlap with the pathogen, reduce pathogen invasion success, constrain pathogen growth within invaded communities and have lower levels of diseased plants in greenhouse experiments. Bacterial resource competition network characteristics can thus be important in explaining positive diversity-invasion resistance relationships in bacterial rhizosphere communities. PMID:26400552

  12. Osmolyte cooperation affects turgor dynamics in plants.

    PubMed

    Argiolas, Alfredo; Puleo, Gian Luigi; Sinibaldi, Edoardo; Mazzolai, Barbara

    2016-01-01

    Scientists have identified turgor-based actuation as a fundamental mechanism in plant movements. Plant cell turgor is generated by water influx due to the osmolyte concentration gradient through the cell wall and the plasma membrane behaving as an osmotic barrier. Previous studies have focused on turgor modulation with respect to potassium chloride (KCl) concentration changes, although KCl is not efficiently retained in the cell, and many other compounds, including L-glutamine (L-Gln) and D-glucose (D-Glc), are present in the cytosol. In fact, the contributions of other osmolytes to turgor dynamics remain to be elucidated. Here, we show the association of osmolytes and their consequent cooperative effects on the time-dependent turgor profile generated in a model cytosol consisting of KCl, D-Glc and L-Gln at experimentally measured plant motor/generic cell concentrations and at modified concentrations. We demonstrate the influence and association of the osmolytes using osmometry and NMR measurements. We also show, using a plant cell-inspired device we previously developed, that osmolyte complexes, rather than single osmolytes, permit to obtain higher turgor required by plant movements. We provide quantitative cues for deeper investigations of osmolyte transport for plant movement, and reveal the possibility of developing osmotic actuators exploiting a dynamically varying concentration of osmolytes. PMID:27445173

  13. Osmolyte cooperation affects turgor dynamics in plants

    PubMed Central

    Argiolas, Alfredo; Puleo, Gian Luigi; Sinibaldi, Edoardo; Mazzolai, Barbara

    2016-01-01

    Scientists have identified turgor-based actuation as a fundamental mechanism in plant movements. Plant cell turgor is generated by water influx due to the osmolyte concentration gradient through the cell wall and the plasma membrane behaving as an osmotic barrier. Previous studies have focused on turgor modulation with respect to potassium chloride (KCl) concentration changes, although KCl is not efficiently retained in the cell, and many other compounds, including L-glutamine (L-Gln) and D-glucose (D-Glc), are present in the cytosol. In fact, the contributions of other osmolytes to turgor dynamics remain to be elucidated. Here, we show the association of osmolytes and their consequent cooperative effects on the time-dependent turgor profile generated in a model cytosol consisting of KCl, D-Glc and L-Gln at experimentally measured plant motor/generic cell concentrations and at modified concentrations. We demonstrate the influence and association of the osmolytes using osmometry and NMR measurements. We also show, using a plant cell-inspired device we previously developed, that osmolyte complexes, rather than single osmolytes, permit to obtain higher turgor required by plant movements. We provide quantitative cues for deeper investigations of osmolyte transport for plant movement, and reveal the possibility of developing osmotic actuators exploiting a dynamically varying concentration of osmolytes. PMID:27445173

  14. Osmolyte cooperation affects turgor dynamics in plants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Argiolas, Alfredo; Puleo, Gian Luigi; Sinibaldi, Edoardo; Mazzolai, Barbara

    2016-07-01

    Scientists have identified turgor-based actuation as a fundamental mechanism in plant movements. Plant cell turgor is generated by water influx due to the osmolyte concentration gradient through the cell wall and the plasma membrane behaving as an osmotic barrier. Previous studies have focused on turgor modulation with respect to potassium chloride (KCl) concentration changes, although KCl is not efficiently retained in the cell, and many other compounds, including L-glutamine (L-Gln) and D-glucose (D-Glc), are present in the cytosol. In fact, the contributions of other osmolytes to turgor dynamics remain to be elucidated. Here, we show the association of osmolytes and their consequent cooperative effects on the time-dependent turgor profile generated in a model cytosol consisting of KCl, D-Glc and L-Gln at experimentally measured plant motor/generic cell concentrations and at modified concentrations. We demonstrate the influence and association of the osmolytes using osmometry and NMR measurements. We also show, using a plant cell-inspired device we previously developed, that osmolyte complexes, rather than single osmolytes, permit to obtain higher turgor required by plant movements. We provide quantitative cues for deeper investigations of osmolyte transport for plant movement, and reveal the possibility of developing osmotic actuators exploiting a dynamically varying concentration of osmolytes.

  15. Salinity and disturbance mediate direct and indirect plant-plant interactions in an assembled marsh community.

    PubMed

    Wang, Cheng-Huan; Li, Bo

    2016-09-01

    Direct and indirect plant-plant interactions play important roles in structuring plant communities, but the relative importance of physical stress and biological disturbance in mediating competitive outcomes remains debated. We conducted two common garden experiments to examine the influence of salinity and disturbance (sediment accretion and clipping) on competitive interactions among three native sedges (Scirpus mariqueter, Scirpus triqueter, and Carex scabrifolia) in the Yangtze estuary. In both experiments, the relative competitive abilities of these plants shifted among different treatments. Competition importance rather than intensity significantly decreased with increasing stress. At the community level, competition importance showed reduced variation along the stress gradient in the disturbance experiment. Notably, the performance of these sedges in three-species mixtures could not be predicted by their competitive relationships in two-species mixtures, which was an indication of indirect interactions. Salinity, disturbance and indirect interactions all affected the competitive dynamics of these sedges, which could explain their different performances and natural distributions in the Yangtze estuary. Our findings of the complex effects of physical factors and multi-species interactions, as well as the different patterns of competition importance along stress gradients at the species level and the community level can improve our understanding of plant community organization in salt marshes and other ecosystems with sharp environmental gradients. PMID:27164913

  16. Mesoherbivores affect grasshopper communities in a megaherbivore-dominated South African savannah.

    PubMed

    van der Plas, Fons; Olff, Han

    2014-06-01

    African savannahs are among the few places on earth where diverse communities of mega- and meso-sized ungulate grazers dominate ecosystem functioning. Less conspicuous, but even more diverse, are the communities of herbivorous insects such as grasshoppers, which share the same food. Various studies investigated the community assembly of these groups separately, but it is poorly known how ungulate communities shape grasshopper communities. Here, we investigated how ungulate species of different body size alter grasshopper communities in a South African savannah. White rhino is the most abundant vertebrate herbivore in our study site. Other common mesoherbivores include buffalo, zebra and impala. We hypothesized that white rhinos would have greater impact than mesoherbivores on grasshopper communities. Using 10-year-old exclosures, at eight sites we compared the effects of ungulates on grasshopper communities in three nested treatments: (i) unfenced plots ('control plots') with all vertebrate herbivores present, (ii) plots with a low cable fence, excluding white rhino ('megaherbivore exclosures'), and (iii) plots with tall fences, excluding all herbivores larger than rodents ('complete ungulate exclosures'). In each plot, we collected data of vegetation structure, grass and grasshopper community composition. Complete ungulate exclosures contained 30% taller vegetation than megaherbivore exclosures and they were dominated by different grass and grasshopper species. Grasshoppers in complete ungulate exclosures were on average 3.5 mm longer than grasshoppers in megaherbivore exclosures, possibly due to changes in plant communities or vegetation structure. We conclude that surprisingly, in this megaherbivore hotspot, mesoherbivores, instead of megaherbivores, most strongly affect grasshopper communities. PMID:24705648

  17. Fungal-fungal associations affect the assembly of endophyte communities in maize (Zea mays).

    PubMed

    Pan, Jean J; May, Georgiana

    2009-10-01

    Many factors can affect the assembly of communities, ranging from species pools to habitat effects to interspecific interactions. In microbial communities, the predominant focus has been on the well-touted ability of microbes to disperse and the environment acting as a selective filter to determine which species are present. In this study, we investigated the role of biotic interactions (e.g., competition, facilitation) in fungal endophyte community assembly by examining endophyte species co-occurrences within communities using null models. We used recombinant inbred lines (genotypes) of maize (Zea mays) to examine community assembly at multiple habitat levels, at the individual plant and host genotype levels. Both culture-dependent and culture-independent approaches were used to assess endophyte communities. Communities were analyzed using the complete fungal operational taxonomic unit (OTU) dataset or only the dominant (most abundant) OTUs in order to ascertain whether species co-occurrences were different for dominant members compared to when all members were included. In the culture-dependent approach, we found that for both datasets, OTUs co-occurred on maize genotypes more frequently than expected under the null model of random species co-occurrences. In the culture-independent approach, we found that OTUs negatively co-occurred at the individual plant level but were not significantly different from random at the genotype level for either the dominant or complete datasets. Our results showed that interspecific interactions can affect endophyte community assembly, but the effects can be complex and depend on host habitat level. To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine endophyte community assembly in the same host species at multiple habitat levels. Understanding the processes and mechanisms that shape microbial communities will provide important insights into microbial community structure and the maintenance of microbial biodiversity. PMID:19517158

  18. Agroforestry planting design affects loblolly pine growth

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The effect of plantation design on resource utilization has not been adequately investigated in agroforestry plantations. An experiment was conducted near Booneville, AR on a silt loam soil with a fragipan. Loblolly pine trees were planted in 1994 in an east-west row orientation in three designs: ...

  19. 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

  20. Divergent composition but similar function of soil food webs of individual plants: plant species and community effects.

    PubMed

    Bezemer, T M; Fountain, M T; Barea, J M; Christensen, S; Dekker, S C; Duyts, H; van Hal, R; Harvey, J A; Hedlund, K; Maraun, M; Mikola, J; Mladenov, A G; Robin, C; de Ruiter, P C; Scheu, S; Setälä, H; Smilauer, P; van der Putten, W H

    2010-10-01

    Soils are extremely rich in biodiversity, and soil organisms play pivotal roles in supporting terrestrial life, but the role that individual plants and plant communities play in influencing the diversity and functioning of soil food webs remains highly debated. Plants, as primary producers and providers of resources to the soil food web, are of vital importance for the composition, structure, and functioning of soil communities. However, whether natural soil food webs that are completely open to immigration and emigration differ underneath individual plants remains unknown. In a biodiversity restoration experiment we first compared the soil nematode communities of 228 individual plants belonging to eight herbaceous species. We included grass, leguminous, and non-leguminous species. Each individual plant grew intermingled with other species, but all plant species had a different nematode community. Moreover, nematode communities were more similar when plant individuals were growing in the same as compared to different plant communities, and these effects were most apparent for the groups of bacterivorous, carnivorous, and omnivorous nematodes. Subsequently, we analyzed the composition, structure, and functioning of the complete soil food webs of 58 individual plants, belonging to two of the plant species, Lotus corniculatus (Fabaceae) and Plantago lanceolata (Plantaginaceae). We isolated and identified more than 150 taxa/groups of soil organisms. The soil community composition and structure of the entire food webs were influenced both by the species identity of the plant individual and the surrounding plant community. Unexpectedly, plant identity had the strongest effects on decomposing soil organisms, widely believed to be generalist feeders. In contrast, quantitative food web modeling showed that the composition of the plant community influenced nitrogen mineralization under individual plants, but that plant species identity did not affect nitrogen or carbon

  1. Earthworm-Mycorrhiza Interactions Can Affect the Diversity, Structure and Functioning of Establishing Model Grassland Communities

    PubMed Central

    Zaller, Johann G.; Heigl, Florian; Grabmaier, Andrea; Lichtenegger, Claudia; Piller, Katja; Allabashi, Roza; Frank, Thomas; Drapela, Thomas

    2011-01-01

    Both earthworms and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are important ecosystem engineers co-occurring in temperate grasslands. However, their combined impacts during grassland establishment are poorly understood and have never been studied. We used large mesocosms to study the effects of different functional groups of earthworms (i.e., vertically burrowing anecics vs. horizontally burrowing endogeics) and a mix of four AMF taxa on the establishment, diversity and productivity of plant communities after a simulated seed rain of 18 grassland species comprising grasses, non-leguminous forbs and legumes. Moreover, effects of earthworms and/or AMF on water infiltration and leaching of ammonium, nitrate and phosphate were determined after a simulated extreme rainfall event (40 l m−2). AMF colonisation of all three plant functional groups was altered by earthworms. Seedling emergence and diversity was reduced by anecic earthworms, however only when AMF were present. Plant density was decreased in AMF-free mesocosms when both anecic and endogeic earthworms were active; with AMF also anecics reduced plant density. Plant shoot and root biomass was only affected by earthworms in AMF-free mesocosms: shoot biomass increased due to the activity of either anecics or endogeics; root biomass increased only when anecics were active. Water infiltration increased when earthworms were present in the mesocosms but remained unaffected by AMF. Ammonium leaching was increased only when anecics or a mixed earthworm community was active but was unaffected by AMF; nitrate and phosphate leaching was neither affected by earthworms nor AMF. Ammonium leaching decreased with increasing plant density, nitrate leaching decreased with increasing plant diversity and density. In order to understand the underlying processes of these interactions further investigations possibly under field conditions using more diverse belowground communities are required. Nevertheless, this study demonstrates that

  2. Do transgenic plants affect rhizobacteria populations?

    PubMed Central

    Filion, Martin

    2008-01-01

    Summary Plant genetic manipulation has led to the development of genetically modified plants (GMPs) expressing various traits. Since their first commercial use in 1996, GMPs have been increasingly used, reaching a global cultivating production area of 114.3 million hectares in 2007. The rapid development of agricultural biotechnology and release of GMPs have provided many agronomic and economic benefits, but has also raised concerns over the potential impact these plants might have on the environment. Among these environmental concerns, the unintentional impact that GMPs might have on soil‐associated microbes, especially rhizosphere‐inhabiting bacteria or rhizobacteria, represents one of the least studied and understood areas. As rhizobacteria are responsible for numerous key functions including nutrient cycling and decomposition, they have been defined as good indicator organisms to assess the general impact that GMPs might have on the soil environment. This minireview summarizes the results of various experiments that have been conducted to date on the impact of GMPs on rhizobacteria. Both biological and technical parameters are discussed and an attempt is made to determine if specific rhizobacterial responses exist for the different categories of GMPs developed to date. PMID:21261867

  3. Conceptual hierarchical modeling to describe wetland plant community organization

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Little, A.M.; Guntenspergen, G.R.; Allen, T.F.H.

    2010-01-01

    Using multivariate analysis, we created a hierarchical modeling process that describes how differently-scaled environmental factors interact to affect wetland-scale plant community organization in a system of small, isolated wetlands on Mount Desert Island, Maine. We followed the procedure: 1) delineate wetland groups using cluster analysis, 2) identify differently scaled environmental gradients using non-metric multidimensional scaling, 3) order gradient hierarchical levels according to spatiotem-poral scale of fluctuation, and 4) assemble hierarchical model using group relationships with ordination axes and post-hoc tests of environmental differences. Using this process, we determined 1) large wetland size and poor surface water chemistry led to the development of shrub fen wetland vegetation, 2) Sphagnum and water chemistry differences affected fen vs. marsh / sedge meadows status within small wetlands, and 3) small-scale hydrologic differences explained transitions between forested vs. non-forested and marsh vs. sedge meadow vegetation. This hierarchical modeling process can help explain how upper level contextual processes constrain biotic community response to lower-level environmental changes. It creates models with more nuanced spatiotemporal complexity than classification and regression tree procedures. Using this process, wetland scientists will be able to generate more generalizable theories of plant community organization, and useful management models. ?? Society of Wetland Scientists 2009.

  4. Community 15N isoscapes to resolve plant-plant-interactions at the spatial scale

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hellmann, Christine; Rascher, Katherine G.; Máguas, Cristina; Werner, Christiane

    2014-05-01

    Isoscapes have greatly improved our ability to understand biogeochemical processes on continental to global scales. However, the isoscapes framework may also have significant potential to resolve the spatial component of within-community interactions. For example, exotic plant invaders often exert strong impacts on ecosystem functioning, particularly regarding water-, carbon- and nutrient-cycles, but the spatial extent of such alterations is largely unknown. Here we show that massive N input by the N2-fixing exotic invasive Acacia longifolia to a Portuguese dune system can be traced using spatially resolved information on native plants' leaf δ15N. We found isotopic signatures of N to differ strongly between the native system (δ15N c. -10 o) and the atmospherically derived N in A. longifolia phyllodes (δ15N c. 0 o). Thus, sources of N for native plants could be readily distinguished. Leaf δ15N of a native, non-fixing species was increasingly enriched the closer the plant grew to the invader, indicating uptake of fixed N provided by A. longifolia. The enrichment was evident far beyond the stands of the invader, demonstrating that A. longifolia affected N budgets of native species up to a distance of 8 m exceeding the margin of the canopy. Furthermore, using the isoscapes approach, we were able to quantify the total area of N enrichment and could thus show that the area affected by invasion was at least 3.5 times larger than the area actually occupied by the invader. However, a native N2-fixing species had no such effects. Thus, downscaling isoscapes to the community level opens new frontiers in quantifying the spatial dimension of functional changes associated with plant invasions. Moreover, considering the feasibility and applicability of this approach, it may provide a promising tool to identify, quantify and monitor different types of functional plant-plant interactions within communities at a spatially explicit scale.

  5. Asynchronous responses of soil microbial community and understory plant community to simulated nitrogen deposition in a subtropical forest

    PubMed Central

    Wu, Jianping; Liu, Wenfei; Fan, Houbao; Huang, Guomin; Wan, Songze; Yuan, Yinghong; Ji, Chunfeng

    2013-01-01

    Atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition greatly affects ecosystem processes and properties. However, few studies have simultaneously examined the responses of both the above- and belowground communities to N deposition. Here, we investigated the effects of 8 years of simulated N deposition on soil microbial communities and plant diversity in a subtropical forest. The quantities of experimental N added (g of N m−2 year−1) and treatment codes were 0 (N0, control), 6 (N1), 12 (N2), and 24 (N3). Phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs) analysis was used to characterize the soil microbial community while plant diversity and coverage were determined in the permanent field plots. Microbial abundance was reduced by the N3 treatment, and plant species richness and coverage were reduced by both N2 and N3 treatments. Declines in plant species richness were associated with decreased abundance of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, increased bacterial stress index, and reduced soil pH. The plasticity of soil microbial community would be more related to the different responses among treatments when compared with plant community. These results indicate that long-term N deposition has greater effects on the understory plant community than on the soil microbial community and different conservation strategies should be considered. PMID:24198947

  6. Pyridine-type alkaloid composition affects bacterial community composition of floral nectar

    PubMed Central

    Aizenberg-Gershtein, Yana; Izhaki, Ido; Santhanam, Rakesh; Kumar, Pavan; Baldwin, Ian T.; Halpern, Malka

    2015-01-01

    Pyridine-type alkaloids are most common in Nicotiana species. To study the effect of alkaloid composition on bacterial community composition in floral nectar, we compared the nicotine-rich wild type (WT) N. attenuata, the nicotine biosynthesis-silenced N. attenuata that was rich in anatabine and the anabasine-rich WT N. glauca plants. We found that the composition of these secondary metabolites in the floral nectar drastically affected the bacterial community richness, diversity and composition. Significant differences were found between the bacterial community compositions in the nectar of the three plants with a much greater species richness and diversity in the nectar from the transgenic plant. The highest community composition similarity index was detected between the two wild type plants. The different microbiome composition and diversity, caused by the different pyridine-type alkaloid composition, could modify the nutritional content of the nectar and consequently, may contribute to the change in the nectar consumption and visitation. These may indirectly have an effect on plant fitness. PMID:26122961

  7. Volatile Exchange between Undamaged Plants - a New Mechanism Affecting Insect Orientation in Intercropping

    PubMed Central

    Ninkovic, Velemir; Dahlin, Iris; Vucetic, Andja; Petrovic-Obradovic, Olivera; Glinwood, Robert; Webster, Ben

    2013-01-01

    Changes in plant volatile emission can be induced by exposure to volatiles from neighbouring insect-attacked plants. However, plants are also exposed to volatiles from unattacked neighbours, and the consequences of this have not been explored. We investigated whether volatile exchange between undamaged plants affects volatile emission and plant-insect interaction. Consistently greater quantities of two terpenoids were found in the headspace of potato previously exposed to volatiles from undamaged onion plants identified by mass spectrometry. Using live plants and synthetic blends mimicking exposed and unexposed potato, we tested the olfactory response of winged aphids, Myzus persicae. The altered potato volatile profile deterred aphids in laboratory experiments. Further, we show that growing potato together with onion in the field reduces the abundance of winged, host-seeking aphids. Our study broadens the ecological significance of the phenomenon; volatiles carry not only information on whether or not neighbouring plants are under attack, but also information on the emitter plants themselves. In this way responding plants could obtain information on whether the neighbouring plant is a competitive threat and can accordingly adjust their growth towards it. We interpret this as a response in the process of adaptation towards neighbouring plants. Furthermore, these physiological changes in the responding plants have significant ecological impact, as behaviour of aphids was affected. Since herbivore host plants are potentially under constant exposure to these volatiles, our study has major implications for the understanding of how mechanisms within plant communities affect insects. This knowledge could be used to improve plant protection and increase scientific understanding of communication between plants and its impact on other organisms. PMID:23922710

  8. Rhizosphere microbiome assemblage is affected by plant development

    PubMed Central

    Chaparro, Jacqueline M; Badri, Dayakar V; Vivanco, Jorge M

    2014-01-01

    There is a concerted understanding of the ability of root exudates to influence the structure of rhizosphere microbial communities. However, our knowledge of the connection between plant development, root exudation and microbiome assemblage is limited. Here, we analyzed the structure of the rhizospheric bacterial community associated with Arabidopsis at four time points corresponding to distinct stages of plant development: seedling, vegetative, bolting and flowering. Overall, there were no significant differences in bacterial community structure, but we observed that the microbial community at the seedling stage was distinct from the other developmental time points. At a closer level, phylum such as Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Cyanobacteria and specific genera within those phyla followed distinct patterns associated with plant development and root exudation. These results suggested that the plant can select a subset of microbes at different stages of development, presumably for specific functions. Accordingly, metatranscriptomics analysis of the rhizosphere microbiome revealed that 81 unique transcripts were significantly (P<0.05) expressed at different stages of plant development. For instance, genes involved in streptomycin synthesis were significantly induced at bolting and flowering stages, presumably for disease suppression. We surmise that plants secrete blends of compounds and specific phytochemicals in the root exudates that are differentially produced at distinct stages of development to help orchestrate rhizosphere microbiome assemblage. PMID:24196324

  9. Community Support of Ethanol Plants: Does Local Ownership Matter?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bain, Carmen; Prokos, Anastasia; Liu, Hexuan

    2012-01-01

    Drawing on data from six communities in Kansas and Iowa, we explore the factors that are related to community members' current levels of overall support for local ethanol plants. What are residents' opinions about the benefits and drawbacks of local ownership of ethanol plants? How does that awareness lead to overall support of plants? Our…

  10. Investigating Effects of Invasive Species on Plant Community Structure

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Franklin, Wilfred

    2008-01-01

    In this article, the author presents a field study project that explores factors influencing forest community structure and lifts the veil off of "plant blindness." This ecological study consists of three laboratories: (1) preliminary field trip to the study site; (2) plant survey; and (3) analyzing plant community structure with descriptive…

  11. Landscape fragmentation affects responses of avian communities to climate change.

    PubMed

    Jarzyna, Marta A; Porter, William F; Maurer, Brian A; Zuckerberg, Benjamin; Finley, Andrew O

    2015-08-01

    Forecasting the consequences of climate change is contingent upon our understanding of the relationship between biodiversity patterns and climatic variability. While the impacts of climate change on individual species have been well-documented, there is a paucity of studies on climate-mediated changes in community dynamics. Our objectives were to investigate the relationship between temporal turnover in avian biodiversity and changes in climatic conditions and to assess the role of landscape fragmentation in affecting this relationship. We hypothesized that community turnover would be highest in regions experiencing the most pronounced changes in climate and that these patterns would be reduced in human-dominated landscapes. To test this hypothesis, we quantified temporal turnover in avian communities over a 20-year period using data from the New York State Breeding Atlases collected during 1980-1985 and 2000-2005. We applied Bayesian spatially varying intercept models to evaluate the relationship between temporal turnover and temporal trends in climatic conditions and landscape fragmentation. We found that models including interaction terms between climate change and landscape fragmentation were superior to models without the interaction terms, suggesting that the relationship between avian community turnover and changes in climatic conditions was affected by the level of landscape fragmentation. Specifically, we found weaker associations between temporal turnover and climatic change in regions with prevalent habitat fragmentation. We suggest that avian communities in fragmented landscapes are more robust to climate change than communities found in contiguous habitats because they are comprised of species with wider thermal niches and thus are less susceptible to shifts in climatic variability. We conclude that highly fragmented regions are likely to undergo less pronounced changes in composition and structure of faunal communities as a result of climate change

  12. Alien Roadside Species More Easily Invade Alpine than Lowland Plant Communities in a Subarctic Mountain Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Lembrechts, Jonas J.; Milbau, Ann; Nijs, Ivan

    2014-01-01

    Effects of roads on plant communities are not well known in cold-climate mountain ecosystems, where road building and development are expected to increase in future decades. Knowledge of the sensitivity of mountain plant communities to disturbance by roads is however important for future conservation purposes. We investigate the effects of roads on species richness and composition, including the plant strategies that are most affected, along three elevational gradients in a subarctic mountain ecosystem. We also examine whether mountain roads promote the introduction and invasion of alien plant species from the lowlands to the alpine zone. Observations of plant community composition were made together with abiotic, biotic and anthropogenic factors in 60 T-shaped transects. Alpine plant communities reacted differently to road disturbances than their lowland counterparts. On high elevations, the roadside species composition was more similar to that of the local natural communities. Less competitive and ruderal species were present at high compared with lower elevation roadsides. While the effects of roads thus seem to be mitigated in the alpine environment for plant species in general, mountain plant communities are more invasible than lowland communities. More precisely, relatively more alien species present in the roadside were found to invade into the surrounding natural community at high compared to low elevations. We conclude that effects of roads and introduction of alien species in lowlands cannot simply be extrapolated to the alpine and subarctic environment. PMID:24586947

  13. Vegetative Propagule Pressure and Water Depth Affect Biomass and Evenness of Submerged Macrophyte Communities

    PubMed Central

    Li, Hong-Li; Wang, Yong-Yang; Zhang, Qian; Wang, Pu; Zhang, Ming-Xiang; Yu, Fei-Hai

    2015-01-01

    Vegetative propagule pressure may affect the establishment and structure of aquatic plant communities that are commonly dominated by plants capable of clonal growth. We experimentally constructed aquatic communities consisting of four submerged macrophytes (Hydrilla verticillata, Ceratophyllum demersum, Elodea nuttallii and Myriophyllum spicatum) with three levels of vegetative propagule pressure (4, 8 and 16 shoot fragments for communities in each pot) and two levels of water depth (30 cm and 70 cm). Increasing vegetative propagule pressure and decreasing water level significantly increased the growth of the submerged macrophyte communities, suggesting that propagule pressure and water depth should be considered when utilizing vegetative propagules to re-establish submerged macrophyte communities in degraded aquatic ecosystems. However, increasing vegetative propagule pressure and decreasing water level significantly decreased evenness of the submerged macrophyte communities because they markedly increased the dominance of H. verticillata and E. nuttallii, but had little impact on that of C. demersum and M. spicatum. Thus, effects of vegetative propagule pressure and water depth are species-specific and increasing vegetative propagule pressure under lower water level can facilitate the establishment success of submerged macrophyte communities. PMID:26560705

  14. Plant community response to landscape connectivity and patch shape.

    SciTech Connect

    Damschen, Ellen I.

    2005-07-01

    Ph.D Dissertation. North Carolina State University. Raleigh, North Carolina. 135 pp. Abstract. Land transformation is the single most important factor promoting the global loss of terrestrial biological diversity. Remaining habitat fragments contain more edges, less interior habitat, and are more isolated from other habitat fragments, all of which decrease rates of colonization following local extinctions, reduce reproductive rates and gene flow between populations, and ultimately lead to species extinctions. The best approach to prevent species loss, therefore, is to preserve greater areas of habitat. In many cases, however, habitat has already been fragmented and strategies are needed to configure and manage the remaining land. Land managers often create reserve networks that incorporate the use of landscape corridors, linear strips of habitat connecting isolated patches, to reduce species loss by increasing colonizations and decreasing extinctions. Most empirical tests of corridors have been limited to individuals and populations, leaving corridor effects on diversity largely unknown, especially at large spatial scales. Additionally, only a handful of studies have examined corridor effects on plants, which may be especially sensitive to the abiotic changes resulting from alterations in patch shape due to dispersal limitation. Using one of the best-replicated, large-scale habitat fragmentation experiments, I tested explicitly for corridor effects on plant community diversity and composition by examining the established plant community and the soil seedbank. My experimental design distinguished among the three possible ways corridors can affect between-patch processes: by acting as a movement conduit between connected patches (“connectivity effects”), by increasing area alone (“area effects”), and by intercepting organisms moving across the landscape and filtering them into connected patches (“drift-fence effects”). Additionally, I tested for the

  15. Forest Management Intensity Affects Aquatic Communities in Artificial Tree Holes

    PubMed Central

    Petermann, Jana S.; Rohland, Anja; Sichardt, Nora; Lade, Peggy; Guidetti, Brenda; Weisser, Wolfgang W.; Gossner, Martin M.

    2016-01-01

    Forest management could potentially affect organisms in all forest habitats. However, aquatic communities in water-filled tree-holes may be especially sensitive because of small population sizes, the risk of drought and potential dispersal limitation. We set up artificial tree holes in forest stands subject to different management intensities in two regions in Germany and assessed the influence of local environmental properties (tree-hole opening type, tree diameter, water volume and water temperature) as well as regional drivers (forest management intensity, tree-hole density) on tree-hole insect communities (not considering other organisms such as nematodes or rotifers), detritus content, oxygen and nutrient concentrations. In addition, we compared data from artificial tree holes with data from natural tree holes in the same area to evaluate the methodological approach of using tree-hole analogues. We found that forest management had strong effects on communities in artificial tree holes in both regions and across the season. Abundance and species richness declined, community composition shifted and detritus content declined with increasing forest management intensity. Environmental variables, such as tree-hole density and tree diameter partly explained these changes. However, dispersal limitation, indicated by effects of tree-hole density, generally showed rather weak impacts on communities. Artificial tree holes had higher water temperatures (on average 2°C higher) and oxygen concentrations (on average 25% higher) than natural tree holes. The abundance of organisms was higher but species richness was lower in artificial tree holes. Community composition differed between artificial and natural tree holes. Negative management effects were detectable in both tree-hole systems, despite their abiotic and biotic differences. Our results indicate that forest management has substantial and pervasive effects on tree-hole communities and may alter their structure and

  16. Forest Management Intensity Affects Aquatic Communities in Artificial Tree Holes.

    PubMed

    Petermann, Jana S; Rohland, Anja; Sichardt, Nora; Lade, Peggy; Guidetti, Brenda; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Gossner, Martin M

    2016-01-01

    Forest management could potentially affect organisms in all forest habitats. However, aquatic communities in water-filled tree-holes may be especially sensitive because of small population sizes, the risk of drought and potential dispersal limitation. We set up artificial tree holes in forest stands subject to different management intensities in two regions in Germany and assessed the influence of local environmental properties (tree-hole opening type, tree diameter, water volume and water temperature) as well as regional drivers (forest management intensity, tree-hole density) on tree-hole insect communities (not considering other organisms such as nematodes or rotifers), detritus content, oxygen and nutrient concentrations. In addition, we compared data from artificial tree holes with data from natural tree holes in the same area to evaluate the methodological approach of using tree-hole analogues. We found that forest management had strong effects on communities in artificial tree holes in both regions and across the season. Abundance and species richness declined, community composition shifted and detritus content declined with increasing forest management intensity. Environmental variables, such as tree-hole density and tree diameter partly explained these changes. However, dispersal limitation, indicated by effects of tree-hole density, generally showed rather weak impacts on communities. Artificial tree holes had higher water temperatures (on average 2°C higher) and oxygen concentrations (on average 25% higher) than natural tree holes. The abundance of organisms was higher but species richness was lower in artificial tree holes. Community composition differed between artificial and natural tree holes. Negative management effects were detectable in both tree-hole systems, despite their abiotic and biotic differences. Our results indicate that forest management has substantial and pervasive effects on tree-hole communities and may alter their structure and

  17. An Exploration of Hypotheses that Explain Herbivore and Pathogen Attack in Restored Plant Communities

    PubMed Central

    Blaisdell, G. Kai; Roy, Bitty A.; Pfeifer-Meister, Laurel; Bridgham, Scott D.

    2015-01-01

    Many hypotheses address the associations of plant community composition with natural enemies, including: (i) plant species diversity may reduce enemy attack, (ii) attack may increase as host abundance increases, (iii) enemy spillover may lead to increased attack on one host species due to transmission from another host species, or enemy dilution may lead to reduced attack on a host that would otherwise have more attack, (iv) physical characteristics of the plant community may influence attack, and (v) plant vigor may affect attack. Restoration experiments with replicated plant communities provide an exceptional opportunity to explore these hypotheses. To explore the relative predictive strengths of these related hypotheses and to investigate the potential effect of several restoration site preparation techniques, we surveyed arthropod herbivore and fungal pathogen attack on the six most common native plant species in a restoration experiment. Multi-model inference revealed a weak but consistent negative correlation with pathogen attack and host diversity across the plant community, and no correlation between herbivory and host diversity. Our analyses also revealed host species-specific relationships between attack and abundance of the target host species, other native plant species, introduced plant species, and physical community characteristics. We found no relationship between enemy attack and plant vigor. We found minimal differences in plant community composition among several diverse site preparation techniques, and limited effects of site preparation techniques on attack. The strongest associations of community characteristics with attack varied among plant species with no community-wide patterns, suggesting that no single hypothesis successfully predicts the dominant community-wide trends in enemy attack. PMID:25699672

  18. Eco-evolutionary dynamics of plant-herbivore communities: incorporating plant phenotypic plasticity.

    PubMed

    Ohgushi, Takayuki

    2016-04-01

    The interplay between evolution and ecological communities is critical for the integration of different levels of biological organization. Recent work has begun to unveil the importance of plant phenotypic plasticity and plant-herbivore (co)evolution to link plant evolution and associated insect communities. Specifically, herbivore-induced plant traits (i.e., plastic phenotypes) have significant effects on the structure and diversity of herbivore communities, which can in turn promote the evolution of not only the focal plant but also insect community members. Here, I will provide a conceptual framework on the eco-evolutionary dynamics of plant-herbivore communities to understand how biological organizations are integrated in plant-insect interactions. Research on eco-evolutionary dynamics of plant-herbivore communities will undoubtedly enrich understanding of a wide range of plant-insect interactions. PMID:27436645

  19. The impact of plant chemical diversity on plant-herbivore interactions at the community level.

    PubMed

    Salazar, Diego; Jaramillo, Alejandra; Marquis, Robert J

    2016-08-01

    Understanding the role of diversity in ecosystem processes and species interactions is a central goal of ecology. For plant-herbivore interactions, it has been hypothesized that when plant species diversity is reduced, loss of plant biomass to herbivores increases. Although long-standing, this hypothesis has received mixed support. Increasing plant chemical diversity with increasing plant taxonomic diversity is likely to be important for plant-herbivore interactions at the community level, but the role of chemical diversity is unexplored. Here we assess the effect of volatile chemical diversity on patterns of herbivore damage in naturally occurring patches of Piper (Piperaceae) shrubs in a Costa Rican lowland wet forest. Volatile chemical diversity negatively affected total, specialist, and generalist herbivore damage. Furthermore, there were differences between the effects of high-volatility and low-volatility chemical diversity on herbivore damage. High-volatility diversity reduced specialist herbivory, while low-volatility diversity reduced generalist herbivory. Our data suggest that, although increased plant diversity is expected to reduce average herbivore damage, this pattern is likely mediated by the diversity of defensive compounds and general classes of anti-herbivore traits, as well as the degree of specialization of the herbivores attacking those plants. PMID:27129320

  20. Bottom-up regulation of plant community structure in an aridland ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Báez, Selene; Collins, Scott L; Lightfoot, David; Koontz, Terri L

    2006-11-01

    We conducted a long-term rodent exclosure experiment in native grass- and shrub-dominated vegetation to evaluate the importance of top-down and bottom-up controls on plant community structure in a low-productivity aridland ecosystem. Using multiple regressions and analysis of covariance, we assessed how bottom-up precipitation pulses cascade through vegetation to affect rodent populations, how rodent populations affect plant community structure, and how rodents alter rates of plant community change over time. Our findings showed that bottom-up pulses cascade through the system, increasing the abundances of plants and rodents, and that rodents exerted no control on plant community structure and rate of change in grass-dominated vegetation, and only limited control in shrub-dominated vegetation. These results were discussed in the context of top-down effects on plant communities across broad gradients of primary productivity. We conclude that bottom-up regulation maintains this ecosystem in a state of low primary productivity that constrains the abundance of consumers such that they exert limited influence on plant community structure and dynamics. PMID:17168019

  1. More closely related plants have more distinct mycorrhizal communities

    PubMed Central

    Reinhart, Kurt O.; Anacker, Brian L.

    2014-01-01

    Neighbouring plants are known to vary from having similar to dissimilar arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal (AMF) communities. One possibility is that closely related plants have more similar AMF communities than more distantly related plants, an indication of phylogenetic host specificity. Here, we investigated the structure of AMF communities among dominant grassland plants at three sites in the Northern Great Plains to test whether the pairwise phylogenetic distance among plant species was correlated with pairwise AMF community dissimilarity. For eight dominant and co-occurring grassland plant species, we reconstructed a phylogeny based on DNA data and characterized the AMF communities of their roots at each site. Community analyses revealed that AMF communities varied among sites and among plant species. Contrary to expectations for phylogenetic host specificity, we found that within a site more closely related plants had more distinct AMF communities despite their having similar phenologies. Associations with unique AMF communities may enhance the functional complementarity of related species and promote their coexistence. PMID:25165062

  2. Increasing land-use intensity decreases floral colour diversity of plant communities in temperate grasslands.

    PubMed

    Binkenstein, Julia; Renoult, Julien P; Schaefer, H Martin

    2013-10-01

    To preserve biodiversity and ecosystem functions in a globally changing world it is crucial to understand the effect of land use on ecosystem processes such as pollination. Floral colouration is known to be central in plant-pollinator interactions. To date, it is still unknown whether land use affects the colouration of flowering plant communities. To assess the effect of land use on the diversity and composition of flower colours in temperate grasslands, we collected data on the number of flowering plant species, blossom cover and flower reflectance spectra from 69 plant communities in two German regions, Schwäbische Alb (SA) and Hainich-Dün (HD). We analysed reflectance data of flower colours as they are perceived by honeybees and studied floral colour diversity based upon spectral loci of each flowering plant species in the Maxwell triangle. Before the first mowing, flower colour diversity decreased with increasing land-use intensity in SA, accompanied by a shift of mean flower colours of communities towards an increasing proportion of white blossom cover in both regions. By changing colour characteristics of grasslands, we suggest that increasing land-use intensity can affect the flower visitor fauna in terms of visitor behaviour and diversity. These changes may in turn influence plant reproduction in grassland plant communities. Our results indicate that land use is likely to affect communication processes between plants and flower visitors by altering flower colour traits. PMID:23568710

  3. Sexual selection affects local extinction and turnover in bird communities

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Doherty, P.F., Jr.; Sorci, G.; Royle, J. Andrew; Hines, J.E.; Nichols, J.D.; Boulinier, T.

    2003-01-01

    Predicting extinction risks has become a central goal for conservation and evolutionary biologists interested in population and community dynamics. Several factors have been put forward to explain risks of extinction, including ecological and life history characteristics of individuals. For instance, factors that affect the balance between natality and mortality can have profound effects on population persistence. Sexual selection has been identified as one such factor. Populations under strong sexual selection experience a number of costs ranging from increased predation and parasitism to enhanced sensitivity to environmental and demographic stochasticity. These findings have led to the prediction that local extinction rates should be higher for species/populations with intense sexual selection. We tested this prediction by analyzing the dynamics of natural bird communities at a continental scale over a period of 21 years (1975-1996), using relevant statistical tools. In agreement with the theoretical prediction, we found that sexual selection increased risks of local extinction (dichromatic birds had on average a 23% higher local extinction rate than monochromatic species). However, despite higher local extinction probabilities, the number of dichromatic species did not decrease over the period considered in this study. This pattern was caused by higher local turnover rates of dichromatic species, resulting in relatively stable communities for both groups of species. Our results suggest that these communities function as metacommunities, with frequent local extinctions followed by colonization. Anthropogenic factors impeding dispersal might therefore have a significant impact on the global persistence of sexually selected species.

  4. Plant volatiles induced by herbivore egg deposition affect insects of different trophic levels.

    PubMed

    Fatouros, Nina E; Lucas-Barbosa, Dani; Weldegergis, Berhane T; Pashalidou, Foteini G; van Loon, Joop J A; Dicke, Marcel; Harvey, Jeffrey A; Gols, Rieta; Huigens, Martinus E

    2012-01-01

    Plants release volatiles induced by herbivore feeding that may affect the diversity and composition of plant-associated arthropod communities. However, the specificity and role of plant volatiles induced during the early phase of attack, i.e. egg deposition by herbivorous insects, and their consequences on insects of different trophic levels remain poorly explored. In olfactometer and wind tunnel set-ups, we investigated behavioural responses of a specialist cabbage butterfly (Pieris brassicae) and two of its parasitic wasps (Trichogramma brassicae and Cotesia glomerata) to volatiles of a wild crucifer (Brassica nigra) induced by oviposition of the specialist butterfly and an additional generalist moth (Mamestra brassicae). Gravid butterflies were repelled by volatiles from plants induced by cabbage white butterfly eggs, probably as a means of avoiding competition, whereas both parasitic wasp species were attracted. In contrast, volatiles from plants induced by eggs of the generalist moth did neither repel nor attract any of the tested community members. Analysis of the plant's volatile metabolomic profile by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and the structure of the plant-egg interface by scanning electron microscopy confirmed that the plant responds differently to egg deposition by the two lepidopteran species. Our findings imply that prior to actual feeding damage, egg deposition can induce specific plant responses that significantly influence various members of higher trophic levels. PMID:22912893

  5. Factors affecting the level of success of community information systems.

    PubMed

    Coombs, C R; Doherty, N F; Loan-Clarke, J

    1999-01-01

    The factors that influence the ultimate level of success or failure of systems development projects have received considerable attention in the academic literature. However, previous research has rarely targeted different instances of a common type of system within a homogeneous organisational sector. This paper presents the results of a survey of IM&T managers within Community Trusts to gain insights into the factors affecting the success of Community Information Systems. The results demonstrate that the most successful operational systems were thoroughly tested prior to implementation and enjoyed high levels of user and senior management commitment. Furthermore, it has been shown that there is a relationship between the level of organisational impact and systems success, with the most successful systems engendering changes to the host organisation's culture, level of empowerment and clinical working practices. In addition to being of academic interest, this research provides many important insights for practising IM&T managers. PMID:10747445

  6. Diversity and structure of AMF communities as affected by tillage in a temperate soil.

    PubMed

    Jansa, J; Mozafar, A; Anken, T; Ruh, R; Sanders, I R; Frossard, E

    2002-10-01

    Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) were studied in differently tilled soils from a long-term field experiment in Switzerland. Diversity and structure of AMF communities were surveyed either directly on spores isolated from the field soil or on spores isolated from trap cultures, planted with different host plants. Single-spore cultures were established from the AMF spores obtained from trap cultures. Identification of the AMF was made by observation of spore morphology and confirmed by sequencing of ITS rDNA. At least 17 recognised AMF species were identified in samples from field and/or trap cultures, belonging to five genera of AMF--Glomus, Gigaspora, Scutellospora, Acaulospora, and Entrophospora. Tillage had a significant influence on the sporulation of some species and non- Glomus AMF tended to be more abundant in the no-tilled soil. The community structure of AMF in the field soil was significantly affected by tillage treatment. However, no significant differences in AMF diversity were detected among different soil tillage treatments. AMF community composition in trap cultures was affected much more by the species of the trap plant than by the original tillage treatment of the field soil. The use of trap cultures for fungal diversity estimation in comparison with direct observation of field samples is discussed. PMID:12375133

  7. Cascading effects of belowground predators on plant communities are density-dependent.

    PubMed

    Thakur, Madhav Prakash; Herrmann, Martina; Steinauer, Katja; Rennoch, Saskia; Cesarz, Simone; Eisenhauer, Nico

    2015-10-01

    Soil food webs comprise a multitude of trophic interactions that can affect the composition and productivity of plant communities. Belowground predators feeding on microbial grazers like Collembola could decelerate nutrient mineralization by reducing microbial turnover in the soil, which in turn could negatively influence plant growth. However, empirical evidences for the ecological significance of belowground predators on nutrient cycling and plant communities are scarce. Here, we manipulated predator density (Hypoaspis aculeifer: predatory mite) with equal densities of three Collembola species as a prey in four functionally dissimilar plant communities in experimental microcosms: grass monoculture (Poa pratensis), herb monoculture (Rumex acetosa), legume monoculture (Trifolium pratense), and all three species as a mixed plant community. Density manipulation of predators allowed us to test for density-mediated effects of belowground predators on Collembola and lower trophic groups. We hypothesized that predator density will reduce Collembola population causing a decrease in nutrient mineralization and hence detrimentally affect plant growth. First, we found a density-dependent population change in predators, that is, an increase in low-density treatments, but a decrease in high-density treatments. Second, prey suppression was lower at high predator density, which caused a shift in the soil microbial community by increasing the fungal: bacterial biomass ratio, and an increase of nitrification rates, particularly in legume monocultures. Despite the increase in nutrient mineralization, legume monocultures performed worse at high predator density. Further, individual grass shoot biomass decreased in monocultures, while it increased in mixed plant communities with increasing predator density, which coincided with elevated soil N uptake by grasses. As a consequence, high predator density significantly increased plant complementarity effects indicating a decrease in

  8. Individual and community factors affecting psychological sense of community, attraction, and neighboring in rural communities.

    PubMed

    Wilkinson, Derek

    2008-08-01

    One thousand nine hundred ninety-five individuals in 20 rural Canadian communities were measured on perceived social cohesion by the three Buckner scale subdimensions: psychological sense of community (PSOC), attraction, and neighboring. Number of household children, income over $20,000, age, birthplace in, and years lived in the community significantly positively influenced PSOC and Attraction. Number of household children (positive for income over $20,000; otherwise negative), income over $40,000, birthplace, and years in the community significantly influenced neighboring. Increased interaction generally increases individuals' social cohesion. As the only significant community variable was being on an island province, individual-oriented policies are recommended to increase cohesion. PMID:19579352

  9. Rapid plant evolution in the presence of an introduced species alters community composition.

    PubMed

    Smith, David Solance; Lau, Matthew K; Jacobs, Ryan; Monroy, Jenna A; Shuster, Stephen M; Whitham, Thomas G

    2015-10-01

    Because introduced species may strongly interact with native species and thus affect their fitness, it is important to examine how these interactions can cascade to have ecological and evolutionary consequences for whole communities. Here, we examine the interactions among introduced Rocky Mountain elk, Cervus canadensis nelsoni, a common native plant, Solidago velutina, and the diverse plant-associated community of arthropods. While introduced species are recognized as one of the biggest threats to native ecosystems, relatively few studies have investigated an evolutionary mechanism by which introduced species alter native communities. Here, we use a common garden design that addresses and supports two hypotheses. First, native S. velutina has rapidly evolved in the presence of introduced elk. We found that plants originating from sites with introduced elk flowered nearly 3 weeks before plants originating from sites without elk. Second, evolution of S. velutina results in a change to the plant-associated arthropod community. We found that plants originating from sites with introduced elk supported an arthropod community that had ~35 % fewer total individuals and a different species composition. Our results show that the impacts of introduced species can have both ecological and evolutionary consequences for strongly interacting species that subsequently cascade to affect a much larger community. Such evolutionary consequences are likely to be long-term and difficult to remediate. PMID:26062439

  10. Species-area relationships in Mediterranean-climate plant communities

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Keeley, J.E.; Fotheringham, C.J.

    2003-01-01

    Aim: To determine the best-fit model of species-area relationships for Mediterranean-type plant communities and evaluate how community structure affects these species-area models. Location: Data were collected from California shrublands and woodlands and compared with literature reports for other Mediterranean-climate regions. Methods: The number of species was recorded from 1, 100 and 1000 m2 nested plots. Best fit to the power model or exponential model was determined by comparing adjusted r2 values from the least squares regression, pattern of residuals, homoscedasticity across scales, and semi-log slopes at 1-100 m2 and 100-1000 m2. Dominance-diversity curves were tested for fit to the lognormal model, MacArthur's broken stick model, and the geometric and harmonic series. Results: Early successional Western Australia and California shrublands represented the extremes and provide an interesting contrast as the exponential model was the best fit for the former, and the power model for the latter, despite similar total species richness. We hypothesize that structural differences in these communities account for the different species-area curves and are tied to patterns of dominance, equitability and life form distribution. Dominance-diversity relationships for Western Australian heathlands exhibited a close fit to MacArthur's broken stick model, indicating more equitable distribution of species. In contrast, Californian shrublands, both postfire and mature stands, were best fit by the geometric model indicating strong dominance and many minor subordinate species. These regions differ in life form distribution, with annuals being a major component of diversity in early successional Californian shrublands although they are largely lacking in mature stands. Both young and old Australian heathlands are dominated by perennials, and annuals are largely absent. Inherent in all of these ecosystems is cyclical disequilibrium caused by periodic fires. The potential for

  11. Plant Volatiles Induced by Herbivore Egg Deposition Affect Insects of Different Trophic Levels

    PubMed Central

    Fatouros, Nina E.; Lucas-Barbosa, Dani; Weldegergis, Berhane T.; Pashalidou, Foteini G.; van Loon, Joop J. A.; Dicke, Marcel; Harvey, Jeffrey A.; Gols, Rieta; Huigens, Martinus E.

    2012-01-01

    Plants release volatiles induced by herbivore feeding that may affect the diversity and composition of plant-associated arthropod communities. However, the specificity and role of plant volatiles induced during the early phase of attack, i.e. egg deposition by herbivorous insects, and their consequences on insects of different trophic levels remain poorly explored. In olfactometer and wind tunnel set-ups, we investigated behavioural responses of a specialist cabbage butterfly (Pieris brassicae) and two of its parasitic wasps (Trichogramma brassicae and Cotesia glomerata) to volatiles of a wild crucifer (Brassica nigra) induced by oviposition of the specialist butterfly and an additional generalist moth (Mamestra brassicae). Gravid butterflies were repelled by volatiles from plants induced by cabbage white butterfly eggs, probably as a means of avoiding competition, whereas both parasitic wasp species were attracted. In contrast, volatiles from plants induced by eggs of the generalist moth did neither repel nor attract any of the tested community members. Analysis of the plant’s volatile metabolomic profile by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and the structure of the plant-egg interface by scanning electron microscopy confirmed that the plant responds differently to egg deposition by the two lepidopteran species. Our findings imply that prior to actual feeding damage, egg deposition can induce specific plant responses that significantly influence various members of higher trophic levels. PMID:22912893

  12. Soil fungal communities respond to grassland plant community richness and soil edaphics.

    PubMed

    LeBlanc, Nicholas; Kinkel, Linda L; Kistler, H Corby

    2015-07-01

    Fungal communities in soil have significant influences on terrestrial ecosystem dynamics, yet our understanding of the drivers of fungal diversity and community structure in soil is limited. Fungal communities associated with the rhizosphere of four native perennial grassland plant species, two legumes and two grasses, grown in monoculture and polyculture in a long-term field experiment were characterized. Reference databases were developed for, and amplicon libraries sequenced from, multiple-copy rRNA and single-copy protein-coding loci. Clustering and alignment-based pipelines were utilized to evaluate differences in fungal community structure and diversity in response to plant host, plant community richness, and soil edaphics. Fungal diversity increased in the rhizosphere of plants growing in polyculture plant communities as compared to monoculture plant communities. Fungal community structure was differentiated between legumes and grasses growing in monoculture but not in polyculture. To specifically monitor fungi in the genus Fusarium in the soil, the protein-coding locus was used to increase phylogenetic resolution and enrich for this taxon. These data show that fungal community richness and structure are strongly linked with plant community dynamics and associated soil edaphic characteristics in these grassland soils. PMID:25399511

  13. Can microcystins affect zooplankton structure community in tropical eutrophic reservoirs?

    PubMed

    Paes, T A S V; Costa, I A S; Silva, A P C; Eskinazi-Sant'Anna, E M

    2016-06-01

    The aim of our study was to assess whether cyanotoxins (microcystins) can affect the composition of the zooplankton community, leading to domination of microzooplankton forms (protozoans and rotifers). Temporal variations in concentrations of microcystins and zooplankton biomass were analyzed in three eutrophic reservoirs in the semi-arid northeast region of Brazil. The concentration of microcystins in water proved to be correlated with the cyanobacterial biovolume, indicating the contributions from colonial forms such as Microcystis in the production of cyanotoxins. At the community level, the total biomass of zooplankton was not correlated with the concentration of microcystin (r2 = 0.00; P > 0.001), but in a population-level analysis, the biomass of rotifers and cladocerans showed a weak positive correlation. Cyclopoid copepods, which are considered to be relatively inefficient in ingesting cyanobacteria, were negatively correlated (r2 = - 0.01; P > 0.01) with the concentration of cyanotoxins. Surprisingly, the biomass of calanoid copepods was positively correlated with the microcystin concentration (r2 = 0.44; P > 0.001). The results indicate that allelopathic control mechanisms (negative effects of microcystin on zooplankton biomass) do not seem to substantially affect the composition of mesozooplankton, which showed a constant and high biomass compared to the microzooplankton (rotifers). These results may be important to better understand the trophic interactions between zooplankton and cyanobacteria and the potential effects of allelopathic compounds on zooplankton. PMID:26959954

  14. Changes in hardwood forest understory plant communities in response to European earthworm invasions.

    PubMed

    Hale, Cindy M; Frelich, Lee E; Reich, Peter B

    2006-07-01

    European earthworms are colonizing earthworm-free northern hardwood forests across North America. Leading edges of earthworm invasion provide an opportunity to investigate the response of understory plant communities to earthworm invasion and whether the species composition of the earthworm community influences that response. Four sugar maple-dominated forest sites with active earthworm invasions were identified in the Chippewa National Forest in north central Minnesota, USA. In each site, we established a 30 x 150 m sample grid that spanned a visible leading edge of earthworm invasion and sampled earthworm populations and understory vegetation over four years. Across leading edges of earthworm invasion, increasing total earthworm biomass was associated with decreasing diversity and abundance of herbaceous plants in two of four study sites, and the abundance and density of tree seedlings decreased in three of four study sites. Sample points with the most diverse earthworm species assemblage, independent of biomass, had the lowest plant diversity. Changes in understory plant community composition were most affected by increasing biomass of the earthworm species Lumbricus rubellus. Where L. rubellus was absent there was a diverse community of native herbaceous plants, but where L. rubellus biomass reached its maximum, the herbaceous-plant community was dominated by Carex pensylvanica and Arisaema triphyllum and, in some cases, was completely absent. Evidence from these forest sites suggests that earthworm invasion can lead to dramatic changes in the understory community and that the nature of these changes is influenced by the species composition of the invading earthworm community. PMID:16922315

  15. Opposing plant community responses to warming with and without herbivores

    PubMed Central

    Post, Eric; Pedersen, Christian

    2008-01-01

    If controls over primary productivity and plant community composition are mainly environmental, as opposed to biological, then global change may result in large-scale alterations in ecosystem structure and function. This view appears to be favored among investigations of plant biomass and community responses to experimental and observed warming. In far northern and arctic ecosystems, such studies predict increasing dominance of woody shrubs with future warming and emphasize the carbon (C)-sequestration potential and consequent atmospheric feedback potential of such responses. In contrast to previous studies, we incorporated natural herbivory by muskoxen and caribou into a 5-year experimental investigation of arctic plant community response to warming. In accordance with other studies, warming increased total community biomass by promoting growth of deciduous shrubs (dwarf birch and gray willow). However, muskoxen and caribou reduced total community biomass response, and responses of birch and willow, to warming by 19%, 46%, and 11%, respectively. Furthermore, under warming alone, the plant community shifted after 5 years away from graminoid-dominated toward dwarf birch-dominated. In contrast, where herbivores grazed, plant community composition on warmed plots did not differ from that on ambient plots after 5 years. These results highlight the potentially important and overlooked influences of vertebrate herbivores on plant community response to warming and emphasize that conservation and management of large herbivores may be an important component of mitigating ecosystem response to climate change. PMID:18719116

  16. Impacts of Grazing Intensity and Plant Community Composition on Soil Bacterial Community Diversity in a Steppe Grassland.

    PubMed

    Qu, Tong-Bao; Du, Wei-Chao; Yuan, Xia; Yang, Zhi-Ming; Liu, Dong-Bo; Wang, De-Li; Yu, Li-Jun

    2016-01-01

    Soil bacteria play a key role in the ecological and evolutionary responses of agricultural ecosystems. Domestic herbivore grazing is known to influence soil bacterial community. However, the effects of grazing and its major driving factors on soil bacterial community remain unknown for different plant community compositions under increasing grazing intensity. Thus, to investigate soil bacterial community diversity under five plant community compositions (Grass; Leymus chinensis; Forb; L. chinensis & Forb; and Legume), we performed a four-year field experiment with different grazing intensity treatments (no grazing; light grazing, 4 sheep·ha-1; and heavy grazing, 6 sheep·ha-1) in a grassland in China. Total DNA was obtained from soil samples collected from the plots in August, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) fingerprinting were used to investigate soil bacterial community. The results showed that light grazing significantly increased indices of soil bacterial community diversity for the Forb and Legume groups but not the Grass and L. chinensis groups. Heavy grazing significantly reduced these soil bacterial diversity indices, except for the Pielou evenness index in the Legume group. Further analyses revealed that the soil N/P ratio, electrical conductivity (EC), total nitrogen (TN) and pH were the major environmental factors affecting the soil bacterial community. Our study suggests that the soil bacterial community diversity was influenced by grazing intensity and plant community composition in a meadow steppe. The present study provides a baseline assessment of the soil bacterial community diversity in a temperate meadow steppe. PMID:27467221

  17. Impacts of Grazing Intensity and Plant Community Composition on Soil Bacterial Community Diversity in a Steppe Grassland

    PubMed Central

    Qu, Tong-bao; Du, Wei-chao; Yuan, Xia; Yang, Zhi-ming; Liu, Dong-bo; Wang, De-li; Yu, Li-jun

    2016-01-01

    Soil bacteria play a key role in the ecological and evolutionary responses of agricultural ecosystems. Domestic herbivore grazing is known to influence soil bacterial community. However, the effects of grazing and its major driving factors on soil bacterial community remain unknown for different plant community compositions under increasing grazing intensity. Thus, to investigate soil bacterial community diversity under five plant community compositions (Grass; Leymus chinensis; Forb; L. chinensis & Forb; and Legume), we performed a four-year field experiment with different grazing intensity treatments (no grazing; light grazing, 4 sheep·ha−1; and heavy grazing, 6 sheep·ha−1) in a grassland in China. Total DNA was obtained from soil samples collected from the plots in August, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) fingerprinting were used to investigate soil bacterial community. The results showed that light grazing significantly increased indices of soil bacterial community diversity for the Forb and Legume groups but not the Grass and L. chinensis groups. Heavy grazing significantly reduced these soil bacterial diversity indices, except for the Pielou evenness index in the Legume group. Further analyses revealed that the soil N/P ratio, electrical conductivity (EC), total nitrogen (TN) and pH were the major environmental factors affecting the soil bacterial community. Our study suggests that the soil bacterial community diversity was influenced by grazing intensity and plant community composition in a meadow steppe. The present study provides a baseline assessment of the soil bacterial community diversity in a temperate meadow steppe. PMID:27467221

  18. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal mediation of plant-plant interactions in a marshland plant community.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Qian; Sun, Qixiang; Koide, Roger T; Peng, Zhenhua; Zhou, Jinxing; Gu, Xungang; Gao, Weidong; Yu, Meng

    2014-01-01

    Obligate aerobic AMF taxa have high species richness under waterlogged conditions, but their ecological role remains unclear. Here we focused on AM fungal mediation of plant interactions in a marshland plant community. Five cooccurring plant species were chosen for a neighbor removal experiment in which benomyl was used to suppress AMF colonization. A Phragmites australis removal experiment was also performed to study its role in promoting AMF colonization by increasing rhizosphere oxygen concentration. Mycorrhizal fungal effects on plant interactions were different for dominant and subdominant plant species. AMF colonization has driven positive neighbor effects for three subdominant plant species including Kummerowia striata, Leonurus artemisia, and Ixeris polycephala. In contrast, AMF colonization enhanced the negative effects of neighbors on the dominant Conyza canadensis and had no significant impact on the neighbor interaction to the dominant Polygonum pubescens. AM colonization was positively related to oxygen concentration. P. australis increased oxygen concentration, enhanced AMF colonization, and was thus indirectly capable of influencing plant interactions. Aerobic AM fungi appear to be ecologically relevant in this wetland ecosystem. They drive positive neighbor interactions for subdominant plant species, effectively increasing plant diversity. We suggest, therefore, that AM fungi may be ecologically important even under waterlogged conditions. PMID:24693254

  19. Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungal Mediation of Plant-Plant Interactions in a Marshland Plant Community

    PubMed Central

    Koide, Roger T.; Peng, Zhenhua; Zhou, Jinxing; Gu, Xungang; Gao, Weidong; Yu, Meng

    2014-01-01

    Obligate aerobic AMF taxa have high species richness under waterlogged conditions, but their ecological role remains unclear. Here we focused on AM fungal mediation of plant interactions in a marshland plant community. Five cooccurring plant species were chosen for a neighbor removal experiment in which benomyl was used to suppress AMF colonization. A Phragmites australis removal experiment was also performed to study its role in promoting AMF colonization by increasing rhizosphere oxygen concentration. Mycorrhizal fungal effects on plant interactions were different for dominant and subdominant plant species. AMF colonization has driven positive neighbor effects for three subdominant plant species including Kummerowia striata, Leonurus artemisia, and Ixeris polycephala. In contrast, AMF colonization enhanced the negative effects of neighbors on the dominant Conyza canadensis and had no significant impact on the neighbor interaction to the dominant Polygonum pubescens. AM colonization was positively related to oxygen concentration. P. australis increased oxygen concentration, enhanced AMF colonization, and was thus indirectly capable of influencing plant interactions. Aerobic AM fungi appear to be ecologically relevant in this wetland ecosystem. They drive positive neighbor interactions for subdominant plant species, effectively increasing plant diversity. We suggest, therefore, that AM fungi may be ecologically important even under waterlogged conditions. PMID:24693254

  20. Experimental parasite community ecology: intraspecific variation in a large tapeworm affects community assembly.

    PubMed

    Benesh, Daniel P; Kalbe, Martin

    2016-07-01

    Non-random species associations occur in naturally sampled parasite communities. The processes resulting in predictable community structure (e.g. particular host behaviours, cross-immunity, interspecific competition) could be affected by traits that vary within a parasite species, like growth or antigenicity. We experimentally infected three-spined sticklebacks with a large tapeworm (Schistocephalus solidus) that impacts the energy needs, foraging behaviour and immune reactions of its host. The tapeworms came from two populations, characterized by high or low growth in sticklebacks. Our goal was to evaluate how this parasite, and variation in its growth, affects the acquisition of other parasites. Fish infected with S. solidus were placed into cages in a lake to expose them to the natural parasite community. We also performed a laboratory experiment in which infected fish were exposed to a fixed dose of a common trematode parasite. In the field experiment, infection with S. solidus affected the abundance of four parasite species, relative to controls. For two of the four species, changes occurred only in fish harbouring the high-growth S. solidus; one species increased in abundance and the other decreased. These changes did not appear to be directly linked to S. solidus growth though. The parasite exhibiting elevated abundance was the same trematode used in the laboratory infection. In that experiment, we found a similar infection pattern, suggesting that S. solidus affects the physiological susceptibility of fish to this trematode. Associations between S. solidus and other parasites occur and vary in direction. However, some of these associations were contingent on the S. solidus population, suggesting that intraspecific variability can affect the assembly of parasite communities. PMID:27061288

  1. Rooting Theories of Plant Community Ecology in Microbial Interactions

    PubMed Central

    Bever, James D.; Dickie, Ian A.; Facelli, Evelina; Facelli, Jose M.; Klironomos, John; Moora, Mari; Rillig, Matthias C.; Stock, William D.; Tibbett, Mark; Zobel, Martin

    2010-01-01

    Predominant frameworks for understanding plant ecology have an aboveground bias that neglects soil micro-organisms. This is inconsistent with recent work illustrating the importance of soil microbes in terrestrial ecology. Microbial effects have been incorporated into plant community dynamics using ideas of niche modification and plant-soil community feedbacks. Here, we expand and integrate qualitative conceptual models of plant niche and feedback to explore implications of microbial interactions for understanding plant community ecology. At the same time we review the empirical evidence for these processes. We also consider common mycorrhizal networks, and suggest these are best interpreted within the feedback framework. Finally, we apply our integrated model of niche and feedback to understanding plant coexistence, monodominance, and invasion ecology. PMID:20557974

  2. Absence of snow cover reduces understory plant cover and alters plant community composition in boreal forests.

    PubMed

    Kreyling, Juergen; Haei, Mahsa; Laudon, Hjalmar

    2012-02-01

    Snow regimes affect biogeochemistry of boreal ecosystems and are altered by climate change. The effects on plant communities, however, are largely unexplored despite their influence on relevant processes. Here, the impact of snow cover on understory community composition and below-ground production in a boreal Picea abies forest was investigated using a long-term (8-year) snow cover manipulation experiment consisting of the treatments: snow removal, increased insulation (styrofoam pellets), and control. The snow removal treatment caused longer (118 vs. 57 days) and deeper soil frost (mean minimum temperature -5.5 vs. -2.2°C) at 10 cm soil depth in comparison to control. Understory species composition was strongly altered by the snow cover manipulations; vegetation cover declined by more than 50% in the snow removal treatment. In particular, the dominant dwarf shrub Vaccinium myrtillus (-82%) and the most abundant mosses Pleurozium schreberi (-74%) and Dicranum scoparium (-60%) declined strongly. The C:N ratio in V. myrtillus leaves and plant available N in the soil indicated no altered nitrogen nutrition. Fine-root biomass in summer, however, was negatively affected by the reduced snow cover (-50%). Observed effects are attributed to direct frost damage of roots and/ or shoots. Besides the obvious relevance of winter processes on plant ecology and distribution, we propose that shifts in the vegetation caused by frost damage may be an important driver of the reported alterations in biogeochemistry in response to altered snow cover. Understory plant performance clearly needs to be considered in the biogeochemistry of boreal systems in the face of climate change. PMID:21850524

  3. Different farming and water regimes in Italian rice fields affect arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal soil communities.

    PubMed

    Lumini, Erica; Vallino, Marta; Alguacil, Maria M; Romani, Marco; Bianciotto, Valeria

    2011-07-01

    Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) comprise one of the main components of soil microbiota in most agroecosystems. These obligate mutualistic symbionts colonize the roots of most plants, including crop plants. Many papers have indicated that different crop management practices could affect AMF communities and their root colonization. However, there is little knowledge available on the influence of conventional and low-input agriculture on root colonization and AMF molecular diversity in rice fields. Two different agroecosystems (continuous conventional high-input rice monocropping and organic farming with a five-year crop rotation) and two different water management regimes have been considered in this study. Both morphological and molecular analyses were performed. The soil mycorrhizal potential, estimated using clover trap cultures, was high and similar in the two agroecosystems. The diversity of the AMF community in the soil, calculated by means of PCR-RFLP (polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism) and 18S rDNA sequencing on clover trap cultures roots, was higher for the organic cultivation. The rice roots cultivated in the conventional agrosystem or under permanent flooding showed no AMF colonization, while the rice plants grown under the organic agriculture system showed typical mycorrhization patterns. Considered together, our data suggest that a high-input cropping system and conventional flooding depress AMF colonization in rice roots and that organic managements could help maintain a higher diversity of AMF communities in soil. PMID:21830711

  4. Soil fungal communities respond to grassland plant community richness and soil edaphics

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Fungal communities in soil have significant influences on terrestrial ecosystem dynamics, yet our understanding of the drivers of fungal diversity and community structure in soil is limited. Fungal communities associated with the rhizosphere of four native perennial grassland plant species grown in ...

  5. Plant community controls on short-term ecosystem nitrogen retention.

    PubMed

    de Vries, Franciska T; Bardgett, Richard D

    2016-05-01

    Retention of nitrogen (N) is a critical ecosystem function, especially in the face of widespread anthropogenic N enrichment; however, our understanding of the mechanisms involved is limited. Here, we tested under glasshouse conditions how plant community attributes, including variations in the dominance, diversity and range of plant functional traits, influence N uptake and retention in temperate grassland. We added a pulse of (15) N to grassland plant communities assembled to represent a range of community-weighted mean plant traits, trait functional diversity and divergence, and species richness, and measured plant and microbial uptake of (15) N, and leaching losses of (15) N, as a short-term test of N retention in the plant-soil system. Root biomass, herb abundance and dominant plant traits were the main determinants of N retention in the plant-soil system: greater root biomass and herb abundance, and lower root tissue density, increased plant (15) N uptake, while higher specific leaf area and root tissue density increased microbial (15) N uptake. Our results provide novel, mechanistic insight into the short-term fate of N in the plant-soil system, and show that dominant plant traits, rather than trait functional diversity, control the fate of added N in the plant-soil system. PMID:26749302

  6. Do unpaved, low-traffic roads affect bird communities?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mammides, Christos; Kounnamas, Constantinos; Goodale, Eben; Kadis, Costas

    2016-02-01

    Unpaved, low traffic roads are often assumed to have minimal effects on biodiversity. To explore this assertion, we sampled the bird communities in fifteen randomly selected sites in Pafos Forest, Cyprus and used multiple regression to quantify the effects of such roads on the total species richness. Moreover, we classified birds according to their migratory status and their global population trends, and tested each category separately. Besides the total length of unpaved roads, we also tested: a. the site's habitat diversity, b. the coefficient of variation in habitat (patch) size, c. the distance to the nearest agricultural field, and d. the human population size of the nearest village. We measured our variables at six different distances from the bird point-count locations. We found a strong negative relationship between the total bird richness and the total length of unpaved roads. The human population size of the nearest village also had a negative effect. Habitat diversity was positively related to species richness. When the categories were tested, we found that the passage migrants were influenced more by the road network while resident breeders were influenced by habitat diversity. Species with increasing and stable populations were only marginally affected by the variables tested, but the effect of road networks on species with decreasing populations was large. We conclude that unpaved and sporadically used roads can have detrimental effects on the bird communities, especially on vulnerable species. We propose that actions are taken to limit the extent of road networks within protected areas, especially in sites designated for their rich avifauna, such as Pafos Forest, where several of the affected species are species of European and global importance.

  7. Secondary bacterial symbiont community in aphids responds to plant diversity.

    PubMed

    Zytynska, Sharon E; Meyer, Sebastian T; Sturm, Sarah; Ullmann, Wiebke; Mehrparvar, Mohsen; Weisser, Wolfgang W

    2016-03-01

    Biodiversity is important for ecosystem functioning and biotic interactions. In experimental grasslands, increasing plant species richness is known to increase the diversity of associated herbivores and their predators. If these interactions can also involve endosymbionts that reside within a plant or animal host is currently unknown. In plant-feeding aphids, secondary bacterial symbionts can have strong fitness effects on the host, e.g. resistance to natural enemies or fungal pathogens. We examined the secondary symbiont community in three species of aphid, each feeding on a unique host plant across experimental plots that varied in plant species richness. Aphids were collected in May and June, and the symbiont community identified using species-specific PCR assays. Aphis fabae aphids were found to host six different symbiont species with individual aphids co-hosting up to four symbionts. Uroleucon jaceae and Macrosiphum rosae hosted two and three symbiont species, respectively. We found that, at the aphid population level, increasing plant species richness increased the diversity of the aphid symbiont community, whereas at the individual aphid level, the opposite was found. These effects are potentially driven by varying selective pressures across different plant communities of varying diversities, mediated by defensive protection responses and a changing cost-benefit trade-off to the aphid for hosting multiple secondary symbionts. Our work extends documented effects of plant diversity beyond visible biotic interactions to changes in endosymbiont communities, with potentially far-reaching consequences to related ecosystem processes. PMID:26603858

  8. Effects of migratory geese on plant communities of an Alaskan salt marsh

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Zacheis, A.; Hupp, J.W.; Ruess, R.W.

    2001-01-01

    pressure can alter plant communities and affect forage availability.

  9. Postfire seeding and plant community recovery in the Great Basin

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    As wildland fire frequency increases around the globe, increased understanding of plant community recovery in burned landscapes is needed to improve effectiveness of rehabilitation efforts. We measured establishment of seeded species, colonization of Bromus tectorum L. (cheatgrass), and recovery of ...

  10. How much biomass do plant communities pack per unit volume?

    PubMed Central

    Rheault, Guillaume; Bonin, Laurianne; Roca, Irene Torrecilla; Martin, Charles A.; Desrochers, Louis; Seiferling, Ian

    2015-01-01

    Aboveground production in terrestrial plant communities is commonly expressed in amount of carbon, or biomass, per unit surface. Alternatively, expressing production per unit volume allows the comparison of communities by their fundamental capacities in packing carbon. In this work we reanalyzed published data from more than 900 plant communities across nine ecosystems to show that standing dry biomass per unit volume (biomass packing) consistently averages around 1 kg/m3 and rarely exceeds 5 kg/m3 across ecosystem types. Furthermore, we examined how empirical relationships between aboveground production and plant species richness are modified when standing biomass is expressed per unit volume rather than surface. We propose that biomass packing emphasizes species coexistence mechanisms and may be an indicator of resource use efficiency in plant communities. PMID:25802814

  11. Structure and composition of oligohaline marsh plant communities exposed to salinity pulses

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Howard, R.J.; Mendelssohn, I.A.

    2000-01-01

    The response of two oligohaline marsh macrophyte communities to pulses of increased salinity was studied over a single growing season in a greenhouse experiment. The plant communities were allowed a recovery period in freshwater following the pulse events. The experimental treatments included: (1) salinity influx rate (rate of salinity increase from 0 to 12 gl-1); (2) duration of exposure to elevated salinity; and (3) water depth. The communities both included Sagittaria lancifolia L.; the codominant species were Eleocharis palustris (L.) Roemer and J.A. Schultes in community 1 and Schoenoplectus americanus (Pers.) Volk. ex Schinz and R. Keller in community 2. Effects of the treatments on sediment chemical characteristics (salinity, pH, redox potential, and sulfide and ammonium concentrations) and plant community attributes (aboveground and belowground biomass, stem density, leaf tissue nutrients, and species richness) were examined. The treatment effects often interacted to influence sediment and plant communities characteristics following recovery in fresh water. Salinity influx rate per se, however, had little effect on the abiotic or biotic response variables; significant influx effects were found when the 0 gl-1 (zero influx) treatment was compared to the 12 gl-1 treatments, regardless of the rate salinity was raised. A salinity level of 12 gl-1 had negative effects on plant community structure and composition; these effects were usually associated with 3 months of salinity exposure. Water depth often interacted with exposure duration, but increased water depth did independently decrease the values of some community response measures. Community 1 was affected more than community 2 in the most extreme salinity treatment (3 months exposure/15-cm water depth). Although species richness in both communities was reduced, structural changes were more dramatic in community 1. Biomass and stem density were reduced in community 1 overall and in both dominant species

  12. Species-Specific Responses to Community Density in an Unproductive Perennial Plant Community

    PubMed Central

    Treberg, Michael A.; Turkington, Roy

    2014-01-01

    Most studies of density dependent regulation in plants consider a single target species, but regulation may also occur at the level of the entire community. Knowing whether a community is at carrying capacity is essential for understanding its behaviour because low density plant communities may behave quite differently than their high density counterparts. Also, because the intensity of density dependence may differ considerably between species and physical environments, generalizations about its effects on community structure requires comparisons under a range of conditions. We tested if: (1) density dependent regulation occurs at the level of an entire plant community as well as within individual species; (2) the intensity (effect of increasing community density on mean plant mass) and importance (the effect of increasing density, relative to other factors, on mean plant mass) of competition increases, decreases or remains unchanged with increasing fertilization; (3) there are species-specific responses to changes in community density and productivity. In 63 1 m2 plots, we manipulated the abundance of the nine most common species by transplanting or removing them to create a series of Initial Community Densities above and below the average natural field density, such that the relative proportion of species was consistent for all densities. Plots were randomly assigned to one of three fertilizer levels. At the community level, negative density dependence of mean plant size was observed for each of the 4 years of the study and both the intensity and importance of competition increased each year. At the species level, most species' mean plant mass were negatively density dependent. Fertilizer had a significant effect only in the final year when it had a negative effect on mean plant mass. Our data demonstrate a yield-density response at the entire community-level using perennial plant species in a multi-year experiment. PMID:25050710

  13. Shifts in Rhizoplane Communities of Aquatic Plants after Cadmium Exposure

    PubMed Central

    Stout, Lisa M.; Nüsslein, Klaus

    2005-01-01

    In this study we present the comparative molecular analysis of bacterial communities of the aquatic plant Lemna minor from a contaminated site (RCP) and from a laboratory culture (EPA), as well as each of these with the addition of cadmium. Plants were identified as L. minor by analysis of the rpl16 chloroplast region. Comparative bacterial community studies were based on the analyses of 16S rRNA clone libraries, each containing about 100 clones from the root surfaces of plants. Bacterial communities were compared at three phylogenetic levels of resolution. At the level of bacterial divisions, differences in diversity index scores between treatments, with and without cadmium within the same plant type (EPA or RCP), were small, indicating that cadmium had little effect. When we compared genera within the most dominant group, the β-proteobacteria, differences between unamended and cadmium-amended libraries were much larger. Bacterial diversity increased upon cadmium addition for both EPA and RCP libraries. Analyses of diversity at the phylotype level showed parallel shifts to more even communities upon cadmium addition; that is, percentage changes in diversity indices due to cadmium addition were the same for either plant type, indicating that contamination history might be independent of disturbance-induced diversity shifts. At finer phylogenetic levels of resolution, the effects of cadmium addition on bacterial communities were very noticeable. This study is a first step in understanding the role of aquatic plant-associated microbial communities in phytoremediation of heavy metals. PMID:15870338

  14. Plant ecology. Anthropogenic environmental changes affect ecosystem stability via biodiversity.

    PubMed

    Hautier, Yann; Tilman, David; Isbell, Forest; Seabloom, Eric W; Borer, Elizabeth T; Reich, Peter B

    2015-04-17

    Human-driven environmental changes may simultaneously affect the biodiversity, productivity, and stability of Earth's ecosystems, but there is no consensus on the causal relationships linking these variables. Data from 12 multiyear experiments that manipulate important anthropogenic drivers, including plant diversity, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, fire, herbivory, and water, show that each driver influences ecosystem productivity. However, the stability of ecosystem productivity is only changed by those drivers that alter biodiversity, with a given decrease in plant species numbers leading to a quantitatively similar decrease in ecosystem stability regardless of which driver caused the biodiversity loss. These results suggest that changes in biodiversity caused by drivers of environmental change may be a major factor determining how global environmental changes affect ecosystem stability. PMID:25883357

  15. Belowground induction by Delia radicum or phytohormones affect aboveground herbivore communities on field-grown broccoli

    PubMed Central

    Pierre, S. P.; Dugravot, S.; Hervé, M. R.; Hassan, H. M.; van Dam, N. M.; Cortesero, A. M.

    2013-01-01

    Induced plant defence in response to phytophagous insects is a well described phenomenon. However, so far little is known about the effect of induced plant responses on subsequently colonizing herbivores in the field. Broccoli plants were induced in the belowground compartment using (i) infestation by the root-herbivore Delia radicum, (ii) root application of jasmonic acid (JA) or (iii) root application of salicylic acid (SA). The abundance of D. radicum and six aboveground herbivores displaying contrasting levels of host specialization were surveyed for 5 weeks. Our study showed that the response of herbivores was found to differ from one another, depending on the herbivore species, its degree of specialization and the root treatment. The abundance of the root herbivore D. radicum and particularly the number of emerging adults was decreased by both phytohormone treatments, while the number of D. radicum eggs was increased on conspecific infested plants. The root infestation exhibited moderate effects on the aboveground community. The abundance of the aphid Brevicoryne brassicae was strongly increased on D. radicum infested plants, but the other species were not impacted. Root hormone applications exhibited a strong effect on the abundance of specialist foliar herbivores. A higher number of B. brassicae and Pieris brassicae and a lower number of Plutella xylostella were found on JA treated plants. On SA treated plants we observed a decrease of the abundance of B. brassicae, Pi. rapae, and P. xylostella. Surprisingly, generalist species, Mamestra brassicae and Myzus persicae were not affected by root induction treatments. Finally, root treatments had no significant effect on either glucosinolate (GLS) profiles of the heads or on plant quality parameters. These results are discussed from the perspective of below- aboveground interactions and adaptations of phytophagous insects to induced plant responses according to their trophic specialization level. PMID:23970888

  16. Plant toxicity, adaptive herbivory, and plant community dynamics

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Feng, Z.; Liu, R.; DeAngelis, D.L.; Bryant, J.P.; Kielland, K.; Stuart, Chapin F.; Swihart, R.K.

    2009-01-01

    We model effects of interspecific plant competition, herbivory, and a plant's toxic defenses against herbivores on vegetation dynamics. The model predicts that, when a generalist herbivore feeds in the absence of plant toxins, adaptive foraging generally increases the probability of coexistence of plant species populations, because the herbivore switches more of its effort to whichever plant species is more common and accessible. In contrast, toxin-determined selective herbivory can drive plant succession toward dominance by the more toxic species, as previously documented in boreal forests and prairies. When the toxin concentrations in different plant species are similar, but species have different toxins with nonadditive effects, herbivores tend to diversify foraging efforts to avoid high intakes of any one toxin. This diversification leads the herbivore to focus more feeding on the less common plant species. Thus, uncommon plants may experience depensatory mortality from herbivory, reducing local species diversity. The depensatory effect of herbivory may inhibit the invasion of other plant species that are more palatable or have different toxins. These predictions were tested and confirmed in the Alaskan boreal forest. ?? 2009 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

  17. Influence of Plant Community Composition on Biomass Production in Planted Grasslands

    PubMed Central

    Henschell, Max A.; Webster, Christopher R.; Flaspohler, David J.; Fortin, Chad R.

    2015-01-01

    United States energy policy mandates increased use of renewable fuels. Restoring grasslands could contribute to a portion of this requirement through biomass harvest for bioenergy use. We investigated which plant community characteristics are associated with differences in biomass yield from a range of realistic native prairie plantings (n = 11; i.e., conservation planting, restoration, and wildlife cover). Our primary goal was to understand whether patterns in plant community composition and the Floristic Quality Index (FQI) were related to productivity as evidenced by dormant season biomass yield. FQI is an objective measure of how closely a plant community represents that of a pre-European settlement community. Our research was conducted in planted fields of native tallgrass prairie species, and provided a gradient in floristic quality index, species richness, species diversity, and species evenness in south-central Wisconsin during 2008 and 2009. We used a network of 15 randomly located 1 m2 plots within each field to characterize the plant community and estimate biomass yield by clipping the plots at the end of each growing season. While plant community composition and diversity varied significantly by planting type, biomass yield did not vary significantly among planting types (ANOVA; P >0.05). Biomass yield was positively correlated with plant community evenness, richness, C4 grass cover, and floristic quality index, but negatively correlated with plant species diversity in our multi-season multiple linear mixed effects models. Concordantly, plots with biomass yield in the lowest quartile (biomass yield < 3500 kh/ha) had 8% lower plant community evenness and 9% lower FQI scores than those in the upper quartile (biomass yield > 5800 kh/ha). Our results suggest that promoting the establishment of fields with high species evenness and floristic quality may increase biomass yield, while simultaneously supporting biodiversity. PMID:26018412

  18. Purple Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia rosea) Dieback and Partial Community Disassembly following Experimental Storm Surge in a Coastal Pitcher Plant Bog

    PubMed Central

    Abbott, Matthew J.; Battaglia, Loretta L.

    2015-01-01

    Sea-level rise and frequent intense hurricanes associated with climate change will result in recurrent flooding of inland systems such as Gulf Coastal pitcher plant bogs by storm surges. These surges can transport salt water and sediment to freshwater bogs, greatly affecting their biological integrity. Purple pitcher plants (Sarracenia rosea) are Gulf Coast pitcher plant bog inhabitants that could be at a disadvantage under this scenario because their pitcher morphology may leave them prone to collection of saline water and sediment after a surge. We investigated the effects of storm surge water salinity and sediment type on S. rosea vitality, plant community structure, and bog soil-water conductivity. Plots (containing ≥1 ramet of S. rosea) were experimentally flooded with fresh or saline water crossed with one of three sediment types (local, foreign, or no sediment). There were no treatment effects on soil-water conductivity; nevertheless, direct exposure to saline water resulted in significantly lower S. rosea cover until the following season when a prescribed fire and regional drought contributed to the decline of all the S. rosea to near zero percent cover. There were also significant differences in plant community structure between treatments over time, reflecting how numerous species increased in abundance and a few species decreased in abundance. However, in contrast to S. rosea, most of the other species in the community appeared resilient to the effects of storm surge. Thus, although the community may be somewhat affected by storm surge, those few species that are particularly sensitive to the storm surge disturbance will likely drop out of the community and be replaced by more resilient species. Depending on the longevity of these biological legacies, Gulf Coastal pitcher plant bogs may be incapable of fully recovering if they become exposed to storm surge more frequently due to climate change. PMID:25874369

  19. Purple pitcher plant (Sarracenia rosea) Dieback and partial community disassembly following experimental storm surge in a coastal pitcher plant bog.

    PubMed

    Abbott, Matthew J; Battaglia, Loretta L

    2015-01-01

    Sea-level rise and frequent intense hurricanes associated with climate change will result in recurrent flooding of inland systems such as Gulf Coastal pitcher plant bogs by storm surges. These surges can transport salt water and sediment to freshwater bogs, greatly affecting their biological integrity. Purple pitcher plants (Sarracenia rosea) are Gulf Coast pitcher plant bog inhabitants that could be at a disadvantage under this scenario because their pitcher morphology may leave them prone to collection of saline water and sediment after a surge. We investigated the effects of storm surge water salinity and sediment type on S. rosea vitality, plant community structure, and bog soil-water conductivity. Plots (containing ≥1 ramet of S. rosea) were experimentally flooded with fresh or saline water crossed with one of three sediment types (local, foreign, or no sediment). There were no treatment effects on soil-water conductivity; nevertheless, direct exposure to saline water resulted in significantly lower S. rosea cover until the following season when a prescribed fire and regional drought contributed to the decline of all the S. rosea to near zero percent cover. There were also significant differences in plant community structure between treatments over time, reflecting how numerous species increased in abundance and a few species decreased in abundance. However, in contrast to S. rosea, most of the other species in the community appeared resilient to the effects of storm surge. Thus, although the community may be somewhat affected by storm surge, those few species that are particularly sensitive to the storm surge disturbance will likely drop out of the community and be replaced by more resilient species. Depending on the longevity of these biological legacies, Gulf Coastal pitcher plant bogs may be incapable of fully recovering if they become exposed to storm surge more frequently due to climate change. PMID:25874369

  20. A proposed aquatic plant community biotic index for Wisconsin lakes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nichols, S.; Weber, S.; Shaw, B.

    2000-01-01

    The Aquatic Macrophyte Community Index (AMCI) is a multipurpose tool developed to assess the biological quality of aquatic plant communities in lakes. It can be used to specifically analyze aquatic plant communities or as part of a multimetric system to assess overall lake quality for regulatory, planning, management, educational, or research purposes. The components of the index are maximum depth of plant growth; percentage of the littoral zone vegetated; Simpson's diversity index; the relative frequencies of submersed, sensitive, and exotic species; and taxa number. Each parameter was scaled based on data distributions from a statewide database, and scaled values were totaled for the AMCI value. AMCI values were grouped and tested by ecoregion and lake type (natural lakes and impoundments) to define quality on a regional basis. This analysis suggested that aquatic plant communities are divided into four groups: (1) Northern Lakes and Forests lakes and impoundments, (2) North-Central Hardwood Forests lakes and impoundments, (3) Southeastern Wisconsin Till Plains lakes, and (4) Southeastern Wisconsin Till Plains impoundments, Driftless Area Lakes, and Mississippi River Backwater lakes. AMCI values decline from group 1 to group 4 and reflect general water quality and human use trends in Wisconsin. The upper quartile of AMCI values in any region are the highest quality or benchmark plant communities. The interquartile range consists of normally impacted communities for the region and the lower quartile contains severely impacted or degraded plant communities. When AMCI values were applied to case studies, the values reflected known impacts to the lakes. However, quality criteria cannot be used uncritically, especially in lakes that initially have low nutrient levels.The Aquatic Macrophyte Community Index (AMCI) is a multipurpose tool developed to assess the biological quality of aquatic plant communities in lakes. It can be used to specifically analyze aquatic plant

  1. Relative abundance of an invasive alien plant affects insect-flower interaction networks in Ireland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stout, Jane C.; Casey, Leanne M.

    2014-02-01

    Invasive alien flowering plants may affect native plant pollinator interactions and have knock on impacts on populations of native plants and animals. The magnitude of these impacts, however, may be modified by the relative abundance of the invasive plant and the number of flowers it presents.We tested this by examining the structure of insect-flower interaction networks in six sites with increasing levels of invasion by Rhododendron ponticum in Ireland.Neither flower-visiting insect abundance, species richness nor diversity were related to R. ponticum flower abundance, but the composition of insect communities was. The total number of flowers in a site increased with the relative abundance of R. ponticum flowers but the number of co-flowering native plant species in these sites was low (<6), making interaction networks relatively small.As a result, changes in interaction network properties (connectance, interaction evenness and network level specialisation), which correlated with R. ponticum flower abundance, were a result of the small network size rather than due to changes in the resilience of networks.Overall, we conclude that the impacts of invasive alien plants on native plant-pollinator interactions are not only species specific, but site specific, according to the abundance of flowers produced by both the invasive and the native plants.

  2. Plant communities of Santa Rosa Island, Channel Islands National Park

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Clark, Ronilee A.; Halvorson, William L.; Sawdo, Andell A.; Danielsen, Karen C.

    1990-01-01

    A survey of the plant communities on Santa Rosa Island, Channel Islands National Park, was conducted from January through July 1988.  Vegetation data were collected at 296 sites using a releve technique.  The plant communities described include: grassland, coastal marsh, caliche scrub, coastal sage scrub, lupine scrub, baccharis scrub, coastal bluff scrub, coastal dune scrub, mixed chaparral, mixed woodland, torrey pine woodland, closed-cone pine woodland, island oak woodland, riparian woodland, and riparian herbaceous vegetation. The areal extent of each community was mapper on USGS 7.5' topographic maps, and digitized for GIS manipulation.

  3. Herbivory and dominance shifts among exotic and congeneric native plant species during plant community establishment.

    PubMed

    Engelkes, Tim; Meisner, Annelein; Morriën, Elly; Kostenko, Olga; Van der Putten, Wim H; Macel, Mirka

    2016-02-01

    Invasive exotic plant species often have fewer natural enemies and suffer less damage from herbivores in their new range than genetically or functionally related species that are native to that area. Although we might expect that having fewer enemies would promote the invasiveness of the introduced exotic plant species due to reduced enemy exposure, few studies have actually analyzed the ecological consequences of this situation in the field. Here, we examined how exposure to aboveground herbivores influences shifts in dominance among exotic and phylogenetically related native plant species in a riparian ecosystem during early establishment of invaded communities. We planted ten plant communities each consisting of three individuals of each of six exotic plant species as well as six phylogenetically related natives. Exotic plant species were selected based on a rapid recent increase in regional abundance, the presence of a congeneric native species, and their co-occurrence in the riparian ecosystem. All plant communities were covered by tents with insect mesh. Five tents were open on the leeward side to allow herbivory. The other five tents were completely closed in order to exclude insects and vertebrates. Herbivory reduced aboveground biomass by half and influenced which of the plant species dominated the establishing communities. Exposure to herbivory did not reduce the total biomass of natives more than that of exotics, so aboveground herbivory did not selectively enhance exotics during this early stage of plant community development. Effects of herbivores on plant biomass depended on plant species or genus but not on plant status (i.e., exotic vs native). Thus, aboveground herbivory did not promote the dominance of exotic plant species during early establishment of the phylogenetically balanced plant communities. PMID:26481795

  4. Pattern recognition of native plant communities: Manitou Colorado test site

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Driscoll, R. S.

    1972-01-01

    Optimum channel selection among 12 channels of multispectral scanner imagery identified six as providing the best information about 11 vegetation classes and two nonvegetation classes at the Manitou Experimental Forest. Intensive preprocessing of the scanner signals was required to eliminate a serious scan angle effect. Final processing of the normalized data provided acceptable recognition results of generalized plant community types. Serious errors occurred with attempts to classify specific community types within upland grassland areas. The consideration of the convex mixtures concept (effects of amounts of live plant cover, exposed soil, and plant litter cover on apparent scene radiances) significantly improved the classification of some of the grassland classes.

  5. The Content and Bioavailability of Mineral Nutrients of Selected Wild and Traditional Edible Plants as Affected by Household Preparation Methods Practiced by Local Community in Benishangul Gumuz Regional State, Ethiopia.

    PubMed

    Hailu, Andinet Abera; Addis, Getachew

    2016-01-01

    Edible parts of some wild and traditional vegetables used by the Gumuz community, namely, Portulaca quadrifida, Dioscorea abyssinica, Abelmoschus esculentus, and Oxytenanthera abyssinica, were evaluated for their minerals composition and bioavailability. Mineral elements, namely, Ca, Fe, Zn, and Cu, were analyzed using Shimadzu atomic absorption spectrophotometer. Effects of household processing practices on the levels of mineral elements were evaluated and the bioavailability was predicted using antinutrient-mineral molar ratios. Fe, Zn, Ca, Cu, P, Na, and K level in raw edible portions ranged in (0.64 ± 0.02-27.0 ± 6.24), (0.46 ± 0.02-0.85 ± 0.02), (24.49 ± 1.2-131.7 ± 8.3), (0.11 ± 0.01-0.46 ± 0.04), (39.13 ± 0.34-57.27 ± 0.94), (7.34 ± 0.42-20.42 ± 1.31), and (184.4 ± 1.31-816.3 ± 11.731) mg/100 g FW, respectively. Although statistically significant losses in minerals as a result of household preparation practices were observed, the amount of nutrients retained could be valuable especially in communities that have limited alternative sources of these micronutrients. The predicted minerals' bioavailability shows adequacy in terms of calcium and zinc but not iron. PMID:26981523

  6. The Content and Bioavailability of Mineral Nutrients of Selected Wild and Traditional Edible Plants as Affected by Household Preparation Methods Practiced by Local Community in Benishangul Gumuz Regional State, Ethiopia

    PubMed Central

    Hailu, Andinet Abera; Addis, Getachew

    2016-01-01

    Edible parts of some wild and traditional vegetables used by the Gumuz community, namely, Portulaca quadrifida, Dioscorea abyssinica, Abelmoschus esculentus, and Oxytenanthera abyssinica, were evaluated for their minerals composition and bioavailability. Mineral elements, namely, Ca, Fe, Zn, and Cu, were analyzed using Shimadzu atomic absorption spectrophotometer. Effects of household processing practices on the levels of mineral elements were evaluated and the bioavailability was predicted using antinutrient-mineral molar ratios. Fe, Zn, Ca, Cu, P, Na, and K level in raw edible portions ranged in (0.64 ± 0.02–27.0 ± 6.24), (0.46 ± 0.02–0.85 ± 0.02), (24.49 ± 1.2–131.7 ± 8.3), (0.11 ± 0.01–0.46 ± 0.04), (39.13 ± 0.34–57.27 ± 0.94), (7.34 ± 0.42–20.42 ± 1.31), and (184.4 ± 1.31–816.3 ± 11.731) mg/100 g FW, respectively. Although statistically significant losses in minerals as a result of household preparation practices were observed, the amount of nutrients retained could be valuable especially in communities that have limited alternative sources of these micronutrients. The predicted minerals' bioavailability shows adequacy in terms of calcium and zinc but not iron. PMID:26981523

  7. Unravelling Linkages between Plant Community Composition and the Pathogen-Suppressive Potential of Soils

    PubMed Central

    Latz, Ellen; Eisenhauer, Nico; Rall, Björn Christian; Scheu, Stefan; Jousset, Alexandre

    2016-01-01

    Plant diseases cause dramatic yield losses worldwide. Current disease control practices can be deleterious for the environment and human health, calling for alternative and sustainable management regimes. Soils harbour microorganisms that can efficiently suppress pathogens. Uncovering mediators driving their functioning in the field still remains challenging, but represents an essential step in order to develop strategies for increased soil health. We set up plant communities of varying richness to experimentally test the potential of soils differing in plant community history to suppress the pathogen Rhizoctonia solani. The results indicate that plant communities shape soil-disease suppression via changes in abiotic soil properties and the abundance of bacterial groups including species of the genera Actinomyces, Bacillus and Pseudomonas. Further, the results suggest that pairwise interactions between specific plant species strongly affect soil suppressiveness. Using structural equation modelling, we provide a pathway orientated framework showing how the complex interactions between plants, soil and microorganisms jointly shape soil suppressiveness. Our results stress the importance of plant community composition as a determinant of soil functioning, such as the disease suppressive potential of soils. PMID:27021053

  8. Unravelling Linkages between Plant Community Composition and the Pathogen-Suppressive Potential of Soils.

    PubMed

    Latz, Ellen; Eisenhauer, Nico; Rall, Björn Christian; Scheu, Stefan; Jousset, Alexandre

    2016-01-01

    Plant diseases cause dramatic yield losses worldwide. Current disease control practices can be deleterious for the environment and human health, calling for alternative and sustainable management regimes. Soils harbour microorganisms that can efficiently suppress pathogens. Uncovering mediators driving their functioning in the field still remains challenging, but represents an essential step in order to develop strategies for increased soil health. We set up plant communities of varying richness to experimentally test the potential of soils differing in plant community history to suppress the pathogen Rhizoctonia solani. The results indicate that plant communities shape soil-disease suppression via changes in abiotic soil properties and the abundance of bacterial groups including species of the genera Actinomyces, Bacillus and Pseudomonas. Further, the results suggest that pairwise interactions between specific plant species strongly affect soil suppressiveness. Using structural equation modelling, we provide a pathway orientated framework showing how the complex interactions between plants, soil and microorganisms jointly shape soil suppressiveness. Our results stress the importance of plant community composition as a determinant of soil functioning, such as the disease suppressive potential of soils. PMID:27021053

  9. Community history affects the predictability of microbial ecosystem development

    PubMed Central

    Pagaling, Eulyn; Strathdee, Fiona; Spears, Bryan M; Cates, Michael E; Allen, Rosalind J; Free, Andrew

    2014-01-01

    Microbial communities mediate crucial biogeochemical, biomedical and biotechnological processes, yet our understanding of their assembly, and our ability to control its outcome, remain poor. Existing evidence presents conflicting views on whether microbial ecosystem assembly is predictable, or inherently unpredictable. We address this issue using a well-controlled laboratory model system, in which source microbial communities colonize a pristine environment to form complex, nutrient-cycling ecosystems. When the source communities colonize a novel environment, final community composition and function (as measured by redox potential) are unpredictable, although a signature of the community's previous history is maintained. However, when the source communities are pre-conditioned to their new habitat, community development is more reproducible. This situation contrasts with some studies of communities of macro-organisms, where strong selection under novel environmental conditions leads to reproducible community structure, whereas communities under weaker selection show more variability. Our results suggest that the microbial rare biosphere may have an important role in the predictability of microbial community development, and that pre-conditioning may help to reduce unpredictability in the design of microbial communities for biotechnological applications. PMID:23985743

  10. Plant rhizosphere species-specific stoichiometry and regulation of extracellular enzyme and microbial community structure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bell, C. W.; Calderon, F.; Pendall, E.; Wallenstein, M. D.

    2012-12-01

    Plant communities affect the activity and composition of soil microbial communities through alteration of the soil environment during root growth; substrate availability through root exudation; nutrient availability through plant uptake; and moisture regimes through transpiration. As a result, positive feedbacks in soil properties can result from alterations in microbial community composition and function in the rhizosphere zone. At the ecosystem-scale, many properties of soil microbial communities can vary between forest stands dominated by different species, including community composition and stoichiometry. However, the influence of smaller individual plants on grassland soils and microbial communities is less well documented. There is evidence to suggest that some plants can modify their soil environment in a manner that favors their persistence. For example, when Bromus tectorum plants invade, soil microbial communities tend to have higher N mineralization rates (in the rhizosphere zone) relative to native plants. If tight linkages between individual plant species and microbial communities inhabiting the rhizosphere exist, we hypothesized that any differences among plant species specific rhizosphere zones could be observed by shifts in: 1) soil -rhizosphere microbial community structure, 2) enzymatic C:N:P acquisition activities, 3) alterations in the soil C chemistry composition in the rhizosphere, and 4) plant - soil - microbial C:N:P elemental stoichiometry. We selected and grew 4 different C3 grasses species including three species native to the Shortgrass Steppe region (Pascopyrum smithii, Koeleria macrantha, and Vulpia octoflora) and one exotic invasive plant species (B. tectorum) in root-boxes that are designed to allow for easy access to the rhizosphere. The field soil was homogenized using a 4mm sieve and mixed 1:1 with sterile sand and seeded as monocultures (24 replicate root - boxes for each species). Plant and soil samples (along with no - plant

  11. Conservation and restoration of indigenous plants to improve community livelihoods: the Useful Plants Project

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ulian, Tiziana; Sacandé, Moctar; Mattana, Efisio

    2014-05-01

    Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership (MSBP) is one of the largest ex situ plant conservation initiatives, which is focused on saving plants in and from regions most at risk, particularly in drylands. Seeds are collected and stored in seed banks in the country of origin and duplicated in the Millennium Seed Bank in the UK. The MSBP also strengthens the capacity of local communities to successfully conserve and sustainably use indigenous plants, which are important for their wellbeing. Since 2007, high quality seed collections and research information have been gathered on ca. 700 useful indigenous plant species that were selected by communities in Botswana, Kenya, Mali, Mexico and South Africa through Project MGU - The Useful Plants Project. These communities range from various farmer's groups and organisations to traditional healers, organic cotton/crop producers and primary schools. The information on seed conservation and plant propagation was used to train communities and to propagate ca. 200 species that were then planted in local gardens, and as species reintroduced for reforestation programmes and enriching village forests. Experimental plots have also been established to further investigate the field performance (plant survival and growth rate) of indigenous species, using low cost procedures. In addition, the activities support revenue generation for local communities directly through the sustainable use of plant products or indirectly through wider environmental and cultural services. This project has confirmed the potential of biodiversity conservation to improve food security and human health, enhance community livelihoods and strengthen the resilience of land and people to the changing climate. This approach of using indigenous species and having local communities play a central role from the selection of species to their planting and establishment, supported by complementary research, may represent a model for other regions of the world, where

  12. [Plant diversity of different replaced communities after Eupatorium adenophorum removal].

    PubMed

    Wang, Chongyun; Liu, Wenyao; Liu, Lunhui; Cui, Jianwu

    2006-03-01

    Plant diversity of different replaced communities after Eupatorium adenophorum removal. WANG In this paper, an investigation on the structure, species composition and plant diversity of replaced communities after the removal of invasive E. adenophorum at the beginning of 1980s was made in the Shuangbo County of Yunnan Province, with local aged Pinus yunnanensis and unmanaged E. adenophorum forests as the reference. The results showed that in replaced communities, the richness, Shannon-Wiener, Simpson, and Pielou evenness indices values of woody species were 25 to approximately 28, 1.06 to approximately 2.34, 0.36 to approximately 0.86 and 0.32 to approximately 0.73, and those of herb species were 6 to approximately 8, 1.51 to approximately 1.97, 0.74 to approximately 0.84 and 0.84 to approximately 0.90, respectively. In unmanaged E. adenophorum community, the corresponding indices values of woody species were 3, 0.14, 0.10 and 0.13, and those of herb species were 3, 0.09, 0.03 and 0.08, respectively, being much lower than those of the replaced communities. The replaced communities dominated by fast-growing tree species in E. adenophorum forest developed through a 20 years rehabilitation period, under which, there was a clear understory layer dominated by native species. The density and growth rate of E. adenophorum was inhibited in the replaced communities. In comparison with the E. adenophorum community, the plant diversity of replaced communities was greatly increased. Among the replaced communities, P. yunnanensis + Schima wallichii + Eucalyptus globules community had the greatest plant diversity, but the replaced communities had lower plant diversity than the aged P. yunnanensis, with 42, 2.88, 0.92 and 0.77 for woody species, and 8, 2.08, 0.86 and 0.90 for herb species, respectively. It was suggested that more attention should be paid to conserve the rehabilitated communities, especially the P. yunnanensis plantation built on the degraded lands invaded by E

  13. Opposing phylogenetic diversity gradients of plant and soil bacterial communities.

    PubMed

    Goberna, Marta; Navarro-Cano, Jose A; Verdú, Miguel

    2016-02-24

    Plants and soil microbes show parallel patterns of species-level diversity. Diverse plant communities release a wider range of organics that are consumed by more microbial species. We speculated, however, that diversity metrics accounting for the evolutionary distance across community members would reveal opposing patterns between plant and soil bacterial phylogenetic diversity. Plant phylogenetic diversity enhances plant productivity and thus expectedly soil fertility. This, in turn, might reduce bacterial phylogenetic diversity by favouring one (or a few) competitive bacterial clade. We collected topsoils in 15 semi-arid plant patches and adjacent low-cover areas configuring a plant phylodiversity gradient, pyrosequenced the 16S rRNA gene to identify bacterial taxa and analysed soil fertility parameters. Structural equation modelling showed positive effects of both plant richness and phylogenetic diversity on soil fertility. Fertility increased bacterial richness but reduced bacterial phylogenetic diversity. This might be attributed to the competitive dominance of a lineage based on its high relative fitness. This suggests biotic interactions as determinants of the soil bacterial community assembly, while emphasizing the need to use phylogeny-informed metrics to tease apart the processes underlying the patterns of diversity. PMID:26888037

  14. Relationships among plants, soils and microbial communities along a hydrological gradient in the New Jersey Pinelands, USA

    PubMed Central

    Yu, Shen; Ehrenfeld, Joan G.

    2010-01-01

    Background and Aims Understanding the role of different components of hydrology in structuring wetland communities is not well developed. A sequence of adjacent wetlands located on a catenary sequence of soils and receiving the same sources and qualities of water is used to examine specifically the role of water-table median position and variability in affecting plant and microbial community composition and soil properties. Methods Two replicates of three types of wetland found adjacent to each other along a hydrological gradient in the New Jersey Pinelands (USA) were studied. Plant-community and water-table data were obtained within a 100-m2 plot in each community (pine swamp, maple swamp and Atlantic-white-cedar swamp). Monthly soil samples from each plot were analysed for soil moisture, organic matter, extractable nitrogen fractions, N mineralization rate and microbial community composition. Multivariate ordination methods were used to compare patterns among sites within and between data sets. Key Results The maple and pine wetlands were more similar to each other in plant community composition, soil properties and microbial community composition than either was to the cedar swamps. However, maple and pine wetlands differed from each other in water-table descriptors as much as they differed from the cedar swamps. All microbial communities were dominated by Gram-positive bacteria despite hydrologic differences among the sites. Water-table variability was as important as water-table level in affecting microbial communities. Conclusions Water tables affect wetland communities through both median level and variability. Differentiation of both plant and microbial communities are not simple transforms of differences in water-table position, even when other hydrologic factors are kept constant. Rather, soil genesis, a result of both water-table position and geologic history, appears to be the main factor affecting plant and microbial community similarities. PMID

  15. Quantification of Heavy Metals in Mining Affected Soil and Their Bioaccumulation in Native Plant Species.

    PubMed

    Nawab, Javed; Khan, Sardar; Shah, Mohammad Tahir; Khan, Kifayatullah; Huang, Qing; Ali, Roshan

    2015-01-01

    Several anthropogenic and natural sources are considered as the primary sources of toxic metals in the environment. The current study investigates the level of heavy metals contamination in the flora associated with serpentine soil along the Mafic and Ultramafic rocks northern-Pakistan. Soil and wild native plant species were collected from chromites mining affected areas and analyzed for heavy metals (Cr, Ni, Fe, Mn, Co, Cu and Zn) using atomic absorption spectrometer (AAS-PEA-700). The heavy metal concentrations were significantly (p < 0.01) higher in mine affected soil as compared to reference soil, however Cr and Ni exceeded maximum allowable limit (250 and 60 mg kg(-1), respectively) set by SEPA for soil. Inter-metal correlations between soil, roots and shoots showed that the sources of contamination of heavy metals were mainly associated with chromites mining. All the plant species accumulated significantly higher concentrations of heavy metals as compared to reference plant. The open dumping of mine wastes can create serious problems (food crops and drinking water contamination with heavy metals) for local community of the study area. The native wild plant species (Nepeta cataria, Impatiens bicolor royle, Tegetis minuta) growing on mining affected sites may be used for soil reclamation contaminated with heavy metals. PMID:26079739

  16. Effects of Mycorrhizal and Endophytic Fungi on Plant Community: a Microcosm Study

    PubMed Central

    Park, Sang-Hyun

    2007-01-01

    This study was conducted to investigate the effects of foliar endophytic fungi and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) on plant community structure in experimental microcosms containing an assemblage of five species of plants (Oenothera odorata, Plantago asiatica, Trifolium repens, Isodon japonicas and Aster yomena). Leaves of Sasa borealis, Potentilla fragarioides, and Viola mandshurica were collected in Chungbuk, Korea. Endophytic fungi were isolated from the surface sterilized leaves and identified to species level using molecular and morphological techniques. Four isolates of the endophytic fungi were inoculated to the leaves of host plants in the microcosms. Also, three species of AMF spores were extracted from pure cultures and the mixture of the three species inoculated to the roots of the plants. After four months of growth in a green house, effects of both symbiotic fungi on plant species diversity, community composition and productivity were examined. The plant species diversity showed significant differences with inoculation of the symbiotic fungi. Results indicate that AMF significantly affect plant productivity and plant community structure. PMID:24015095

  17. Effects of mycorrhizal and endophytic fungi on plant community: a microcosm study.

    PubMed

    Park, Sang-Hyun; Eom, Ahn-Heum

    2007-12-01

    This study was conducted to investigate the effects of foliar endophytic fungi and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) on plant community structure in experimental microcosms containing an assemblage of five species of plants (Oenothera odorata, Plantago asiatica, Trifolium repens, Isodon japonicas and Aster yomena). Leaves of Sasa borealis, Potentilla fragarioides, and Viola mandshurica were collected in Chungbuk, Korea. Endophytic fungi were isolated from the surface sterilized leaves and identified to species level using molecular and morphological techniques. Four isolates of the endophytic fungi were inoculated to the leaves of host plants in the microcosms. Also, three species of AMF spores were extracted from pure cultures and the mixture of the three species inoculated to the roots of the plants. After four months of growth in a green house, effects of both symbiotic fungi on plant species diversity, community composition and productivity were examined. The plant species diversity showed significant differences with inoculation of the symbiotic fungi. Results indicate that AMF significantly affect plant productivity and plant community structure. PMID:24015095

  18. Plant communities as drivers of soil respiration: pathways, mechanisms, and significance for global change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Metcalfe, D. B.; Fisher, R. A.; Wardle, D. A.

    2011-08-01

    Understanding the impacts of plant community characteristics on soil carbon dioxide efflux (R) is a key prerequisite for accurate prediction of the future carbon (C) balance of terrestrial ecosystems under climate change. However, developing a mechanistic understanding of the determinants of R is complicated by the presence of multiple different sources of respiratory C within soil - such as soil microbes, plant roots and their mycorrhizal symbionts - each with their distinct dynamics and drivers. In this review, we synthesize relevant information from a wide spectrum of sources to evaluate the current state of knowledge about plant community effects on R, examine how this information is incorporated into global climate models, and highlight priorities for future research. Despite often large variation amongst studies and methods, several general trends emerge. Mechanisms whereby plants affect R may be grouped into effects on belowground C allocation, aboveground litter properties and microclimate. Within vegetation types, the amount of C diverted belowground, and hence R, may be controlled mainly by the rate of photosynthetic C uptake, while amongst vegetation types this should be more dependent upon the specific C allocation strategies of the plant life form. We make the case that plant community composition, rather than diversity, is usually the dominant control on R in natural systems. Individual species impacts on R may be largest where the species accounts for most of the biomass in the ecosystem, has very distinct traits to the rest of the community and/or modulates the occurrence of major natural disturbances. We show that climate vegetation models incorporate a number of pathways whereby plants can affect R, but that simplifications regarding allocation schemes and drivers of litter decomposition may limit model accuracy. We also suggest that under a warmer future climate, many plant communities may shift towards dominance by fast growing plants which

  19. Models of plant populations and communities

    SciTech Connect

    Huston, M.

    1990-01-01

    This document is the overview of the plant section in the book, {und Individual-Based Models and Approaches in Ecology}. A brief description of each of the chapters is provided, as well as a comparison of the models presented in each chapter. Four of the six chapters deal with single species interactions, one dealt with a two species system (plants and pollinators) and one deals with multispecies interactions. Both i-state distribution models and i-state configuration models are discussed. (MHB)

  20. Effects of Host Plant Factors on the Bacterial Communities Associated with Two Whitefly Sibling Species

    PubMed Central

    Su, Ming-Ming; Guo, Lei; Tao, Yun-Li; Zhang, You-Jun; Wan, Fang-Hao; Chu, Dong

    2016-01-01

    Background Although discrepancy in the specific traits and ecological characteristics of Bemisia tabaci between species are partially attributed to the B. tabaci-associated bacteria, the factors that affect the diversity of B. tabaci-associated bacteria are not well-understood. We used the metagenomic approach to characterize the B. tabaci-associated bacterial community because the approach is an effective tool to identify the bacteria. Methodology and Results To investigate the effects of the host plant and a virus, tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV), on the bacterial communities of B. tabaci sibling species B and Q, we analyzed the bacterial communities associated with whitefly B and Q collected from healthy cotton, healthy tomato, and TYLCV-infected tomato. The analysis used miseq-based sequencing of a variable region of the bacterial 16S rDNA gene. For the bacteria associated with B. tabaci, we found that the influence of the host plant species was greater than that of the whitefly cryptic species. With further analysis of host plants infected with the TYLCV, the virus had no significant effects on the B. tabaci-associated bacterial community. Conclusions The effects of different plant hosts and TYLCV-infection on the diversity of B. tabaci-associated bacterial communities were successfully analyzed in this study. To explain why B. tabaci sibling species with different host ranges differ in performance, the analysis of the bacterial community may be essential to the explanation. PMID:27008327

  1. Nitrogen-limitation and invasive sweetclover impacts vary between two Great Plains plant communities

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Van Riper, Laura C.; Larson, Diane L.; Larson, Jennifer L.

    2010-01-01

    Yellow sweetclover is an exotic herbaceous legume common in the Great Plains of the US. Although woody legumes have been shown to affect ecosystem processes through nitrogen (N) fixation (i.e., they can be considered "transformers" sensu Richardson et al. (2000)), the same has not been shown for short-lived herbaceous species. The objectives of this study were to (1) quantify the effects of yellow sweetclover on N mineralization and nitrification and (2) assess the effects of N fertilization on two plant communities, badlands sparse vegetation and western wheatgrass prairie. We used in situ (in wheatgrass prairie) and laboratory incubations (for both plant communities) to assess N dynamics at sites with high and low sweetclover cover in the two plant communities. We found that both N mineralization and nitrification were higher in the high sweetclover plots in the sparse plant community, but not in the wheatgrass prairie. To assess fertilization effects and determine if nutrients or water were limiting at our sites, we conducted a field experiment with five resource addition treatments, (1) N, (2) N + water, (3) water, (4) phosphorus, and (5) no addition. Water was limiting in the wheatgrass prairie but contrary to expectation, N was not. In contrast, N was limiting in the sparse community, where a fertilization effect was seen in exotic forbs, especially the toxic invader Halogeton glomeratus. Our results emphasize the contingent nature of plant invasion in which effects are largely dependent on attributes of the recipient vegetation.

  2. Does sustained participation in an online health community affect sentiment?

    PubMed

    Zhang, Shaodian; Bantum, Erin; Owen, Jason; Elhadad, Noémie

    2014-01-01

    A large number of patients rely on online health communities to exchange information and psychosocial support with their peers. Examining participation in a community and its impact on members' behaviors and attitudes is one of the key open research questions in the field of study of online health communities. In this paper, we focus on a large public breast cancer community and conduct sentiment analysis on all its posts. We investigate the impact of different factors on post sentiment, such as time since joining the community, posting activity, age of members, and cancer stage of members. We find that there is a significant increase in sentiment of posts through time, with different patterns of sentiment trends for initial posts in threads and reply posts. Factors each play a role; for instance stage-IV members form a particular sub-community with patterns of sentiment and usage distinct from others members. PMID:25954470

  3. Plant community associations of two invasive thistles

    PubMed Central

    Rauschert, Emily S.J.; Shea, Katriona; Goslee, Sarah

    2015-01-01

    In order to combat the growing problems associated with biological invasions, many researchers have focused on identifying which communities are most vulnerable to invasion by exotic species. However, once established, invasive species can significantly change the composition of the communities that they invade. The first step to disentangling the direction of causality is to discern whether a relationship with other vegetation exists at all. Carduus nutans and C. acanthoides are similar invasive thistles, which have caused substantial economic damage worldwide. We assessed the associations between the thistles and the standing flora in four sites in central Pennsylvania in which they co-occur. After sampling nearly 2000 plots of 1 m2, we used partial Mantel tests to assess the differences in vegetation between thistle and non-thistle plots after accounting for location, and non-metric multidimensional scaling to visualize differences among plots and sites. We found significant differences in community composition in plots with and without Carduus thistles. The non-native species Sisymbrium officinale and Coronilla varia were consistently associated with the presence of Carduus thistles. Several species were associated with areas that were free of Carduus thistles, including an important non-native pasture species (Trifolium repens). We found no evidence for differences in composition between plots with C. nutans versus C. acanthoides, suggesting that they have similar associations with the vegetation community. We conclude that even at the within-field scale, areas invaded by Carduus thistles have different vegetation associations than uninvaded areas, allowing us to target future research about the role of vegetation structure in resisting and responding to invasion. PMID:26038126

  4. Tracking Fungal Community Responses to Maize Plants by DNA- and RNA-Based Pyrosequencing

    PubMed Central

    Kuramae, Eiko E.; Verbruggen, Erik; Hillekens, Remy; de Hollander, Mattias; Röling, Wilfred F. M.; van der Heijden, Marcel G. A.; Kowalchuk, George A.

    2013-01-01

    We assessed soil fungal diversity and community structure at two sampling times (t1 = 47 days and t2 = 104 days of plant age) in pots associated with four maize cultivars, including two genetically modified (GM) cultivars by high-throughput pyrosequencing of the 18S rRNA gene using DNA and RNA templates. We detected no significant differences in soil fungal diversity and community structure associated with different plant cultivars. However, DNA-based analyses yielded lower fungal OTU richness as compared to RNA-based analyses. Clear differences in fungal community structure were also observed in relation to sampling time and the nucleic acid pool targeted (DNA versus RNA). The most abundant soil fungi, as recovered by DNA-based methods, did not necessary represent the most “active” fungi (as recovered via RNA). Interestingly, RNA-derived community compositions at t1 were highly similar to DNA-derived communities at t2, based on presence/absence measures of OTUs. We recovered large proportions of fungal sequences belonging to arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and Basidiomycota, especially at the RNA level, suggesting that these important and potentially beneficial fungi are not affected by the plant cultivars nor by GM traits (Bt toxin production). Our results suggest that even though DNA- and RNA-derived soil fungal communities can be very different at a given time, RNA composition may have a predictive power of fungal community development through time. PMID:23875012

  5. INTERACTION OF HISTORICAL AND NON-HISTORICAL DISTURBANCES MAINTAINS NATIVE PLANT COMMUNITIES

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Historical disturbance regimes are often considered a critical element in maintaining native plant communities. However, the response of plant communities to disturbance may be fundamentally altered as a consequence of invasive plants, climate change, or prior disturbances. The appropriateness of ...

  6. Land-use history alters contemporary insect herbivore community composition and decouples plant-herbivore relationships.

    SciTech Connect

    Hahn, Philip G.; Orrock, John L.

    2015-04-01

    1. Past land use can create altered soil conditions and plant communities that persist for decades, although the effects of these altered conditions on consumers are rarely investigated. 2. Using a large-scale field study at 36 sites in longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) woodlands, we examined whether historic agricultural land use leads to differences in the abundance and community composition of insect herbivores (grasshoppers, families Acrididae and Tettigoniidae). 3. We measured the cover of six plant functional groups and several environmental variables to determine whether historic agricultural land use affects the relationships between plant cover or environmental conditions and grasshopper assemblages. 4. Land-use history had taxa-specific effects and interacted with herbaceous plant cover to alter grasshopper abundances, leading to significant changes in community composition. Abundance of most grasshopper taxa increased with herbaceous cover in woodlands with no history of agriculture, but there was no relationship in post-agricultural woodlands. We also found that grasshopper abundance was negatively correlated with leaf litter cover. Soil hardness was greater in post-agricultural sites (i.e. more compacted) and was associated with grasshopper community composition. Both herbaceous cover and leaf litter cover are influenced by fire frequency, suggesting a potential indirect role of fire on grasshopper assemblages. 5. Our results demonstrate that historic land use may create persistent differences in the composition of grasshopper assemblages, while contemporary disturbances (e.g. prescribed fire) may be important for determining the abundance of grasshoppers, largely through the effect of fire on plants and leaf litter. Therefore, our results suggest that changes in the contemporary management regimes (e.g. increasing prescribed fire) may not be sufficient to shift the structure of grasshopper communities in post-agricultural sites towards communities in

  7. Land-use history alters contemporary insect herbivore community composition and decouples plant-herbivore relationships.

    PubMed

    Hahn, Philip G; Orrock, John L

    2015-05-01

    Past land use can create altered soil conditions and plant communities that persist for decades, although the effects of these altered conditions on consumers are rarely investigated. Using a large-scale field study at 36 sites in longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) woodlands, we examined whether historic agricultural land use leads to differences in the abundance and community composition of insect herbivores (grasshoppers, families Acrididae and Tettigoniidae). We measured the cover of six plant functional groups and several environmental variables to determine whether historic agricultural land use affects the relationships between plant cover or environmental conditions and grasshopper assemblages. Land-use history had taxa-specific effects and interacted with herbaceous plant cover to alter grasshopper abundances, leading to significant changes in community composition. Abundance of most grasshopper taxa increased with herbaceous cover in woodlands with no history of agriculture, but there was no relationship in post-agricultural woodlands. We also found that grasshopper abundance was negatively correlated with leaf litter cover. Soil hardness was greater in post-agricultural sites (i.e. more compacted) and was associated with grasshopper community composition. Both herbaceous cover and leaf litter cover are influenced by fire frequency, suggesting a potential indirect role of fire on grasshopper assemblages. Our results demonstrate that historic land use may create persistent differences in the composition of grasshopper assemblages, while contemporary disturbances (e.g. prescribed fire) may be important for determining the abundance of grasshoppers, largely through the effect of fire on plants and leaf litter. Therefore, our results suggest that changes in the contemporary management regimes (e.g. increasing prescribed fire) may not be sufficient to shift the structure of grasshopper communities in post-agricultural sites towards communities in non

  8. Community Violence and Youth: Affect, Behavior, Substance Use, and Academics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Cooley-Strickland, Michele; Quille, Tanya J.; Griffin, Robert S.; Stuart, Elizabeth A.; Bradshaw, Catherine P.; Furr-Holden, Debra

    2009-01-01

    Community violence is recognized as a major public health problem (WHO, "World Report on Violence and Health," 2002) that Americans increasingly understand has adverse implications beyond inner-cities. However, the majority of research on chronic community violence exposure focuses on ethnic minority, impoverished, and/or crime-ridden communities…

  9. Factors Affecting Drug Abuse in Adolescent Females in Rural Communities

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Renes, Susan L.; Strange, Anthony T.

    2009-01-01

    This article explores factors influencing adolescent female substance use in rural communities. Self-reported data gathered from females 12 to 15 years of age in two northwestern communities in the United States showed an association among gender identity, peer and parental relationships, and substance use. Aggressive masculinity had the strongest…

  10. PASTURE PLANT COMMUNITIES IN THE NORTHEAST

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Pastures are important to the economy of the northeastern United States, but we still don't know much about their ecology. One of the areas where we need more information is in understanding how environment affects the success of forage and weedy species in pastures. We surveyed 44 farms from Maryla...

  11. Planting Healthy Roots: Using Documentary Film to Evaluate and Disseminate Community-Based Participatory Research.

    PubMed

    Brandt, Heather M; Freedman, Darcy A; Friedman, Daniela B; Choi, Seul Ki; Seel, Jessica S; Guest, M Aaron; Khang, Leepao

    2016-01-01

    Documentary filmmaking approaches incorporating community engagement and awareness raising strategies may be a promising approach to evaluate community-based participatory research. The study purpose was 2-fold: (1) to evaluate a documentary film featuring the formation and implementation of a farmers' market and (2) to assess whether the film affected awareness regarding food access issues in a food-desert community with high rates of obesity. The coalition model of filmmaking, a model consistent with a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach, and personal stories, community profiles, and expert interviews were used to develop a documentary film (Planting Healthy Roots). The evaluation demonstrated high levels of approval and satisfaction with the film and CBPR essence of the film. The documentary film aligned with a CBPR approach to document, evaluate, and disseminate research processes and outcomes. PMID:27536929

  12. Interaction of historical and nonhistorical disturbances maintains native plant communities.

    PubMed

    Davies, K W; Svejcar, T J; Bates, J D

    2009-09-01

    Historical disturbance regimes are often considered a critical element in maintaining native plant communities. However, the response of plant communities to disturbance may be fundamentally altered as a consequence of invasive plants, climate change, or prior disturbances. The appropriateness of historical disturbance patterns under modern conditions and the interactions among disturbances are issues that ecologists must address to protect and restore native plant communities. We evaluated the response of Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis (Beetle & A. Young) S.L. Welsh plant communities to their historical disturbance regime compared to other disturbance regimes. The historical disturbance regime of these plant communities was periodic fires with minimal grazing by large herbivores. We also investigated the influence of prior disturbance (grazing) on the response of these communities to subsequent disturbance (burning). Treatments were: (1) ungrazed (livestock grazing excluded since 1936) and unburned, (2) grazed and unburned, (3) ungrazed and burned (burned in 1993), and (4) grazed and burned. The ungrazed-burned treatment emulated the historical disturbance regime. Vegetation cover, density, and biomass production were measured the 12th, 13th, and 14th year post-burning. Prior to burning the presence of Bromus tectorum L., an exotic annual grass, was minimal (<0.5% cover), and vegetation characteristics were similar between grazed and ungrazed treatments. However, litter accumulation was almost twofold greater in ungrazed than in grazed treatments. Long-term grazing exclusion followed by burning resulted in a substantial B. tectorum invasion, but burning the grazed areas did not produce an invasion. The ungrazed-burned treatment also had less perennial vegetation than other treatments. The accumulation of litter (fuel) in ungrazed treatments may have resulted in greater fire-induced mortality of perennial vegetation in ungrazed compared to grazed treatments

  13. Ant-plant mutualisms should be viewed as symbiotic communities

    PubMed Central

    Bouamer, Salah; Morand, Serge; Selosse, Marc-André

    2009-01-01

    Ant-plants provide food and nesting space (domatia) for ants that protect them against herbivores. These mutualisms are often very specific and are usually considered as bipartite, or tripartite when ants use hemipterans as trophobionts. However, fungi growing inside domatia have been recorded by a few authors. Here we report on their occurrence on additional ant-plants from Africa, Asia and South America. We demonstrated the symbiotic nature of the relationship between the plant, the ant and the fungus in the model plant Leonardoxa africana africana and its mutualistic ant Petalomyrmex phylax. Moreover, data suggest the ant-fungus relationship is mutualistic. Here we discuss the most probable role of the fungus and the potential implications on the understanding of nutritional ecology of ant-plant symbioses. The fungus is also associated with the presence of nematodes and bacteria. Many ant-plant symbioses previously considered to be bipartite will soon likely prove to be multipartite symbiotic communities. PMID:19816123

  14. Bacterial Communities Associated with Different Anthurium andraeanum L. Plant Tissues

    PubMed Central

    Sarria-Guzmán, Yohanna; Chávez-Romero, Yosef; Gómez-Acata, Selene; Montes-Molina, Joaquín Adolfo; Morales-Salazar, Eleacin; Dendooven, Luc; Navarro-Noya, Yendi E.

    2016-01-01

    Plant-associated microbes have specific beneficial functions and are considered key drivers for plant health. The bacterial community structure of healthy Anthurium andraeanum L. plants was studied by 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing associated with different plant parts and the rhizosphere. A limited number of bacterial taxa, i.e., Sinorhizobium, Fimbriimonadales, and Gammaproteobacteria HTCC2089 were enriched in the A. andraeanum rhizosphere. Endophytes were more diverse in the roots than in the shoots, whereas all shoot endophytes were found in the roots. Streptomyces, Flavobacterium succinicans, and Asteroleplasma were only found in the roots, Variovorax paradoxus only in the stem, and Fimbriimonas 97%-OTUs only in the spathe, i.e., considered specialists, while Brevibacillus, Lachnospiraceae, Pseudomonas, and Pseudomonas pseudoalcaligenes were generalist and colonized all plant parts. The anaerobic diazotrophic bacteria Lachnospiraceae, Clostridium sp., and Clostridium bifermentans colonized the shoot system. Phylotypes belonging to Pseudomonas were detected in the rhizosphere and in the substrate (an equiproportional mixture of soil, cow manure, and peat), and dominated the endosphere. Pseudomonas included nine 97%-OTUs with different patterns of distribution and phylogenetic affiliations with different species. P. pseudoalcaligenes and P. putida dominated the shoots, but were also found in the roots and rhizosphere. P. fluorescens was present in all plant parts, while P. resinovorans, P. denitrificans, P. aeruginosa, and P. stutzeri were only detected in the substrate and rhizosphere. The composition of plant-associated bacterial communities is generally considered to be suitable as an indicator of plant health. PMID:27524305

  15. Plant nitrogen uptake drives rhizosphere bacterial community assembly during plant growth

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    When plant species establish in novel environments, they often modify microbial communities and soil properties in ways that enhance their own success. Upon invasion, the C3 annual grass Bromus tectorum appears to support soil microbial communities that have higher soil nitrogen (N) mineralization r...

  16. Nighttime warming enhances drought resistance of plant communities in a temperate steppe

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yang, Zhongling; Jiang, Lin; Su, Fanglong; Zhang, Qian; Xia, Jianyang; Wan, Shiqiang

    2016-03-01

    Drought events could have profound influence on plant community structure and ecosystem function, and have subsequent impacts on community stability, but we know little about how different climate warming scenarios affect community resistance and resilience to drought. Combining a daytime and nighttime warming experiment in the temperate steppe of north China with a natural drought event during the study period, we tested how daytime and nighttime warming influences drought resistance and resilience. Our results showed that the semi-arid steppe in north China was resistant to both daytime and nighttime warming, but vulnerable to drought. Nighttime warming, but not daytime warming, enhanced community resistance to drought via stimulating carbon sequestration, whereas neither daytime nor nighttime warming affected community resilience to drought. Large decline in plant community cover, primarily caused by the reduction in the cover of dominant and rare species rather than subordinate species during drought, did not preclude rapid ecosystem recovery. These findings suggest that nighttime warming may facilitate ecosystem sustainability and highlight the need to assess the effects of climate extremes on ecosystem functions at finer temporal resolutions than based on diurnal mean temperature.

  17. Nighttime warming enhances drought resistance of plant communities in a temperate steppe.

    PubMed

    Yang, Zhongling; Jiang, Lin; Su, Fanglong; Zhang, Qian; Xia, Jianyang; Wan, Shiqiang

    2016-01-01

    Drought events could have profound influence on plant community structure and ecosystem function, and have subsequent impacts on community stability, but we know little about how different climate warming scenarios affect community resistance and resilience to drought. Combining a daytime and nighttime warming experiment in the temperate steppe of north China with a natural drought event during the study period, we tested how daytime and nighttime warming influences drought resistance and resilience. Our results showed that the semi-arid steppe in north China was resistant to both daytime and nighttime warming, but vulnerable to drought. Nighttime warming, but not daytime warming, enhanced community resistance to drought via stimulating carbon sequestration, whereas neither daytime nor nighttime warming affected community resilience to drought. Large decline in plant community cover, primarily caused by the reduction in the cover of dominant and rare species rather than subordinate species during drought, did not preclude rapid ecosystem recovery. These findings suggest that nighttime warming may facilitate ecosystem sustainability and highlight the need to assess the effects of climate extremes on ecosystem functions at finer temporal resolutions than based on diurnal mean temperature. PMID:26987482

  18. Nighttime warming enhances drought resistance of plant communities in a temperate steppe

    PubMed Central

    Yang, Zhongling; Jiang, Lin; Su, Fanglong; Zhang, Qian; Xia, Jianyang; Wan, Shiqiang

    2016-01-01

    Drought events could have profound influence on plant community structure and ecosystem function, and have subsequent impacts on community stability, but we know little about how different climate warming scenarios affect community resistance and resilience to drought. Combining a daytime and nighttime warming experiment in the temperate steppe of north China with a natural drought event during the study period, we tested how daytime and nighttime warming influences drought resistance and resilience. Our results showed that the semi-arid steppe in north China was resistant to both daytime and nighttime warming, but vulnerable to drought. Nighttime warming, but not daytime warming, enhanced community resistance to drought via stimulating carbon sequestration, whereas neither daytime nor nighttime warming affected community resilience to drought. Large decline in plant community cover, primarily caused by the reduction in the cover of dominant and rare species rather than subordinate species during drought, did not preclude rapid ecosystem recovery. These findings suggest that nighttime warming may facilitate ecosystem sustainability and highlight the need to assess the effects of climate extremes on ecosystem functions at finer temporal resolutions than based on diurnal mean temperature. PMID:26987482

  19. Host tree phenology affects vascular epiphytes at the physiological, demographic and community level

    PubMed Central

    Einzmann, Helena J. R.; Beyschlag, Joachim; Hofhansl, Florian; Wanek, Wolfgang; Zotz, Gerhard

    2015-01-01

    The processes that govern diverse tropical plant communities have rarely been studied in life forms other than trees. Structurally dependent vascular epiphytes, a major part of tropical biodiversity, grow in a three-dimensional matrix defined by their hosts, but trees differ in their architecture, bark structure/chemistry and leaf phenology. We hypothesized that the resulting seasonal differences in microclimatic conditions in evergreen vs. deciduous trees would affect epiphytes at different levels, from organ physiology to community structure. We studied the influence of tree leaf phenology on vascular epiphytes on the Island of Barro Colorado, Panama. Five tree species were selected, which were deciduous, semi-deciduous or evergreen. The crowns of drought-deciduous trees, characterized by sunnier and drier microclimates, hosted fewer individuals and less diverse epiphyte assemblages. Differences were also observed at a functional level, e.g. epiphyte assemblages in deciduous trees had larger proportions of Crassulacean acid metabolism species and individuals. At the population level a drier microclimate was associated with lower individual growth and survival in a xerophytic fern. Some species also showed, as expected, lower specific leaf area and higher δ13C values when growing in deciduous trees compared with evergreen trees. As hypothesized, host tree leaf phenology influences vascular epiphytes at different levels. Our results suggest a cascading effect of tree composition and associated differences in tree phenology on the diversity and functioning of epiphyte communities in tropical lowland forests. PMID:25392188

  20. Petroleum hydrocarbon contamination, plant identity and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal (AMF) community determine assemblages of the AMF spore-associated microbes.

    PubMed

    Iffis, Bachir; St-Arnaud, Marc; Hijri, Mohamed

    2016-09-01

    The root-associated microbiome is a key determinant of pollutant degradation, soil nutrient availability and plant biomass productivity, but could not be examined in depth prior to recent advances in high-throughput sequencing. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) form symbioses with the majority of vascular plants. They are known to enhance mineral uptake and promote plant growth and are postulated to influence the processes involved in phytoremediation. Amplicon sequencing approaches have previously shown that petroleum hydrocarbon pollutant (PHP) concentration strongly influences AMF community structure in in situ phytoremediation experiments. We examined how AMF communities and their spore-associated microbiomes were structured within the rhizosphere of three plant species growing spontaneously in three distinct waste decantation basins of a former petrochemical plant. Our results show that the AMF community was only affected by PHP concentrations, while the AMF-associated fungal and bacterial communities were significantly affected by both PHP concentrations and plant species identity. We also found that some AMF taxa were either positively or negatively correlated with some fungal and bacterial groups. Our results suggest that in addition to PHP concentrations and plant species identity, AMF community composition may also shape the community structure of bacteria and fungi associated with AMF spores. PMID:27376781

  1. Woody stem galls interact with foliage to affect community associations

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Gall wasps (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae) hijack the physiology of their host plant to produce galls which house wasps throughout their immature stages. The gall-maker – host plant interaction is highly evolved, and galls represent an extended phenotype of the gall wasp. We evaluated two-way interaction...

  2. Temporal variation in the nitrogen uptake competition between plant community and soil microbial community

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Legay, N.; Lavorel, S.; Personeni, E.; Bataillé, M. P.; Robson, T. M.; Clément, J. C.

    2012-04-01

    1. Subalpine grasslands are characterized by important seasonal variations and like in others cold environments, the existence of seasonal variations of nitrogen (N) dynamics is strongly plausible. It has been shown that plants and microbes were in competition for nitrogen acquisition mainly during the growing season and particularly at plant biomass peak. During snowmelt, plants could benefit from a decrease in competition potential by microbes given a greater N uptake and freeze-thaw cycles restricting microbial growth. In managed grasslands, these probable interactions are furthermore influenced by recent changes in management, and associated modifications in plant and microbial communities. A previous isotope tracing experiment during the biomass peak suggested that in more intensely managed grasslands, plants exerted a greater control over N cycling than microorganisms, and that soil N availability was stimulated by a greater nitrogen uptake by plants and microbes allowing nutrients to be more readily returned to the soil. 2. A pulse of 15N was added to estimate if the dynamics of N uptake between plants and microbes observed at the biomass peak was applicable at snowmelt. We also asked if the modifications of N dynamics observed depend on management activities across four different grassland types representing decreasing management intensities, from formerly cultivated terraces, either mown or only lightly grazed to unterraced permanent grasslands, either mown or only very lightly grazed. 3. In all grasslands, N pools of aboveground plants were smaller in May than in July while root N pools were greater, and the intrinsic plant uptake was 2 at 5 times weaker in May. N microbial pools were higher in May that in July, while microbial N uptake was 10 to 100 times smaller during snowmelt than at the biomass peak. In spite of the fact that microbial N pools were still larger than the plant N pool, in terms of plants vs microbes competition for N, a microbe N

  3. The Role of Community in Meeting the Needs of African-American HIV Affected Families.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mason, Sally

    2002-01-01

    Assessed the service needs of HIV-affected families in an inner city African American community with a high HIV/AIDS seroprevalence. Data from focus group interviews indicated a lack of family-sensitive HIV/AIDS community services. Participants noted the problem with stigma and identified community awareness and education as critical to serving…

  4. Soil Nitrogen Availability and Plant Genotype Modify the Nutrition Strategies of M. truncatula and the Associated Rhizosphere Microbial Communities

    PubMed Central

    Zancarini, Anouk; Mougel, Christophe; Voisin, Anne-Sophie; Prudent, Marion; Salon, Christophe; Munier-Jolain, Nathalie

    2012-01-01

    Plant and soil types are usually considered as the two main drivers of the rhizosphere microbial communities. The aim of this work was to study the effect of both N availability and plant genotype on the plant associated rhizosphere microbial communities, in relation to the nutritional strategies of the plant-microbe interactions, for six contrasted Medicago truncatula genotypes. The plants were provided with two different nutrient solutions varying in their nitrate concentrations (0 mM and 10 mM). First, the influence of both nitrogen availability and Medicago truncatula genotype on the genetic structure of the soil bacterial and fungal communities was determined by DNA fingerprint using Automated Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis (ARISA). Secondly, the different nutritional strategies of the plant-microbe interactions were evaluated using an ecophysiological framework. We observed that nitrogen availability affected rhizosphere bacterial communities only in presence of the plant. Furthermore, we showed that the influence of nitrogen availability on rhizosphere bacterial communities was dependent on the different genotypes of Medicago truncatula. Finally, the nutritional strategies of the plant varied greatly in response to a modification of nitrogen availability. A new conceptual framework was thus developed to study plant-microbe interactions. This framework led to the identification of three contrasted structural and functional adaptive responses of plant-microbe interactions to nitrogen availability. PMID:23077550

  5. Grazing and fire interactions in sagebrush plant communities

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Fire and livestock grazing occur on most rangelands throughout the world. Though they are often evaluated separately, they can profoundly influence each other. In sagebrush plant communities, properly managed grazing can decrease the severity of fire and reduce the likelihood of post-fire exotic ann...

  6. Grazing and fire interactions in sagebrush plant communities

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Fire and livestock grazing occur on most rangelands throughout the world. Though they are often evaluated separately, they can profoundly influence each other. In sagebrush plant communities, properly managed grazing can decrease the severity of fire and reduce the likelihood of post-fire exotic a...

  7. Designing the School Plant as a Community Center.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    New York State Education Dept., Albany. Div. of School Buildings and Grounds.

    In the planning of school plants to serve the educational, social, civic, recreational, and cultural needs of the entire community, factors which receive special consideration are location of facilities, heat distribution, zoning, storage space, and special appointments and service features. (RH)

  8. ORGANIC PESTICIDE MODIFICATION OF SPECIES INTERACTIONS USING ANNUAL PLANT COMMUNITIES

    EPA Science Inventory

    A method is proposed and tested for assessing multispecies responses to three pesticides (atrazine, 2,4,D and malathion). Pesticides were applied at two concentrations, mon model plant communities grown in raised beds using soil containing a natural weed bank. over by species was...

  9. Feeding guild of non-host community members affects host-foraging efficiency of a parasitic wasp.

    PubMed

    De Rijk, Marjolein; Yang, Daowei; Engel, Bas; Dicke, Marcel; Poelman, Erik H

    2016-06-01

    Interactions between predator and prey, or parasitoid and host, are shaped by trait- and density-mediated processes involving other community members. Parasitoids that lay their eggs in herbivorous insects locate their hosts through infochemicals such as herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) and host-produced kairomones. Hosts are frequently accompanied by non-host herbivores that are unsuitable for the parasitoid. These non-hosts may interfere with host location primarily through trait-mediated processes, by their own infochemicals, and their induction of the emission of plant volatiles. Although it is known that single non-hosts can interfere with parasitoid host location, it is still unknown whether the observed effects are due to species specific characteristics or to the feeding habits of the non-host herbivores. Here we addressed whether the feeding guild of non-host herbivores differentially affects foraging of the parasitoid Cotesia glomerata for its common host, caterpillars of Pieris brassicae feeding on Brassica oleracea plants. We used different phloem-feeding and leaf-chewing non-hosts to study their effects on host location by the parasitoid when searching for host-infested plants based on HIPVs and when searching for hosts on the plant using infochemicals. To evaluate the ultimate effect of these two phases in host location, we studied parasitism efficiency of parasitoids in small plant communities under field-tent conditions. We show that leaf-chewing non-hosts primarily affected host location through trait-mediated effects via plant volatiles, whereas phloem-feeding non-hosts exerted trait-mediated effects by affecting foraging efficiency of the parasitoid on the plant. These trait-mediated effects resulted in associational susceptibility of hosts in environments with phloem feeders and associational resistance in environments with non-host leaf chewers. PMID:27459770

  10. Earthworms drive succession of both plant and Collembola communities in post-mining sites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mudrák, Obdřej; Frouz, Jan

    2015-04-01

    Previous field observations indicated that earthworms promote late-successional plant species and reduce collembolan numbers at post-mining sites in the Sokolov coal mining district (Czech Republic). Here, we established a laboratory pot experiment to test the effect of earthworms (Aporrectodea caliginosa Savigny and Lumbricus rubellus Hoffm.) and litter of low, medium, and high quality (the grass Calamagrostis epigejos, the willow Salix caprea, and the alder Alnus glutinosa, respectively) on late successional plants (grasses Arrhenatherum elatius and Agrostis capillaris, legumes Lotus corniculatus and Trifolium medium, and non-leguminous dicots Centaurea jacea and Plantago lanceolata) in spoil substrate originating from Sokolov post-mining sites and naturally inhabited by abundant numbers of Collembola. The earthworms increased plant biomass, especially that of the large-seeded A. elatius, but reduced the number of plant individuals, mainly that of the small-seeded A. capillaris and both legumes. Litter quality affected plant biomass, which was highest with S. caprea litter, but did not change the number of plant individuals. Litter quality did not modify the effect of earthworms on plants; the effect of litter quality and earthworms was only additive. Species composition of Collembola community was altered by litter quality, but earthworms reduced the number of individuals, increased the number of species, and increased species evenness consistently across the litter qualities. Because the results of this experiment were consistent with the field observations, we conclude that earthworms help drive succession of both plant and Collembola communities on post-mining sites.

  11. Earthworms drive succession of both plant and Collembola communities in post-mining sites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mudrák, Ondřej; Uteseny, Karoline; Frouz, Jan

    2016-04-01

    Previous field observations indicated that earthworms promote late-successional plant species and reduce collembolan numbers at post-mining sites in the Sokolov coal mining district (Czech Republic). Here, we established a laboratory pot experiment to test the effect of earthworms (Aporrectodea caliginosa Savigny and Lumbricus rubellus Hoffm.) and litter of low, medium, and high quality (the grass Calamagrostis epigejos, the willow Salix caprea, and the alder Alnus glutinosa, respectively) on late successional plants (grasses Arrhenatherum elatius and Agrostis capillaris, legumes Lotus corniculatus and Trifolium medium, and non-leguminous dicots Centaurea jacea and Plantago lanceolata) in spoil substrate originating from Sokolov post-mining sites and naturally inhabited by abundant numbers of Collembola. The earthworms increased plant biomass, especially that of the large-seeded A. elatius, but reduced the number of plant individuals, mainly that of the small-seeded A. capillaris and both legumes. Litter quality affected plant biomass, which was highest with S. caprea litter, but did not change the number of plant individuals. Litter quality did not modify the effect of earthworms on plants; the effect of litter quality and earthworms was only additive. Species composition of Collembola community was altered by litter quality, but earthworms reduced the number of individuals, increased the number of species, and increased species evenness consistently across the litter qualities. Because the results of this experiment were consistent with the field observations, we conclude that earthworms help drive succession of both plant and Collembola communities on post-mining sites.

  12. Carbon storage potential by four macrophytes as affected by planting diversity in a created wetland.

    PubMed

    Means, Mary M; Ahn, Changwoo; Korol, Alicia R; Williams, Lisa D

    2016-01-01

    Wetland creation has become a commonplace method for mitigating the loss of natural wetlands. Often mitigation projects fail to restore ecosystem services of the impacted natural wetlands. One of the key ecosystem services of newly created wetlands is carbon accumulation/sequestration, but little is known about how planting diversity (PD) affects the ability of herbaceous wetland plants to store carbon in newly created wetlands. Most mitigation projects involve a planting regime, but PD, which may be critical in establishing biologically diverse and ecologically functioning wetlands, is seldom required. Using a set of 34 mesocosms (∼1 m(2) each), we investigated the effects of planting diversity on carbon storage potential of four native wetland plant species that are commonly planted in created mitigation wetlands in Virginia - Carex vulpinoidea, Eleocharis obtusa, Juncus effusus, and Mimulus ringens. The plants were grown under the four distinctive PD treatments [i.e., monoculture (PD 1) through four different species mixture (PD 4)]. Plant biomass was harvested after two growing seasons and analyzed for tissue carbon content. Competition values (CV) were calculated to understand how the PD treatment affected the competitive ability of plants relative to their biomass production and thus carbon storage potentials. Aboveground biomass ranged from 988 g/m(2) - 1515 g/m(2), being greatest in monocultures, but only when compared to the most diverse mixture (p = 0.021). However, carbon storage potential estimates per mesocosm ranged between 344 g C/m(2) in the most diverse mesocosms (PD 4) to 610 g C/m(2) in monoculture ones with no significant difference (p = 0.089). CV of E. obtusa and C. vulpinoidea showed a declining trend when grown in the most diverse mixtures but J. effusus and M. ringens displayed no difference across the PD gradient (p = 0.910). In monocultures, both M. ringens, and J. effusus appeared to store carbon as biomass more

  13. The effect of drought on four plant communities in the northern Mojave Desert

    SciTech Connect

    Schultz, B.W.; Ostler, W.K.

    1993-12-31

    Desert plant communities contain many perennial plant species that are well adapted to arid environments; therefore, one would intuitively believe that perennial desert species readily survive drought conditions. Abundant research on plant-soil-water relationships in North American deserts has shown that many species can maintain water uptake and growth when the soil-water potential is low. Little research, however, has focused on how prolonged drought conditions affect plant species in vegetation associations in desert ecosystems. A prolonged and widespread drought occurred in much of the western United States, including the Northern Mojave Desert, from 1987 through 1991. During this drought period vegetation characterization studies, initiated in 1990, by the US Department of Energy (DOE) at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, allowed EG and G Energy Measurements to collect data that could be used to infer how both desert vegetation associations and desert plant species reacted to a prolonged drought. This paper presents the preliminary results.

  14. Habitat Fragmentation Drives Plant Community Assembly Processes across Life Stages.

    PubMed

    Hu, Guang; Feeley, Kenneth J; Yu, Mingjian

    2016-01-01

    Habitat fragmentation is one of the principal causes of biodiversity loss and hence understanding its impacts on community assembly and disassembly is an important topic in ecology. We studied the relationships between fragmentation and community assembly processes in the land-bridge island system of Thousand Island Lake in East China. We focused on the changes in species diversity and phylogenetic diversity that occurred between life stages of woody plants growing on these islands. The observed diversities were compared with the expected diversities from random null models to characterize assembly processes. Regression tree analysis was used to illustrate the relationships between island attributes and community assembly processes. We found that different assembly processes predominate in the seedlings-to-saplings life-stage transition (SS) vs. the saplings-to-trees transition (ST). Island area was the main attribute driving the assembly process in SS. In ST, island isolation was more important. Within a fragmented landscape, the factors driving community assembly processes were found to differ between life stage transitions. Environmental filtering had a strong effect on the seedlings-to-saplings life-stage transition. Habitat isolation and dispersal limitation influenced all plant life stages, but had a weaker effect on communities than area. These findings add to our understanding of the processes driving community assembly and species coexistence in the context of pervasive and widespread habitat loss and fragmentation. PMID:27427960

  15. Habitat Fragmentation Drives Plant Community Assembly Processes across Life Stages

    PubMed Central

    Hu, Guang; Feeley, Kenneth J.; Yu, Mingjian

    2016-01-01

    Habitat fragmentation is one of the principal causes of biodiversity loss and hence understanding its impacts on community assembly and disassembly is an important topic in ecology. We studied the relationships between fragmentation and community assembly processes in the land-bridge island system of Thousand Island Lake in East China. We focused on the changes in species diversity and phylogenetic diversity that occurred between life stages of woody plants growing on these islands. The observed diversities were compared with the expected diversities from random null models to characterize assembly processes. Regression tree analysis was used to illustrate the relationships between island attributes and community assembly processes. We found that different assembly processes predominate in the seedlings-to-saplings life-stage transition (SS) vs. the saplings-to-trees transition (ST). Island area was the main attribute driving the assembly process in SS. In ST, island isolation was more important. Within a fragmented landscape, the factors driving community assembly processes were found to differ between life stage transitions. Environmental filtering had a strong effect on the seedlings-to-saplings life-stage transition. Habitat isolation and dispersal limitation influenced all plant life stages, but had a weaker effect on communities than area. These findings add to our understanding of the processes driving community assembly and species coexistence in the context of pervasive and widespread habitat loss and fragmentation. PMID:27427960

  16. How plants connect pollination and herbivory networks and their contribution to community stability.

    PubMed

    Sauve, Alix M C; Thébault, Elisa; Pocock, Michael J O; Fontaine, Colin

    2016-04-01

    Pollination and herbivory networks have mainly been studied separately, highlighting their distinct structural characteristics and the related processes and dynamics. However, most plants interact with both pollinators and herbivores, and there is evidence that both types of interaction affect each other. Here we investigated the way plants connect these mutualistic and antagonistic networks together, and the consequences for community stability. Using an empirical data set, we show that the way plants connect pollination and herbivory networks is not random and promotes community stability. Analyses of the structure of binary and quantitative networks show different results: the plants' generalism with regard to pollinators is positively correlated to their generalism with regard to herbivores when considering binary interactions, but not when considering quantitative interactions. We also show that plants that share the same pollinators do not share the same herbivores. However, the way plants connect pollination and herbivory networks promotes stability for both binary and quantitative networks. Our results highlight the relevance of considering the diversity of interaction types in ecological communities, and stress the need to better quantify the costs and benefits of interactions, as well as to develop new metrics characterizing the way different interaction types are combined within ecological networks. PMID:27220207

  17. Hierarchical organization of a Sardinian sand dune plant community.

    PubMed

    Cusseddu, Valentina; Ceccherelli, Giulia; Bertness, Mark

    2016-01-01

    Coastal sand dunes have attracted the attention of plant ecologists for over a century, but they have largely relied on correlations to explain dune plant community organization. We examined long-standing hypotheses experimentally that sand binding, inter-specific interactions, abiotic factors and seedling recruitment are drivers of sand dune plant community structure in Sardinia, Italy. Removing foundation species from the fore-, middle- and back-dune habitats over three years led to erosion and habitat loss on the fore-dune and limited plant recovery that increased with dune elevation. Reciprocal species removals in all zones suggested that inter-specific competition is common, but that dominance is transient, particularly due to sand burial disturbance in the middle-dune. A fully factorial 2-year manipulation of water, nutrient availability and substrate stability revealed no significant proximate response to these physical factors in any dune zone. In the fore- and middle-dune, plant seeds are trapped under adult plants during seed germination, and seedling survivorship and growth generally increase with dune height in spite of increased herbivory in the back-dune. Sand and seed erosion leads to limited seed recruitment on the fore-dune while high summer temperatures and preemption of space lead to competitive dominance of woody plants in the back-dune. Our results suggest that Sardinian sand dune plant communities are organized hierarchically, structured by sand binding foundation species on the fore-dune, sand burial in the middle-dune and increasingly successful seedling recruitment, growth and competitive dominance in the back-dune. PMID:27478701

  18. Hierarchical organization of a Sardinian sand dune plant community

    PubMed Central

    Ceccherelli, Giulia; Bertness, Mark

    2016-01-01

    Coastal sand dunes have attracted the attention of plant ecologists for over a century, but they have largely relied on correlations to explain dune plant community organization. We examined long-standing hypotheses experimentally that sand binding, inter-specific interactions, abiotic factors and seedling recruitment are drivers of sand dune plant community structure in Sardinia, Italy. Removing foundation species from the fore-, middle- and back-dune habitats over three years led to erosion and habitat loss on the fore-dune and limited plant recovery that increased with dune elevation. Reciprocal species removals in all zones suggested that inter-specific competition is common, but that dominance is transient, particularly due to sand burial disturbance in the middle-dune. A fully factorial 2-year manipulation of water, nutrient availability and substrate stability revealed no significant proximate response to these physical factors in any dune zone. In the fore- and middle-dune, plant seeds are trapped under adult plants during seed germination, and seedling survivorship and growth generally increase with dune height in spite of increased herbivory in the back-dune. Sand and seed erosion leads to limited seed recruitment on the fore-dune while high summer temperatures and preemption of space lead to competitive dominance of woody plants in the back-dune. Our results suggest that Sardinian sand dune plant communities are organized hierarchically, structured by sand binding foundation species on the fore-dune, sand burial in the middle-dune and increasingly successful seedling recruitment, growth and competitive dominance in the back-dune. PMID:27478701

  19. Plant community resistance to invasion by Bromus species – the roles of community attributes, Bromus Interactions with plant communities, and Bromus traits

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Chambers, Jeanne; Germino, Matthew; Belnap, Jayne; Brown, Cynthia; Schupp, Eugene W.; St. Clair, Samuel B

    2016-01-01

    The factors that determine plant community resistance to exotic annual Bromus species (Bromushereafter) are diverse and context specific. They are influenced by the environmental characteristics and attributes of the community, the traits of Bromus species, and the direct and indirect interactions of Bromus with the plant community. Environmental factors, in particular ambient and soil temperatures, have significant effects on the ability of Bromus to establish and spread. Seasonality of precipitation relative to temperature influences plant community resistance toBromus through effects on soil water storage, timing of water and nutrient availability, and dominant plant life forms. Differences among plant communities in how well soil resource use by the plant community matches resource supply rates can influence the magnitude of resource fluctuations due to either climate or disturbance and thus the opportunities for invasion. The spatial and temporal patterns of resource availability and acquisition of growth resources by Bromus versus native species strongly influence resistance to invasion. Traits of Bromus that confer a “priority advantage” for resource use in many communities include early-season germination and high growth and reproductive rates. Resistance to Bromus can be overwhelmed by high propagule supply, low innate seed dormancy, and large, if short-lived, seed banks. Biological crusts can inhibit germination and establishment of invasive annual plants, including several annual Bromus species, but are effective only in the absence of disturbance. Herbivores can have negative direct effects on Bromus, but positive indirect effects through decreases in competitors. Management strategies can be improved through increased understanding of community resistance to exotic annual Bromus species.

  20. Assessing the diversity of bacterial communities associated with plants

    PubMed Central

    Andreote, Fernando Dini; Azevedo, João Lúcio; Araújo, Welington Luiz

    2009-01-01

    Plant–bacteria interactions result from reciprocal recognition between both species. These interactions are responsible for essential biological processes in plant development and health status. Here, we present a review of the methodologies applied to investigate shifts in bacterial communities associated with plants. A description of techniques is made from initial isolations to culture-independent approaches focusing on quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction in real time (qPCR), Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis (DGGE), clone library construction and analysis, the application of multivariate analyses to microbial ecology data and the upcoming high throughput methodologies such as microarrays and pyrosequencing. This review supplies information about the development of traditional methods and a general overview about the new insights into bacterial communities associated with plants. PMID:24031382

  1. Simulation models of the interactions between herbivore foraging strategies, social behavior, and plant community dynamics.

    PubMed

    Seabloom, E W; Reichman, O J

    2001-01-01

    Herbivory often operates through a feedback in which herbivores affect the success and location of plants, which in turn affects the foraging behavior of animals. Factors other than food, such as social behavior, may influence the interactions between herbivores and the plants they consume. We used a simulation model to compare the effects of foraging and social behavior on plant distribution and foraging efficiency by gophers (Thomomys bottae) in a system characteristic of California grasslands. In this system, annual forbs are the preferred food items, and their abundance increases in areas disturbed by gopher burrowing. In addition, gopher social interactions generate buffer zones between adjacent burrows. During the first year of the simulations, before gophers affected the plant community, feeding efficiency declined with increased gopher density. However, after 40 yr, annual plant abundance increased with increasing gopher density, yielding higher maximum gopher density and per capita foraging efficiency. Conversely, increased width of the buffer zones lowered maximum gopher density and annual plant abundance resulting in lower feeding efficiency. In addition, the compact burrow structure of gophers employing an area-restricted search strategy allowed a higher density of gophers to coexist, resulting in higher annual plant abundance and higher per capita food-capture rates. PMID:18707237

  2. Accountable communities: how norms and values affect health system change.

    PubMed

    Steinberg, C R; Baxter, R J

    1998-01-01

    Economic forces, policy initiatives, and technological change push markets along what some hypothesize is a common evolutionary path. Observations from twelve sites, however, indicate that the pace and direction of change are highly variable across markets. Other forces, internal and unique to a community, help to explain this variation. These forces emanate from the underlying history, culture, and values of a community and in part dictate the response of various players to the more common forces. This paper explores the mechanisms through which these forces operate and their relationship to health system change. PMID:9691558

  3. Bacterial Community Affects Toxin Production by Gymnodinium catenatum

    PubMed Central

    Albinsson, Maria E.; Negri, Andrew P.; Blackburn, Susan I.; Bolch, Christopher J. S.

    2014-01-01

    The paralytic shellfish toxin (PST)-producing dinoflagellate Gymnodinium catenatum grows in association with a complex marine bacterial community that is both essential for growth and can alter culture growth dynamics. Using a bacterial community replacement approach, we examined the intracellular PST content, production rate, and profile of G. catenatum cultures grown with bacterial communities of differing complexity and composition. Clonal offspring were established from surface-sterilized resting cysts (produced by sexual crosses of strain GCDE06 and strain GCLV01) and grown with: 1) complex bacterial communities derived from each of the two parent cultures; 2) simplified bacterial communities composed of the G. catenatum-associated bacteria Marinobacter sp. strain DG879 or Alcanivorax sp. strain DG881; 3) a complex bacterial community associated with an untreated, unsterilized sexual cross of the parents. Toxin content (STX-equivalent per cell) of clonal offspring (134–197 fmol STX cell−1) was similar to the parent cultures (169–206 fmol STX cell−1), however cultures grown with single bacterial types contained less toxin (134–146 fmol STX cell−1) than offspring or parent cultures grown with more complex mixed bacterial communities (152–176 fmol STX cell−1). Specific toxin production rate (fmol STX day−1) was strongly correlated with culture growth rate. Net toxin production rate (fmol STX cell−1 day−1) did not differ among treatments, however, mean net toxin production rate of offspring was 8-fold lower than the parent cultures, suggesting that completion of the sexual lifecycle in laboratory cultures leads to reduced toxin production. The PST profiles of offspring cultures were most similar to parent GCDE06 with the exception of cultures grown with Marinobacter sp. DG879 which produced higher proportions of dcGTX2+3 and GC1+2, and lower proportions of C1+2 and C3+4. Our data demonstrate that the bacterial community can alter

  4. [A phylogenetic analysis of plant communities of Teberda Biosphere Reserve].

    PubMed

    Shulakov, A A; Egorov, A V; Onipchenko, V G

    2016-01-01

    Phylogenetic analysis of communities is based on the comparison of distances on the phylogenetic tree between species of a community under study and those distances in random samples taken out of local flora. It makes it possible to determine to what extent a community composition is formed by more closely related species (i.e., "clustered") or, on the opposite, it is more even and includes species that are less related with each other. The first case is usually interpreted as a result of strong influence caused by abiotic factors, due to which species with similar ecology, a priori more closely related, would remain: In the second case, biotic factors, such as competition, may come to the fore and lead to forming a community out of distant clades due to divergence of their ecological niches: The aim of this' study Was Ad explore the phylogenetic structure in communities of the northwestern Caucasus at two spatial scales - the scale of area from 4 to 100 m2 and the smaller scale within a community. The list of local flora of the alpine belt has been composed using the database of geobotanic descriptions carried out in Teberda Biosphere Reserve at true altitudes exceeding.1800 m. It includes 585 species of flowering plants belonging to 57 families. Basal groups of flowering plants are.not represented in the list. At the scale of communities of three classes, namely Thlaspietea rotundifolii - commumties formed on screes and pebbles, Calluno-Ulicetea - alpine meadow, and Mulgedio-Aconitetea subalpine meadows, have not demonstrated significant distinction of phylogenetic structure. At intra level, for alpine meadows the larger share of closely related species. (clustered community) is detected. Significantly clustered happen to be those communities developing on rocks (class Asplenietea trichomanis) and alpine (class Juncetea trifidi). At the same time, alpine lichen proved to have even phylogenetic structure at the small scale. Alpine (class Salicetea herbaceae) that

  5. Ethical Issues Affecting Human Participants in Community College Research

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wurtz, Keith

    2011-01-01

    The increasing demand of constituents to conduct analyses in order to help inform the decision-making process has led to the need for Institutional Research (IR) guidelines for community college educators. One method of maintaining the quality of research conducted by IR staff is to include professional development about ethics. This article…

  6. SAMPLING EFFORT AFFECTS MULTIVARIATE COMPARISONS OF STREAM COMMUNITIES

    EPA Science Inventory

    The estimation of ecological trends and patterns is often dependent on the size of individual samples from each site (sample size) or spatial scale in general. Multivariate analysis is widely used for determining patterns of community structure, inferring species-environment rela...

  7. Deodorants and antiperspirants affect the axillary bacterial community.

    PubMed

    Callewaert, Chris; Hutapea, Prawira; Van de Wiele, Tom; Boon, Nico

    2014-10-01

    The use of underarm cosmetics is common practice in the Western society to obtain better body odor and/or to prevent excessive sweating. A survey indicated that 95 % of the young adult Belgians generally use an underarm deodorant or antiperspirant. The effect of deodorants and antiperspirants on the axillary bacterial community was examined on nine healthy subjects, who were restrained from using deodorant/antiperspirant for 1 month. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis was used to investigate the individual microbial dynamics. The microbial profiles were unique for every person. A stable bacterial community was seen when underarm cosmetics were applied on a daily basis and when no underarm cosmetics were applied. A distinct community difference was seen when the habits were changed from daily use to no use of deodorant/antiperspirant and vice versa. The richness was higher when deodorants and antiperspirants were applied. Especially when antiperspirants were applied, the microbiome showed an increase in diversity. Antiperspirant usage led toward an increase of Actinobacteria, which is an unfavorable situation with respect to body odor development. These initial results show that axillary cosmetics modify the microbial community and can stimulate odor-producing bacteria. PMID:25077920

  8. COVER CROP SYSTEMS AFFECT WEED COMMUNITIES IN A CALIFORNIA VINEYARD

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Vineyard weed communities were examined under four dormant season cover crop systems representative of those used in the north-coastal grape-growing region of California: no-till annuals (rose clover, soft brome, zorro fescue; ANoT), no-till perennials (blue wildrye, California brome, meadow barley,...

  9. Predation and landscape characteristics independently affect reef fish community organization.

    PubMed

    Stier, Adrian C; Hanson, Katharine M; Holbrook, Sally J; Schmitt, Russell J; Brooks, Andrew J

    2014-05-01

    Trophic island biogeography theory predicts that the effects of predators on prey diversity are context dependent in heterogeneous landscapes. Specifically, models predict that the positive effect of habitat area on prey diversity should decline in the presence of predators, and that predators should modify the partitioning of alpha and beta diversity across patchy landscapes. However, experimental tests of the predicted context dependency in top-down control remain limited. Using a factorial field experiment we quantify the effects of a focal predatory fish species (grouper) and habitat characteristics (patch size, fragmentation) on the partitioning of diversity and assembly of coral reef fish communities. We found independent effects of groupers and patch characteristics on prey communities. Groupers reduced prey abundance by 50% and gamma diversity by 45%, with a disproportionate removal of rare species relative to common species (64% and 36% reduction, respectively; an oddity effect). Further, there was a 77% reduction in beta diversity. Null model analysis demonstrated that groupers increased the importance of stochastic community assembly relative to patches without groupers. With regard to patch size, larger patches contained more fishes, but a doubling of patch size led to a modest (36%) increase in prey abundance. Patch size had no effect on prey diversity; however, fragmented patches had 50% higher species richness and modified species composition relative to unfragmented patches. Our findings suggest two different pathways (i.e., habitat or predator shifts) by which natural and/or anthropogenic processes can drive variation in fish biodiversity and community assembly. PMID:25000761

  10. Institutional Factors Affecting Student Participation in Community College Science Programs.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Cohen, Arthur M.

    Drawing upon the responses of 268 instructors of randomly selected class sections offered at the Los Angeles Community College District during Fall 1980, this paper assesses the role of the faculty in remedying the underrepresentation of women, minorities, and the handicapped in science education. The paper first summarizes probable causes of this…

  11. How Military Service Affects Student Veteran Success at Community Colleges

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    O'Rourke, Patrick C., Jr.

    2013-01-01

    Increasingly more service members are separating from the military as the United States draws down the force and moves towards a post-war era. Tens of thousands of these veterans will leverage their GI Bill tuition and housing benefits in an attempt to access Southern California community colleges and bolster their transition into mainstream…

  12. Ethnobotany of dye plants in Dong communities of China

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Dyes derived from plants have an extensive history of use for coloring food and clothing in Dong communities and other indigenous areas in the uplands of China. In addition to use as coloring agents, Dong communities have historically utilized dye plants for their value for enhancing the nutritive, medicinal and preservative properties of foods. However, the persistence of plant-derived dyes and associated cultural practices and traditional knowledge is threatened with rapid socio-economic change in China. Research is needed to document the ethnobotany of dye plants in indigenous communities towards their conservation and potential commercialization as a sustainable means of supporting local development initiatives. Methods Semi-structured surveys on plants used for coloring agents and associated traditional knowledge were conducted in fifteen Dong villages of Tongdao County in Hunan Province of South Central China during 2011–2012. Transect walks were carried out with key informants identified from semi-structured surveys to collect samples and voucher specimens for each documented plant species for taxonomic identification. Results Dong households at the study sites utilize the flowers, bark, stems, tubers and roots of 13 plant species from 9 families as dyes to color their customary clothing and food. Out of the documented plants, a total of 7 are used for coloring food, 3 for coloring clothing and 3 for both food and clothing. Documented plants consist of 3 species that yield black pigments, 3 for brownish red/russet pigments, 3 for red pigments, 2 for dark blue pigments and 2 for yellow pigments. In addition to dyes, the plants have multiple uses including medicinal, ornamental, sacrificial, edible, and for timber. Conclusions The use of dyes derived from plants persists at the study sites for their important role in expressing Dong cultural identity through customary clothing and food. Further research is needed to evaluate the safety of dye

  13. The role of large predators in maintaining riparian plant communities and river morphology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beschta, Robert L.; Ripple, William J.

    2012-07-01

    Studies assessing the potential for large predators to affect, via trophic cascades, the dynamics of riparian plant communities and the morphology of river channels have been largely absent in the scientific literature. Herein, we consider the results of recent studies involving three national parks in the western United States: Yellowstone, Olympic, and Zion. Within each park, key large predators were extirpated or displaced in the early 1900s and subsequent browsing pressure by native ungulates initiated long-term declines in recruitment (i.e., growth of seedlings/sprouts into tall saplings and trees) of palatable woody species and impairment of other resources. Channel responses to browsing-suppressed riparian vegetation included increased widths of active channels via accelerated bank erosion, erosion of floodplains and erraces, increased area of unvegetated alluvium, channel incision, and increased braiding. A reduced frequency of overbank flows indicated these rivers have become increasingly disconnected from historical floodplains because of channel widening/incision. Results from Zion National Park also identified major biodiversity affects (e.g., reduced abundance of plant and animal species). Although these studies were conducted in national parks, results may have implications concerning riparian plant communities, biodiversity, and channel morphology for streams and rivers draining other public lands in the western US. It is on these lands that native and introduced ungulates have often heavily utilized riparian areas, largely in the absence of key predators, with significant consequences to plant communities and channels.

  14. Microbial abundance and community in subsurface flow constructed wetland microcosms: role of plant presence.

    PubMed

    Wang, Qian; Xie, Huijun; Ngo, Huu Hao; Guo, Wenshan; Zhang, Jian; Liu, Cui; Liang, Shuang; Hu, Zhen; Yang, Zhongchen; Zhao, Congcong

    2016-03-01

    In this research, the role of plants in improving microorganism growth conditions in subsurface flow constructed wetland (CW) microcosms was determined. In particular, microbial abundance and community were investigated during summer and winter in Phragmites australis-planted CW microcosms (PA) and unplanted CW microcosms (control, CT). Results revealed that the removal efficiencies of pollutants and microbial community structure varied in winter with variable microbial abundance. During summer, PA comprised more dominant phyla (e.g., Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Bacteroidetes), whereas CT contained more Cyanobacteria and photosynthetic bacteria. During winter, the abundance of Proteobacteria was >40 % in PA but dramatically decreased in CT. Moreover, Cyanobacteria and photosynthetic bacterial dominance in CT decreased. In both seasons, bacteria were more abundant in root surfaces than in sand. Plant presence positively affected microbial abundance and community. The potential removal ability of CT, in which Cyanobacteria and photosynthetic bacteria were abundant during summer, was more significantly affected by temperature reduction than that of PA with plant presence. PMID:25772872

  15. Diversity of Riparian Plants among and within Species Shapes River Communities

    PubMed Central

    Jackrel, Sara L.; Wootton, J. Timothy

    2015-01-01

    Organismal diversity among and within species may affect ecosystem function with effects transmitting across ecosystem boundaries. Whether recipient communities adjust their composition, in turn, to maximize their function in response to changes in donor composition at these two scales of diversity is unknown. We use small stream communities that rely on riparian subsidies as a model system. We used leaf pack experiments to ask how variation in plants growing beside streams in the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State, USA affects stream communities via leaf subsidies. Leaves from red alder (Alnus rubra), vine maple (Acer cinereus), bigleaf maple (Acer macrophyllum) and western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) were assembled in leaf packs to contrast low versus high diversity, and deployed in streams to compare local versus non-local leaf sources at the among and within species scales. Leaves from individuals within species decomposed at varying rates; most notably thin leaves decomposed rapidly. Among deciduous species, vine maple decomposed most rapidly, harbored the least algal abundance, and supported the greatest diversity of aquatic invertebrates, while bigleaf maple was at the opposite extreme for these three metrics. Recipient communities decomposed leaves from local species rapidly: leaves from early successional plants decomposed rapidly in stream reaches surrounded by early successional forest and leaves from later successional plants decomposed rapidly adjacent to later successional forest. The species diversity of leaves inconsistently affected decomposition, algal abundance and invertebrate metrics. Intraspecific diversity of leaf packs also did not affect decomposition or invertebrate diversity. However, locally sourced alder leaves decomposed more rapidly and harbored greater levels of algae than leaves sourced from conspecifics growing in other areas on the Olympic Peninsula, but did not harbor greater aquatic invertebrate diversity. In contrast to

  16. Diversity of Riparian Plants among and within Species Shapes River Communities.

    PubMed

    Jackrel, Sara L; Wootton, J Timothy

    2015-01-01

    Organismal diversity among and within species may affect ecosystem function with effects transmitting across ecosystem boundaries. Whether recipient communities adjust their composition, in turn, to maximize their function in response to changes in donor composition at these two scales of diversity is unknown. We use small stream communities that rely on riparian subsidies as a model system. We used leaf pack experiments to ask how variation in plants growing beside streams in the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State, USA affects stream communities via leaf subsidies. Leaves from red alder (Alnus rubra), vine maple (Acer cinereus), bigleaf maple (Acer macrophyllum) and western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) were assembled in leaf packs to contrast low versus high diversity, and deployed in streams to compare local versus non-local leaf sources at the among and within species scales. Leaves from individuals within species decomposed at varying rates; most notably thin leaves decomposed rapidly. Among deciduous species, vine maple decomposed most rapidly, harbored the least algal abundance, and supported the greatest diversity of aquatic invertebrates, while bigleaf maple was at the opposite extreme for these three metrics. Recipient communities decomposed leaves from local species rapidly: leaves from early successional plants decomposed rapidly in stream reaches surrounded by early successional forest and leaves from later successional plants decomposed rapidly adjacent to later successional forest. The species diversity of leaves inconsistently affected decomposition, algal abundance and invertebrate metrics. Intraspecific diversity of leaf packs also did not affect decomposition or invertebrate diversity. However, locally sourced alder leaves decomposed more rapidly and harbored greater levels of algae than leaves sourced from conspecifics growing in other areas on the Olympic Peninsula, but did not harbor greater aquatic invertebrate diversity. In contrast to

  17. Phylogenetic plant community structure along elevation is lineage specific

    PubMed Central

    Ndiribe, Charlotte; Pellissier, Loïc; Antonelli, Silvia; Dubuis, Anne; Pottier, Julien; Vittoz, Pascal; Guisan, Antoine; Salamin, Nicolas

    2013-01-01

    The trend of closely related taxa to retain similar environmental preferences mediated by inherited traits suggests that several patterns observed at the community scale originate from longer evolutionary processes. While the effects of phylogenetic relatedness have been previously studied within a single genus or family, lineage-specific effects on the ecological processes governing community assembly have rarely been studied for entire communities or flora. Here, we measured how community phylogenetic structure varies across a wide elevation gradient for plant lineages represented by 35 families, using a co-occurrence index and net relatedness index (NRI). We propose a framework that analyses each lineage separately and reveals the trend of ecological assembly at tree nodes. We found prevailing phylogenetic clustering for more ancient nodes and overdispersion in more recent tree nodes. Closely related species may thus rapidly evolve new environmental tolerances to radiate into distinct communities, while older lineages likely retain inherent environmental tolerances to occupy communities in similar environments, either through efficient dispersal mechanisms or the exclusion of older lineages with more divergent environmental tolerances. Our study illustrates the importance of disentangling the patterns of community assembly among lineages to better interpret the ecological role of traits. It also sheds light on studies reporting absence of phylogenetic signal, and opens new perspectives on the analysis of niche and trait conservatism across lineages. PMID:24455126

  18. Plant Community Responses to Simultaneous Changes in Temperature, Nitrogen Availability, and Invasion

    PubMed Central

    Gornish, Elise S.; Miller, Thomas E.

    2015-01-01

    Background Increasing rates of change in climate have been observed across the planet and have contributed to the ongoing range shifts observed for many species. Although ecologists are now using a variety of approaches to study how much and through what mechanisms increasing temperature and nutrient pollution may influence the invasions inherent in range shifts, accurate predictions are still lacking. Methods and Results In this study, we conducted a factorial experiment, simultaneously manipulating warming, nitrogen addition and introduction of Pityopsis aspera, to determine how range-shifting species affect a plant community. We quantified the resident community using ordination scores, then used structural equation modeling to examine hypotheses related to how plants respond to a network of experimental treatments and environmental variables. Variation in soil pH explained plant community response to nitrogen addition in the absence of invasion. However, in the presence of invasion, the direct effect of nitrogen on the community was negligible and soil moisture was important for explaining nitrogen effects. We did not find effects of warming on the native plant community in the absence of invasion. In the presence of invasion, however, warming had negative effects on functional richness directly and invasion and herbivory explained the overall positive effect of warming on the plant community. Conclusions and Significance This work highlights the variation in the biotic and abiotic factors responsible for explaining independent and collective climate change effects over a short time scale. Future work should consider the complex and non-additive relationships among factors of climate change and invasion in order to capture more ecologically relevant features of our changing environment. PMID:25879440

  19. The Plant Communities and Environmental Gradients of Pitcairn Island: The Significance of Invasive Species and the Need for Conservation Management

    PubMed Central

    KINGSTON, N.; WALDREN, S.

    2003-01-01

    Quantitative surveys of the vegetation of south‐east Polynesian Islands are rarely undertaken owing to time and logistical restrictions; however they are fundamental in determining the conservation status of fragile island ecosystems. The aim of the research was to document quantitatively the vegetation of Pitcairn Island by investigating whether clearly definable plant communities existed on the island, and the underlying environmental gradients influencing these communities. Initially, 10 × 10 m quadrats were taken from all areas of the island, with environmental parameters recorded for each quadrat. The vegetation was then mapped from high altitude vantage points. Two‐way indicator species analysis was used to identify distinct plant communities, and canonical correspondence analysis was used to determine the underlying environmental gradients. The vegetation consists of 14 plant communities: four coastal, six forest, two fernland and two scrub communities. Large areas are covered by non‐native scrub vegetation, and by monospecific Syzygium jambos (rose‐apple) plantations. Less than 30 % of the island is covered by native forest, and these areas are limited to remote valleys. Fernlands also cover large areas, including both eroding areas and ridge tops. Coastal vegetation comprises rock and cliff communities with limited strand vegetation. The major environmental gradient affecting the composition of the plant communities is altitude, but anthropogenic influences also have a large effect, owing to forest clearance and introduced species. The light environment is affected by the canopy species, and determines what ground flora can develop. Identification of distinct plant communities has allowed for a system of nature reserves to be suggested, which conserve all of these plant communities and a significant proportion of the threatened plant species. PMID:12824069

  20. Homestead tree planting in two rural Swazi communities

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Allen, James A.

    1990-01-01

    Tree planting practices were investigated on a total of 95 homesteads in two communities in rural Swaziland. Information was also collected on socioeconomic characteristics of the homesteads. In both the study areas, Sigombeni and Bhekinkosi, there was considerable variation amongst individual homesteads in size, relative wealth (as indicated by cattle and motor vehicle ownership), and amount and types of trees planted. Eighty-five percent of all homesteads in Sigombeni and 73% in Bhekinkosi had planted at least one tree. Common forms of planting included small woodlots, fruit trees, and ornamentals. Virtually all the woodlots consisted of two introduced wattle species (Acacia mearnsii and A. decurrens). The most commonly planted fruit trees were avocados, bananas, and peaches. No complex or labor-intensive agroforestry practices (such as maize/leucaena intercropping) were observed. There was some evidence that the poorest and newest homesteads were the least likely to have planted any trees and that the richest homesteads were the most likely to have planted woodlots. The results indicate that forestry research and extension efforts should take into account homestead characteristics, and strive to offer a range of tree planting options that vary in input requirements, labor needs, and complexity.

  1. Taxonomic homogenization of woodland plant communities over 70 years

    PubMed Central

    Keith, Sally A.; Newton, Adrian C.; Morecroft, Michael D.; Bealey, Clive E.; Bullock, James M.

    2009-01-01

    Taxonomic homogenization (TH) is the increasing similarity of the species composition of ecological communities over time. Such homogenization represents a form of biodiversity loss and can result from local species turnover. Evidence for TH is limited, reflecting a lack of suitable historical datasets, and previous analyses have generated contrasting conclusions. We present an analysis of woodland patches across a southern English county (Dorset) in which we quantified 70 years of change in the composition of vascular plant communities. We tested the hypotheses that over this time patches decreased in species richness, homogenized, or shifted towards novel communities. Although mean species richness at the patch scale did not change, we found increased similarity in species composition among woodlands over time. We concluded that the woodlands have undergone TH without experiencing declines in local diversity or shifts towards novel communities. Analysis of species characteristics suggested that these changes were not driven by non-native species invasions or climate change, but instead reflected reorganization of the native plant communities in response to eutrophication and increasingly shaded conditions. These analyses provide, to our knowledge, the first direct evidence of TH in the UK and highlight the potential importance of this phenomenon as a contributor to biodiversity loss. PMID:19625318

  2. Cascading effects of fire retardant on plant-microbe interactions, community composition, and invasion.

    PubMed

    Marshall, Abigail; Waller, Lauren; Lekberg, Ylva

    2016-06-01

    Climate change, historical fire suppression, and a rise in human movements in urban-forest boundaries have resulted in an increased use of long-term fire retardant (LTFR). While LTFR is an effective fire-fighting tool, it contains high concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus, and little is known about how this nutrient pulse affects terrestrial ecosystems. We used field surveys and greenhouse experiments to quantify effects of LTFR on plant productivity, community composition, and plant interactions with the ubiquitous root symbiont arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). In the field, LTFR applications were associated with persistent shifts in plant communities toward exotic annuals with little or no dependency of AMF. Plants exposed to LTFR were less colonized by AMF, both in field surveys and in the greenhouse, and this was most likely due to the substantial and persistent increase in soil available phosphorus. All plants grew bigger with LTFR in the greenhouse, but the invasive annual cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) benefitted most. While LTFR can control fires, it may cause long-term changes in soil nutrient availabilities, disrupt plant interactions with beneficial soil microbes, and exasperate invasion by some exotic plants. PMID:27509743

  3. Use and management of traditional medicinal plants by Maale and Ari ethnic communities in southern Ethiopia

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Around 80% of the people of Ethiopia are estimated to be relying on medicinal plants for the treatment of different types of human health problems. The purpose of this study was to describe and analyse the use and management of medicinal plants used for the treatment of human health problems by the Maale and Ari communities in southern Ethiopia. Methods Quantitative and qualitative ethnobotanical field inquiries and analytical methods including individual and focus group discussions (18), observations, individual interviews (n = 74), preference ranking and paired comparison were used. Data were collected in three study sites and from two markets; the latter surveyed every 15 days from February 2011 to February 2012. Results A total of 128 medicinal plant species, belonging to 111 genera and 49 families, used as herbal medicine by Maale and Ari communities were documented. Predominantly harvested plant parts were leaves, which are known to have relatively low impact on medicinal plant resources. Species with high familiarity indices included Solanum dasyphyllum, Indigofera spicata, Ruta chalepensis, Plumbago zeylanica and Meyna tetraphylla. Low Jaccards similarity indices (≤ 0.33) indicated little correspondence in medicinal plant use among sites and between ethnic communities. The dominant ways of medicinal plant knowledge acquisition and transfer is vertical: from parents to children through oral means. Gender and site significantly influenced the number of human medicinal plants known currently in the study sites. Age was only a factor of significance in Maale. Marketing of medicinal plants harvested from wild and semi-wild stands is not common. Expansion of agricultural land and lack of cultivation efforts by local communities are mentioned by locals to affect the availability of medicinal plant resources. Conclusion S. dasyphyllum, I. spicata, P. zeylanica, M. tetraphylla, and Oxalis radicosa need to be considered for phytochemical and

  4. Characterizing photosynthesis and transpiration of plant communities in controlled environments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Monje, O.; Bugbee, B.

    1996-01-01

    CO2 and water vapor fluxes of hydroponically grown wheat and soybean canopies were measured continuously in several environments with an open gas exchange system. Canopy CO2 fluxes reflect the photosynthetic efficiency of a plant community, and provide a record of plant growth and health. There were significant diurnal fluctuations in root and shoot CO2 fluxes, and in shoot water vapor fluxes. Canopy stomatal conductance (Gc) to water vapor was calculated from simultaneous measurements of canopy temperature (Tcan) and transpiration rates (Tr). Tr in the dark was substantial, and there were large diurnal fluctuations in both Gc and Tr. Canopy net Photosynthesis (Pnet), Tr, and Gc increased with increasing net radiation. Gc increased with Tr, suggesting that the stomata of plants in controlled environments (CEs) behave differently from field-grown plants. A transpiration model based on measurements of Gc was developed for CEs. The model accurately predicted Tr from a soybean canopy.

  5. Plant community composition and vegetation height, Barrow, Alaska, Ver. 1

    DOE Data Explorer

    Sloan, Victoria; Norby, Richard; Siegrist, Julia; Iversen, Colleen; Brooks, Jonathan; Liebig, Jennifer; Wood, Sarah

    2014-04-25

    This dataset contains i) the results of field surveys of plant community composition and vegetation height made between 17th and 29th July 2012 in 48, 1 x 1 m plots located in areas A-D of Intensive Site 1 at the Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE) Arctic site near Barrow, Alaska and ii) results of a mapping exercise undertaken in August 2013 using two perpendicular transects across each polygon containing vegetation plots to determine the boundaries of vegetation communities described in 2012.

  6. Population variation affects interactions between two California salt marsh plant species more than precipitation.

    PubMed

    Noto, Akana E; Shurin, Jonathan B

    2016-02-01

    Species that occur along broad environmental gradients often vary in phenotypic traits that make them better adapted to local conditions. Variation in species interactions across gradients could therefore be due to either phenotypic differences among populations or environmental conditions that shift the balance between competition and facilitation. To understand how the environment (precipitation) and variation among populations affect species interactions, we conducted a common garden experiment using two common salt marsh plant species, Salicornia pacifica and Jaumea carnosa, from six salt marshes along the California coast encompassing a large precipitation gradient. Plants were grown alone or with an individual of the opposite species from the same site and exposed to one of three precipitation regimes. J. carnosa was negatively affected in the presence of S. pacifica, while S. pacifica was facilitated by J. carnosa. The strength of these interactions varied by site of origin but not by precipitation treatment. These results suggest that phenotypic variation among populations can affect interaction strength more than environment, despite a threefold difference in precipitation. Geographic intraspecific variation may therefore play an important role in determining the strength of interactions in communities. PMID:26481794

  7. How Identification Processes and Inter-Community Relationships Affect Sense of Community

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mannarini, Terri; Rochira, Alessia; Talo, Cosimo

    2012-01-01

    Based on the Social Identity and Social Categorization Theory framework, this study investigated how identification with the physical component of a community (i.e., the place identity), the perception of a community (i.e., the ingroup) in terms of cohesion and entitativity, and the perception of one or more territorial communities as laying…

  8. The factors controlling species density in herbaceous plant communities: An assessment

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grace, J.B.

    1999-01-01

    This paper evaluates both the ideas and empirical evidence pertaining to the control of species density in herbaceous plant communities. While most theoretical discussions of species density have emphasized the importance of habitat productivity and disturbance regimes, many other factors (e.g. species pools, plant litter accumulation, plant morphology) have been proposed to be important. A review of literature presenting observations on the density of species in small plots (in the vicinity of a few square meters or less), as well as experimental studies, suggests several generalizations: (1) Available data are consistent with an underlying unimodal relationship between species density and total community biomass. While variance in species density is often poorly explained by predictor variables, there is strong evidence that high levels of community biomass are antagonistic to high species density. (2) Community biomass is just one of several factors affecting variations in species density. Multivariate analyses typically explain more than twice as much variance in species density as can be explained by community biomass alone. (3) Disturbance has important and sometimes complex effects on species density. In general, the evidence is consistent with the intermediate disturbance hypothesis but exceptions exist and effects can be complex. (4) Gradients in the species pool can have important influences on patterns of species density. Evidence is mounting that a considerable amount of the observed variability in species density within a landscape or region may result from environmental effects on the species pool. (5) Several additional factors deserve greater consideration, including time lags, species composition, plant morphology, plant density and soil microbial effects. Based on the available evidence, a conceptual model of the primary factors controlling species density is presented here. This model suggests that species density is controlled by the effects of

  9. Plant community and white-tailed deer nutritional carrying capacity response to intercropping switchgrass in loblolly pine plantations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Greene, Ethan Jacob

    Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a cellulosic feedstock for alternative energy production that could grow well between planted pines (Pinus spp.). Southeastern planted pine occupies 15.8 million hectares and thus, switchgrass intercropping could affect biodiversity if broadly implemented. Therefore, I evaluated effects of intercropping switchgrass in loblolly pine (P. taeda L.) plantations on plant community diversity, plant biomass production, and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus Zimmerman) nutritional carrying capacity. In a randomized complete block design, I assigned three treatments (switchgrass intercropped, switchgrass monoculture, and a "control" of traditional pine management) to 4 replicates of 10-ha experimental units in Kemper County, Mississippi during 2014-2015. I detected 246 different plant species. Switchgrass intercropping reduced plant species richness and diversity but maintained evenness. I observed reduced forb and high-use deer forage biomass but only in intercropped alleys (interbeds). Soil micronutrient interactions affected forage protein of deer plants. White-tailed deer nutritional carrying capacity remained unaffected.

  10. Plant communities as drivers of soil respiration: pathways, mechanisms, and significance for global change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Metcalfe, D. B.; Fisher, R. A.; Wardle, D. A.

    2011-03-01

    Understanding the impacts of plant community characteristics on soil carbon dioxide efflux (R) is a key prerequisite for accurate prediction of the future carbon balance of terrestrial ecosystems under climate change. In this review, we synthesize relevant information from a wide spectrum of sources to evaluate the current state of knowledge about plant community effects on R, examine how this information is incorporated into global climate models, and highlight priorities for future research. Plant species consistently exhibit cohesive suites of traits, linked to contrasting life history strategies, which exert a variety of impacts on R. As such, we propose that plant community shifts towards dominance by fast growing plants with nutrient rich litter could provide a major, though often neglected, positive feedback to climate change. Within vegetation types, belowground carbon flux will mainly be controlled by photosynthesis, while amongst vegetation types this flux will be more dependent upon the specific characteristics of the plant life form. We also make the case that community composition, rather than diversity, is usually the dominant control on ecosystem processes in natural systems. Individual species impacts on R may be largest where the species accounts for most of the biomass in the ecosystem, has very distinct traits to the rest of the community, or modulates the occurrence of major natural disturbances. We show that climate-vegetation models incorporate a number of pathways whereby plants can affect R, but that simplifications regarding allocation schemes and drivers of litter decomposition may limit model accuracy. This situation could, however, be relatively easily improved with targeted experimental and field studies. Finally, we identify key gaps in knowledge and recommend them as priorities for future work. These include the patterns of photosynthate partitioning amongst belowground components, ecosystem level effects of individual plant traits

  11. The nature of spectral signatures in native arid plant communities

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Conn, J. S.; Foster, K. E.; Mcginnies, W. G.

    1976-01-01

    Radiometric data in ERTS bands 5 and 7 of spectral signature components were compared to the overall signatures obtained from an airborne radiometric data collection system flown at low altitude. Results indicate that due to the low density and low vigor of the vegetation, vegetation has little effect on the overall signature, thus making differentiation of desert plant communities on the basis of spectral signature extremely difficult.

  12. Wetland plant communities, Galveston Bay system. Final report

    SciTech Connect

    White, W.A.; Paine, J.G.

    1992-03-01

    The report is the culmination of a field investigation of wetland plant communities, and is one phase of the project, Trends and Status of Wetland and Aquatic Habitats of the Galveston Bay System, Texas, sponsored by the Galveston Bay National Estuary Program. For purpose of the topical report, wetlands are defined and classified in terms of more classical definitions, for example, salt, brackish, and fresh marshes, in accordance with project requirements. More than 150 sites were examined in the Galveston Bay system.

  13. Resource colimitation governs plant community responses to altered precipitation

    PubMed Central

    Eskelinen, Anu; Harrison, Susan P.

    2015-01-01

    Ecological theory and evidence suggest that plant community biomass and composition may often be jointly controlled by climatic water availability and soil nutrient supply. To the extent that such colimitation operates, alterations in water availability caused by climatic change may have relatively little effect on plant communities on nutrient-poor soils. We tested this prediction with a 5-y rainfall and nutrient manipulation in a semiarid annual grassland system with highly heterogeneous soil nutrient supplies. On nutrient-poor soils, rainfall addition alone had little impact, but rainfall and nutrient addition synergized to cause large increases in biomass, declines in diversity, and near-complete species turnover. Plant species with resource-conservative functional traits (low specific leaf area, short stature) were replaced by species with resource-acquisitive functional traits (high specific leaf area, tall stature). On nutrient-rich soils, in contrast, rainfall addition alone caused substantial increases in biomass, whereas fertilization had little effect. Our results highlight that multiple resource limitation is a critical aspect when predicting the relative vulnerability of natural communities to climatically induced compositional change and diversity loss. PMID:26438856

  14. Resource colimitation governs plant community responses to altered precipitation.

    PubMed

    Eskelinen, Anu; Harrison, Susan P

    2015-10-20

    Ecological theory and evidence suggest that plant community biomass and composition may often be jointly controlled by climatic water availability and soil nutrient supply. To the extent that such colimitation operates, alterations in water availability caused by climatic change may have relatively little effect on plant communities on nutrient-poor soils. We tested this prediction with a 5-y rainfall and nutrient manipulation in a semiarid annual grassland system with highly heterogeneous soil nutrient supplies. On nutrient-poor soils, rainfall addition alone had little impact, but rainfall and nutrient addition synergized to cause large increases in biomass, declines in diversity, and near-complete species turnover. Plant species with resource-conservative functional traits (low specific leaf area, short stature) were replaced by species with resource-acquisitive functional traits (high specific leaf area, tall stature). On nutrient-rich soils, in contrast, rainfall addition alone caused substantial increases in biomass, whereas fertilization had little effect. Our results highlight that multiple resource limitation is a critical aspect when predicting the relative vulnerability of natural communities to climatically induced compositional change and diversity loss. PMID:26438856

  15. STRESS ETHYLENE EVOLUTION: A MEASURE OF OZONE AFFECTS ON PLANTS

    EPA Science Inventory

    To determine if ethylene evolution by plants is correlated with the ozone stress, a range of plants species and cultivars was exposed to varying ozone concentrations. Following exposure, the plants were encapsulated in plastic bags and incubated for up to 22h. The stress-induced ...

  16. Feeding type affects microplastic ingestion in a coastal invertebrate community.

    PubMed

    Setälä, Outi; Norkko, Joanna; Lehtiniemi, Maiju

    2016-01-15

    Marine litter is one of the problems marine ecosystems face at present, coastal habitats and food webs being the most vulnerable as they are closest to the sources of litter. A range of animals (bivalves, free swimming crustaceans and benthic, deposit-feeding animals), of a coastal community of the northern Baltic Sea were exposed to relatively low concentrations of 10 μm microbeads. The experiment was carried out as a small scale mesocosm study to mimic natural habitat. The beads were ingested by all animals in all experimental concentrations (5, 50 and 250 beads mL(-1)). Bivalves (Mytilus trossulus, Macoma balthica) contained significantly higher amounts of beads compared with the other groups. Free-swimming crustaceans ingested more beads compared with the benthic animals that were feeding only on the sediment surface. Ingestion of the beads was concluded to be the result of particle concentration, feeding mode and the encounter rate in a patchy environment. PMID:26700887

  17. Incorporating the soil environment and microbial community into plant competition theory.

    PubMed

    Ke, Po-Ju; Miki, Takeshi

    2015-01-01

    Plants affect microbial communities and abiotic properties of nearby soils, which in turn influence plant growth and interspecific interaction, forming a plant-soil feedback (PSF). PSF is a key determinant influencing plant population dynamics, community structure, and ecosystem functions. Despite accumulating evidence for the importance of PSF and development of specific PSF models, different models are not yet fully integrated. Here, we review the theoretical progress in understanding PSF. When first proposed, PSF was integrated with various mathematical frameworks to discuss its influence on plant competition. Recent theoretical models have advanced PSF research at different levels of ecological organizations by considering multiple species, applying spatially explicit simulations to examine how local-scale predictions apply to larger scales, and assessing the effect of PSF on plant temporal dynamics over the course of succession. We then review two foundational models for microbial- and litter-mediated PSF. We present a theoretical framework to illustrate that although the two models are typically presented separately, their behavior can be understood together by invasibility analysis. We conclude with suggestions for future directions in PSF theoretical studies, which include specifically addressing microbial diversity to integrate litter- and microbial-mediated PSF, and apply PSF to general coexistence theory through a trait-based approach. PMID:26500621

  18. Incorporating the soil environment and microbial community into plant competition theory

    PubMed Central

    Ke, Po-Ju; Miki, Takeshi

    2015-01-01

    Plants affect microbial communities and abiotic properties of nearby soils, which in turn influence plant growth and interspecific interaction, forming a plant-soil feedback (PSF). PSF is a key determinant influencing plant population dynamics, community structure, and ecosystem functions. Despite accumulating evidence for the importance of PSF and development of specific PSF models, different models are not yet fully integrated. Here, we review the theoretical progress in understanding PSF. When first proposed, PSF was integrated with various mathematical frameworks to discuss its influence on plant competition. Recent theoretical models have advanced PSF research at different levels of ecological organizations by considering multiple species, applying spatially explicit simulations to examine how local-scale predictions apply to larger scales, and assessing the effect of PSF on plant temporal dynamics over the course of succession. We then review two foundational models for microbial- and litter-mediated PSF. We present a theoretical framework to illustrate that although the two models are typically presented separately, their behavior can be understood together by invasibility analysis. We conclude with suggestions for future directions in PSF theoretical studies, which include specifically addressing microbial diversity to integrate litter- and microbial-mediated PSF, and apply PSF to general coexistence theory through a trait-based approach. PMID:26500621

  19. Analysis of factors affecting the accuracy, reproducibility, and interpretation of microbial community carbon source utilization patterns

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Haack, S.K.; Garchow, H.; Klug, M.J.; Forney, L.J.

    1995-01-01

    We determined factors that affect responses of bacterial isolates and model bacterial communities to the 95 carbon substrates in Biolog microliter plates. For isolates and communities of three to six bacterial strains, substrate oxidation rates were typically nonlinear and were delayed by dilution of the inoculum. When inoculum density was controlled, patterns of positive and negative responses exhibited by microbial communities to each of the carbon sources were reproducible. Rates and extents of substrate oxidation by the communities were also reproducible but were not simply the sum of those exhibited by community members when tested separately. Replicates of the same model community clustered when analyzed by principal- components analysis (PCA), and model communities with different compositions were clearly separated un the first PCA axis, which accounted for >60% of the dataset variation. PCA discrimination among different model communities depended on the extent to which specific substrates were oxidized. However, the substrates interpreted by PCA to be most significant in distinguishing the communities changed with reading time, reflecting the nonlinearity of substrate oxidation rates. Although whole-community substrate utilization profiles were reproducible signatures for a given community, the extent of oxidation of specific substrates and the numbers or activities of microorganisms using those substrates in a given community were not correlated. Replicate soil samples varied significantly in the rate and extent of oxidation of seven tested substrates, suggesting microscale heterogeneity in composition of the soil microbial community.

  20. The Affects of Internet-Mediated Social Networking on Christian Community

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lighari, Joyce Ann Johannesen

    2013-01-01

    This study examined the relationship of Internet-Mediated Social Network, the formation of adult Christian community, and its affect on adult Christian growth. The researcher compared and analyzed three types of adult Christian learning communities: traditional, hybrid, and virtual. Each week over the course of six weeks, the three types of…

  1. Institutional Practices Affecting First-Year Hispanic Students at Two Texas Community Colleges

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Samuel, Karissa Robinson

    2013-01-01

    The purpose of this study was to identify current institutional practices at two Hispanic-serving community colleges that may have caused attrition and affected retention among first-year Hispanic students. The objective was to determine which programs and services have been most effective at the respective community college campuses in assisting…

  2. Changes in backwater plant communities from 1975 to 1995 in navigation pool 8, upper Mississippi River

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Tyser, R.W.; Rogers, S.J.; Owens, T.W.; Robinson, L.R.

    2001-01-01

    Water elevation in the Upper Mississippi River (UMR) is highly regulated by an extensive system of locks and dams. Completion of this system in the 1930s created productive, biologically diverse backwater habitats. The status of plant communities in these backwater areas may now be threatened by several factors, including sediment accumulation, recreational use, and navigation traffic. Aerial photography, taken in 1975 and from 1991 to 1995, was used to describe vegetation changes occurring in four UMR backwater areas of Navigation Pool 8. The objectives were to determine (1) if changes occurring in these areas are consistent with hydrarch succession, (2) if the diversity of their plant communities has declined since 1975, and (3) how a large flood event that occurred in 1993 affected the composition and diversity of plant communities in these areas. Three general cover classes were recognized, representing an aquatic to terrestrial gradient. Coverages of specific vegetation types were estimated and evaluated using two indices of community diversity (vegetation richness and the Shannon diversity index). Though some vegetation changes were consistent with expected successional patterns (e.g. increased terrestrialization), other changes were not (e.g. loss of marsh vegetation). Diversity indices and coverages of most aquatic macrophytes declined from 1975 to 1991/1992 but then increased following the 1993 flood. The results suggest that disturbance-diversity concepts, including the flood pulse model, are applicable to the vegetation dynamics of these systems. Published in 2001 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

  3. Arctic Late Cretaceous and Paleocene Plant Community Succession

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Herman, Alexei; Spicer, Robert; Daly, Robert; Jolley, David; Ahlberg, Anders; Moiseeva, Maria

    2010-05-01

    The Arctic abounds with Late Cretaceous and Paleocene plant fossils attesting to a thriving, diverse, but now extinct polar ecosystem that sequestered vast amounts of carbon. Through detailed examination of plant remains and their distributions in time and space with respect to their entombing sedimentary facies, it has been possible to reconstruct changes in Arctic vegetation composition and dynamics through the Late Cretaceous and into the Paleocene. Based on over 10,000 leaf remains, fossil wood and palynomorph assemblages from northeastern Russia and northern Alaska and palynological data from elsewhere in the Arctic we identify a number of successional plant communities (SPCs) representing seral development from early (pioneer), through middle to late SPCs and climax vegetation. We recognise that (1) Equisetites and some ferns (typically Birisia, but after the beginning of the Maastrichtian, Onoclea) were obligatory components of the early SPCs; (2) first rare angiosperms (e.g. the dicot Vitiphyllum multifidum) appeared in the middle SPCs of the Arctic in the Early - Middle Albian; (3) from late Albian times onwards angiosperms became abundant in the middle SPCs of the Arctic, but were still rare in the earlier and later SPCs; (4) monocots appeared in the Maastrichtian early SPCs; (5) all Arctic Cretaceous late SPCs (and climax vegetation) were dominated by conifers; (6) Arctic SPCs were more numerous and diverse under warm climates than cold; (7) during the Albian and late Cretaceous, advanced (Cenophytic, angiosperm-dominated) plant communities coexisted with those of a more relictual (Mesophytic, dominated by ferns and gymnosperms) aspect, and plants composing these communities did not mix; (8) coal-forming environments (mires) remained conifer, fern and bryophyte dominated throughout the late Cretaceous and Paleocene with little penetration of woody angiosperm components and thus are conservative and predominantly Mesophytic in character; (9) bryophytes

  4. The effects of vertebrate herbivory on plant community structure in the coastal marshes of the Pearl River, Louisiana, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Taylor, K.L.; Grace, J.B.

    1995-01-01

    In this study, we investigated the impacts of herbivory by the introduced aquatic herbivore, nutria (Myocastor coypus), on three marsh communities of the Pearl River using fenced exclosures and control plots. Although total community above-ground biomass was reduced by 30% in the plots exposed to herbivory as compared to those protected from herbivory, we found species richness to be unaffected. When individual species were examined within each community,Panicum virgatum andAster subulatus were found to be significantly reduced by herbivory in the freshwater community,Panicum virgatum andVigna luteola were significantly increased by herbivory in the oligohaline community, and no species were significantly affected in the mesohaline community. We conclude that this herbivory has some specific effects on some plant species as well as having a general community effect.

  5. Water Source Utilization of Hammock and Pine Rockland Plant Communities in the Everglades, USA.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Saha, A. K.; Sternberg, L.; Miralles-Wilhelm, F.

    2007-12-01

    South Florida has a mosaic of plant communities resulting from topographical differences, spatially varying hydroperiods and fire. The only plant communities not flooded in the wet season are hardwood hammocks and often pine rocklands. Natural fires burn off litter accumulated in pine rocklands, with the exception of organic matter in sinkholes in the limestone bedrock. This relative lack of soil is thought to constrain pineland plants in the Everglades to depend upon groundwater that is typically low in nutrients. In contrast, adjoining hardwood hammocks have accumulated an organic soil layer that traps rainwater and nutrients. Plants in hammocks may be able to utilize this water and thereby access nutrients present in the litter. Hammocks are thus viewed as localized areas of high nutrients and instances of vegetation feedback upon the oligotrophic everglades landscape enabling establishment and survival of flood-intolerant tropical hardwood species. This study examines water source use and couples it to foliar nutrient concentrations of plants found in hammocks and pinelands. We examined the δ2H and δ18O of stem waters in plants in Everglades National Park and compared those with the δ2H and δ18O of potential water sources. In the wet season hammock plants accessed both groundwater and water in the surface organic soil layer while in the dry season they relied more on groundwater. A similar seasonal shift was observed in pineland plants; however groundwater constituted a much higher proportion of total water uptake throughout the year under observation. Concomitant with differential water utilization by hammock and pineland plant communities, we observed hammock plants having a significantly higher annual mean foliar N and P concentration than pineland plants. Most hammock species are intolerant of flooded soils and are thus constrained by the high water table in the wet season, yet access the lowered groundwater table in the dry season due to drying up of

  6. Characterizing the Seasonal Dynamics of Plant Community Photosynthesis Across a Range of Vegetation Types

    SciTech Connect

    Gu, Lianhong; Post, Wilfred M; Baldocchi, Dennis; Black, Andy; Suyker, A.E.,; Verma, Shashi; Vesala, Timo; Wofsy, Steve

    2009-01-01

    found that while the growing season length affected how much carbon dioxide could be potentially assimilated by a plant community over the course of a growing season, other factors that affect canopy photosynthetic capacity (e.g. nutrients, water) could be more important at this time scale. These results and insights demonstrate that the proposed method of analysis and system of terminology can serve as a foundation for studying the dynamics of plant community photosynthesis and such studies can be fruitful.

  7. Affective imagery and acceptance of replacing nuclear power plants.

    PubMed

    Keller, Carmen; Visschers, Vivianne; Siegrist, Michael

    2012-03-01

    This study examined the relationship between the content of spontaneous associations with nuclear power plants and the acceptance of using new-generation nuclear power plants to replace old ones. The study also considered gender as a variable. A representative sample of the German- and French-speaking population of Switzerland (N= 1,221) was used. Log-linear models revealed significant two-way interactions between the association content and acceptance, association content and gender, and gender and acceptance. Correspondence analysis revealed that participants who were opposed to nuclear power plants mainly associated nuclear power plants with risk, negative feelings, accidents, radioactivity, waste disposal, military use, and negative consequences for health and environment; whereas participants favoring nuclear power plants mainly associated them with energy, appearance descriptions of nuclear power plants, and necessity. Thus, individuals opposing nuclear power plants had both more concrete and more diverse associations with them than people who were in favor of nuclear power plants. In addition, participants who were undecided often mentioned similar associations to those participants who were in favor. Males more often expressed associations with energy, waste disposal, and negative health effects. Females more often made associations with appearance descriptions, negative feelings, and negative environmental effects. The results further suggest that acceptance of replacing nuclear power plants was higher in the German-speaking part of the country, where all of the Swiss nuclear power plants are physically located. Practical implications for risk communication are discussed. PMID:21977961

  8. Factors affecting satisfaction among community-based hospice volunteer visitors.

    PubMed

    Chevrier, F; Steuer, R; MacKenzie, J

    1994-01-01

    Trained volunteers are an essential component in the delivery of care to clients and families facing a terminal and/or life-threatening illness. As the need for hospice care increases, so does the need to increase the number of volunteers available for visiting. Hospice of London, which is a community based hospice, proposed that volunteers who felt satisfied would remain with the organization longer, thereby, decreasing the costs associated with training new volunteers and enhancing the ability of the agency to provide high-quality volunteer client matches. Accordingly, a survey was conducted in August 1992 to determine which factors were related to hospice volunteer satisfaction. One hundred and five volunteer were surveyed over the telephone. Results demonstrated a positive correlation between satisfaction and feeling like a team member, receiving feedback from staff, feeling valuable and having the volunteer's expectations match the position. Differences in the factors related to satisfaction were noted when the groups were divided by age and gender. PMID:7893559

  9. Moderation is best: effects of grazing intensity on plant--flower visitor networks in Mediterranean communities.

    PubMed

    Lazaro, Amparo; Tscheulin, Thomas; Devalez, Jelle; Nakas, Georgios; Stefanaki, Anastasia; Hanlidou, Effie; Petanidou, Theodora

    2016-04-01

    The structure of pollination networks is an important indicator of ecosystem stability and functioning. Livestock grazing is a frequent land use practice that directly affects the abundance and diversity of flowers and pollinators and, therefore, may indirectly affect the structure of pollination networks. We studied how grazing intensity affected the structure of plant-flower visitor networks along a wide range of grazing intensities by sheep and goats, using data from 11 Mediterranean plant-flower visitor communities from Lesvos Island, Greece. We hypothesized that intermediate grazing might result in higher diversity as predicted by the Intermediate Disturbance Hypothesis, which could in turn confer more stability to the networks. Indeed, we found that networks at intermediate grazing intensities were larger, more generalized, more modular, and contained more diverse and even interactions. Despite general responses at the network level, the number of interactions and selectiveness of particular flower visitor and plant taxa in the networks responded differently to grazing intensity, presumably as a consequence of variation in the abundance of different taxa with grazing. Our results highlight the benefit of maintaining moderate levels of livestock grazing by sheep and goats to preserve the complexity and biodiversity of the rich Mediterranean communities, which have a long history of grazing by these domestic animals. PMID:27411251

  10. [Edge effect of the plant community structure on land-bridge islands in the Thousand Island Lake].

    PubMed

    Su, Xiao-Fei; Yuan, Jin-Feng; Hu, Guang; Xu, Gao-Fu; Yu, Ming-Jian

    2014-01-01

    The research was conducted on 29 land-bridge islands in the Thousand Island Lake (TIL), where long-term monitoring plots were set up during 2009-2010. The community attributes including species richness, Shannon index, plant mean height, plant mean diameter at breast height (DBH) and plant density along the edge-interior gradient from edge to interior forest were calculated to investigate the edge effect. The results showed that the species richness and Shannon index were affected through the whole gradient (larger than 50 m), while the range of edge effect was 20-30 m on mean plant height, and 10 m on plant density and mean DBH. Community attributes differed significantly among the edge gradients. The species richness and Shannon index peaked at the intermediate edge gradient. Plant density decreased and plant mean height increased along the edge to interior gradient. All five community attributes were significantly associated with the edge gradient, also different functional groups, evergreen or deciduous species, trees or shrubs, shade tolerant or shade intolerant species, were differentially influenced by the edge effect. It was demonstrated the influence of edge effect on the fragmented forest community varied with community attributes and functional groups. PMID:24765845

  11. The Effect of Nitrogen Deposition on Plant Performance and Community Structure: Is It Life Stage Specific?

    PubMed

    Tulloss, Elise M; Cadenasso, Mary L

    2016-01-01

    Nitrogen (N) deposition is a key global change factor that is increasing and affecting the structure and function of many ecosystems. To determine the influence of N deposition on specific systems, however, it is crucial to understand the temporal and spatial patterns of deposition as well as the response to that deposition. Response of the receiving plant communities may depend on the life stage-specific performance of individual species. We focus on the California oak savanna because N deposition to this system is complex-characterized by hotspots on the landscape and seasonal pulses. In a greenhouse experiment, we investigated the relative influence of N deposition on plant performance during early growth, peak biomass, and senescent life stages across different soil types, light, and community compositions. To represent the community we used three grass species-a native, naturalized exotic, and invasive exotic. At early growth and peak biomass stages performance was measured as height, and shoot and root biomass, and at the senescent stage as seed production. Simulated N deposition 1) increased shoot biomass and height of the native and, even more so, the naturalized exotic during early growth, 2) positively affected root biomass in all species during peak biomass, and 3) had no influence on seed production at the senescent stage. Alone, N deposition was not a strong driver of plant performance; however, small differences in performance among species in response to N deposition could affect community composition in future years. In particular, if there is a pulse of N deposition during the early growth stage, the naturalized exotic may have a competitive advantage that could result in its spread. Including spatial and temporal heterogeneity in a complex, manipulative experiment provides a clearer picture of not only where N management efforts should be targeted on the landscape, but also when. PMID:27253718

  12. The Effect of Nitrogen Deposition on Plant Performance and Community Structure: Is It Life Stage Specific?

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    Nitrogen (N) deposition is a key global change factor that is increasing and affecting the structure and function of many ecosystems. To determine the influence of N deposition on specific systems, however, it is crucial to understand the temporal and spatial patterns of deposition as well as the response to that deposition. Response of the receiving plant communities may depend on the life stage-specific performance of individual species. We focus on the California oak savanna because N deposition to this system is complex—characterized by hotspots on the landscape and seasonal pulses. In a greenhouse experiment, we investigated the relative influence of N deposition on plant performance during early growth, peak biomass, and senescent life stages across different soil types, light, and community compositions. To represent the community we used three grass species—a native, naturalized exotic, and invasive exotic. At early growth and peak biomass stages performance was measured as height, and shoot and root biomass, and at the senescent stage as seed production. Simulated N deposition 1) increased shoot biomass and height of the native and, even more so, the naturalized exotic during early growth, 2) positively affected root biomass in all species during peak biomass, and 3) had no influence on seed production at the senescent stage. Alone, N deposition was not a strong driver of plant performance; however, small differences in performance among species in response to N deposition could affect community composition in future years. In particular, if there is a pulse of N deposition during the early growth stage, the naturalized exotic may have a competitive advantage that could result in its spread. Including spatial and temporal heterogeneity in a complex, manipulative experiment provides a clearer picture of not only where N management efforts should be targeted on the landscape, but also when. PMID:27253718

  13. Soil biochar amendment in a nature restoration area: effects on plant productivity and community composition.

    PubMed

    van de Voorde, Tess F J; Bezemer, T Martijn; Van Groenigen, Jan Willem; Jeffery, Simon; Mommer, Liesje

    2014-07-01

    Biochar (pyrolyzed biomass) amendment to soils has been shown to have a multitude of positive effects, e.g., on crop yield, soil quality, nutrient cycling, and carbon sequestration. So far the majority of studies have focused on agricultural systems, typically with relatively low species diversity and annual cropping schemes. How biochar amendment affects plant communities in more complex and diverse ecosystems that can evolve over time is largely unknown. We investigated such effects in a field experiment at a Dutch nature restoration area. In April 2011, we set up an experiment using biochar produced from cuttings collected from a local natural grassland. The material was pyrolyzed at 400 degrees C or at 600 degrees C. After biochar or residue (non-pyrolyzed cuttings) application (10 Mg/ha), all plots, including control (0 Mg/ ha) plots, were sown with an 18-species grassland mixture. In August 2011, we determined characteristics of the developed plant community, as well as soil nutrient status. Biochar amendment did not alter total plant productivity, but it had a strong and significant effect on plant community composition. Legumes were three times as abundant and individual legume plants increased four times in biomass in plots that received biochar as compared to the control treatment. Biomass of the most abundant forb (Plantago lanceolata) was not affected by biochar addition. Available phosphorous, potassium, and pH were significantly higher in soils that received biochar than in Control soils. The rate of biological nitrogen fixation and seed germination were not altered by biochar amendment, but the total amount of biological N fixed per Trifolium pratense (red clover) plant was more than four times greater in biochar-amended soil. This study demonstrates that biochar amendment has a strong and rapid effect on plant communities and soil nutrients. Over time these changes may cascade up to other trophic groups, including above- and belowground organisms

  14. Soil microbial community variation correlates most strongly with plant species identity, followed by soil chemistry, spatial location and plant genus

    PubMed Central

    Burns, Jean H.; Anacker, Brian L.; Strauss, Sharon Y.; Burke, David J.

    2015-01-01

    Soil ecologists have debated the relative importance of dispersal limitation and ecological factors in determining the structure of soil microbial communities. Recent evidence suggests that ‘everything is not everywhere’, and that microbial communities are influenced by both dispersal limitation and ecological factors. However, we still do not understand the relative explanatory power of spatial and ecological factors, including plant species identity and even plant relatedness, for different fractions of the soil microbial community (i.e. bacterial and fungal communities). To ask whether factors such as plant species, soil chemistry, spatial location and plant relatedness influence rhizosphere community composition, we examined field-collected rhizosphere soil of seven congener pairs that occur at Bodega Bay Marine Reserve, CA, USA. We characterized differences in bacterial and fungal communities using terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphism. Plant species identity was the single best statistical predictor of both bacterial and fungal community composition in the root zone. Soil microbial community structure was also correlated with soil chemistry. The third best predictor of bacterial and fungal communities was spatial location, confirming that everything is not everywhere. Variation in microbial community composition was also related to combinations of spatial location, soil chemistry and plant relatedness, suggesting that these factors do not act independently. Plant relatedness explained less of the variation than plant species, soil chemistry, or spatial location. Despite some congeners occupying different habitats and being spatially distant, rhizosphere fungal communities of plant congeners were more similar than expected by chance. Bacterial communities from the same samples were only weakly similar between plant congeners. Thus, plant relatedness might influence soil fungal, more than soil bacterial, community composition. PMID:25818073

  15. Hemiparasitic plant impacts animal and plant communities across four trophic levels.

    PubMed

    Hartley, S E; Green, P; Massey, F P; Press, M C P; Stewart, J A; John, E A

    2015-09-01

    Understanding the impact of species on community structure is a fundamental question in ecology. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that both subdominant species and parasites can have disproportionately large effects on other organisms. Here we report those impacts for a species that is both subdominant and parasitic, the hemiparasite Rhinanthus minor. While the impact of parasitic angiosperms on their hosts and, to a lesser degree, coexisting plant species, has been well characterized, much less is known about their effects on higher trophic levels: We experimentally manipulated field densities of the hemiparasite Rhinanthus minor in a species-rich grassland, comparing the plant and invertebrate communities in plots where it was removed, present at natural densities, or present at enhanced densities. Plots with natural and enhanced densities of R. minor had lower plant biomass than plots without the hemiparasite, but enhanced densities almost doubled the abundance of invertebrates within the plots across all trophic levels, with effects evident in herbivores, predators, and detritivores. The hemiparasite R. minor, despite being a subdominant and transient component within plant communities that it inhabits, has profound effects on four different trophic levels. These effects persist beyond the life of the hemiparasite, emphasizing its role as a keystone species in grassland communities. PMID:26594698

  16. ELEVATED CO2 AND PLANT PLANT SPECIES RICHNESS IMPACT ARBUSCULAR MYCORRHIZAL FUNGAL SPORE COMMUNITIES

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    We enumerated arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal spore communities for three years as part of a long-term Free-Air CO2 Enrichment experiment (BioCON) at Cedar Creek, Minnesota, USA. Complete factorial combinations of two levels of CO2 and N, and sixteen perennial plant species grown in monoculture and si...

  17. Effects of contaminated dredge spoils on wetland plant communities: A literature review

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stewart, Paul M.; Garza, Eric L.; Butcher, Jason T.

    2003-01-01

    Contaminated dredge spoil is a national concern due to its scope and effects on biota, water quality, and the physical environment. This literature review discusses the effects of contaminated dredge spoils on wetland plant communities. Plant communities naturally shift over time with changing environmental conditions. Addition of toxins and nutrients and changes in hydrology may influence plant community structure. The storage and disposal of nutrient and metal contaminated dredge spoils may cause shifts in nearby plant communities. Shifts in species composition and diversity may not be observed for decades after nutrient enrichment, causing any disturbance to remain undetected. Plant community shifts often have great amounts of inertia and are difficult to reverse.

  18. Belowground Water Dynamics Under Contrasting Annual and Perennial Plant Communities in an Agriculturally-Dominated Landscape

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mora, G.; Asbjornsen, H.; Helmers, M. J.; Shepherd, G. W.

    2005-12-01

    The conversion from grasslands and forests to row-crops in the Midwest has affected soil water cycling because plant characteristics are one of the main parameters determining soil storage capacity, infiltration rates, and surface runoff. Little is known, however, about the extent of modification of soil water dynamics under different plant communities. To address this important issue, we are documenting soil water dynamics under contrasting perennial and annual plant communities in an agriculturally-dominated landscape. Measurements of soil moisture and depths of uptake of source water were obtained for six vegetative cover types (corn and soybean field, brome pasture, degraded savanna, restored savanna, and restored prairie) at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge in Prairie City, Iowa. The depths of uptake of soil water were determined on the basis of oxygen isotope composition of soil water and stem water. Measurements were performed once a month during an entire growing season. Preliminary results indicate that soil water present under the different vegetation types show similar profiles with depth during the dry months. Soil water in the upper 5 cm is enriched in oxygen-18 by about 5 per mil relative to soil water at 100 cm. Our preliminary results also indicate that the isotopic composition of stem water from annual plants is typically higher by about 2 per mil relative to that of stem water from perennial plants during the dry period. Whereas the oxygen isotopic composition for corn stem water is -5.49 per mil, that for elm and oak stem water is -7.62 and -7.51 per mil, respectively. The higher isotope values for corn suggest that annual crop plants are withdrawing water from shallower soil horizons relative to perennial plants. Moreover, our preliminary data suggest lower moisture content in soil under annual plant cover. We propose that the presence of deeper roots in the perennial vegetation allows these plants to tap into deeper water sources when

  19. Receding water line and interspecific competition determines plant community composition and diversity in wetlands in Beijing.

    PubMed

    Wang, Zhengjun; Gong, Huili; Zhang, Jing

    2015-01-01

    Climate and human-induced wetland degradation has accelerated in recent years, not only resulting in reduced ecosystem services but also greatly affecting the composition and diversity of wetland plant communities. To date, the knowledge of the differences in community parameters and their successional trends in degraded wetlands remains scarce. Here based on remote sensing images, geographic information system technology, and statistical methods, we produced a successional gradient map of the Yeyahu Wetland Nature Reserve in Beijing, which has experienced a steady decline in water level in recent decades. In addition, we analyzed community composition and diversity along with each identified gradient. The results showed that community diversity decreases while dominance increases with the progress of succession, with the highest diversity occurring during the early stage of succession. Moreover, the community demonstrates greater similarity among subareas during later successional stages, and the similarity coefficients calculated from the important value (IV) of each species are more accurate. Correlation analysis showed that the impact of soil factors on diversity was not significant at a subarea scale, although these nutrients showed an increasing trend with the community succession. Furthermore, the IVs of the dominant species had a particularly significant impact on diversity, showing a significantly negative correlation with diversity indices and a significantly positive correlation with dominance indices. Further analysis showed that the retreat of water level resulted from sustained drought and local human activities was a major extrinsic driving force resulting in observed differences in the community successional stages, which resulted in differences in community composition and diversity. On the other hand, interspecific competition was the main intrinsic mechanism, which significantly influenced the IVs of the dominant species and community diversity

  20. Receding Water Line and Interspecific Competition Determines Plant Community Composition and Diversity in Wetlands in Beijing

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Zhengjun; Gong, Huili; Zhang, Jing

    2015-01-01

    Climate and human-induced wetland degradation has accelerated in recent years, not only resulting in reduced ecosystem services but also greatly affecting the composition and diversity of wetland plant communities. To date, the knowledge of the differences in community parameters and their successional trends in degraded wetlands remains scarce. Here based on remote sensing images, geographic information system technology, and statistical methods, we produced a successional gradient map of the Yeyahu Wetland Nature Reserve in Beijing, which has experienced a steady decline in water level in recent decades. In addition, we analyzed community composition and diversity along with each identified gradient. The results showed that community diversity decreases while dominance increases with the progress of succession, with the highest diversity occurring during the early stage of succession. Moreover, the community demonstrates greater similarity among subareas during later successional stages, and the similarity coefficients calculated from the important value (IV) of each species are more accurate. Correlation analysis showed that the impact of soil factors on diversity was not significant at a subarea scale, although these nutrients showed an increasing trend with the community succession. Furthermore, the IVs of the dominant species had a particularly significant impact on diversity, showing a significantly negative correlation with diversity indices and a significantly positive correlation with dominance indices. Further analysis showed that the retreat of water level resulted from sustained drought and local human activities was a major extrinsic driving force resulting in observed differences in the community successional stages, which resulted in differences in community composition and diversity. On the other hand, interspecific competition was the main intrinsic mechanism, which significantly influenced the IVs of the dominant species and community diversity

  1. Nutrient enrichment affects the mechanical resistance of aquatic plants.

    PubMed

    Lamberti-Raverot, Barbara; Puijalon, Sara

    2012-10-01

    For many plant species, nutrient availability induces important anatomical responses, particularly the production of low-density tissues to the detriment of supporting tissues. Due to the contrasting biomechanical properties of plant tissues, these anatomical responses may induce important modifications in the biomechanical properties of plant organs. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of nutrient enrichment on the anatomical traits of two freshwater plant species and its consequences on plant biomechanical performance. Two plant species were grown under controlled conditions in low versus high nutrient levels. The anatomical and biomechanical traits of the plant stems were measured. Both species produced tissues with lower densities under nutrient-rich conditions, accompanied by modifications in the structure of the aerenchyma for one species. As expected, nutrient enrichment also led to important modifications in the biomechanical properties of the stem for both species. In particular, mechanical resistance (breaking force and strength) and stiffness of stems were significantly reduced under nutrient rich conditions. The production of weaker stem tissues as a result of nutrient enrichment may increase the risk of plants to mechanical failure, thus challenging plant maintenance in mechanically stressful or disturbed habitats. PMID:23028018

  2. Composition of fungal soil communities varies with plant abundance and geographic origin

    PubMed Central

    Reininger, Vanessa; Martinez-Garcia, Laura B.; Sanderson, Laura; Antunes, Pedro M.

    2015-01-01

    Interactions of belowground fungal communities with exotic and native plant species may be important drivers of plant community structure in invaded grasslands. However, field surveys linking plant community structure with belowground fungal communities are missing. We investigated whether a selected number of abundant and relatively rare plants, either native or exotic, from an old-field site associate with different fungal communities. We also assessed whether these plants showed different symbiotic relationships with soil biota through their roots. We characterized the plant community and collected roots to investigate fungal communities using 454 pyrosequencing and assessed arbuscular mycorrhizal colonization and enemy-induced lesions. Differences in fungal communities were considered based on the assessment of α- and β diversity depending on plant ‘abundance’ and ‘origin’. Plant abundance and origin determined the fungal community. Fungal richness was higher for native abundant as opposed to relatively rare native plant species. However, this was not observed for exotics of contrasting abundance. Regardless of their origin, β diversity was higher for rare than for abundant species. Abundant exotics in the community, which happen to be grasses, were the least mycorrhizal whereas rare natives were most susceptible to enemy attack. Our results suggest that compared with exotics, the relative abundance of remnant native plant species in our old-field site is still linked to the structure of belowground fungal communities. In contrast, exotic species may act as a disturbing agent contributing towards the homogenization of soil fungal communities, potentially changing feedback interactions. PMID:26371291

  3. Composition of fungal soil communities varies with plant abundance and geographic origin.

    PubMed

    Reininger, Vanessa; Martinez-Garcia, Laura B; Sanderson, Laura; Antunes, Pedro M

    2015-01-01

    Interactions of belowground fungal communities with exotic and native plant species may be important drivers of plant community structure in invaded grasslands. However, field surveys linking plant community structure with belowground fungal communities are missing. We investigated whether a selected number of abundant and relatively rare plants, either native or exotic, from an old-field site associate with different fungal communities. We also assessed whether these plants showed different symbiotic relationships with soil biota through their roots. We characterized the plant community and collected roots to investigate fungal communities using 454 pyrosequencing and assessed arbuscular mycorrhizal colonization and enemy-induced lesions. Differences in fungal communities were considered based on the assessment of α- and β diversity depending on plant 'abundance' and 'origin'. Plant abundance and origin determined the fungal community. Fungal richness was higher for native abundant as opposed to relatively rare native plant species. However, this was not observed for exotics of contrasting abundance. Regardless of their origin, β diversity was higher for rare than for abundant species. Abundant exotics in the community, which happen to be grasses, were the least mycorrhizal whereas rare natives were most susceptible to enemy attack. Our results suggest that compared with exotics, the relative abundance of remnant native plant species in our old-field site is still linked to the structure of belowground fungal communities. In contrast, exotic species may act as a disturbing agent contributing towards the homogenization of soil fungal communities, potentially changing feedback interactions. PMID:26371291

  4. Influence of Weather Variables and Plant Communities on Grasshopper Density in the Southern Pampas, Argentina

    PubMed Central

    de Wysiecki, María Laura; Arturi, Marcelo; Torrusio, Sandra; Cigliano, María Marta

    2011-01-01

    A study was conducted to evaluate the influence of weather (precipitation and temperature) and plant communities on grasshopper density over a 14-year period (1996–2009) in Benito Juárez County, Southern Pampas, Argentina. Total density strongly varied among plant communities. Highest values were registered in 2001 and 2003 in highly disturbed pastures and in 2002 and 2009 in halophilous grasslands. Native grasslands had the lowest density values. Seasonal precipitation and temperature had no significant effect on total grasshopper density. Dichroplus elongatus (Giglio-Tos) (Orthoptera: Acridoidea), Covasacris pallidinota (Bruner), Dichroplus pratensis Bruner, Scotussa lemniscata Stål, Borellia bruneri (Rehn) and Dichroplus maculipennis (Blanchard) comprised, on average, 64% of the grasshopper assemblages during low density years and 79% during high density years. Dichroplus elongatus, S. lemniscata and C. pallidinota were the most abundant species in 2001, 2002 and 2003, while D. elongatus, B. brunneri and C. pallidinota in 2009. Dichroplus elongatus and D. pratensis, mixed feeders species, were positively affected by summer rainfall. This suggests that the increase in summer precipitation had a positive effect on the quantity and quality forage production, affecting these grasshopper populations. Scotussa lemniscata and C. pallidinota were negatively affected by winter and fall temperature, possibly affecting the embryonic development before diapause and hatching. Dichroplus elongatus and D. pratensis were associated with highly disturbed pastures, S. lemniscata with pastures and B. bruneri and D. maculipennis with halophilous grasslands. Covasacris pallidinota was closely associated with halophilous grasslands and moderately disturbed pastures. Weather conditions changed over the years, with 2001, 2002 and 2003 having excessive rainfall while 2008 and 2009 were the driest years since the study started. We suggest that although seasonal precipitation and

  5. Abandoned floodplain plant communities along a regulated dryland river

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Reynolds, L. V.; Shafroth, Patrick B.; House, P. K.

    2014-01-01

    Rivers and their floodplains worldwide have changed dramatically over the last century because of regulation by dams, flow diversions and channel stabilization. Floodplains no longer inundated by river flows following dam-induced flood reduction comprise large areas of bottomland habitat, but the effects of abandonment on plant communities are not well understood. Using a hydraulic flow model, geomorphic mapping and field surveys, we addressed the following questions along the Bill Williams River, Arizona: (i) What per cent of the bottomland do abandoned floodplains comprise? and (ii) Are abandoned floodplains quantitatively different from adjacent xeric and riparian surfaces in terms of vegetation composition and surface sediment? We found that nearly 70% of active channel and floodplain area was abandoned following dam installation. Abandoned floodplains along the Bill Williams River tend to be similar to each other yet distinct from neighbouring habitats: they have been altered physically from their historic state, leading to distinct combinations of surface sediments, hydrology and plant communities. Abandoned floodplains may transition to xeric communities over time but are likely to retain some riparian qualities as long as there is access to relatively shallow ground water. With expected increases in water demand and drying climatic conditions in many regions, these surfaces and associated vegetation will continue to be extensive in riparian landscapes worldwide

  6. A solar thermal electric power plant for small communities

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Holl, R. J.

    1979-01-01

    A solar power plant has been designed with a rating of 1000-kW electric and a 0.4 annual capacity factor. It was configured as a prototype for plants in the 1000 to 10,000-kWe size range for application to small communities or industrial users either grid-connected or isolated from a utility grid. A small central receiver was selected for solar energy collection after being compared with alternative distributed collectors. Further trade studies resulted in the selection of Hitec (heat transfer salt composed of 53 percent KNO3, 40 percent NaNO2, 7 percent NaNO3) as both the receiver coolant and the sensible heat thermal stroage medium and the steam Rankine cycle for power conversion. The plant is configured with road-transportable units to accommodate remote sites and minimize site assembly requirements. Results of the analyses indicate that busbar energy costs are competitive with diesel-electric plants in certain situations, e.g., off-grid, remote regions with high insolation. Sensitivity of energy costs to plant power rating and system capacity factor are given.

  7. Convergence in mycorrhizal fungal communities due to drought, plant competition, parasitism, and susceptibility to herbivory: consequences for fungi and host plants.

    PubMed

    Gehring, Catherine A; Mueller, Rebecca C; Haskins, Kristin E; Rubow, Tine K; Whitham, Thomas G

    2014-01-01

    Plants and mycorrhizal fungi influence each other's abundance, diversity, and distribution. How other biotic interactions affect the mycorrhizal symbiosis is less well understood. Likewise, we know little about the effects of climate change on the fungal component of the symbiosis or its function. We synthesized our long-term studies on the influence of plant parasites, insect herbivores, competing trees, and drought on the ectomycorrhizal fungal communities associated with a foundation tree species of the southwestern United States, pinyon pine (Pinus edulis), and described how these changes feed back to affect host plant performance. We found that drought and all three of the biotic interactions studied resulted in similar shifts in ectomycorrhizal fungal community composition, demonstrating a convergence of the community towards dominance by a few closely related fungal taxa. Ectomycorrhizal fungi responded similarly to each of these stressors resulting in a predictable trajectory of community disassembly, consistent with ecological theory. Although we predicted that the fungal communities associated with trees stressed by drought, herbivory, competition, and parasitism would be poor mutualists, we found the opposite pattern in field studies. Our results suggest that climate change and the increased importance of herbivores, competitors, and parasites that can be associated with it, may ultimately lead to reductions in ectomycorrhizal fungal diversity, but that the remaining fungal community may be beneficial to host trees under the current climate and the warmer, drier climate predicted for the future. PMID:25009537

  8. Convergence in mycorrhizal fungal communities due to drought, plant competition, parasitism, and susceptibility to herbivory: consequences for fungi and host plants

    PubMed Central

    Gehring, Catherine A.; Mueller, Rebecca C.; Haskins, Kristin E.; Rubow, Tine K.; Whitham, Thomas G.

    2014-01-01

    Plants and mycorrhizal fungi influence each other’s abundance, diversity, and distribution. How other biotic interactions affect the mycorrhizal symbiosis is less well understood. Likewise, we know little about the effects of climate change on the fungal component of the symbiosis or its function. We synthesized our long-term studies on the influence of plant parasites, insect herbivores, competing trees, and drought on the ectomycorrhizal fungal communities associated with a foundation tree species of the southwestern United States, pinyon pine (Pinus edulis), and described how these changes feed back to affect host plant performance. We found that drought and all three of the biotic interactions studied resulted in similar shifts in ectomycorrhizal fungal community composition, demonstrating a convergence of the community towards dominance by a few closely related fungal taxa. Ectomycorrhizal fungi responded similarly to each of these stressors resulting in a predictable trajectory of community disassembly, consistent with ecological theory. Although we predicted that the fungal communities associated with trees stressed by drought, herbivory, competition, and parasitism would be poor mutualists, we found the opposite pattern in field studies. Our results suggest that climate change and the increased importance of herbivores, competitors, and parasites that can be associated with it, may ultimately lead to reductions in ectomycorrhizal fungal diversity, but that the remaining fungal community may be beneficial to host trees under the current climate and the warmer, drier climate predicted for the future. PMID:25009537

  9. Disturbance alters the phylogenetic composition and structure of plant communities in an old field system.

    PubMed

    Dinnage, Russell

    2009-01-01

    The changes in phylogenetic composition and structure of communities during succession following disturbance can give us insights into the forces that are shaping communities over time. In abandoned agricultural fields, community composition changes rapidly when a field is plowed, and is thought to reflect a relaxation of competition due to the elimination of dominant species which take time to re-establish. Competition can drive phylogenetic overdispersion, due to phylogenetic conservation of 'niche' traits that allow species to partition resources. Therefore, undisturbed old field communities should exhibit higher phylogenetic dispersion than recently disturbed systems, which should be relatively 'clustered' with respect to phylogenetic relationships. Several measures of phylogenetic structure between plant communities were measured in recently plowed areas and nearby 'undisturbed' sites. There was no difference in the absolute values of these measures between disturbed and 'undisturbed' sites. However, there was a difference in the 'expected' phylogenetic structure between habitats, leading to significantly lower than expected phylogenetic diversity in disturbed plots, and no difference from random expectation in 'undisturbed' plots. This suggests that plant species characteristic of each habitat are fairly evenly distributed on the shared species pool phylogeny, but that once the initial sorting of species into the two habitat types has occurred, the processes operating on them affect each habitat differently. These results were consistent with an analysis of correlation between phylogenetic distance and co-occurrence indices of species pairs in the two habitat types. This study supports the notion that disturbed plots are more clustered than expected, rather than 'undisturbed' plots being more overdispersed, suggesting that disturbed plant communities are being more strongly influenced by environmental filtering of conserved niche traits. PMID:19763265

  10. Key players of methane dynamics in alpine fens: interaction of vascular plants and microbial communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cheema, S.; Zeyer, J. A.; Henneberger, R.

    2014-12-01

    Natural wetlands are important emitters of the potent greenhouse gas methane (CH4), contributing an estimated 26 - 42% to the global emissions. In these habitats CH4 is generated by methanogenic archaea mediating the terminal steps of organic matter degradation under anoxic conditions. The produced CH4 is partly oxidized by methanotrophic bacteria in oxic zones, thereby mitigating CH4 release. Various factors can influence CH4 emissions from wetlands, including the presence of vascular plants, as their aerenchyma can serve as conduits for CH4 release to the atmosphere. In the present study, we investigated the CH4 dynamics in two Swiss alpine fens (1900 - 2300 m a.s.l), and sampling locations within these fens were characterized by distinct dominant vascular plants, namely Carex spp. and Eriophorum spp.. Analyses of the microbial communities present in the fen soils were complemented by in situ measurements of CH4 emissions and analyses of physico-chemical pore water properties. Methane emissions and pore water concentrations varied depending on fen and dominating plant species, with generally higher CH4 emissions observed from the Carex dominated locations. Active methanotrophic and methanogenic microorganisms (transcripts of specific marker genes) were detected at different depths, independent of O2 and CH4 pore water concentrations. The expected separation of oxic methanotrophic and anoxic methanogenic zones was not observed. Yet, composition analyses of the different communities showed a clear clustering according to fen and dominating plant species. Within each location, variation of composition with depth was only observed for the methanogenic communities. Detailed profiling of CH4 emissions with respect to changes in light and temperature is currently being carried out. Our results represent a comprehensive in situ study on factors affecting CH4 emissions from alpine fens, highlighting the influence of vascular plants on the microbial communities involved.

  11. Plant community and soil chemistry responses to long-term nitrogen inputs drive changes in alpine bacterial communities.

    PubMed

    Yuan, Xia; Knelman, Joseph E; Gasarch, Eve; Wang, Deli; Nemergut, Diana R; Seastedt, Timothy R

    2016-06-01

    Bacterial community composition and diversity was studied in alpine tundra soils across a plant species and moisture gradient in 20 y-old experimental plots with four nutrient addition regimes (control, nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) or both nutrients). Different bacterial communities inhabited different alpine meadows, reflecting differences in moisture, nutrients and plant species. Bacterial community alpha-diversity metrics were strongly correlated with plant richness and the production of forbs. After meadow type, N addition proved the strongest determinant of bacterial community structure. Structural Equation Modeling demonstrated that tundra bacterial community responses to N addition occur via changes in plant community composition and soil pH resulting from N inputs, thus disentangling the influence of direct (resource availability) vs. indirect (changes in plant community structure and soil pH) N effects that have remained unexplored in past work examining bacterial responses to long-term N inputs in these vulnerable environments. Across meadow types, the relative influence of these indirect N effects on bacterial community structure varied. In explicitly evaluating the relative importance of direct and indirect effects of long-term N addition on bacterial communities, this study provides new mechanistic understandings of the interaction between plant and microbial community responses to N inputs amidst environmental change. PMID:27459784

  12. Factors Affecting Location Decisions of Food Processing Plants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Turhan, Sule; Canan Ozbag, Basak; Cetin, Bahattin

    The main aim of this study is to examine the determinants of location choices for food processing plants using the results of 59 personal surveys. The 61.3% of the food processing plants that were interviewed are small scale plants, 9.1% are large scale plants and 29.6% are medium scale plants. Sixteen of the firms process vegetables, 12 process poultry, 12 process dairy and 9 process seafood products. Business climate factors are divided into six categories (market, infrastructure, raw material, labor, personal and environmental) and 17 specific location factors are considered. The survey responses are analyzed by types of raw materials processed and by plant size. 43.7, 55.3 and 42.2% of the respondents cited categories of Market, Raw Material and Infrastructure respectively as important, while 44.3, 50.7 and 74.4% of the respondents cited, labor, personal and environmental regulation categories of as not important. Thus survey findings indicate that plant location choices are mainly driven by market, raw material and infra structural factors. Environmental factors such as environmental regulations and permissions are relatively insignificant.

  13. Shrub communities as inhibitors of plant succession in southern Quebec

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meilleur, Alain; Véronneau, Hélène; Bouchard, André

    1994-11-01

    The purpose of our research was to identify shrub species growing in southern Quebec that inhibit ecological succession in power-line corridors. Results are presented in three parts. First, clonal characteristics that allowed the establishment of stable communities were identified. Second, successional vector analysis identified those species that have the potential to inhibit succession. In poorly drained sites those species were Cornus stolonifera, C. obliqua, Salix petiolaris, and Spiraea alba. In well-drained sites, those species were Zanthoxylum americanum, Rubus idaeus, Spiraea alba, Rhus typhina, and Thuja occidentalis. Third, analysis of variance showed that there is a significantly larger number of tree seedlings found in adjacent herbaceous communities than found under the dense cover of Cornus stolonifera, C. obliqua, Salix petiolaris, Spiraea alba, Rhus typhina, Rubus idaeus, Thuya occidentalis, and Zanthoxylum americanum. These results indicate that the planting of selected shrub species could, through biological control, delay reforestation.

  14. Factors affecting plant growth in membrane nutrient delivery

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dreschel, T. W.; Wheeler, R. M.; Sager, J. C.; Knott, W. M.

    1990-01-01

    The development of the tubular membrane plant growth unit for the delivery of water and nutrients to roots in microgravity has recently focused on measuring the effects of changes in physical variables controlling solution availability to the plants. Significant effects of membrane pore size and the negative pressure used to contain the solution were demonstrated. Generally, wheat grew better in units with a larger pore size but equal negative pressure and in units with the same pore size but less negative pressure. Lettuce also exhibited better plant growth at less negative pressure.

  15. Above-Belowground Herbivore Interactions in Mixed Plant Communities Are Influenced by Altered Precipitation Patterns.

    PubMed

    Ryalls, James M W; Moore, Ben D; Riegler, Markus; Johnson, Scott N

    2016-01-01

    Root- and shoot-feeding herbivores have the capacity to influence one another by modifying the chemistry of the shared host plant. This can alter rates of nutrient mineralization and uptake by neighboring plants and influence plant-plant competition, particularly in mixtures combining grasses and legumes. Root herbivory-induced exudation of nitrogen (N) from legume roots, for example, may increase N acquisition by co-occurring grasses, with knock-on effects on grassland community composition. Little is known about how climate change may affect these interactions, but an important and timely question is how will grass-legume mixtures respond in a future with an increasing reliance on legume N mineralization in terrestrial ecosystems. Using a model grass-legume mixture, this study investigated how simultaneous attack on lucerne (Medicago sativa) by belowground weevils (Sitona discoideus) and aboveground aphids (Acyrthosiphon pisum) affected a neighboring grass (Phalaris aquatica) when subjected to drought, ambient, and elevated precipitation. Feeding on rhizobial nodules by weevil larvae enhanced soil water retention under ambient and elevated precipitation, but only when aphids were absent. While drought decreased nodulation and root N content in lucerne, grass root and shoot chemistry were unaffected by changes in precipitation. However, plant communities containing weevils but not aphids showed increased grass height and N concentrations, most likely associated with the transfer of N from weevil-attacked lucerne plants containing more nodules and higher root N concentrations compared with insect-free plants. Drought decreased aphid abundance by 54% but increased total and some specific amino acid concentrations (glycine, lysine, methionine, tyrosine, cysteine, histidine, arginine, aspartate, and glutamate), suggesting that aphid declines were being driven by other facets of drought (e.g., reduced phloem hydraulics). The presence of weevil larvae belowground

  16. Recovery dynamics and invasibility of herbaceous plant communities after exposure to fifty-year climate extremes in different seasons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dreesen, F. E.; De Boeck, H. J.; Janssens, I. A.; Nijs, I.

    2013-10-01

    Disturbance events such as climatic extremes may enhance the invasibility of plant communities, through the creation of gaps and the associated local increase in available resources. In this study, experimental herbaceous communities consisting of three species were subjected to 50 yr extreme drought and/or heat events, in spring, summer or autumn. In the year of the induced extremes, species mortality and end-of-season biomass were examined. In two subsequent years without further disturbances, establishment of new species was recorded. The drought and drought + heat extremes in summer and autumn induced greater plant mortality compared with the heat extremes in those seasons and compared with all extremes applied in spring, in all three originally planted species. Recovery in terms of biomass towards the end of the growing season, however, was species-specific. The dominant species, the nitrogen fixer Trifolium repens, recovered poorly from the drought and drought + heat extremes which governed the community response. Community biomass, which was heavily affected by the drought and especially by the drought + heat events in summer and autumn, reached control values already one year later. Invasibility was increased in the communities that underwent the drought + heat extremes in the first year following the extreme events, but no longer in the second year. During the two years of invasion, the community composition changed, but independently of the type and impact of the extreme event. In short, the extreme climate events greatly affected the survival and productivity of the species, modified the species composition and dominance patterns, and increased the invasibility of our plant communities. However, none of these community properties seemed to be affected in the long term, as the induced responses faded out after one or two years.

  17. The Brazilian research contribution to knowledge of the plant communities from Antarctic ice free areas.

    PubMed

    Pereira, Antonio B; Putzke, Jair

    2013-09-01

    This work aims to summarize the results of research carried out by Brazilian researchers on the plant communities of Antarctic ice free areas during the last twenty five years. Since 1988 field work has been carried out in Elephant Island, King George Island, Nelson Island and Deception Island. During this period six papers were published on the chemistry of lichens, seven papers on plant taxonomy, five papers on plant biology, two studies on UVB photoprotection, three studies about the relationships between plant communities and bird colonies and eleven papers on plant communities from ice free areas. At the present, Brazilian botanists are researching the plant communities of Antarctic ice free areas in order to understand their relationships to soil microbial communities, the biodiversity, the distribution of the plants populations and their relationship with birds colonies. In addition to these activities, a group of Brazilian researchers are undertaking studies related to Antarctic plant genetic diversity, plant chemistry and their biotechnological applications. PMID:24068084

  18. Population and community ecology of the rare plant amsinckia grandiflora

    SciTech Connect

    Carlsen, T.M.

    1996-11-01

    Research was conducted between the fall of 1992 and the spring on the population and community ecology of the rare annual plant, Amsinckia glandiflora (Gray) Kleeb. ex Greene (Boraginaceae). The research goal was to investigate the causes of the species rarity, data useful to restorative efforts. The work focused on the examination of competitive suppression by exotic annual grasses; comparisons with common, weedy congener; and the role of litter cover and seed germination and seedling establishment. Annual exotic grasses reduced A. grandiflora reproductive output to a greater extent than did the native perennial bunch grass.

  19. Everglades Plant Community Response to 20th Century Hydrologic Changes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Willard, D. A.; Bernhardt, C. E.; Holmes, C. W.; Weimer, L. M.

    2002-05-01

    Pollen records in sediment cores from sites in the historic Everglades allowed us to document the natural variability of the ecosystem over the past 2,000 years and contrast it to 20th century changes in wetland plant communities. The natural system included extensive water-lily sloughs, sawgrass ridges, and scattered tree islands extending from Lake Okeechobee southward through Shark River Slough. Between ~1000 AD and 1200 AD, weedy species such as Amaranthus (water hemp) became more abundant, indicating decreased annual rainfall, shorter hydroperiods, and shallower water depths during this time. After ~1200 AD, vegetation returned to its pre-1000 AD composition. During the 20th century, two phases of hydrologic alteration occurred. Completed by 1930, the first phase included construction of the Hoover Dike, canals linking Lake Okeechobee to the Atlantic Ocean, and the Tamiami Trail. Reconstructions of plant communities indicate that these changes shortened hydroperiods and lowered water depths throughout the Everglades. The extent of water-lily slough communities decreased, and tree islands became larger in Shark River Slough. The second phase resulted from construction of canals and levees in the 1950s, creating three Water Conservation Areas. The response of plant communities to these changes varied widely depending on location in the Everglades. In Loxahatchee NWR, weedy and short-hydroperiod plant species became more abundant in marshes, and species composition of tree islands changed. In Water Conservation Area 2A, cattail replaced sawgrass in marshes with high nutrient influx; the ridge and slough structure of the marshes was replaced by more homogeneous sawgrass marshes; sustained high water levels for more than a decade resulted in loss of tree islands that had existed for more than 1,000 years. In Everglades National Park, the extent of slough vegetation decreased further. Near Florida Bay, the rate of mangrove intrusion into fresh-water marshes

  20. Plant toxins that affect nicotinic acetylcholine receptors: A review

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Plants produce wide variety of chemical compounds termed secondary metabolites that are not involved in basic metabolism, photosynthesis or reproduction. These compounds are used as flavors, fragrances, insecticides, dyes, hallucinogens, nutritional supplements, poisons, and pharmaceutical agents. ...

  1. A novel family of small proteins that affect plant development

    SciTech Connect

    John Charles Walker

    2011-04-29

    The DVL genes represent a new group of plant proteins that influence plant growth and development. Overexpression of DVL1, and other members of the DVL family, causes striking phenotypic changes. The DVL proteins share sequence homology in their C-terminal half. Point mutations in the C-terminal domain show it is necessary and deletion studies demonstrate the C-terminal domain is sufficient to confer the overexpression phenotypes. The phenotypes observed, and the conservation of the protein sequence in the plant kingdom, does suggest the DVL proteins have a role in modulating plant growth and development. Our working hypothesis is the DVL proteins function as regulators of cellular signaling pathways that control growth and development.

  2. Plant surface wax affects parasitoid's response to host footprints

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rostás, Michael; Ruf, Daniel; Zabka, Vanessa; Hildebrandt, Ulrich

    2008-10-01

    The plant surface is the substrate upon which herbivorous insects and natural enemies meet and thus represents the stage for interactions between the three trophic levels. Plant surfaces are covered by an epicuticular wax layer which is highly variable depending on species, cultivar or plant part. Differences in wax chemistry may modulate ecological interactions. We explored whether caterpillars of Spodoptera frugiperda, when walking over a plant surface, leave a chemical trail (kairomones) that can be detected by the parasitoid Cotesia marginiventris. Chemistry and micromorphology of cuticular waxes of two barley eceriferum wax mutants ( cer-za.126, cer-yp.949) and wild-type cv. Bonus (wt) were assessed. The plants were then used to investigate potential surface effects on the detectability of caterpillar kairomones. Here we provide evidence that C. marginiventris responds to chemical footprints of its host. Parasitoids were able to detect the kairomone on wild-type plants and on both cer mutants but the response to cer-yp.949 (reduced wax, high aldehyde fraction) was less pronounced. Experiments with caterpillar-treated wt and mutant leaves offered simultaneously, confirmed this observation: no difference in wasp response was found when wt was tested against cer-za.126 (reduced wax, wt-like chemical composition) but wt was significantly more attractive than cer-yp.949. This demonstrates for the first time that the wax layer can modulate the detectability of host kairomones.

  3. Linking geology and microbiology: inactive pockmarks affect sediment microbial community structure.

    PubMed

    Haverkamp, Thomas H A; Hammer, Øyvind; Jakobsen, Kjetill S

    2014-01-01

    Pockmarks are geological features that are found on the bottom of lakes and oceans all over the globe. Some are active, seeping oil or methane, while others are inactive. Active pockmarks are well studied since they harbor specialized microbial communities that proliferate on the seeping compounds. Such communities are not found in inactive pockmarks. Interestingly, inactive pockmarks are known to have different macrofaunal communities compared to the surrounding sediments. It is undetermined what the microbial composition of inactive pockmarks is and if it shows a similar pattern as the macrofauna. The Norwegian Oslofjord contains many inactive pockmarks and they are well suited to study the influence of these geological features on the microbial community in the sediment. Here we present a detailed analysis of the microbial communities found in three inactive pockmarks and two control samples at two core depth intervals. The communities were analyzed using high-throughput amplicon sequencing of the 16S rRNA V3 region. Microbial communities of surface pockmark sediments were indistinguishable from communities found in the surrounding seabed. In contrast, pockmark communities at 40 cm sediment depth had a significantly different community structure from normal sediments at the same depth. Statistical analysis of chemical variables indicated significant differences in the concentrations of total carbon and non-particulate organic carbon between 40 cm pockmarks and reference sample sediments. We discuss these results in comparison with the taxonomic classification of the OTUs identified in our samples. Our results indicate that microbial communities at the sediment surface are affected by the water column, while the deeper (40 cm) sediment communities are affected by local conditions within the sediment. PMID:24475066

  4. Linking Geology and Microbiology: Inactive Pockmarks Affect Sediment Microbial Community Structure

    PubMed Central

    Haverkamp, Thomas H. A.; Hammer, Øyvind; Jakobsen, Kjetill S.

    2014-01-01

    Pockmarks are geological features that are found on the bottom of lakes and oceans all over the globe. Some are active, seeping oil or methane, while others are inactive. Active pockmarks are well studied since they harbor specialized microbial communities that proliferate on the seeping compounds. Such communities are not found in inactive pockmarks. Interestingly, inactive pockmarks are known to have different macrofaunal communities compared to the surrounding sediments. It is undetermined what the microbial composition of inactive pockmarks is and if it shows a similar pattern as the macrofauna. The Norwegian Oslofjord contains many inactive pockmarks and they are well suited to study the influence of these geological features on the microbial community in the sediment. Here we present a detailed analysis of the microbial communities found in three inactive pockmarks and two control samples at two core depth intervals. The communities were analyzed using high-throughput amplicon sequencing of the 16S rRNA V3 region. Microbial communities of surface pockmark sediments were indistinguishable from communities found in the surrounding seabed. In contrast, pockmark communities at 40 cm sediment depth had a significantly different community structure from normal sediments at the same depth. Statistical analysis of chemical variables indicated significant differences in the concentrations of total carbon and non-particulate organic carbon between 40 cm pockmarks and reference sample sediments. We discuss these results in comparison with the taxonomic classification of the OTUs identified in our samples. Our results indicate that microbial communities at the sediment surface are affected by the water column, while the deeper (40 cm) sediment communities are affected by local conditions within the sediment. PMID:24475066

  5. The soil microbial community predicts the importance of plant traits in plant-soil feedback.

    PubMed

    Ke, Po-Ju; Miki, Takeshi; Ding, Tzung-Su

    2015-04-01

    Reciprocal interaction between plant and soil (plant-soil feedback, PSF) can determine plant community structure. Understanding which traits control interspecific variation of PSF strength is crucial for plant ecology. Studies have highlighted either plant-mediated nutrient cycling (litter-mediated PSF) or plant-microbe interaction (microbial-mediated PSF) as important PSF mechanisms, each attributing PSF variation to different traits. However, this separation neglects the complex indirect interactions between the two mechanisms. We developed a model coupling litter- and microbial-mediated PSFs to identify the relative importance of traits in controlling PSF strength, and its dependency on the composition of root-associated microbes (i.e. pathogens and/or mycorrhizal fungi). Results showed that although plant carbon: nitrogen (C : N) ratio and microbial nutrient acquisition traits were consistently important, the importance of litter decomposability varied. Litter decomposability was not a major PSF determinant when pathogens are present. However, its importance increased with the relative abundance of mycorrhizal fungi as nutrient released from the mycorrhizal-enhanced litter production to the nutrient-depleted soils result in synergistic increase of soil nutrient and mycorrhizal abundance. Data compiled from empirical studies also supported our predictions. We propose that the importance of litter decomposability depends on the composition of root-associated microbes. Our results provide new perspectives in plant invasion and trait-based ecology. PMID:25521190

  6. Factors affecting screening for diabetic complications in the community: a multilevel analysis

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    OBJECTIVES: The objective of the present study was to identify the factors that affect screening for diabetic complications by sex in the community. METHODS: This study used individual-level data from the 2013 Community Health Survey (CHS) for 20,806 (male, 9,958; female, 10,848) adults aged 30 years or older who were diagnosed with diabetes. Community-level data for 253 communities were derived from either CHS or national statistics. A chi-square test and multilevel logistic regression analysis was performed. RESULTS: There were significant differences in the rate of screening for diabetic complications according to individual-level and community-level variables. In the multilevel analysis, the community-level variance ratio of the null model was 7.4% and 9.2% for males and females, respectively. With regard to community-level variables, males were affected by the city type, number of physicians, and their living environment, while females were affected by number of physicians, natural and living environments, and public transportation. CONCLUSIONS: The factors that influenced individual willingness to undergo screening for diabetic complications differed slightly by sex; however, both males and females were more likely to undergo screening when they recognized their health status as poor or when they actively sought to manage their health conditions. Moreover, in terms of community-level variables, both males and females were affected by the number of physicians. It is essential to provide sufficient and ongoing opportunities for education on diabetes and its management through collaboration with local communities and primary care medical centers. PMID:27156347

  7. Regression analysis of technical parameters affecting nuclear power plant performances

    SciTech Connect

    Ghazy, R.; Ricotti, M. E.; Trueco, P.

    2012-07-01

    Since the 80's many studies have been conducted in order to explicate good and bad performances of commercial nuclear power plants (NPPs), but yet no defined correlation has been found out to be totally representative of plant operational experience. In early works, data availability and the number of operating power stations were both limited; therefore, results showed that specific technical characteristics of NPPs were supposed to be the main causal factors for successful plant operation. Although these aspects keep on assuming a significant role, later studies and observations showed that other factors concerning management and organization of the plant could instead be predominant comparing utilities operational and economic results. Utility quality, in a word, can be used to summarize all the managerial and operational aspects that seem to be effective in determining plant performance. In this paper operational data of a consistent sample of commercial nuclear power stations, out of the total 433 operating NPPs, are analyzed, mainly focusing on the last decade operational experience. The sample consists of PWR and BWR technology, operated by utilities located in different countries, including U.S. (Japan)) (France)) (Germany)) and Finland. Multivariate regression is performed using Unit Capability Factor (UCF) as the dependent variable; this factor reflects indeed the effectiveness of plant programs and practices in maximizing the available electrical generation and consequently provides an overall indication of how well plants are operated and maintained. Aspects that may not be real causal factors but which can have a consistent impact on the UCF, as technology design, supplier, size and age, are included in the analysis as independent variables. (authors)

  8. A preliminary classification of wetland plant communities in north-central Minnesota

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cowardin, L.M.; Johnson, D.H.

    1973-01-01

    A classification of wetland plant communities was developed for a study area in north-central Minnesota in order to analyze data on waterfowl use of habitat that were gathered by radio telemetry. The classification employs features of several earlier classifications in addition to new classes for bogs and lakeshore communities. Brief descriptions are given for each community, and the important plant species are listed. Discriminant function analysis was used for 40 plant species. Seventy-five percent of the stands studied were classified correctly by this technique. Average probabilities of assignment to communities were calculated and helped to identify distinct and poorly defined communities as well as the relationship among communities.

  9. Above–Belowground Herbivore Interactions in Mixed Plant Communities Are Influenced by Altered Precipitation Patterns

    PubMed Central

    Ryalls, James M. W.; Moore, Ben D.; Riegler, Markus; Johnson, Scott N.

    2016-01-01

    Root- and shoot-feeding herbivores have the capacity to influence one another by modifying the chemistry of the shared host plant. This can alter rates of nutrient mineralization and uptake by neighboring plants and influence plant–plant competition, particularly in mixtures combining grasses and legumes. Root herbivory-induced exudation of nitrogen (N) from legume roots, for example, may increase N acquisition by co-occurring grasses, with knock-on effects on grassland community composition. Little is known about how climate change may affect these interactions, but an important and timely question is how will grass–legume mixtures respond in a future with an increasing reliance on legume N mineralization in terrestrial ecosystems. Using a model grass–legume mixture, this study investigated how simultaneous attack on lucerne (Medicago sativa) by belowground weevils (Sitona discoideus) and aboveground aphids (Acyrthosiphon pisum) affected a neighboring grass (Phalaris aquatica) when subjected to drought, ambient, and elevated precipitation. Feeding on rhizobial nodules by weevil larvae enhanced soil water retention under ambient and elevated precipitation, but only when aphids were absent. While drought decreased nodulation and root N content in lucerne, grass root and shoot chemistry were unaffected by changes in precipitation. However, plant communities containing weevils but not aphids showed increased grass height and N concentrations, most likely associated with the transfer of N from weevil-attacked lucerne plants containing more nodules and higher root N concentrations compared with insect-free plants. Drought decreased aphid abundance by 54% but increased total and some specific amino acid concentrations (glycine, lysine, methionine, tyrosine, cysteine, histidine, arginine, aspartate, and glutamate), suggesting that aphid declines were being driven by other facets of drought (e.g., reduced phloem hydraulics). The presence of weevil larvae belowground

  10. Cadmium content of plants as affected by soil cadmium concentration

    SciTech Connect

    Lehoczky, E.; Szabados, I.; Marth, P.

    1996-12-31

    Pot experiments were conducted in greenhouse conditions to study the effects of increasing cadmium (Cd) levels on biomass production and Cd contents in corn, (Zea mays L.), garlic (Allium sativum L.), and spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.). Plants were grown in two soil types: Eutric cambisol soil and A gleyic luvisol soil. Spinach proved to be the most sensitive to Cd treatments as its biomass considerably decreased with the increasing Cd levels. Cadmium contents of the three crops increased with increasing levels of Cd applications. Statistical differences were observed in the Cd contents of crops depending on soil type. With the same Cd rates, Cd tissue concentration of test plants grown in the strongly acidic Gleyic luvisol soil were many times higher than that of plants grown in a neutral Eutric cambisol soil. 14 refs., 4 tabs.

  11. How neighbor canopy architecture affects target plant performance

    SciTech Connect

    Tremmel, D.C.; Bazzaz, F.A. )

    1993-10-01

    Plant competition occurs through the negative effects that individual plants have on resource availability to neighboring individuals. Therefore competition experiments need to examine how different species change resource availability to their neighbors, and how different species respond to these changes-allocationally, architecturally, and physiologically-through time. In a greenhouse study we used a model system of annuals to examine how canopies of species having differing morphologies differed in their architectures and light-interception abilities, and how different species performed when grown in these canopies. Abutilon theophrasti, Datura stramonium, and Polygonum pensylvanicum were grown as [open quotes]targets[close quotes]. Plants were grown in pots, with one target plant and four neighbor plants. Detailed measurements of neighbor canopy structure and target plant canopy architecture were made at five harvests. Species with different morphologies showed large differences in canopy structure, particularly when grass and forb species were compared. Setaria, a grass, had a more open canopy than the other species (all forbs), and was a consistently weak competitor. Overall, however, the relative effects of different neighbors on target biomass varied with target species. Target biomass was poorly correlated with neighbor biomass and leaf area, but was highly correlated with a measure of target light-interception ability that took into account both target leaf deployment and neighbor light interception. Despite clear differences among neighbor species in canopy structure and effect on light penetration, the results suggest no broad generalizations about the effects of different species as neighbors. Knowledge of morphological, physiological, and life history characteristics of both the target and neighbor species may be necessary to explain the results of their competition. 53 refs., 4 figs., 4 tabs.

  12. CO2 enrichment accelerates successional development of an understory plant community

    SciTech Connect

    Souza, Lara; Belote, R. Travis Travis; Kardol, Paul; Weltzin, Jake; Norby, Richard J

    2010-01-01

    Rising concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide ([CO{sub 2}]) may influence forest successional development and species composition of understory plant communities by altering biomass production of plant species of functional groups. Here, we describe how elevated [CO{sub 2}] (eCO{sub 2}) affects aboveground biomass within the understory community of a temperate deciduous forest at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) free-air carbon dioxide enrichment (FACE) facility in eastern Tennessee, USA. We asked if (i) CO{sub 2} enrichment affected total understory biomass and (ii) whether total biomass responses could be explained by changes in understory species composition or changes in relative abundance of functional groups through time. The FACE experiment started in 1998 with three rings receiving ambient [CO{sub 2}] (aCO{sub 2}) and two rings receiving eCO{sub 2}. From 2001 to 2003, we estimated species-specific, woody versus herbaceous and total aboveground biomass by harvesting four 1 x 0.5-m subplots within the established understory plant community in each FACE plot. In 2008, we estimated herbaceous biomass as previously but used allometric relationships to estimate woody biomass across two 5 x 5-m quadrats in each FACE plot. Across years, aboveground biomass of the understory community was on average 25% greater in eCO{sub 2} than in aCO{sub 2} plots. We could not detect differences in plant species composition between aCO{sub 2} and eCO{sub 2} treatments. However, we did observe shifts in the relative abundance of plant functional groups, which reflect important structural changes in the understory community. In 2001-03, little of the understory biomass was in woody species; herbaceous species made up 94% of the total understory biomass across [CO{sub 2}] treatments. Through time, woody species increased in importance, mostly in eCO{sub 2}, and in 2008, the contribution of herbaceous species to total understory biomass was

  13. Plant community structure regulates responses of prairie soil respiration to decadal experimental warming.

    PubMed

    Xu, Xia; Shi, Zheng; Li, Dejun; Zhou, Xuhui; Sherry, Rebecca A; Luo, Yiqi

    2015-10-01

    Soil respiration is recognized to be influenced by temperature, moisture, and ecosystem production. However, little is known about how plant community structure regulates responses of soil respiration to climate change. Here, we used a 13-year field warming experiment to explore the mechanisms underlying plant community regulation on feedbacks of soil respiration to climate change in a tallgrass prairie in Oklahoma, USA. Infrared heaters were used to elevate temperature about 2 °C since November 1999. Annual clipping was used to mimic hay harvest. Our results showed that experimental warming significantly increased soil respiration approximately from 10% in the first 7 years (2000-2006) to 30% in the next 6 years (2007-2012). The two-stage warming stimulation of soil respiration was closely related to warming-induced increases in ecosystem production over the years. Moreover, we found that across the 13 years, warming-induced increases in soil respiration were positively affected by the proportion of aboveground net primary production (ANPP) contributed by C3 forbs. Functional composition of the plant community regulated warming-induced increases in soil respiration through the quantity and quality of organic matter inputs to soil and the amount of photosynthetic carbon (C) allocated belowground. Clipping, the interaction of clipping with warming, and warming-induced changes in soil temperature and moisture all had little effect on soil respiration over the years (all P > 0.05). Our results suggest that climate warming may drive an increase in soil respiration through altering composition of plant communities in grassland ecosystems. PMID:25846478

  14. Soil ecosystem functioning under climate change: plant species and community effects

    SciTech Connect

    Kardol, Paul; Cregger, Melissa; Campany, Courtney E; Classen, Aimee T

    2010-01-01

    Feedbacks of terrestrial ecosystems to climate change depend on soil ecosystem dynamics. Soil ecosystems can directly and indirectly respond to climate change. For example, warming directly alters microbial communities by increasing their activity. Climate change may also alter plant community composition, thus indirectly altering the microbial communities that feed on their inputs. To better understand how climate change may directly and indirectly alter soil ecosystem functioning, we investigated old-field plant community and soil ecosystem responses to single and combined effects of elevated [CO2], warming, and water availability. Specifically, we collected soils at the plot level (plant community soils), and beneath dominant plant species (plant-specific soils). We used microbial enzyme activities and soil nematodes as indicators for soil ecosystem functioning. Our study resulted in two main findings: 1) Overall, while there were some interactions, water, relative to increases in [CO2] and warming, had the largest impact on plant community composition, soil enzyme activities, and soil nematodes. Multiple climate change factors can interact to shape ecosystems, but in this case, those interactions were largely driven by changes in water availability. 2) Indirect effects of climate change, via changes in plant communities, had a significant impact on soil ecosystem functioning and this impact was not obvious when looking at plant community soils. Climate change effects on enzyme activities and soil nematode abundance and community structure strongly differed between plant community soils and plant-specific soils, but also within plant-specific soils. In sum, these results indicate that accurate assessments of climate change impacts on soil ecosystem functioning require incorporating the concurrent changes in plant function and plant community composition. Climate change-induced shifts in plant community composition will likely modify or counteract the direct

  15. Alaska Melilotus invasions: Distribution, origin, and susceptibility of plant communities

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Conn, J.S.; Beattie, K.L.; Shephard, M.A.; Carlson, M.L.; Lapina, I.; Hebert, M.; Gronquist, R.; Densmore, R.; Rasy, M.

    2008-01-01

    Melilotus alba and M. officinalis were introduced to Alaska in 1913 as potential forage crops. These species have become naturalized and are now invading large, exotic plant-free regions of Alaska. We determined distributions of M. alba and M. officinalis in Alaska from surveys conducted each summer from 2002 to 2005. Melilotus alba and M. officinalis occurred at 721 and 205 sites, respectively (39,756 total sites surveyed). The northward limit for M. alba and M. officinalis was 67.15??N and 64.87??N, respectively. Both species were strictly associated with soil disturbance. Melilotus alba extended no farther than 15 m from road edges except where M. alba on roadsides met river floodplains and dispersed downriver (Matanuska and Nenana Rivers). Melilotus has now reached the Tanana River, a tributary of the Yukon River. Populations on floodplains were most extensive on braided sections. On the Nenana River, soil characteristics did not differ between where M. alba was growing versus similar areas where it had not yet reached. The pH of river soils (7.9-8.3) was higher than highway soils (7.3). Upland taiga plant communities grow on acid soils which may protect them from invasion by Melilotus, which prefer alkaline soils; however, early succession communities on river floodplains are susceptible because soils are alkaline. ?? 2008 Regents of the University of Colorado.

  16. Impacts of climate change drivers on C4 grassland productivity: scaling driver effects through the plant community.

    PubMed

    Polley, H Wayne; Derner, Justin D; Jackson, Robert B; Wilsey, Brian J; Fay, Philip A

    2014-07-01

    Climate change drivers affect plant community productivity via three pathways: (i) direct effects of drivers on plants; (ii) the response of species abundances to drivers (community response); and (iii) the feedback effect of community change on productivity (community effect). The contribution of each pathway to driver-productivity relationships depends on functional traits of dominant species. We used data from three experiments in Texas, USA, to assess the role of community dynamics in the aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) response of C4 grasslands to two climate drivers applied singly: atmospheric CO2 enrichment and augmented summer precipitation. The ANPP-driver response differed among experiments because community responses and effects differed. ANPP increased by 80-120g m(-2) per 100 μl l(-1) rise in CO2 in separate experiments with pasture and tallgrass prairie assemblages. Augmenting ambient precipitation by 128mm during one summer month each year increased ANPP more in native than in exotic communities in a third experiment. The community effect accounted for 21-38% of the ANPP CO2 response in the prairie experiment but little of the response in the pasture experiment. The community response to CO2 was linked to species traits associated with greater soil water from reduced transpiration (e.g. greater height). Community effects on the ANPP CO2 response and the greater ANPP response of native than exotic communities to augmented precipitation depended on species differences in transpiration efficiency. These results indicate that feedbacks from community change influenced ANPP-driver responses. However, the species traits that regulated community effects on ANPP differed from the traits that determined how communities responded to drivers. PMID:24501178

  17. Classification and ordination of main plant communities along an altitudinal gradient in the arid and temperate climates of northeastern Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Castillón, Eduardo Estrada; Arévalo, José Ramón; Quintanilla, José Ángel Villarreal; Rodríguez, María Magdalena Salinas; Encina-Domínguez, Juan Antonio; Rodríguez, Humberto González; Ayala, César Martín Cantú

    2015-10-01

    Quantitative data on the ecology of the main plant communities along an altitudinal gradient in northeastern Mexico were obtained with the aim of identifying the most important environmental variables that affect plant distribution and composition. The main threats to these communities were also investigated. Importance value index (IVi) of the 39 most important species and 16 environmental variables were recorded at 35 altitudinal gradients each spaced at intervals of at least 100-m altitude. Classification and ordination of vegetation showed six well-differentiated but overlapping plant communities: alpine meadow, cold conifer forest, mesic mixed forest, xeric scrub, Tamaulipan piedmont scrub, and halophytic grassland. Altitude, minimum and average temperatures, and organic matter content are the main variables affecting the plant distribution in northeastern Mexico. Urban growth, mechanized agriculture, and changes in land use are the main threats in the short and medium term to plant communities in this area. Climate change also seems to be having an impact at present or in the near future as shown by the presence of exotic shrubs from warmer areas in mesic and temperate areas inhabited by oak and oak-pine forest.

  18. Classification and ordination of main plant communities along an altitudinal gradient in the arid and temperate climates of northeastern Mexico.

    PubMed

    Castillón, Eduardo Estrada; Arévalo, José Ramón; Quintanilla, José Ángel Villarreal; Rodríguez, María Magdalena Salinas; Encina-Domínguez, Juan Antonio; Rodríguez, Humberto González; Ayala, César Martín Cantú

    2015-10-01

    Quantitative data on the ecology of the main plant communities along an altitudinal gradient in northeastern Mexico were obtained with the aim of identifying the most important environmental variables that affect plant distribution and composition. The main threats to these communities were also investigated. Importance value index (IVi) of the 39 most important species and 16 environmental variables were recorded at 35 altitudinal gradients each spaced at intervals of at least 100-m altitude. Classification and ordination of vegetation showed six well-differentiated but overlapping plant communities: alpine meadow, cold conifer forest, mesic mixed forest, xeric scrub, Tamaulipan piedmont scrub, and halophytic grassland. Altitude, minimum and average temperatures, and organic matter content are the main variables affecting the plant distribution in northeastern Mexico. Urban growth, mechanized agriculture, and changes in land use are the main threats in the short and medium term to plant communities in this area. Climate change also seems to be having an impact at present or in the near future as shown by the presence of exotic shrubs from warmer areas in mesic and temperate areas inhabited by oak and oak-pine forest. PMID:26362779

  19. Pollution-induced community tolerance to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in fluvial biofilm communities affected by WWTP effluents.

    PubMed

    Corcoll, Natàlia; Acuña, Vicenç; Barceló, Damià; Casellas, Maria; Guasch, Helena; Huerta, Belinda; Petrovic, Mira; Ponsatí, Lidia; Rodríguez-Mozaz, Sara; Sabater, Sergi

    2014-10-01

    We assessed the tolerance acquired by stream biofilms to two non-steroidal anti-inflammatory-drugs (NSAIDs), ibuprofen and diclofenac. Biofilms came from a stream system receiving the effluent of a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). The response of biofilms from a non-polluted site (upstream the WWTP) was compared to that of others downstream with relevant and decreasing levels of NSAIDs. Experiments performed in the laboratory following the pollution-induced community tolerance (PICT) approach determined that both algae and microbial communities from biofilms of the sites exposed at the highest concentrations of ibuprofen and diclofenac acquired tolerance to the mixture of these NSAIDs occurring at the sites. It was also observed that the chronic pollution by the WWTP effluent affected the microbial metabolic profile, as well as the structure of the algal community. The low (at ng L(-1) level) but chronic inputs of pharmaceuticals to the river ecosystem result in tolerant communities of lower diversity and altered microbial metabolism. PMID:25048905

  20. Coastal Freshwater Wetland Plant Community Response to Seasonal Drought and Flooding in Northwestern Costa Rica

    EPA Science Inventory

    In tropical wet-dry climates, seasonal hydrologic cycles drive wetland plant community change and produce distinct seasonal plant assemblages. In this study, we examined the plant community response to seasonal flooding and drought in a large coastal freshwater wetland in northwe...

  1. Shifts in flowering phenology reshape a subalpine plant community

    PubMed Central

    CaraDonna, Paul J.; Iler, Amy M.; Inouye, David W.

    2014-01-01

    Phenology—the timing of biological events—is highly sensitive to climate change. However, our general understanding of how phenology responds to climate change is based almost solely on incomplete assessments of phenology (such as first date of flowering) rather than on entire phenological distributions. Using a uniquely comprehensive 39-y flowering phenology dataset from the Colorado Rocky Mountains that contains more than 2 million flower counts, we reveal a diversity of species-level phenological shifts that bring into question the accuracy of previous estimates of long-term phenological change. For 60 species, we show that first, peak, and last flowering rarely shift uniformly and instead usually shift independently of one another, resulting in a diversity of phenological changes through time. Shifts in the timing of first flowering on average overestimate the magnitude of shifts in the timing of peak flowering, fail to predict shifts in the timing of last flowering, and underrepresent the number of species changing phenology in this plant community. Ultimately, this diversity of species-level phenological shifts contributes to altered coflowering patterns within the community, a redistribution of floral abundance across the season, and an expansion of the flowering season by more than I mo during the course of our study period. These results demonstrate the substantial reshaping of ecological communities that can be attributed to shifts in phenology. PMID:24639544

  2. Shifts in flowering phenology reshape a subalpine plant community.

    PubMed

    CaraDonna, Paul J; Iler, Amy M; Inouye, David W

    2014-04-01

    Phenology--the timing of biological events--is highly sensitive to climate change. However, our general understanding of how phenology responds to climate change is based almost solely on incomplete assessments of phenology (such as first date of flowering) rather than on entire phenological distributions. Using a uniquely comprehensive 39-y flowering phenology dataset from the Colorado Rocky Mountains that contains more than 2 million flower counts, we reveal a diversity of species-level phenological shifts that bring into question the accuracy of previous estimates of long-term phenological change. For 60 species, we show that first, peak, and last flowering rarely shift uniformly and instead usually shift independently of one another, resulting in a diversity of phenological changes through time. Shifts in the timing of first flowering on average overestimate the magnitude of shifts in the timing of peak flowering, fail to predict shifts in the timing of last flowering, and underrepresent the number of species changing phenology in this plant community. Ultimately, this diversity of species-level phenological shifts contributes to altered coflowering patterns within the community, a redistribution of floral abundance across the season, and an expansion of the flowering season by more than I mo during the course of our study period. These results demonstrate the substantial reshaping of ecological communities that can be attributed to shifts in phenology. PMID:24639544

  3. Metaproteomics of complex microbial communities in biogas plants

    PubMed Central

    Heyer, Robert; Kohrs, Fabian; Reichl, Udo; Benndorf, Dirk

    2015-01-01

    Production of biogas from agricultural biomass or organic wastes is an important source of renewable energy. Although thousands of biogas plants (BGPs) are operating in Germany, there is still a significant potential to improve yields, e.g. from fibrous substrates. In addition, process stability should be optimized. Besides evaluating technical measures, improving our understanding of microbial communities involved into the biogas process is considered as key issue to achieve both goals. Microscopic and genetic approaches to analyse community composition provide valuable experimental data, but fail to detect presence of enzymes and overall metabolic activity of microbial communities. Therefore, metaproteomics can significantly contribute to elucidate critical steps in the conversion of biomass to methane as it delivers combined functional and phylogenetic data. Although metaproteomics analyses are challenged by sample impurities, sample complexity and redundant protein identification, and are still limited by the availability of genome sequences, recent studies have shown promising results. In the following, the workflow and potential pitfalls for metaproteomics of samples from full-scale BGP are discussed. In addition, the value of metaproteomics to contribute to the further advancement of microbial ecology is evaluated. Finally, synergistic effects expected when metaproteomics is combined with advanced imaging techniques, metagenomics, metatranscriptomics and metabolomics are addressed. PMID:25874383

  4. Plant extracts affect in vitro rumen microbial fermentation.

    PubMed

    Busquet, M; Calsamiglia, S; Ferret, A; Kamel, C

    2006-02-01

    Different doses of 12 plant extracts and 6 secondary plant metabolites were incubated for 24 h in diluted ruminal fluid with a 50:50 forage:concentrate diet. Treatments were: control (no additive), plant extracts (anise oil, cade oil, capsicum oil, cinnamon oil, clove bud oil, dill oil, fenugreek, garlic oil, ginger oil, oregano oil, tea tree oil, and yucca), and secondary plant metabolites (anethol, benzyl salicylate, carvacrol, carvone, cinnamaldehyde, and eugenol). Each treatment was supplied at 3, 30, 300, and 3,000 mg/L of culture fluid. At 3,000 mg/L, most treatments decreased total volatile fatty acid concentration, but cade oil, capsicum oil, dill oil, fenugreek, ginger oil, and yucca had no effect. Different doses of anethol, anise oil, carvone, and tea tree oil decreased the proportion of acetate and propionate, which suggests that these compounds may not be nutritionally beneficial to dairy cattle. Garlic oil (300 and 3,000 mg/L) and benzyl salicylate (300 and 3,000 mg/L) reduced acetate and increased propionate and butyrate proportions, suggesting that methane production was inhibited. At 3,000 mg/L, capsicum oil, carvacrol, carvone, cinnamaldehyde, cinnamon oil, clove bud oil, eugenol, fenugreek, and oregano oil resulted in a 30 to 50% reduction in ammonia N concentration. Careful selection and combination of these extracts may allow the manipulation of rumen microbial fermentation. PMID:16428643

  5. Maximizing plant density affects broccoli yield and quality

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Increased demand for fresh market bunch broccoli (Brassica oleracea L. var. italica) has led to increased production along the United States east coast. Maximizing broccoli yields is a primary concern for quickly expanding southeastern commercial markets. This broccoli plant density study was carr...

  6. Ecosystem engineers modulate exotic invasions in riparian plant communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Corenblit, D.; Tabacchi, E.; Steiger, J.; Gonzales, E.; Planty-Tabacchi, A. M.

    2012-04-01

    The relationship between biodiversity and invasibility of exotic plant species within different environments and at different spatial scales is still being discussed amongst scientists. In this study, patterns of native and exotic plant species richness and cover were examined in relation with ecosystem engineer effects of pioneer vegetation within the active tract of the Mediterranean gravel bed river Tech, South France. The floristic composition was characterized according to two distinct vegetation types corresponding to two habitats with contrasted conditions: (i) open and exposed alluvial bars dominated by herbaceous communities and (ii) islands and river margins partly stabilized by ecosystem engineer plants, disconnected from annual hydrogeomorphic disturbances, and covered by woody vegetation. A significant positive correlation between exotic and native plant species richness and cover was observed for the herbaceous and the woody types, indicating that both native and exotic richness benefit from the prevailing environmental conditions. However, significant differences in native and exotic specific richness and cover were found between these two vegetation types. Higher values of total species richness and Shannon diversity of native and exotic species were attained within the herbaceous vegetation type compared to the woody type. These differences may be related to changes in local exposure to hydrogeomorphic disturbances driven by engineer plant species, and to vegetation succession. A lower exotic cover within the woody vegetation type compared to the herbaceous type suggested an increase of resistance to invasion by exotic species during the biogeomorphic succession. The engineer effects of woody vegetation resulted in a decrease of alpha (α) diversity at patch scale but, in parallel, caused an increase in gamma (γ) diversity at the scale of the studied river segment. Our study corroborates recent investigations that support the theory of biotic

  7. Incorporating Peatland Plant Communities into the Enzymic 'Latch' Hypothesis: Can Vegetation Influence Carbon Storage Mechanisms?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Romanowicz, K. J.; Daniels, A. L.; Potvin, L. R.; Kane, E. S.; Kolka, R. K.; Chimner, R. A.; Lilleskov, E. A.

    2012-12-01

    High water table conditions in peatland ecosystems are known to favor plant production over decomposition and carbon is stored. Dominant plant communities change in response to water table but little is know of how these changes affect belowground carbon storage. One hypothesis known as the enzymic 'latch' proposed by Freeman et al. suggests that oxygen limitations due to high water table conditions inhibit microorganisms from synthesizing specific extracellular enzymes essential for carbon and nutrient mineralization, allowing carbon to be stored as decomposition is reduced. Yet, this hypothesis excludes plant community interactions on carbon storage. We hypothesize that the dominant vascular plant communities, sedges and ericaceous shrubs, will have inherently different effects on peatland carbon storage, especially in response to declines in water table. Sedges greatly increase in abundance following water table decline and create extensive carbon oxidation and mineralization hotspots through the production of deep roots with aerenchyma (air channels in roots). Increased oxidation may enhance aerobic microbial activity including increased enzyme activity, leading to peat subsidence and carbon loss. In contrast, ericaceous shrubs utilize enzymatically active ericoid mycorrhizal fungi that suppress free-living heterotrophs, promoting decreased carbon mineralization by mediating changes in rhizosphere microbial communities and enzyme activity regardless of water table declines. Beginning May 2010, bog monoliths were harvested, housed in mesocosm chambers, and manipulated into three vegetation treatments: unmanipulated (+sedge, +Ericaceae), sedge (+sedge, -Ericaceae), and Ericaceae (-sedge, +Ericaceae). Following vegetation manipulations, two distinct water table manipulations targeting water table seasonal profiles were implemented: (low intra-seasonal variability, higher mean water table; high intra-seasonal variability, lower mean water table). In 2012, peat

  8. Land-use intensification effects on functional properties in tropical plant communities.

    PubMed

    Carreño-Rocabado, Geovana; Peña-Claros, Marielos; Bongers, Frans; Díaz, Sandra; Quetier, Fabien; Chuviña, José; Poorter, Lourens

    2016-01-01

    There is consensus that plant diversity and ecosystem processes are negatively affected by land-use intensification (LUI), but, at the same time, there is empirical evidence that a large heterogeneity can be found in the responses. This heterogeneity is especially poorly understood in tropical ecosystems. We evaluated changes in community functional properties across five common land-use types in the wet tropics with different land-use intensity: mature forest, logged forest, secondary forest, agricultural land, and pastureland, located in the lowlands of Bolivia. For the dominant plant species, we measured 12 functional response traits related to their life history, acquisition and conservation of resources, plant domestication, and breeding. We used three single-trait metrics to describe community functional properties: community abundance-weighted mean (CWM) traits values, coefficient of variation, and kurtosis of distribution. The CWM of all 12 traits clearly responded to LUI. Overall, we found that an increase in LUI resulted in communities dominated by plants with acquisitive leaf trait values. However, contrary to our expectations, secondary forests had more conservative trait values (i.e., lower specific leaf area) than mature and logged forest, probably because they were dominated by palm species. Functional variation peaked at intermediate land-use intensity (high coefficient of variation and low kurtosis), which included secondary forest but, unexpectedly, also agricultural land, which is an intensely managed system. The high functional variation of these systems is due to a combination of how response traits (and species) are filtered out by biophysical filters and how management practices introduced a range of exotic species and their trait values into the local species pool. Our results showed that, at local scales and depending on prevailing environmental and management practices, LUI does not necessarily result in communities with more acquisitive

  9. Treatment of Diarrhoea in Rural African Communities: An Overview of Measures to Maximise the Medicinal Potentials of Indigenous Plants

    PubMed Central

    Njume, Collise; Goduka, Nomalungelo I.

    2012-01-01

    Diarrhoea is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in rural communities in Africa, particularly in children under the age of five. This calls for the development of cost effective alternative strategies such as the use of herbal drugs in the treatment of diarrhoea in these communities. Expenses associated with the use of orthodox medicines have generated renewed interest and reliance on indigenous medicinal plants in the treatment and management of diarrhoeal infections in rural communities. The properties of many phenolic constituents of medicinal plants such as their ability to inhibit enteropooling and delay gastrointestinal transit are very useful in the control of diarrhoea, but problems such as scarcity of valuable medicinal plants, lack of standardization of methods of preparation, poor storage conditions and incertitude in some traditional health practitioners are issues that affect the efficacy and the practice of traditional medicine in rural African communities. This review appraises the current strategies used in the treatment of diarrhoea according to the Western orthodox and indigenous African health-care systems and points out major areas that could be targeted by health-promotion efforts as a means to improve management and alleviate suffering associated with diarrhoea in rural areas of the developing world. Community education and research with indigenous knowledge holders on ways to maximise the medicinal potentials in indigenous plants could improve diarrhoea management in African rural communities. PMID:23202823

  10. Factors affecting students' evaluation in a community service-learning program.

    PubMed

    Leung, Kai-Kuen; Liu, Wen-Jing; Wang, Wei-Dan; Chen, Ching-Yu

    2007-11-01

    A community service-learning curriculum was established to give students opportunities to understand the interrelationship between family and community health, the differences between community and hospital medicine, and to be able to identify and solve community health problems. Students were divided into small groups to participate in community health works such as home visits etc. under supervision. This study was designed to evaluate the community service-learning program and to understand how students' attitude and learning activities affected students' satisfaction. The results revealed that most medical students had a positive attitude towards social service and citizenship but were conservative towards taking the role to serve people in the community. Students had achieved what they were required to learn especially the training in communication skills and ability to identify social issues. Students' attitude towards social service did not affect their opinions on the quality of the program and subjective rating on their achievement. The quality of the program was related to the quality of learning rated by the students. PMID:16841239

  11. Plant-by-plant variations of bacterial communities associated with leaves of the nickel hyperaccumulator Alyssum bertolonii Desv.

    PubMed

    Mengoni, Alessio; Pini, Francesco; Huang, Li-Nan; Shu, Wen-Sheng; Bazzicalupo, Marco

    2009-10-01

    Bacteria associated with tissues of metal-hyperaccumulating plants are of great interest due to the multiple roles they may play with respect to plant growth and resistance to heavy metals. The variability of bacterial communities associated with plant tissues of three populations of Alyssum bertolonii, a Ni hyperaccumulator endemic of serpentine outcrops of Central Italy, was investigated. Terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis of bacterial 16S rRNA genes was applied to DNA extracted from leaf tissues of 30 individual plants from three geographically separated serpentine outcrops. Moreover, T-RFLP fingerprinting was also performed on DNA extracted from the same soils from which the plants were collected. Fifty-nine unique terminal-restriction fragments (TRFs) were identified, with more than half of the taxonomically interpreted TRFs assigned to Alpha- and Gamma-Proteobacteria and Clostridia. Data were then used to define the extent of variation of bacterial communities due to single plants or to plant populations. Results indicated a very high plant-by-plant variation of leaf-associated community (more than 93% of total variance observed). However, a core (numerically small) of plant-specific TRFs was found. This work demonstrates that plant-associated bacterial communities represent a large reservoir of biodiversity and that the high variability existing between plants, even from the same population, should be taken into account in future studies on association between bacteria and metal-hyperaccumulating plants. PMID:19479304

  12. Modeling dynamics of tundra plant communities on the Yamal Peninsula, Russia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yu, Q.; Epstein, H. E.; Walker, D. A.

    2010-12-01

    Multiple environmental drivers, including climate, soil conditions and herbivory, affect arctic tundra vegetation dynamics. These factors may have been evaluated individually in the past; however, their interactions contribute to more complicated tundra plant community dynamics and may represent a substantial source of uncertainty in predicting tundra ecosystem properties in the changing Arctic. This study investigates the effects of soils, grazing, and climate change on tundra plant communities at the plant functional type (PFT) level, based on previous integrated modeling research at the ecosystem level. The study area encompasses the Yamal Peninsula, northwestern Siberia, where soil and biomass data were collected along the Yamal Arctic Transect (YAT), to drive a nutrient-based tundra vegetation model (ArcVeg) and to validate the simulation results. We analyzed plant functional type biomass and net primary productivity (NPP), and found that with higher temperatures (+2°C mean growing season temperature), most plant functional types responded positively with increased biomass and NPP, while grazing suppressed such responses in both high and low soil organic nitrogen (SON) sites. The magnitudes of the responses to warming depended on SON and grazing intensity. Relatively, there were greater responses of biomass and NPP in low SON sites compared to high SON sites. Moss biomass (in contrast to other plant types) declined 34% with warming in the low SON site and 28% in the high SON site in subzone E (the most southern tundra subzone). Increases in Low Arctic shrub biomass with warming were 61% in the high SON site in subzone E and 96% in the low SON site. Decrease in moss biomass due to warming was mitigated about 2% by high grazing frequency (maximum of 25% of biomass removal every two years) in the high SON site in subzone E, with an opposite effect in the low SON site. High grazing frequency caused greater relative increases in total shrub biomass for both low

  13. Dissipation and effects of tricyclazole on soil microbial communities and rice growth as affected by amendment with alperujo compost.

    PubMed

    García-Jaramillo, M; Redondo-Gómez, S; Barcia-Piedras, J M; Aguilar, M; Jurado, V; Hermosín, M C; Cox, L

    2016-04-15

    The presence of pesticides in surface and groundwater has grown considerably in the last decades as a consequence of the intensive farming activity. Several studies have shown the benefits of using organic amendments to prevent losses of pesticides from runoff or leaching. A particular soil from the Guadalquivir valley was placed in open air ponds and amended at 1 or 2% (w/w) with alperujo compost (AC), a byproduct from the olive oil industry. Tricyclazole dissipation, rice growth and microbial diversity were monitored along an entire rice growing season. An increase in the net photosynthetic rate of Oryza sativa plants grown in the ponds with AC was observed. These plants produced between 1100 and 1300kgha(-1) more rice than plants from the unamended ponds. No significant differences were observed in tricyclazole dissipation, monitored for a month in soil, surface and drainage water, between the amended and unamended ponds. The structure and diversity of bacteria and fungi communities were also studied by the use of the polymerase chain reaction denaturing gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) from DNA extracted directly from soil samples. The banding pattern was similar for all treatments, although the density of bands varied throughout the time. Apparently, tricyclazole did not affect the structure and diversity of bacteria and fungi communities, and this was attributed to its low bioavailability. Rice cultivation under paddy field conditions may be more efficient under the effects of this compost, due to its positive effects on soil properties, rice yield, and soil microbial diversity. PMID:26849328

  14. Water management history affects GHG kinetics and microbial communities composition of an Italian rice paddy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lagomarsino, Alessandra; Agnelli, Allessandroelio; Pastorelli, Roberta; Pallara, Grazia; Rasse, Daniel; Silvennoinen, Hanna

    2015-04-01

    The water management system of cultivated soils is one of the most important factors affecting the respective magnitudes of CH4 and N2O emissions. We hypothesized an effect of past management on soil microbial communities and greenhouse gas (GHG) production potential The objective of this study were to i) assess the influence of water management history on GHG production potential and microbial community structure, ii) relate GHGs fluxes to the microbial communities involved in CH4 and N2O production inhabiting the different soils. Moreover, the influence of different soil conditioning procedures on GHG potential fluxes was determined. To reach this aim, four soils with different history of water management were compared, using dried and sieved, pre-incubated and fresh soils. Soil conditioning procedures strongly affected GHG emissions potential: drying and sieving determined the highest emission rates and the largest differences among soil types, probably through the release of labile substrates. Conversely, soil pre-incubation tended to homogenize and level out the differences among soils. Microbial communities composition drove GHG emissions potential and was affected by past management. The water management history strongly affected microbial communities structure and the specific microbial pattern of each soil was strictly linked to the gas (CH4 or N2O) emitted. Aerobic soil stimulated N2O peaks, given a possible major contribution of coupled nitrification/denitrification process. As expected, CH4 was lower in aerobic soil, which showed a less abundant archeal community. This work added evidences to support the hypothesis of an adaptation of microbial communities to past land management that reflected in the potential GHG fluxes.

  15. Climate impacts on bird and plant communities from altered animal-plant interactions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martin, Thomas E.; Maron, John L.

    2012-03-01

    The contribution of climate change to declining populations of organisms remains a question of outstanding concern. Much attention to declining populations has focused on how changing climate drives phenological mismatches between animals and their food. Effects of climate on plant communities may provide an alternative, but particularly powerful, influence on animal populations because plants provide their habitats. Here, we show that abundances of deciduous trees and associated songbirds have declined with decreasing snowfall over 22 years of study in montane Arizona, USA. We experimentally tested the hypothesis that declining snowfall indirectly influences plants and associated birds by allowing greater over-winter herbivory by elk (Cervus canadensis). We excluded elk from one of two paired snowmelt drainages (10 ha per drainage), and replicated this paired experiment across three distant canyons. Over six years, we reversed multi-decade declines in plant and bird populations by experimentally inhibiting heavy winter herbivory associated with declining snowfall. Moreover, predation rates on songbird nests decreased in exclosures, despite higher abundances of nest predators, demonstrating the over-riding importance of habitat quality to avian recruitment. Thus, our results suggest that climate impacts on plant-animal interactions can have forceful ramifying effects on plants, birds, and ecological interactions.

  16. Rural community and physician perspectives on resource factors affecting physician retention.

    PubMed

    Conte, S J; Imershein, A W; Magill, M K

    1992-01-01

    This study was undertaken to investigate issues affecting recruitment and retention of physicians in a rural north Florida community. As part of this investigation, the authors examined the relevant context of medical care and physician practice for this community. The results identify a number of problems not uncommon in rural communities and supported by previous literature. Physicians felt isolated, dissatisfied with job security and professional autonomy, and frustrated by a lack of cooperation among the major providers of health care. More importantly, upon closer scrutiny, some of the most appealing characteristics of this community for incoming physicians become its weaknesses. Access to a regional medical center nearby and nearness to a metropolitan area were both cited as positive attributes to their choice of practice location. In this community, however, these appear to have resulted in a highly divided medical system. Many of the employed and insured patients in the county prefer to get their medical care in the nearby city. At the same time three separate entities within the community--a federally funded community health center, a county public health unit, and a community hospital--are expected to provide services for the poor and uninsured. The resulting lack of a comprehensive approach to provision of services contributes significantly to the dissatisfaction among providers and to their ultimate retention. PMID:10121547

  17. Landfill impacts on aquatic plant communities and tissue metal levels at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

    SciTech Connect

    Stewart, P.M.; Scribailo, R.W.

    1995-12-31

    One important environmental issue facing Northwest Indiana and park management at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (INOU) is the contamination of water, sediment and biota by persistent toxic substances. Aquatic plant communities were used to evaluate the water/organismal quality of the Grand Calumet Lagoons and two dunal ponds (pannes) at Gary, Indiana, which are partially located in the Miller Woods Unit of INDU. The lagoon is divided into several areas, the USX Lagoon is located between sections of a large industrial landfill (steel slag and other material). The Marquette Lagoon is located further away from the landfill and tends to be upgradient from the landfill. The West Panne (WP) is located next to the landfill, while the East Panne (EP) is separated from the landfill and the WP by a high dune ridge. Plant populations shift toward fewer submergent aquatics, with a higher abundance of tolerant taxa in the western section of the USX Lagoon. These differences are supported by cluster analysis. Heavy metals in root tissue of Scirpus americanus and other plant species from the pannes were significantly higher than those found in shoots. Shoot tissue metal levels in plants collected from the lagoons were higher than root tissue metal levels. The WP site has the most elevated tissue metal levels for most metals assayed, while the EP site shows similar contaminant levels. The plant distributions observed and tissue metal concentrations measured suggest that INDU`s aquatic plant community has been affected by the industrial landfill and that there exists a hydrological connection between the ponds.

  18. Plant Trait Assembly Affects Superiority of Grazer's Foraging Strategies in Species-Rich Grasslands

    PubMed Central

    Mládek, Jan; Mládková, Pavla; Hejcmanová, Pavla; Dvorský, Miroslav; Pavlu, Vilém; De Bello, Francesco; Duchoslav, Martin; Hejcman, Michal; Pakeman, Robin J.

    2013-01-01

    Background Current plant – herbivore interaction models and experiments with mammalian herbivores grazing plant monocultures show the superiority of a maximizing forage quality strategy (MFQ) over a maximizing intake strategy (MI). However, there is a lack of evidence whether grazers comply with the model predictions under field conditions. Methodology/Findings We assessed diet selection of sheep (Ovis aries) using plant functional traits in productive mesic vs. low-productivity dry species-rich grasslands dominated by resource-exploitative vs. resource-conservative species respectively. Each grassland type was studied in two replicates for two years. We investigated the first grazing cycle in a set of 288 plots with a diameter of 30 cm, i.e. the size of sheep feeding station. In mesic grasslands, high plot defoliation was associated with community weighted means of leaf traits referring to high forage quality, i.e. low leaf dry matter content (LDMC) and high specific leaf area (SLA), with a high proportion of legumes and the most with high community weighted mean of forage indicator value. In contrast in dry grasslands, high community weighted mean of canopy height, an estimate of forage quantity, was the best predictor of plot defoliation. Similar differences in selection on forage quality vs. quantity were detected within plots. Sheep selected plants with higher forage indicator values than the plot specific community weighted mean of forage indicator value in mesic grasslands whereas taller plants were selected in dry grasslands. However, at this scale sheep avoided legumes and plants with higher SLA, preferred plants with higher LDMC while grazing plants with higher forage indicator values in mesic grasslands. Conclusions Our findings indicate that MFQ appears superior over MI only in habitats with a predominance of resource-exploitative species. Furthermore, plant functional traits (LDMC, SLA, nitrogen fixer) seem to be helpful correlates of forage quality

  19. Linkage between bacterial and fungal rhizosphere communities in hydrocarbon-contaminated soils is related to plant phylogeny

    PubMed Central

    Bell, Terrence H; El-Din Hassan, Saad; Lauron-Moreau, Aurélien; Al-Otaibi, Fahad; Hijri, Mohamed; Yergeau, Etienne; St-Arnaud, Marc

    2014-01-01

    Phytoremediation is an attractive alternative to excavating and chemically treating contaminated soils. Certain plants can directly bioremediate by sequestering and/or transforming pollutants, but plants may also enhance bioremediation by promoting contaminant-degrading microorganisms in soils. In this study, we used high-throughput sequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA genes and the fungal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region to compare the community composition of 66 soil samples from the rhizosphere of planted willows (Salix spp.) and six unplanted control samples at the site of a former petrochemical plant. The Bray–Curtis distance between bacterial communities across willow cultivars was significantly correlated with the distance between fungal communities in uncontaminated and moderately contaminated soils but not in highly contaminated (HC) soils (>2000 mg kg−1 hydrocarbons). The mean dissimilarity between fungal, but not bacterial, communities from the rhizosphere of different cultivars increased substantially in the HC blocks. This divergence was partly related to high fungal sensitivity to hydrocarbon contaminants, as demonstrated by reduced Shannon diversity, but also to a stronger influence of willows on fungal communities. Abundance of the fungal class Pezizomycetes in HC soils was directly related to willow phylogeny, with Pezizomycetes dominating the rhizosphere of a monophyletic cluster of cultivars, while remaining in low relative abundance in other soils. This has implications for plant selection in phytoremediation, as fungal associations may affect the health of introduced plants and the success of co-inoculated microbial strains. An integrated understanding of the relationships between fungi, bacteria and plants will enable the design of treatments that specifically promote effective bioremediating communities. PMID:23985744

  20. Effects of flooding, salinity and herbivory on coastal plant communities, Louisiana, United States

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gough, L.; Grace, J.B.

    1998-01-01

    Flooding and salinity stress are predicted to increase in coastal Louisiana as relative sea level rise (RSLR) continues in the Gulf of Mexico region. Although wetland plant species are adapted to these stressors, questions persist as to how marshes may respond to changed abiotic variables caused by RSLR, and how herbivory by native and non-native mammals may affect this response. The effects of altered flooding and salinity on coastal marsh communities were examined in two field experiments that simultaneously manipulated herbivore pressure. Marsh sods subjected to increased or decreased flooding (by lowering or raising sods, respectively), and increased or decreased salinity (by reciprocally transplanting sods between a brackish and fresh marsh), were monitored inside and outside mammalian herbivore exclosures for three growing seasons. Increased flooding stress reduced species numbers and biomass; alleviating flooding stress did not significantly alter species numbers while community biomass increased. Increased salinity reduced species numbers and biomass, more so if herbivores were present. Decreasing salinity had an unexpected effect: herbivores selectively consumed plants transplanted from the higher-salinity site. In plots protected from herbivory, decreased salinity had little effect on species numbers or biomass, but community composition changed. Overall, herbivore pressure further reduced species richness and biomass under conditions of increased flooding and increased salinity, supporting other findings that coastal marsh species can tolerate increasingly stressful conditions unless another factor, e.g., herbivory, is also present. Also, species dropped out of more stressful treatments much faster than they were added when stresses were alleviated, likely due to restrictions on dispersal. The rate at which plant communities will shift as a result of changed abiotic variables will determine if marshes remain viable when subjected to RSLR.

  1. Solanum malacoxylon: a toxic plant which affects animal calcium metabolism.

    PubMed

    Boland, R L

    1988-12-01

    The "enteque seco" is a disease of calcinosis, i.e., pathological deposition of calcium phosphate in soft tissues, which occurs in grazing cattle in Argentina and is of considerable economic importance. The ingestion of leaves of Solanum malacoxylon has been identified as the cause of the disease. Hypercalcemia and/or hyperphosphatemia and mineralization of the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems are usually seen in bovines or experimental animals exposed to this plant. The symptoms of the disease resemble those of vitamin D intoxication. In agreement with these observations, a glycoside derivative of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3), the hormonally active form of vitamin D in animals, has been identified as the toxic principle of S. malacoxylon. Glycoside conjugates of its precursors, 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 and vitamin D3, may also be present. Recent studies indicate that the plant factor is modified in the rumen of bovines through cleavage of the glycosidic linkage and further conversion of the released 1,25(OH)2D3 to a more polar metabolite, possibly 1,24,25-trihydroxyvitamin D3. Excess free 1,25(OH)2D3 may alter extracellular and intracellular Ca homeostasis in intoxicated animals through a receptor-mediated mechanism and activation of membrane Ca channels. In addition, 1,24,25(OH)3D3 may potentiate the effects of 1,25(OH)2D3 on intestinal Ca transport. PMID:3077267

  2. Humans as long-distance dispersers of rural plant communities.

    PubMed

    Auffret, Alistair G; Cousins, Sara A O

    2013-01-01

    Humans are known for their capacity to disperse organisms long distances. Long-distance dispersal can be important for species threatened by habitat destruction, but research into human-mediated dispersal is often focused upon few and/or invasive species. Here we use citizen science to identify the capacity for humans to disperse seeds on their clothes and footwear from a known species pool in a valuable habitat, allowing for an assessment of the fraction and types of species dispersed by humans in an alternative context. We collected material from volunteers cutting 48 species-rich meadows throughout Sweden. We counted 24,354 seeds of 197 species, representing 34% of the available species pool, including several rare and protected species. However, 71 species (36%) are considered invasive elsewhere in the world. Trait analysis showed that seeds with hooks or other appendages were more likely to be dispersed by humans, as well as those with a persistent seed bank. More activity in a meadow resulted in more dispersal, both in terms of species and representation of the source communities. Average potential dispersal distances were measured at 13 km. We consider humans capable seed dispersers, transporting a significant proportion of the plant communities in which they are active, just like more traditional vectors such as livestock. When rural populations were larger, people might have been regular and effective seed dispersers, and the net rural-urban migration resulting in a reduction in humans in the landscape may have exacerbated the dispersal failure evident in declining plant populations today. With the fragmentation of habitat and changes in land use resulting from agricultural change, and the increased mobility of humans worldwide, the dispersal role of humans may have shifted from providers of regular local and landscape dispersal to providers of much rarer long-distance and regional dispersal, and international invasion. PMID:23658770

  3. Microbial community composition as affected by dryland cropping systems and tillage in a semiarid sandy soil

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    This study evaluated microbial communities of soil (0-10 cm) as affected by dryland cropping systems under different tillage practices after 5 years. The soil is an Olton sandy loam (Fine, mixed, superactive, thermic Aridic Paleustolls) with an average of 16.4% clay, 67.6% sand and 0.65 g kg-1 of O...

  4. Factors Affecting Academic Outcomes of Underprepared Community College Students. AIR 1999 Annual Forum Paper.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Zhao, J. Charles

    This study examined the factors affecting the four-year academic performance and outcomes of 1,249 underprepared students at Prince George's Community College (Maryland). The fall 1994 freshmen required remediation in reading, writing, or mathematics. Subjects were defined as achievers if, by summer 1998, they had earned a degree or certificate…

  5. An Analysis of Multiple Factors Affecting Retention in Web-Based Community College Courses

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Doherty, William

    2006-01-01

    The current study examined four factors affecting retention in Web-based community college courses. Analyses were conducted on student demographics, student learning styles, course communication and external factors. The results suggest that Web-based courses are more attractive to busy students who are also more likely to fail or drop the course.…

  6. Death and Grief: A Plan for Principals to Deal with Tragedy Affecting the School Community.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Powers, Harry L.

    1987-01-01

    Spurred by the "Challenger" space shuttle tragedy, this article provides principals with guidelines for informing individual students about family deaths and dealing with grief affecting the entire school community. Thorough preparation can reduce intensity and misconceived actions associated with grief and demonstrate administrative leadership.…

  7. Minimum Wage and Community College Attendance: How Economic Circumstances Affect Educational Choices

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Williams, Betsy

    2013-01-01

    How do changes in minimum wages affect community college enrollment and employment? In particular, among adults without associate's or bachelor's degrees who may earn near the minimum wage, do endowment effects of a higher minimum wage encourage school attendance? Among adults without associate's or bachelor's degrees who may earn near the minimum…

  8. Schools, Families, and Communities Affecting the Dropout Rate: Implications and Strategies for Family Counselors

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ziomek-Daigle, Jolie

    2010-01-01

    Serious social and economic consequences affect the local and national levels when students drop out of school. Research has shown that collaboration among schools, families, and communities in the academic progression of students can decrease their drop out probability. The author presents findings related to a qualitative study conducted in…

  9. Spatial heterogeneity of plant-soil feedback affects root interactions and interspecific competition.

    PubMed

    Hendriks, Marloes; Ravenek, Janneke M; Smit-Tiekstra, Annemiek E; van der Paauw, Jan Willem; de Caluwe, Hannie; van der Putten, Wim H; de Kroon, Hans; Mommer, Liesje

    2015-08-01

    Plant-soil feedback is receiving increasing interest as a factor influencing plant competition and species coexistence in grasslands. However, we do not know how spatial distribution of plant-soil feedback affects plant below-ground interactions. We investigated the way in which spatial heterogeneity of soil biota affects competitive interactions in grassland plant species. We performed a pairwise competition experiment combined with heterogeneous distribution of soil biota using four grassland plant species and their soil biota. Patches were applied as quadrants of 'own' and 'foreign' soils from all plant species in all pairwise combinations. To evaluate interspecific root responses, species-specific root biomass was quantified using real-time PCR. All plant species suffered negative soil feedback, but strength was species-specific, reflected by a decrease in root growth in own compared with foreign soil. Reduction in root growth in own patches by the superior plant competitor provided opportunities for inferior competitors to increase root biomass in these patches. These patterns did not cascade into above-ground effects during our experiment. We show that root distributions can be determined by spatial heterogeneity of soil biota, affecting plant below-ground competitive interactions. Thus, spatial heterogeneity of soil biota may contribute to plant species coexistence in species-rich grasslands. PMID:25871977

  10. Habitats as Complex Odour Environments: How Does Plant Diversity Affect Herbivore and Parasitoid Orientation?

    PubMed Central

    Wäschke, Nicole; Hardge, Kristin; Hancock, Christine; Hilker, Monika; Obermaier, Elisabeth; Meiners, Torsten

    2014-01-01

    Plant diversity is known to affect success of host location by pest insects, but its effect on olfactory orientation of non-pest insect species has hardly been addressed. First, we tested in laboratory experiments the hypothesis that non-host plants, which increase odour complexity in habitats, affect the host location ability of herbivores and parasitoids. Furthermore, we recorded field data of plant diversity in addition to herbivore and parasitoid abundance at 77 grassland sites in three different regions in Germany in order to elucidate whether our laboratory results reflect the field situation. As a model system we used the herb Plantago lanceolata, the herbivorous weevil Mecinus pascuorum, and its larval parasitoid Mesopolobus incultus. The laboratory bioassays revealed that both the herbivorous weevil and its larval parasitoid can locate their host plant and host via olfactory cues even in the presence of non-host odour. In a newly established two-circle olfactometer, the weeviĺs capability to detect host plant odour was not affected by odours from non-host plants. However, addition of non-host plant odours to host plant odour enhanced the weeviĺs foraging activity. The parasitoid was attracted by a combination of host plant and host volatiles in both the absence and presence of non-host plant volatiles in a Y-tube olfactometer. In dual choice tests the parasitoid preferred the blend of host plant and host volatiles over its combination with non-host plant volatiles. In the field, no indication was found that high plant diversity disturbs host (plant) location by the weevil and its parasitoid. In contrast, plant diversity was positively correlated with weevil abundance, whereas parasitoid abundance was independent of plant diversity. Therefore, we conclude that weevils and parasitoids showed the sensory capacity to successfully cope with complex vegetation odours when searching for hosts. PMID:24416354

  11. Driving factors of the communities of phytophagous and predatory mites in a physic nut plantation and spontaneous plants associated.

    PubMed

    Cruz, Wilton P; Sarmento, Renato A; Teodoro, Adenir V; Neto, Marçal P; Ignacio, Maíra

    2013-08-01

    Seasonal changes in climate and plant diversity are known to affect the population dynamics of both pests and natural enemies within agroecosystems. In Brazil, spontaneous plants are usually tolerated in small-scale physic nut plantations over the year, which in turn may mediate interactions between pests and natural enemies within this agroecosystem. Here, we aimed to access the influence of seasonal variation of abiotic (temperature, relative humidity and rainfall) and biotic (diversity of spontaneous plants, overall richness and density of mites) factors on the communities of phytophagous and predatory mites found in a physic nut plantation and its associated spontaneous plants. Mite sampling was monthly conducted in dicotyledonous and monocotyledonous leaves of spontaneous plants as well as in physic nut shrubs over an entire year. In the dry season there was a higher abundance of phytophagous mites (Tenuipalpidae, Tarsonemidae and Tetranychidae) on spontaneous plants than on physic nut shrubs, while predatory mites (Phytoseiidae) showed the opposite pattern. The overall density of mites on spontaneous plants increased with relative humidity and diversity of spontaneous plants. Rainfall was the variable that most influenced the density of mites inhabiting physic nut shrubs. Agroecosystems comprising spontaneous plants associated with crops harbour a rich mite community including species of different trophic levels which potentially benefit natural pest control due to increased diversity and abundance of natural enemies. PMID:23417700

  12. Mountain pastures of Qilian Shan: plant communities, grazing impact and degradation status (Gansu province, NW China)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baranova, Alina; Schickhoff, Udo; Shunli, Wang; Ming, Jin

    2015-04-01

    Qilian Mountains are the water source region for the low arid reaches of HeiHe river basin (Gansu province, NW China). Due to overstocking and overgrazing during the last decades adverse ecological ef¬fects, in particular on soil properties and hydrological cycle, are to be expected in growing land areas. Vegetation cover is very important to prevent erosion process and to sustain stable subsurface runoff and ground water flow. The aim of this research is to identify plant communities, detecting grazing-induced and spatially differentiated changes in vegetation patterns, and to evaluate status of pasture land degradation.The study area is located in the spring/autumn pasture area of South Qilian Mountains between 2600-3600 m a.s.l., covering five main vegetation types: spruce forest, alpine shrubland, shrubby grassland, mountain grassland, degraded mountain grassland. In order to analyze gradual changes in vegetation patterns along altitudinal and grazing gradients and to classify related plant communities, quantitative and qualitative relevé data were collected (coverage, species composition, abundance of unpalatable plants, plant functional types, etc.). Vegetation was classified using hierarchical cluster analyses. Indirect Detrended Correspondence Analysis (DCA) was used to analyze variation in relationships between vegetation, environmental factors, and grazing impact. According to DCA results, distribution of the plant communities was strongly affected by altitude and exposition. Grassland floristic gradients showed greater dependence on grazing impact, which correlated contrarily with soil organic content, soil moisture and pH. Highest numbers of species richness and alpha diversity were detected in alpine shrubland vegetation type. Comparing the monitoring data for the recent nine years, a trend of deterioration, species successions and shift in dominant species becomes obvious. Species indicating degrading site environmental conditions were identified

  13. Succession Stages of Tundra Plant Communities Following Wildfire Disturbance in Arctic Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Breen, A. L.; Hollingsworth, T. N.; Mack, M. C.; Jones, B. M.

    2015-12-01

    Rapid climate change is affecting climate-sensitive disturbance regimes throughout the world. In particular, the impacts of climate change on Arctic disturbance regimes are poorly understood because landscape-scale disturbances are infrequent or occur in remote localities. Wildfire in Arctic Alaska is presently limited by ignition source and favorable burn weather. With rapid climate change, a lengthening growing season, and subsequent increase in plant biomass and productivity, wildfire frequency and annual area burned in tundra ecosystems is expected to increase over the next century. Yet, post-fire tundra vegetation succession is inadequately characterized except at a few point locations. We identify succession stages of tussock tundra communities following wildfire using a chronosequence of 65 relevés in 10 tundra fire scars (1971-2011) and nearby unburned tundra from sites on the Seward Peninsula and northern foothills of the Brooks Range. We used the Braun-Blanquét approach to classify plant communities, and applied nonmetric multidimentional scaling (NMDS) to identify ecological gradients underlying community differentiation. The ordination revealed a clear differentiation between unburned and burned tundra communities. Ecological gradients, reflected by ordination axes, correspond to fire history (e.g., time since last fire, number of times burned, burn severity) and a complex productivity gradient. Post-fire species richness is less than unburned tundra; primarily reflected as a decrease in lichen species and turnover of bryophyte species immediately post-fire. Species richness of grasses increases post-fire and is greatest in communities that burned more than once in the past 30 years. Shrub cover and total aboveground biomass are greatest in repeat burn sites. We review and discuss our results focusing on the implications of a changing tundra fire regime, its effect on vegetation succession trajectories, and subsequent rates of carbon sequestration and

  14. [Microbial community of municipal discharges in a sewage treatment plant].

    PubMed

    Xu, Ai-ling; Ren, Jie; Song, Zhi-wen; Wu, Deng-deng; Xia, Yan

    2014-09-01

    There are numerous microorganisms, especial pathogens, in the discharges. Those microorganisms are discharged into the river and sea through sewage outfalls, which results in possible health risks to coastal populations. And more attention should be paid to municipal discharges in developing countries. This study investigated the microbial community in the discharges by constructing 16S rDNA clones library and using the PCR-RFLP technology. Phylogenetic analysis of bacteria in municipal discharges showed that there were 59 species, which were divided into 11 classes. Proteobacteria accounted for 85% of all the bacteria, of which β-Proteobacteria and γ- Proteobacteria were the dominant classes. Bacteria in the waste water treating process had important influence on microbial community in municipal discharges, therefore, municipal sewage plant should choose the process according to the characteristics and purifying capacity of the receiving water body. Legionella spp. accounted for approximately 10% , the Legionnaires' disease resulted from which might be of top risk for the residents in the surrounding of the municipal discharges outfall and receiving water. Dechloromonas aromatica could make use of chlorite ( CIO - ) , which led to its survival from chlorine disinfection, and it alerted us that several disinfection methods should be used together to ensure the bacterial safety of municipal discharges. Coliform group and other pathogenic bacteria, such as Salmonella spp. , Shigella spp. , Escherichia coli, Vibrio cholerae, Staphylococcus aureus, Arcobacter spp. were not detected in this study, and it indicated that we should do more work and use more methods to investigate the perniciousness of discharges. PMID:25518668

  15. Basic principles and ecological consequences of changing water regimes: riparian plant communities.

    PubMed

    Nilsson, Christer; Svedmark, Magnus

    2002-10-01

    Recent research has emphasized the importance of riparian ecosystems as centers of biodiversity and links between terrestrial and aquatic systems. Riparian ecosystems also belong among the environments that are most disturbed by humans and are in need of restoration to maintain biodiversity and ecological integrity. To facilitate the completion of this task, researchers have an important function to communicate their knowledge to policy-makers and managers. This article presents some fundamental qualities of riparian systems, articulated as three basic principles. The basic principles proposed are: (1) The flow regime determines the successional evolution of riparian plant communities and ecological processes. (2) The riparian corridor serves as a pathway for redistribution of organic and inorganic material that influences plant communities along rivers. (3) The riparian system is a transition zone between land and water ecosystems and is disproportionately plant species-rich when compared to surrounding ecosystems. Translating these principles into management directives requires more information about how much water a river needs and when and how, i.e., flow variables described by magnitude, frequency, timing, duration, and rate of change. It also requires information about how various groups of organisms are affected by habitat fragmentation, especially in terms of their dispersal. Finally, it requires information about how effects of hydrologic alterations vary between different types of riparian systems and with the location within the watershed. PMID:12481914

  16. Species Composition of Bacterial Communities Influences Attraction of Mosquitoes to Experimental Plant Infusions

    PubMed Central

    Ponnusamy, Loganathan; Wesson, Dawn M.; Arellano, Consuelo; Schal, Coby

    2013-01-01

    In the container habitats of immature mosquitoes, catabolism of plant matter and other organic detritus by microbial organisms produces metabolites that mediate the oviposition behavior of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Public health agencies commonly use oviposition traps containing plant infusions for monitoring populations of these mosquito species, which are global vectors of dengue viruses. In laboratory experiments, gravid females exhibited significantly diminished responses to experimental infusions made with sterilized white oak leaves, showing that attractive odorants were produced through microbial metabolic activity. We evaluated effects of infusion concentration and fermentation time on attraction of gravid females to infusions made from senescent bamboo or white oak leaves. We used plate counts of heterotrophic bacteria, total counts of 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole-stained bacterial cells, and 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) polymerase chain reaction–denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) to show that changes in the relative abundance of bacteria and the species composition of bacterial communities influenced attraction of gravid A. aegypti and A. albopictus mosquitoes to infusions. DGGE profiles showed that bacterial species composition in infusions changed over time. Principal components analysis indicated that oviposition responses to plant infusions were in general most affected by bacterial diversity and abundance. Analysis of bacterial 16S rDNA sequences derived from DGGE bands revealed that Proteo-bacteria (Alpha-, Beta-, Delta-, and Gamma-) were the predominant bacteria detected in both types of plant infusions. Gravid A. aegypti were significantly attracted to a mix of 14 bacterial species cultured from bamboo leaf infusion. The oviposition response of gravid mosquitoes to plant infusions is strongly influenced by abundance and diversity of bacterial species, which in turn is affected by plant species, leaf biomass, and fermentation

  17. Climate impacts on bird and plant communities from altered animal-plant interactions

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Martin, Thomas E.; Maron, John L.

    2012-01-01

    The contribution of climate change to declining populations of organisms remains a question of outstanding concern. Much attention to declining populations has focused on how changing climate drives phenological mismatches between animals and their food. Effects of climate on plant communities may provide an alternative, but particularly powerful, influence on animal populations because plants provide their habitats. Here, we show that abundances of deciduous trees and associated songbirds have declined with decreasing snowfall over 22 years of study in montane Arizona, USA. We experimentally tested the hypothesis that declining snowfall indirectly influences plants and associated birds by allowing greater over-winter herbivory by elk (Cervus canadensis). We excluded elk from one of two paired snowmelt drainages (10 ha per drainage), and replicated this paired experiment across three distant canyons. Over six years, we reversed multi-decade declines in plant and bird populations by experimentally inhibiting heavy winter herbivory associated with declining snowfall. Moreover, predation rates on songbird nests decreased in exclosures, despite higher abundances of nest predators, demonstrating the over-riding importance of habitat quality to avian recruitment. Thus, our results suggest that climate impacts on plant–animal interactions can have forceful ramifying effects on plants, birds, and ecological interactions.

  18. Shifts in root-associated microbial communities of Typha latifolia growing in naphthenic acids and relationship to plant health.

    PubMed

    Phillips, Lori A; Armstrong, Sarah A; Headley, John V; Greer, Charles W; Germida, James J

    2010-01-01

    Naphthenic acids (NAs) are a complex mixture of organic acid compounds released during the extraction of crude oil from oil sands operations. The accumulation of toxic NAs in tailings pond water (TPW) is of significant environmental concern, and phytoremediation using constructed wetlands is one remediation option being assessed. Since root-associated microorganisms are an important factor during phytoremediation of organic compounds, this study investigated the impact of NAs on the microbial communities associated with the macrophyte Typha latifolia (cattail). Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis revealed that the impact of NAs on microbial communities was niche dependent, with endophytic communities being the most stable and bulk water communities being the least stable. The type of NA used was significant to microbial response, with commercial NAs causing greater adverse changes than TPW NAs. In general, plant beneficial bacteria such as diazotrophs were favoured in cattails grown in TPW NAs, while potentially deleterious bacteria such as denitrifying Dechlorospirillum species increased in commercial NA treatments. These findings suggest that NAs may affect plant health by impacting root-associated microbial communities. A better understanding of these impacts may allow researchers to optimize those microbial communities that support plant health, and thus further optimize wetland treatment systems. PMID:21166345

  19. Soil phosphorus depletion and shifts in plant communities change bacterial community structure in a long-term grassland management trial.

    PubMed

    Adair, Karen L; Wratten, Steve; Lear, Gavin

    2013-06-01

    Agricultural systems rely on healthy soils and their sustainability requires understanding the long-term impacts of agricultural practices on soils, including microbial communities. We examined the impact of 17 years of land management on soil bacterial communities in a New Zealand randomized-block pasture trial. Significant variation in bacterial community structure related to mowing and plant biomass removal, while nitrogen fertilizer had no effect. Changes in soil chemistry and legume abundance described 52% of the observed variation in the bacterial community structure. Legumes (Trifolium species) were absent in unmanaged plots but increased in abundance with management intensity; 11% of the variation in soil bacterial community structure was attributed to this shift in the plant community. Olsen P explained 10% of the observed heterogeneity, which is likely due to persistent biomass removal resulting in P limitation; Olsen P was significantly lower in plots with biomass removed (14 mg kg(-1) ± 1.3SE) compared with plots that were not mown, or where biomass was left after mowing (32 mg kg(-1) ± 1.6SE). Our results suggest that removal of plant biomass and associated phosphorus, as well as shifts in the plant community, have greater long-term impacts on soil bacterial community structure than application of nitrogen fertilizers. PMID:23754721

  20. Role of invasive Melilotus officinalis in two native plant communities

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Van Riper, Laura C.; Larson, Diane L.

    2009-01-01

    This study examines the impact of the exotic nitrogen-fixing legume Melilotus officinalis (L.) Lam. on native and exotic species cover in two Great Plains ecosystems in Badlands National Park, South Dakota. Melilotus is still widely planted and its effects on native ecosystems are not well studied. Melilotus could have direct effects on native plants, such as through competition or facilitation. Alternatively, Melilotus may have indirect effects on natives, e.g., by favoring exotic species which in turn have a negative effect on native species. This study examined these interactions across a 4-year period in two contrasting vegetation types: Badlands sparse vegetation and western wheatgrass (Pascopyrum smithii) mixed-grass prairie. Structural equation models were used to analyze the pathways through which Melilotus, native species, and other exotic species interact over a series of 2-year time steps. Melilotus can affect native and exotic species both in the current year and in the years after its death (a lag effect). A lag effect is possible because the death of a Melilotus plant can leave an open, potentially nitrogen-enriched site on the landscape. The results showed that the relationship between Melilotus and native and exotic species varied depending on the habitat and the year. In Badlands sparse vegetation, there was a consistent, strong, and positive relationship between Melilotus cover and native and exotic species cover suggesting that Melilotus is acting as a nurse plant and facilitating the growth of other species. In contrast, in western wheatgrass prairie, Melilotus was acting as a weak competitor and had no consistent effect on other species. In both habitats, there was little evidence for a direct lag effect of Melilotus on other species. Together, these results suggest both facilitative and competitive roles for Melilotus, depending on the vegetation type it invades.

  1. 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...

  2. Reassessment of selected factors affecting siting of Nuclear Power Plants

    SciTech Connect

    Davis, R.E.; Hanson, A.L.; Mubayi, V.; Nourbakhsh, H.P.

    1997-02-01

    Brookhaven National Laboratory has performed a series of probabilistic consequence assessment calculations for nuclear reactor siting. This study takes into account recent insights into severe accident source terms and examines consequences in a risk based format consistent with the quantitative health objectives (QHOs) of the NRC`s Safety Goal Policy. Simplified severe accident source terms developed in this study are based on the risk insights of NUREG-1150. The results of the study indicate that both the quantity of radioactivity released in a severe accident as well as the likelihood of a release are lower than those predicted in earlier studies. The accident risks using the simplified source terms are examined at a series of generic plant sites, that vary in population distribution, meteorological conditions, and exclusion area boundary distances. Sensitivity calculations are performed to evaluate the effects of emergency protective action assumptions on the risk of prompt fatality and latent cancers fatality, and population relocation. The study finds that based on the new source terms the prompt and latent fatality risks at all generic sites meet the QHOs of the NRC`s Safety Goal Policy by margins ranging from one to more than three orders of magnitude. 4 refs., 17 figs., 24 tabs.

  3. Elevated atmospheric CO2 levels affect community structure of rice root-associated bacteria

    PubMed Central

    Okubo, Takashi; Liu, Dongyan; Tsurumaru, Hirohito; Ikeda, Seishi; Asakawa, Susumu; Tokida, Takeshi; Tago, Kanako; Hayatsu, Masahito; Aoki, Naohiro; Ishimaru, Ken; Ujiie, Kazuhiro; Usui, Yasuhiro; Nakamura, Hirofumi; Sakai, Hidemitsu; Hayashi, Kentaro; Hasegawa, Toshihiro; Minamisawa, Kiwamu

    2015-01-01

    A number of studies have shown that elevated atmospheric CO2 ([CO2]) affects rice yields and grain quality. However, the responses of root-associated bacteria to [CO2] elevation have not been characterized in a large-scale field study. We conducted a free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) experiment (ambient + 200 μmol.mol−1) using three rice cultivars (Akita 63, Takanari, and Koshihikari) and two experimental lines of Koshihikari [chromosome segment substitution and near-isogenic lines (NILs)] to determine the effects of [CO2] elevation on the community structure of rice root-associated bacteria. Microbial DNA was extracted from rice roots at the panicle formation stage and analyzed by pyrosequencing the bacterial 16S rRNA gene to characterize the members of the bacterial community. Principal coordinate analysis of a weighted UniFrac distance matrix revealed that the community structure was clearly affected by elevated [CO2]. The predominant community members at class level were Alpha-, Beta-, and Gamma-proteobacteria in the control (ambient) and FACE plots. The relative abundance of Methylocystaceae, the major methane-oxidizing bacteria in rice roots, tended to decrease with increasing [CO2] levels. Quantitative PCR revealed a decreased copy number of the methane monooxygenase (pmoA) gene and increased methyl coenzyme M reductase (mcrA) in elevated [CO2]. These results suggest elevated [CO2] suppresses methane oxidation and promotes methanogenesis in rice roots; this process affects the carbon cycle in rice paddy fields. PMID:25750640

  4. A shift from exploitation to interference competition with increasing density affects population and community dynamics.

    PubMed

    Holdridge, Erica M; Cuellar-Gempeler, Catalina; terHorst, Casey P

    2016-08-01

    Intraspecific competition influences population and community dynamics and occurs via two mechanisms. Exploitative competition is an indirect effect that occurs through use of a shared resource and depends on resource availability. Interference competition occurs by obstructing access to a resource and may not depend on resource availability. Our study tested whether the strength of interference competition changes with protozoa population density. We grew experimental microcosms of protozoa and bacteria under different combinations of protozoan density and basal resource availability. We then solved a dynamic predator-prey model for parameters of the functional response using population growth rates measured in our experiment. As population density increased, competition shifted from exploitation to interference, and competition was less dependent on resource levels. Surprisingly, the effect of resources was weakest when competition was the most intense. We found that at low population densities, competition was largely exploitative and resource availability had a large effect on population growth rates, but the effect of resources was much weaker at high densities. This shift in competitive mechanism could have implications for interspecific competition, trophic interactions, community diversity, and natural selection. We also tested whether this shift in the mechanism of competition with protozoa density affected the structure of the bacterial prey community. We found that both resources and protozoa density affected the structure of the bacterial prey community, suggesting that competitive mechanism may also affect trophic interactions. PMID:27551386

  5. Hydrocarbon contamination affects deep-sea benthic oxygen uptake and microbial community composition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Main, C. E.; Ruhl, H. A.; Jones, D. O. B.; Yool, A.; Thornton, B.; Mayor, D. J.

    2015-06-01

    Accidental oil well blowouts have the potential to introduce large quantities of hydrocarbons into the deep sea and disperse toxic contaminants to midwater and seafloor areas over ocean-basin scales. Our ability to assess the environmental impacts of these events is currently impaired by our limited understanding of how resident communities are affected. This study examined how two treatment levels of a water accommodated fraction of crude oil affected the oxygen consumption rate of a natural, deep-sea benthic community. We also investigated the resident microbial community's response to hydrocarbon contamination through quantification of phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs) and their stable carbon isotope (δ13C) values. Sediment community oxygen consumption rates increased significantly in response to increasing levels of contamination in the overlying water of oil-treated microcosms, and bacterial biomass decreased significantly in the presence of oil. Multivariate ordination of PLFA compositional (mol%) data showed that the structure of the microbial community changed in response to hydrocarbon contamination. However, treatment effects on the δ13C values of individual PLFAs were not statistically significant. Our data demonstrate that deep-sea benthic microbes respond to hydrocarbon exposure within 36 h.

  6. Allocation, stress tolerance and carbon transport in plants: how does phloem physiology affect plant ecology?

    PubMed

    Savage, Jessica A; Clearwater, Michael J; Haines, Dustin F; Klein, Tamir; Mencuccini, Maurizio; Sevanto, Sanna; Turgeon, Robert; Zhang, Cankui

    2016-04-01

    Despite the crucial role of carbon transport in whole plant physiology and its impact on plant-environment interactions and ecosystem function, relatively little research has tried to examine how phloem physiology impacts plant ecology. In this review, we highlight several areas of active research where inquiry into phloem physiology has increased our understanding of whole plant function and ecological processes. We consider how xylem-phloem interactions impact plant drought tolerance and reproduction, how phloem transport influences carbon allocation in trees and carbon cycling in ecosystems and how phloem function mediates plant relations with insects, pests, microbes and symbiotes. We argue that in spite of challenges that exist in studying phloem physiology, it is critical that we consider the role of this dynamic vascular system when examining the relationship between plants and their biotic and abiotic environment. PMID:26147312

  7. Context matters: Community characteristics and mental health among war-affected youth in Sierra Leone

    PubMed Central

    Betancourt, Theresa S.; McBain, Ryan; Newnham, Elizabeth A.; Brennan, Robert T.

    2013-01-01

    Background Worldwide, over one billion children and adolescents live in war-affected settings. At present, only limited research has investigated linkages between disrupted social ecology and adverse mental health outcomes among war-affected youth. In this study, we examine three community-level characteristics—social disorder and collective efficacy within the community, as reported by caregivers, and perceived stigma as reported by youth—in relation to externalizing behaviors and internalizing symptoms among male and female former child soldiers in post-conflict Sierra Leone. Methods 243 former child soldiers (30% female, mean age at baseline: 16.6 years) and their primary caregivers participated in interviews in 2004 and 2008, as part of a larger prospective cohort study of war-affected youth in Sierra Leone. Two-point growth models were estimated to examine the relationship between community-level characteristics and externalizing and internalizing outcomes across the time points. Results Both social disorder within the community, reported by caregivers, and perceived stigma, reported by youth, positively co-varied with youths’ externalizing and internalizing scores—indicating that higher levels of each at baseline and follow-up were associated with higher levels of mental health problems at both time points (p<0.05). The relationship between collective efficacy and mental health outcomes was non-significant (p>0.05). Conclusions This study offers a rare glimpse into the role that the post-conflict social context plays in shaping mental health among former child soldiers. Results indicate that both social disorder and perceived stigma within the community demonstrate an important relationship to externalizing and internalizing problems among adolescent ex-combatants. Moreover, these relationships persisted over a four-year period of follow up. These results underscore the importance of the post-conflict social environment and the need to develop post

  8. Year-round behaviour of soil microarthropod communities under plant protection product application.

    PubMed

    Vaj, Claudia; Van Gestel, Cornelis A M; Vighi, Marco

    2014-07-01

    The use of plant protection products (PPPs) in agro-environments can lead to undesired exposure of non-target organisms in non-target compartments. A year-round field survey was conducted in a vineyard in Northern Italy, for monitoring the changes in the structure of soil microarthropod communities under the application of PPPs, focusing on springtails and mites, both inside and 4 and 10 m outside the vineyard. Exposure to PPPs was estimated as time-weighted average soil concentrations. The fluctuations in the abundances of the different organisms after the application of PPPs, especially insecticides, were recorded. A recovery in abundances was observed at the end of the productive season outside the field and at the beginning of the next spring within the vineyard. Using multivariate statistical tools, the behaviour of each taxon in relation to the stressors was assessed. Some organisms were affected by the stressors, while others were favoured because of low vulnerability to PPPs and the indirect effect of the absence of other taxa. The principal response curves (PRC) method was the most sensitive tool for assessing PPP effects on soil arthropod communities. Strong differences were evident in the structure of the communities inside and outside the vineyard, with the communities sampled 4 and 10 m outside the vineyard being fairly similar, the latter considered as control. The role of physical stressors on community composition is recognised. However, chemical stressors, and in particular PPP exposure seemed to have larger effects on structural and functional characteristics of soil arthropod communities than physical stressors. PMID:24671560

  9. 40 CFR 230.75 - Actions affecting plant and animal populations.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-07-01

    ... populations. 230.75 Section 230.75 Protection of Environment ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (CONTINUED) OCEAN... Actions To Minimize Adverse Effects § 230.75 Actions affecting plant and animal populations. Minimization of adverse effects on populations of plants and animals can be achieved by: (a) Avoiding changes...

  10. 40 CFR 230.75 - Actions affecting plant and animal populations.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-07-01

    ... populations. 230.75 Section 230.75 Protection of Environment ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (CONTINUED) OCEAN... Actions To Minimize Adverse Effects § 230.75 Actions affecting plant and animal populations. Minimization of adverse effects on populations of plants and animals can be achieved by: (a) Avoiding changes...

  11. 40 CFR 230.75 - Actions affecting plant and animal populations.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-07-01

    ... populations. 230.75 Section 230.75 Protection of Environment ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (CONTINUED) OCEAN... Actions To Minimize Adverse Effects § 230.75 Actions affecting plant and animal populations. Minimization of adverse effects on populations of plants and animals can be achieved by: (a) Avoiding changes...

  12. 40 CFR 230.75 - Actions affecting plant and animal populations.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... populations. 230.75 Section 230.75 Protection of Environment ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (CONTINUED) OCEAN... Actions To Minimize Adverse Effects § 230.75 Actions affecting plant and animal populations. Minimization of adverse effects on populations of plants and animals can be achieved by: (a) Avoiding changes...

  13. 40 CFR 230.75 - Actions affecting plant and animal populations.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... populations. 230.75 Section 230.75 Protection of Environment ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (CONTINUED) OCEAN... Actions To Minimize Adverse Effects § 230.75 Actions affecting plant and animal populations. Minimization of adverse effects on populations of plants and animals can be achieved by: (a) Avoiding changes...

  14. Nitrogen and water affect direct and indirect plant systemic induced defense in cotton

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    We tested the affects of nitrogen levels and water availability on the ability of cotton plants to deter feeding by Spodoptera exigua larvae through induction of anti-feedant chemicals by the cotton plant, and to attract the biological control agent, Micropitis crociepes through induction of chemica...

  15. Investigating the Effect of Livestock Grazing and Associated Plant Community Shifts on Carbon and Nutrient Cycling in Alberta, Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hewins, D. B.; Chuan, S.; Stolnikova, E.; Bork, E. W.; Carlyle, C. N.; Chang, S. X.

    2015-12-01

    Grassland ecosystems are ubiquitous across the globe covering an estimated 40 % of Earth's terrestrial landmass. These ecosystems are widely valued for providing forage for domestic livestock and a suite of important ecosystem goods and services including carbon (C) storage. Despite storing more than 30 % of soil C globally, the effect of both livestock grazing and the associated change in plant community structure in response to grazing on C and nutrient cycling remains uncertain. To gain a quantitative understanding of the direct and indirect effects of livestock grazing on C and nutrient cycling, we established study sites at 15 existing site localities with paired long-term grazing (ca. 30 y) and non-grazed treatments (totaling 30 unique plant communities). Our sites were distributed widely across Alberta in three distinct grassland bioclimatic zones allowing us to make comparisons across the broad range of climate variability typical of western Canadian grasslands. In each plant community we decomposed 5 common plant species that are known to increase or decrease in response to grazing pressure, a unique plant community sample, and a cellulose paper control. We measured mass loss, initial lignin, C and N concentrations at 0, 1, 3, 6 and 12 months of field incubation. In addition we assayed hydrolytic and oxidative extracellular enzymes associated with for C (n= 5 hydrolytic; phenoloxidase and peroxidase) and nutrients (i.e. N and P; n=1 ea.) cycling from each litter sample at each collection. Our results suggest that by changing the plant community structure, grazing can affect rates of decomposition and associated biogeochemical cycling by changing plant species and associated litter inputs. Moreover, measures of microbial function are controlled by site-specific conditions (e.g. temperature and precipitation), litter chemistry over the course of our incubation.

  16. Bacterial Communities in Malagasy Soils with Differing Levels of Disturbance Affecting Botanical Diversity

    PubMed Central

    Blasiak, Leah C.; Schmidt, Alex W.; Andriamiarinoro, Honoré; Mulaw, Temesgen; Rasolomampianina, Rado; Applequist, Wendy L.; Birkinshaw, Chris; Rejo-Fienena, Félicitée; Lowry, Porter P.; Schmidt, Thomas M.; Hill, Russell T.

    2014-01-01

    Madagascar is well-known for the exceptional biodiversity of its macro-flora and fauna, but the biodiversity of Malagasy microbial communities remains relatively unexplored. Understanding patterns of bacterial diversity in soil and their correlations with above-ground botanical diversity could influence conservation planning as well as sampling strategies to maximize access to bacterially derived natural products. We present the first detailed description of Malagasy soil bacterial communities from a targeted 16S rRNA gene survey of greater than 290,000 sequences generated using 454 pyrosequencing. Two sampling plots in each of three forest conservation areas were established to represent different levels of disturbance resulting from human impact through agriculture and selective exploitation of trees, as well as from natural impacts of cyclones. In parallel, we performed an in-depth characterization of the total vascular plant morphospecies richness within each plot. The plots representing different levels of disturbance within each forest did not differ significantly in bacterial diversity or richness. Changes in bacterial community composition were largest between forests rather than between different levels of impact within a forest. The largest difference in bacterial community composition with disturbance was observed at the Vohibe forest conservation area, and this difference was correlated with changes in both vascular plant richness and soil pH. These results provide the first survey of Malagasy soil bacterial diversity and establish a baseline of botanical diversity within important conservation areas. PMID:24465484

  17. Bacterial communities in Malagasy soils with differing levels of disturbance affecting botanical diversity.

    PubMed

    Blasiak, Leah C; Schmidt, Alex W; Andriamiarinoro, Honoré; Mulaw, Temesgen; Rasolomampianina, Rado; Applequist, Wendy L; Birkinshaw, Chris; Rejo-Fienena, Félicitée; Lowry, Porter P; Schmidt, Thomas M; Hill, Russell T

    2014-01-01

    Madagascar is well-known for the exceptional biodiversity of its macro-flora and fauna, but the biodiversity of Malagasy microbial communities remains relatively unexplored. Understanding patterns of bacterial diversity in soil and their correlations with above-ground botanical diversity could influence conservation planning as well as sampling strategies to maximize access to bacterially derived natural products. We present the first detailed description of Malagasy soil bacterial communities from a targeted 16S rRNA gene survey of greater than 290,000 sequences generated using 454 pyrosequencing. Two sampling plots in each of three forest conservation areas were established to represent different levels of disturbance resulting from human impact through agriculture and selective exploitation of trees, as well as from natural impacts of cyclones. In parallel, we performed an in-depth characterization of the total vascular plant morphospecies richness within each plot. The plots representing different levels of disturbance within each forest did not differ significantly in bacterial diversity or richness. Changes in bacterial community composition were largest between forests rather than between different levels of impact within a forest. The largest difference in bacterial community composition with disturbance was observed at the Vohibe forest conservation area, and this difference was correlated with changes in both vascular plant richness and soil pH. These results provide the first survey of Malagasy soil bacterial diversity and establish a baseline of botanical diversity within important conservation areas. PMID:24465484

  18. A cocktail of contaminants: how mixtures of pesticides at low concentrations affect aquatic communities.

    PubMed

    Relyea, Rick A

    2009-03-01

    The ubiquity of anthropogenic chemicals in nature poses a challenge to understanding how ecological communities are impacted by them. While we are rapidly gaining an understanding of how individual contaminants affect communities, communities are exposed to suites of contaminants yet investigations of the effects of diverse contaminant mixtures in aquatic communities are rare. I examined how a single application of five insecticides (malathion, carbaryl, chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and endosulfan) and five herbicides (glyphosate, atrazine, acetochlor, metolachlor, and 2,4-D) at low concentrations (2-16 p.p.b.) affected aquatic communities composed of zooplankton, phytoplankton, periphyton, and larval amphibians (gray tree frogs, Hyla versicolor, and leopard frogs, Rana pipiens). Using outdoor mesocosms, I examined each pesticide alone, a mix of insecticides, a mix of herbicides, and a mix of all ten pesticides. Individual pesticides had a wide range of direct and indirect effects on all trophic groups. For some taxa (i.e., zooplankton and algae), the impact of pesticide mixtures could largely be predicted from the impacts of individual pesticides; for other taxa (i.e., amphibians) it could not. For amphibians, there was an apparent direct toxic effect of endosulfan that caused 84% mortality of leopard frogs and an indirect effect induced by diazinon that caused 24% mortality of leopard frogs. When pesticides were combined, the mix of herbicides had no negative effects on the survival and metamorphosis of amphibians, but the mix of insecticides and the mix of all ten pesticides eliminated 99% of leopard frogs. Interestingly, these mixtures did not cause mortality in the gray tree frogs and, as a result, the gray tree frogs grew nearly twice as large due to reduced competition with leopard frogs. In short, wetland communities can be dramatically impacted by low concentrations of pesticides (both separate and combined) and these results offer important insights for the

  19. 36 CFR 219.9 - Diversity of plant and animal communities.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-07-01

    ... 36 Parks, Forests, and Public Property 2 2012-07-01 2012-07-01 false Diversity of plant and animal communities. 219.9 Section 219.9 Parks, Forests, and Public Property FOREST SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE PLANNING National Forest System Land Management Planning § 219.9 Diversity of plant and animal communities. This section adopts...

  20. A Post Licensing Study of Community Effects at Two Operating Nuclear Power Plants. Final Report.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Purdy, Bruce J.; And Others

    In an effort to identify and assess the social, economic, and political effects of nuclear power plant construction and operation upon two host communities (Plymouth, Massachusetts and Waterford, Connecticut), a post-licensing review revealed that the primary impact of the nuclear power plants in both communities was an increase in the property…

  1. Restructuring of endophytic bacterial communities in grapevine yellows-diseased and recovered Vitis vinifera L. plants.

    PubMed

    Bulgari, Daniela; Casati, Paola; Crepaldi, Paola; Daffonchio, Daniele; Quaglino, Fabio; Brusetti, Lorenzo; Bianco, Piero Attilio

    2011-07-01

    Length heterogeneity-PCR assays, combined with statistical analyses, highlighted that the endophytic bacterial community associated with healthy grapevines was characterized by a greater diversity than that present in diseased and recovered plants. The findings suggest that phytoplasmas can restructure the bacterial community by selecting endophytic strains that could elicit a plant defense response. PMID:21622794

  2. Eco-geophysical imaging of watershed-scale soil patterns links with plant community spatial patterns

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The extent to which soil resource availability, nutrients or 1 moisture, control the structure, function and diversity of plant communities has aroused considerable interest in the past decade, and remains topical in light of global change. Numerous plant communities are controlled either by water o...

  3. Quantitative Analysis of Plant Consumption and Preference by Oedaleus asiaticus (Acrididae: Oedipodinae) in Changed Plant Communities Consisting of Three Grass Species.

    PubMed

    Huang, X; McNeill, M; Zhang, Z

    2016-02-01

    We used Oedaleus asiaticus Bey-Bienko (Acrididae: Oedipodinae) as a model species to examine how plant community composition influenced grasshopper population densities and feeding habits. Our results show that in the Xinli Gol Grassland ecosystem, both plant community composition and grasshopper density vary considerably over fairly small distances, and that O. asiaticus density was directly related to the proportional abundance of specific plant species. A 60-d field-cage study showed that O. asiaticus food preference and consumption differed when the ratios of three dominant grass species (Leymus chinensis (Trin.) Tzvel, Stipa krylovii Roshev, and Cleistogenes squarrosa (Trin.) Keng) differed. The consumption of both S. krylovii and C. squarrosa increased with a corresponding increase in their respective biomass availability. Although O. asiaticus preferred S. krylovii and ate only small amounts of L. chinensis, a specific amount of L. chinensis was always consumed. Feeding of these three plant species could be divided into three levels based on diet selectivity index (SI), with O. asiaticus showing a strong preference for S. krylovii (SI > 1), over that for C. squarrosa (0.5 < SI ≤ 1), and a low acceptance for L. chinensis (0 < SI ≤ 0.5). Plant consumption and preference by O. asiaticus was in decreasing order S. krylovii>C. squarrosa>L. chinensis. This study shows that small-scale changes in plant community composition can have large affects on grasshopper diets and populations. As such, this study is useful for developing guidelines for the monitoring of O. asiaticus impacts against the background of vegetation succession and changing plant communities in response to grazing or human activities. PMID:26577863

  4. Habitat Heterogeneity Affects Plant and Arthropod Species Diversity and Turnover in Traditional Cornfields.

    PubMed

    Martínez, Eliana; Rös, Matthias; Bonilla, María Argenis; Dirzo, Rodolfo

    2015-01-01

    The expansion of the agricultural frontier by the clearing of remnant forests has led to human-dominated landscape mosaics. Previous studies have evaluated the effect of these landscape mosaics on arthropod diversity at local spatial scales in temperate and tropical regions, but little is known about fragmentation effects in crop systems, such as the complex tropical traditional crop systems that maintain a high diversity of weeds and arthropods in low-Andean regions. To understand the factors that influence patterns of diversity in human-dominated landscapes, we investigate the effect of land use types on plant and arthropod diversity in traditionally managed cornfields, via surveys of plants and arthropods in twelve traditional cornfields in the Colombian Andes. We estimated alpha and beta diversity to analyze changes in diversity related to land uses within a radius of 100 m to 1 km around each cornfield. We observed that forests influenced alpha diversity of plants, but not of arthropods. Agricultural lands had a positive relationship with plants and herbivores, but a negative relationship with predators. Pastures positively influenced the diversity of plants and arthropods. In addition, forest cover seemed to influence changes in plant species composition and species turnover of herbivore communities among cornfields. The dominant plant species varied among fields, resulting in high differentiation of plant communities. Predator communities also exhibited high turnover among cornfields, but differences in composition arose mainly among rare species. The crop system evaluated in this study represents a widespread situation in the tropics, therefore, our results can be of broad significance. Our findings suggest that traditional agriculture may not homogenize biological communities, but instead could maintain the regional pool of species through high beta diversity. PMID:26197473

  5. Habitat Heterogeneity Affects Plant and Arthropod Species Diversity and Turnover in Traditional Cornfields

    PubMed Central

    Martínez, Eliana; Rös, Matthias; Bonilla, María Argenis; Dirzo, Rodolfo

    2015-01-01

    The expansion of the agricultural frontier by the clearing of remnant forests has led to human-dominated landscape mosaics. Previous studies have evaluated the effect of these landscape mosaics on arthropod diversity at local spatial scales in temperate and tropical regions, but little is known about fragmentation effects in crop systems, such as the complex tropical traditional crop systems that maintain a high diversity of weeds and arthropods in low-Andean regions. To understand the factors that influence patterns of diversity in human-dominated landscapes, we investigate the effect of land use types on plant and arthropod diversity in traditionally managed cornfields, via surveys of plants and arthropods in twelve traditional cornfields in the Colombian Andes. We estimated alpha and beta diversity to analyze changes in diversity related to land uses within a radius of 100 m to 1 km around each cornfield. We observed that forests influenced alpha diversity of plants, but not of arthropods. Agricultural lands had a positive relationship with plants and herbivores, but a negative relationship with predators. Pastures positively influenced the diversity of plants and arthropods. In addition, forest cover seemed to influence changes in plant species composition and species turnover of herbivore communities among cornfields. The dominant plant species varied among fields, resulting in high differentiation of plant communities. Predator communities also exhibited high turnover among cornfields, but differences in composition arose mainly among rare species. The crop system evaluated in this study represents a widespread situation in the tropics, therefore, our results can be of broad significance. Our findings suggest that traditional agriculture may not homogenize biological communities, but instead could maintain the regional pool of species through high beta diversity. PMID:26197473

  6. The Scion/Rootstock Genotypes and Habitats Affect Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungal Community in Citrus

    PubMed Central

    Song, Fang; Pan, Zhiyong; Bai, Fuxi; An, Jianyong; Liu, Jihong; Guo, Wenwu; Bisseling, Ton; Deng, Xiuxin; Xiao, Shunyuan

    2015-01-01

    Citrus roots have rare root hairs and thus heavily depend on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) for mineral nutrient uptake. However, the AMF community structure of citrus is largely unknown. By using 454-pyrosequencing of 18S rRNA gene fragment, we investigated the genetic diversity of AMF colonizing citrus roots, and evaluated the impact of habitats and rootstock and scion genotypes on the AMF community structure. Over 7,40,000 effective sequences were obtained from 77 citrus root samples. These sequences were assigned to 75 AMF virtual taxa, of which 66 belong to Glomus, highlighting an absolute dominance of this AMF genus in symbiosis with citrus roots. The citrus AMF community structure is significantly affected by habitats and host genotypes. Interestingly, our data suggests that the genotype of the scion exerts a greater impact on the AMF community structure than that of the rootstock where the physical root-AMF association occurs. This study not only provides a comprehensive assessment for the community composition of the AMF in citrus roots under different conditions, but also sheds novel insights into how the AMF community might be indirectly influenced by the spatially separated yet metabolically connected partner—the scion—of the grafted citrus tree. PMID:26648932

  7. Using photovoice to examine community level barriers affecting maternal health in rural Wakiso district, Uganda.

    PubMed

    Musoke, David; Ekirapa-Kiracho, Elizabeth; Ndejjo, Rawlance; George, Asha

    2015-05-01

    Uganda continues to have poor maternal health indicators including a high maternal mortality ratio. This paper explores community level barriers affecting maternal health in rural Wakiso district, Uganda. Using photovoice, a community-based participatory research approach, over a five-month period, ten young community members aged 18-29 years took photographs and analysed them, developing an understanding of the emerging issues and engaging in community dialogue on them. From the study, known health systems problems including inadequate transport, long distance to health facilities, long waiting times at facilities and poor quality of care were confirmed, but other aspects that needed to be addressed were also established. These included key gender-related determinants of maternal health, such as domestic violence, low contraceptive use and early teenage pregnancy, as well as problems of unclean water, poor sanitation and women's lack of income. Community members appreciated learning about the research findings precisely hence designing and implementing appropriate solutions to the problems identified because they could see photographs from their own local area. Photovoice's strength is in generating evidence by community members in ways that articulate their perspectives, support local action and allow direct communication with stakeholders. PMID:26278841

  8. Effects on the ecological health of a stream community due to wastewater treatment plant modifications

    SciTech Connect

    Murray, M.S.; Yates, L.T.; Danis, C.M.

    1994-12-31

    A residential community`s wastewater treatment plant effluent is the only point source discharge to the upper watershed of a small eastern Pennsylvania trout stream. Surveys of water quality, benthic macroinvertebrate and fish populations were conducted prior to, and for a two year period subsequent to installation of a Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR) system in the community`s wastewater treatment plant. Evaluation of water chemistry, benthic macroinvertebrate community composition, and fish populations indicated that the ecological health of the stream improved almost immediately upon implementation of SBR treatment, but declined when the plant experienced nitrification problems. The plant resumed normal function for a time, followed by additional nitrification difficulties. The study includes an evaluation of the sensitivity of standard aquatic ecological indicators to an intermittent stressor. In particular, a comparison of benthic macroinvertebrate community indices is presented.

  9. Links between plant and fungal communities across a deforestation chronosequence in the Amazon rainforest.

    PubMed

    Mueller, Rebecca C; Paula, Fabiana S; Mirza, Babur S; Rodrigues, Jorge L M; Nüsslein, Klaus; Bohannan, Brendan J M

    2014-07-01

    Understanding the interactions among microbial communities, plant communities and soil properties following deforestation could provide insights into the long-term effects of land-use change on ecosystem functions, and may help identify approaches that promote the recovery of degraded sites. We combined high-throughput sequencing of fungal rDNA and molecular barcoding of plant roots to estimate fungal and plant community composition in soil sampled across a chronosequence of deforestation. We found significant effects of land-use change on fungal community composition, which was more closely correlated to plant community composition than to changes in soil properties or geographic distance, providing evidence for strong links between above- and below-ground communities in tropical forests. PMID:24451208

  10. Developing Restoration Planting Mixes for Active Ski Slopes: A Multi-Site Reference Community Approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burt, Jennifer Williamson

    2012-03-01

    Downhill ski areas occupy large expanses of mountainous lands where restoration of ecosystem function is of increasing importance and interest. Establishing diverse native plant communities on ski runs should enhance sediment and water retention, wildlife habitat, biodiversity and aesthetics. Because ski slopes are managed for recreation, ski slope revegetation mixes must consist of low-stature or herbaceous plants that can tolerate typical environmental conditions on ski slopes (high elevation, disturbed soils, open, steep slopes). The most appropriate reference communities for selecting ski slope revegetation species are thus successional, or seral plant communities in similar environments (i.e., other ski slopes). Using results from a broad-scale reference community analysis, I evaluated plant communities naturally occurring on ski slopes from 21 active and abandoned ski areas throughout the northern Sierra Nevada to identify native plant species suitable for use in ski slope restoration. I constructed a baseline planting palette of regionally appropriate plant species (for restoration of either newly created or already existing ski runs) that is functionally diverse and is likely to succeed across a broad range of environments. I also identify a more comprehensive list of species for more specialized planting mixes based on site-specific goals and particular environmental settings. Establishing seral plant communities may be an appropriate restoration goal for many other types of managed lands, including roadsides, firebreaks and utility rights-of-way. This study describes an ecological (and potentially cost-effective) approach to developing restoration planting palettes for such managed lands.

  11. Psychological Impact of a Nuclear Power Plant: Changing Perceptions of Community and Neighborhood.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hughey, Joseph B.

    1986-01-01

    Examines change in attitude toward community and descriptions of neighborhood environments of 217 residents of rural host community for a nuclear power plant. Finds negative attitude change and less positive descriptions of neighborhoods. Discusses implications for community psychology and preventive intervention. (LFL)

  12. Drought stress affects plant metabolites and herbivore preference but not host location by its parasitoids.

    PubMed

    Weldegergis, Berhane T; Zhu, Feng; Poelman, Erik H; Dicke, Marcel

    2015-03-01

    One of the main abiotic stresses that strongly affects plant survival and the primary cause of crop loss around the world is drought. Drought stress leads to sequential morphological, physiological, biochemical and molecular changes that can have severe effects on plant growth, development and productivity. As a consequence of these changes, the interaction between plants and insects can be altered. Using cultivated Brassica oleracea plants, the parasitoid Microplitis mediator and its herbivorous host Mamestra brassicae, we studied the effect of drought stress on (1) the emission of plant volatile organic compounds (VOCs), (2) plant hormone titres, (3) preference and performance of the herbivore, and (4) preference of the parasitoid. Higher levels of jasmonic acid (JA) and abscisic acid (ABA) were recorded in response to herbivory, but no significant differences were observed for salicylic acid (SA) and indole-3-acetic acid (IAA). Drought significantly impacted SA level and showed a significant interactive effect with herbivory for IAA levels. A total of 55 VOCs were recorded and the difference among the treatments was influenced largely by herbivory, where the emission rate of fatty acid-derived volatiles, nitriles and (E)-4,8-dimethylnona-1,3,7-triene [(E)-DMNT] was enhanced. Mamestra brassicae moths preferred to lay eggs on drought-stressed over control plants; their offspring performed similarly on plants of both treatments. VOCs due to drought did not affect the choice of M. mediator parasitoids. Overall, our study reveals an influence of drought on plant chemistry and insect-plant interactions. PMID:25370387

  13. Temporal dynamics of a local fish community are strongly affected by immigration from the surrounding metacommunity

    PubMed Central

    Stoffels, Rick J; Clarke, Kenneth Robert; Linklater, Danielle S

    2015-01-01

    A 5-year time series of annual censuses was collected from a large floodplain lake to determine how dynamics of the local fish community were affected by changes in hydrological connectivity with the surrounding metacommunity. The lake was disconnected from the metacommunity for 1 year prior to our study and remained disconnected until 3 months before our third annual census, when a flood reconnected the lake to the metacommunity. We determined how changes in connectivity affected temporal dynamics of (1) local community composition and (2) the population composition, condition, and growth of catfish, to shed light on how immigration of other species might affect local population dynamics. Before reconnection, the community was likely shaped by interactions between the local environment and species traits. The reconnection caused significant immigration and change in community composition and correlated with a significant and abrupt decline in catfish condition, growth, and abundance; effects likely due to the immigration of a competitor with a similar trophic niche: carp. The community was slow to return to its preconnection state, which may be due to dispersal traits of the fishes, and a time-lag in the recovery of the local catfish population following transient intensification of species interactions. The dynamics observed were concordant with the species sorting and mass-effects perspectives of metacommunity theory. Floods cause episodic dispersal in floodplain fish metacommunities, and so, flood frequency determines the relative importance of regional and local processes. Local processes may be particularly important to certain species, but these species may need sufficient time between floods for population increase, before the next flood-induced dispersal episode brings competitors and predators that might cause population decline. Accordingly, species coexistence in these metacommunities may be facilitated by spatiotemporal storage effects, which may in

  14. Bacterial communities from shoreline environments (costa da morte, northwestern Spain) affected by the prestige oil spill.

    PubMed

    Alonso-Gutiérrez, Jorge; Figueras, Antonio; Albaigés, Joan; Jiménez, Núria; Viñas, Marc; Solanas, Anna M; Novoa, Beatriz

    2009-06-01

    The bacterial communities in two different shoreline matrices, rocks and sand, from the Costa da Morte, northwestern Spain, were investigated 12 months after being affected by the Prestige oil spill. Culture-based and culture-independent approaches were used to compare the bacterial diversity present in these environments with that at a nonoiled site. A long-term effect of fuel on the microbial communities in the oiled sand and rock was suggested by the higher proportion of alkane and polyaromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) degraders and the differences in denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis patterns compared with those of the reference site. Members of the classes Alphaproteobacteria and Actinobacteria were the prevailing groups of bacteria detected in both matrices, although the sand bacterial community exhibited higher species richness than the rock bacterial community did. Culture-dependent and -independent approaches suggested that the genus Rhodococcus could play a key role in the in situ degradation of the alkane fraction of the Prestige fuel together with other members of the suborder Corynebacterineae. Moreover, other members of this suborder, such as Mycobacterium spp., together with Sphingomonadaceae bacteria (mainly Lutibacterium anuloederans), were related as well to the degradation of the aromatic fraction of the Prestige fuel. The multiapproach methodology applied in the present study allowed us to assess the complexity of autochthonous microbial communities related to the degradation of heavy fuel from the Prestige and to isolate some of their components for a further physiological study. Since several Corynebacterineae members related to the degradation of alkanes and PAHs were frequently detected in this and other supralittoral environments affected by the Prestige oil spill along the northwestern Spanish coast, the addition of mycolic acids to bioremediation amendments is proposed to favor the presence of these degraders in long-term fuel pollution-affected

  15. Correlates of lifetime suicide attempts among individuals with affective disorders in a Chinese rural community.

    PubMed

    Ran, Mao-Sheng; Xiang, Meng-Ze; Li, Jie; Huang, Jian; Chen, Eric Yu-Hai; Chan, Cecilia Lai-Wan; Conwell, Yeates

    2007-01-01

    The aim of this study was to compare the demographic and clinical characteristics of individuals with affective disorders who had attempted suicide at some time in their lives and those who had not made a suicide attempt. In a Chinese rural community, individuals with suicide attempt (N = 30) and those without suicide attempt (N = 166) were assessed with Present State Examination (PSE). Attempters had a significantly higher level of family economic status, higher rate of lifetime depressed mood and hopelessness, and delusions than nonattempters. The logistic regression models also indicated that depressed mood and hopelessness were the most important predictors of suicide attempts. No significant difference in treatment condition was found between attempters and non-attempters. Early identification and interventions focusing on reducing depressed mood, hopelessness, and controlling psychotic symptoms may be helpful in reducing the risk of suicide attempts among individuals with affective disorders residing in the community. PMID:17178647

  16. Widespread seed limitation affects plant density but not population trajectory in the invasive plant Centaurea solstitialis

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    In some plant populations, the availability of seeds strongly regulates recruitment. However, a scarcity of germination microsites, granivory or density dependent mortality can reduce the number of plants that germinate or survive to flowering. The relative strength of these controls is unknown for ...

  17. Impact of grazing and life forms interactions on plant communities in arid areas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alhamad, Mohammad Noor

    2015-04-01

    Middle Eastern Mediterranean grasslands have evolved 8000-9000 years before present (BP). These grasslands were prehistorically subject to persistent pressure from grazing domesticated animals. Grazing and competition are the central factors affecting grassland communities, linking their maintenance, productivity, and management to biodiversity and livestock production. Arid and semi-arid Mediterranean grassland is a rich source of valuable forages for grazing livestock production systems in the eastern part of the Mediterranean region. Competition treatments (absence/presence of neighbors) were combined with three defoliation ( as surrogate to grazing) intensities (0%, 30% and 60%) in a factorial design. Relative interaction index (RII) was used to measure competition intensity. RII standardizes the reduction in growth of one species due to presence of neighbor species. Competition reduced grass biomass by approximately 10-15% for final and cumulative biomass. Competition role was eliminated under heavy defoliation or under harsh environmental conditions. Defoliation showed variable results on final and cumulative biomass. While heavy defoliation (60% clipping intensity) greatly reduced final grass biomass, light-moderate defoliation (30%) has increased cumulative biomass. Results showed that competition may limit the direct effect of defoliation on dominant grass species. Further, competition effect on dominant annual grasses showed positive and negative effects in relation to site productivity and best explained by a sinusoidal model. This hypothesized sinusoidal model suggests that facilitation and competition are alternatively affecting grassland communities along productivity gradient. The nature of interaction changes with changing community productivity revealing a cyclic pattern. The reflection points where interaction switches from facilitation to competition may explain the mechanism of maintaining high species diversity at intermediate level of

  18. Volatile interaction between undamaged plants affects tritrophic interactions through changed plant volatile emission.

    PubMed

    Vucetic, Andja; Dahlin, Iris; Petrovic-Obradovic, Olivera; Glinwood, Robert; Webster, Ben; Ninkovic, Velemir

    2014-01-01

    Volatile interactions between unattacked plants can lead to changes in their volatile emissions. Exposure of potato plants to onion plant volatiles results in increased emission of 2 terpenoids, (E)-nerolidol and TMTT. We investigated whether this is detectable by the ladybird Coccinella septempunctata. The odor of onion-exposed potato was significantly more attractive to ladybirds than that of unexposed potato. Further, a synthetic blend mimicking the volatile profile of onion-exposed potato was more attractive than a blend mimicking that of unexposed potato. When presented individually, TMTT was attractive to ladybirds whereas (E)-nerolidol was repellent. Volatile exchange between unattacked plants and consequent increased attractiveness for ladybirds may be a mechanism that contributes to the increased abundance of natural enemies in complex plant habitats. PMID:25763628

  19. Climate warming affects biological invasions by shifting interactions of plants and herbivores.

    PubMed

    Lu, Xinmin; Siemann, Evan; Shao, Xu; Wei, Hui; Ding, Jianqing

    2013-08-01

    Plants and herbivorous insects can each be dramatically affected by temperature. Climate warming may impact plant invasion success directly but also indirectly through changes in their natural enemies. To date, however, there are no tests of how climate warming shifts the interactions among invasive plants and their natural enemies to affect invasion success. Field surveys covering the full latitudinal range of invasive Alternanthera philoxeroides in China showed that a beetle introduced for biocontrol was rare or absent at higher latitudes. In contrast, plant cover and mass increased with latitude. In a 2-year field experiment near the northern limit of beetle distribution, we found the beetle sustained populations across years under elevated temperature, dramatically decreasing A. philoxeroides growth, but it failed to overwinter in ambient temperature. Together, these results suggest that warming will allow the natural enemy to expand its range, potentially benefiting biocontrol in regions that are currently too cold for the natural enemy. However, the invader may also expand its range further north in response to warming. In such cases where plants tolerate cold better than their natural enemies, the geographical gap between plant and herbivorous insect ranges may not disappear but will shift to higher latitudes, leading to a new zone of enemy release. Therefore, warming will not only affect plant invasions directly but also drive either enemy release or increase that will result in contrasting effects on invasive plants. The findings are also critical for future management of invasive species under climate change. PMID:23640751

  20. Plant migration and plant communities at the time of the “green Sahara”

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Watrin, Julie; Lézine, Anne-Marie; Hély, Christelle; Contributors

    2009-08-01

    Around 8500 cal years BP, at the time of the maximum of the African Humid Period, lakes and wetlands expanded in the present-day Sahara while large paleodrainages were formed or re-actived, in response to an orbitally-induced increase in monsoon rainfall. It has been suggested that the direct consequence of this increase in rainfall was the northward displacement of the Sahara/Sahel boundary, thought to have reached 23°N in central and eastern Africa. Here, we show a more complex situation characterized by an increase in biodiversity as the desert accommodated more humid-adapted species from tropical forests and wooded grasslands: tropical plant species now found some 400 to 500 km to the south probably entered the desert as gallery-forest formations along rivers and lakes where they benefited from permanent fresh water. At the same time, Saharan trees and shrubs persisted, giving rise to a vegetation that has no analogue today. In this article, we present distribution maps of selected plant species to show both the amplitude of the vegetation change compared to the present and the composition of the past plant communities. We also estimate the migration rate of tropical plant taxa to their northernmost position in the Sahara. This study is based on the use of several data sets: a data set of the modern plant distribution in northern Africa and a data set of modern and fossil pollen sites (from the African Pollen Database, http://fpd.mediasfrance.org/ and http://medias.obs-mip.fr/apd/).

  1. Factors that affect the quality of life of community-dwelling elderly women with musculoskeletal disorders

    PubMed Central

    Takemasa, Seiichi; Nakagoshi, Ryoma; Uesugi, Masayuki; Inoue, Yuri; Gotou, Makoto; Koeda, Hideki; Naruse, Susumu

    2015-01-01

    [Purpose] This study aimed to examine the quality of life (QOL) of community-dwelling elderly women with musculoskeletal disorders and factors that affect it. [Subjects] The subjects were 27 community-dwelling elderly women with musculoskeletal disorders (mean age: 76.3 ± 7.4 years). Their physical and psychological conditions, QOL, and other characteristics were researched. [Methods] The Japanese version of Life-Space Assessment was used to assess the subjects’ daily life activities; the Japanese version of Fall Efficacy Scale (FES), to assess their fear of falling; the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS 15), to assess their depression status; and the Life Satisfaction Index K (LSIK), to assess their QOL. [Results] The results indicated that the number of family members living together, degree of pain, fear of falling, and depression affect the LSIK scores of the community-dwelling elderly women with musculoskeletal disorders. [Conclusion] The study results suggest that the LSIK scores of community-dwelling elderly women with musculoskeletal disorders can be improved by easing their pain, improving their physical abilities to prevent falls, and improving their mobility. The results also suggest that continuing rehabilitation treatment is required. PMID:26696713

  2. Increasing concentrations of phenol progressively affect anaerobic digestion of cellulose and associated microbial communities.

    PubMed

    Chapleur, Olivier; Madigou, Céline; Civade, Raphaël; Rodolphe, Yohan; Mazéas, Laurent; Bouchez, Théodore

    2016-02-01

    Performance stability is a key issue when managing anaerobic digesters. However it can be affected by external disturbances caused by micropollutants. In this study the influence of phenol on the methanization of cellulose was evaluated through batch toxicity assays. Special attention was given to the dynamics of microbial communities by means of automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis. We observed that, as phenol concentrations increased, the different steps of anaerobic cellulose digestion were unevenly and progressively affected, methanogenesis being the most sensitive: specific methanogenic activity was half-inhibited at 1.40 g/L of phenol, whereas hydrolysis of cellulose and its fermentation to VFA were observed at up to 2.00 g/L. Depending on the level of phenol, microbial communities resisted either through physiological or structural adaptation. Thus, performances at 0.50 g/L were maintained in spite of the microbial community's shift. However, the communities' ability to adapt was limited and performances decreased drastically beyond 2.00 g/L of phenol. PMID:26614490

  3. Plant compartment and biogeography affect microbiome composition in cultivated and native Agave species.

    PubMed

    Coleman-Derr, Devin; Desgarennes, Damaris; Fonseca-Garcia, Citlali; Gross, Stephen; Clingenpeel, Scott; Woyke, Tanja; North, Gretchen; Visel, Axel; Partida-Martinez, Laila P; Tringe, Susannah G

    2016-01-01

    Desert plants are hypothesized to survive the environmental stress inherent to these regions in part thanks to symbioses with microorganisms, and yet these microbial species, the communities they form, and the forces that influence them are poorly understood. Here we report the first comprehensive investigation of the microbial communities associated with species of Agave, which are native to semiarid and arid regions of Central and North America and are emerging as biofuel feedstocks. We examined prokaryotic and fungal communities in the rhizosphere, phyllosphere, leaf and root endosphere, as well as proximal and distal soil samples from cultivated and native agaves, through Illumina amplicon sequencing. Phylogenetic profiling revealed that the composition of prokaryotic communities was primarily determined by the plant compartment, whereas the composition of fungal communities was mainly influenced by the biogeography of the host species. Cultivated A. tequilana exhibited lower levels of prokaryotic diversity compared with native agaves, although no differences in microbial diversity were found in the endosphere. Agaves shared core prokaryotic and fungal taxa known to promote plant growth and confer tolerance to abiotic stress, which suggests common principles underpinning Agave-microbe interactions. PMID:26467257

  4. Loss of a large grazer impacts savanna grassland plant communities similarly in North America and South Africa.

    PubMed

    Eby, Stephanie; Burkepile, Deron E; Fynn, Richard W S; Burns, Catherine E; Govender, Navashni; Hagenah, Nicole; Koerner, Sally E; Matchett, Katherine J; Thompson, Dave I; Wilcox, Kevin R; Collins, Scott L; Kirkman, Kevin P; Knapp, Alan K; Smith, Melinda D

    2014-05-01

    Large herbivore grazing is a widespread disturbance in mesic savanna grasslands which increases herbaceous plant community richness and diversity. However, humans are modifying the impacts of grazing on these ecosystems by removing grazers. A more general understanding of how grazer loss will impact these ecosystems is hampered by differences in the diversity of large herbivore assemblages among savanna grasslands, which can affect the way that grazing influences plant communities. To avoid this we used two unique enclosures each containing a single, functionally similar large herbivore species. Specifically, we studied a bison (Bos bison) enclosure at Konza Prairie Biological Station, USA and an African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) enclosure in Kruger National Park, South Africa. Within these enclosures we erected exclosures in annually burned and unburned sites to determine how grazer loss would impact herbaceous plant communities, while controlling for potential fire-grazing interactions. At both sites, removal of the only grazer decreased grass and forb richness, evenness and diversity, over time. However, in Kruger these changes only occurred with burning. At both sites, changes in plant communities were driven by increased dominance with herbivore exclusion. At Konza, this was caused by increased abundance of one grass species, Andropogon gerardii, while at Kruger, three grasses, Themeda triandra, Panicum coloratum, and Digitaria eriantha increased in abundance. PMID:24554031

  5. Lichen physiological traits and growth forms affect communities of associated invertebrates.

    PubMed

    Bokhorst, Stef; Asplund, Johan; Kardol, Paul; Wardle, David A

    2015-09-01

    While there has been much interest in the relationships between traits of primary producers and composition of associated invertebrate consumer communities, our knowledge is largely based on studies from vascular plants, while other types of functionally important producers, such as lichens, have rarely been considered. To address how physiological traits of lichens drive community composition of invertebrates, we collected thalli from 27 lichen species from southern Norway and quantified the communities of associated springtails, mites, and nematodes. For each lichen species, we measured key physiological thallus traits and determined whether invertebrate communities were correlated with these traits. We also explored whether invertebrate communities differed among lichen groups, categorized according to nitrogen-fixing ability, growth form, and substratum. Lichen traits explained up to 39% of the variation in abundances of major invertebrate groups. For many invertebrate groups, abundance was positively correlated with lichen N and P concentrations, N:P ratio, and the percentage of water content on saturation (WC), but had few relationships with concentrations of carbon-based secondary compounds. Diversity and taxonomic richness of invertebrate groups were sometimes also correlated with lichen N and N:P ratios. Nitrogen-fixing lichens showed higher abundance and diversity of some invertebrate groups than did non-N-fixing lichens. However, this emerged in part because most N-fixing lichens have a foliose growth form that benefits invertebrates, through, improving the microclimate, independently of N concentration. Furthermore, invertebrate communities associated with terricolous lichens were determined more by their close proximity to the soil invertebrate pool than by lichen traits. Overall, our results reveal that differences between lichen species have a large impact on the invertebrate communities that live among the thalli. Different invertebrate groups show

  6. Microbial community analysis of switchgrass planted and unplanted soil microcosms displaying PCB dechlorination

    PubMed Central

    Liang, Yi; Meggo, Richard; Hu, Dingfei; Schnoor, Jerald L.; Mattes, Timothy E.

    2015-01-01

    Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) pose potential risks to human and environmental health because they are carcinogenic, persistent and bioaccumulative. In this study we investigated bacterial communities in soil microcosms spiked with PCB 52, 77 and 153. Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) was employed to improve overall PCB removal and redox cycling (i.e. sequential periods of flooding followed by periods of no flooding) was performed in an effort to promote PCB dechlorination. Lesser chlorinated PCB transformation products were detected in all microcosms, indicating the occurrence of PCB dechlorination. Terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) and clone library analysis showed that PCB spiking, switchgrass planting and redox cycling affected the microbial community structure. Putative organohalide-respiring Chloroflexi populations, which were not found in unflooded microcosms, were enriched after two weeks of flooding in the redox-cycled microcosms. Sequences classified as Geobacter sp. were detected in all microcosms, and were most abundant in the switchgrass-planted microcosm spiked with PCB congeners. The presence of possible organohalide-respiring bacteria in these soil microcosms suggests they play a role in PCB dechlorination therein. PMID:25820643

  7. Effects of invasive species on plant communities: an example using submersed aquatic plants at the regional level

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Submerged aquatic plants have a key role in maintaining functioning aquatic ecosystems through their effects in the hydrological regime, sedimentation, nutrient cycling and habitats of associated fauna. Modifications of aquatic plant communities, as for example through the introduction of invasive s...

  8. Multiwalled carbon nanotubes at environmentally relevant concentrations affect the composition of benthic communities.

    PubMed

    Velzeboer, I; Peeters, E T H M; Koelmans, A A

    2013-07-01

    To date, chronic effect studies with manufactured nanomaterials under field conditions are scarce. Here, we report in situ effects of 0, 0.002, 0.02, 0.2, and 2 g/kg multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) in sediment on the benthic community composition after 15 months of exposure. Effects observed after 15 months were compared to those observed after 3 months and to community effects of another carbonaceous material (activated carbon; AC), which was simultaneously tested in a parallel study. Redundancy analysis with variance partitioning revealed a total explained variance of 51.7% of the variation in community composition after 15 months, of which MWCNT dose explained a statistically significant 9.9%. By stepwise excluding the highest MWCNT concentrations in the statistical analyses, MWCNT effects were shown to be statistically significant already at the lowest dose investigated, which can be considered environmentally relevant. We conclude that despite prolonged aging, encapsulation, and burial, MWCNTs can affect the structure of natural benthic communities in the field. This effect was similar to that of AC observed in a parallel experiment, which however was applied at a 50 times higher maximum dose. This suggests that the benthic community was more sensitive to MWCNTs than to the bulk carbon material AC. PMID:23713543

  9. An examination of whether coordinated community responses affect intimate partner violence.

    PubMed

    Post, Lori Ann; Klevens, Joanne; Maxwell, Christopher D; Shelley, Gene A; Ingram, Eben

    2010-01-01

    This study tests the impact of coordinated community response (CCR) on reducing intimate partner violence (IPV) and on modifying knowledge and attitudes. The authors conduct hierarchical linear modeling of data from a stratified random-digit dial telephone survey (n = 12,039) in 10 test and 10 control sites, which include 23 counties from different regions in the United States, to establish the impact of a CCR on community members' attitudes toward IPV, knowledge and use of available IPV services, and prevalence of IPV. Findings indicate that CCRs do not affect knowledge, beliefs, or attitudes of IPV, knowledge and use of available IPV services, nor risk of exposure to IPV after controlling for age, gender, ethnicity, income, and education. Women in communities with 6-year CCRs (as opposed to 3-year CCRs) are less likely to report any aggression against them in the past year. These results are discussed within the context of evaluation challenges of CCRs (e.g., IPV activities in comparison communities, variability across interventions, time lag for expected impact, and appropriateness of outcome indicators) and in light of the evidence of the impact of other community-based collaborations. PMID:19196879

  10. Influences of Plant Species, Season and Location on Leaf Endophytic Bacterial Communities of Non-Cultivated Plants.

    PubMed

    Ding, Tao; Melcher, Ulrich

    2016-01-01

    Bacteria are known to be associated endophytically with plants. Research on endophytic bacteria has identified their importance in food safety, agricultural production and phytoremediation. However, the diversity of endophytic bacterial communities and the forces that shape their compositions in non-cultivated plants are largely uncharacterized. In this study, we explored the diversity, community structure, and dynamics of endophytic bacteria in different plant species in the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve of northern Oklahoma, USA. High throughput sequencing of amplified segments of bacterial rDNA from 81 samples collected at four sampling times from five plant species at four locations identified 335 distinct OTUs at 97% sequence similarity, representing 16 phyla. Proteobacteria was the dominant phylum in the communities, followed by the phyla Bacteriodetes and Actinobacteria. Bacteria from four classes of Proteobacteria were detected with Alphaproteobacteria as the dominant class. Analysis of molecular variance revealed that host plant species and collecting date had significant influences on the compositions of the leaf endophytic bacterial communities. The proportion of Alphaproteobacteria was much higher in the communities from Asclepias viridis than from other plant species and differed from month to month. The most dominant bacterial groups identified in LDA Effect Size analysis showed host-specific patterns, indicating mutual selection between host plants and endophytic bacteria and that leaf endophytic bacterial compositions were dynamic, varying with the host plant's growing season in three distinct patterns. In summary, next generation sequencing has revealed variations in the taxonomic compositions of leaf endophytic bacterial communities dependent primarily on the nature of the plant host species. PMID:26974817

  11. Educational Plant Survey: Polk Community College, June 6-10, 1994.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bullock, Thomas K.; And Others

    Polk Community College's educational plant survey was conducted as a systematic study and evaluation of existing educational facilities and the determination of future educational plant needs. The educational plant survey is intended to assist the District Board of Trustees in the formulation of plans for housing the educational program, student…

  12. Land use imperils plant and animal community stability through changes in asynchrony rather than diversity.

    PubMed

    Blüthgen, Nico; Simons, Nadja K; Jung, Kirsten; Prati, Daniel; Renner, Swen C; Boch, Steffen; Fischer, Markus; Hölzel, Norbert; Klaus, Valentin H; Kleinebecker, Till; Tschapka, Marco; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Gossner, Martin M

    2016-01-01

    Human land use may detrimentally affect biodiversity, yet long-term stability of species communities is vital for maintaining ecosystem functioning. Community stability can be achieved by higher species diversity (portfolio effect), higher asynchrony across species (insurance hypothesis) and higher abundance of populations. However, the relative importance of these stabilizing pathways and whether they interact with land use in real-world ecosystems is unknown. We monitored inter-annual fluctuations of 2,671 plant, arthropod, bird and bat species in 300 sites from three regions. Arthropods show 2.0-fold and birds 3.7-fold higher community fluctuations in grasslands than in forests, suggesting a negative impact of forest conversion. Land-use intensity in forests has a negative net impact on stability of bats and in grasslands on birds. Our findings demonstrate that asynchrony across species--much more than species diversity alone--is the main driver of variation in stability across sites and requires more attention in sustainable management. PMID:26869180

  13. Land use imperils plant and animal community stability through changes in asynchrony rather than diversity

    PubMed Central

    Blüthgen, Nico; Simons, Nadja K.; Jung, Kirsten; Prati, Daniel; Renner, Swen C.; Boch, Steffen; Fischer, Markus; Hölzel, Norbert; Klaus, Valentin H.; Kleinebecker, Till; Tschapka, Marco; Weisser, Wolfgang W.; Gossner, Martin M.

    2016-01-01

    Human land use may detrimentally affect biodiversity, yet long-term stability of species communities is vital for maintaining ecosystem functioning. Community stability can be achieved by higher species diversity (portfolio effect), higher asynchrony across species (insurance hypothesis) and higher abundance of populations. However, the relative importance of these stabilizing pathways and whether they interact with land use in real-world ecosystems is unknown. We monitored inter-annual fluctuations of 2,671 plant, arthropod, bird and bat species in 300 sites from three regions. Arthropods show 2.0-fold and birds 3.7-fold higher community fluctuations in grasslands than in forests, suggesting a negative impact of forest conversion. Land-use intensity in forests has a negative net impact on stability of bats and in grasslands on birds. Our findings demonstrate that asynchrony across species—much more than species diversity alone—is the main driver of variation in stability across sites and requires more attention in sustainable management. PMID:26869180

  14. Negative effects of fluoranthene on the ecophysiology of tomato plants (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill) Fluoranthene mists negatively affected tomato plants.

    PubMed

    Oguntimehin, Ilemobayo; Eissa, Fawzy; Sakugawa, Hiroshi

    2010-02-01

    Cherry tomato plants (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill) were sprayed with fluoranthene and mixture of fluoranthene and mannitol solutions for 30d. The exposure was carried out in growth chambers in field conditions, and the air was filtered through charcoal filters to remove atmospheric contaminants. Plants were sprayed with 10microM fluoranthene as mist until they reached the fruiting stage, and the eco-physiological parameters were measured to determine the effects of the treatments. We measured CO(2) uptake and water vapour exchange, chlorophyll fluorescence, leaf pigment contents, visual symptoms and biomass allocation. Fluoranthene which was deposited as mist onto leaves negatively affected both growth and the quality of tomato plants, while other treatments did not. The photosynthetic rate measured at saturated irradiance was approximately 37% lower in fluoranthene-treated plants compared with the control group. Other variables, such as stomata conductance, the photochemical efficiency of PSII in the dark, Chl a, Chl b, and the total chlorophyll contents of the tomato leaves were significantly reduced in the fluoranthene-treated plants. Tomato plants treated with fluoranthene showed severe visible injury symptoms on the foliage during the exposure period. Mannitol (a reactive oxygen scavenger) mitigated effects of fluoranthene; thus, reactive oxygen species generated through fluoranthene may be responsible for the damaged tomato plants. It is possible for fluoranthene to decrease the aesthetic and hence the economic value of this valuable crop plant. PMID:20006894

  15. Microbial composition in a deep saline aquifer in the North German Basin -microbiologically induced corrosion and mineral precipitation affecting geothermal plant operation and the effects of plant downtime

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lerm, Stephanie; Westphal, Anke; Miethling-Graff, Rona; Alawi, Mashal; Seibt, Andrea; Wolfgramm, Markus; Würdemann, Hilke

    2013-04-01

    The microbial composition in fluids of a deep saline geothermal used aquifer in the North German Basin was characterized over a period of five years. The genetic fingerprinting techniques PCR-SSCP and PCR-DGGE revealed distinct microbial communities in fluids produced from the cold and warm side of the aquifer. Direct cell counting and quantification of 16S rRNA genes and dissimilatory sulfite reductase (dsrA) genes by real-time PCR proved different population sizes in fluids, showing higher abundance of Bacteria and sulfate reducing bacteria (SRB) in cold fluids compared to warm fluids. Predominating SRB in the cold well probably accounted for corrosion damage to the submersible well pump, and iron sulfide precipitates in the near wellbore area and topside facility filters. This corresponded to a lower sulfate content in fluids produced from the cold well as well as higher content of hydrogen gas that was probably released from corrosion, and maybe favoured growth of hydrogenotrophic SRB. Plant downtime significantly influenced the microbial biocenosis in fluids. Samples taken after plant restart gave indications about the processes occurring downhole during those phases. High DNA concentrations in fluids at the beginning of the restart process with a decreasing trend over time indicated a higher abundance of microbes during plant downtime compared to regular plant operation. It is likely that a gradual drop in temperature as well as stagnant conditions favoured the growth of microbes and maturation of biofilms at the casing and in pores of the reservoir rock in the near wellbore area. Furthermore, it became obvious that the microorganisms were more associated to particles then free-living. This study reflects the high influence of microbial populations for geothermal plant operation, because microbiologically induced precipitative and corrosive processes adversely affect plant reliability. Those processes may favourably occur during plant downtime due to enhanced

  16. Flavonoid accumulation in Arabidopsis repressed in lignin synthesis affects auxin transport and plant growth.

    PubMed

    Besseau, Sébastien; Hoffmann, Laurent; Geoffroy, Pierrette; Lapierre, Catherine; Pollet, Brigitte; Legrand, Michel

    2007-01-01

    In Arabidopsis thaliana, silencing of hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA shikimate/quinate hydroxycinnamoyl transferase (HCT), a lignin biosynthetic gene, results in a strong reduction of plant growth. We show that, in HCT-silenced plants, lignin synthesis repression leads to the redirection of the metabolic flux into flavonoids through chalcone synthase activity. Several flavonol glycosides and acylated anthocyanin were shown to accumulate in higher amounts in silenced plants. By contrast, sinapoylmalate levels were barely affected, suggesting that the synthesis of that phenylpropanoid compound might be HCT-independent. The growth phenotype of HCT-silenced plants was shown to be controlled by light and to depend on chalcone synthase expression. Histochemical analysis of silenced stem tissues demonstrated altered tracheary elements. The level of plant growth reduction of HCT-deficient plants was correlated with the inhibition of auxin transport. Suppression of flavonoid accumulation by chalcone synthase repression in HCT-deficient plants restored normal auxin transport and wild-type plant growth. By contrast, the lignin structure of the plants simultaneously repressed for HCT and chalcone synthase remained as severely altered as in HCT-silenced plants, with a large predominance of nonmethoxylated H units. These data demonstrate that the reduced size phenotype of HCT-silenced plants is not due to the alteration of lignin synthesis but to flavonoid accumulation. PMID:17237352

  17. Interactive effects of nitrogen addition, warming and invasion across organizational levels in an old-field plant community.

    PubMed

    Gornish, Elise S

    2014-01-01

    Response to global change is dependent on the level of biological organization (e.g. the ecologically relevant spatial scale) in which species are embedded. For example, individual responses can affect population-level responses, which, in turn, can affect community-level responses. Although relationships are known to exist among responses to global change across levels of biological organization, formal investigations of these relationships are still uncommon. I conducted an exploratory analysis to identify how nitrogen addition and warming by open top chambers might affect plants across spatial scales by estimating treatment effect size at the leaf level, the plant level and the community level. Moreover, I investigated if the presence of Pityopsis aspera, an experimentally introduced plant species, modified the relationship between spatial scale and effect size across treatments. I found that, overall, the spatial scale significantly contributes to differences in effect size, supporting previous work which suggests that mechanisms driving biotic response to global change are scale dependent. Interestingly, the relationship between spatial scale and effect size in both the absence and presence of experimental invasion is very similar for nitrogen addition and warming treatments. The presence of invasion, however, did not affect the relationship between spatial scale and effect size, suggesting that in this system, invasion may not exacerbate or attenuate climate change effects. This exercise highlights the value of moving beyond integration and scaling to the practice of directly testing for scale effects within single experiments. PMID:25301820

  18. Interactive effects of nitrogen addition, warming and invasion across organizational levels in an old-field plant community

    PubMed Central

    Gornish, Elise S.

    2014-01-01

    Response to global change is dependent on the level of biological organization (e.g. the ecologically relevant spatial scale) in which species are embedded. For example, individual responses can affect population-level responses, which, in turn, can affect community-level responses. Although relationships are known to exist among responses to global change across levels of biological organization, formal investigations of these relationships are still uncommon. I conducted an exploratory analysis to identify how nitrogen addition and warming by open top chambers might affect plants across spatial scales by estimating treatment effect size at the leaf level, the plant level and the community level. Moreover, I investigated if the presence of Pityopsis aspera, an experimentally introduced plant species, modified the relationship between spatial scale and effect size across treatments. I found that, overall, the spatial scale significantly contributes to differences in effect size, supporting previous work which suggests that mechanisms driving biotic response to global change are scale dependent. Interestingly, the relationship between spatial scale and effect size in both the absence and presence of experimental invasion is very similar for nitrogen addition and warming treatments. The presence of invasion, however, did not affect the relationship between spatial scale and effect size, suggesting that in this system, invasion may not exacerbate or attenuate climate change effects. This exercise highlights the value of moving beyond integration and scaling to the practice of directly testing for scale effects within single experiments. PMID:25301820

  19. The Effects of Timing of Grazing on Plant and Arthropod Communities in High-Elevation Grasslands

    PubMed Central

    Davis, Stacy C.; Burkle, Laura A.; Cross, Wyatt F.; Cutting, Kyle A.

    2014-01-01

    Livestock grazing can be used as a key management tool for maintaining healthy ecosystems. However, the effectiveness of using grazing to modify habitat for species of conservation concern depends on how the grazing regime is implemented. Timing of grazing is one grazing regime component that is less understood than grazing intensity and grazer identity, but is predicted to have important implications for plant and higher trophic level responses. We experimentally assessed how timing of cattle grazing affected plant and arthropod communities in high-elevation grasslands of southwest Montana to better evaluate its use as a tool for multi-trophic level management. We manipulated timing of grazing, with one grazing treatment beginning in mid-June and the other in mid-July, in two experiments conducted in different grassland habitat types (i.e., wet meadow and upland) in 2011 and 2012. In the upland grassland experiment, we found that both early and late grazing treatments reduced forb biomass, whereas graminoid biomass was only reduced with late grazing. Grazing earlier in the growing season versus later did not result in greater recovery of graminoid or forb biomass as expected. In addition, the density of the most ubiquitous grassland arthropod order (Hemiptera) was reduced by both grazing treatments in upland grasslands. A comparison of end-of-season plant responses to grazing in upland versus wet meadow grasslands revealed that grazing reduced graminoid biomass in the wet meadow and forb biomass in the upland, irrespective of timing of grazing. Both grazing treatments also reduced end-of-season total arthropod and Hemiptera densities and Hemiptera biomass in both grassland habitat types. Our results indicate that both early and late season herbivory affect many plant and arthropod characteristics in a similar manner, but grazing earlier may negatively impact species of conservation concern requiring forage earlier in the growing season. PMID:25338008

  20. [Plant community patterns of piosphere in the Mu Us Sandland of China].

    PubMed

    Yu, Hong; Wu, Bo; He, Ji; Jia, Zi-yi; Yan, Feng

    2015-02-01

    Piosphere is ubiquitous in drylands. Plant communities of ten paddocks were investigated along transects starting from watering points in the Mu Us Sandland. By using the method of regression and indirect gradient ordination, the richness of plant community and plant functional types were analyzed. The results showed that with the increase of distance from the watering points, the traits of the plant communities varied significantly. The coverage of the community, shrubs and grasses gradually increased and the coverage of forbs decreased with the distance increasing from the watering points. The patterns of the community richness and coverage suggested the grazing gradient surrounding the watering points. The piosphere is a breakthrough point to reveal the degradation pattern of rangeland and its driving forces in northern China. PMID:26094451

  1. Selective Pressure along a Latitudinal Gradient Affects Subindividual Variation in Plants

    PubMed Central

    Sobral, Mar; Guitián, José; Guitián, Pablo; Larrinaga, Asier R.

    2013-01-01

    Individual plants produce repeated structures such as leaves, flowers or fruits, which, although belonging to the same genotype, are not phenotypically identical. Such subindividual variation reflects the potential of individual genotypes to vary with micro-environmental conditions. Furthermore, variation in organ traits imposes costs to foraging animals such as time, energy and increased predation risk. Therefore, animals that interact with plants may respond to this variation and affect plant fitness. Thus, phenotypic variation within an individual plant could be, in part, an adaptive trait. Here we investigated this idea and we found that subindividual variation of fruit size of Crataegus monogyna, in different populations throughout the latitudinal gradient in Europe, was explained at some extent by the selective pressures exerted by seed-dispersing birds. These findings support the hypothesis that within-individual variation in plants is an adaptive trait selected by interacting animals which may have important implications for plant evolution. PMID:24069297

  2. A global meta-analysis of the relative extent of intraspecific trait variation in plant communities.

    PubMed

    Siefert, Andrew; Violle, Cyrille; Chalmandrier, Loïc; Albert, Cécile H; Taudiere, Adrien; Fajardo, Alex; Aarssen, Lonnie W; Baraloto, Christopher; Carlucci, Marcos B; Cianciaruso, Marcus V; de L Dantas, Vinícius; de Bello, Francesco; Duarte, Leandro D S; Fonseca, Carlos R; Freschet, Grégoire T; Gaucherand, Stéphanie; Gross, Nicolas; Hikosaka, Kouki; Jackson, Benjamin; Jung, Vincent; Kamiyama, Chiho; Katabuchi, Masatoshi; Kembel, Steven W; Kichenin, Emilie; Kraft, Nathan J B; Lagerström, Anna; Bagousse-Pinguet, Yoann Le; Li, Yuanzhi; Mason, Norman; Messier, Julie; Nakashizuka, Tohru; Overton, Jacob McC; Peltzer, Duane A; Pérez-Ramos, I M; Pillar, Valério D; Prentice, Honor C; Richardson, Sarah; Sasaki, Takehiro; Schamp, Brandon S; Schöb, Christian; Shipley, Bill; Sundqvist, Maja; Sykes, Martin T; Vandewalle, Marie; Wardle, David A

    2015-12-01

    Recent studies have shown that accounting for intraspecific trait variation (ITV) may better address major questions in community ecology. However, a general picture of the relative extent of ITV compared to interspecific trait variation in plant communities is still missing. Here, we conducted a meta-analysis of the relative extent of ITV within and among plant communities worldwide, using a data set encompassing 629 communities (plots) and 36 functional traits. Overall, ITV accounted for 25% of the total trait variation within communities and 32% of the total trait variation among communities on average. The relative extent of ITV tended to be greater for whole-plant (e.g. plant height) vs. organ-level traits and for leaf chemical (e.g. leaf N and P concentration) vs. leaf morphological (e.g. leaf area and thickness) traits. The relative amount of ITV decreased with increasing species richness and spatial extent, but did not vary with plant growth form or climate. These results highlight global patterns in the relative importance of ITV in plant communities, providing practical guidelines for when researchers should include ITV in trait-based community and ecosystem studies. PMID:26415616

  3. Plant Invasions Associated with Change in Root-Zone Microbial Community Structure and Diversity.

    PubMed

    Rodrigues, Richard R; Pineda, Rosana P; Barney, Jacob N; Nilsen, Erik T; Barrett, John E; Williams, Mark A

    2015-01-01

    The importance of plant-microbe associations for the invasion of plant species have not been often tested under field conditions. The research sought to determine patterns of change in microbial communities associated with the establishment of invasive plants with different taxonomic and phenetic traits. Three independent locations in Virginia, USA were selected. One site was invaded by a grass (Microstegium vimineum), another by a shrub (Rhamnus davurica), and the third by a tree (Ailanthus altissima). The native vegetation from these sites was used as reference. 16S rRNA and ITS regions were sequenced to study root-zone bacterial and fungal communities, respectively, in invaded and non-invaded samples and analyzed using Quantitative Insights Into Microbial Ecology (QIIME). Though root-zone microbial community structure initially differed across locations, plant invasion shifted communities in similar ways. Indicator species analysis revealed that Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) closely related to Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Ascomycota increased in abundance due to plant invasions. The Hyphomonadaceae family in the Rhodobacterales order and ammonia-oxidizing Nitrospirae phylum showed greater relative abundance in the invaded root-zone soils. Hyphomicrobiaceae, another bacterial family within the phyla Proteobacteria increased as a result of plant invasion, but the effect associated most strongly with root-zones of M. vimineum and R. davurica. Functional analysis using Phylogenetic Investigation of Communities by Reconstruction of Unobserved States (PICRUSt) showed bacteria responsible for nitrogen cycling in soil increased in relative abundance in association with plant invasion. In agreement with phylogenetic and functional analyses, greater turnover of ammonium and nitrate was associated with plant invasion. Overall, bacterial and fungal communities changed congruently across plant invaders, and support the hypothesis that nitrogen

  4. Plant Invasions Associated with Change in Root-Zone Microbial Community Structure and Diversity

    PubMed Central

    Rodrigues, Richard R.; Pineda, Rosana P.; Barney, Jacob N.; Nilsen, Erik T.; Barrett, John E.; Williams, Mark A.

    2015-01-01

    The importance of plant-microbe associations for the invasion of plant species have not been often tested under field conditions. The research sought to determine patterns of change in microbial communities associated with the establishment of invasive plants with different taxonomic and phenetic traits. Three independent locations in Virginia, USA were selected. One site was invaded by a grass (Microstegium vimineum), another by a shrub (Rhamnus davurica), and the third by a tree (Ailanthus altissima). The native vegetation from these sites was used as reference. 16S rRNA and ITS regions were sequenced to study root-zone bacterial and fungal communities, respectively, in invaded and non-invaded samples and analyzed using Quantitative Insights Into Microbial Ecology (QIIME). Though root-zone microbial community structure initially differed across locations, plant invasion shifted communities in similar ways. Indicator species analysis revealed that Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) closely related to Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Ascomycota increased in abundance due to plant invasions. The Hyphomonadaceae family in the Rhodobacterales order and ammonia-oxidizing Nitrospirae phylum showed greater relative abundance in the invaded root-zone soils. Hyphomicrobiaceae, another bacterial family within the phyla Proteobacteria increased as a result of plant invasion, but the effect associated most strongly with root-zones of M. vimineum and R. davurica. Functional analysis using Phylogenetic Investigation of Communities by Reconstruction of Unobserved States (PICRUSt) showed bacteria responsible for nitrogen cycling in soil increased in relative abundance in association with plant invasion. In agreement with phylogenetic and functional analyses, greater turnover of ammonium and nitrate was associated with plant invasion. Overall, bacterial and fungal communities changed congruently across plant invaders, and support the hypothesis that nitrogen

  5. Bacterial community and proteome analysis of fresh-cut lettuce as affected by packaging.

    PubMed

    Di Carli, Mariasole; De Rossi, Patrizia; Paganin, Patrizia; Del Fiore, Antonella; Lecce, Francesca; Capodicasa, Cristina; Bianco, Linda; Perrotta, Gaetano; Mengoni, Alessio; Bacci, Giovanni; Daroda, Lorenza; Dalmastri, Claudia; Donini, Marcello; Bevivino, Annamaria

    2016-01-01

    With the growing demand of fresh-cut vegetables, a variety of packaging films are produced specifically to improve safety and quality of the fresh vegetables over the storage period. The aim of our work was to evaluate the influence of different packaging films on the quality of fresh-cut lettuce analyzing changes in bacterial community composition and modifications at the proteome level, by means of culture-dependent/culture-independent methods and differential gel electrophoresis combined with mass spectrometry analysis. Total viable counts indicated the presence of a highly variable and complex microbial flora, around a mean value of 6.26 log10 CFU g(-1). Analysis of terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphism data indicated that bacterial communities changed with packaging films and time, showing differences in community composition and diversity indices between the commercially available package (F) and the new packages (A and C), in the first days after packaging. Also proteomic analysis revealed significant changes, involving proteins related to energy metabolism, photosynthesis, plant defense and oxidative stress processes, between F and A/C packages. In conclusion, microbiological and proteomic analysis have proved to be powerful tools to provide new insights into both the composition of leaf-associated bacterial communities and protein content of fresh-cut lettuce during the shelf-life storage process. PMID:26511951

  6. Plant diversity and functional groups affect Si and Ca pools in aboveground biomass of grassland systems.

    PubMed

    Schaller, Jörg; Roscher, Christiane; Hillebrand, Helmut; Weigelt, Alexandra; Oelmann, Yvonne; Wilcke, Wolfgang; Ebeling, Anne; Weisser, Wolfgang W

    2016-09-01

    Plant diversity is an important driver of nitrogen and phosphorus stocks in aboveground plant biomass of grassland ecosystems, but plant diversity effects on other elements also important for plant growth are less understood. We tested whether plant species richness, functional group richness or the presence/absence of particular plant functional groups influences the Si and Ca concentrations (mmol g(-1)) and stocks (mmol m(-2)) in aboveground plant biomass in a large grassland biodiversity experiment (Jena Experiment). In the experiment including 60 temperate grassland species, plant diversity was manipulated as sown species richness (1, 2, 4, 8, 16) and richness and identity of plant functional groups (1-4; grasses, small herbs, tall herbs, legumes). We found positive species richness effects on Si as well as Ca stocks that were attributable to increased biomass production. The presence of particular functional groups was the most important factor explaining variation in aboveground Si and Ca stocks (mmol m(-2)). Grass presence increased the Si stocks by 140 % and legume presence increased the Ca stock by 230 %. Both the presence of specific plant functional groups and species diversity altered Si and Ca stocks, whereas Si and Ca concentration were affected mostly by the presence of specific plant functional groups. However, we found a negative effect of species diversity on Si and Ca accumulation, by calculating the deviation between mixtures and mixture biomass proportions, but in monoculture concentrations. These changes may in turn affect ecosystem processes such as plant litter decomposition and nutrient cycling in grasslands. PMID:27164912

  7. Responses of community-level plant-insect interactions to climate warming in a meadow steppe.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Hui; Zou, Xuehui; Wang, Deli; Wan, Shiqiang; Wang, Ling; Guo, Jixun

    2015-01-01

    Climate warming may disrupt trophic interactions, consequently influencing ecosystem functioning. Most studies have concentrated on the temperature-effects on plant-insect interactions at individual and population levels, with a particular emphasis on changes in phenology and distribution. Nevertheless, the available evidence from the community level is limited. A 3-year field manipulative experiment was performed to test potential responses of plant and insect communities, and plant-insect interactions, to elevated temperature in a meadow steppe. Warming increased the biomass of plant community and forbs, and decreased grass biomass, indicating a shift from grass-dominant to grass-forb mixed plant community. Reduced abundance of the insect community under warming, particularly the herbivorous insects, was attributed to lower abundance of Euchorthippus unicolor and a Cicadellidae species resulting from lower food availability and higher defensive herbivory. Lower herbivore abundance caused lower predator species richness because of reduced prey resources and contributed to an overall decrease in insect species richness. Interestingly, warming enhanced the positive relationship between insect and plant species richness, implying that the strength of the plant-insect interactions was altered by warming. Our results suggest that alterations to plant-insect interactions at a community level under climate warming in grasslands may be more important and complex than previously thought. PMID:26686758

  8. Responses of community-level plant-insect interactions to climate warming in a meadow steppe

    PubMed Central

    Zhu, Hui; Zou, Xuehui; Wang, Deli; Wan, Shiqiang; Wang, Ling; Guo, Jixun

    2015-01-01

    Climate warming may disrupt trophic interactions, consequently influencing ecosystem functioning. Most studies have concentrated on the temperature-effects on plant-insect interactions at individual and population levels, with a particular emphasis on changes in phenology and distribution. Nevertheless, the available evidence from the community level is limited. A 3-year field manipulative experiment was performed to test potential responses of plant and insect communities, and plant-insect interactions, to elevated temperature in a meadow steppe. Warming increased the biomass of plant community and forbs, and decreased grass biomass, indicating a shift from grass-dominant to grass-forb mixed plant community. Reduced abundance of the insect community under warming, particularly the herbivorous insects, was attributed to lower abundance of Euchorthippus unicolor and a Cicadellidae species resulting from lower food availability and higher defensive herbivory. Lower herbivore abundance caused lower predator species richness because of reduced prey resources and contributed to an overall decrease in insect species richness. Interestingly, warming enhanced the positive relationship between insect and plant species richness, implying that the strength of the plant-insect interactions was altered by warming. Our results suggest that alterations to plant-insect interactions at a community level under climate warming in grasslands may be more important and complex than previously thought. PMID:26686758

  9. Strong linkage between plant and soil fungal communities along a successional coastal dune system.

    PubMed

    Roy-Bolduc, Alice; Laliberté, Etienne; Boudreau, Stéphane; Hijri, Mohamed

    2016-10-01

    Complex interactions between plants and soil microorganisms drive key ecosystem and community properties such as productivity and diversity. In nutrient-poor systems such as sand dunes, plant traits and fungal symbioses related to nutrient acquisition can strongly influence vegetation dynamics. We investigated plant and fungal communities in a relic foredune plain located on an archipelago in Québec, Canada. We detected distinct communities across the edaphic and successional gradient. Our results showed a clear increase in plant species richness, as well as in the diversity of nutrient-acquisition strategies. We also found a strong correlation between aboveground vegetation and soil fungal communities, and both responded similarly to soil physicochemical properties. Soil pH influenced the composition of plant and fungal communities, and could act as an important environmental filter along this relic foredune plain. The increasing functional diversity in plant nutrient-acquisition strategies across the gradient might favor resource partitioning and facilitation among co-occurring plant species. The coordinated changes in soil microbial and plant communities highlight the importance of aboveground-belowground linkages and positive biotic interactions during ecological succession in nutrient-poor environments. PMID:27411980

  10. Mechanisms and ecological consequences of plant defence induction and suppression in herbivore communities

    PubMed Central

    Kant, M. R.; Jonckheere, W.; Knegt, B.; Lemos, F.; Liu, J.; Schimmel, B. C. J.; Villarroel, C. A.; Ataide, L. M. S.; Dermauw, W.; Glas, J. J.; Egas, M.; Janssen, A.; Van Leeuwen, T.; Schuurink, R. C.; Sabelis, M. W.; Alba, J. M.

    2015-01-01

    give rise to exploitative competition and facilitation within ecological communities “inhabiting” a plant. Conclusions Herbivores have evolved diverse strategies, which are not mutually exclusive, to decrease the negative effects of plant defences in order to maximize the conversion of plant material into offspring. Numerous adaptations have been found in herbivores, enabling them to dismantle or bypass defensive barriers, to avoid tissues with relatively high levels of defensive chemicals or to metabolize these chemicals once ingested. In addition, some herbivores interfere with the onset or completion of induced plant defences, resulting in the plant’s resistance being partly or fully suppressed. The ability to suppress induced plant defences appears to occur across plant parasites from different kingdoms, including herbivorous arthropods, and there is remarkable diversity in suppression mechanisms. Suppression may strongly affect the structure of the food web, because the ability to suppress the activation of defences of a communal host may facilitate competitors, whereas the ability of a herbivore to cope with activated plant defences will not. Further characterization of the mechanisms and traits that give rise to suppression of plant defences will enable us to determine their role in shaping direct and indirect interactions in food webs and the extent to which these determine the coexistence and persistence of species. PMID:26019168

  11. Influences of Plant Species, Season and Location on Leaf Endophytic Bacterial Communities of Non-Cultivated Plants

    PubMed Central

    Ding, Tao; Melcher, Ulrich

    2016-01-01

    Bacteria are known to be associated endophytically with plants. Research on endophytic bacteria has identified their importance in food safety, agricultural production and phytoremediation. However, the diversity of endophytic bacterial communities and the forces that shape their compositions in non-cultivated plants are largely uncharacterized. In this study, we explored the diversity, community structure, and dynamics of endophytic bacteria in different plant species in the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve of northern Oklahoma, USA. High throughput sequencing of amplified segments of bacterial rDNA from 81 samples collected at four sampling times from five plant species at four locations identified 335 distinct OTUs at 97% sequence similarity, representing 16 phyla. Proteobacteria was the dominant phylum in the communities, followed by the phyla Bacteriodetes and Actinobacteria. Bacteria from four classes of Proteobacteria were detected with Alphaproteobacteria as the dominant class. Analysis of molecular variance revealed that host plant species and collecting date had significant influences on the compositions of the leaf endophytic bacterial communities. The proportion of Alphaproteobacteria was much higher in the communities from Asclepias viridis than from other plant species and differed from month to month. The most dominant bacterial groups identified in LDA Effect Size analysis showed host-specific patterns, indicating mutual selection between host plants and endophytic bacteria and that leaf endophytic bacterial compositions were dynamic, varying with the host plant’s growing season in three distinct patterns. In summary, next generation sequencing has revealed variations in the taxonomic compositions of leaf endophytic bacterial communities dependent primarily on the nature of the plant host species. PMID:26974817

  12. The Salicylic Acid-Mediated Release of Plant Volatiles Affects the Host Choice of Bemisia tabaci

    PubMed Central

    Shi, Xiaobin; Chen, Gong; Tian, Lixia; Peng, Zhengke; Xie, Wen; Wu, Qingjun; Wang, Shaoli; Zhou, Xuguo; Zhang, Youjun

    2016-01-01

    The whitefly Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) causes serious crop losses worldwide by transmitting viruses. We have previously shown that salicylic acid (SA)-related plant defenses directly affect whiteflies. In this study, we applied exogenous SA to tomato plants in order to investigate the interaction between SA-induced plant volatiles and nonviruliferous B. tabaci B and Q or B- and Q-carrying tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV). The results showed that exogenous SA caused plants to repel nonviruliferous whiteflies, but the effect was reduced when the SA concentration was low and when the whiteflies were viruliferous. Exogenous SA increased the number and quantity of plant volatiles—especially the quantity of methyl salicylate and δ-limonene. In Y-tube olfactometer assays, methyl salicylate and δ-limonene repelled the whiteflies, but the repellency was reduced for viruliferous Q. We suggest that the release of plant volatiles as mediated by SA affects the interaction between whiteflies, plants, and viruses. Further studies are needed to determine why viruliferous Q is less sensitive than nonviruliferous Q to repellent plant volatiles. PMID:27376280

  13. The Salicylic Acid-Mediated Release of Plant Volatiles Affects the Host Choice of Bemisia tabaci.

    PubMed

    Shi, Xiaobin; Chen, Gong; Tian, Lixia; Peng, Zhengke; Xie, Wen; Wu, Qingjun; Wang, Shaoli; Zhou, Xuguo; Zhang, Youjun

    2016-01-01

    The whitefly Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) causes serious crop losses worldwide by transmitting viruses. We have previously shown that salicylic acid (SA)-related plant defenses directly affect whiteflies. In this study, we applied exogenous SA to tomato plants in order to investigate the interaction between SA-induced plant volatiles and nonviruliferous B. tabaci B and Q or B- and Q-carrying tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV). The results showed that exogenous SA caused plants to repel nonviruliferous whiteflies, but the effect was reduced when the SA concentration was low and when the whiteflies were viruliferous. Exogenous SA increased the number and quantity of plant volatiles-especially the quantity of methyl salicylate and δ-limonene. In Y-tube olfactometer assays, methyl salicylate and δ-limonene repelled the whiteflies, but the repellency was reduced for viruliferous Q. We suggest that the release of plant volatiles as mediated by SA affects the interaction between whiteflies, plants, and viruses. Further studies are needed to determine why viruliferous Q is less sensitive than nonviruliferous Q to repellent plant volatiles. PMID:27376280

  14. Is fire exclusion in mountain big sagebrush communities prudent? Soil nutrient, plant diversity, and arthropod response to burning

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Fire has largely been excluded from many mountain big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt. ssp. vaseyana (Rydb.) Beetle) communities. Land and wildlife managers are especially reluctant to reintroduce fire in mountain big sagebrush plant communities, especially those communities without significan...

  15. [Effects of phytase transgenic corn planting on soil nematode community].

    PubMed

    Zhao, Zong-Chao; Su, Ying; Mou, Wen-Ya; Liu, Man-Qiang; Chen, Xiao-Yun; Chen, Fa-Jun

    2014-04-01

    A healthy soil ecosystem is essential for nutrient cycling and energy conversion, and the impact of exogenous genes from genetically modified crops had aroused wide concerns. Phytase transgenic corn (i. e., the inbred line BVLA430101) was issued a bio-safety certificate on 27 September 2009 in China, which could improve the efficiency of feed utilization, reduce environmental pollution caused by animal manure. In this study, the abundance of trophic groups, community structure and ecological indices of soil nematodes were studied over the growing cycle of phytase transgenic corn (ab. transgenic corn) and control conventional parental corn (ab. control corn) in the field. Totally 29 and 26 nematode genera were isolated from transgenic corn and control corn fields, respectively. The abundances of bacterivores and omnivores-predators, the total number of soil nematodes, and the Shannon index (H) were significantly greater under transgenic corn than under control corn, while the opposite trend was found for the relative abundance of herbivores and the maturity index (Sigma MI) of soil nematodes. Repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) did not detect any significant effects of transgenic corn on the composition and abundance of nematode trophic groups and ecological indices of soil nematodes. Furthermore, the Student-T test showed that the abundances of bacterivores and omnivores-predators and the total number of soil nematodes during the milk-ripe stage were significant higher in the transgenic corn field than in the control corn field. The effects of transgenic corn planting on soil nematodes might be related to the increase in the nitrogen content of field soil under transgenic corn compared to control corn. PMID:25011306

  16. Plant and arthropod community sensitivity to rainfall manipulation but not nitrogen enrichment in a successional grassland ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Lee, Mark A; Manning, Pete; Walker, Catherine S; Power, Sally A

    2014-12-01

    Grasslands provide many ecosystem services including carbon storage, biodiversity preservation and livestock forage production. These ecosystem services will change in the future in response to multiple global environmental changes, including climate change and increased nitrogen inputs. We conducted an experimental study over 3 years in a mesotrophic grassland ecosystem in southern England. We aimed to expose plots to rainfall manipulation that simulated IPCC 4th Assessment projections for 2100 (+15% winter rainfall and -30% summer rainfall) or ambient climate, achieving +15% winter rainfall and -39% summer rainfall in rainfall-manipulated plots. Nitrogen (40 kg ha(-1) year(-1)) was also added to half of the experimental plots in factorial combination. Plant species composition and above ground biomass were not affected by rainfall in the first 2 years and the plant community did not respond to nitrogen enrichment throughout the experiment. In the third year, above-ground plant biomass declined in rainfall-manipulated plots, driven by a decline in the abundances of grass species characteristic of moist soils. Declining plant biomass was also associated with changes to arthropod communities, with lower abundances of plant-feeding Auchenorrhyncha and carnivorous Araneae indicating multi-trophic responses to rainfall manipulation. Plant and arthropod community composition and plant biomass responses to rainfall manipulation were not modified by nitrogen enrichment, which was not expected, but may have resulted from prior nitrogen saturation and/or phosphorus limitation. Overall, our study demonstrates that climate change may in future influence plant productivity and induce multi-trophic responses in grasslands. PMID:25224801

  17. Effect of elevated atmospheric CO/sub 2/ on plant communities. Final report

    SciTech Connect

    Bazzaz, F.A.

    1984-10-01

    We have studied the effects of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide on communities of colonizing annual plants, crop plants, and deciduous forest trees. We observe differential effects on different species with regard to growth, biomass, phenology, resource allocation, photosynthesis, water-use efficiency, flowering, and fruiting. We conclude that competitive relations among plants are likely to change as global atmospheric CO/sub 2/ increases, and that therefore there will be longterm changes in the composition of natural communities. More research will be necessary before any but the very broadest conclusions can be made about what direction these community changes are likely to take. 10 references, 9 figures.

  18. Seasonality Affects Macroalgal Community Response to Increases in pCO2

    PubMed Central

    Baggini, Cecilia; Salomidi, Maria; Voutsinas, Emanuela; Bray, Laura; Krasakopoulou, Eva; Hall-Spencer, Jason M.

    2014-01-01

    Ocean acidification is expected to alter marine systems, but there is uncertainty about its effects due to the logistical difficulties of testing its large-scale and long-term effects. Responses of biological communities to increases in carbon dioxide can be assessed at CO2 seeps that cause chronic exposure to lower seawater pH over localised areas of seabed. Shifts in macroalgal communities have been described at temperate and tropical pCO2 seeps, but temporal and spatial replication of these observations is needed to strengthen confidence our predictions, especially because very few studies have been replicated between seasons. Here we describe the seawater chemistry and seasonal variability of macroalgal communities at CO2 seeps off Methana (Aegean Sea). Monitoring from 2011 to 2013 showed that seawater pH decreased to levels predicted for the end of this century at the seep site with no confounding gradients in Total Alkalinity, salinity, temperature or wave exposure. Most nutrient levels were similar along the pH gradient; silicate increased significantly with decreasing pH, but it was not limiting for algal growth at all sites. Metal concentrations in seaweed tissues varied between sites but did not consistently increase with pCO2. Our data on the flora are consistent with results from laboratory experiments and observations at Mediterranean CO2 seep sites in that benthic communities decreased in calcifying algal cover and increased in brown algal cover with increasing pCO2. This differs from the typical macroalgal community response to stress, which is a decrease in perennial brown algae and proliferation of opportunistic green algae. Cystoseira corniculata was more abundant in autumn and Sargassum vulgare in spring, whereas the articulated coralline alga Jania rubens was more abundant at reference sites in autumn. Diversity decreased with increasing CO2 regardless of season. Our results show that benthic community responses to ocean acidification are

  19. Seasonality affects macroalgal community response to increases in pCO2.

    PubMed

    Baggini, Cecilia; Salomidi, Maria; Voutsinas, Emanuela; Bray, Laura; Krasakopoulou, Eva; Hall-Spencer, Jason M

    2014-01-01

    Ocean acidification is expected to alter marine systems, but there is uncertainty about its effects due to the logistical difficulties of testing its large-scale and long-term effects. Responses of biological communities to increases in carbon dioxide can be assessed at CO2 seeps that cause chronic exposure to lower seawater pH over localised areas of seabed. Shifts in macroalgal communities have been described at temperate and tropical pCO2 seeps, but temporal and spatial replication of these observations is needed to strengthen confidence our predictions, especially because very few studies have been replicated between seasons. Here we describe the seawater chemistry and seasonal variability of macroalgal communities at CO2 seeps off Methana (Aegean Sea). Monitoring from 2011 to 2013 showed that seawater pH decreased to levels predicted for the end of this century at the seep site with no confounding gradients in Total Alkalinity, salinity, temperature or wave exposure. Most nutrient levels were similar along the pH gradient; silicate increased significantly with decreasing pH, but it was not limiting for algal growth at all sites. Metal concentrations in seaweed tissues varied between sites but did not consistently increase with pCO2. Our data on the flora are consistent with results from laboratory experiments and observations at Mediterranean CO2 seep sites in that benthic communities decreased in calcifying algal cover and increased in brown algal cover with increasing pCO2. This differs from the typical macroalgal community response to stress, which is a decrease in perennial brown algae and proliferation of opportunistic green algae. Cystoseira corniculata was more abundant in autumn and Sargassum vulgare in spring, whereas the articulated coralline alga Jania rubens was more abundant at reference sites in autumn. Diversity decreased with increasing CO2 regardless of season. Our results show that benthic community responses to ocean acidification are

  20. Deviation from niche optima affects the nature of plant-plant interactions along a soil acidity gradient.

    PubMed

    He, Lei; Cheng, Lulu; Hu, Liangliang; Tang, Jianjun; Chen, Xin

    2016-01-01

    There is increasing recognition of the importance of niche optima in the shift of plant-plant interactions along environmental stress gradients. Here, we investigate whether deviation from niche optima would affect the outcome of plant-plant interactions along a soil acidity gradient (pH = 3.1, 4.1, 5.5 and 6.1) in a pot experiment. We used the acid-tolerant species Lespedeza formosa Koehne as the neighbouring plant and the acid-tolerant species Indigofera pseudotinctoria Mats. or acid-sensitive species Medicago sativa L. as the target plants. Biomass was used to determine the optimal pH and to calculate the relative interaction index (RII). We found that the relationships between RII and the deviation of soil pH from the target's optimal pH were linear for both target species. Both targets were increasingly promoted by the neighbour as pH values deviated from their optima; neighbours benefitted target plants by promoting soil symbiotic arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, increasing soil organic matter or reducing soil exchangeable aluminium. Our results suggest that the shape of the curve describing the relationship between soil pH and facilitation/competition depends on the soil pH optima of the particular species. PMID:26740568

  1. Plant invasions differentially affected by diversity and dominant species in native- and exotic-dominated grasslands.

    PubMed

    Xu, Xia; Polley, H Wayne; Hofmockel, Kirsten; Daneshgar, Pedram P; Wilsey, Brian J

    2015-12-01

    Plant invasions are an increasingly serious global concern, especially as the climate changes. Here, we explored how plant invasions differed between native- and novel exotic-dominated grasslands with experimental addition of summer precipitation in Texas in 2009. Exotic species greened up earlier than natives by an average of 18 days. This was associated with a lower invasion rate early in the growing season compared to native communities. However, invasion rate did not differ significantly between native and exotic communities across all sampling times. The predictors of invasion rate differed between native and exotic communities, with invasion being negatively influenced by species richness in natives and by dominant species in exotics. Interestingly, plant invasions matched the bimodal pattern of precipitation in Temple, Texas, and did not respond to the pulse of precipitation during the summer. Our results suggest that we will need to take different approaches in understanding of invasion between native and exotic grasslands. Moreover, with anticipated increasing variability in precipitation under global climate change, plant invasions may be constrained in their response if the precipitation pulses fall outside the normal growing period of invaders. PMID:27069615

  2. Bacterial communities of two parthenogenetic aphid species cocolonizing two host plants across the Hawaiian Islands.

    PubMed

    Jones, Ryan T; Bressan, Alberto; Greenwell, April M; Fierer, Noah

    2011-12-01

    Aphids (Hemiptera: Aphididae) have been the focus of several studies with respect to their interactions with inherited symbionts, but bacterial communities of most aphid species are still poorly characterized. In this research, we used bar-coded pyrosequencing to characterize bacterial communities in aphids. Specifically, we examined the diversity of bacteria in two obligately parthenogenetic aphid species (the melon aphid, Aphis gossypii, and the cardamom aphid, Pentalonia caladii) cocolonizing two plant species (taro, Colocasia esculenta, and ginger, Alpinia purpurata) across four Hawaiian Islands (Hawaii, Kauai, Maui, and Oahu). Results from this study revealed that heritable symbionts dominated the bacterial communities for both aphid species. The bacterial communities differed significantly between the two species, and A. gossypii harbored a more diverse bacterial community than P. caladii. The bacterial communities also differed across aphid populations sampled from the different islands; however, communities did not differ between aphids collected from the two host plants. PMID:21965398

  3. 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

  4. Warming increases plant biomass and reduces diversity across continents, latitudes, and species migration scenarios in experimental wetland communities.

    PubMed

    Baldwin, Andrew H; Jensen, Kai; Schönfeldt, Marisa

    2014-03-01

    Atmospheric warming may influence plant productivity and diversity and induce poleward migration of species, altering communities across latitudes. Complicating the picture is that communities from different continents deviate in evolutionary histories, which may modify responses to warming and migration. We used experimental wetland plant communities grown from seed banks as model systems to determine whether effects of warming on biomass production and species richness are consistent across continents, latitudes, and migration scenarios. We collected soil samples from each of three tidal freshwater marshes in estuaries at three latitudes (north, middle, south) on the Atlantic coasts of Europe and North America. In one experiment, we exposed soil seed bank communities from each latitude and continent to ambient and elevated (+2.8 °C) temperatures in the greenhouse. In a second experiment, soil samples were mixed either within each estuary (limited migration) or among estuaries from different latitudes in each continent (complete migration). Seed bank communities of these migration scenarios were also exposed to ambient and elevated temperatures and contrasted with a no-migration treatment. In the first experiment, warming overall increased biomass (+16%) and decreased species richness (-14%) across latitudes in Europe and North America. Species richness and evenness of south-latitude communities were less affected by warming than those of middle and north latitudes. In the second experiment, warming also stimulated biomass and lowered species richness. In addition, complete migration led to increased species richness (+60% in North America, + 100% in Europe), but this higher diversity did not translate into increased biomass. Species responded idiosyncratically to warming, but Lythrum salicaria and Bidens sp. increased significantly in response to warming in both continents. These results reveal for the first time consistent impacts of warming on biomass and

  5. Factors affecting ethnobotanical knowledge in a mestizo community of the Sierra de Huautla Biosphere Reserve, Mexico

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    research improves our understanding of the socio-economic activities associated with the intracultural distribution of ethnobotanical knowledge among mestizo Mexican communities. It also provides information on plant resources and habitats and how local peasants value them. This information could help in the development of proposals to improve biocultural conservation and strengthen traditional knowledge systems for effective forest management. PMID:24467777

  6. Planting geometry and plant population affect dryland maize grain yield and harvest index

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Water for dryland grain production in the Texas panhandle is limited. Agronomic practices such as reduction in plant population or change in sowing time may help increase maize (Zea mays L.) yield potential. Tiller formation under dryland conditions leads to more vegetative growth and reduced yield....

  7. Amazonian dark Earth and plant species from the Amazon region contribute to shape rhizosphere bacterial communities.

    PubMed

    Barbosa Lima, Amanda; Cannavan, Fabiana Souza; Navarrete, Acacio Aparecido; Teixeira, Wenceslau Geraldes; Kuramae, Eiko Eurya; Tsai, Siu Mui

    2015-05-01

    Amazonian Dark Earths (ADE) or Terra Preta de Índio formed in the past by pre-Columbian populations are highly sustained fertile soils supported by microbial communities that differ from those extant in adjacent soils. These soils are found in the Amazon region and are considered as a model soil when compared to the surrounding and background soils. The aim of this study was to assess the effects of ADE and its surrounding soil on the rhizosphere bacterial communities of two leguminous plant species that frequently occur in the Amazon region in forest sites (Mimosa debilis) and open areas (Senna alata). Bacterial community structure was evaluated using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) and bacterial community composition by V4 16S rRNA gene region pyrosequencing. T-RFLP analysis showed effect of soil types and plant species on rhizosphere bacterial community structure. Differential abundance of bacterial phyla, such as Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Verrucomicrobia, and Firmicutes, revealed that soil type contributes to shape the bacterial communities. Furthermore, bacterial phyla such as Firmicutes and Nitrospira were mostly influenced by plant species. Plant roots influenced several soil chemical properties, especially when plants were grown in ADE. These results showed that differences observed in rhizosphere bacterial community structure and composition can be influenced by plant species and soil fertility due to variation in soil attributes. PMID:25103911

  8. Accumulation of heavy metals in sunflower and sorghum plants affected by the Guadiamar spill.

    PubMed

    Murillo, J M; Marañón, T; Cabrera, F; López, R

    1999-12-01

    The collapse of a pyrite-mining, tailing dam on 25 April 1998 contaminated approximately 2000 ha of croplands along the Agrio and Guadiamar river valleys in southern Spain. This paper reports the accumulation of chemical elements in soil and in two crops--sunflower and sorghum--affected by the spill. Total concentrations of As, Bi, Cd, Cu, Mn, Pb, Sb, Tl and Zn in spill-affected soils were greater than in adjacent, unaffected soils. Leaves of spill-affected crop plants had higher nutrient (K, Ca and Mg for sunflower and N and K for sorghum) concentrations than controls, indicating a 'fertilising' effect caused by the sludge. Seeds of spill-affected sunflower plants did accumulate more As, Cd, Cu and Zn than controls, but values were below toxic levels. Leaves of sorghum plants accumulated more As, Bi, Cd, Mn, Pb, Tl and Zn than controls, but these values were also below toxic levels for livestock consumption. In general, none of the heavy metals studied in both crops reached either phytotoxic or toxic levels for humans or livestock. Nevertheless, a continuous monitoring of heavy metal accumulation in soil and plants must be established in the spill-affected area. PMID:10635586

  9. Lichen-Associated Fungal Community in Hypogymnia hypotrypa (Parmeliaceae, Ascomycota) Affected by Geographic Distribution and Altitude

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Yanyan; Zheng, Yong; Wang, Xinyu; Wei, Xinli; Wei, Jiangchun

    2016-01-01

    Lichen-associated fungal species have already been investigated in almost all the main growth forms of lichens, however, whether or not they are homogeneous and constant within each lichen species are still inconclusive. Moreover, the related ecological factors to affect and structure the fungal composition have been poorly studied. In order to answer these questions, we took Hypogymnia hypotrypa as a model to study the relationship between the lichen-associated fungal composition and two ecological factors, i.e., site and altitude, using the method of IlluminaMiSeq sequencing. Four different sites and two levels of altitude were included in this study, and the effects of site and altitude on fungal community composition were assessed at three levels, i.e., operational taxonomic unit (OTU), class and phylum. The results showed that a total of 50 OTUs were identified and distributed in 4 phyla, 13 classes, and 20 orders. The lichen-associated fungal composition within H. hypotrypa were significantly affected by both site and altitude at OTU and class levels, while at the phylum level, it was only affected by altitude. While the lichen associated fungal communities were reported to be similar with endophytic fungi of the moss, our results indicated the opposite results in some degree. But whether there exist specific OTUs within this lichen species corresponding to different sites and altitudes is still open. More lichen species and ecological factors would be taken into the integrated analyses to address these knowledge gaps in the near future. PMID:27547204

  10. Lichen-Associated Fungal Community in Hypogymnia hypotrypa (Parmeliaceae, Ascomycota) Affected by Geographic Distribution and Altitude.

    PubMed

    Wang, Yanyan; Zheng, Yong; Wang, Xinyu; Wei, Xinli; Wei, Jiangchun

    2016-01-01

    Lichen-associated fungal species have already been investigated in almost all the main growth forms of lichens, however, whether or not they are homogeneous and constant within each lichen species are still inconclusive. Moreover, the related ecological factors to affect and structure the fungal composition have been poorly studied. In order to answer these questions, we took Hypogymnia hypotrypa as a model to study the relationship between the lichen-associated fungal composition and two ecological factors, i.e., site and altitude, using the method of IlluminaMiSeq sequencing. Four different sites and two levels of altitude were included in this study, and the effects of site and altitude on fungal community composition were assessed at three levels, i.e., operational taxonomic unit (OTU), class and phylum. The results showed that a total of 50 OTUs were identified and distributed in 4 phyla, 13 classes, and 20 orders. The lichen-associated fungal composition within H. hypotrypa were significantly affected by both site and altitude at OTU and class levels, while at the phylum level, it was only affected by altitude. While the lichen associated fungal communities were reported to be similar with endophytic fungi of the moss, our results indicated the opposite results in some degree. But whether there exist specific OTUs within this lichen species corresponding to different sites and altitudes is still open. More lichen species and ecological factors would be taken into the integrated analyses to address these knowledge gaps in the near future. PMID:27547204

  11. Grazing maintains native plant diversity and promotes community stability in an annual grassland.

    PubMed

    Beck, Jared J; Hernández, Daniel L; Pasari, Jae R; Zavaleta, Erika S

    2015-07-01

    Maintaining native biodiversity in grasslands requires management and mitigation of anthropogenic changes that have altered resource availability, grazing regimes, and community composition. In California (USA), high levels of atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition have facilitated the invasion of exotic grasses, posing a threat to the diverse plant and insect communities endemic to serpentine grasslands. Cattle grazing has been employed to mitigate the consequences of exotic grass invasion, but the ecological effects of grazing in this system are not fully understood. To characterize the effects of realistic N deposition on serpentine plant communities and to evaluate the efficacy of grazing as a management tool, we performed a factorial experiment adding N and excluding large herbivores in California's largest serpentine grassland. Although we observed significant interannual variation in community composition related to climate in our six-year study, exotic cover was consistently and negatively correlated with native plant richness. Sustained low-level N addition did not influence plant community composition, but grazing reduced grass abundance while maintaining greater native forb cover, native plant diversity, and species richness in comparison to plots excluding large herbivores. Furthermore, grazing increased the temporal stability of plant communities by decreasing year-to-year variation in native forb cover, native plant diversity, and native species richness. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that moderate-intensity cattle grazing can be used to restrict the invasive potential of exotic grasses and maintain native plant communities in serpentine grasslands. We hypothesize that the reduced temporal variability in serpentine plant communities managed by grazing may directly benefit populations of the threatened Edith's Bay checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas editha bayensis). PMID:26485954

  12. Ozone affects growth and development of Pieris brassicae on the wild host plant Brassica nigra.

    PubMed

    Khaling, Eliezer; Papazian, Stefano; Poelman, Erik H; Holopainen, Jarmo K; Albrectsen, Benedicte R; Blande, James D

    2015-04-01

    When plants are exposed to ozone they exhibit changes in both primary and secondary metabolism, which may affect their interactions with herbivorous insects. Here we investigated the performance and preferences of the specialist herbivore Pieris brassicae on the wild plant Brassica nigra under elevated ozone conditions. The direct and indirect effects of ozone on the plant-herbivore system were studied. In both cases ozone exposure had a negative effect on P. brassicae development. However, in dual-choice tests larvae preferentially consumed plant material previously fumigated with the highest concentration tested, showing a lack of correlation between larval preference and performance on ozone exposed plants. Metabolomic analysis of leaf material subjected to combinations of ozone and herbivore-feeding, and focussing on known defence metabolites, indicated that P. brassicae behaviour and performance were associated with ozone-induced alterations to glucosinolate and phenolic pools. PMID:25645061

  13. Ontogenetic shifts in plant interactions vary with environmental severity and affect population structure.

    PubMed

    le Roux, Peter C; Shaw, Justine D; Chown, Steven L

    2013-10-01

    Environmental conditions and plant size may both alter the outcome of inter-specific plant-plant interactions, with seedlings generally facilitated more strongly than larger individuals in stressful habitats. However, the combined impact of plant size and environmental severity on interactions is poorly understood. Here, we tested explicitly for the first time the hypothesis that ontogenetic shifts in interactions are delayed under increasingly severe conditions by examining the interaction between a grass, Agrostis magellanica, and a cushion plant, Azorella selago, along two severity gradients. The impact of A. selago on A. magellanica abundance, but not reproductive effort, was related to A. magellanica size, with a trend for delayed shifts towards more negative interactions under greater environmental severity. Intermediate-sized individuals were most strongly facilitated, leading to differences in the size-class distribution of A. magellanica on the soil and on A. selago. The A. magellanica size-class distribution was more strongly affected by A. selago than by environmental severity, demonstrating that the plant-plant interaction impacts A. magellanica population structure more strongly than habitat conditions. As ontogenetic shifts in plant-plant interactions cannot be assumed to be constant across severity gradients and may impact species population structure, studies examining the outcome of interactions need to consider the potential for size- or age-related variation in competition and facilitation. PMID:23738758

  14. Fusarium Oxysporum Volatiles Enhance Plant Growth Via Affecting Auxin Transport and Signaling

    PubMed Central

    Bitas, Vasileios; McCartney, Nathaniel; Li, Ningxiao; Demers, Jill; Kim, Jung-Eun; Kim, Hye-Seon; Brown, Kathleen M.; Kang, Seogchan

    2015-01-01

    Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have well-documented roles in plant-plant communication and directing animal behavior. In this study, we examine the less understood roles of VOCs in plant-fungal relationships. Phylogenetically and ecologically diverse strains of Fusarium oxysporum, a fungal species complex that often resides in the rhizosphere of assorted plants, produce volatile compounds that augment shoot and root growth of Arabidopsis thaliana and tobacco. Growth responses of A. thaliana hormone signaling mutants and expression patterns of a GUS reporter gene under the auxin-responsive DR5 promoter supported the involvement of auxin signaling in F. oxysporum volatile-mediated growth enhancement. In addition, 1-naphthylthalamic acid, an inhibitor of auxin efflux, negated F. oxysporum volatile-mediated growth enhancement in both plants. Comparison of the profiles of volatile compounds produced by F. oxysporum strains that differentially affected plant growth suggests that the relative compositions of both growth inhibitory and stimulatory compounds may determine the degree of plant growth enhancement. Volatile-mediated signaling between fungi and plants may represent a potentially conserved, yet mostly overlooked, mechanism underpinning plant-fungus interactions and fungal niche adaption. PMID:26617587

  15. Comparing factors of vulnerability and resilience of mountain communities affected by landslides in Eastern Nepal

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sudmeier-Rieux, Karen; Dubois, Jerome; Jaboyedoff, Michel

    2010-05-01

    This paper describes a methodology for assessing and quantifying vulnerability and resilience of mountain communities in Eastern Nepal increasingly affected by landslides and flooding. We are interested in improving our understanding of the complex interactions between land use, landslides and multiple dimensions of risk, vulnerability and resilience to better target risk management strategies. Our approach is based on assessing underlying social, ecological and physical factors that cause vulnerability and on the other hand, those resources and capacities that increase resilience. Increasing resilience to disasters is frequently used by NGOs, governments and donors as the main goal of disaster risk reduction policies and practices. If we are to increase resilience to disasters, we need better guidance and tools for defining, assessing and monitoring its parameters. To do so, we are establishing a methodology for quantifying and mapping an index of resilience to compare resilience factors between households and communities based on interdisciplinary research methods: remote sensing, GIS, qualitative and quantitative risk assessments, participatory risk mapping, household questionnaires and focus groups discussions. Our study applied this methodology to several communities in Eastern Nepal where small, frequent landslides are greatly affecting rural lives and livelihoods. These landslides are not captured by headlines or official statistics but are examples of cumulative, hidden disasters, which are impacting everyday life and rural poverty in the Himalayas. Based on experience, marginalized populations are often aware of the physical risks and the limitations of their land. However, they continue to live in dangerous places out of necessity and for the economic or infrastructure opportunities offered. We compare two communities in Nepal, both affected by landslides but with different land use, migration patterns, education levels, social networks, risk reduction

  16. Bacterial community variation and microbial mechanism of triclosan (TCS) removal by constructed wetlands with different types of plants.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Congcong; Xie, HuiJun; Xu, Jingtao; Xu, Xiaoli; Zhang, Jian; Hu, Zhen; Liu, Cui; Liang, Shuang; Wang, Qian; Wang, Jingmin

    2015-02-01

    Triclosan (TCS) is a broad-spectrum synthetic antimicrobial agent that is toxic to microbes and other aquatic organisms. Constructed wetlands (CWs) are now popular in TCS removal. However, knowledge on the effects of TCS on the bacterial community and microbial removal mechanism in CWs is lacking. The effects of TCS (60 μg L(-1)) on bacterial communities in batch-loaded CWs with emergent (Typha angustifolia), submerged (Hydrilla verticillata), and floating plant (Salvinia natans) were analyzed by 454 pyrosequencing technology. After six periods of experiment, the TCS removal efficiencies were over 90% in CWs, and negative effects of TCS on bacterial community richness and diversity were observed. Moreover, plant species effect existed. Bacterial strains that contributed to TCS biodegradation in CWs were successfully identified. In TCS-treated T. angustifolia and H. verticillata CWs, beta-Proteobacteria increased by 16.63% and 18.20%, respectively. In TCS-treated S. natans CWs, delta- and gamma-Proteobacteria and Sphingobacteria increased by 9.36%, 19.49%, and 31.37%, respectively, and could relate to TCS biodegradation. TCS affected the development of certain bacteria, and eventually, the bacterial community structures in CWs. This research provided ecologically relevant information on bacterial community and microbial removal mechanism in CWs under TCS treatment. PMID:25461066

  17. Volatiles produced by soil-borne endophytic bacteria increase plant pathogen resistance and affect tritrophic interactions

    PubMed Central

    Ton, Jurriaan; Brandenburg, Anna; Karlen, Danielle; Zopfi, Jakob; Turlings, Ted C. J.

    2014-01-01

    Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released by soil microorganisms influence plant growth and pathogen resistance. Yet, very little is known about their influence on herbivores and higher trophic levels. We studied the origin and role of a major bacterial VOC, 2,3-butanediol (2,3-BD), on plant growth, pathogen and herbivore resistance, and the attraction of natural enemies in maize. One of the major contributors to 2,3-BD in the headspace of soil-grown maize seedlings was identified as Enterobacter aerogenes, an endophytic bacterium that colonizes the plants. The production of 2,3-BD by E. aerogenes rendered maize plants more resistant against the Northern corn leaf blight fungus Setosphaeria turcica. On the contrary, E. aerogenes-inoculated plants were less resistant against the caterpillar Spodoptera littoralis. The effect of 2,3-BD on the attraction of the parasitoid Cotesia marginiventris was more variable: 2,3-BD application to the headspace of the plants had no effect on the parasitoids, but application to the soil increased parasitoid attraction. Furthermore, inoculation of seeds with E. aerogenes decreased plant attractiveness, whereas inoculation of soil with a total extract of soil microbes increased parasitoid attraction, suggesting that the effect of 2,3-BD on the parasitoid is indirect and depends on the composition of the microbial community. PMID:24127750

  18. Volatiles produced by soil-borne endophytic bacteria increase plant pathogen resistance and affect tritrophic interactions.

    PubMed

    D'Alessandro, Marco; Erb, Matthias; Ton, Jurriaan; Brandenburg, Anna; Karlen, Danielle; Zopfi, Jakob; Turlings, Ted C J

    2014-04-01

    Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released by soil microorganisms influence plant growth and pathogen resistance. Yet, very little is known about their influence on herbivores and higher trophic levels. We studied the origin and role of a major bacterial VOC, 2,3-butanediol (2,3-BD), on plant growth, pathogen and herbivore resistance, and the attraction of natural enemies in maize. One of the major contributors to 2,3-BD in the headspace of soil-grown maize seedlings was identified as Enterobacter aerogenes, an endophytic bacterium that colonizes the plants. The production of 2,3-BD by E. aerogenes rendered maize plants more resistant against the Northern corn leaf blight fungus Setosphaeria turcica. On the contrary, E. aerogenes-inoculated plants were less resistant against the caterpillar Spodoptera littoralis. The effect of 2,3-BD on the attraction of the parasitoid Cotesia marginiventris was more variable: 2,3-BD application to the headspace of the plants had no effect on the parasitoids, but application to the soil increased parasitoid attraction. Furthermore, inoculation of seeds with E. aerogenes decreased plant attractiveness, whereas inoculation of soil with a total extract of soil microbes increased parasitoid attraction, suggesting that the effect of 2,3-BD on the parasitoid is indirect and depends on the composition of the microbial community. PMID:24127750

  19. The effects of glyphosate and aminopyralid on an artifical plant communities

    EPA Science Inventory

    The US EPA has responsibility for registration of pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The potential adverse effects of pesticides to nontarget terrestrial plant communities are a concern that must be addressed in the pesticide regist...

  20. Do Amplitudes of Water Level Fluctuations Affect the Growth and Community Structure of Submerged Macrophytes?

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Mo-Zhu; Liu, Zheng-Yuan; Luo, Fang-Li; Lei, Guang-Chun; Li, Hong-Li

    2016-01-01

    Submerged macrophytes are subjected to potential mechanical stresses associated with fluctuating water levels in natural conditions. However, few experimental studies have been conducted to further understand the effects of water level fluctuating amplitude on submerged macrophyte species and their assemblages or communities. We designed a controlled experiment to investigate the responses of three submerged macrophyte species (Hydrilla verticillata, Ceratophyllum demersum and Elodea nuttallii) and their combinations in communities to three amplitudes (static, ± 30 cm, ± 60 cm) of water level fluctuations. Results showed that water level fluctuating amplitude had little effects on the community performance and the three tested species responded differently. H. verticillata exhibited more growth in static water and it was negatively affected by either of the water level fluctuations amplitude, however, growth parameters of H. verticillata in two fluctuating water level treatments (i.e., ± 30 cm, ± 60 cm) were not significantly different. On the other hand, the growth of C. demersum was not significantly correlated with different amplitude treatments. However, it became more abundant when water levels fluctuated. E. nuttallii was inhibited by the two fluctuating water level treatments, and was less in growth parameters compared to the other species especially in water level fluctuating conditions. The inherent differences in the adaptive capabilities of the tested species indicate that C. demersum or other species with similar responses may be dominant species to restore submerged macrophyte communities with great fluctuating water levels. Otherwise, H. verticillata, E. nuttallii or other species with similar responses could be considered for constructing the community in static water conditions. PMID:26735689

  1. Metals other than uranium affected microbial community composition in a historical uranium-mining site.

    PubMed

    Sitte, Jana; Löffler, Sylvia; Burkhardt, Eva-Maria; Goldfarb, Katherine C; Büchel, Georg; Hazen, Terry C; Küsel, Kirsten

    2015-12-01

    To understand the links between the long-term impact of uranium and other metals on microbial community composition, ground- and surface water-influenced soils varying greatly in uranium and metal concentrations were investigated at the former uranium-mining district in Ronneburg, Germany. A soil-based 16S PhyloChip approach revealed 2358 bacterial and 35 archaeal operational taxonomic units (OTU) within diverse phylogenetic groups with higher OTU numbers than at other uranium-contaminated sites, e.g., at Oak Ridge. Iron- and sulfate-reducing bacteria (FeRB and SRB), which have the potential to attenuate uranium and other metals by the enzymatic and/or abiotic reduction of metal ions, were found at all sites. Although soil concentrations of solid-phase uranium were high, ranging from 5 to 1569 μg·g (dry weight) soil(-1), redundancy analysis (RDA) and forward selection indicated that neither total nor bio-available uranium concentrations contributed significantly to the observed OTU distribution. Instead, microbial community composition appeared to be influenced more by redox potential. Bacterial communities were also influenced by bio-available manganese and total cobalt and cadmium concentrations. Bio-available cadmium impacted FeRB distribution while bio-available manganese and copper as well as solid-phase zinc concentrations in the soil affected SRB composition. Archaeal communities were influenced by the bio-available lead as well as total zinc and cobalt concentrations. These results suggest that (i) microbial richness was not impacted by heavy metals and radionuclides and that (ii) redox potential and secondary metal contaminants had the strongest effect on microbial community composition, as opposed to uranium, the primary source of contamination. PMID:26122566

  2. How Has the Economic Downturn Affected Communities and Implementation of Science-Based Prevention in the Randomized Trial of Communities That Care?

    PubMed Central

    Kuklinski, Margaret R.; Hawkins, J. David; Plotnick, Robert D.; Abbott, Robert D.; Reid, Carolina K.

    2013-01-01

    This study examined implications of the economic downturn that began in December 2007 for the Community Youth Development Study (CYDS), a longitudinal randomized controlled trial of the Communities That Care (CTC) prevention system. The downturn had the potential to affect the internal validity of the CYDS research design and implementation of science-based prevention in study communities. We used archival economic indicators and community key leader reports of economic conditions to assess the extent of the economic downturn in CYDS communities and potential internal validity threats. We also examined whether stronger economic downturn effects were associated with a decline in science-based prevention implementation. Economic indicators suggested the downturn affected CYDS communities to different degrees. We found no evidence of systematic differences in downturn effects in CTC compared to control communities that would threaten internal validity of the randomized trial. The Community Economic Problems scale was a reliable measure of community economic conditions, and it showed criterion validity in relation to several objective economic indicators. CTC coalitions continued to implement science-based prevention to a significantly greater degree than control coalitions 2 years after the downturn began. However, CTC implementation levels declined to some extent as unemployment, the percentage of students qualifying for free lunch, and community economic problems worsened. Control coalition implementation levels were not related to economic conditions before or after the downturn, but mean implementation levels of science-based prevention were also relatively low in both periods. PMID:23054169

  3. Endophytic Fungal Communities Associated with Vascular Plants in the High Arctic Zone Are Highly Diverse and Host-Plant Specific.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Tao; Yao, Yi-Feng

    2015-01-01

    This study assessed the diversity and distribution of endophytic fungal communities associated with the leaves and stems of four vascular plant species in the High Arctic using 454 pyrosequencing with fungal-specific primers targeting the ITS region. Endophytic fungal communities showed high diversity. The 76,691 sequences obtained belonged to 250 operational taxonomic units (OTUs). Of these OTUs, 190 belonged to Ascomycota, 50 to Basidiomycota, 1 to Chytridiomycota, and 9 to unknown fungi. The dominant orders were Helotiales, Pleosporales, Capnodiales, and Tremellales, whereas the common known fungal genera were Cryptococcus, Rhizosphaera, Mycopappus, Melampsora, Tetracladium, Phaeosphaeria, Mrakia, Venturia, and Leptosphaeria. Both the climate and host-related factors might shape the fungal communities associated with the four Arctic plant species in this region. These results suggested the presence of an interesting endophytic fungal community and could improve our understanding of fungal evolution and ecology in the Arctic terrestrial ecosystems. PMID:26067836

  4. Endophytic Fungal Communities Associated with Vascular Plants in the High Arctic Zone Are Highly Diverse and Host-Plant Specific

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Tao; Yao, Yi-Feng

    2015-01-01

    This study assessed the diversity and distribution of endophytic fungal communities associated with the leaves and stems of four vascular plant species in the High Arctic using 454 pyrosequencing with fungal-specific primers targeting the ITS region. Endophytic fungal communities showed high diversity. The 76,691 sequences obtained belonged to 250 operational taxonomic units (OTUs). Of these OTUs, 190 belonged to Ascomycota, 50 to Basidiomycota, 1 to Chytridiomycota, and 9 to unknown fungi. The dominant orders were Helotiales, Pleosporales, Capnodiales, and Tremellales, whereas the common known fungal genera were Cryptococcus, Rhizosphaera, Mycopappus, Melampsora, Tetracladium, Phaeosphaeria, Mrakia, Venturia, and Leptosphaeria. Both the climate and host-related factors might shape the fungal communities associated with the four Arctic plant species in this region. These results suggested the presence of an interesting endophytic fungal community and could improve our understanding of fungal evolution and ecology in the Arctic terrestrial ecosystems. PMID:26067836

  5. Salinity and Alkaline pH in Irrigation Water Affect Marigold Plants: II. Mineral Ion Relations

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Scarcity of water of good quality for landscape irrigation is of outmost importance in arid and semiarid regions due to the competition with urban population. This is forcing the use of degraded waters with high levels of salinity and high pH, which may affect plant establishment and growth. The o...

  6. Poisonous plants affecting the central nervous system of horses in Brazil

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Poisoning by Indigofera pascuori was recently reported in horses in the state of Roraima. It causes chronic signs of sleepiness, unsteady gait, severe ataxia, and progressive weight loss. Some animals are blind. Young horses are more affected than adults. After the end of plant consumption the anima...

  7. Disparate effects of plant genotypic diversity on foliage and litter arthropod communities

    SciTech Connect

    Crutsinger, Greg; Reynolds, Nicholas; Classen, Aimee T; Sanders, Dr. Nathan James

    2008-01-01

    Intraspecific diversity within plant species is increasingly recognized as an important influence on the structure of associated arthropod communities, though whether there are congruent responses of above- and belowground communities to intraspecific diversity remains unclear. In this study, we compare the effects of host-plant genotype and genotypic diversity of the perennial plant, Solidago altissima, on the arthropod community associated with living plant tissue (foliage-based community) and microarthropods associated with leaf litter (litter-based community). We found that variation among host-plant genotypes had strong effects on the diversity and composition of foliage-based arthropods, but only weak influence on litter-based microarthropods. Furthermore, host-plant genotypic diversity was positively related to the abundance and diversity of foliage-based arthropods, including herbivore and predator trophic levels. In contrast, there were minimal effects of genotypic diversity in litter on microarthropods. Our study illustrates that incorporating both above- and belowground perspective into community genetics studies leads to very different conclusions about the importance of intraspecific diversity, than when considering aboveground responses in isolation.