Science.gov

Sample records for animal ecosystem engineers

  1. Aquatic Plants and Animals as Ecosystem Engineers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wotton, R. S.

    2005-05-01

    Studies on aquatic plants and animals focus on population dynamics, the structure of communities and the part played by organisms in food webs and other ecosystem processes. As Lawton and Jones point out in "Linking Species and Ecosystems", less attention is given to the role of organisms as ecosystem engineers, modifying the environment in which they live. Yet plants can have a profound effect on their surroundings, altering flow patterns and trapping large amounts of organic and inorganic material. Animals also affect aquatic ecosystems in many ways, both in building structures such as tubes and shelters, and in their feeding. For example, detritus feeders often produce large numbers of faecal pellets (and pseudofaeces in bivalves) and these are very different in size to the materials ingested. Pellets are deposited in masses over the bed of streams, lakes and the sea and therefore effect a translocation of nutrients. The action of plants and animals in altering their environment is likely to be a significant process in all water bodies, from both small to large scale.

  2. Engineering Ecosystems and Synthetic Ecologies#

    PubMed Central

    Mee, Michael T; Wang, Harris H

    2012-01-01

    Microbial ecosystems play an important role in nature. Engineering these systems for industrial, medical, or biotechnological purposes are important pursuits for synthetic biologists and biological engineers moving forward. Here, we provide a review of recent progress in engineering natural and synthetic microbial ecosystems. We highlight important forward engineering design principles, theoretical and quantitative models, new experimental and manipulation tools, and possible applications of microbial ecosystem engineering. We argue that simply engineering individual microbes will lead to fragile homogenous populations that are difficult to sustain, especially in highly heterogeneous and unpredictable environments. Instead, engineered microbial ecosystems are likely to be more robust and able to achieve complex tasks at the spatial and temporal resolution needed for truly programmable biology. PMID:22722235

  3. Ecosystem engineering effects on species diversity across ecosystems: a meta-analysis.

    PubMed

    Romero, Gustavo Q; Gonçalves-Souza, Thiago; Vieira, Camila; Koricheva, Julia

    2015-08-01

    Ecosystem engineering is increasingly recognized as a relevant ecological driver of diversity and community composition. Although engineering impacts on the biota can vary from negative to positive, and from trivial to enormous, patterns and causes of variation in the magnitude of engineering effects across ecosystems and engineer types remain largely unknown. To elucidate the above patterns, we conducted a meta-analysis of 122 studies which explored effects of animal ecosystem engineers on species richness of other organisms in the community. The analysis revealed that the overall effect of ecosystem engineers on diversity is positive and corresponds to a 25% increase in species richness, indicating that ecosystem engineering is a facilitative process globally. Engineering effects were stronger in the tropics than at higher latitudes, likely because new or modified habitats provided by engineers in the tropics may help minimize competition and predation pressures on resident species. Within aquatic environments, engineering impacts were stronger in marine ecosystems (rocky shores) than in streams. In terrestrial ecosystems, engineers displayed stronger positive effects in arid environments (e.g. deserts). Ecosystem engineers that create new habitats or microhabitats had stronger effects than those that modify habitats or cause bioturbation. Invertebrate engineers and those with lower engineering persistence (<1 year) affected species richness more than vertebrate engineers which persisted for >1 year. Invertebrate species richness was particularly responsive to engineering impacts. This study is the first attempt to build an integrative framework of engineering effects on species diversity; it highlights the importance of considering latitude, habitat, engineering functional group, taxon and persistence of their effects in future theoretical and empirical studies.

  4. Engineering visualization utilizing advanced animation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sabionski, Gunter R.; Robinson, Thomas L., Jr.

    1989-01-01

    Engineering visualization is the use of computer graphics to depict engineering analysis and simulation in visual form from project planning through documentation. Graphics displays let engineers see data represented dynamically which permits the quick evaluation of results. The current state of graphics hardware and software generally allows the creation of two types of 3D graphics. The use of animated video as an engineering visualization tool is presented. The engineering, animation, and videography aspects of animated video production are each discussed. Specific issues include the integration of staffing expertise, hardware, software, and the various production processes. A detailed explanation of the animation process reveals the capabilities of this unique engineering visualization method. Automation of animation and video production processes are covered and future directions are proposed.

  5. Early terrestrial ecosystems: the animal evidence

    SciTech Connect

    Gray, J.

    1985-01-01

    Work on fossil spores indicates that plants at a level of vegetative organization comparable to bryophytes and vascular plants existed on land in the Early Silurian. Vascular plants, limnetic fishes, and probable Ascomycetes have Late Silurian records. Charophytes are known in the Late Silurian but may have been marine. The presence of microarthropods in the Ludlovian has been hypothesized from fungal masses in the Burgsvik Sandstone that closely resemble microarthropod frass. A number of microarthropods such as collembolans and mites are microphagous; these animals are among the earliest known from the Early Devonian. These fungal masses as animal traces have been given added credibility by the recovery of animal body fossils from basal Llandovery age fluvial deposits of the Central Appalachians that yield abundant plant spores but that lack marine invertebrates, phytoplankton or chitinozoans. The remains are abundant and sufficiently varied to suggest that they may represent a variety of organisms. Some are eurypterid-like, others grossly arthropod-like, although they may represent an unknown phylum or phyla. Many small invertebrates are associated with extant bryophytes, which have been viewed as stepping stones or halfway houses for them as they emerged from water onto land. The occurrence of these Early Silurian invertebrate remains with abundant spore tetrads, which Gray has hypothesized represent land plants at a bryophyte or hepatic grade of organization, is of great interest in trying to understand the early development of nonmarine ecosystems.

  6. Avian ecosystem functions are influenced by small mammal ecosystem engineering

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Birds are important mobile link species that contribute to landscape-scale patterns by means of pollination, seed dispersal, and predation. Birds are often associated with habitats modified by small mammal ecosystem engineers. We investigated whether birds prefer to forage on degu (Octodon degus) runways by comparing their foraging effort across sites with a range of runway densities, including sites without runways. We measured granivory by granivorous and omnivorous birds at Rinconada de Maipú, central Chile. As a measure of potential bird foraging on insects, we sampled invertebrate prey richness and abundance across the same sites. We then quantified an index of plot-scale functional diversity due to avian foraging at the patch scale. Results We recorded that birds found food sources sooner and ate more at sites with higher densities of degu runways, cururo mounds, trees, and fewer shrubs. These sites also had higher invertebrate prey richness but lower invertebrate prey abundance. This implies that omnivorous birds, and possibly insectivorous birds, forage for invertebrates in the same plots with high degu runway densities where granivory takes place. In an exploratory analysis we also found that plot-scale functional diversity for four avian ecosystem functions were moderately to weakly correllated to expected ecosystem function outcomes at the plot scale. Conclusions Degu ecosystem engineering affects the behavior of avian mobile link species and is thus correlated with ecosystem functioning at relatively small spatial scales. PMID:24359802

  7. Does competition among ecosystem engineering species result in tradeoffs in the production of ecosystem services?

    EPA Science Inventory

    Production of ecosystem services depends on the ecological community structure at a given location. Ecosystem engineering species (EES) can strongly determine community structure, but do they consequently determine the production of ecosystem services? We explore this question ...

  8. Recovery of marine animal populations and ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Lotze, Heike K; Coll, Marta; Magera, Anna M; Ward-Paige, Christine; Airoldi, Laura

    2011-11-01

    Many marine populations and ecosystems have experienced strong historical depletions, yet reports of recoveries are increasing. Here, we review the growing research on marine recoveries to reveal how common recovery is, its magnitude, timescale and major drivers. Overall, 10-50% of depleted populations and ecosystems show some recovery, but rarely to former levels of abundance. In addition, recovery can take many decades for long-lived species and complex ecosystems. Major drivers of recovery include the reduction of human impacts, especially exploitation, habitat loss and pollution, combined with favorable life-history and environmental conditions. Awareness, legal protection and enforcement of management plans are also crucial. Learning from historical recovery successes and failures is essential for implementing realistic conservation goals and promising management strategies.

  9. Large animal grazing and temporal patterns in ecosystem services

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The shortgrass steppe ecosystem has a long evolutionary history of large animal grazing by bison, which were replaced by domesticated livestock in the mid 1800s. In addition, this ecosystem is characterized by a semi-arid environment with low annual precipitation amounts, but high inter- and intra-a...

  10. Mangrove crabs as ecosystem engineers; with emphasis on sediment processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kristensen, Erik

    2008-02-01

    The benthic fauna in mangrove forests is usually dominated by burrowing sesarmid (Grapsidae) and fiddler crabs (Ocypodidae). They are herbivores that retain, bury, macerate and ingest litter and microalgal mats. Most species within these two groups actively dig and maintain burrows in the sediment as a refuge from predation and environmental extremes. Based on the current knowledge on the biology and ecology of these crabs, it seems obvious that their activities have considerable impact on ecosystem functioning. However, no convincing conceptual framework has yet been defined into which the role of these crabs can be identified and characterized. The attributes by which these abundant animals affect the microbial and biogeochemical functional diversity fit well into the concept of ecosystem engineering. The conceptualization of mangrove benthic communities within this framework is distinguished and documented by examples provided from the most recent literature on mangrove ecosystem functioning. It appears that the features and processes driving the engineering effects on distribution and activity of associated organisms operate differently for sesarmid and fiddler crabs. The most obvious and well-documented difference between engineering effects of the two types of crab seems to be associated with foraging. More attention must be devoted in the future to elucidate engineering aspects related to crab burrows in mangrove environments. Particularly comparative work on the burrow-dwelling life styles of the two types of crab is needed.

  11. Commodifying animals: ethical issues in genetic engineering of animals.

    PubMed

    Almond, B

    2000-03-01

    The genetic modification of living beings raises special ethical concerns which go beyond general discussion of animal rights or welfare. Although the goals may be similar, biotechnology has accelerated the process of modification of types traditionally carried out by cross-breeding. These changes are discussed in relation to two areas: biomedicine, and animal husbandry. Alternative ethical approaches are reviewed, and it is argued that the teleological thesis underlying virtue ethics has special relevance here. The case for and the case against genetic engineering and patenting of life-forms are examined, and conclusions are drawn which favour regulation, caution and respect for animals and animal species.

  12. Animal diversity and ecosystem functioning in dynamic food webs

    PubMed Central

    Schneider, Florian D.; Brose, Ulrich; Rall, Björn C.; Guill, Christian

    2016-01-01

    Species diversity is changing globally and locally, but the complexity of ecological communities hampers a general understanding of the consequences of animal species loss on ecosystem functioning. High animal diversity increases complementarity of herbivores but also increases feeding rates within the consumer guild. Depending on the balance of these counteracting mechanisms, species-rich animal communities may put plants under top-down control or may release them from grazing pressure. Using a dynamic food-web model with body-mass constraints, we simulate ecosystem functions of 20,000 communities of varying animal diversity. We show that diverse animal communities accumulate more biomass and are more exploitative on plants, despite their higher rates of intra-guild predation. However, they do not reduce plant biomass because the communities are composed of larger, and thus energetically more efficient, plant and animal species. This plasticity of community body-size structure reconciles the debate on the consequences of animal species loss for primary productivity. PMID:27703157

  13. Animal diversity and ecosystem functioning in dynamic food webs.

    PubMed

    Schneider, Florian D; Brose, Ulrich; Rall, Björn C; Guill, Christian

    2016-10-05

    Species diversity is changing globally and locally, but the complexity of ecological communities hampers a general understanding of the consequences of animal species loss on ecosystem functioning. High animal diversity increases complementarity of herbivores but also increases feeding rates within the consumer guild. Depending on the balance of these counteracting mechanisms, species-rich animal communities may put plants under top-down control or may release them from grazing pressure. Using a dynamic food-web model with body-mass constraints, we simulate ecosystem functions of 20,000 communities of varying animal diversity. We show that diverse animal communities accumulate more biomass and are more exploitative on plants, despite their higher rates of intra-guild predation. However, they do not reduce plant biomass because the communities are composed of larger, and thus energetically more efficient, plant and animal species. This plasticity of community body-size structure reconciles the debate on the consequences of animal species loss for primary productivity.

  14. Animal diversity and ecosystem functioning in dynamic food webs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schneider, Florian D.; Brose, Ulrich; Rall, Björn C.; Guill, Christian

    2016-10-01

    Species diversity is changing globally and locally, but the complexity of ecological communities hampers a general understanding of the consequences of animal species loss on ecosystem functioning. High animal diversity increases complementarity of herbivores but also increases feeding rates within the consumer guild. Depending on the balance of these counteracting mechanisms, species-rich animal communities may put plants under top-down control or may release them from grazing pressure. Using a dynamic food-web model with body-mass constraints, we simulate ecosystem functions of 20,000 communities of varying animal diversity. We show that diverse animal communities accumulate more biomass and are more exploitative on plants, despite their higher rates of intra-guild predation. However, they do not reduce plant biomass because the communities are composed of larger, and thus energetically more efficient, plant and animal species. This plasticity of community body-size structure reconciles the debate on the consequences of animal species loss for primary productivity.

  15. Mammoth ecosystem: Climatic areal, animal's density and cause of extinctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zimov, S.; Zimov, N.; Zimova, G.; Chapin, S. F.

    2008-12-01

    During the last glaciations Mammoth Ecosystem (ME) occupied territory from present-day France to Canada and from the Arctic islands to China. This ecosystem played major role in global carbon cycle and human settling around the planet. Causes of extinction of this ecosystem are debatable. Analyses of hundreds of radiocarbon dates of ME animal fossil remains showed that warming and moistening of climate wasn't accompanied by animal extinction. On the opposite, on the north right after the warming rise of herbivore population was observed. Reconstruction of ME climatic areal showed that its climatic optimum lies within range of annual precipitation of 200-350 mm and average summer temperatures of +8-+12oC which corresponds with modern climate of Northern Siberia. Analyses of bones and skeletons concentrations in permafrost of Northern Siberia showed that animal density in ME was similar to African savannah. That was a high productive ecosystem that could sustain in wide variety of climates because numerous herbivores maintained there pastures themselves.

  16. Links among human health, animal health, and ecosystem health.

    PubMed

    Rabinowitz, Peter; Conti, Lisa

    2013-01-01

    In the face of growing world human and animal populations and rapid environmental change, the linkages between human, animal, and environmental health are becoming more evident. Because animals and humans have shared risk to health from changing environments, it seems logical to expand the perspective of public health beyond a single species to detect and manage emerging public health threats. Mitigating the effects of climate change, emerging pathogens, toxicant releases, and changes in the built environment requires a retooling of global public health resources and capabilities across multiple species. Furthermore, human and animal health professionals must overcome specific barriers to interprofessional collaboration to implement needed health strategies. This review outlines the relationships between human, animal, and ecosystem health and the public health challenges and opportunities that these links present.

  17. Can Plant-Based Engineered Ecosystems be made Practical?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bubenheim, D.; Flynn, M.

    Plant-based engineered ecosystems may serve as life support systems for future space exploration and habitation missions. Experience with engineered ecosystem studies on the ground show that, while the concept is sound, the systems are too large, heavy and energy intensive to be considered practical. System performance guidelines are suggested for plant-based engineered ecosystems to achieve practicality. We consider the functional elements of an engineered ecosystem (food, atmosphere, water, waste) operating in a closed-mass envelope and evaluate the potential for technology options within each element to meet the guidelines. We answer the question posed in the title and suggest alternative system configurations and design constraints for future engineered ecosystem testing.

  18. Organisms as cooperative ecosystem engineers in intertidal flats

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Passarelli, Claire; Olivier, Frédéric; Paterson, David M.; Meziane, Tarik; Hubas, Cédric

    2014-09-01

    The importance of facilitative interactions and organismal ecosystem engineering for establishing the structure of communities is increasingly being recognised for many different ecosystems. For example, soft-bottom tidal flats host a wide range of ecosystem engineers, probably because the harsh physico-chemical environmental conditions render these species of particular importance for community structure and function. These environments are therefore interesting when focusing on how ecosystem engineers interact and the consequences of these interactions on community dynamics. In this review, we initially detail the influence on benthic systems of two kinds of ecosystem engineers that are particularly common in tidal flats. Firstly, we examine species providing biogenic structures, which are often the only source of habitat complexity in these environments. Secondly, we focus on species whose activities alter sediment stability, which is a crucial feature structuring the dynamics of communities in tidal flats. The impacts of these engineers on both environment and communities were assessed but in addition the interaction between ecosystem engineers was examined. Habitat cascades occur when one engineer favours the development of another, which in turn creates or modifies and improves habitat for other species. Non-hierarchical interactions have often been shown to display non-additive effects, so that the effects of the association cannot be predicted from the effects of individual organisms. Here we propose the term of “cooperative ecosystem engineering” when two species interact in a way which enhances habitat suitability as a result of a combined engineering effect. Finally, we conclude by describing the potential threats for ecosystem engineers in intertidal areas, potential effects on their interactions and their influence on communities and ecosystem function.

  19. Emerging fungal threats to animal, plant and ecosystem health

    PubMed Central

    Fisher, Matthew C.; Henk, Daniel. A.; Briggs, Cheryl J.; Brownstein, John S.; Madoff, Lawrence C.; McCraw, Sarah L.; Gurr, Sarah J.

    2013-01-01

    The past two decades have seen an increasing number of virulent infectious diseases in natural populations and managed landscapes. In both animals and plants, an unprecedented number of fungal and fungal-like diseases have recently caused some of the most severe die-offs and extinctions ever witnessed in wild species, and are jeopardizing food security. Human activity is intensifying fungal disease dispersal by modifying natural environments and thus creating new opportunities for evolution. We argue that nascent fungal infections will cause increasing attrition of biodiversity, with wider implications for human and ecosystem health, unless steps are taken to tighten biosecurity worldwide. PMID:22498624

  20. Ediacaran Marine Redox Heterogeneity and Early Animal Ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Li, Chao; Planavsky, Noah J; Shi, Wei; Zhang, Zihu; Zhou, Chuanming; Cheng, Meng; Tarhan, Lidya G; Luo, Genming; Xie, Shucheng

    2015-11-24

    Oxygenation has widely been viewed as a major factor driving the emergence and diversification of animals. However, links between early animal evolution and shifts in surface oxygen levels have largely been limited to extrapolation of paleoredox conditions reconstructed from unfossiliferous strata to settings in which contemporaneous fossils were preserved. Herein, we present a multi-proxy paleoredox study of late Ediacaran (ca. 560-551 Ma) shales hosting the Miaohe Konservat-Lagerstätte of South China and, for comparison, equivalent non-fossil-bearing shales at adjacent sections. For the fossiliferous strata at Miaohe there is geochemical evidence for anoxic conditions, but paleontological evidence for at least episodically oxic conditions. An oxygen-stressed environment is consistent with the low diversity and simple morphology of Miaohe Biota macrofossils. However, there is no evidence for euxinic (anoxic and sulphidic) conditions for the fossiliferous strata at Miaohe, in contrast to adjacent unfossiliferous sections. Our results indicate that Ediacaran marine redox chemistry was highly heterogeneous, even at the kilometre-scale. Therefore, our study provides direct-rather than inferred-evidence that anoxia played a role in shaping a landmark Ediacaran ecosystem. If the anoxic conditions characteristic of the studied sections were widespread in the late Neoproterozoic, environmental stress would have hindered the development of complex ecosystems.

  1. Ediacaran Marine Redox Heterogeneity and Early Animal Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Chao; Planavsky, Noah J.; Shi, Wei; Zhang, Zihu; Zhou, Chuanming; Cheng, Meng; Tarhan, Lidya G.; Luo, Genming; Xie, Shucheng

    2015-11-01

    Oxygenation has widely been viewed as a major factor driving the emergence and diversification of animals. However, links between early animal evolution and shifts in surface oxygen levels have largely been limited to extrapolation of paleoredox conditions reconstructed from unfossiliferous strata to settings in which contemporaneous fossils were preserved. Herein, we present a multi-proxy paleoredox study of late Ediacaran (ca. 560-551 Ma) shales hosting the Miaohe Konservat-Lagerstätte of South China and, for comparison, equivalent non-fossil-bearing shales at adjacent sections. For the fossiliferous strata at Miaohe there is geochemical evidence for anoxic conditions, but paleontological evidence for at least episodically oxic conditions. An oxygen-stressed environment is consistent with the low diversity and simple morphology of Miaohe Biota macrofossils. However, there is no evidence for euxinic (anoxic and sulphidic) conditions for the fossiliferous strata at Miaohe, in contrast to adjacent unfossiliferous sections. Our results indicate that Ediacaran marine redox chemistry was highly heterogeneous, even at the kilometre-scale. Therefore, our study provides direct—rather than inferred—evidence that anoxia played a role in shaping a landmark Ediacaran ecosystem. If the anoxic conditions characteristic of the studied sections were widespread in the late Neoproterozoic, environmental stress would have hindered the development of complex ecosystems.

  2. Ediacaran Marine Redox Heterogeneity and Early Animal Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Li, Chao; Planavsky, Noah J.; Shi, Wei; Zhang, Zihu; Zhou, Chuanming; Cheng, Meng; Tarhan, Lidya G.; Luo, Genming; Xie, Shucheng

    2015-01-01

    Oxygenation has widely been viewed as a major factor driving the emergence and diversification of animals. However, links between early animal evolution and shifts in surface oxygen levels have largely been limited to extrapolation of paleoredox conditions reconstructed from unfossiliferous strata to settings in which contemporaneous fossils were preserved. Herein, we present a multi-proxy paleoredox study of late Ediacaran (ca. 560-551 Ma) shales hosting the Miaohe Konservat-Lagerstätte of South China and, for comparison, equivalent non-fossil-bearing shales at adjacent sections. For the fossiliferous strata at Miaohe there is geochemical evidence for anoxic conditions, but paleontological evidence for at least episodically oxic conditions. An oxygen-stressed environment is consistent with the low diversity and simple morphology of Miaohe Biota macrofossils. However, there is no evidence for euxinic (anoxic and sulphidic) conditions for the fossiliferous strata at Miaohe, in contrast to adjacent unfossiliferous sections. Our results indicate that Ediacaran marine redox chemistry was highly heterogeneous, even at the kilometre-scale. Therefore, our study provides direct—rather than inferred—evidence that anoxia played a role in shaping a landmark Ediacaran ecosystem. If the anoxic conditions characteristic of the studied sections were widespread in the late Neoproterozoic, environmental stress would have hindered the development of complex ecosystems. PMID:26597559

  3. Importance of Resource Subsidies to Animals in Freshwater Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koch, B. J.; Hall, R. O.

    2005-05-01

    Many streams receive large resource subsidies from adjacent ecosystems. These subsidies take a variety of forms including terrestrial organic matter, dissolved nutrients, or animals. Some subsidies can have important consequences for in-stream consumers in the recipient system, while in other systems they are unimportant. We present a framework for establishing the conditions under which food subsidies to streams are likely to be important to animal consumers. Importance of cross-system subsidies will vary as a function of the spatial/temporal scales of interest. Attributes of the subsidy (e.g., stoichiometric quality) or of the donor/recipient systems (e.g., productivity gradients) can be used to predict conditions under which subsidies are important to in-stream consumers. We propose a hypothesis that classifies the importance of subsidies to streams as high, intermediate, or low based on the subsidy's nutritive quality and its flux relative to autochthonous primary production. Thus, importance will be high when the flux of a highly nutritious subsidy is a large proportion of in-stream productivity. Importance will be low in the opposite case. We test this hypothesis using data from the literature. This framework is intended to facilitate cross-system comparisons that test the ecological conditions governing the importance of resource subsidies to freshwater ecosystems.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-01

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

  5. Geomorphological implications of engineering bed sediments by lotic animals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Statzner, Bernhard

    2012-07-01

    Recent developments in zoogeomorphology in combination with the increasing interest of ecologists in ecosystem engineering by organisms initiated considerable research on the impact of running water (i.e., lotic) animals (and other organisms) on fluvial bed sediments and the transport of solids. This research provided multiple evidence from field and laboratory observations and experiments that many species among mammals, amphibians, fish, insects, crustaceans, mollusks, and worms engineer bed sediments of running waters with diverse mechanistic "tools", thereby perturbing or consolidating the sediments in many types of running waters across continents, seasons, habitat types, particle sizes, and discharge levels (baseflow vs. flood). Furthermore, many animals modify the bed-sediment engineering by plants (algae, larger macrophytes, riparian vegetation). Modeling effects of bioturbating lotic animals across species and relatively simple environmental conditions (in mesocosms) provided highly significant results (P-range: < 10- 6- < 10- 15) for nine sediment variables describing baseflow and flood-induced sediment transport as well as sediment surface modifications. For example, bioturbator biomass and/or algal abundance in combination with physical variables, such as baseflow shear stress or gravel size, explained between ~ 70 and ~ 90% of the variability in sediment responses such as the overall baseflow sediment transport and, as a result of the baseflow sediment-surface engineering by the animals, the flood-induced gravel or sand transport. Confronting these seemingly encouraging experimental results with real world conditions, however, illustrates considerable problems to unravel the complexity of biotic and physical factors that vary temporally and interfere/interact non-linearly in a patchy pattern in small parts of real river beds, where baseflow bed-sediment engineering by lotic animals prevents or fosters mass erosion during subsequent floods. Despite

  6. How-to-Do-It. A Demonstration on the Role of Animals in Ecosystems.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kangas, Patrick C.

    1990-01-01

    Presented is a demonstration in which students are shown an objective view of the role of animals through the analysis of books about ecosystems. The book analysis method and lists of books about wetlands and terrestrial ecosystems are included. (CW)

  7. Habitat creation and biodiversity maintenance in mangrove forests: teredinid bivalves as ecosystem engineers.

    PubMed

    Hendy, Ian W; Michie, Laura; Taylor, Ben W

    2014-01-01

    Substantial amounts of dead wood in the intertidal zone of mature mangrove forests are tunnelled by teredinid bivalves. When the tunnels are exposed, animals are able to use tunnels as refuges. In this study, the effect of teredinid tunnelling upon mangrove forest faunal diversity was investigated. Mangrove forests exposed to long emersion times had fewer teredinid tunnels in wood and wood not containing teredinid tunnels had very few species and abundance of animals. However, with a greater cross-sectional percentage surface area of teredinid tunnels, the numbers of species and abundance of animals was significantly higher. Temperatures within teredinid-attacked wood were significantly cooler compared with air temperatures, and animal abundance was greater in wood with cooler temperatures. Animals inside the tunnels within the wood may avoid desiccation by escaping the higher temperatures. Animals co-existing in teredinid tunnelled wood ranged from animals found in terrestrial ecosystems including centipedes, crickets and spiders, and animals found in subtidal marine ecosystems such as fish, octopods and polychaetes. There was also evidence of breeding within teredinid-attacked wood, as many juvenile individuals were found, and they may also benefit from the cooler wood temperatures. Teredinid tunnelled wood is a key low-tide refuge for cryptic animals, which would otherwise be exposed to fishes and birds, and higher external temperatures. This study provides evidence that teredinids are ecosystem engineers and also provides an example of a mechanism whereby mangrove forests support intertidal biodiversity and nurseries through the wood-boring activity of teredinids.

  8. Effects of two antagonistic ecosystem engineers on infaunal diversity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    González-Ortiz, V.; Alcazar, P.; Vergara, J. J.; Pérez-Lloréns, J. L.; Brun, F. G.

    2014-02-01

    The role of ecosystem engineers has been highlighted in recent decades because of their importance for ecosystem functioning, although the interaction between different antagonistic engineer species and their effects on ecosystems have been so far poorly investigated. Coastal areas are good natural laboratories to explore such interactions, since they are often inhabited by macrophyte beds (autogenic engineers) and bioturbator species (allogenic engineers) with antagonistic effects on ecosystem properties and processes (e.g. species diversity, nutrient fluxes, etc.). The main goal of this study was to determine how coexisting antagonistic ecosystem engineers could influence benthic diversity and available resources in soft-bottom areas. To achieve this goal, a two-month experiment was carried out in situ by introducing artificial seagrass patches in a soft-bottom area inhabited by the fiddler crab Uca tangeri. Both the experimental exclusion of burrows as well as the presence of artificial seagrass-like structures (mimics) resulted in higher macrobenthic density and species richness in the benthic community. Resource availability for organisms (sediment chlorophyll a and epiphytes) was also favoured by the presence of mimics. Therefore, the higher structural complexity (above- and below-ground) associated with seagrass mimics promoted positive effects for infauna such as creation of a new habitat ready to colonize, reduction of the crab burrowing activity and the enhancement of resource availability, which resulted in increased diversity in the benthic community.

  9. Non-native ecosystem engineer alters estuarine communities.

    PubMed

    Heiman, Kimberly W; Micheli, Fiorenza

    2010-08-01

    Many ecosystems are created by the presence of ecosystem engineers that play an important role in determining species' abundance and species composition. Additionally, a mosaic environment of engineered and non-engineered habitats has been shown to increase biodiversity. Non-native ecosystem engineers can be introduced into environments that do not contain or have lost species that form biogenic habitat, resulting in dramatic impacts upon native communities. Yet, little is known about how non-native ecosystem engineers interact with natives and other non-natives already present in the environment, specifically whether non-native ecosystem engineers facilitate other non-natives, and whether they increase habitat heterogeneity and alter the diversity, abundance, and distribution of benthic species. Through sampling and experimental removal of reefs, we examine the effects of a non-native reef-building tubeworm, Ficopomatus enigmaticus, on community composition in the central Californian estuary, Elkhorn Slough. Tubeworm reefs host significantly greater abundances of many non-native polychaetes and amphipods, particularly the amphipods Monocorophium insidiosum and Melita nitida, compared to nearby mudflats. Infaunal assemblages under F. enigmaticus reefs and around reef's edges show very low abundance and taxonomic diversity. Once reefs are removed, the newly exposed mudflat is colonized by opportunistic non-native species, such as M. insidiosum and the polychaete Streblospio benedicti, making removal of reefs a questionable strategy for control. These results show that provision of habitat by a non-native ecosystem engineer may be a mechanism for invasional meltdown in Elkhorn Slough, and that reefs increase spatial heterogeneity in the abundance and composition of benthic communities.

  10. Welfare applications of genetically engineered animals for use in agriculture.

    PubMed

    Maga, E A; Murray, J D

    2010-04-01

    The application of genetic engineering to food animals is often viewed as a means to further increase animal productivity without regard for the welfare of the resulting animals. We offer the perspective that, on the contrary, genetic engineering can, and is, being used to improve animal welfare in modern production systems. Several examples are cited from the current work in the field of animal genetic engineering that should be included in the debate over whether genetically engineered animals should be used in production agriculture. The current debate has slowed the advancement of this technology, which could play a key role in improving animal welfare and sustainability, without considering the potential benefits.

  11. Engineering to support wellbeing of dairy animals.

    PubMed

    Caja, Gerardo; Castro-Costa, Andreia; Knight, Christopher H

    2016-05-01

    Current trends in the global milk market and the recent abolition of milk quotas have accelerated the trend of the European dairy industry towards larger farm sizes and higher-yielding animals. Dairy cows remain in focus, but there is a growing interest in other dairy species, whose milk is often directed to traditional and protected designation of origin and gourmet dairy products. The challenge for dairy farms in general is to achieve the best possible standards of animal health and welfare, together with high lactational performance and minimal environmental impact. For larger farms, this may need to be done with a much lower ratio of husbandry staff to animals. Recent engineering advances and the decreasing cost of electronic technologies has allowed the development of 'sensing solutions' that automatically collect data, such as physiological parameters, production measures and behavioural traits. Such data can potentially help the decision making process, enabling early detection of health or wellbeing problems in individual animals and hence the application of appropriate corrective husbandry practices. This review focuses on new knowledge and emerging developments in welfare biomarkers (e.g. stress and metabolic diseases), activity-based welfare assessment (e.g. oestrus and lameness detection) and sensors of temperature and pH (e.g. calving alert and rumen function) and their combination and integration into 'smart' husbandry support systems that will ensure optimum wellbeing for dairy animals and thereby maximise farm profitability. Use of novel sensors combined with new technologies for information handling and communication are expected to produce dramatic changes in traditional dairy farming systems.

  12. Habitat-Mediated Facilitation and Counteracting Ecosystem Engineering Interactively Influence Ecosystem Responses to Disturbance

    PubMed Central

    Eklöf, Johan S.; van der Heide, Tjisse; Donadi, Serena; van der Zee, Els M.; O'Hara, Robert; Eriksson, Britas Klemens

    2011-01-01

    Recovery of an ecosystem following disturbance can be severely hampered or even shift altogether when a point disturbance exceeds a certain spatial threshold. Such scale-dependent dynamics may be caused by preemptive competition, but may also result from diminished self-facilitation due to weakened ecosystem engineering. Moreover, disturbance can facilitate colonization by engineering species that alter abiotic conditions in ways that exacerbate stress on the original species. Consequently, establishment of such counteracting engineers might reduce the spatial threshold for the disturbance, by effectively slowing recovery and increasing the risk for ecosystem shifts to alternative states. We tested these predictions in an intertidal mudflat characterized by a two-state mosaic of hummocks (humps exposed during low tide) dominated by the sediment-stabilizing seagrass Zostera noltii) and hollows (low-tide waterlogged depressions dominated by the bioturbating lugworm Arenicola marina). In contrast to expectations, seagrass recolonized both natural and experimental clearings via lateral expansion and seemed unaffected by both clearing size and lugworm addition. Near the end of the growth season, however, an additional disturbance (most likely waterfowl grazing and/or strong hydrodynamics) selectively impacted recolonizing seagrass in the largest (1 m2) clearings (regardless of lugworm addition), and in those medium (0.25 m2) clearings where lugworms had been added nearly five months earlier. Further analyses showed that the risk for the disturbance increased with hollow size, with a threshold of 0.24 m2. Hollows of that size were caused by seagrass removal alone in the largest clearings, and by a weaker seagrass removal effect exacerbated by lugworm bioturbation in the medium clearings. Consequently, a sufficiently large disturbance increased the vulnerability of recolonizing seagrass to additional disturbance by weakening seagrass engineering effects (sediment

  13. Habitat-mediated facilitation and counteracting ecosystem engineering interactively influence ecosystem responses to disturbance.

    PubMed

    Eklöf, Johan S; van der Heide, Tjisse; Donadi, Serena; van der Zee, Els M; O'Hara, Robert; Eriksson, Britas Klemens

    2011-01-01

    Recovery of an ecosystem following disturbance can be severely hampered or even shift altogether when a point disturbance exceeds a certain spatial threshold. Such scale-dependent dynamics may be caused by preemptive competition, but may also result from diminished self-facilitation due to weakened ecosystem engineering. Moreover, disturbance can facilitate colonization by engineering species that alter abiotic conditions in ways that exacerbate stress on the original species. Consequently, establishment of such counteracting engineers might reduce the spatial threshold for the disturbance, by effectively slowing recovery and increasing the risk for ecosystem shifts to alternative states. We tested these predictions in an intertidal mudflat characterized by a two-state mosaic of hummocks (humps exposed during low tide) dominated by the sediment-stabilizing seagrass Zostera noltii) and hollows (low-tide waterlogged depressions dominated by the bioturbating lugworm Arenicola marina). In contrast to expectations, seagrass recolonized both natural and experimental clearings via lateral expansion and seemed unaffected by both clearing size and lugworm addition. Near the end of the growth season, however, an additional disturbance (most likely waterfowl grazing and/or strong hydrodynamics) selectively impacted recolonizing seagrass in the largest (1 m(2)) clearings (regardless of lugworm addition), and in those medium (0.25 m(2)) clearings where lugworms had been added nearly five months earlier. Further analyses showed that the risk for the disturbance increased with hollow size, with a threshold of 0.24 m(2). Hollows of that size were caused by seagrass removal alone in the largest clearings, and by a weaker seagrass removal effect exacerbated by lugworm bioturbation in the medium clearings. Consequently, a sufficiently large disturbance increased the vulnerability of recolonizing seagrass to additional disturbance by weakening seagrass engineering effects (sediment

  14. Impacts of invasive plants on resident animals across ecosystems, taxa, and feeding types: a global assessment.

    PubMed

    Schirmel, Jens; Bundschuh, Mirco; Entling, Martin H; Kowarik, Ingo; Buchholz, Sascha

    2016-02-01

    As drivers of global change, biological invasions have fundamental ecological consequences. However, it remains unclear how invasive plant effects on resident animals vary across ecosystems, animal classes, and functional groups. We performed a comprehensive meta-analysis covering 198 field and laboratory studies reporting a total of 3624 observations of invasive plant effects on animals. Invasive plants had reducing (56%) or neutral (44%) effects on animal abundance, diversity, fitness, and ecosystem function across different ecosystems, animal classes, and feeding types while we could not find any increasing effect. Most importantly, we found that invasive plants reduced overall animal abundance, diversity and fitness. However, this significant overall effect was contingent on ecosystems, taxa, and feeding types of animals. Decreasing effects of invasive plants were most evident in riparian ecosystems, possibly because frequent disturbance facilitates more intense plant invasions compared to other ecosystem types. In accordance with their immediate reliance on plants for food, invasive plant effects were strongest on herbivores. Regarding taxonomic groups, birds and insects were most strongly affected. In insects, this may be explained by their high frequency of herbivory, while birds demonstrate that invasive plant effects can also cascade up to secondary consumers. Since data on impacts of invasive plants are rather limited for many animal groups in most ecosystems, we argue for overcoming gaps in knowledge and for a more differentiated discussion on effects of invasive plant on native fauna.

  15. Introduction to the special issue—zoogeomorphology and ecosystem engineering

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Butler, David R.; Sawyer, Carol F.

    2012-07-01

    The 42nd Annual Binghamton Geomorphology Symposium convened on October 21-23, 2011, in Mobile, Alabama, USA. The topic of the meeting was zoogeomorphology and ecosystem engineering. Speakers represented a variety of perspectives from the disciplines of geomorphology and ecology, and 21 posters were also presented covering a wide range of topics in biogeomorphology. This special issue presents the 15 invited papers presented at the symposium.

  16. Effects of mud sedimentation on lugworm ecosystem engineering

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Montserrat, F.; Suykerbuyk, W.; Al-Busaidi, R.; Bouma, T. J.; van der Wal, D.; Herman, P. M. J.

    2011-01-01

    Benthic ecosystem engineering organisms attenuate hydrodynamic or biogeochemical stress to ameliorate living conditions. Bioturbating infauna, like the lugworm Arenicola marina, determine intertidal process dynamics by maintaining the sediment oxygenated and sandy. Maintaining the permeability of the surrounding sediment enables them to pump water through the interstitial spaces, greatly increasing the oxygen availability. In a field experiment, both lugworm presence and siltation regime were manipulated to investigate to what extent lugworms are able to cope with sedimentation of increasing mud percentage and how this would affect its ecosystem engineering. Fluorescent tracers were added to experimentally deposited mud to visualise bioturbation effects on fine sediment fractions. Lugworm densities were not affected by an increasing mud percentage in experimentally deposited sediment. Negative effects are expected to occur under deposition with significantly higher mud percentages. Surface chlorophyll a content was a function of experimental mud percentage, with no effect of lugworm bioturbation. Surface roughness and sediment permeability clearly increased by lugworm presence, whereas sediment erosion threshold was not significantly affected by lugworms. The general idea that A. marina removes fine sediment fractions from the bed could not be confirmed. Rather, the main ecosystem engineering effect of A. marina is hydraulic destabilisation of the sediment matrix.

  17. Complex Effects of Ecosystem Engineer Loss on Benthic Ecosystem Response to Detrital Macroalgae

    PubMed Central

    Rossi, Francesca; Gribsholt, Britta; Gazeau, Frederic; Di Santo, Valentina; Middelburg, Jack J.

    2013-01-01

    Ecosystem engineers change abiotic conditions, community assembly and ecosystem functioning. Consequently, their loss may modify thresholds of ecosystem response to disturbance and undermine ecosystem stability. This study investigates how loss of the bioturbating lugworm Arenicola marina modifies the response to macroalgal detrital enrichment of sediment biogeochemical properties, microphytobenthos and macrofauna assemblages. A field manipulative experiment was done on an intertidal sandflat (Oosterschelde estuary, The Netherlands). Lugworms were deliberately excluded from 1× m sediment plots and different amounts of detrital Ulva (0, 200 or 600 g Wet Weight) were added twice. Sediment biogeochemistry changes were evaluated through benthic respiration, sediment organic carbon content and porewater inorganic carbon as well as detrital macroalgae remaining in the sediment one month after enrichment. Microalgal biomass and macrofauna composition were measured at the same time. Macroalgal carbon mineralization and transfer to the benthic consumers were also investigated during decomposition at low enrichment level (200 g WW). The interaction between lugworm exclusion and detrital enrichment did not modify sediment organic carbon or benthic respiration. Weak but significant changes were instead found for porewater inorganic carbon and microalgal biomass. Lugworm exclusion caused an increase of porewater carbon and a decrease of microalgal biomass, while detrital enrichment drove these values back to values typical of lugworm-dominated sediments. Lugworm exclusion also decreased the amount of macroalgae remaining into the sediment and accelerated detrital carbon mineralization and CO2 release to the water column. Eventually, the interaction between lugworm exclusion and detrital enrichment affected macrofauna abundance and diversity, which collapsed at high level of enrichment only when the lugworms were present. This study reveals that in nature the role of this

  18. Potency of Animal Models in KANSEI Engineering

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ozaki, Shigeru; Hisano, Setsuji; Iwamoto, Yoshiki

    Various species of animals have been used as animal models for neuroscience and provided critical information about the brain functions. Although it seems difficult to elucidate a highly advanced function of the human brain, animal models have potency to clarify the fundamental mechanisms of emotion, decision-making and social behavior. In this review, we will pick up common animal models and point to both the merits and demerits caused by the characteristics. We will also mention that wide-ranging approaches from animal models are advantageous to understand KANSEI as well as mind in humans.

  19. Genetic Engineering of Animals for Medical Research: Students' Views.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hill, Ruaraidh; Stanisstreet, Martin; O'Sullivan, Helen; Boyes, Edward

    1999-01-01

    Reports on the results of a survey meant to ascertain the views of 16- to 18-year-old students (n=778) on using animals in medical research. Suggests that students have no greater objection to the use of genetically engineered animals over naturally bred animals in medical research. Contains 16 references. (Author/WRM)

  20. Invertebrates control metals and arsenic sequestration as ecosystem engineers.

    PubMed

    Schaller, Jörg; Weiske, Arndt; Mkandawire, Martin; Dudel, E Gert

    2010-03-01

    Organic sediments are known to be a significant sink of inorganic elements in polluted freshwater ecosystems. Hence, we investigated the role of invertebrate shredders (the freshwater shrimp Gammarus pulex L.) in metal and arsenic enrichment into organic partitions of sediments in a wetland stream at former uranium mining site. Metal and metalloid content in leaf litter increased significantly during decomposition, while at the same time the carbon content decreased. During decomposition, G. pulex as a ecosystem engineer facilitated significantly the enrichment of magnesium (250%), manganese (560%), cobalt (310%), copper (200%), zinc (43%), arsenic (670%), cadmium (100%) and lead (1340%) into small particle sizes. The enrichments occur under very high concentrations of dissolved organic carbon. Small particles have high surface area that results in high biofilm development. Further, the highest amounts of elements were observed in biofilms. Therefore, invertebrate shredder like G. pulex can enhance retention of large amounts of metal and arsenic in wetlands.

  1. Engineering a plant community to deliver multiple ecosystem services.

    PubMed

    Storkey, Jonathan; Döring, Thomas; Baddeley, John; Collins, Rosemary; Roderick, Stephen; Jones, Hannah; Watson, Christine

    2015-06-01

    The sustainable delivery of multiple ecosystem services requires the management of functionally diverse biological communities. In an agricultural context, an emphasis on food production has often led to a loss of biodiversity to the detriment of other ecosystem services such as the maintenance of soil health and pest regulation. In scenarios where multiple species can be grown together, it may be possible to better balance environmental and agronomic services through the targeted selection of companion species. We used the case study of legume-based cover crops to engineer a plant community that delivered the optimal balance of six ecosystem services: early productivity, regrowth following mowing, weed suppression, support of invertebrates, soil fertility building (measured as yield of following crop), and conservation of nutrients in the soil. An experimental species pool of 12 cultivated legume species was screened for a range of functional traits and ecosystem services at five sites across a geographical gradient in the United Kingdom. All possible species combinations were then analyzed, using a process-based model of plant competition, to identify the community that delivered the best balance of services at each site. In our system, low to intermediate levels of species richness (one to four species) that exploited functional contrasts in growth habit and phenology were identified as being optimal. The optimal solution was determined largely by the number of species and functional diversity represented by the starting species pool, emphasizing the importance of the initial selection of species for the screening experiments. The approach of using relationships between functional traits and ecosystem services to design multifunctional biological communities has the potential to inform the design of agricultural systems that better balance agronomic and environmental services and meet the current objective of European agricultural policy to maintain viable food

  2. Engineering large animal models of human disease.

    PubMed

    Whitelaw, C Bruce A; Sheets, Timothy P; Lillico, Simon G; Telugu, Bhanu P

    2016-01-01

    The recent development of gene editing tools and methodology for use in livestock enables the production of new animal disease models. These tools facilitate site-specific mutation of the genome, allowing animals carrying known human disease mutations to be produced. In this review, we describe the various gene editing tools and how they can be used for a range of large animal models of diseases. This genomic technology is in its infancy but the expectation is that through the use of gene editing tools we will see a dramatic increase in animal model resources available for both the study of human disease and the translation of this knowledge into the clinic. Comparative pathology will be central to the productive use of these animal models and the successful translation of new therapeutic strategies.

  3. Effects of an Ecosystem Engineer on Belowground Movement of Microarthropods

    PubMed Central

    Cameron, Erin K.; Proctor, Heather C.; Bayne, Erin M.

    2013-01-01

    Ecosystem engineers affect other species by changing physical environments. Such changes may influence movement of organisms, particularly belowground where soil permeability can restrict dispersal. We investigated whether earthworms, iconic ecosystem engineers, influence microarthropod movement. Our experiment tested whether movement is affected by tunnels (i.e., burrows), earthworm excreta (mucus, castings), or earthworms themselves. Earthworm burrows form tunnel networks that may facilitate movement. This effect may be enhanced by excreta, which could provide resources for microarthropods moving along the network. Earthworms may also promote movement via phoresy. Conversely, negative effects could occur if earthworms alter predator-prey relationships or change competitive interactions between microarthropods. We used microcosms consisting of a box connecting a “source” container in which microarthropods were present and a “destination” container filled with autoclaved soil. Treatments were set up within the boxes, which also contained autoclaved soil, as follows: 1) control with no burrows; 2) artificial burrows with no excreta; 3) abandoned burrows with excreta but no earthworms; and 4) earthworms (Lumbricus rubellus) present in burrows. Half of the replicates were sampled once after eight days, while the other half were sampled repeatedly to examine movement over time. Rather than performing classical pairwise comparisons to test our hypotheses, we used AICc to assess support for three competing models (presence of tunnels, excreta, and earthworms). More individuals of Collembola, Mesostigmata, and all microarthropods together dispersed when tunnels were present. Models that included excreta and earthworms were less well supported. Total numbers of dispersing Oribatida and Prostigmata+Astigmata were not well explained by any models tested. Further research is needed to examine the impact of soil structure and ecosystem engineering on movement

  4. Effects of an ecosystem engineer on belowground movement of microarthropods.

    PubMed

    Cameron, Erin K; Proctor, Heather C; Bayne, Erin M

    2013-01-01

    Ecosystem engineers affect other species by changing physical environments. Such changes may influence movement of organisms, particularly belowground where soil permeability can restrict dispersal. We investigated whether earthworms, iconic ecosystem engineers, influence microarthropod movement. Our experiment tested whether movement is affected by tunnels (i.e., burrows), earthworm excreta (mucus, castings), or earthworms themselves. Earthworm burrows form tunnel networks that may facilitate movement. This effect may be enhanced by excreta, which could provide resources for microarthropods moving along the network. Earthworms may also promote movement via phoresy. Conversely, negative effects could occur if earthworms alter predator-prey relationships or change competitive interactions between microarthropods. We used microcosms consisting of a box connecting a "source" container in which microarthropods were present and a "destination" container filled with autoclaved soil. Treatments were set up within the boxes, which also contained autoclaved soil, as follows: 1) control with no burrows; 2) artificial burrows with no excreta; 3) abandoned burrows with excreta but no earthworms; and 4) earthworms (Lumbricus rubellus) present in burrows. Half of the replicates were sampled once after eight days, while the other half were sampled repeatedly to examine movement over time. Rather than performing classical pairwise comparisons to test our hypotheses, we used AIC(c) to assess support for three competing models (presence of tunnels, excreta, and earthworms). More individuals of Collembola, Mesostigmata, and all microarthropods together dispersed when tunnels were present. Models that included excreta and earthworms were less well supported. Total numbers of dispersing Oribatida and Prostigmata+Astigmata were not well explained by any models tested. Further research is needed to examine the impact of soil structure and ecosystem engineering on movement belowground, as

  5. An integrated Engineered Closed/Controlled EcoSystem for a lunar base.

    PubMed

    Sadeh, W Z; Sadeh, E

    1997-01-01

    Long-term human missions in space, such as the establishment of a human-tended lunar base, require autonomous life support systems. A Lunar Engineered Closed/Controlled EcoSystem (LECCES) can provide autonomy by integrating a human module with support plant and animal modules, and waste treatment subsystems. Integration of physical/chemical (P/C) and biological waste treatment subsystems can lead to viable and operational bioregenerative systems that minimize resupply requirements from Earth. A top-level diagram for LECCES is developed based on the human module requirements. The proposed diagram is presented and its components are discussed.

  6. Ecosystem engineers drive creek formation in salt marshes.

    PubMed

    Vu, Huy D; Wie Ski, Kazimierz; Pennings, Steven C

    2017-01-01

    Ecosystem engineers affect different organisms and processes in multiple ways at different spatial scales. Moreover, similar species may differ in their engineering effects for reasons that are not always clear. We examined the role of four species of burrowing crabs (Sesarma reticulatum, Eurytium limosum, Panopeus herbstii, Uca pugnax) in engineering tidal creek networks in salt marshes experiencing sea level rise. In the field, crab burrows were associated with heads of eroding creeks and the loss of plant (Spartina alterniflora) stems. S. reticulatum was closely associated with creek heads, but densities of the other crab species did not vary across marsh zones. In mesocosm experiments, S. reticulatum excavated the most soil and strongly reduced S. alterniflora biomass. The other three species excavated less and did not affect S. alterniflora. Creek heads with vegetation removed to simulate crab herbivory grew significantly faster than controls. Percolation rates of water into marsh sediments were 10 times faster at creek heads than on the marsh platform. Biomass decomposed two times faster at creek heads than on the marsh platform. Our results indicate that S. reticulatum increases creek growth by excavating sediments and by consuming plants, thereby increasing water flow and erosion at creek heads. Moreover, it is possible that S. reticulatum burrows also increase creek growth by increasing surface and subsurface erosion, and by increasing decomposition of organic matter at creek heads. Our results show that the interaction between crab and plant ecosystem engineers can have both positive and negative effects. At a small scale, in contrast to other marsh crabs, S. reticulatum harms rather than benefits plants, and increases erosion rather than marsh growth. At a large scale, however, S. reticulatum facilitates the drainage efficiency of the marsh through the expansion of tidal creek networks, and promotes marsh health.

  7. THE EDIACARA BIOTA: Neoproterozoic Origin of Animals and Their Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Narbonne, Guy M.

    2005-01-01

    The Ediacara biota (575-542 Ma) marks the first appearance of large, architecturally complex organisms in Earth history. Present evidence suggests that the Ediacara biota included a mixture of stem- and crown-group radial animals, stem-group bilaterian animals, "failed experiments" in animal evolution, and perhaps representatives of other eukaryotic kingdoms. These soft-bodied organisms were preserved under (or rarely within) event beds of sand or volcanic ash, and four distinct preservational styles (Flinders-, Fermeuse-, Conception-, and Nama-style) profoundly affected the types of organisms and features that could be preserved. Even the earliest Ediacaran communities (575-565 Ma) show vertical and lateral niche subdivision of the sessile, benthic, filter-feeding organisms, which is strikingly like that of Phanerozoic and modern communities. Later biological and ecological innovations include mobility (>555 Ma), calcification (550 Ma), and predation (<549 Ma). The Ediacara biota abruptly disappeared 542 million years ago, probably as a consequence of mass extinction andor biological interactions with the rapidly evolving animals of the Cambrian explosio

  8. Impacts of engineered nanomaterials on microbial community structure and function in natural and engineered ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Mohanty, Anee; Wu, Yichao; Cao, Bin

    2014-10-01

    In natural and engineered environments, microorganisms often exist as complex communities, which are key to the health of ecosystems and the success of bioprocesses in various engineering applications. With the rapid development of nanotechnology in recent years, engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) have been considered one type of emerging contaminants that pose great potential risks to the proper function of microbial communities in natural and engineered ecosystems. The impacts of ENMs on microorganisms have attracted increasing research attentions; however, most studies focused on the antimicrobial activities of ENMs at single cell and population level. Elucidating the influence of ENMs on microbial communities represents a critical step toward a comprehensive understanding of the ecotoxicity of ENMs. In this mini-review, we summarize and discuss recent research work on the impacts of ENMs on microbial communities in natural and engineered ecosystems, with an emphasis on their influences on the community structure and function. We also highlight several important research topics which may be of great interest to the research community.

  9. The use of genetically-engineered animals in science: perspectives of Canadian Animal Care Committee members.

    PubMed

    Ormandy, Elisabeth H; Dale, Julie; Griffin, Gilly

    2013-05-01

    The genetic engineering of animals for their use in science challenges the implementation of refinement and reduction in several areas, including the invasiveness of the procedures involved, unanticipated welfare concerns, and the numbers of animals required. Additionally, the creation of genetically-engineered animals raises problems with the Canadian system of reporting animal numbers per Category of Invasiveness, as well as raising issues of whether ethical limits can, or should, be placed on genetic engineering. A workshop was held with the aim of bringing together Canadian animal care committee members to discuss these issues, to reflect on progress that has been made in addressing them, and to propose ways of overcoming any challenges. Although previous literature has made recommendations with regard to refinement and reduction when creating new genetically-engineered animals, the perception of the workshop participants was that some key opportunities are being missed. The participants identified the main roadblocks to the implementation of refinement and reduction alternatives as confidentiality, cost and competition. If the scientific community is to make progress concerning the implementation of refinement and reduction, particularly in the creation and use of genetically-engineered animals, addressing these roadblocks needs to be a priority.

  10. Industrial food animal production and global health risks: exploring the ecosystems and economics of avian influenza.

    PubMed

    Leibler, Jessica H; Otte, Joachim; Roland-Holst, David; Pfeiffer, Dirk U; Soares Magalhaes, Ricardo; Rushton, Jonathan; Graham, Jay P; Silbergeld, Ellen K

    2009-03-01

    Many emerging infectious diseases in human populations are associated with zoonotic origins. Attention has often focused on wild animal reservoirs, but most zoonotic pathogens of recent concern to human health either originate in, or are transferred to, human populations from domesticated animals raised for human consumption. Thus, the ecological context of emerging infectious disease comprises two overlapping ecosystems: the natural habitats and populations of wild animals, and the anthropogenically controlled habitats and populations of domesticated species. Intensive food animal production systems and their associated value chains dominate in developed countries and are increasingly important in developing countries. These systems are characterized by large numbers of animals being raised in confinement with high throughput and rapid turnover. Although not typically recognized as such, industrial food animal production generates unique ecosystems -- environments that may facilitate the evolution of zoonotic pathogens and their transmission to human populations. It is often assumed that confined food animal production reduces risks of emerging zoonotic diseases. This article provides evidence suggesting that these industrial systems may increase animal and public health risks unless there is recognition of the specific biosecurity and biocontainment challenges of the industrial model. Moreover, the economic drivers and constraints faced by the industry and its participants must be fully understood in order to inform preventative policy. In order to more effectively reduce zoonotic disease risk from industrial food animal production, private incentives for the implementation of biosecurity must align with public health interests.

  11. Functional identity and diversity of animals predict ecosystem functioning better than species-based indices.

    PubMed

    Gagic, Vesna; Bartomeus, Ignasi; Jonsson, Tomas; Taylor, Astrid; Winqvist, Camilla; Fischer, Christina; Slade, Eleanor M; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf; Emmerson, Mark; Potts, Simon G; Tscharntke, Teja; Weisser, Wolfgang; Bommarco, Riccardo

    2015-02-22

    Drastic biodiversity declines have raised concerns about the deterioration of ecosystem functions and have motivated much recent research on the relationship between species diversity and ecosystem functioning. A functional trait framework has been proposed to improve the mechanistic understanding of this relationship, but this has rarely been tested for organisms other than plants. We analysed eight datasets, including five animal groups, to examine how well a trait-based approach, compared with a more traditional taxonomic approach, predicts seven ecosystem functions below- and above-ground. Trait-based indices consistently provided greater explanatory power than species richness or abundance. The frequency distributions of single or multiple traits in the community were the best predictors of ecosystem functioning. This implies that the ecosystem functions we investigated were underpinned by the combination of trait identities (i.e. single-trait indices) and trait complementarity (i.e. multi-trait indices) in the communities. Our study provides new insights into the general mechanisms that link biodiversity to ecosystem functioning in natural animal communities and suggests that the observed responses were due to the identity and dominance patterns of the trait composition rather than the number or abundance of species per se.

  12. Advances in animal ecology from 3D ecosystem mapping with LiDAR

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davies, A.; Asner, G. P.

    2015-12-01

    The advent and recent advances of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) have enabled accurate measurement of 3D ecosystem structure. Although the use of LiDAR data is widespread in vegetation science, it has only recently (< 14 years) been applied to animal ecology. Despite such recent application, LiDAR has enabled new insights in the field and revealed the fundamental importance of 3D ecosystem structure for animals. We reviewed the studies to date that have used LiDAR in animal ecology, synthesising the insights gained. Structural heterogeneity is most conducive to increased animal richness and abundance, and increased complexity of vertical vegetation structure is more positively influential than traditionally measured canopy cover, which produces mixed results. However, different taxonomic groups interact with a variety of 3D canopy traits and some groups with 3D topography. LiDAR technology can be applied to animal ecology studies in a wide variety of environments to answer an impressive array of questions. Drawing on case studies from vastly different groups, termites and lions, we further demonstrate the applicability of LiDAR and highlight new understanding, ranging from habitat preference to predator-prey interactions, that would not have been possible from studies restricted to field based methods. We conclude with discussion of how future studies will benefit by using LiDAR to consider 3D habitat effects in a wider variety of ecosystems and with more taxa to develop a better understanding of animal dynamics.

  13. Quantifying the complexities of Saccharomyces cerevisiae's ecosystem engineering via fermentation.

    PubMed

    Goddard, Matthew R

    2008-08-01

    The theory of niche construction suggests that organisms may engineer environments via their activities. Despite the potential of this phenomenon being realized by Darwin, the capability of niche construction to generally unite ecological and evolutionary biology has never been empirically quantified. Here I quantify the fitness effects of Saccharomyces cerevisiae's ecosystem engineering in a natural ferment in order to understand the interaction between ecological and evolutionary processes. I show that S. cerevisiae eventually dominates in fruit niches, where it is naturally initially rare, by modifying the environment through fermentation (the Crabtree effect) in ways which extend beyond just considering ethanol production. These data show that an additional cause of S. cerevisiae's competitive advantage over the other yeasts in the community is due to the production of heat via fermentation. Even though fermentation is less energetically efficient than respiration, it seems that this trait has been selected for because its net effect provides roughly a 7% fitness advantage over the other members of the community. These data provide an elegant example of niche construction because this trait clearly modifies the environment and therefore the selection pressures to which S. cerevisiae, and other organisms that access the fruit resource, including humans, are exposed to.

  14. Adapting to extreme climates: raising animals in hot and arid ecosystems in Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seo, S. Niggol

    2015-05-01

    This paper provides an analysis of adaptation to extreme climate changes using the Australian animal husbandry data. The paper finds that farmers have adapted to a hot and arid climate regime through animal husbandry. The number of sheep vastly increases into arid ecosystems while the number of beef cattle does not decline in high temperatures. In the future climate system in which Australia becomes hotter and more arid, we predict that farmers will increase by large percentages the numbers of beef cattle and/or sheep owned in order to adapt to a highly unfavorable climate condition, especially into the arid ecosystems. This paper shows how humanity has adapted to climate extremes taking into account changing ecosystems.

  15. Tabizi Pythons and Clendro Hawks: Using Imaginary Animals to Achieve Real Knowledge about Ecosystems

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rockow, Michael

    2007-01-01

    The author describes how he used to teach a unit on food webs and ecosystems using actual food webs as models. However, the models used by the author tend to be either too simplistic or too complicated for his students. A few years ago, he solved these problems by making up his own food web, complete with invented plants and animals. The model has…

  16. Restoring rocky intertidal communities: Lessons from a benthic macroalgal ecosystem engineer.

    PubMed

    Bellgrove, Alecia; McKenzie, Prudence F; Cameron, Hayley; Pocklington, Jacqueline B

    2017-04-15

    As coastal population growth increases globally, effective waste management practices are required to protect biodiversity. Water authorities are under increasing pressure to reduce the impact of sewage effluent discharged into the coastal environment and restore disturbed ecosystems. We review the role of benthic macroalgae as ecosystem engineers and focus particularly on the temperate Australasian fucoid Hormosira banksii as a case study for rocky intertidal restoration efforts. Research focussing on the roles of ecosystem engineers is lagging behind restoration research of ecosystem engineers. As such, management decisions are being made without a sound understanding of the ecology of ecosystem engineers. For successful restoration of rocky intertidal shores it is important that we assess the thresholds of engineering traits (discussed herein) and the environmental conditions under which they are important.

  17. Summertime CO2 fluxes and ecosystem respiration from marine animal colony tundra in maritime Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhu, Renbin; Bao, Tao; Wang, Qing; Xu, Hua; Liu, Yashu

    2014-12-01

    Net ecosystem CO2 exchange (NEE) and ecosystem respiration (ER) were investigated at penguin, seal and skua colony tundra and the adjacent animal-lacking tundra sites in maritime Antarctica. Net CO2 fluxes showed a large difference between marine animal colonies and animal-lacking tundra sites. The mean NEE from penguin, seal and skua colony tundra sites ranged from -37.2 to 5.2 mg CO2 m-2 h-1, whereas animal-lacking tundra sites experienced a larger net gain of CO2 with the mean flux range from -85.6 to -23.9 mg CO2 m-2 h-1. Ecosystem respiration rates at penguin colony tundra sites (mean 201.3 ± 31.4 mg CO2 m-2 h-1) were significantly higher (P < 0.01) than those at penguin-lacking tundra sites (64.0-87.1 mg CO2 m-2 h-1). The gross photosynthesis (Pg) showed a consistent trend to ER with the highest mean Pg (219.7 ± 34.5 mg CO2 m-2 h-1) at penguin colony tundra sites. When all the data were combined from different types of tundra ecosystems, summertime tundra NEE showed a weak or strong positive correlation with air temperature, 0-10 cm soil temperature or precipitation. The NEE from marine animal colony and animal-lacking tundra was significantly positively correlated (P < 0.001) with soil organic carbon (SOC), total nitrogen (TN) contents and C:N ratios. The ER showed a significant exponential correlation (P < 0.01) with mean 0-15 cm soil temperature, and much higher Q10 value (9.97) was obtained compared with other terrestrial ecosystems, indicating greater temperature sensitivity of tundra ecosystem respiration. Our results indicate that marine animals and the deposition of their excreta might have an important effect on tundra CO2 exchanges and ecosystem respiration, and current climate warming will further decrease tundra CO2 sink in maritime Antarctica.

  18. The effect of a nematode parasite on feeding and dung-burying behavior of an ecosystem engineer.

    PubMed

    Boze, Broox G V; Moore, Janice

    2014-07-01

    Dung beetles (genus Phanaeus) consume feces in both their larval and adults forms and because of their unique dietary niche, and behaviors associated with the burial of feces, are considered ecosystem engineers. In addition, because these insects subsist on a diet composed exclusively of feces, it is likely they encounter parasitic propagules more frequently than other animals do. Parasites often alter their host's behavior, so we set out to test whether Physocephalus sexalatus (a cosmopolitan nematode parasite of ungulates) does so in ways that affect the dung beetle's role as an ecosystem engineer and/or its predator-prey relationships (transmission of the parasite). Classic tests of anti-predator behavior did not reveal behavioral differences based on the beetles' infection status. However, this parasite did alter the beetles' behaviors in ways that could be critical for its role in fecal processing and therefore ecosystem engineering. Infected beetles exhibited anorexic behavior and consumed only half the amount of feces ingested by similar uninfected beetles. Infected beetles also buried less feces and did so in tunnels that were significantly shorter than those created by uninfected beetles. Fecal burial is naturally beneficial because it aerates the soil, incorporates nitrogenous compounds, and increases the flow of water thereby making soil and pastureland more productive. We showed that the nematode parasite P. sexalatus itself becomes an ecosystem engineer as it modifies the behavior of its already influential intermediate host.

  19. Ecosystem engineering of harvester ants: effects on vegetation in a sagebrush-steppe ecosystem

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gosselin, Elyce N; Holbrook, Joseph D.; Huggler, Katey; Brown, Emily; Vierling, Kerri T.; Arkle, Robert; Pilliod, David

    2016-01-01

    Harvester ants are influential in many ecosystems because they distribute and consume seeds, remove vegetation, and redistribute soil particles and nutrients. Understanding the interaction between harvester ants and plant communities is important for management and restoration efforts, particularly in systems altered by fire and invasive species such as the sagebrush-steppe. Our objective was to evaluate how vegetation cover changed as a function of distance from Owyhee harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex salinus) nests within a sagebrush-steppe ecosystem. We sampled 105 harvester ant nests within southern Idaho, USA, that occurred in different habitats: annual grassland, perennial grassland, and native shrubland. The influence of Owyhee harvester ants on vegetation was larger at the edge of ant nests, but the relationship was inconsistent among plant species. Percent cover was positively associated with distance from harvester ant nests for plant species that were considered undesirable food sources and were densely distributed. However, percent cover was negatively associated with distance-from-nests for patchily distributed and desirable plant species. For some plant species, there was no change in cover associated with distance-from-nests. Total vegetation cover was associated with distance-from-nests in the shrubland habitat but not in the 2 grasslands. The dominant plant species in the shrubland habitat was a densely distributed shrub (winterfat, Krascheninnikovia lanata) that was defoliated by harvester ants. Our results suggest that Owyhee harvester ants increase spatial heterogeneity in plant communities through plant clearing, but the direction and magnitude of effect will likely be contingent on the dominant vegetation groups. This information may inform future management and plant restoration efforts in sagebrush-steppe by directly considering the islands of influence associated with harvester ant engineering.

  20. Ecosystem engineering by invasive exotic beavers reduces in-stream diversity and enhances ecosystem function in Cape Horn, Chile.

    PubMed

    Anderson, Christopher B; Rosemond, Amy D

    2007-11-01

    Species invasions are of global significance, but predicting their impacts can be difficult. Introduced ecosystem engineers, however, provide an opportunity to test the underlying mechanisms that may be common to all invasive engineers and link relationships between changes in diversity and ecosystem function, thereby providing explanatory power for observed ecological patterns. Here we test specific predictions for an invasive ecosystem engineer by quantifying the impacts of habitat and resource modifications caused by North American beavers (Castor canadensis) on aquatic macroinvertebrate community structure and stream ecosystem function in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve, Chile. We compared responses to beavers in three habitat types: (1) forested (unimpacted) stream reaches, (2) beaver ponds, and (3) sites immediately downstream of beaver dams in four streams. We found that beaver engineering in ponds created taxonomically simplified, but more productive, benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages. Specifically, macroinvertebrate richness, diversity and number of functional feeding groups were reduced by half, while abundance, biomass and secondary production increased three- to fivefold in beaver ponds compared to forested sites. Reaches downstream of beaver ponds were very similar to natural forested sections. Beaver invasion effects on both community and ecosystem parameters occurred predominantly via increased retention of fine particulate organic matter, which was associated with reduced macroinvertebrate richness and diversity (via homogenization of benthic microhabitat) and increased macroinvertebrate biomass and production (via greater food availability). Beaver modifications to macroinvertebrate community structure were largely confined to ponds, but increased benthic production in beaver-modified habitats adds to energy retention and flow for the entire stream ecosystem. Furthermore, the effects of beavers on taxa richness (negative) and measures of

  1. Climate change impacts on potential recruitment in an ecosystem engineer

    PubMed Central

    Morgan, Emer; O' Riordan, Ruth M; Culloty, Sarah C

    2013-01-01

    Climate variability and the rapid warming of seas undoubtedly have huge ramifications for biological processes such as reproduction. As such, gametogenesis and spawning were investigated at two sites over 200 km apart on the south coast of Ireland in an ecosystem engineer, the common cockle, Cerastoderma edule. Both sites are classed as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), but are of different water quality. Cerastoderma edule plays a significant biological role by recycling nutrients and affecting sediment structure, with impacts upon assemblage biomass and functional diversity. It plays a key role in food webs, being a common foodstuff for a number of marine birds including the oystercatcher. Both before and during the study (early 2010–mid 2011), Ireland experienced its two coldest winters for 50 years. As the research demonstrated only slight variation in the spawning period between sites, despite site differences in water and environmental quality, temperature and variable climatic conditions were the dominant factor controlling gametogenesis. The most significant finding was that the spawning period in the cockle extended over a greater number of months compared with previous studies and that gametogenesis commenced over winter rather than in spring. Extremely cold winters may impact on the cockle by accelerating and extending the onset and development of gametogenesis. Whether this impact is positive or negative would depend on the associated events occurring on which the cockle depends, that is, presence of primary producers and spring blooms, which would facilitate conversion of this extended gametogenesis into successful recruitment. PMID:23532482

  2. Fungal symbiosis and precipitation alter traits and dune building by the ecosystem engineer, Ammophila breviligulata.

    PubMed

    Emery, Sarah M; Bell-Dereske, Lukas; Rudgers, Jennifer A

    2015-04-01

    Ecosystem engineer species influence their community and ecosystem by creating or altering the physical structure of habitats. The function of ecosystem engineers is variable and can depend on both abiotic and biotic factors. Here we make use of a primary successional system to evaluate the direct and interactive effects of climate change (precipitation) and fungal endophyte symbiosis on population traits and ecosystem function of the ecosystem engineering grass species, Ammophila breviligulata. We manipulated endophyte presence in A. breviligulata in combination with rain-out shelters and rainfall additions in a factorial field experiment established in 2010 on Lake Michigan sand dunes. We monitored plant traits, survival, growth, and sexual reproduction of A. breviligulata from 2010-2013, and quantified ecosystem engineering as the sand accumulation rate. Presence of the endophyte in A. breviligulata increased vegetative growth by up to 19%, and reduced sexual reproduction by up to 46% across all precipitation treatments. Precipitation was a less significant factor than endophyte colonization for A. breviligulata growth. Reduced precipitation increased average leaf number per tiller but had no other effects on plant traits. Changes in A. breviligulata traits corresponded to increases in sand accumulation in plots with the endophyte as well as in plots with reduced precipitation. Sand accumulation is a key ecosystem function in these primary successional habitats, and so microbial symbiosis in this ecosystem engineer could lead to direct effects on the value of these dune habitats for humans.

  3. Tackling emerging fungal threats to animal health, food security and ecosystem resilience

    PubMed Central

    Gow, Neil A. R.; Gurr, Sarah J.

    2016-01-01

    Emerging infections caused by fungi have become a widely recognized global phenomenon. Their notoriety stems from their causing plagues and famines, driving species extinctions, and the difficulty in treating human mycoses alongside the increase of their resistance to antifungal drugs. This special issue comprises a collection of articles resulting from a Royal Society discussion meeting examining why pathogenic fungi are causing more disease now than they did in the past, and how we can tackle this rapidly emerging threat to the health of plants and animals worldwide. This article is part of the themed issue ‘Tackling emerging fungal threats to animal health, food security and ecosystem resilience’. PMID:28080997

  4. Small ecosystem engineers as important regulators of lake's sediment respiration.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baranov, Victor; Lewandowski, Joerg; Krause, Stefan; Romeijn, Paul

    2016-04-01

    Although shallow lakes are covering only about 1.5% of the land surface of the Earth, they are responsible for sequestration of carbon amounts similar or even larger than those sequestered in all marine sediments. One of the most important drivers of the carbon sequestration in lakes is sediment respiration. Especially in shallow lakes, bioturbation, i.e. the biogenic reworking of the sediment matrix and the transport of fluids within the sediment, severely impacts on sediment respiration. Widespread freshwater bioturbators such as chironomid larvae (Diptera, Chironomidae) are building tubes in the sediment and actively pump water through their burrows (ventilation). In the present work we study how different organism densities and temperatures (5-30°C) impact on respiration rates. In a microcosm experiment the bioreactive resazurin/resorufin smart tracer system was applied for quantifying the impacts of different densities of Chironomidae (Diptera) larvae (0, 1000, 2000 larvae/m2) on sediment respiration. Tracer transformation rates (and sediment respiration) were correlated with larval densities with highest transformation rates occurring in microcosms with highest larval densities. Respiration differences between defaunated sediment and sediment with 1000 and 2000 larvae per m2 was insignificant at 5 °C, and was progressively increasing with rising temperatures. At 30 °C respiration rates of sediment with 2000 larvae per m2 was 4.8 times higher than those of defaunated sediment. We interpret this as an effect of temperature on larval metabolic and locomotory activity. Furthermore, bacterial communities are benefiting from the combination of the high water temperatures and bioirrigation as bacterial community are able to maintain high metabolic rates due to oxygen supplied by bioirrigation. In the context of global climate change that means that chironomid ecosystem engineering activity will have a profound and increasing impact on lake sediment respiration

  5. Exogenous enzymes upgrade transgenesis and genetic engineering of farm animals.

    PubMed

    Bosch, Pablo; Forcato, Diego O; Alustiza, Fabrisio E; Alessio, Ana P; Fili, Alejandro E; Olmos Nicotra, María F; Liaudat, Ana C; Rodríguez, Nancy; Talluri, Thirumala R; Kues, Wilfried A

    2015-05-01

    Transgenic farm animals are attractive alternative mammalian models to rodents for the study of developmental, genetic, reproductive and disease-related biological questions, as well for the production of recombinant proteins, or the assessment of xenotransplants for human patients. Until recently, the ability to generate transgenic farm animals relied on methods of passive transgenesis. In recent years, significant improvements have been made to introduce and apply active techniques of transgenesis and genetic engineering in these species. These new approaches dramatically enhance the ease and speed with which livestock species can be genetically modified, and allow to performing precise genetic modifications. This paper provides a synopsis of enzyme-mediated genetic engineering in livestock species covering the early attempts employing naturally occurring DNA-modifying proteins to recent approaches working with tailored enzymatic systems.

  6. Phosphorus-mobilization ecosystem engineering: the roles of cluster roots and carboxylate exudation in young P-limited ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Lambers, Hans; Bishop, John G.; Hopper, Stephen D.; Laliberté, Etienne; Zúñiga-Feest, Alejandra

    2012-01-01

    Background Carboxylate-releasing cluster roots of Proteaceae play a key role in acquiring phosphorus (P) from ancient nutrient-impoverished soils in Australia. However, cluster roots are also found in Proteaceae on young, P-rich soils in Chile where they allow P acquisition from soils that strongly sorb P. Scope Unlike Proteaceae in Australia that tend to proficiently remobilize P from senescent leaves, Chilean Proteaceae produce leaf litter rich in P. Consequently, they may act as ecosystem engineers, providing P for plants without specialized roots to access sorbed P. We propose a similar ecosystem-engineering role for species that release large amounts of carboxylates in other relatively young, strongly P-sorbing substrates, e.g. young acidic volcanic deposits and calcareous dunes. Many of these species also fix atmospheric nitrogen and release nutrient-rich litter, but their role as ecosystem engineers is commonly ascribed only to their diazotrophic nature. Conclusions We propose that the P-mobilizing capacity of Proteaceae on young soils, which contain an abundance of P, but where P is poorly available, in combination with inefficient nutrient remobilization from senescing leaves allows these species to function as ecosystem engineers. We suggest that diazotrophic species that colonize young soils with strong P-sorption potential should be considered for their positive effect on P availability, as well as their widely accepted role in nitrogen fixation. Their P-mobilizing activity possibly also enhances their nitrogen-fixing capacity. These diazotrophic species may therefore facilitate the establishment and growth of species with less-efficient P-uptake strategies on more-developed soils with low P availability through similar mechanisms. We argue that the significance of cluster roots and high carboxylate exudation in the development of young ecosystems is probably far more important than has been envisaged thus far. PMID:22700940

  7. Engineering tissue alternatives to animals: applying tissue engineering to basic research and safety testing.

    PubMed

    Holmes, Anthony; Brown, Robert; Shakesheff, Kevin

    2009-07-01

    The focus for the rapid progress in the field of tissue engineering has been the clinical potential of the technology to repair, replace, maintain or enhance the function of a particular tissue or organ. However, tissue engineering has much wider applicability in basic research and safety testing, which is often not recognized owing to the clinical focus of tissue engineers. Using examples from a recent National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research/Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council symposium, which brought together tissue engineers and scientists from other research communities, this review highlights the potential of tissue engineering to provide scientifically robust alternatives to animals to address basic research questions and improve drug and chemical development in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries.

  8. Assuring consumer safety without animals: Applications for tissue engineering.

    PubMed

    Westmoreland, Carl; Holmes, Anthony M

    2009-04-01

    Humans are exposed to a variety of chemicals in their everyday lives through interactions with the environment and through the use of consumer products. It is a basic requirement that these products are tested to assure they are safe under normal and reasonably foreseeable conditions of use. Within the European Union, the majority of tests used for generating toxicological data rely on animals. However recent changes in legislation (e.g., 7(th) amendment of the Cosmetics Directive and REACH) are driving researchers to develop and adopt non-animal alternative methods with which to assure human safety. Great strides have been made to this effect, but what other opportunities/technologies exist that could expedite this? Tissue engineering has increasing scope to contribute to replacing animals with scientifically robust alternatives in basic research and safety testing, but is this application of the technology being fully exploited? This review highlights how the consumer products industry is applying tissue engineering to ensure chemicals are safe for human use without using animals, and identifies areas for future development and application of the technology.

  9. Mitochondrial Phylogenomics Resolves the Global Spread of Higher Termites, Ecosystem Engineers of the Tropics.

    PubMed

    Bourguignon, Thomas; Lo, Nathan; Šobotník, Jan; Ho, Simon Y W; Iqbal, Naeem; Coissac, Eric; Lee, Maria; Jendryka, Martin M; Sillam-Dussès, David; Krížková, Barbora; Roisin, Yves; Evans, Theodore A

    2017-03-01

    The higher termites (Termitidae) are keystone species and ecosystem engineers. They have exceptional biomass and play important roles in decomposition of dead plant matter, in soil manipulation, and as the primary food for many animals, especially in the tropics. Higher termites are most diverse in rainforests, with estimated origins in the late Eocene (∼54 Ma), postdating the breakup of Pangaea and Gondwana when most continents became separated. Since termites are poor fliers, their origin and spread across the globe requires alternative explanation. Here, we show that higher termites originated 42-54 Ma in Africa and subsequently underwent at least 24 dispersal events between the continents in two main periods. Using phylogenetic analyses of mitochondrial genomes from 415 species, including all higher termite taxonomic and feeding groups, we inferred 10 dispersal events to South America and Asia 35-23 Ma, coinciding with the sharp decrease in global temperature, sea level, and rainforest cover in the Oligocene. After global temperatures increased, 23-5 Ma, there was only one more dispersal to South America but 11 to Asia and Australia, and one dispersal back to Africa. Most of these dispersal events were transoceanic and might have occurred via floating logs. The spread of higher termites across oceans was helped by the novel ecological opportunities brought about by environmental and ecosystem change, and led termites to become one of the few insect groups with specialized mammal predators. This has parallels with modern invasive species that have been able to thrive in human-impacted ecosystems.

  10. Brucellosis at the animal/ecosystem/human interface at the beginning of the 21st century.

    PubMed

    Godfroid, J; Scholz, H C; Barbier, T; Nicolas, C; Wattiau, P; Fretin, D; Whatmore, A M; Cloeckaert, A; Blasco, J M; Moriyon, I; Saegerman, C; Muma, J B; Al Dahouk, S; Neubauer, H; Letesson, J-J

    2011-11-01

    Following the recent discovery of new Brucella strains from different animal species and from the environment, ten Brucella species are nowadays included in the genus Brucella. Although the intracellular trafficking of Brucella is well described, the strategies developed by Brucella to survive and multiply in phagocytic and non-phagocytic cells, particularly to access nutriments during its intracellular journey, are still largely unknown. Metabolism and virulence of Brucella are now considered to be two sides of the same coin. Mechanisms presiding to the colonization of the pregnant uterus in different animal species are not known. Vaccination is the cornerstone of control programs in livestock and although the S19, RB51 (both in cattle) and Rev 1 (in sheep and goats) vaccines have been successfully used worldwide, they have drawbacks and thus the ideal brucellosis vaccine is still very much awaited. There is no vaccine available for pigs and wildlife. Animal brucellosis control strategies differ in the developed and the developing world. Most emphasis is put on eradication and on risk analysis to avoid the re-introduction of Brucella in the developed world. Information related to the prevalence of brucellosis is still scarce in the developing world and control programs are rarely implemented. Since there is no vaccine available for humans, prevention of human brucellosis relies on its control in the animal reservoir. Brucella is also considered to be an agent to be used in bio- and agroterrorism attacks. At the animal/ecosystem/human interface it is critical to reduce opportunities for Brucella to jump host species as already seen in livestock, wildlife and humans. This task is a challenge for the future in terms of veterinary public health, as for wildlife and ecosystem managers and will need a "One Health" approach to be successful.

  11. Ecosystem engineering and manipulation of host plant tissues by the insect borer Oncideres albomarginata chamela.

    PubMed

    Calderón-Cortés, Nancy; Uribe-Mú, Claudia A; Martínez-Méndez, A Karen; Escalera-Vázquez, Luis H; Cristobal-Pérez, E Jacob; García-Oliva, Felipe; Quesada, Mauricio

    2016-01-01

    Ecosystem engineering by insect herbivores occurs as the result of structural modification of plants manipulated by insects. However, only few studies have evaluated the effect of these modifications on the plant responses induced by stem-borers that act as ecosystem engineers. In this study, we evaluated the responses induced by the herbivory of the twig-girdler beetle Oncideres albomarginata chamela (Cerambycidae: Lamiinae) on its host plant Spondias purpurea (Anacardiaceae), and its relationship with the ecosystem engineering process carried out by this stem-borer. Our results demonstrated that O. albomarginata chamela branch removal induced the development of lateral branches increasing the resources needed for the development of future insect generations, of its own offspring and of many other insect species. Detached branches represent habitats with high content of nitrogen and phosphorous, which eventually can be incorporated into the ecosystem, increasing nutrient cycling efficiency. Consequently, branch removal and the subsequent plant tissue regeneration induced by O. albomarginata chamela represent key mechanisms underlying the ecosystem engineering process carried out by this stem-borer, which enhances arthropod diversity in the ecosystem.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-08-01

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

  13. Biodiversity effects of ecosystem engineers are stronger on more complex ecosystem processes.

    PubMed

    Caliman, Adriano; Carneiro, Luciana S; Leal, João J F; Farjalla, Vinicius F; Bozelli, Reinaldo L; Esteves, Francisco A

    2013-09-01

    The relative importance of species richness and identity for the diversity-function relationship remains controversial. We mechanistically explored the potential contribution of ecosystem processes complexity (EPC; i.e., the number of pathways and mechanisms through which an ecosystem process can be directly and/or indirectly affected by species and/or their interactions) to the resolution of this controversy. We hypothesized that the complementarity effects of biodiversity will be stronger and that the diversity-function relationship will be more dependent on species richness as the EPC increases. Using a benthic bioturbator community as a model system we tested these predictions across ecosystem processes that could be ordered according to their complexity (suspended material flux < PO4-P flux < NH4-N flux < bacterioplankton production). Consistent with our predictions, species richness explained an increasing proportion of data variation as EPC increased, whereas the contrary was observed for species composition. Nontransgressive overyielding was not affected by EPC, but the magnitude of transgressive overyielding increased significantly with EPC, indicating that complementarity may be stronger as EPC increases. Our results highlight the importance of considering the interactive role of the characteristics of ecosystem processes in our theoretical understanding of the diversity-function relationship and its underlying mechanisms.

  14. A public-policy practicum to address current issues in human, animal, and ecosystem health.

    PubMed

    Herrmann, John A; Johnson, Yvette J; Troutt, H Fred; Prudhomme, Thomas

    2009-01-01

    There are recognized needs for cross-training health professionals in human, animal, and ecosystem health and for public health policy to be informed by experts from medical, science, and social science disciplines. Faculty members of the Community Health and Preventive Medicine Section at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Veterinary Medicine, and the Institute of Government and Public Affairs, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, have offered a public-policy course designed to meet those needs. The course was designed as a practicum to teach students the policy-making process through the development of policy proposals and to instruct students on how to effectively present accurate scientific, demographic, and statistical information to policy makers and to the public. All students substantially met the learning objectives of the course. This course represents another model that can be implemented to help students learn about complex, multifactorial issues that affect the health of humans, animals, and ecosystems, while promoting participation in public health policy development.

  15. Interactive disturbance effects of two disparate ecosystem engineers in North American shortgrass steppe.

    PubMed

    Alba-Lynn, Christina; Detling, James K

    2008-08-01

    Disturbances such as fire, grazing, and soil mixing by animals interact to shape vegetation in grassland ecosystems. Animal-generated disturbances are unique in that they arise from a suite of behaviors that are themselves subject to modification by external factors. The manner in which co-occurring animal taxa interact to alter vegetation is a function of their respective behaviors, which shape the characteristics (e.g., the magnitude or extent) of their disturbances. To determine whether prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) and harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex occidentalis) interactively alter vegetation structure and heterogeneity on the Colorado shortgrass steppe, we characterized the size, dispersion, and vegetation of prairie dog burrow mounds and ant nests (located on and off prairie dog colonies) and vegetation growing beyond mound and nest perimeters. Ants located on prairie dog colonies engineered significantly larger nests and disturbed nearly twice as much total soil area as their off-colony counterparts. Ant nests were overdispersed both on and off prairie dog colonies, while prairie dog mounds were randomly dispersed. Where harvester ants and prairie dogs co-occur, the overdispersed pattern of on-colony ant nests is in effect "overlaid" onto the random pattern of prairie dog mounds, resulting in a unique, aggregated pattern of soil disturbance. Ant nests on prairie dog colonies had significantly less vegetation and lower plant species diversity than did prairie dog mounds, while off-colony nests were similar to mounds. These results suggest that ant nests are more highly disturbed when located on prairie dog colonies. Beyond nests proper, ants did not appear to alter vegetation in a manner distinct from prairie dogs. As such, the interactive effects of prairie dogs and ants on vegetation arise mainly from the disturbance characteristics of mounds and nests proper.

  16. Partitioning the effects of an ecosystem engineer: kangaroo rats control community structure via multiple pathways.

    PubMed

    Prugh, Laura R; Brashares, Justin S

    2012-05-01

    1. Ecosystem engineers impact communities by altering habitat conditions, but they can also have strong effects through consumptive, competitive and other non-engineering pathways. 2. Engineering effects can lead to fundamentally different community dynamics than non-engineering effects, but the relative strengths of these interactions are seldom quantified. 3. We combined structural equation modelling and exclosure experiments to partition the effects of a keystone engineer, the giant kangaroo rat (Dipodomys ingens), on plants, invertebrates and vertebrates in a semi-arid California grassland. 4. We separated the effects of burrow creation from kangaroo rat density and found that kangaroo rats increased the diversity and abundance of other species via both engineering and non-engineering pathways. 5. Engineering was the primary factor structuring plant and small mammal communities, whereas non-engineering effects structured invertebrate communities and increased lizard abundance. 6. These results highlight the importance of the non-engineering effects of ecosystem engineers and shed new light on the multiple pathways by which strong-interactors shape communities.

  17. The Dry Season Shuffle: Gorges Provide Refugia for Animal Communities in Tropical Savannah Ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Doody, J Sean; Clulow, Simon; Kay, Geoff; D'Amore, Domenic; Rhind, David; Wilson, Steve; Ellis, Ryan; Castellano, Christina; McHenry, Colin; Quayle, Michelle; Hands, Kim; Sawyer, Graeme; Bass, Michael

    2015-01-01

    In the wet-dry tropics, animal species face the major challenges of acquiring food, water or shelter during an extended dry season. Although large and conspicuous animals such as ungulates and waterfowl migrate to wetter areas during this time, little is known of how smaller and more cryptic animal species with less mobility meet these challenges. We fenced off the entire entrance of a gorge in the Australian tropical savanna, offering the unique opportunity to determine the composition and seasonal movement patterns of the small vertebrate community. The 1.7 km-long fence was converted to a trapline that was deployed for 18-21 days during the early dry season in each of two years, and paired traps on both sides of the fence allowed us to detect the direction of animal movements. We predicted that semi-aquatic species (e.g., frogs and turtles) would move upstream into the wetter gorge during the dry season, while more terrestrial species (e.g., lizards, snakes, mammals) would not. The trapline captured 1590 individual vertebrates comprising 60 species. There was a significant bias for captures on the outside of the fence compared to the inside for all species combined (outside/inside = 5.2, CI = 3.7-7.2), for all vertebrate classes, and for specific taxonomic groups. The opposite bias (inside/outside = 7.3, N= 25) for turtles during the early wet season suggested return migration heading into the wet season. Our study revealed that the small vertebrate community uses the gorge as a dry season refuge. The generality of this unreplicated finding could be tested by extending this type of survey to tropical savannahs worldwide. A better understanding of how small animals use the landscape is needed to reveal the size of buffer zones around wetlands required to protect both semi-aquatic and terrestrial fauna in gorges in tropical savannah woodland, and thus in ecosystems in general.

  18. The Dry Season Shuffle: Gorges Provide Refugia for Animal Communities in Tropical Savannah Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Doody, J. Sean; Clulow, Simon; Kay, Geoff; D’Amore, Domenic; Rhind, David; Wilson, Steve; Ellis, Ryan; Castellano, Christina; McHenry, Colin; Quayle, Michelle; Hands, Kim; Sawyer, Graeme; Bass, Michael

    2015-01-01

    In the wet-dry tropics, animal species face the major challenges of acquiring food, water or shelter during an extended dry season. Although large and conspicuous animals such as ungulates and waterfowl migrate to wetter areas during this time, little is known of how smaller and more cryptic animal species with less mobility meet these challenges. We fenced off the entire entrance of a gorge in the Australian tropical savanna, offering the unique opportunity to determine the composition and seasonal movement patterns of the small vertebrate community. The 1.7 km-long fence was converted to a trapline that was deployed for 18-21 days during the early dry season in each of two years, and paired traps on both sides of the fence allowed us to detect the direction of animal movements. We predicted that semi-aquatic species (e.g., frogs and turtles) would move upstream into the wetter gorge during the dry season, while more terrestrial species (e.g., lizards, snakes, mammals) would not. The trapline captured 1590 individual vertebrates comprising 60 species. There was a significant bias for captures on the outside of the fence compared to the inside for all species combined (outside/inside = 5.2, CI = 3.7-7.2), for all vertebrate classes, and for specific taxonomic groups. The opposite bias (inside/outside = 7.3, N= 25) for turtles during the early wet season suggested return migration heading into the wet season. Our study revealed that the small vertebrate community uses the gorge as a dry season refuge. The generality of this unreplicated finding could be tested by extending this type of survey to tropical savannahs worldwide. A better understanding of how small animals use the landscape is needed to reveal the size of buffer zones around wetlands required to protect both semi-aquatic and terrestrial fauna in gorges in tropical savannah woodland, and thus in ecosystems in general. PMID:26135472

  19. Can orchards help connect Mediterranean ecosystems? Animal movement data alter conservation priorities

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nogeire, Theresa M.; Davis, Frank W.; Crooks, Kevin R.; McRae, Brad H.; Lyren, Lisa M.; Boydston, Erin E.

    2015-01-01

    As natural habitats become fragmented by human activities, animals must increasingly move through human-dominated systems, particularly agricultural landscapes. Mapping areas important for animal movement has therefore become a key part of conservation planning. Models of landscape connectivity are often parameterized using expert opinion and seldom distinguish between the risks and barriers presented by different crop types. Recent research, however, suggests different crop types, such as row crops and orchards, differ in the degree to which they facilitate or impede species movements. Like many mammalian carnivores, bobcats (Lynx rufus) are sensitive to fragmentation and loss of connectivity between habitat patches. We investigated how distinguishing between different agricultural land covers might change conclusions about the relative conservation importance of different land uses in a Mediterranean ecosystem. Bobcats moved relatively quickly in row crops but relatively slowly in orchards, at rates similar to those in natural habitats of woodlands and scrub. We found that parameterizing a connectivity model using empirical data on bobcat movements in agricultural lands and other land covers, instead of parameterizing the model using habitat suitability indices based on expert opinion, altered locations of predicted animal movement routes. These results emphasize that differentiating between types of agriculture can alter conservation planning outcomes.

  20. Effects of antagonistic ecosystem engineers on macrofauna communities in a patchy, intertidal mudflat landscape

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eklöf, J. S.; Donadi, S.; van der Heide, T.; van der Zee, E. M.; Eriksson, B. K.

    2015-03-01

    Ecosystem engineers are organisms that strongly modify abiotic conditions and in the process alter associated communities. Different types of benthic ecosystem engineers have been suggested to facilitate different communities in otherwise similar marine environments, partly because they alter sediment conditions in contrasting ways. However, most studies testing this hypothesis have either not manipulated the presence of engineers, or have transplanted engineers into areas already dominated by other engineers, which limits the ability to assess the relative engineering effects. Here we combined a field survey and a field experiment to investigate if two contrasting ecosystem engineers - the sediment-stabilizing seagrass Zostera noltei and the bioturbating lugworm Arenicola marina - facilitate different macrofauna communities. The study was performed in a sheltered mudflat area of the eastern Dutch Wadden Sea, where seagrasses and lugworms form a mosaic of spatially alternating seagrass-dominated elevations (hummocks) and lugworm-dominated depressions (hollows). Results showed that seagrasses facilitated some organisms (mainly attached epifauna) while lugworms facilitated others (primarily burrowing infauna), generating distinctly different macrofauna communities in hummocks and hollows. However, seagrasses had a much stronger effect on the macrofauna communities than lugworms, and competitively excluded lugworms. This contrasts with results from similar studies in hydrodynamically more exposed sand flats, where lugworms instead dominate communities and exclude seagrass. We therefore propose that effects of ecosystem engineering (acting primarily on a local scale) and variation in abiotic conditions (acting on larger scales, e.g., hydrodynamic gradients along the Dutch coastline) strongly interact to dictate the distribution and fitness of engineering species, and indirectly, the diversity and structure of associated benthic communities.

  1. Microbes as engines of ecosystem function: When does community structure enhance predictions of ecosystem processes?

    DOE PAGES

    Graham, Emily B.; Knelman, Joseph E.; Schindlbacher, Andreas; ...

    2016-02-24

    In this study, microorganisms are vital in mediating the earth’s biogeochemical cycles; yet, despite our rapidly increasing ability to explore complex environmental microbial communities, the relationship between microbial community structure and ecosystem processes remains poorly understood. Here, we address a fundamental and unanswered question in microbial ecology: ‘When do we need to understand microbial community structure to accurately predict function?’ We present a statistical analysis investigating the value of environmental data and microbial community structure independently and in combination for explaining rates of carbon and nitrogen cycling processes within 82 global datasets. Environmental variables were the strongest predictors of processmore » rates but left 44% of variation unexplained on average, suggesting the potential for microbial data to increase model accuracy. Although only 29% of our datasets were significantly improved by adding information on microbial community structure, we observed improvement in models of processes mediated by narrow phylogenetic guilds via functional gene data, and conversely, improvement in models of facultative microbial processes via community diversity metrics. Our results also suggest that microbial diversity can strengthen predictions of respiration rates beyond microbial biomass parameters, as 53% of models were improved by incorporating both sets of predictors compared to 35% by microbial biomass alone. Our analysis represents the first comprehensive analysis of research examining links between microbial community structure and ecosystem function. Taken together, our results indicate that a greater understanding of microbial communities informed by ecological principles may enhance our ability to predict ecosystem process rates relative to assessments based on environmental variables and microbial physiology.« less

  2. Microbes as engines of ecosystem function: When does community structure enhance predictions of ecosystem processes?

    SciTech Connect

    Graham, Emily B.; Knelman, Joseph E.; Schindlbacher, Andreas; Siciliano, Steven; Breulmann, Marc; Yannarell, Anthony; Beman, J. M.; Abell, Guy; Philippot, Laurent; Prosser, James; Foulquier, Arnaud; Yuste, Jorge C.; Glanville, Helen C.; Jones, Davey L.; Angel, Roey; Salminen, Janne; Newton, Ryan J.; Burgmann, Helmut; Ingram, Lachlan J.; Hamer, Ute; Siljanen, Henri M. P.; Peltoniemi, Krista; Potthast, Karin; Baneras, Lluis; Hartmann, Martin; Banerjee, Samiran; Yu, Ri -Qing; Nogaro, Geraldine; Richter, Andreas; Koranda, Marianne; Castle, Sarah C.; Goberna, Marta; Song, Bongkeun; Chatterjee, Amitava; Nunes, Olga C.; Lopes, Ana R.; Cao, Yiping; Kaisermann, Aurore; Hallin, Sara; Strickland, Michael S.; Garcia-Pausas, Jordi; Barba, Josep; Kang, Hojeong; Isobe, Kazuo; Papaspyrou, Sokratis; Pastorelli, Roberta; Lagomarsino, Alessandra; Lindstrom, Eva S.; Basiliko, Nathan; Nemergut, Diana R.

    2016-02-24

    In this study, microorganisms are vital in mediating the earth’s biogeochemical cycles; yet, despite our rapidly increasing ability to explore complex environmental microbial communities, the relationship between microbial community structure and ecosystem processes remains poorly understood. Here, we address a fundamental and unanswered question in microbial ecology: ‘When do we need to understand microbial community structure to accurately predict function?’ We present a statistical analysis investigating the value of environmental data and microbial community structure independently and in combination for explaining rates of carbon and nitrogen cycling processes within 82 global datasets. Environmental variables were the strongest predictors of process rates but left 44% of variation unexplained on average, suggesting the potential for microbial data to increase model accuracy. Although only 29% of our datasets were significantly improved by adding information on microbial community structure, we observed improvement in models of processes mediated by narrow phylogenetic guilds via functional gene data, and conversely, improvement in models of facultative microbial processes via community diversity metrics. Our results also suggest that microbial diversity can strengthen predictions of respiration rates beyond microbial biomass parameters, as 53% of models were improved by incorporating both sets of predictors compared to 35% by microbial biomass alone. Our analysis represents the first comprehensive analysis of research examining links between microbial community structure and ecosystem function. Taken together, our results indicate that a greater understanding of microbial communities informed by ecological principles may enhance our ability to predict ecosystem process rates relative to assessments based on environmental variables and microbial physiology.

  3. Microbes as Engines of Ecosystem Function: When Does Community Structure Enhance Predictions of Ecosystem Processes?

    PubMed Central

    Graham, Emily B.; Knelman, Joseph E.; Schindlbacher, Andreas; Siciliano, Steven; Breulmann, Marc; Yannarell, Anthony; Beman, J. M.; Abell, Guy; Philippot, Laurent; Prosser, James; Foulquier, Arnaud; Yuste, Jorge C.; Glanville, Helen C.; Jones, Davey L.; Angel, Roey; Salminen, Janne; Newton, Ryan J.; Bürgmann, Helmut; Ingram, Lachlan J.; Hamer, Ute; Siljanen, Henri M. P.; Peltoniemi, Krista; Potthast, Karin; Bañeras, Lluís; Hartmann, Martin; Banerjee, Samiran; Yu, Ri-Qing; Nogaro, Geraldine; Richter, Andreas; Koranda, Marianne; Castle, Sarah C.; Goberna, Marta; Song, Bongkeun; Chatterjee, Amitava; Nunes, Olga C.; Lopes, Ana R.; Cao, Yiping; Kaisermann, Aurore; Hallin, Sara; Strickland, Michael S.; Garcia-Pausas, Jordi; Barba, Josep; Kang, Hojeong; Isobe, Kazuo; Papaspyrou, Sokratis; Pastorelli, Roberta; Lagomarsino, Alessandra; Lindström, Eva S.; Basiliko, Nathan; Nemergut, Diana R.

    2016-01-01

    Microorganisms are vital in mediating the earth’s biogeochemical cycles; yet, despite our rapidly increasing ability to explore complex environmental microbial communities, the relationship between microbial community structure and ecosystem processes remains poorly understood. Here, we address a fundamental and unanswered question in microbial ecology: ‘When do we need to understand microbial community structure to accurately predict function?’ We present a statistical analysis investigating the value of environmental data and microbial community structure independently and in combination for explaining rates of carbon and nitrogen cycling processes within 82 global datasets. Environmental variables were the strongest predictors of process rates but left 44% of variation unexplained on average, suggesting the potential for microbial data to increase model accuracy. Although only 29% of our datasets were significantly improved by adding information on microbial community structure, we observed improvement in models of processes mediated by narrow phylogenetic guilds via functional gene data, and conversely, improvement in models of facultative microbial processes via community diversity metrics. Our results also suggest that microbial diversity can strengthen predictions of respiration rates beyond microbial biomass parameters, as 53% of models were improved by incorporating both sets of predictors compared to 35% by microbial biomass alone. Our analysis represents the first comprehensive analysis of research examining links between microbial community structure and ecosystem function. Taken together, our results indicate that a greater understanding of microbial communities informed by ecological principles may enhance our ability to predict ecosystem process rates relative to assessments based on environmental variables and microbial physiology. PMID:26941732

  4. Measuring the contribution of benthic ecosystem engineering species to the ecosystem services of an estuary: A case study of burrowing shrimps in Yaquina Estuary, Oregon

    EPA Science Inventory

    Burrowing shrimps are regarded as ecosystem engineering species in many coastal ecosystems worldwide, including numerous estuaries of the west coast of North America (Baja California to British Columbia). In estuaries of the U.S. Pacific Northwest, two species of large burrowing...

  5. Measuring the contribution of benthic ecosystem engineering species to the ecosystem services of an estuary: A case study of burrowing shrimps in Yaquina Estuary, Oregon - April 2009

    EPA Science Inventory

    Burrowing shrimps are regarded as ecosystem engineering species in many coastal ecosystems worldwide, including numerous estuaries of the west coast of North America (Baja California to British Columbia). In estuaries of the U.S. Pacific Northwest, two species of large burrowing...

  6. Sustainable exploitation and management of autogenic ecosystem engineers: application to oysters in Chesapeake Bay.

    PubMed

    Wilberg, Michael J; Wiedenmann, John R; Robinson, Jason M

    2013-06-01

    Autogenic ecosystem engineers are critically important parts of many marine and estuarine systems because of their substantial effect on ecosystem services. Oysters are of particular importance because of their capacity to modify coastal and estuarine habitats and the highly degraded status of their habitats worldwide. However, models to predict dynamics of ecosystem engineers have not previously included the effects of exploitation. We developed a linked population and habitat model for autogenic ecosystem engineers undergoing exploitation. We parameterized the model to represent eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) in upper Chesapeake Bay by selecting sets of parameter values that matched observed rates of change in abundance and habitat. We used the model to evaluate the effects of a range of management and restoration options including sustainability of historical fishing pressure, effectiveness of a newly enacted sanctuary program, and relative performance of two restoration approaches. In general, autogenic ecosystem engineers are expected to be substantially less resilient to fishing than an equivalent species that does not rely on itself for habitat. Historical fishing mortality rates in upper Chesapeake Bay for oysters were above the levels that would lead to extirpation. Reductions in fishing or closure of the fishery were projected to lead to long-term increases in abundance and habitat. For fisheries to become sustainable outside of sanctuaries, a substantial larval subsidy would be required from oysters within sanctuaries. Restoration efforts using high-relief reefs were predicted to allow recovery within a shorter period of time than low-relief reefs. Models such as ours, that allow for feedbacks between population and habitat dynamics, can be effective tools for guiding management and restoration of autogenic ecosystem engineers.

  7. Genetic Engineering of Dystroglycan in Animal Models of Muscular Dystrophy.

    PubMed

    Sciandra, Francesca; Bigotti, Maria Giulia; Giardina, Bruno; Bozzi, Manuela; Brancaccio, Andrea

    2015-01-01

    In skeletal muscle, dystroglycan (DG) is the central component of the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex (DGC), a multimeric protein complex that ensures a strong mechanical link between the extracellular matrix and the cytoskeleton. Several muscular dystrophies arise from mutations hitting most of the components of the DGC. Mutations within the DG gene (DAG1) have been recently associated with two forms of muscular dystrophy, one displaying a milder and one a more severe phenotype. This review focuses specifically on the animal (murine and others) model systems that have been developed with the aim of directly engineering DAG1 in order to study the DG function in skeletal muscle as well as in other tissues. In the last years, conditional animal models overcoming the embryonic lethality of the DG knock-out in mouse have been generated and helped clarifying the crucial role of DG in skeletal muscle, while an increasing number of studies on knock-in mice are aimed at understanding the contribution of single amino acids to the stability of DG and to the possible development of muscular dystrophy.

  8. Perspective on Models in Theoretical and Practical Traditions of Knowledge: The Example of Otto Engine Animations

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Haglund, Jesper; Stromdahl, Helge

    2012-01-01

    Nineteen informants (n = 19) were asked to study and comment two computer animations of the Otto combustion engine. One animation was non-interactive and realistic in the sense of depicting a physical engine. The other animation was more idealised, interactive and synchronised with a dynamic PV-graph. The informants represented practical and…

  9. Interactions between ecosystem engineers: A native species indirectly facilitates a non-native one

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sueiro, María Cruz; Schwindt, Evangelina; Mendez, María Martha (Pitu); Bortolus, Alejandro

    2013-08-01

    The positive impact that native species have on the survival, persistence and/or range-expansion of invasive species, is receiving increasing attention from ecologists and land managers trying to better understand and predict future invasions worldwide. Ecosystem engineers are among the best-known model organisms for such studies. The austral cordgrass Spartina densiflora is an ecosystem engineer native to South America coast, where it colonizes rocky shores that were recently successfully invaded by the acorn barnacle Balanus glandula. We conducted a field experiment combining living Spartina transplants and artificial model plants in order to address the following questions: Does the native ecosystem engineer S. densiflora facilitate the invasion of rocky shores by B. glandula? If so, how much of this facilitation is caused by its physical structure alone? We found that S. densiflora had a positive effect on the invasive barnacle by trapping among its stems, the mussels, shells and gravels where B. glandula settles. Dislodged mussels, cobbles, and small shells covered and agglutinated by living barnacles were retained within the aboveground structures of S. densiflora while the control plots (without living or artificial plant structures) remained mostly bare throughout the experiment, showing how plant structures speed the colonization process. Moreover, transplanting living Spartina and artificial Spartina models led to a maximum increase in the area covered by barnacles of more than 1700% relative to the unvegetated control plots. Our study clearly shows how a native ecosystem engineers can enhance the success of invasive species and facilitate their local spread.

  10. Dwarf eelgrass, Zostera japonica: a malevolent, benevolent, or benign invasive ecosystem engineer?

    EPA Science Inventory

    Dwarf eelgrass, Zostera japonica, is an introduced ecosystem engineering species first reported on the US west coast in 1957. In some US Pacific Northwest estuaries its areal coverage now exceeds that of the native eelgrass species, Zostera marina. Natural resource management’s...

  11. Invasive ecosystem engineer selects for different phenotypes of an associated native species.

    PubMed

    Wright, Jeffrey T; Gribben, Paul E; Byers, James E; Monro, Keyne

    2012-06-01

    Invasive habitat-forming ecosystem engineers modify the abiotic environment and thus represent a major perturbation to many ecosystems. Because native species often persist in these invaded habitats but have no shared history with the ecosystem engineer, the engineer may impose novel selective pressure on native species. In this study, we used a phenotypic selection framework to determine whether an invasive habitat-forming ecosystem engineer (the seaweed Caulerpa taxifolia) selects for different phenotypes of a common co-occurring native species (the bivalve Anadara trapezia). Compared to unvegetated habitat, Caulerpa habitat has lower water flow, lower dissolved oxygen, and sediments are more silty and anoxic. We determined the performance consequences of variation in key functional traits that may be affected by these abiotic changes (shell morphology, gill mass, and palp mass) for Anadara transplanted into Caulerpa and unvegetated habitat. Both linear and nonlinear performance gradients in Anadara differed between habitats, and these gradients were stronger in Caulerpa compared to unvegetated sediment. Moreover, in Caulerpa alternate phenotypes performed well, and these phenotypes were different from the dominant phenotype in unvegetated sediment. By demonstrating that phenotype-performance gradients differ between habitats, we have highlighted a role for Caulerpa as an agent of selection on native species.

  12. Pre-Columbian agricultural landscapes, ecosystem engineers, and self-organized patchiness in Amazonia

    PubMed Central

    McKey, Doyle; Rostain, Stéphen; Iriarte, José; Glaser, Bruno; Birk, Jago Jonathan; Holst, Irene; Renard, Delphine

    2010-01-01

    The scale and nature of pre-Columbian human impacts in Amazonia are currently hotly debated. Whereas pre-Columbian people dramatically changed the distribution and abundance of species and habitats in some parts of Amazonia, their impact in other parts is less clear. Pioneer research asked whether their effects reached even further, changing how ecosystems function, but few in-depth studies have examined mechanisms underpinning the resilience of these modifications. Combining archeology, archeobotany, paleoecology, soil science, ecology, and aerial imagery, we show that pre-Columbian farmers of the Guianas coast constructed large raised-field complexes, growing on them crops including maize, manioc, and squash. Farmers created physical and biogeochemical heterogeneity in flat, marshy environments by constructing raised fields. When these fields were later abandoned, the mosaic of well-drained islands in the flooded matrix set in motion self-organizing processes driven by ecosystem engineers (ants, termites, earthworms, and woody plants) that occur preferentially on abandoned raised fields. Today, feedbacks generated by these ecosystem engineers maintain the human-initiated concentration of resources in these structures. Engineer organisms transport materials to abandoned raised fields and modify the structure and composition of their soils, reducing erodibility. The profound alteration of ecosystem functioning in these landscapes coconstructed by humans and nature has important implications for understanding Amazonian history and biodiversity. Furthermore, these landscapes show how sustainability of food-production systems can be enhanced by engineering into them fallows that maintain ecosystem services and biodiversity. Like anthropogenic dark earths in forested Amazonia, these self-organizing ecosystems illustrate the ecological complexity of the legacy of pre-Columbian land use. PMID:20385814

  13. Soil animal responses to moisture availability are largely scale, not ecosystem dependent: insight from a cross-site study.

    PubMed

    Sylvain, Zachary A; Wall, Diana H; Cherwin, Karie L; Peters, Debra P C; Reichmann, Lara G; Sala, Osvaldo E

    2014-08-01

    Climate change will result in reduced soil water availability in much of the world either due to changes in precipitation or increased temperature and evapotranspiration. How communities of mites and nematodes may respond to changes in moisture availability is not well known, yet these organisms play important roles in decomposition and nutrient cycling processes. We determined how communities of these organisms respond to changes in moisture availability and whether common patterns occur along fine-scale gradients of soil moisture within four individual ecosystem types (mesic, xeric and arid grasslands and a polar desert) located in the western United States and Antarctica, as well as across a cross-ecosystem moisture gradient (CEMG) of all four ecosystems considered together. An elevation transect of three sampling plots was monitored within each ecosystem and soil samples were collected from these plots and from existing experimental precipitation manipulations within each ecosystem once in fall of 2009 and three times each in 2010 and 2011. Mites and nematodes were sorted to trophic groups and analyzed to determine community responses to changes in soil moisture availability. We found that while both mites and nematodes increased with available soil moisture across the CEMG, within individual ecosystems, increases in soil moisture resulted in decreases to nematode communities at all but the arid grassland ecosystem; mites showed no responses at any ecosystem. In addition, we found changes in proportional abundances of mite and nematode trophic groups as soil moisture increased within individual ecosystems, which may result in shifts within soil food webs with important consequences for ecosystem functioning. We suggest that communities of soil animals at local scales may respond predictably to changes in moisture availability regardless of ecosystem type but that additional factors, such as climate variability, vegetation composition, and soil properties may

  14. Leptospirosis in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil: An Ecosystem Approach in the Animal-Human Interface

    PubMed Central

    Schneider, Maria Cristina; Najera, Patricia; Pereira, Martha M.; Machado, Gustavo; dos Anjos, Celso B.; Rodrigues, Rogério O.; Cavagni, Gabriela M.; Muñoz-Zanzi, Claudia; Corbellini, Luis G.; Leone, Mariana; Buss, Daniel F.; Aldighieri, Sylvain; Espinal, Marcos A.

    2015-01-01

    Background Leptospirosis is an epidemic-prone neglected disease that affects humans and animals, mostly in vulnerable populations. The One Health approach is a recommended strategy to identify drivers of the disease and plan for its prevention and control. In that context, the aim of this study was to analyze the distribution of human cases of leptospirosis in the State of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, and to explore possible drivers. Additionally, it sought to provide further evidence to support interventions and to identify hypotheses for new research at the human-animal-ecosystem interface. Methodology and findings The risk for human infection was described in relation to environmental, socioeconomic, and livestock variables. This ecological study used aggregated data by municipality (all 496). Data were extracted from secondary, publicly available sources. Thematic maps were constructed and univariate analysis performed for all variables. Negative binomial regression was used for multivariable statistical analysis of leptospirosis cases. An annual average of 428 human cases of leptospirosis was reported in the state from 2008 to 2012. The cumulative incidence in rural populations was eight times higher than in urban populations. Variables significantly associated with leptospirosis cases in the final model were: Parana/Paraiba ecoregion (RR: 2.25; CI95%: 2.03–2.49); Neossolo Litolítico soil (RR: 1.93; CI95%: 1.26–2.96); and, to a lesser extent, the production of tobacco (RR: 1.10; CI95%: 1.09–1.11) and rice (RR: 1.003; CI95%: 1.002–1.04). Conclusion Urban cases were concentrated in the capital and rural cases in a specific ecoregion. The major drivers identified in this study were related to environmental and production processes that are permanent features of the state. This study contributes to the basic knowledge on leptospirosis distribution and drivers in the state and encourages a comprehensive approach to address the disease in the animal-human-ecosystem

  15. Forest fragmentation and selective logging have inconsistent effects on multiple animal-mediated ecosystem processes in a tropical forest.

    PubMed

    Schleuning, Matthias; Farwig, Nina; Peters, Marcell K; Bergsdorf, Thomas; Bleher, Bärbel; Brandl, Roland; Dalitz, Helmut; Fischer, Georg; Freund, Wolfram; Gikungu, Mary W; Hagen, Melanie; Garcia, Francisco Hita; Kagezi, Godfrey H; Kaib, Manfred; Kraemer, Manfred; Lung, Tobias; Naumann, Clas M; Schaab, Gertrud; Templin, Mathias; Uster, Dana; Wägele, J Wolfgang; Böhning-Gaese, Katrin

    2011-01-01

    Forest fragmentation and selective logging are two main drivers of global environmental change and modify biodiversity and environmental conditions in many tropical forests. The consequences of these changes for the functioning of tropical forest ecosystems have rarely been explored in a comprehensive approach. In a Kenyan rainforest, we studied six animal-mediated ecosystem processes and recorded species richness and community composition of all animal taxa involved in these processes. We used linear models and a formal meta-analysis to test whether forest fragmentation and selective logging affected ecosystem processes and biodiversity and used structural equation models to disentangle direct from biodiversity-related indirect effects of human disturbance on multiple ecosystem processes. Fragmentation increased decomposition and reduced antbird predation, while selective logging consistently increased pollination, seed dispersal and army-ant raiding. Fragmentation modified species richness or community composition of five taxa, whereas selective logging did not affect any component of biodiversity. Changes in the abundance of functionally important species were related to lower predation by antbirds and higher decomposition rates in small forest fragments. The positive effects of selective logging on bee pollination, bird seed dispersal and army-ant raiding were direct, i.e. not related to changes in biodiversity, and were probably due to behavioural changes of these highly mobile animal taxa. We conclude that animal-mediated ecosystem processes respond in distinct ways to different types of human disturbance in Kakamega Forest. Our findings suggest that forest fragmentation affects ecosystem processes indirectly by changes in biodiversity, whereas selective logging influences processes directly by modifying local environmental conditions and resource distributions. The positive to neutral effects of selective logging on ecosystem processes show that the

  16. Forest Fragmentation and Selective Logging Have Inconsistent Effects on Multiple Animal-Mediated Ecosystem Processes in a Tropical Forest

    PubMed Central

    Schleuning, Matthias; Farwig, Nina; Peters, Marcell K.; Bergsdorf, Thomas; Bleher, Bärbel; Brandl, Roland; Dalitz, Helmut; Fischer, Georg; Freund, Wolfram; Gikungu, Mary W.; Hagen, Melanie; Garcia, Francisco Hita; Kagezi, Godfrey H.; Kaib, Manfred; Kraemer, Manfred; Lung, Tobias; Schaab, Gertrud; Templin, Mathias; Uster, Dana; Wägele, J. Wolfgang; Böhning-Gaese, Katrin

    2011-01-01

    Forest fragmentation and selective logging are two main drivers of global environmental change and modify biodiversity and environmental conditions in many tropical forests. The consequences of these changes for the functioning of tropical forest ecosystems have rarely been explored in a comprehensive approach. In a Kenyan rainforest, we studied six animal-mediated ecosystem processes and recorded species richness and community composition of all animal taxa involved in these processes. We used linear models and a formal meta-analysis to test whether forest fragmentation and selective logging affected ecosystem processes and biodiversity and used structural equation models to disentangle direct from biodiversity-related indirect effects of human disturbance on multiple ecosystem processes. Fragmentation increased decomposition and reduced antbird predation, while selective logging consistently increased pollination, seed dispersal and army-ant raiding. Fragmentation modified species richness or community composition of five taxa, whereas selective logging did not affect any component of biodiversity. Changes in the abundance of functionally important species were related to lower predation by antbirds and higher decomposition rates in small forest fragments. The positive effects of selective logging on bee pollination, bird seed dispersal and army-ant raiding were direct, i.e. not related to changes in biodiversity, and were probably due to behavioural changes of these highly mobile animal taxa. We conclude that animal-mediated ecosystem processes respond in distinct ways to different types of human disturbance in Kakamega Forest. Our findings suggest that forest fragmentation affects ecosystem processes indirectly by changes in biodiversity, whereas selective logging influences processes directly by modifying local environmental conditions and resource distributions. The positive to neutral effects of selective logging on ecosystem processes show that the

  17. Reducing the number of laboratory animals used in tissue engineering research by restricting the variety of animal models. Articular cartilage tissue engineering as a case study.

    PubMed

    de Vries, Rob B M; Buma, Pieter; Leenaars, Marlies; Ritskes-Hoitinga, Merel; Gordijn, Bert

    2012-12-01

    The use of laboratory animals in tissue engineering research is an important underexposed ethical issue. Several ethical questions may be raised about this use of animals. This article focuses on the possibilities of reducing the number of animals used. Given that there is considerable debate about the adequacy of the current animal models in tissue engineering research, we investigate whether it is possible to reduce the number of laboratory animals by selecting and using only those models that have greatest predictive value for future clinical application of the tissue engineered product. The field of articular cartilage tissue engineering is used as a case study. Based on a study of the scientific literature and interviews with leading experts in the field, an overview is provided of the animal models used and the advantages and disadvantages of each model, particularly in terms of extrapolation to the human situation. Starting from this overview, it is shown that, by skipping the small models and using only one large preclinical model, it is indeed possible to restrict the number of animal models, thereby reducing the number of laboratory animals used. Moreover, it is argued that the selection of animal models should become more evidence based and that researchers should seize more opportunities to choose or create characteristics in the animal models that increase their predictive value.

  18. Knowledge translation in rehabilitation engineering research and development: a knowledge ecosystem framework.

    PubMed

    Chau, Tom; Moghimi, Saba; Popovic, Milos R

    2013-01-01

    Rehabilitation engineering is concerned with technology innovations and technology-mediated treatments for the improvement of quality of care and quality of life of individuals with disability. Unlike many other fields of health research, the knowledge translation (KT) cycle of rehabilitation engineering research and development (R&D) is often considered incomplete until a technology product or technology-facilitated therapy is available to target clientele. As such, the KT journey of rehabilitation engineering R&D is extremely challenging, necessarily involving knowledge exchange among numerous players across multiple sectors. In this article, we draw on recent literature about the knowledge trichotomy in technology-based rehabilitation R&D and propose a knowledge ecosystem to frame the rehabilitation engineering KT process from need to product. Identifying the principal process of the ecosystem as one of knowledge flow, we elucidate the roles of repository and networked knowledge, identify key consumers and producers in a trinity of communities of practice, and draw on knowledge management literature to describe different knowledge flows. The article concludes with instantiations of this knowledge ecosystem for 2 local rehabilitation engineering research-development-commercialization endeavors.

  19. Disturbance facilitates the coexistence of antagonistic ecosystem engineers in California estuaries.

    PubMed

    Castorani, Max C N; Hovel, Kevin A; Williams, Susan L; Baskett, Marissa L

    2014-08-01

    Ecological theory predicts that interactions between antagonistic ecosystem engineers can lead to local competitive exclusion, but disturbance can facilitate broader coexistence. However, few empirical studies have tested the potential for disturbance to mediate competition between engineers. We examined the capacity for disturbance and habitat modification to explain the disjunct distributions of two benthic ecosystem engineers, eelgrass Zostera marina and the burrowing ghost shrimp Neotrypaea californiensis, in two California estuaries. Sediment sampling in eelgrass and ghost shrimp patches revealed that ghost shrimp change benthic biogeochemistry over small scales (centimeters) but not patch scales (meters to tens of meters), suggesting a limited capacity for sediment modification to explain species distributions. To determine the relative competitive abilities of engineers, we conducted reciprocal transplantations of ghost shrimp and eelgrass. Local ghost shrimp densities declined rapidly following the addition of eelgrass, and transplanted eelgrass expanded laterally into the surrounding ghost shrimp-dominated areas. When transplanted into eelgrass patches, ghost shrimp failed to persist. Ghost shrimp were also displaced from plots with structural mimics of eelgrass rhizomes and roots, suggesting that autogenic habitat modification by eelgrass is an important mechanism determining ghost shrimp distributions. However, ghost shrimp were able to rapidly colonize experimental disturbances to eelgrass patch edges, which are common in shallow estuaries. We conclude that coexistence in this system is maintained by spatiotemporally asynchronous disturbances and a competition-colonization trade-off: eelgrass is a competitively superior ecosystem engineer, but benthic disturbances permit the coexistence of ghost shrimp at the landscape scale by modulating the availability of space.

  20. Comparing biodiversity effects among ecosystem engineers of contrasting strength: macrofauna diversity in Zostera noltii and Spartina anglica vegetations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bouma, Tjeerd J.; Ortells, Victor; Ysebaert, Tom

    2009-03-01

    Whereas it is well known that ecosystem engineers can have a large influence on biodiversity, underlying mechanisms are still not fully clear. We try to enhance insight by comparing biodiversity effects of two neighboring intertidal, clonal, ecosystem engineering plant species that modify the physical environmental parameters in a similar way, but with a different magnitude. Macrobenthic assemblages were compared between meadows of the seagrass Zostera noltii, small patches (≤0.5 m Ø) and large areas (≫5 m Ø) of the emergent halophyte Spartina anglica and the surrounding bare tidal mudflat (control). Multivariate analyses revealed that the mudflat benthic assemblage and Zostera meadow assemblage showed highest similarities, whereas the Spartina marsh assemblage showed the highest dissimilarity with these two areas. Whereas the descriptive nature of our study limits interpretation of the data, some clear patterns were observed. For all vegetated areas, species diversity was lower compared to the unvegetated mudflat, and we observed a strong shift from endo- towards epibenthic species, suggesting that increased above-ground habitat complexity may be a main driving process in our system. As there were no clear patterns related to feeding types, food availability/productivity appeared to be of minor importance in structuring the benthic assemblages. Nevertheless, animals were in general smaller in vegetated areas. Patchiness had a distinct positive effect on biodiversity.

  1. Measuring Animal Movements in a Natural Ecosystem: A Mark-Recapture Investigation Using Stream-Dwelling Snails

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Stewart, Timothy W.

    2007-01-01

    In this investigation, students measure and describe movements of animals in a natural ecosystem. Students mark stream-dwelling snails with nail polish, then search for these snails 1-7 days later. Distances and directions moved by recaptured snails are recorded. Simple statistical techniques are used to answer specific research questions and…

  2. Global change accelerates carbon assimilation by a wetland ecosystem engineer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Caplan, Joshua S.; Hager, Rachel N.; Megonigal, J. Patrick; Mozdzer, Thomas J.

    2015-11-01

    The primary productivity of coastal wetlands is changing dramatically in response to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations, nitrogen (N) enrichment, and invasions by novel species, potentially altering their ecosystem services and resilience to sea level rise. In order to determine how these interacting global change factors will affect coastal wetland productivity, we quantified growing-season carbon assimilation (≈gross primary productivity, or GPP) and carbon retained in living plant biomass (≈net primary productivity, or NPP) of North American mid-Atlantic saltmarshes invaded by Phragmites australis (common reed) under four treatment conditions: two levels of CO2 (ambient and +300 ppm) crossed with two levels of N (0 and 25 g N added m-2 yr-1). For GPP, we combined descriptions of canopy structure and leaf-level photosynthesis in a simulation model, using empirical data from an open-top chamber field study. Under ambient CO2 and low N loading (i.e., the Control), we determined GPP to be 1.66 ± 0.05 kg C m-2 yr-1 at a typical Phragmites stand density. Individually, elevated CO2 and N enrichment increased GPP by 44 and 60%, respectively. Changes under N enrichment came largely from stimulation to carbon assimilation early and late in the growing season, while changes from CO2 came from stimulation during the early and mid-growing season. In combination, elevated CO2 and N enrichment increased GPP by 95% over the Control, yielding 3.24 ± 0.08 kg C m-2 yr-1. We used biomass data to calculate NPP, and determined that it represented 44%-60% of GPP, with global change conditions decreasing carbon retention compared to the Control. Our results indicate that Phragmites invasions in eutrophied saltmarshes are driven, in part, by extended phenology yielding 3.1× greater NPP than native marsh. Further, we can expect elevated CO2 to amplify Phragmites productivity throughout the growing season, with potential implications including accelerated spread

  3. Trait- and density-mediated indirect interactions initiated by an exotic invasive plant autogenic ecosystem engineer.

    PubMed

    Pearson, Dean E

    2010-10-01

    Indirect interactions are important for structuring ecological systems. However, research on indirect effects has been heavily biased toward top-down trophic interactions, and less is known about other indirect-interaction pathways. As autogenic ecosystem engineers, plants can serve as initiators of nontrophic indirect interactions that, like top-down pathways, can involve both trait-mediated indirect interactions (TMIIs) and density-mediated indirect interactions (DMIIs). Using microcosms, I examined a plant --> predator --> consumer interaction pathway involving the exotic autogenic ecosystem engineer Centaurea maculosa; native Dictyna spiders (which exhibit density and trait [web-building] responses to C. maculosa); Dictyna's insect prey, Urophora affinis; and Urophora's host plant (a secondary receiver species) to quantify DMIIs and TMIIs in an autogenic engineered pathway. Both DMIIs and TMIIs were strong enough to reduce Urophora populations, but only DMIIs, which were 4.3 times stronger than TMIIs, were strong enough to also reduce Urophora's fecundity and increase the fecundity of its host plant. Prior field studies support these results, suggesting that the differences between DMIIs and TMIIs are even stronger in nature. This study illustrates that autogenic ecosystem engineers can initiate powerful indirect interactions that generally parallel predator-initiated interactions but also differ in important functional ways.

  4. Transplantation of Tissue-Engineered Cartilage in an Animal Model (Xenograft and Autograft): Construct Validation.

    PubMed

    Nemoto, Hitoshi; Watson, Deborah; Masuda, Koichi

    2015-01-01

    Tissue engineering holds great promise for cartilage repair with minimal donor-site morbidity. The in vivo maturation of a tissue-engineered construct can be tested in the subcutaneous tissues of the same species for autografts or of immunocompromised animals for allografts or xenografts. This section describes detailed protocols for the surgical transplantation of a tissue-engineered construct into an animal model to assess construct validity.

  5. Demography of the ecosystem engineer Crassostrea gigas, related to vertical reef accretion and reef persistence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walles, Brenda; Mann, Roger; Ysebaert, Tom; Troost, Karin; Herman, Peter M. J.; Smaal, Aad C.

    2015-03-01

    Marine species characterized as structure building, autogenic ecosystem engineers are recognized worldwide as potential tools for coastal adaptation efforts in the face of sea level rise. Successful employment of ecosystem engineers in coastal protection largely depends on long-term persistence of their structure, which is in turn dependent on the population dynamics of the individual species. Oysters, such as the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas), are recognized as ecosystem engineers with potential for use in coastal protection. Persistence of oyster reefs is strongly determined by recruitment and shell production (growth), processes facilitated by gregarious settlement on extant shell substrate. Although the Pacific oyster has been introduced world-wide, and has formed dense reefs in the receiving coastal waters, the population biology of live oysters and the quantitative mechanisms maintaining these reefs has rarely been studied, hence the aim of the present work. This study had two objectives: (1) to describe the demographics of extant C. gigas reefs, and (2) to estimate vertical reef accretion rates and carbonate production in these oyster reefs. Three long-living oyster reefs (>30 years old), which have not been exploited since their first occurrence, were examined in the Oosterschelde estuary in the Netherlands. A positive reef accretion rate (7.0-16.9 mm year-1 shell material) was observed, consistent with self-maintenance and persistent structure. We provide a framework to predict reef accretion and population persistence under varying recruitment, growth and mortality scenarios.

  6. Populations, pools, and peccaries: simulating the impact of ecosystem engineers on rainforest frogs.

    PubMed

    Ringler, Max; Hödl, Walter; Ringler, Eva

    2015-01-01

    "Ecosystem engineering" describes habitat alteration by an organism that affects another organism; such nontrophic interactions between organisms are a current focus in ecological research. Our study quantifies the actual impact an ecosystem engineer can have on another species by using a previously identified model system-peccaries and rainforest frogs. In a 4-year experiment, we simulated the impact of peccaries on a population of Allobates femoralis (Dendrobatidae) by installing an array of artificial pools to mimic a forest patch modified by peccaries. The data were analyzed using a gradual before-after control-impact (gBACI) model. Following the supplementation, population size almost doubled as a result of increased autochthonous recruitment driven by a higher per-capita reproduction of males and a higher proportion of reproducing females. The effect was evenly distributed across the population. The differential response of males and females reflects the reproductive behavior of A. femoralis, as only the males use the aquatic sites for tadpole deposition. Our study shows that management and conservation must consider nontrophic relationships and that human "ecosystem engineering" can play a vital role in efforts against the "global amphibian decline."

  7. The net return from animal activity in agro-ecosystems: trading off benefits from ecosystem services against costs from crop damage

    PubMed Central

    Luck, Gary W

    2014-01-01

    Animals provide benefits to agriculture through the provision of ecosystem services, but also inflict costs such as damaging crops. These benefits and costs are mostly examined independently, rather than comparing the trade-offs of animal activity in the same system and quantifying the net return from beneficial minus detrimental activities. Here, I examine the net return associated with the activity of seed-eating birds in almond orchards by quantifying the economic costs and benefits of bird consumption of almonds. Pre-harvest, the consumption of harvestable almonds by birds cost growers AUD$57.50 ha -1 when averaged across the entire plantation. Post-harvest, the same bird species provide an ecosystem service by removing mummified nuts from trees that growers otherwise need to remove to reduce threats from fungal infection or insect pest infestations. The value of this ecosystem service ranged from AUD$82.50 ha -1–$332.50 ha -1 based on the replacement costs of mechanical or manual removal of mummified nuts, respectively. Hence, bird consumption of almonds yielded a positive net return of AUD$25–$275 ha -1 averaged across the entire plantation. However, bird activity varied spatially resulting in positive net returns occurring primarily at the edges of crops where activity was higher, compared to negative net returns in crop interiors. Moreover, partial mummy nut removal by birds meant that bird activity may only reduce costs to growers rather than replace these costs completely. Similar cost-benefit trade-offs exist across nature, and quantifying net returns can better inform land management decisions such as when to control pests or promote ecosystem service provision. PMID:25285202

  8. Evidence for and geomorphologic consequences of a reptilian ecosystem engineer: The burrowing cascade initiated by the Gopher Tortoise

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kinlaw, A.; Grasmueck, M.

    2012-07-01

    Physical ecosystem engineers often make major, durable physical constructs that can provide living space for other species and can structure local animal communities over evolutionary time. In Florida, a medium sized chelonian, the Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) will excavate extensive subterranean chambers that can endure for long periods of time. The tortoise starts a 'burrowing cascade', by first excavating a larger burrow that may extend 10 m, which is then re-engineered by Florida Mice (Podomys floridanus) and other rodents that dig smaller side-burrows and pockets. This sequence is often followed by an invertebrate, the camel cricket (Ceuthophilus labibuli) which is reported to excavate even smaller chambers. Our first aim was to quantify the zoogeomorphic impact of this burrowing cascade by measuring the amount of soil excavated in a large sample of burrows in two communities. Secondly, we hypothesized that the high biodiversity reported for these structures might be related to the quasi-fractal nature of the geometry, following the work of Frontier (1987). To visualize this underground geometry, we used high-resolution 3D Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), which provided images and insights previously unobtainable using excavations or 2D GPR. Our images verified that the active tortoise burrow had a spiraling shape, but also showed splits in the larger burrow apparently dug by tortoises. For the first time, the smaller Florida Mouse burrows were imaged, showing side loops that exit and re-renter the tortoise burrow. This study also presents new information by making the discovery of numerous remnants of past tortoise burrows underground in the sampling grid surrounding the active burrow. Our third aim was to interpret our field results with previous ecological field studies to evaluate the strength of evidence that this species ranks as an ecosystem engineer.

  9. Habitat-Mediated Variation in the Importance of Ecosystem Engineers for Secondary Cavity Nesters in a Nest Web

    PubMed Central

    Robles, Hugo; Martin, Kathy

    2014-01-01

    Through physical state changes in biotic or abiotic materials, ecosystem engineers modulate resource availability to other organisms and are major drivers of evolutionary and ecological dynamics. Understanding whether and how ecosystem engineers are interchangeable for resource users in different habitats is a largely neglected topic in ecosystem engineering research that can improve our understanding of the structure of communities. We addressed this issue in a cavity-nest web (1999–2011). In aspen groves, the presence of mountain bluebird (Sialia currucoides) and tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolour) nests was positively related to the density of cavities supplied by northern flickers (Colaptes auratus), which provided the most abundant cavities (1.61 cavities/ha). Flickers in aspen groves provided numerous nesting cavities to bluebirds (66%) and swallows (46%), despite previous research showing that flicker cavities are avoided by swallows. In continuous mixed forests, however, the presence of nesting swallows was mainly related to cavity density of red-naped sapsuckers (Sphyrapicus nuchalis), which provided the most abundant cavities (0.52 cavities/ha), and to cavity density of hairy woodpeckers (Picoides villosus), which provided few (0.14 cavities/ha) but high-quality cavities. Overall, sapsuckers and hairy woodpeckers provided 86% of nesting cavities to swallows in continuous forests. In contrast, the presence of nesting bluebirds in continuous forests was associated with the density of cavities supplied by all the ecosystem engineers. These results suggest that (i) habitat type may mediate the associations between ecosystem engineers and resource users, and (ii) different ecosystem engineers may be interchangeable for resource users depending on the quantity and quality of resources that each engineer supplies in each habitat type. We, therefore, urge the incorporation of the variation in the quantity and quality of resources provided by ecosystem engineers

  10. Habitat-mediated variation in the importance of ecosystem engineers for secondary cavity nesters in a nest web.

    PubMed

    Robles, Hugo; Martin, Kathy

    2014-01-01

    Through physical state changes in biotic or abiotic materials, ecosystem engineers modulate resource availability to other organisms and are major drivers of evolutionary and ecological dynamics. Understanding whether and how ecosystem engineers are interchangeable for resource users in different habitats is a largely neglected topic in ecosystem engineering research that can improve our understanding of the structure of communities. We addressed this issue in a cavity-nest web (1999-2011). In aspen groves, the presence of mountain bluebird (Sialia currucoides) and tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolour) nests was positively related to the density of cavities supplied by northern flickers (Colaptes auratus), which provided the most abundant cavities (1.61 cavities/ha). Flickers in aspen groves provided numerous nesting cavities to bluebirds (66%) and swallows (46%), despite previous research showing that flicker cavities are avoided by swallows. In continuous mixed forests, however, the presence of nesting swallows was mainly related to cavity density of red-naped sapsuckers (Sphyrapicus nuchalis), which provided the most abundant cavities (0.52 cavities/ha), and to cavity density of hairy woodpeckers (Picoides villosus), which provided few (0.14 cavities/ha) but high-quality cavities. Overall, sapsuckers and hairy woodpeckers provided 86% of nesting cavities to swallows in continuous forests. In contrast, the presence of nesting bluebirds in continuous forests was associated with the density of cavities supplied by all the ecosystem engineers. These results suggest that (i) habitat type may mediate the associations between ecosystem engineers and resource users, and (ii) different ecosystem engineers may be interchangeable for resource users depending on the quantity and quality of resources that each engineer supplies in each habitat type. We, therefore, urge the incorporation of the variation in the quantity and quality of resources provided by ecosystem engineers

  11. Recruitment dynamics of two ecosystem engineers could drive shellfish populations in U.S. west coast estuaries

    EPA Science Inventory

    Two species of burrowing shrimp, Neotrypaea californiensis and Upogebia pugettensis are important members of intertidal mudflat communities in US West coast estuaries. Both species act as ecosystem engineers and influence the presence of other structured habitats and suspension ...

  12. Balkanized research in ecological engineering revealed by a bibliometric analysis of earthworms and ecosystem services.

    PubMed

    Blouin, Manuel; Sery, Nicolas; Cluzeau, Daniel; Brun, Jean-Jacques; Bédécarrats, Alain

    2013-08-01

    Energy crisis, climate changes, and biodiversity losses have reinforced the drive for more ecologically-based approaches for environmental management. Such approaches are characterized by the use of organisms rather than energy-consuming technologies. Although earthworms are believed to be potentially useful organisms for managing ecosystem services, there is actually no quantification of such a trend in literature. This bibliometric analysis aimed to measure the evolution of the association of "earthworms" and other terms such as ecosystem services (primary production, nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration, soil structure, and pollution remediation), "ecological engineering" or "biodiversity," to assess their convergence or divergence through time. In this aim, we calculated the similarity index, an indicator of the paradigmatic proximity defined in applied epistemology, for each year between 1900 and 2009. We documented the scientific fields and the geographical origins of the studies, as well as the land uses, and compare these characteristics with a 25 years old review on earthworm management. The association of earthworm related keywords with ecosystem services related keywords was increasing with time, reflecting the growing interest in earthworm use in biodiversity and ecosystem services management. Conversely, no significant increase in the association between earthworms and disciplines such as ecological engineering or restoration ecology was observed. This demonstrated that general ecologically-based approaches have yet to emerge and that there is little exchange of knowledge, methods or concepts among balkanized application realms. Nevertheless, there is a strong need for crossing the frontiers between fields of application and for developing an umbrella discipline to provide a framework for the use of organisms to manage ecosystem services.

  13. Balkanized Research in Ecological Engineering Revealed by a Bibliometric Analysis of Earthworms and Ecosystem Services

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blouin, Manuel; Sery, Nicolas; Cluzeau, Daniel; Brun, Jean-Jacques; Bédécarrats, Alain

    2013-08-01

    Energy crisis, climate changes, and biodiversity losses have reinforced the drive for more ecologically-based approaches for environmental management. Such approaches are characterized by the use of organisms rather than energy-consuming technologies. Although earthworms are believed to be potentially useful organisms for managing ecosystem services, there is actually no quantification of such a trend in literature. This bibliometric analysis aimed to measure the evolution of the association of "earthworms" and other terms such as ecosystem services (primary production, nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration, soil structure, and pollution remediation), "ecological engineering" or "biodiversity," to assess their convergence or divergence through time. In this aim, we calculated the similarity index, an indicator of the paradigmatic proximity defined in applied epistemology, for each year between 1900 and 2009. We documented the scientific fields and the geographical origins of the studies, as well as the land uses, and compare these characteristics with a 25 years old review on earthworm management. The association of earthworm related keywords with ecosystem services related keywords was increasing with time, reflecting the growing interest in earthworm use in biodiversity and ecosystem services management. Conversely, no significant increase in the association between earthworms and disciplines such as ecological engineering or restoration ecology was observed. This demonstrated that general ecologically-based approaches have yet to emerge and that there is little exchange of knowledge, methods or concepts among balkanized application realms. Nevertheless, there is a strong need for crossing the frontiers between fields of application and for developing an umbrella discipline to provide a framework for the use of organisms to manage ecosystem services.

  14. Bad ethics, good ethics and the genetic engineering of animals in agriculture.

    PubMed

    Rollin, B E

    1996-03-01

    Genetic engineers have been remiss in addressing ethical and social issues emerging from this powerful new technology, a technology whose, implications for agriculture are profound. As a consequence of this failure, society has been uneasy about genetic engineering of animals and has had difficulty distinguishing between genuine and spurious ethical issues the technology occasions. Many of the most prominent concerns do not require a serious response. On the other hand, concerns about a variety of possible risks arising from genetic engineering of animals require careful consideration and dialogue with the public. Such concerns are an admixture of ethics and prudence. A purely ethical challenge, however, hitherto not addressed, is represented by problems of animal welfare that arise out of genetically engineering agricultural animals. A principle of "conservation of welfare" is suggested as a plausible moral rule to guide such genetic engineering.

  15. Contrasting effects of ecosystem engineering by the cordgrass Spartina maritima and the sandprawn Callianassa kraussi in a marine-dominated lagoon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pillay, D.; Branch, G. M.; Dawson, J.; Henry, D.

    2011-01-01

    Ecosystem engineering by plants and animals significantly influences community structure and the physico-chemical characteristics of marine habitats. In this paper we document the contrasting effects of ecosystem engineering by the cordgrass Spartina maritima and the burrowing sandprawn Callianassa kraussi on physico-chemical characteristics, microflora, macrofaunal community structure and morphological attributes in the high shore intertidal sandflats of Langebaan Lagoon, a marine-dominated system on the west coast of South Africa. Comparisons were made at six sites in the lagoon within Spartina and Callianassa beds, and in a "bare zone" of sandflat between these two habitats that lacks both sandprawns and cordgrass. Sediments in Spartina habitats were consolidated by the root-shoot systems of the cordgrass, leading to low sediment penetrability, while sediments in beds of C. kraussi were more penetrable, primarily due to the destabilising effects of sandprawn bioturbation. Sediments in the "bare zone" had intermediate to low values of penetrability. Sediment organic content was lowest in bare zones and greatest in Spartina beds, while sediment chl- a levels were greatest on bare sand, but were progressively reduced in the Spartina and Callianassa beds. These differences among habitats induced by ecosystem engineering in turn affected the macrofauna. Community structure was different between all three habitats sampled, with species richness being surprisingly greater in Callianassa beds than either the bare zone or Spartina beds. In general, the binding of surface sediments by the root systems of Spartina favoured rigid-bodied, surface-dwelling and tube-building species, while the destabilising effect of bioturbation by C. kraussi favoured burrowing species. The contrasting effects of these ecosystem engineers suggest that they play important roles in increasing habitat heterogeneity. Importantly, the role of bioturbation by C. kraussi in enhancing macrofaunal

  16. Ecosystem Engineering by Seagrasses Interacts with Grazing to Shape an Intertidal Landscape

    PubMed Central

    van der Heide, Tjisse; Eklöf, Johan S.; van Nes, Egbert H.; van der Zee, Els M.; Donadi, Serena; Weerman, Ellen J.; Olff, Han; Eriksson, Britas Klemens

    2012-01-01

    Self-facilitation through ecosystem engineering (i.e., organism modification of the abiotic environment) and consumer-resource interactions are both major determinants of spatial patchiness in ecosystems. However, interactive effects of these two mechanisms on spatial complexity have not been extensively studied. We investigated the mechanisms underlying a spatial mosaic of low-tide exposed hummocks and waterlogged hollows on an intertidal mudflat in the Wadden Sea dominated by the seagrass Zostera noltii. A combination of field measurements, an experiment and a spatially explicit model indicated that the mosaic resulted from localized sediment accretion by seagrass followed by selective waterfowl grazing. Hollows were bare in winter, but were rapidly colonized by seagrass during the growth season. Colonized hollows were heavily grazed by brent geese and widgeon in autumn, converting these patches to a bare state again and disrupting sediment accretion by seagrass. In contrast, hummocks were covered by seagrass throughout the year and were rarely grazed, most likely because the waterfowl were not able to employ their preferred but water requiring feeding strategy (‘dabbling’) here. Our study exemplifies that interactions between ecosystem engineering by a foundation species (seagrass) and consumption (waterfowl grazing) can increase spatial complexity at the landscape level. PMID:22905115

  17. Habitat complexity and community composition: relationships between different ecosystem engineers and the associated macroinvertebrate assemblages

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sueiro, María Cruz; Bortolus, Alejandro; Schwindt, Evangelina

    2011-12-01

    Several species of ecosystem engineers inhabiting coastal environments have been reported structuring different kinds of communities. The magnitude of this influence often depends on the habitat complexity introduced by the engineers. It is commonly accepted that an increase in habitat complexity will result in an increase in diversity and/or abundance in the associated fauna. The rocky salt marshes along the coast of Patagonia are dominated by cordgrasses, mussels, and barnacles forming a mosaic of engineered habitats with different complexity. This system allows us to address the following questions: how different is a macroinvertebrate assemblage when dominated by different ecosystem engineers? And, is there a positive relationship between increasing habitat complexity and the species richness, diversity and total density of the assemblages? To address these questions, we compared the three ecological scenarios with decreasing habitat complexity: cordgrass-mussel, mussel, and barnacle-engineered habitats. We found a total of 22 taxa mostly crustaceans and polychaetes common to all scenarios. The three engineered habitats showed different macroinvertebrate assemblages, mainly due to differences in individual abundances of some taxa. The cryptogenic amphipod Orchestia gammarella was found strictly associated with the cordgrass-mussel habitat. Species richness and diversity were positively related with habitat complexity while total density showed the opposite trend. Our study suggests that species vary their relative distribution and abundances in response to different habitat complexity. Nevertheless, the direction (i.e., neutral, positive or negative) and intensity of the community's response seem to depend on the physiological requirements of the different species and their efficiency to readjust their local spatial distribution in the short term.

  18. Bio-geomorphology of estuaries: the need for understanding the balance between ecosystem engineering, physical forcing and biomechanical species interactions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bouma, Tjeerd; Balke, Thorsten; van Belzen, Jim; Cozzoli, Francesco; Suykerbuyk, Wouter; van Katwijk, Marieke; Temmerman, Stijn; Herman, Peter

    2013-04-01

    The estuarine environment is strongly affected by the hydrodynamic forces from currents and waves, which often form both a resource and a stress to the organisms inhabiting these areas. Organisms that inhabit these areas interact with these physical forces, and may thereby modify their abiotic environment. This is referred to as ecosystem engineering (EE), which may result in locally improved growing conditions for the organisms. By their activities, ecosystem engineers (EE's) can have major influence on sediment dynamics in the coastal ecosystems and may create self-organised bio-geomorphologic landscapes. However, the physical-driven sediment dynamics may also impose control over organism establishment and performance. And on top of that, ecosystem engineering organisms may affect the occurrence of each other via their effect on the environment (i.e., 'biomechanical warfare'). The combination of these 3 types of interactions makes the dynamics of biogeomorphic ecosystems complex to understand and model, and restoration of biogeomorphic ecosystems hard to accomplish. In our presentation we will highlight 3 aspects that we see as crucial to improve our understanding, modelling and restoration of biogeomorphic ecosystems: (1) the possibility to generalise EE-effects across species (2) identifying to which extent physical forcing may enable vs. restrict EE-effects (3) understanding the biological and physical thresholds to the establishment of EE's, and the long-term dynamics of biogemorphic ecosystems. Each of these aspects will be discussed based on experimental results.

  19. Post-mortem ecosystem engineering by oysters creates habitat for a rare marsh plant.

    PubMed

    Guo, Hongyu; Pennings, Steven C

    2012-11-01

    Oysters are ecosystem engineers in marine ecosystems, but the functions of oyster shell deposits in intertidal salt marshes are not well understood. The annual plant Suaeda linearis is associated with oyster shell deposits in Georgia salt marshes. We hypothesized that oyster shell deposits promoted the distribution of Suaeda linearis by engineering soil conditions unfavorable to dominant salt marsh plants of the region (the shrub Borrichia frutescens, the rush Juncus roemerianus, and the grass Spartina alterniflora). We tested this hypothesis using common garden pot experiments and field transplant experiments. Suaeda linearis thrived in Borrichia frutescens stands in the absence of neighbors, but was suppressed by Borrichia frutescens in the with-neighbor treatment, suggesting that Suaeda linearis was excluded from Borrichia frutescens stands by interspecific competition. Suaeda linearis plants all died in Juncus roemerianus and Spartina alterniflora stands, regardless of neighbor treatments, indicating that Suaeda linearis is excluded from these habitats by physical stress (likely water-logging). In contrast, Borrichia frutescens, Juncus roemerianus, and Spartina alterniflora all performed poorly in Suaeda linearis stands regardless of neighbor treatments, probably due to physical stresses such as low soil water content and low organic matter content. Thus, oyster shell deposits play an important ecosystem engineering role in influencing salt marsh plant communities by providing a unique niche for Suaeda linearis, which otherwise would be rare or absent in salt marshes in the southeastern US. Since the success of Suaeda linearis is linked to the success of oysters, efforts to protect and restore oyster reefs may also benefit salt marsh plant communities.

  20. The potential of tissue engineering for developing alternatives to animal experiments: a systematic review.

    PubMed

    de Vries, Rob B M; Leenaars, Marlies; Tra, Joppe; Huijbregtse, Robbertjan; Bongers, Erik; Jansen, John A; Gordijn, Bert; Ritskes-Hoitinga, Merel

    2015-07-01

    An underexposed ethical issue raised by tissue engineering is the use of laboratory animals in tissue engineering research. Even though this research results in suffering and loss of life in animals, tissue engineering also has great potential for the development of alternatives to animal experiments. With the objective of promoting a joint effort of tissue engineers and alternative experts to fully realise this potential, this study provides the first comprehensive overview of the possibilities of using tissue-engineered constructs as a replacement of laboratory animals. Through searches in two large biomedical databases (PubMed, Embase) and several specialised 3R databases, 244 relevant primary scientific articles, published between 1991 and 2011, were identified. By far most articles reviewed related to the use of tissue-engineered skin/epidermis for toxicological applications such as testing for skin irritation. This review article demonstrates, however, that the potential for the development of alternatives also extends to other tissues such as other epithelia and the liver, as well as to other fields of application such as drug screening and basic physiology. This review discusses which impediments need to be overcome to maximise the contributions that the field of tissue engineering can make, through the development of alternative methods, to the reduction of the use and suffering of laboratory animals.

  1. Ecosystem engineering varies spatially: a test of the vegetation modification paradigm for prairie dogs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Baker, Bruce W.; Augustine, David J.; Sedgwick, James A.; Lubow, Bruce C.

    2013-01-01

    Colonial, burrowing herbivores can be engineers of grassland and shrubland ecosystems worldwide. Spatial variation in landscapes suggests caution when extrapolating single-place studies of single species, but lack of data and the need to generalize often leads to ‘model system’ thinking and application of results beyond appropriate statistical inference. Generalizations about the engineering effects of prairie dogs (Cynomys sp.) developed largely from intensive study at a single complex of black-tailed prairie dogs C. ludovicianus in northern mixed prairie, but have been extrapolated to other ecoregions and prairie dog species in North America, and other colonial, burrowing herbivores. We tested the paradigm that prairie dogs decrease vegetation volume and the cover of grasses and tall shrubs, and increase bare ground and forb cover. We sampled vegetation on and off 279 colonies at 13 complexes of 3 prairie dog species widely distributed across 5 ecoregions in North America. The paradigm was generally supported at 7 black-tailed prairie dog complexes in northern mixed prairie, where vegetation volume, grass cover, and tall shrub cover were lower, and bare ground and forb cover were higher, on colonies than at paired off-colony sites. Outside the northern mixed prairie, all 3 prairie dog species consistently reduced vegetation volume, but their effects on cover of plant functional groups varied with prairie dog species and the grazing tolerance of dominant perennial grasses. White-tailed prairie dogs C. leucurus in sagebrush steppe did not reduce shrub cover, whereas black-tailed prairie dogs suppressed shrub cover at all complexes with tall shrubs in the surrounding habitat matrix. Black-tailed prairie dogs in shortgrass steppe and Gunnison's prairie dogs C. gunnisoni in Colorado Plateau grassland both had relatively minor effects on grass cover, which may reflect the dominance of grazing-tolerant shortgrasses at both complexes. Variation in modification of

  2. Telos, conservation of welfare, and ethical issues in genetic engineering of animals.

    PubMed

    Rollin, Bernard E

    2015-01-01

    The most long-lived metaphysics or view of reality in the history of Western thought is Aristotle's teleology, which reigned for almost 2,000 years. Biology was expressed in terms of function or telos, and accorded perfectly with common sense. The rise of mechanistic, Newtonian science vanquished teleological explanations. Understanding and accommodating animal telos was essential to success in animal husbandry, which involved respect for telos, and was presuppositional to our "ancient contract" with domestic animals. Telos was further abandoned with the rise of industrial agriculture, which utilized "technological fixes" to force animal into environments they were unsuited for, while continuing to be productive. Loss of husbandry and respect for telos created major issues for farm animal welfare, and forced the creation of a new ethic demanding respect for telos. As genetic engineering developed, the notion arose of modifying animals to fit their environment in order to avoid animal suffering, rather than fitting them into congenial environments. Most people do not favor changing the animals, rather than changing the conditions under which they are reared. Aesthetic appreciation of husbandry and virtue ethics militate in favor of restoring husbandry, rather than radically changing animal teloi. One, however, does not morally wrong teloi by changing them-one can only wrong individuals. In biomedical research, we do indeed inflict major pain, suffering and disease on animals. And genetic engineering seems to augment our ability to create animals to model diseases, particularly more than 3,000 known human genetic diseases. The disease, known as Lesch-Nyhan's syndrome or HPRT deficiency, which causes self-mutilation and mental retardation, provides us with a real possibility for genetically creating "animal models" of this disease, animals doomed to a life of great and unalleviable suffering. This of course creates a major moral dilemma. Perhaps one can use the very

  3. Populations, pools, and peccaries: simulating the impact of ecosystem engineers on rainforest frogs

    PubMed Central

    Hödl, Walter; Ringler, Eva

    2015-01-01

    Ecosystem engineering” describes habitat alteration by an organism that affects another organism; such nontrophic interactions between organisms are a current focus in ecological research. Our study quantifies the actual impact an ecosystem engineer can have on another species by using a previously identified model system—peccaries and rainforest frogs. In a 4-year experiment, we simulated the impact of peccaries on a population of Allobates femoralis (Dendrobatidae) by installing an array of artificial pools to mimic a forest patch modified by peccaries. The data were analyzed using a gradual before-after control-impact (gBACI) model. Following the supplementation, population size almost doubled as a result of increased autochthonous recruitment driven by a higher per-capita reproduction of males and a higher proportion of reproducing females. The effect was evenly distributed across the population. The differential response of males and females reflects the reproductive behavior of A. femoralis, as only the males use the aquatic sites for tadpole deposition. Our study shows that management and conservation must consider nontrophic relationships and that human “ecosystem engineering” can play a vital role in efforts against the “global amphibian decline.” PMID:25825586

  4. Arctic foxes as ecosystem engineers: increased soil nutrients lead to increased plant productivity on fox dens.

    PubMed

    Gharajehdaghipour, Tazarve; Roth, James D; Fafard, Paul M; Markham, John H

    2016-04-05

    Top predators can provide fundamental ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling, and their impact can be even greater in environments with low nutrients and productivity, such as Arctic tundra. We estimated the effects of Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) denning on soil nutrient dynamics and vegetation production near Churchill, Manitoba in June and August 2014. Soils from fox dens contained higher nutrient levels in June (71% more inorganic nitrogen, 1195% more extractable phosphorous) and in August (242% more inorganic nitrogen, 191% more extractable phosphorous) than adjacent control sites. Inorganic nitrogen levels decreased from June to August on both dens and controls, whereas extractable phosphorous increased. Pup production the previous year, which should enhance nutrient deposition (from urine, feces, and decomposing prey), did not affect soil nutrient concentrations, suggesting the impact of Arctic foxes persists >1 year. Dens supported 2.8 times greater vegetation biomass in August, but δ(15)N values in sea lyme grass (Leymus mollis) were unaffected by denning. By concentrating nutrients on dens Arctic foxes enhance nutrient cycling as an ecosystem service and thus engineer Arctic ecosystems on local scales. The enhanced productivity in patches on the landscape could subsequently affect plant diversity and the dispersion of herbivores on the tundra.

  5. Arctic foxes as ecosystem engineers: increased soil nutrients lead to increased plant productivity on fox dens

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gharajehdaghipour, Tazarve; Roth, James D.; Fafard, Paul M.; Markham, John H.

    2016-04-01

    Top predators can provide fundamental ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling, and their impact can be even greater in environments with low nutrients and productivity, such as Arctic tundra. We estimated the effects of Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) denning on soil nutrient dynamics and vegetation production near Churchill, Manitoba in June and August 2014. Soils from fox dens contained higher nutrient levels in June (71% more inorganic nitrogen, 1195% more extractable phosphorous) and in August (242% more inorganic nitrogen, 191% more extractable phosphorous) than adjacent control sites. Inorganic nitrogen levels decreased from June to August on both dens and controls, whereas extractable phosphorous increased. Pup production the previous year, which should enhance nutrient deposition (from urine, feces, and decomposing prey), did not affect soil nutrient concentrations, suggesting the impact of Arctic foxes persists >1 year. Dens supported 2.8 times greater vegetation biomass in August, but δ15N values in sea lyme grass (Leymus mollis) were unaffected by denning. By concentrating nutrients on dens Arctic foxes enhance nutrient cycling as an ecosystem service and thus engineer Arctic ecosystems on local scales. The enhanced productivity in patches on the landscape could subsequently affect plant diversity and the dispersion of herbivores on the tundra.

  6. Arctic foxes as ecosystem engineers: increased soil nutrients lead to increased plant productivity on fox dens

    PubMed Central

    Gharajehdaghipour, Tazarve; Roth, James D.; Fafard, Paul M.; Markham, John H.

    2016-01-01

    Top predators can provide fundamental ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling, and their impact can be even greater in environments with low nutrients and productivity, such as Arctic tundra. We estimated the effects of Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) denning on soil nutrient dynamics and vegetation production near Churchill, Manitoba in June and August 2014. Soils from fox dens contained higher nutrient levels in June (71% more inorganic nitrogen, 1195% more extractable phosphorous) and in August (242% more inorganic nitrogen, 191% more extractable phosphorous) than adjacent control sites. Inorganic nitrogen levels decreased from June to August on both dens and controls, whereas extractable phosphorous increased. Pup production the previous year, which should enhance nutrient deposition (from urine, feces, and decomposing prey), did not affect soil nutrient concentrations, suggesting the impact of Arctic foxes persists >1 year. Dens supported 2.8 times greater vegetation biomass in August, but δ15N values in sea lyme grass (Leymus mollis) were unaffected by denning. By concentrating nutrients on dens Arctic foxes enhance nutrient cycling as an ecosystem service and thus engineer Arctic ecosystems on local scales. The enhanced productivity in patches on the landscape could subsequently affect plant diversity and the dispersion of herbivores on the tundra. PMID:27045973

  7. Selenium biotransformations in an engineered aquatic ecosystem for bioremediation of agricultural wastewater via brine shrimp production.

    PubMed

    Schmidt, Radomir; Tantoyotai, Prapakorn; Fakra, Sirine C; Marcus, Matthew A; Yang, Soo In; Pickering, Ingrid J; Bañuelos, Gary S; Hristova, Krassimira R; Freeman, John L

    2013-05-21

    An engineered aquatic ecosystem was specifically designed to bioremediate selenium (Se), occurring as oxidized inorganic selenate from hypersalinized agricultural drainage water while producing brine shrimp enriched in organic Se and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for use in value added nutraceutical food supplements. Selenate was successfully bioremediated by microalgal metabolism into organic Se (seleno-amino acids) and partially removed via gaseous volatile Se formation. Furthermore, filter-feeding brine shrimp that accumulated this organic Se were removed by net harvest. Thriving in this engineered pond system, brine shrimp ( Artemia franciscana Kellogg) and brine fly (Ephydridae sp.) have major ecological relevance as important food sources for large populations of waterfowl, breeding, and migratory shore birds. This aquatic ecosystem was an ideal model for study because it mimics trophic interactions in a Se polluted wetland. Inorganic selenate in drainage water was metabolized differently in microalgae, bacteria, and diatoms where it was accumulated and reduced into various inorganic forms (selenite, selenide, or elemental Se) or partially incorporated into organic Se mainly as selenomethionine. Brine shrimp and brine fly larva then bioaccumulated Se from ingesting aquatic microorganisms and further metabolized Se predominately into organic Se forms. Importantly, adult brine flies, which hatched from aquatic larva, bioaccumulated the highest Se concentrations of all organisms tested.

  8. Ecosystem engineers in the pelagic realm: alteration of habitat by species ranging from microbes to jellyfish.

    PubMed

    Breitburg, Denise L; Crump, Byron C; Dabiri, John O; Gallegos, Charles L

    2010-08-01

    Ecosystem engineers are species that alter the physical environment in ways that create new habitat or change the suitability of existing habitats for themselves or other organisms. In marine systems, much of the focus has been on species such as corals, oysters, and macrophytes that add physical structure to the environment, but organisms ranging from microbes to jellyfish and finfish that reside in the water column of oceans, estuaries, and coastal seas alter the chemical and physical environment both within the water column and on the benthos. By causing hypoxia, changing light regimes, and influencing physical mixing, these organisms may have as strong an effect as species that fall more clearly within the classical category of ecosystem engineer. In addition, planktonic species, such as jellyfish, may indirectly alter the physical environment through predator-mediated landscape structure. By creating spatial patterns of habitats that vary in their rates of mortality due to predation, planktonic predators may control spatial patterns and abundances of species that are the direct creators or modifiers of physical habitat.

  9. Role of gene therapy in tissue engineering procedures in rheumatology: the use of animal models.

    PubMed

    van der Kraan, Peter M; van de Loo, Fons A J; van den Berg, Wim B

    2004-04-01

    Tissue engineering is not only the application of cells and scaffolds to generate a new tissue but should also bring into play biological principles to guide cellular behavior. A way to modify cellular behavior is genetic modification of the cells used for tissue engineering (gene therapy). In the field of rheumatic diseases, cellular modification by overexpressing anabolic factors, such as insulin-like growth factor-I or transforming growth factor beta, or inhibitors of catabolic cytokines or proteolytic enzymes can protect tissues form further destruction and stimulate tissue repair. To test the effect of transgenes on tissue engineering adequate test systems have to be available. Initial testing can be done in simple in vitro systems. However, animal models are unavoidable to study the interaction between the environment and tissue engineering. Optimal models to study gene therapy in combination with tissue engineering in the field of rheumatology are not available at this moment. Arthritis models are mainly developed in small animals while high-quality tissue engineering experiments ask for a large animal model. Development of animal models that can be used for tissue engineering experiments and mimic end stage arthritic diseases is needed.

  10. Ecosystem engineers on plants: indirect facilitation of arthropod communities by leaf-rollers at different scales.

    PubMed

    Vieira, Camila; Romero, Gustavo Q

    2013-07-01

    Ecosystem engineering is a process by which organisms change the distribution of resources and create new habitats for other species via non-trophic interactions. Leaf-rolling caterpillars can act as ecosystem engineers because they provide shelter to secondary users. In this study, we report the influence of leaf-rolling caterpillars on speciose tropical arthropod communities along both spatial scales (leaf-level and plant-level effects) and temporal scales (dry and rainy seasons). We predict that rolled leaves can amplify arthropod diversity at both the leaf and plant levels and that this effect is stronger in dry seasons, when arthropods are prone to desiccation. Our results show that the abundance, richness, and biomass of arthropods within several guilds increased up to 22-fold in naturally and artificially created leaf shelters relative to unaltered leaves. These effects were observed at similar magnitudes at both the leaf and plant scales. Variation in the shelter architecture (funnel, cylinders) did not influence arthropod parameters, as diversity, abundance, orbiomass, but rolled leaves had distinct species composition if compared with unaltered leaves. As expected, these arthropod parameters on the plants with rolled leaves were on average approximately twofold higher in the dry season. Empty leaf rolls and whole plants were rapidly recolonized by arthropods over time, implying a fast replacement of individuals; within 15-day intervals the rolls and plants reached a species saturation. This study is the first to examine the extended effects of engineering caterpillars as diversity amplifiers at different temporal and spatial scales. Because shelter-building caterpillars are ubiquitous organisms in tropical and temperate forests, they can be considered key structuring elements for arthropod communities on plants.

  11. Effects of temporal fluctuation in population processes of intertidal Lanice conchilega (Pallas, 1766) aggregations on its ecosystem engineering

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alves, Renata M. S.; Vanaverbeke, Jan; Bouma, Tjeerd J.; Guarini, Jean-Marc; Vincx, Magda; Van Colen, Carl

    2017-03-01

    Ecosystem engineers contribute to ecosystem functioning by regulating key environmental attributes, such as habitat availability and sediment biogeochemistry. While autogenic engineers can increase habitat complexity passively and provide physical protection to other species, allogenic engineers can regulate sediment oxygenation and biogeochemistry through bioturbation and/or bioirrigation. Their effects rely on the physical attributes of the engineer and/or its biogenic constructs, such as abundance and/or size. The present study focused on tube aggregations of a sessile, tube-building polychaete that engineers marine sediments, Lanice conchilega. Its tube aggregations modulate water flow by dissipating energy, influencing sedimentary processes and increasing particle retention. These effects can be influenced by temporal fluctuations in population demographic processes. Presently, we investigated the relationship between population processes and ecosystem engineering through an in-situ survey (1.5 years) of L. conchilega aggregations at the sandy beach of Boulogne-sur-Mer (France). We (1) evaluated temporal patterns in population structure, and (2) investigated how these are related to the ecosystem engineering of L. conchilega on marine sediments. During our survey, we assessed tube density, demographic structure, and sediment properties (surficial chl-a, EPS, TOM, median and mode grain size, sorting, and mud and water content) on a monthly basis for 12 intertidal aggregations. We found that the population was mainly composed by short-lived (6-10 months), small-medium individuals. Mass mortality severely reduced population density during winter. However the population persisted, likely due to recruits from other populations, which are associated to short- and long-term population dynamics. Two periods of recruitment were identified: spring/summer and autumn. Population density was highest during the spring recruitment and significantly affected several

  12. Analysis of integrated animal-fish production system under subtropical hill agro ecosystem in India: growth performance of animals, total biomass production and monetary benefit.

    PubMed

    Kumaresan, A; Pathak, K A; Bujarbaruah, K M; Vinod, K

    2009-03-01

    The present study assessed the benefits of integration of animals with fish production in optimizing the bio mass production from unit land in subtropical hill agro ecosystem. Hampshire pigs and Khaki Campbell ducks were integrated with composite fish culture. The pig and duck excreta were directly allowed into the pond and no supplementary feed was given to fish during the period of study. The average levels of N, P and K in dried pig and duck manure were 0.9, 0.7 and 0.6 per cent and 1.3, 0.6 and 0.5 per cent, respectively. The average body weight of pig and duck at 11 months age was 90 and 1.74 kg with an average daily weight gain of 333.33 and 6.44 g, respectively. The fish production in pig-fish and duck-fish systems were 2209 and 2964 kg/ha, respectively while the fish productivity in control pond was only 820 kg/ha. The total biomass (animal and fish) production was higher (p<0.05) in commercial feeding system compared to the traditional system, however the input/output ratio was 1:1.2 and 1:1.55 for commercial and traditional systems, respectively. It was inferred that the total biomass production per unit land was high (p<0.05) when animal and fish were integrated together.

  13. Impacts of light shading and nutrient enrichment geo-engineering approaches on the productivity of a stratified, oligotrophic ocean ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Hardman-Mountford, Nick J.; Polimene, Luca; Hirata, Takafumi; Brewin, Robert J. W.; Aiken, Jim

    2013-01-01

    Geo-engineering proposals to mitigate global warming have focused either on methods of carbon dioxide removal, particularly nutrient fertilization of plant growth, or on cooling the Earth's surface by reducing incoming solar radiation (shading). Marine phytoplankton contribute half the Earth's biological carbon fixation and carbon export in the ocean is modulated by the actions of microbes and grazing communities in recycling nutrients. Both nutrients and light are essential for photosynthesis, so understanding the relative influence of both these geo-engineering approaches on ocean ecosystem production and processes is critical to the evaluation of their effectiveness. In this paper, we investigate the relationship between light and nutrient availability on productivity in a stratified, oligotrophic subtropical ocean ecosystem using a one-dimensional water column model coupled to a multi-plankton ecosystem model, with the goal of elucidating potential impacts of these geo-engineering approaches on ecosystem production. We find that solar shading approaches can redistribute productivity in the water column but do not change total production. Macronutrient enrichment is able to enhance the export of carbon, although heterotrophic recycling reduces the efficiency of carbon export substantially over time. Our results highlight the requirement for a fuller consideration of marine ecosystem interactions and feedbacks, beyond simply the stimulation of surface blooms, in the evaluation of putative geo-engineering approaches. PMID:24132201

  14. Impacts of light shading and nutrient enrichment geo-engineering approaches on the productivity of a stratified, oligotrophic ocean ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Hardman-Mountford, Nick J; Polimene, Luca; Hirata, Takafumi; Brewin, Robert J W; Aiken, Jim

    2013-12-06

    Geo-engineering proposals to mitigate global warming have focused either on methods of carbon dioxide removal, particularly nutrient fertilization of plant growth, or on cooling the Earth's surface by reducing incoming solar radiation (shading). Marine phytoplankton contribute half the Earth's biological carbon fixation and carbon export in the ocean is modulated by the actions of microbes and grazing communities in recycling nutrients. Both nutrients and light are essential for photosynthesis, so understanding the relative influence of both these geo-engineering approaches on ocean ecosystem production and processes is critical to the evaluation of their effectiveness. In this paper, we investigate the relationship between light and nutrient availability on productivity in a stratified, oligotrophic subtropical ocean ecosystem using a one-dimensional water column model coupled to a multi-plankton ecosystem model, with the goal of elucidating potential impacts of these geo-engineering approaches on ecosystem production. We find that solar shading approaches can redistribute productivity in the water column but do not change total production. Macronutrient enrichment is able to enhance the export of carbon, although heterotrophic recycling reduces the efficiency of carbon export substantially over time. Our results highlight the requirement for a fuller consideration of marine ecosystem interactions and feedbacks, beyond simply the stimulation of surface blooms, in the evaluation of putative geo-engineering approaches.

  15. Mussels as ecosystem engineers: Their contribution to species richness in a rocky littoral community

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Borthagaray, Ana Inés; Carranza, Alvar

    Mussels are important ecosystem engineers in marine benthic systems because they aggregate into beds, thus modifying the nature and complexity of the substrate. In this study, we evaluated the contribution of mussels ( Brachidontes rodriguezii, Mytilus edulis platensis, and Perna perna) to the benthic species richness of intertidal and shallow subtidal communities at Cerro Verde (Uruguay). We compared the richness of macro-benthic species between mussel-engineered patches and patches without mussels but dominated by algae or barnacles at a landscape scale (all samples), between tidal levels, and between sites distributed along a wave exposition gradient. Overall, we found a net increase in species richness in samples with mussels (35 species), in contrast to samples where mussels were naturally absent or scarce (27 species). The positive trend of the effect did not depend upon tidal level or wave exposition, but its magnitude varied between sites. Within sites, a significant positive effect was detected only at the protected site. Within the mussel-engineered patches, the richness of all macro-faunal groups (total, sessile and mobile) was positively correlated with mussel abundance. This evidence indicates that the mussel beds studied here were important in maintaining species richness at the landscape-level, and highlights that beds of shelled bivalves should not be neglected as conservation targets in marine benthic environments.

  16. Tuberculosis infection in wildlife from the Ruaha ecosystem Tanzania: implications for wildlife, domestic animals, and human health.

    PubMed

    Clifford, D L; Kazwala, R R; Sadiki, H; Roug, A; Muse, E A; Coppolillo, P C; Mazet, J A K

    2013-07-01

    Mycobacterium bovis, a pathogen of conservation, livestock, and public health concern, was detected in eight species of wildlife inhabiting protected areas bordering endemic livestock grazing lands. We tested tissues from 179 opportunistically sampled hunter-killed, depredation, road-killed, and live-captured wild animals, representing 30 species, in and adjacent to Ruaha National Park in south-central Tanzania. Tissue culture and PCR were used to detect 12 (8.1%) M. bovis-infected animals and 15 (10.1%) animals infected with non-tuberculosis complex mycobacteria. Kirk's dik-dik, vervet monkey, and yellow baboon were confirmed infected for the first time. The M. bovis spoligotype isolated from infected wildlife was identical to local livestock, providing evidence for livestock-wildlife pathogen transmission. Thus we advocate an ecosystem-based approach for bovine tuberculosis management that improves critical ecological functions in protected areas and grazing lands, reduces focal population density build-up along the edges of protected areas, and minimizes ecological stressors that increase animals' susceptibility to bovine tuberculosis.

  17. Niche Inheritance: A Cooperative Pathway to Enhance Cancer Cell Fitness Through Ecosystem Engineering

    PubMed Central

    Yang, Kimberline R; Mooney, Steven M; Zarif, Jelani C; Coffey, Donald S; Taichman, Russell S; Pienta, Kenneth J

    2014-01-01

    Cancer cells can be described as an invasive species that is able to establish itself in a new environment. The concept of niche construction can be utilized to describe the process by which cancer cells terraform their environment, thereby engineering an ecosystem that promotes the genetic fitness of the species. Ecological dispersion theory can then be utilized to describe and model the steps and barriers involved in a successful diaspora as the cancer cells leave the original host organ and migrate to new host organs to successfully establish a new metastatic community. These ecological concepts can be further utilized to define new diagnostic and therapeutic areas for lethal cancers. 115: 1478–1485, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:24700698

  18. Habitat heterogeneity and activity of an omnivorous ecosystem engineer control stream community dynamics.

    PubMed

    Brown, Bryan L; Lawson, Raven L

    2010-06-01

    All communities vary through time. This variability originates from both intrinsic and extrinsic sources. Intrinsic sources are due to actions of organisms in a community, i.e., population dynamics and species interactions, while extrinsic variability is variability created by elements of habitat or environmental change. There is a growing appreciation that these two sources may interact, producing patterns of community variability that cannot be predicted or explained by focusing on a single source. We performed a field experiment that simultaneously manipulated trophic structure (intrinsic) and habitat heterogeneity (extrinsic) in order to examine the interaction between sources of variability in a South Carolina (USA) stream macroinvertebrate community. To manipulate trophic structure, we experimentally altered local abundances of crayfish which are keystone species and ecosystem engineers, while our manipulation of habitat was to alter stream substrate heterogeneity. We focused on two types of community variability as responses to our manipulations: aggregate variability (i.e., variability of summed species) and compositional variability (i.e., variability in relative abundances of species) by monitoring community composition through a 10-week experiment. We found that community dynamics shifted from patterns in variability indicative of synchrony (high aggregate variability + low compositional) to variability indicative of compensation (low aggregate variability + high compositional) along a gradient of increasing habitat heterogeneity. However, the shift in community dynamics only occurred when crayfish were present in the community. Supporting evidence from the experiment suggested that sediment engineering effects of crayfish acted as a community-wide perturbation in low-heterogeneity habitat creating synchronous dynamics. However, in high-heterogeneity enclosures, crayfish effects were moderated by refugia provided by a more complex substratum. The switch

  19. Stereo Visualized Animation Content for the Learning of the Mechanism of Engine

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sato, Tomoaki

    The stereo visualized animation contents have not been spread on the domain of education because of the difficulties and high cost of making that. On this study, we proposed an easy and low cost method of the stereo visualization for 3DCG-Animation. The easy and low cost stereo visualization system is composed of two ordinary liquid crystal projectors, a personal computer and a silver screen. In this paper, by using this method, we developed a stereo visualized 3DCG-animation content of 4 stroke cycle gasoline engine and used the content for the class of the machining practice exercise. Moreover, the learning effect of the content was examined with the questionnaire. The result of questionnaire showed that the stereo visualized 3DCG animation content was very helpful to understand the mechanism of engine.

  20. Ecosystem Engineering by Plants on Wave-Exposed Intertidal Flats Is Governed by Relationships between Effect and Response Traits.

    PubMed

    Heuner, Maike; Silinski, Alexandra; Schoelynck, Jonas; Bouma, Tjeerd J; Puijalon, Sara; Troch, Peter; Fuchs, Elmar; Schröder, Boris; Schröder, Uwe; Meire, Patrick; Temmerman, Stijn

    2015-01-01

    In hydrodynamically stressful environments, some species--known as ecosystem engineers--are able to modify the environment for their own benefit. Little is known however, about the interaction between functional plant traits and ecosystem engineering. We studied the responses of Scirpus tabernaemontani and Scirpus maritimus to wave impact in full-scale flume experiments. Stem density and biomass were used to predict the ecosystem engineering effect of wave attenuation. Also the drag force on plants, their bending angle after wave impact and the stem biomechanical properties were quantified as both responses of stress experienced and effects on ecosystem engineering. We analyzed lignin, cellulose, and silica contents as traits likely effecting stress resistance (avoidance, tolerance). Stem density and biomass were strong predictors for wave attenuation, S. maritimus showing a higher effect than S. tabernaemontani. The drag force and drag force per wet frontal area both differed significantly between the species at shallow water depths (20 cm). At greater depths (35 cm), drag forces and bending angles were significantly higher for S. maritimus than for S. tabernaemontani. However, they do not differ in drag force per wet frontal area due to the larger plant surface of S. maritimus. Stem resistance to breaking and stem flexibility were significantly higher in S. tabernaemontani, having a higher cellulose concentration and a larger cross-section in its basal stem parts. S. maritimus had clearly more lignin and silica contents in the basal stem parts than S. tabernaemontani. We concluded that the effect of biomass seems more relevant for the engineering effect of emergent macrophytes with leaves than species morphology: S. tabernaemontani has avoiding traits with minor effects on wave attenuation; S. maritimus has tolerating traits with larger effects. This implies that ecosystem engineering effects are directly linked with traits affecting species stress resistance and

  1. COMPANION ANIMALS SYMPOSIUM: Sustainable Ecosystems: Domestic cats and their effect on wildlife populations.

    PubMed

    Kitts-Morgan, S E

    2015-03-01

    Domestic cats are estimated to kill billions of small mammals and birds each year. In certain areas of the world, it is not uncommon for either feral or free-ranging cats to have high population densities, creating concern regarding their level of hunting. Many cats are considered to be subsidized predators, as they receive care and food from humans. Arguments abound regarding the presence of cats in the habitats of native small mammals and birds and whether or not local ecosystems can sustain this predator-prey relationship. The effects of cats on native wildlife can depend on several factors, including cat classification (feral vs. free ranging vs. indoor-outdoor), geographical location (islands vs. mainland), and type of habitat (rural vs. suburban vs. urban). Feral and free-ranging cats may have a greater impact on native species on islands because habitat is severely limited. Continued urbanization and development of rural areas also creates fragmented habitats, and native species may struggle to survive with the added pressure of hunting by domestic cats. Additionally, cats in rural areas are frequently fed by humans, which can support high population densities and intensify pressure on native species. Species targeted by cats may also vary based on prey availability in different areas, but small mammals are generally preferred over birds, reptiles, or invertebrates. Domestic cats certainly have the potential to roam and hunt in very large areas inhabited by native species and loss of biodiversity is a major concern. Therefore, it is possible that ecosystems may not be able to sustain hunting by domestic cats. Because this predator-prey relationship is probably not sustainable, it is necessary to responsibly manage outdoor domestic cats.

  2. Designing an Accompanying Ecosystem to Foster Entrepreneurship among Agronomic and Forestry Engineering Students. Opinion and Commitment of University Lecturers

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ortiz-Medina, L.; Fernández-Ahumada, E.; Lara-Vélez, P.; Taguas, E. V.; Gallardo-Cobos, R.; del Campillo, M. C.; Guerrero-Ginel, J. E.

    2016-01-01

    In the Higher School of Agronomic and Forestry Engineering of the University of Cordoba, a collective project conceived as an 'ecosystem to support and accompany entrepreneurs' has been proposed. The approach aims to spread and consolidate the entrepreneurial spirit and to respond to the demands of possible stakeholders involved in the whole…

  3. Building bridges using livestock as ecosystem engineers in semi-arid rangelands: Addressing conservation and livestock production goals

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Domestic livestock have the potential to function as ecosystem engineers in semi-arid rangelands, but their utility has been compromised by management practices that emphasize livestock production, homogeneous use of vegetation and removal/control of interacting disturbances of fire and prairie dogs...

  4. Ecosystem engineers as selective agents: the effects of leaf litter on emergence time and early growth in Impatiens capensis.

    PubMed

    Stinchcombe, John R; Schmitt, Johanna

    2006-03-01

    By physically modifying the abiotic environment, ecosystem engineers can have dramatic effects on the distribution and abundance of species in a community. However, ecosystem engineering can also change the selective environment and evolutionary dynamics of affected species, although this remains relatively understudied. Here, we examine the potential for an ecosystem engineer - oak trees - to affect the evolutionary dynamics of the herbaceous, understory annual, Impatiens capensis, through leaf litter deposition. Using a quantitative genetic experimental approach, we found that: (i) the presence of leaf litter significantly affected a suite of germination, growth and phenological traits in I. capensis; (ii) I. capensis does not exhibit performance trade-offs across litter and bare soil environments in the form of negative across-environment genetic correlations; (iii) the presence or absence of leaf litter significantly alters the pattern of natural selection germination timing and hypocotyl length; and (iv) the frequency of leaf litter environments can dramatically change which combinations of hypocotyl length lead to highest mean fitness across both bare soil and leaf litter environments. More generally, our results demonstrate the potential for ecosystem engineers to alter both the ecological and the evolutionary dynamics of the species they affect.

  5. Response of a rocky intertidal ecosystem engineer and community dominant to climate change.

    PubMed

    Menge, Bruce A; Chan, Francis; Lubchenco, Jane

    2008-02-01

    To evaluate how climate change might impact a competitively dominant ecological engineer, we analysed the growth response of the mussel Mytilus californianus to climate patterns [El Niño-Southern Oscillation, Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO)]. Mussels grew faster during warmer climatic events. Growth was initially faster on a more productive cape compared to a less productive cape. Growth rates at the two capes merged in 2002, coincidentally with a several year-long shift from warm to cool PDO conditions. To determine the mechanism underlying this response, we examined growth responses to intertidal sea and air temperatures, phytoplankton, sea level and tide height. Together, water temperature (32%) and food (12.5%) explained 44.5% of the variance in mussel growth; contributions of other factors were not significant. In turn, water temperature and food respond to climate-driven variation in upwelling and other, unknown factors. Understanding responses of ecosystem engineers to climate change will require knowing direct thermal effects and indirect effects of factors altered by temperature change.

  6. Stakeholder views on the creation and use of genetically-engineered animals in research.

    PubMed

    Ormandy, Elisabeth H

    2016-05-01

    This interview-based study examined the diversity of views relating to the creation and use of genetically-engineered (GE) animals in biomedical science. Twenty Canadian participants (eight researchers, five research technicians and seven members of the public) took part in the interviews, in which four main themes were discussed: a) how participants felt about the genetic engineering of animals as a practice; b) governance of the creation and use of GE animals in research, and whether current guidelines are sufficient; c) the Three Rs (Replacement, Reduction, Refinement) and how they are applied during the creation and use of GE animals in research; and d) whether public opinion should play a greater role in the creation and use of GE animals. Most of the participants felt that the creation and use of GE animals for biomedical research purposes (as opposed to food purposes) is acceptable, provided that tangible human health benefits are gained. However, obstacles to Three Rs implementation were identified, and the participants agreed that more effort should be placed on engaging the public on the use of GE animals in research.

  7. Teaching Habitat and Animal Classification to Fourth Graders Using an Engineering-Design Model

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Marulcu, Ismail

    2014-01-01

    Background: The motivation for this work is built upon the premise that there is a need for research-based materials for design-based science instruction. In this paper, a small portion of our work investigating the impact of a LEGO[TM] engineering unit on fourth grade students' preconceptions and understanding of animals is presented. Purpose:…

  8. Ecosystem Engineering by Plants on Wave-Exposed Intertidal Flats Is Governed by Relationships between Effect and Response Traits

    PubMed Central

    Schoelynck, Jonas; Bouma, Tjeerd J.; Puijalon, Sara; Troch, Peter; Fuchs, Elmar; Schröder, Boris; Schröder, Uwe; Meire, Patrick; Temmerman, Stijn

    2015-01-01

    In hydrodynamically stressful environments, some species—known as ecosystem engineers—are able to modify the environment for their own benefit. Little is known however, about the interaction between functional plant traits and ecosystem engineering. We studied the responses of Scirpus tabernaemontani and Scirpus maritimus to wave impact in full-scale flume experiments. Stem density and biomass were used to predict the ecosystem engineering effect of wave attenuation. Also the drag force on plants, their bending angle after wave impact and the stem biomechanical properties were quantified as both responses of stress experienced and effects on ecosystem engineering. We analyzed lignin, cellulose, and silica contents as traits likely effecting stress resistance (avoidance, tolerance). Stem density and biomass were strong predictors for wave attenuation, S. maritimus showing a higher effect than S. tabernaemontani. The drag force and drag force per wet frontal area both differed significantly between the species at shallow water depths (20 cm). At greater depths (35 cm), drag forces and bending angles were significantly higher for S. maritimus than for S. tabernaemontani. However, they do not differ in drag force per wet frontal area due to the larger plant surface of S. maritimus. Stem resistance to breaking and stem flexibility were significantly higher in S. tabernaemontani, having a higher cellulose concentration and a larger cross-section in its basal stem parts. S. maritimus had clearly more lignin and silica contents in the basal stem parts than S. tabernaemontani. We concluded that the effect of biomass seems more relevant for the engineering effect of emergent macrophytes with leaves than species morphology: S. tabernaemontani has avoiding traits with minor effects on wave attenuation; S. maritimus has tolerating traits with larger effects. This implies that ecosystem engineering effects are directly linked with traits affecting species stress resistance

  9. Tissue engineering in animal models for urinary diversion: a systematic review.

    PubMed

    Sloff, Marije; de Vries, Rob; Geutjes, Paul; IntHout, Joanna; Ritskes-Hoitinga, Merel; Oosterwijk, Egbert; Feitz, Wout

    2014-01-01

    Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine (TERM) approaches may provide alternatives for gastrointestinal tissue in urinary diversion. To continue to clinically translatable studies, TERM alternatives need to be evaluated in (large) controlled and standardized animal studies. Here, we investigated all evidence for the efficacy of tissue engineered constructs in animal models for urinary diversion. Studies investigating this subject were identified through a systematic search of three different databases (PubMed, Embase and Web of Science). From each study, animal characteristics, study characteristics and experimental outcomes for meta-analyses were tabulated. Furthermore, the reporting of items vital for study replication was assessed. The retrieved studies (8 in total) showed extreme heterogeneity in study design, including animal models, biomaterials and type of urinary diversion. All studies were feasibility studies, indicating the novelty of this field. None of the studies included appropriate control groups, i.e. a comparison with the classical treatment using GI tissue. The meta-analysis showed a trend towards successful experimentation in larger animals although no specific animal species could be identified as the most suitable model. Larger animals appear to allow a better translation to the human situation, with respect to anatomy and surgical approaches. It was unclear whether the use of cells benefits the formation of a neo urinary conduit. The reporting of the methodology and data according to standardized guidelines was insufficient and should be improved to increase the value of such publications. In conclusion, animal models in the field of TERM for urinary diversion have probably been chosen for reasons other than their predictive value. Controlled and comparative long term animal studies, with adequate methodological reporting are needed to proceed to clinical translatable studies. This will aid in good quality research with the reduction in

  10. Ecosystem engineering and predation: the multi-trophic impact of two ant species.

    PubMed

    Sanders, Dirk; van Veen, F J Frank

    2011-05-01

    1. Ants are ubiquitous ecosystem engineers and generalist predators and are able to affect ecological communities via both pathways. They are likely to influence any other terrestrial arthropod group either directly or indirectly caused by their high abundance and territoriality. 2. We studied the impact of two ant species common in Central Europe, Myrmica rubra and Lasius niger, on an arthropod community. Colony presence and density of these two ant species were manipulated in a field experiment from the start of ant activity in spring to late summer. 3. The experiment revealed a positive influence of the presence of one ant colony on densities of decomposers, herbivores and parasitoids. However, in the case of herbivores and parasitoids, this effect was reversed in the presence of two colonies. 4. Generally, effects of the two ant species were similar with the exception of their effect on Braconidae parasitoid densities that responded positively to one colony of M. rubra but not of L. niger. 5. Spider density was not affected by ant colony manipulation, but species richness of spiders responded positively to ant presence. This effect was independent of ant colony density, but where two colonies were present, spider richness was significantly greater in plots with two M. rubra colonies than in plots with one colony of each ant species. 6. To test whether the positive ecosystem engineering effects were purely caused by modified properties of the soil, we added in an additional experiment (i) the soil from ant nests (without ants) or (ii) unmodified soil or (iii) ant nests (including ants) to experimental plots. Ant nest soil on its own did not have a significant impact on densities of decomposers, herbivores or predators, which were significantly, and positively, affected by the addition of an intact nest. 7. The results suggest an important role of both ant species in the grassland food web, strongly affecting the densities of decomposers, herbivores and higher

  11. Methane dependent denitrification- from ecosystem to laboratory-scale enrichment for engineering applications.

    PubMed

    Bhattacharjee, Ananda Shankar; Motlagh, Amir Mohaghegh; Jetten, Mike S M; Goel, Ramesh

    2016-08-01

    Managing nitrogen and carbon cycles in engineered and natural ecosystems is an environmental challenge. In this manuscript, we report a process which connects these two cycles with immense ecological and engineering significance. Sediments, collected from Jordan River in Salt Lake City, Utah were used as seed to start a laboratory-scale denitrification coupled to anaerobic methane oxidation (n-DAMO) reactor fed with methane (CH4) and nitrite (NO2(-)). Methane (CH4)-dependent denitrification in sediments of a nutrient-impaired river was found to be in the range of 40 nmol kg(-1) d(-1) to 70 nmol kg(-1) d(-1). Post 19 months of operation of the lab scale reactor, the n-DAMO reactor achieved nitrite removal rate of 2.88 mmol L(-1) d(-1). Enrichment of n-DAMO prokaryotes was evident from the increase in 16S rRNA gene copy number of bacteria belonging to the NC10 phylum in the reactor, corroborating with increase in the oxidation rates of CH4 coupled with NO2(-)-N removal from 21 μM to 190 μM of CH4 d(-1). Based on stable isotope experiments by other researchers, nitric oxide dismutase (nod) functional gene was hypothesized to be responsible for splitting nitric oxide to nitrogen and oxygen and this internally generated oxygen is utilized by n-DAMO prokaryotes to oxidize methane gas. Primers targeting the unique nitric oxide dismutase (nod) gene were developed and tested on the enrichment culture for the first time. This revealed that n-DAMO organisms are closely related yet distinct from, the M. oxyfera which had been enriched in earlier studies. The results emphasize tremendous future promise to use these novel organisms for wastewater treatment purposes, especially to take advantage of the dissolved methane present in anaerobic digester effluents.

  12. Epidemiology and molecular characterization of Cryptosporidium spp. in humans, wild primates, and domesticated animals in the Greater Gombe Ecosystem, Tanzania.

    PubMed

    Parsons, Michele B; Travis, Dominic; Lonsdorf, Elizabeth V; Lipende, Iddi; Roellig, Dawn M; Roellig, Dawn M Anthony; Collins, Anthony; Kamenya, Shadrack; Zhang, Hongwei; Xiao, Lihua; Gillespie, Thomas R

    2015-02-01

    Cryptosporidium is an important zoonotic parasite globally. Few studies have examined the ecology and epidemiology of this pathogen in rural tropical systems characterized by high rates of overlap among humans, domesticated animals, and wildlife. We investigated risk factors for Cryptosporidium infection and assessed cross-species transmission potential among people, non-human primates, and domestic animals in the Gombe Ecosystem, Kigoma District, Tanzania. A cross-sectional survey was designed to determine the occurrence and risk factors for Cryptosporidium infection in humans, domestic animals and wildlife living in and around Gombe National Park. Diagnostic PCR revealed Cryptosporidium infection rates of 4.3% in humans, 16.0% in non-human primates, and 9.6% in livestock. Local streams sampled were negative. DNA sequencing uncovered a complex epidemiology for Cryptosporidium in this system, with humans, baboons and a subset of chimpanzees infected with C. hominis subtype IfA12G2; another subset of chimpanzees infected with C. suis; and all positive goats and sheep infected with C. xiaoi. For humans, residence location was associated with increased risk of infection in Mwamgongo village compared to one camp (Kasekela), and there was an increased odds for infection when living in a household with another positive person. Fecal consistency and other gastrointestinal signs did not predict Cryptosporidium infection. Despite a high degree of habitat overlap between village people and livestock, our results suggest that there are distinct Cryptosporidium transmission dynamics for humans and livestock in this system. The dominance of C. hominis subtype IfA12G2 among humans and non-human primates suggest cross-species transmission. Interestingly, a subset of chimpanzees was infected with C. suis. We hypothesize that there is cross-species transmission from bush pigs (Potaochoerus larvatus) to chimpanzees in Gombe forest, since domesticated pigs are regionally absent. Our

  13. Ecosystem engineering by a gall-forming wasp indirectly suppresses diversity and density of herbivores on oak trees.

    PubMed

    Wetzel, William C; Screen, Robyn M; Li, Ivana; McKenzie, Jennifer; Phillips, Kyle A; Cruz, Melissa; Zhang, Wenbo; Greene, Austin; Lee, Esther; Singh, Nuray; Tran, Carolyn; Yang, Louie H

    2016-02-01

    Ecosystem engineers, organisms that modify the physical environment, are generally thought to increase diversity by facilitating species that benefit from engineered habitats. Recent theoretical work, however, suggests that ecosystem engineering could initiate cascades of trophic interactions that shape community structure in unexpected ways, potentially having negative indirect effects on abundance and diversity in components of the community that do not directly interact with the habitat modifications. We tested the indirect effects of a gall-forming wasp on arthropod communities in surrounding unmodified foliage. We experimentally removed all senesced galls from entire trees during winter and sampled the arthropod community on foliage after budburst. Gall removal resulted in 59% greater herbivore density, 26% greater herbivore richness, and 27% greater arthropod density five weeks after budburst. Gall removal also reduced the differences in community composition among trees (i.e., reduced beta diversity), even when accounting for differences in richness. The community inside galls during winter and through the growing season was dominated by jumping spiders (Salticidae; 0.87 ± 0.12 spiders per gall). We suggest that senesced galls provided habitat for spiders, which suppressed herbivorous arthropods and increased beta diversity by facilitating assembly of unusual arthropod communities. Our results demonstrate that the effects of habitat modification by ecosystem engineers can extend beyond merely providing habitat for specialists; the effects can propagate far enough to influence the structure of communities that do not directly interact with habitat modifications.

  14. Are fiddler crabs potentially useful ecosystem engineers in mangrove wastewater wetlands?

    PubMed

    Penha-Lopes, Gil; Bartolini, Fabrizio; Limbu, Samwel; Cannicci, Stefano; Kristensen, Erik; Paula, José

    2009-11-01

    The effect of different organic-rich sewage concentration (0%, 20% and 60% diluted in seawater) and absence or presence of mangrove trees on the survival, bioturbation activities and burrow morphology of fiddler crabs species was assessed. After 6 months, males of both species always showed higher survival ( approximately 80%) when compared to females ( approximately 20%). Crabs inhabiting pristine conditions achieved higher survival (67-87%) than those living in sewage-exposed mesocosms (40-71%). At 60% sewage loading, fiddler crabs processed less sediment (34-46%) during feeding and excavated slightly more sediment (45-80%) than at pristine conditions. While percent volume of the burrow chambers increased (13-66%) at contaminated mesocosms for both vegetation conditions, burrows were shallower (approximately 33%) in bare cells loaded with sewage. The results show that fiddler crabs presented moderate mortality levels in these artificial mangrove wetlands, but mainly in sewage impacted cells. However, they still function as ecosystem engineers through bioturbation activities and burrow construction.

  15. Teaching habitat and animal classification to fourth graders using an engineering-design model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marulcu, Ismail

    2014-05-01

    Background: The motivation for this work is built upon the premise that there is a need for research-based materials for design-based science instruction. In this paper, a small portion of our work investigating the impact of a LEGOTM engineering unit on fourth grade students' preconceptions and understanding of animals is presented. Purpose: The driving questions for our work are: (1) What is the impact of an engineering-design-based curricular module on students' understanding of habitat and animal classification? (2) What are students' misconceptions regarding animal classification and habitat? Sample: The study was conducted in an inner-city K-8 school in the northeastern region of the United States. There were two fourth grade classrooms in the school. The first classroom included seven girls and nine boys, whereas the other classroom included eight girls and eight boys. All fourth grade students participated in the study. Design and methods: In answering the research questions mixed-method approaches are used. Data collection methods included pre- and post-tests, pre- and post-interviews, student journals, and classroom observations. Identical pre- and post-tests were administered to measure students' understanding of animals. They included four multiple-choice and six open-ended questions. Identical pre- and post-interviews were administered to explore students' in-depth understanding of animals. Results: Our results show that students significantly increased their performance after instruction on both the multiple-choice questions (t = -3.586, p = .001) and the open-ended questions (t = -5.04, p = .000). They performed better on the post interviews as well. Also, it is found that design-based instruction helped students comprehend core concepts of a life science subject, animals. Conclusions: Based on these results, the main argument of the study is that engineering design is a useful framework for teaching not only physical science-related subjects, but

  16. Seasonal zooplankton dynamics in Lake Michigan: disentangling impacts of resource limitation, ecosystem engineering, and predation during a critical ecosystem transition

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Vanderploeg, Henry A.; Pothoven, Steven A.; Fahnenstiel, Gary L.; Cavaletto, Joann F.; Liebig, James R.; Stow, Craig Stow; Nalepa, Thomas F.; Madenjian, Charles P.; Bunnell, David B.

    2012-01-01

    We examined seasonal dynamics of zooplankton at an offshore station in Lake Michigan from 1994 to 2003 and 2007 to 2008. This period saw variable weather, declines in planktivorous fish abundance, the introduction and expansion of dreissenid mussels, and a slow decline in total phosphorus concentrations. After the major expansion of mussels into deep water (2007–2008), chlorophyll in spring declined sharply, Secchi depth increased markedly in all seasons, and planktivorous fish biomass declined to record-low levels. Overlaying these dramatic ecosystem-level changes, the zooplankton community exhibited complex seasonal dynamics between 1994–2003 and 2007–2008. Phenology of the zooplankton maximum was affected by onset of thermal stratification, but there was no other discernable effect due to temperature. Interannual variability in zooplankton biomass during 1994 and 2003 was strongly driven by planktivorous fish abundance, particularly age-0 and age-1 alewives. In 2007–2008, there were large decreases in Diacyclops thomasi and Daphnia mendotae possibly caused by food limitation as well as increased predation and indirect negative effects from increases in Bythotrephes longimanus abundance and in foraging efficiency associated with increased light penetration. The Bythotrephes increase was likely driven in part by decreased predation from yearling and older alewife. While there was a major decrease in epilimnetic–metalimnetic herbivorous cladocerans in 2007–2008, there was an increase in large omnivorous and predacious calanoid copepods, especially those in the hypolimnion. Thus, changes to the zooplankton community are the result of cascading, synergistic interactions, including a shift from vertebrate to invertebrate planktivory and mussel ecosystem impacts on light climate and chlorophyll.

  17. Animator

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Tech Directions, 2008

    2008-01-01

    Art and animation work is the most significant part of electronic game development, but is also found in television commercials, computer programs, the Internet, comic books, and in just about every visual media imaginable. It is the part of the project that makes an abstract design idea concrete and visible. Animators create the motion of life in…

  18. Animal models of temporomandibular joint disorders: implications for tissue engineering approaches.

    PubMed

    Almarza, Alejandro J; Hagandora, Catherine K; Henderson, Sarah E

    2011-10-01

    Animal models for temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) or degradation are necessary for assessing the value of current and future tissue engineering therapies. After reviewing the literature, it is quite apparent that most TMD animal studies can be categorized into chemical approaches or surgical/mechanical approaches. Overall, it was found that the top five cited manuscripts for all chemical models were cited by almost 40% more manuscripts than the top five manuscripts for surgical/mechanical models. It is clear that the chemical approaches have focused on the inflammatory aspect of TMDs and its relationship to pain. However, chemical irritants must be tested in larger animal models, and the effect of short-term inflammation on the mechanical properties of the fibrocartilage must be examined. Nevertheless, therapeutic approaches aimed at reducing or controlling inflammation could use the established chemical methods. Surgical/mechanical methods can be used as negative controls for first generation TMJ tissue engineering approaches when the therapy is applied immediately after injury. Next generation tissue engineering approaches will require testing on tissues degenerated for a few months after the surgical/mechanical methods, with enhanced functional assessment techniques.

  19. A 3D character animation engine for multimodal interaction on mobile devices

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sandali, Enrico; Lavagetto, Fabio; Pisano, Paolo

    2005-03-01

    Talking virtual characters are graphical simulations of real or imaginary persons that enable natural and pleasant multimodal interaction with the user, by means of voice, eye gaze, facial expression and gestures. This paper presents an implementation of a 3D virtual character animation and rendering engine, compliant with the MPEG-4 standard, running on Symbian-based SmartPhones. Real-time animation of virtual characters on mobile devices represents a challenging task, since many limitations must be taken into account with respect to processing power, graphics capabilities, disk space and execution memory size. The proposed optimization techniques allow to overcome these issues, guaranteeing a smooth and synchronous animation of facial expressions and lip movements on mobile phones such as Sony-Ericsson's P800 and Nokia's 6600. The animation engine is specifically targeted to the development of new "Over The Air" services, based on embodied conversational agents, with applications in entertainment (interactive story tellers), navigation aid (virtual guides to web sites and mobile services), news casting (virtual newscasters) and education (interactive virtual teachers).

  20. Anadromous sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) are ecosystem engineers in a spawning tributary

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hogg, Robert S.; Coghlan Jr., Stephen M.; Zydlewski, Joseph; Simon, Kevin S.

    2014-01-01

    Sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) disturb the substratum during nest construction and alter the physical habitat, potentially affecting other stream organisms. We quantified differences in depth, velocity, fine-sediment coverage, embeddedness, intragravel permeability and benthic invertebrate assemblages (density and diversity) among nest mounds, nest pits and undisturbed reference locations over a 4-month period after June spawning. In 2010 and 2011, immediate and persistent effects of nest construction were assessed in summer (July) and in autumn (late September to early October), respectively. Randomly selected nests were sampled annually (25 each in summer and autumn). Nest construction increased stream-bed complexity by creating and juxtaposing shallow, swift, rocky habitat patches with deep, slow, sandy habitat patches. Mounds had a 50–143% less cover of fine sediment, and a 30–62% reduction in embeddedness, compared to pits and reference locations. These physical changes persisted into the autumn (almost 4 months). Five insect families contributed 74% of the benthic invertebrate abundance: Chironomidae (27%), Hydropsychidae (26%), Heptageniidae (8%), Philopotamidae (7%) and Ephemerellidae (6%). Densities of Hydropsychidae, Philopotamidae and Heptageniidae were up to 10 times greater in mounds than in pits and adjacent reference habitat. In summer, mounds had twice the density of Chironomidae than did pits, and 1.5 times more than reference habitats, but densities were similar among the habitats in autumn. These results suggest that spawning sea lampreys are ecosystem engineers. The physical disturbance caused by nest-building activity was significant and persistent, increasing habitat heterogeneity and favouring pollution-sensitive benthic invertebrates and, possibly, drift-feeding fish.

  1. Manipulation of host behaviour by parasites: ecosystem engineering in the intertidal zone?

    PubMed Central

    Thomas, F.; Renaud, F.; Demee, T; Poulin, R.

    1998-01-01

    Understanding the influence of parasites on the community ecology of free-living organisms is an emerging theme in ecology. The cockle Austrovenus stutchburyi is an abundant mollusc inhabiting the sheltered shores of New Zealand. This species, which lives just few centimetres under the surface, plays a key role for many benthic invertebrate species, because in these habitats the cockle shell is the only available hard surface where invertebrates can establish. However, the behaviour of this cockle can be altered locally by a parasite, the trematode Curtuteria australis. Indeed, heavily infected cockles are unable to bury perfectly and typically lie entirely exposed at the surface of the mud. In this study, we investigated the ecological consequences of this behavioural alteration for two invertebrates species commonly associated with cockles, the anemone Anthopleura aureoradiata and the limpet Notoacmea helmsi. A field study first demonstrated that in both infected and non-infected populations of cockles, there was a negative relationship between the number of anemones and limpets found on cockles. In the laboratory, we showed that predation of limpets by anemones is possible when they share the same cockle shell. In a heavily infected population of cockles, limpets were significantly more frequent and more abundant on cockles manipulated by C. australis than on cockles with a normal behaviour. A colonization test conducted in natural conditions demonstrated that the predominance of limpets on manipulated cockles results from a direct habitat preference. Conversely, anemones were significantly less frequent and less abundant on manipulated cockles than on cockles manipulated by C. australis. A desiccation test revealed that, relative to limpets, they had a lower resistance to this physical stress. We discuss our results in relation to current ideas on ecosystem engineering by organisms.

  2. The effect of sewage discharge on the ecosystem engineering activities of two East African fiddler crab species: consequences for mangrove ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

    Bartolini, Fabrizio; Cimò, Filippo; Fusi, Marco; Dahdouh-Guebas, Farid; Lopes, Gil Penha; Cannicci, Stefano

    2011-02-01

    A number of studies have suggested that mangrove forests and their faunal components may be pre-adapted to the impact of organic waste discharge, making them possible natural wastewater treatment wetlands. However, the results from recent research are contradictory. Some studies have shown that negative effects, sometimes subtle and difficult to observe, can be detected on specific biotic components of forests subjected to organic pollution. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate possible alterations in the ecosystem engineering activities of a fiddler crab community dominating the landward belts of Kenyan mangrove forests. The total processed sediment produced by burrowing and foraging activities in a population from a peri-urban mangrove area receiving untreated domestic sewage was compared with that from a forest not affected by urban wastewater. The results showed how the peri-urban site hosted a higher biomass of crabs, which produced a significantly lower amount of processed sediment compared with the pristine site, resulting in a lower total top sediment mixing activity of the crabs. Thus, the present study showed a link between sewage exposure and top sediment reworking by crabs, which is potentially beneficial for mangrove growth and ecosystem functioning. This represents a possible example of cryptic ecological degradation in mangal systems.

  3. Ethical concepts regarding the genetic engineering of laboratory animals: A confrontation with moral beliefs from the practice of biomedical research.

    PubMed

    de Vries, R

    2006-01-01

    Intrinsic value and animal integrity are two key concepts in the debate on the ethics of the genetic engineering of laboratory animals. These concepts have, on the one hand, a theoretical origin and are, on the other hand, based on the moral beliefs of people not directly involved in the genetic modification of animals. This 'external' origin raises the question whether these concepts need to be adjusted or extended when confronted with the moral experiences and opinions of people directly involved in the creation or use of transgenic laboratory animals. To answer this question, 35 persons from the practice of biomedical research who are directly involved in genetic engineering (scientists, biotechnicians, animal caretakers and laboratory animal scientists) were interviewed. They were asked to give their moral opinion on different aspects of the genetic engineering of animals and to react to statements about the concepts of intrinsic value and animal integrity. Analysis of the interviews showed that, contrary to what is often assumed, the respondents embraced these concepts, even those senses that (more) specifically apply to genetic engineering. And although the respondents raised some objections that go beyond issues of animal welfare, these objections could quite well be expressed in terms of the concepts of intrinsic value and animal integrity. In short, the results of the present study strongly suggest that these concepts do not have to be adjusted or extended in the light of the moral experiences and opinions from practice.

  4. The Iron Redox Engine Drives Carbon, Nitrogen, and Phosphorus Cycling in Terrestrial Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Silver, W. L.; Hall, S. J.; Liptzin, D.; Yang, W. H.

    2011-12-01

    ways. Iron oxidation can be coupled with NO3- or NO2- reduction resulting in N2, N2O, or NH4+ production. Iron reduction can catalyze NH4+ oxidation to N2, NO2-, or NO3- through a newly described process call Feammox. Nitrite or NO3- produced via Feammox can be subsequently reduced to N2O via denitrification or to NH4+ via dissimilatory reduction. Iron interacts with P cycling through the effects of redox on Fe-P bonds. Evidence suggests that P sorbed to Fe oxides is liberated during Fe reduction, and can re-react with Fe(III) under oxidizing conditions. This results in short pulses of P availability in fluctuating redox environments such as humid, upland soils. Fe-P redox dynamics may facilitate P retention and higher P-use efficiency in high rainfall environments. Our results show that Fe is a key biogeochemical engine in soil systems, particularly under conditions of fluctuating redox. Biogeochemical cycles coupled with Fe result in greenhouse gas production and impact nutrient availability in terrestrial ecosystems. The redox sensitivity of these reactions suggests that they are likely to be particularly responsive to changes in precipitation, temperature, and other drivers of soil water dynamics associated with climate change.

  5. Elephants in the understory: opposing direct and indirect effects of consumption and ecosystem engineering by megaherbivores.

    PubMed

    Coverdale, Tyler C; Kartzinel, Tyler R; Grabowski, Kathryn L; Shriver, Robert K; Hassan, Abdikadir A; Goheen, Jacob R; Palmer, Todd M; Pringle, Robert M

    2016-11-01

    Positive indirect effects of consumers on their resources can stabilize food webs by preventing overexploitation, but the coupling of trophic and non-trophic interactions remains poorly integrated into our understanding of community dynamics. Elephants engineer African savanna ecosystems by toppling trees and breaking branches, and although their negative effects on trees are well documented, their effects on small-statured plants remain poorly understood. Using data on 117 understory plant taxa collected over 7 yr within 36 1-ha experimental plots in a semi-arid Kenyan savanna, we measured the strength and direction of elephant impacts on understory vegetation. We found that elephants had neutral effects on most (83-89%) species, with a similar frequency of positive and negative responses among the remainder. Overall, estimated understory biomass was 5-14% greater in the presence of elephants across a range of rainfall levels. Whereas direct consumption likely accounts for the negative effects, positive effects are presumably indirect. We hypothesized that elephants create associational refuges for understory plants by damaging tree canopies in ways that physically inhibit feeding by other large herbivores. As predicted, understory biomass and species richness beneath elephant-damaged trees were 55% and 21% greater, respectively, than under undamaged trees. Experimentally simulated elephant damage increased understory biomass by 37% and species richness by 49% after 1 yr. Conversely, experimentally removing elephant damaged branches decreased understory biomass by 39% and richness by 30% relative to sham-manipulated trees. Camera-trap surveys revealed that elephant damage reduced the frequency of herbivory by 71%, whereas we detected no significant effect of damage on temperature, light, or soil moisture. We conclude that elephants locally facilitate understory plants by creating refuges from herbivory, which countervails the direct negative effects of

  6. Successful creation of tissue-engineered autologous auricular cartilage in an immunocompetent large animal model.

    PubMed

    Bichara, David A; Pomerantseva, Irina; Zhao, Xing; Zhou, Libin; Kulig, Katherine M; Tseng, Alan; Kimura, Anya M; Johnson, Matthew A; Vacanti, Joseph P; Randolph, Mark A; Sundback, Cathryn A

    2014-01-01

    Tissue-engineered cartilage has historically been an attractive alternative treatment option for auricular reconstruction. However, the ability to reliably generate autologous auricular neocartilage in an immunocompetent preclinical model should first be established. The objectives of this study were to demonstrate engineered autologous auricular cartilage in the immunologically aggressive subcutaneous environment of an immunocompetent animal model, and to determine the impact of in vitro culture duration of chondrocyte-seeded constructs on the quality of neocartilage maturation in vivo. Auricular cartilage was harvested from eight adult sheep; chondrocytes were isolated, expanded in vitro, and seeded onto fibrous collagen scaffolds. Constructs were cultured in vitro for 2, 6, and 12 weeks, and then implanted autologously in sheep and in control nude mice for 6 and 12 weeks. Explanted tissue was stained with hematoxylin and eosin, safranin O, toluidine blue, collagen type II, and elastin. DNA and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) were quantified. The quality of cartilage engineered in sheep decreased with prolonged in vitro culture time. Superior cartilage formation was demonstrated after 2 weeks of in vitro culture; the neocartilage quality improved with increased implantation time. In nude mice, neocartilage resembled native sheep auricular cartilage regardless of the in vitro culture length, with the exception of elastin expression. The DNA quantification was similar in all engineered and native cartilage (p>0.1). All cartilage engineered in sheep had significantly less GAG than native cartilage (p<0.02); significantly more GAG was observed with increased implantation time (p<0.02). In mice, the GAG content was similar to that of native cartilage and became significantly higher with increased in vitro or in vivo durations (p<0.02). Autologous auricular cartilage was successfully engineered in the subcutaneous environment of an ovine model using expanded chondrocytes

  7. History and future of genetically engineered food animal regulation: an open request.

    PubMed

    Wells, Kevin D

    2016-06-01

    Modern biotechnology resulted from of a series of incremental improvements in the understanding of DNA and the enzymes that nature evolved to manipulate it. As the potential impact of genetic engineering became apparent, scientists began the process of trying to identify the potential unintended consequences. Restrictions to recombinant DNA experimentation were at first self-imposed. Collaborative efforts between scientists and lawyers formalized an initial set of guidelines. These guidelines have been used to promulgate regulations around world. However, the initial guidelines were only intended as a starting point and were motivated by a specific set of concerns. As new data became available, the guidelines and regulations should have been adapted to the new knowledge. Instead, other social drivers drove the development of regulations. For most species and most applications, the framework that was established has slowly allowed some products to reach the market. However, genetically engineered livestock that are intended for food have been left in a regulatory state of limbo. To date, no genetically engineered food animal is available in the marketplace. A short history and a U.S.-based genetic engineer's perspective are presented. In addition, a request to regulatory agencies is presented for consideration as regulation continues to evolve. Regulators appear to have shown preference for the slow, random progression of evolution over the efficiency of intentional design.

  8. Metabolic engineering of apoptosis in cultured animal cells: implications for the biotechnology industry.

    PubMed

    Vives, Joaquim; Juanola, Sandra; Cairó, Jordi Joan; Gòdia, Francesc

    2003-04-01

    Animal cells have been widely used to obtain a wide range of products for human and animal healthcare applications. However, the extreme sensitivity of these cells in respect to changes experienced in their environment is evidenced by the activation of a gene-encoded program known as apoptosis, resulting in their death and destruction. From the bioprocess angle, losses in cell viability bring lower productivities and higher risks of product degradation. Consequently, many research efforts have been devoted to the development of apoptosis protective mechanisms, including the metabolic engineering of apoptosis pathways, that has proven effective in diminishing programmed cell death in a variety of biotechnological relevant cell lines. This review is focused especially in the encouraging initial results obtained with the over-expression of cloned anti-apoptosis genes, from both endogenous and viral origin interfering at mitochondrial and initiator caspases levels.

  9. From microcarriers to hydrodynamics: introducing engineering science into animal cell culture.

    PubMed

    Croughan, Matthew S; Hu, Wei-Shou

    2006-10-05

    Professor Daniel I.C. Wang has conducted research in animal cell culture for approximately 40 years. Over that long time period and still to this day, he successfully addresses a multitude of engineering challenges, taking a unique, creative, systems-driven but still fundamental approach. As mammalian cell culture has become the predominant method of manufacturing therapeutic proteins, the impact of his leadership, not only in research but also student recruitment and education, has played a key role in the success of the bio/pharmaceutical industry.

  10. Burrowing seabird effects on invertebrate communities in soil and litter are dominated by ecosystem engineering rather than nutrient addition.

    PubMed

    Orwin, Kate H; Wardle, David A; Towns, David R; St John, Mark G; Bellingham, Peter J; Jones, Chris; Fitzgerald, Brian M; Parrish, Richard G; Lyver, Phil O'B

    2016-01-01

    Vertebrate consumers can be important drivers of the structure and functioning of ecosystems, including the soil and litter invertebrate communities that drive many ecosystem processes. Burrowing seabirds, as prevalent vertebrate consumers, have the potential to impact consumptive effects via adding marine nutrients to soil (i.e. resource subsidies) and non-consumptive effects via soil disturbance associated with excavating burrows (i.e. ecosystem engineering). However, the exact mechanisms by which they influence invertebrates are poorly understood. We examined how soil chemistry and plant and invertebrate communities changed across a gradient of seabird burrow density on two islands in northern New Zealand. Increasing seabird burrow density was associated with increased soil nutrient availability and changes in plant community structure and the abundance of nearly all the measured invertebrate groups. Increasing seabird densities had a negative effect on invertebrates that were strongly influenced by soil-surface litter, a positive effect on fungal-feeding invertebrates, and variable effects on invertebrate groups with diverse feeding strategies. Gastropoda and Araneae species richness and composition were also influenced by seabird activity. Generalized multilevel path analysis revealed that invertebrate responses were strongly driven by seabird engineering effects, via increased soil disturbance, reduced soil-surface litter, and changes in trophic interactions. Almost no significant effects of resource subsidies were detected. Our results show that seabirds, and in particular their non-consumptive effects, were significant drivers of invertebrate food web structure. Reductions in seabird populations, due to predation and human activity, may therefore have far-reaching consequences for the functioning of these ecosystems.

  11. Ecological Engineering of the City: The Urban Ecosystem. Urban Ecology Series, No. 8.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Department of the Interior, Washington, DC.

    The cities of the world are great engineering feats. From the earliest dwellings of man constructed out of the raw materials of the environment, man has used his ingenuity to work engineering wonders that improve the circumstances of human life. By engineering technological skills, human beings have altered the environment to suit varied…

  12. Resource quantity and quality determine the inter-specific associations between ecosystem engineers and resource users in a cavity-nest web.

    PubMed

    Robles, Hugo; Martin, Kathy

    2013-01-01

    While ecosystem engineering is a widespread structural force of ecological communities, the mechanisms underlying the inter-specific associations between ecosystem engineers and resource users are poorly understood. A proper knowledge of these mechanisms is, however, essential to understand how communities are structured. Previous studies suggest that increasing the quantity of resources provided by ecosystem engineers enhances populations of resource users. In a long-term study (1995-2011), we show that the quality of the resources (i.e. tree cavities) provided by ecosystem engineers is also a key feature that explains the inter-specific associations in a tree cavity-nest web. Red-naped sapsuckers (Sphyrapicusnuchalis) provided the most abundant cavities (52% of cavities, 0.49 cavities/ha). These cavities were less likely to be used than other cavity types by mountain bluebirds (Sialiacurrucoides), but provided numerous nest-sites (41% of nesting cavities) to tree swallows (Tachycinetabicolour). Swallows experienced low reproductive outputs in northern flicker (Colaptesauratus) cavities compared to those in sapsucker cavities (1.1 vs. 2.1 fledglings/nest), but the highly abundant flickers (33% of cavities, 0.25 cavities/ha) provided numerous suitable nest-sites for bluebirds (58%). The relative shortage of cavities supplied by hairy woodpeckers (Picoidesvillosus) and fungal/insect decay (<10% of cavities each, <0.09 cavities/ha) provided fewer breeding opportunities (<15% of nests), but represented high quality nest-sites for both bluebirds and swallows. Because both the quantity and quality of resources supplied by different ecosystem engineers may explain the amount of resources used by each resource user, conservation strategies may require different management actions to be implemented for the key ecosystem engineer of each resource user. We, therefore, urge the incorporation of both resource quantity and quality into models that assess community dynamics to

  13. Measuring ecosystem functioning of soil mega-aggregates produced by soil/litter mix-feeding animals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaneko, N.

    2009-04-01

    on their seed nutrient, and the canopy oak trees seem to be nutrient limited. Thus in this forest, the nutrient condition mediated by earthworm activity was a strong factor influencing plant species-specific growth and this correlation was clear when we used the cast abundance as an independent factor but it was not clear when we used the worm abundance or biomass for explanation variables. In laboratory incubations, fresh casts of earthworm Metaphire hilgendorfi contained higher NH4-N which was mostly nitrified within 4-weeks. The 4-weeks aged casts of the earthworm and millipede Parafontaria laminata emitted significantly more N2O whereas the modified soil had strong CH4 acidification capacity. Therefore the animal effects on greenhouse effect gas should be evaluated for CO2, N2O and CH4 at the same time. We then confirmed that megaaggregates, probably cast origin, tended to contain more carbon than fine soil. Combining our data from various study sites in Japan, the amount of carbon contained in megaaggregates (> 2 mm) in 0-5 cm layer ranged from 200 to 1000 g C per m2. Animal feeding activities maintained substantial amount of surface soil aggregates. Therefore, the activity of soil/litter mix feeders can be linked to the carbon dynamics by evaluating worm's soil engineering effect.

  14. Using genetically engineered animal models in the postgenomic era to understand gene function in alcoholism.

    PubMed

    Reilly, Matthew T; Harris, R Adron; Noronha, Antonio

    2012-01-01

    Over the last 50 years, researchers have made substantial progress in identifying genetic variations that underlie the complex phenotype of alcoholism. Not much is known, however, about how this genetic variation translates into altered biological function. Genetic animal models recapitulating specific characteristics of the human condition have helped elucidate gene function and the genetic basis of disease. In particular, major advances have come from the ability to manipulate genes through a variety of genetic technologies that provide an unprecedented capacity to determine gene function in the living organism and in alcohol-related behaviors. Even newer genetic-engineering technologies have given researchers the ability to control when and where a specific gene or mutation is activated or deleted, allowing investigators to narrow the role of the gene's function to circumscribed neural pathways and across development. These technologies are important for all areas of neuroscience, and several public and private initiatives are making a new generation of genetic-engineering tools available to the scientific community at large. Finally, high-throughput "next-generation sequencing" technologies are set to rapidly increase knowledge of the genome, epigenome, and transcriptome, which, combined with genetically engineered mouse mutants, will enhance insight into biological function. All of these resources will provide deeper insight into the genetic basis of alcoholism.

  15. Role of stem cells in large animal genetic engineering in the TALENs-CRISPR era.

    PubMed

    Park, Ki-Eun; Telugu, Bhanu Prakash V L

    2013-01-01

    The establishment of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and gene targeting technologies in mice has revolutionised the field of genetics. The relative ease with which genes can be knocked out, and exogenous sequences introduced, has allowed the mouse to become the prime model for deciphering the genetic code. Not surprisingly, the lack of authentic ESCs has hampered the livestock genetics field and has forced animal scientists into adapting alternative technologies for genetic engineering. The recent discovery of the creation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) by upregulation of a handful of reprogramming genes has offered renewed enthusiasm to animal geneticists. However, much like ESCs, establishing authentic iPSCs from the domestic animals is still beset with problems, including (but not limited to) the persistent expression of reprogramming genes and the lack of proven potential for differentiation into target cell types both in vitro and in vivo. Site-specific nucleases comprised of zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs), transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) and clustered regulated interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPRs) emerged as powerful genetic tools for precisely editing the genome, usurping the need for ESC-based genetic modifications even in the mouse. In this article, in the aftermath of these powerful genome editing technologies, the role of pluripotent stem cells in livestock genetics is discussed.

  16. Genetically engineered livestock for agriculture: a generation after the first transgenic animal research conference.

    PubMed

    Murray, James D; Maga, Elizabeth A

    2016-06-01

    At the time of the first Transgenic Animal Research Conference, the lack of knowledge about promoter, enhancer and coding regions of genes of interest greatly hampered our efforts to create transgenes that would express appropriately in livestock. Additionally, we were limited to gene insertion by pronuclear microinjection. As predicted then, widespread genome sequencing efforts and technological advancements have profoundly altered what we can do. There have been many developments in technology to create transgenic animals since we first met at Granlibakken in 1997, including the advent of somatic cell nuclear transfer-based cloning and gene editing. We can now create new transgenes that will express when and where we want and can target precisely in the genome where we want to make a change or insert a transgene. With the large number of sequenced genomes, we have unprecedented access to sequence information including, control regions, coding regions, and known allelic variants. These technological developments have ushered in new and renewed enthusiasm for the production of transgenic animals among scientists and animal agriculturalists around the world, both for the production of more relevant biomedical research models as well as for agricultural applications. However, even though great advancements have been made in our ability to control gene expression and target genetic changes in our animals, there still are no genetically engineered animal products on the market for food. World-wide there has been a failure of the regulatory processes to effectively move forward. Estimates suggest the world will need to increase our current food production 70 % by 2050; that is we will have to produce the total amount of food each year that has been consumed by mankind over the past 500 years. The combination of transgenic animal technology and gene editing will become increasingly more important tools to help feed the world. However, to date the practical benefits of

  17. Hemigrapsus sanguineus in Long Island salt marshes: experimental evaluation of the interactions between an invasive crab and resident ecosystem engineers.

    PubMed

    Peterson, Bradley J; Fournier, Alexa M; Furman, Bradley T; Carroll, John M

    2014-01-01

    The invasive Asian shore crab, Hemigrapsus sanguineus, has recently been observed occupying salt marshes, a novel environment for this crab species. As it invades this new habitat, it is likely to interact with a number of important salt marsh species. To understand the potential effects of H. sanguineus on this ecosystem, interactions between this invasive crab and important salt marsh ecosystem engineers were examined. Laboratory experiments demonstrated competition for burrows between H. sanguineus and the native fiddler crab, Uca pugilator. Results indicate that H. sanguineus is able to displace an established fiddler crab from its burrow. Feeding experiments revealed that the presence of H. sanguineus has a significantly negative impact on the number as well as the biomass of ribbed mussels (Geukensia demissa) consumed by the green crab, Carcinus maenas, although this only occurred at high predator densities. In addition, when both crabs foraged together, there was a significant shift in the size of mussels consumed. These interactions suggests that H. sanguineus may have long-term impacts and wide-ranging negative effects on the saltmarsh ecosystem.

  18. Hemigrapsus sanguineus in Long Island salt marshes: experimental evaluation of the interactions between an invasive crab and resident ecosystem engineers

    PubMed Central

    Fournier, Alexa M.; Furman, Bradley T.; Carroll, John M.

    2014-01-01

    The invasive Asian shore crab, Hemigrapsus sanguineus, has recently been observed occupying salt marshes, a novel environment for this crab species. As it invades this new habitat, it is likely to interact with a number of important salt marsh species. To understand the potential effects of H. sanguineus on this ecosystem, interactions between this invasive crab and important salt marsh ecosystem engineers were examined. Laboratory experiments demonstrated competition for burrows between H. sanguineus and the native fiddler crab, Uca pugilator. Results indicate that H. sanguineus is able to displace an established fiddler crab from its burrow. Feeding experiments revealed that the presence of H. sanguineus has a significantly negative impact on the number as well as the biomass of ribbed mussels (Geukensia demissa) consumed by the green crab, Carcinus maenas, although this only occurred at high predator densities. In addition, when both crabs foraged together, there was a significant shift in the size of mussels consumed. These interactions suggests that H. sanguineus may have long-term impacts and wide-ranging negative effects on the saltmarsh ecosystem. PMID:25071995

  19. The Arteriovenous (AV) Loop in a Small Animal Model to Study Angiogenesis and Vascularized Tissue Engineering.

    PubMed

    Weigand, Annika; Beier, Justus P; Arkudas, Andreas; Al-Abboodi, Majida; Polykandriotis, Elias; Horch, Raymund E; Boos, Anja M

    2016-11-02

    A functional blood vessel network is a prerequisite for the survival and growth of almost all tissues and organs in the human body. Moreover, in pathological situations such as cancer, vascularization plays a leading role in disease progression. Consequently, there is a strong need for a standardized and well-characterized in vivo model in order to elucidate the mechanisms of neovascularization and develop different vascularization approaches for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. We describe a microsurgical approach for a small animal model for induction of a vascular axis consisting of a vein and artery that are anastomosed to an arteriovenous (AV) loop. The AV loop is transferred to an enclosed implantation chamber to create an isolated microenvironment in vivo, which is connected to the living organism only by means of the vascular axis. Using 3D imaging (MRI, micro-CT) and immunohistology, the growing vasculature can be visualized over time. By implanting different cells, growth factors and matrices, their function in blood vessel network formation can be analyzed without any disturbing influences from the surroundings in a well controllable environment. In addition to angiogenesis and antiangiogenesis studies, the AV loop model is also perfectly suited for engineering vascularized tissues. After a certain prevascularization time, the generated tissues can be transplanted into the defect site and microsurgically connected to the local vessels, thereby ensuring immediate blood supply and integration of the engineered tissue. By varying the matrices, cells, growth factors and chamber architecture, it is possible to generate various tissues, which can then be tailored to the individual patient's needs.

  20. Animal Thermoregulation and the Operative Environmental (Equivalent) Temperature. Physical Processes in Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecosystems, Transport Process.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Stevenson, R. D.

    These materials were designed to be used by life science students for instruction in the application of physical theory to ecosystem operation. Most modules contain computer programs which are built around a particular application of a physical process. Thermoregulation is defined as the ability of an organism to modify its body temperature. This…

  1. Evidence of Facilitation Cascade Processes as Drivers of Successional Patterns of Ecosystem Engineers at the Upper Altitudinal Limit of the Dry Puna

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    Facilitation processes constitute basic elements of vegetation dynamics in harsh systems. Recent studies in tropical alpine environments demonstrated how pioneer plant species defined as “ecosystem engineers” are capable of enhancing landscape-level richness by adding new species to the community through the modification of microhabitats, and also provided hints about the alternation of different ecosystem engineers over time. Nevertheless, most of the existing works analysed different ecosystem engineers separately, without considering the interaction of different ecosystem engineers. Focusing on the altitudinal limit of Peruvian Dry Puna vegetation, we hypothesized that positive interactions structure plant communities by facilitation cascades involving different ecosystem engineers, determining the evolution of the microhabitat patches in terms of abiotic resources and beneficiary species hosted. To analyze successional mechanisms, we used a “space-for-time” substitution to account for changes over time, and analyzed data on soil texture, composition, and temperature, facilitated species and their interaction with nurse species, and surface area of engineered patches by means of chemical analyses, indicator species analysis, and rarefaction curves. A successional process, resulting from the dynamic interaction of different ecosystem engineers, which determined a progressive amelioration of soil conditions (e.g. nitrogen and organic matter content, and temperature), was the main driver of species assemblage at the community scale, enhancing species richness. Cushion plants act as pioneers, by starting the successional processes that continue with shrubs and tussocks. Tussock grasses have sometimes been found to be capable of creating microhabitat patches independently. The dynamics of species assemblage seem to follow the nested assemblage mechanism, in which the first foundation species to colonize a habitat provides a novel substrate for colonization by

  2. A new osteonecrosis animal model of the femoral head induced by microwave heating and repaired with tissue engineered bone

    PubMed Central

    Han, Rui; Geng, Chengkui; Wang, Yongnian; Wei, Lei

    2008-01-01

    The objective of this research was to induce a new animal model of osteonecrosis of the femoral head (ONFH) by microwave heating and then repair with tissue engineered bone. The bilateral femoral heads of 84 rabbits were heated by microwave at various temperatures. Tissue engineered bone was used to repair the osteonecrosis of femoral heads induced by microwave heating. The roentgenographic and histological examinations were used to evaluate the results. The femoral heads heated at 55°C for ten minutes showed low density and cystic changes in X-ray photographs, osteonecrosis and repair occurred simultaneously in histology at four and eight weeks, and 69% femoral heads collapsed at 12 weeks. The ability of tissue engineered bone to repair the osteonecrosis was close to that of cancellous bone autograft. The new animal model of ONFH could be induced by microwave heating, and the tissue engineering technique will provide an effective treatment. PMID:18956184

  3. The Vietnamese pig as a translational animal model to evaluate tissue engineered heart valves: promising early experience.

    PubMed

    Gallo, Michele; Poser, Helen; Bottio, Tomaso; Bonetti, Antonella; Franci, Paolo; Naso, Filippo; Buratto, Edward; Zanella, Fabio; Perona, Giovanni; Dal Lin, Carlo; Bianco, Roberto; Spina, Michele; Busetto, Roberto; Marchini, Maurizio; Ortolani, Fulvia; Iop, Laura; Gerosa, Gino

    2017-03-27

    Several animal models are currently used for the surgical implantation of either biologic or biopolymeric scaffolds in order to provide in vivo assessment of tissue-engineered heart valves. The Vietnamese pig (VP) is herein proposed as a suitable recipient to test the function of novel bioengineered valve substitutes, in the reconstruction of the right ventricular outflow tract (RVOT). This review aims to provide a complete and exhaustive panel of physiological parameters and methodological information for preclinical studies of tissue-engineered heart valves in the VP animal model.

  4. Effects of tropical ecosystem engineers on soil quality and crop performance under different tillage and residue management

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pulleman, Mirjam; Paul, Birthe; Fredrick, Ayuke; Hoogmoed, Marianne; Hurisso, Tunsisa; Ndabamenye, Telesphore; Saidou, Koala; Terano, Yusuke; Six, Johan; Vanlauwe, Bernard

    2014-05-01

    Feeding a future global population of 9 billion will require a 70-100% increase in food production, resulting in unprecedented challenges for agriculture and natural resources, especially in Sub-saharan Africa (SSA). Agricultural practices that contribute to sustainable intensification build on beneficial biological interactions and ecosystem services. Termites are the dominant soil ecosystem engineers in arid to sub-humid tropical agro-ecosystems. Various studies have demonstrated the potential benefits of termites for rehabilitation of degraded and crusted soils and plant growth in semi-arid and arid natural ecosystems. However, the contribution of termites to agricultural productivity has hardly been experimentally investigated, and their role in Conservation Agriculture (CA) systems remains especially unclear. Therefore, this study aimed to quantify the effects of termites and ants on soil physical quality and crop productivity under different tillage and residue management systems in the medium term. A randomized block trial was set up in sub-humid Western Kenya in 2003. Treatments included a factorial combination of residue retention and removal (+R/-R) and conventional and reduced tillage (+T/-T) under a maize (Zea mays L.) and soybean (Glyxine max. L.) rotation. A macrofauna exclusion experiment was superimposed in 2005 as a split-plot factor (exclusion +ins; inclusion -ins) by regular applications of pesticides (Dursban and Endosulfan) in half of the plots. Macrofauna abundance and diversity, soil aggregate fractions, soil carbon contents and crop yields were measured between 2005 and 2012 at 0-15 cm and 15-30 cm soil depths. Termites were the most important macrofauna species, constituting between 48-63% of all soil biota, while ants were 13-34%, whereas earthworms were present in very low numbers. Insecticide application was effective in reducing termites (85-56% exclusion efficacy) and earthworms (87%), and less so ants (49-81%) at 0-15 cm soil depth

  5. Ecosystem engineering creates a direct nutritional link between 600-m deep cold-water coral mounds and surface productivity.

    PubMed

    Soetaert, Karline; Mohn, Christian; Rengstorf, Anna; Grehan, Anthony; van Oevelen, Dick

    2016-10-11

    Cold-water corals (CWCs) form large mounds on the seafloor that are hotspots of biodiversity in the deep sea, but it remains enigmatic how CWCs can thrive in this food-limited environment. Here, we infer from model simulations that the interaction between tidal currents and CWC-formed mounds induces downwelling events of surface water that brings organic matter to 600-m deep CWCs. This positive feedback between CWC growth on carbonate mounds and enhanced food supply is essential for their sustenance in the deep sea and represents an example of ecosystem engineering of unparalleled magnitude. This 'topographically-enhanced carbon pump' leaks organic matter that settles at greater depths. The ubiquitous presence of biogenic and geological topographies along ocean margins suggests that carbon sequestration through this pump is of global importance. These results indicate that enhanced stratification and lower surface productivity, both expected consequences of climate change, may negatively impact the energy balance of CWCs.

  6. Ecosystem engineering creates a direct nutritional link between 600-m deep cold-water coral mounds and surface productivity

    PubMed Central

    Soetaert, Karline; Mohn, Christian; Rengstorf, Anna; Grehan, Anthony; van Oevelen, Dick

    2016-01-01

    Cold-water corals (CWCs) form large mounds on the seafloor that are hotspots of biodiversity in the deep sea, but it remains enigmatic how CWCs can thrive in this food-limited environment. Here, we infer from model simulations that the interaction between tidal currents and CWC-formed mounds induces downwelling events of surface water that brings organic matter to 600-m deep CWCs. This positive feedback between CWC growth on carbonate mounds and enhanced food supply is essential for their sustenance in the deep sea and represents an example of ecosystem engineering of unparalleled magnitude. This ’topographically-enhanced carbon pump’ leaks organic matter that settles at greater depths. The ubiquitous presence of biogenic and geological topographies along ocean margins suggests that carbon sequestration through this pump is of global importance. These results indicate that enhanced stratification and lower surface productivity, both expected consequences of climate change, may negatively impact the energy balance of CWCs. PMID:27725742

  7. Guidelines for seagrass restoration: importance of habitat selection and donor population, spreading of risks, and ecosystem engineering effects.

    PubMed

    van Katwijk, M M; Bos, A R; de Jonge, V N; Hanssen, L S A M; Hermus, D C R; de Jong, D J

    2009-02-01

    Large-scale losses of seagrass beds have been reported for decades and lead to numerous restoration programs. From worldwide scientific literature and 20 years of seagrass restoration research in the Wadden Sea, we review and evaluate the traditional guidelines and propose new guidelines for seagrass restoration. Habitat and donor selection are crucial: large differences in survival were found among habitats and among donor populations. The need to preferably transplant in historically confirmed seagrass habitats, and to collect donor material from comparable habitats, were underlined by our results. The importance of sufficient genetic variation of donor material and prevention of genetic isolation by distance was reviewed. The spreading of risks among transplantation sites, which differed in habitat characteristics (or among replicate sites), was positively evaluated. The importance of ecosystem engineering was shown in two ways: seagrass self-facilitation and facilitation by shellfish reefs. Seagrass self-facilitative properties may require a large transplantation scale or additional measures.

  8. Ecosystem engineering creates a direct nutritional link between 600-m deep cold-water coral mounds and surface productivity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Soetaert, Karline; Mohn, Christian; Rengstorf, Anna; Grehan, Anthony; van Oevelen, Dick

    2016-10-01

    Cold-water corals (CWCs) form large mounds on the seafloor that are hotspots of biodiversity in the deep sea, but it remains enigmatic how CWCs can thrive in this food-limited environment. Here, we infer from model simulations that the interaction between tidal currents and CWC-formed mounds induces downwelling events of surface water that brings organic matter to 600-m deep CWCs. This positive feedback between CWC growth on carbonate mounds and enhanced food supply is essential for their sustenance in the deep sea and represents an example of ecosystem engineering of unparalleled magnitude. This ’topographically-enhanced carbon pump’ leaks organic matter that settles at greater depths. The ubiquitous presence of biogenic and geological topographies along ocean margins suggests that carbon sequestration through this pump is of global importance. These results indicate that enhanced stratification and lower surface productivity, both expected consequences of climate change, may negatively impact the energy balance of CWCs.

  9. Field calibration of soil-core microcosms for evaluating fate and effects of genetically engineered microorganisms in terrestrial ecosystems

    SciTech Connect

    Bolton, H Jr; Fredrickson, J K; Bentjen, S A; Workman, D J; Li, S W; Thomas, J M

    1991-04-01

    Pacific Northwest Laboratory compared intact soil-core microcosms and the field for ecosystem structural and functional properties after the introduction of a model genetically engineered microorganism (GEM). This project used two distinct microbial types as model GEMs, Gram-negative Pseudomonas sp. RC1, which was an aggressive root colonizer, and Gram-positive Streptomyces lividans TK24. The model GEMs were added to surface soil in separate studies, with RC1 studied throughout the growth of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum), while TK24 was studied throughout a ten month period. Also, RC1 was used in studies conducted during two consecutive field seasons (1988 to 1990) to determine how year-to-year field variability influenced the calibration of microcosms with the field. The main conclusions of this research were that intact soil-core microcosms can be useful to simulate the field for studies of microbial fate and effects on ecosystem structural and functional properties. In general, microcosms in the growth chamber, which simulated average field variations, were similar to the field for most parameters or differences could be attributed to the great extremes in temperature that occurred in the field compared to the microcosms. Better controls of environmental variables including temperature and moisture will be necessary to more closely simulate the field for future use of microcosms for risk assessment. 126 refs., 13 figs., 12 tabs.

  10. Designing an accompanying ecosystem to foster entrepreneurship among agronomic and forestry engineering students. Opinion and commitment of university lecturers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ortiz-Medina, L.; Fernández-Ahumada, E.; Lara-Vélez, P.; Taguas, E. V.; Gallardo-Cobos, R.; del Campillo, M. C.; Guerrero-Ginel, J. E.

    2016-07-01

    In the Higher School of Agronomic and Forestry Engineering of the University of Cordoba, a collective project conceived as an 'ecosystem to support and accompany entrepreneurs' has been proposed. The approach aims to spread and consolidate the entrepreneurial spirit and to respond to the demands of possible stakeholders involved in the whole process of training, as well as the subsequent integration of graduates into the labour market. Putting into practice this initiative, which involves multiple actors, is a complex and difficult task. For this reason, prior to its implementation, the authors considered it necessary to listen to main stakeholders' opinions and evaluate their degree of commitment and the requirements they consider important for the viability and sustainability of the initiative. This paper focuses on the faculty's opinions, gathered by means of a survey conducted with the entire faculty (N = 128, response rate = 45%) and semi-structured interviews held with 20 members of the School board. The results suggest that there is a general consensus on the suitability of this collective project and that there is a core of teachers willing to get involved. Evidently, guidelines need to be produced to facilitate taking on such tasks. However, the main drawbacks are related with the conflict between formal requirements of professor professional profile and the steps needed to establish the ecosystem.

  11. Designing an accompanying ecosystem for entrepreneurship students of agronomic and forestry engineering. Opinion and commitment of the faculty

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ortiz, Leovigilda; Fernández-Ahumada, Elvira; Lara-Vélez, Pablo; Taguas, Encarnación V.; Gallardo-Cobos, Rosa; Campillo, M. Carmen; Guerrero-Ginel, José E.

    2014-05-01

    The current context has called attention to the need of training engineers with new skills beyond the purely technical. Among others, fostering the entrepreneurial spirit has gained special prominence. In the Higher School of Agronomic and Forestry Engineering of the University of Cordoba, a 12-year-experience of an entrepreneurship program for undergraduate students concluded that, for an adequate consolidation and evolution of the program, is important to establish a robust network with active participation of all actors involved. With this antecedent, a collective project conceived as an "ecosystem of support and accompaniment for entrepreneurs" is the approach proposed. The objective is to perform an evaluation of this model in terms of viability, usefulness, actions to be taken and degree of commitment. The key actors identified (undergraduate students, faculty, alumni, local and regional entrepreneurs, enterprises, public administration) have been involved in the evaluation process. This study focuses on the academic staff. For that aim, a survey to the entire faculty (N=128, response rate = 45%) and semi-structured interviews to 20 members have been performed. Data have been treated by means of univariate and multivariate analysis. Results suggest that there exists an agreement concerning the appropriateness of a collective project; there is a critical mass of teachers willing to be engaged; guidelines need to be incorporated in order to facilitate taking on tasks; main restrictions concern the existing asymmetry between formal requirements and those necessary for establishing the ecosystem. ACKNOWLEDGMENT: This research work has been developed in the framework of the ALFA III programme financed by the European Union.

  12. Both host plant and ecosystem engineer identity influence leaf-tie impacts on the arthropod community of Quercus.

    PubMed

    Wang, H George; Marquis, Robert J; Baer, Christina S

    2012-10-01

    Many insect herbivores build shelters on plants, which are then colonized by other arthropod species. To understand the impacts of such ecosystem engineering on associated species, the contributions of ecosystem engineer and host-plant identities must be understood. We investigated these contingencies at the patch scale using two species of leaf-tying caterpillars, which vary in size and tie construction mode, on eight species of oak (Quercus) trees, which vary in leaf size and leaf chemistry. We created three types of artificial leaf ties by clipping together pairs of adjacent leaves using metal hair clips. We left the first type of leaf tie empty while adding individuals of the leaf-tying caterpillars of either Pseudotelphusa quercinigracella or Psilocorsis cryptolechiella to the other two. We also created a control treatment of untied leaves by affixing clips to single leaves. Leaf ties increased occupancy in the early season and arthropod alpha diversity throughout the experiment, on average fourfold. Furthermore, the presence of leaf ties increased arthropod species density on average three times and abundance 10-35 times, depending on the plant species. The mean phenolic content of the leaves of each oak species was positively correlated with the leaf-tie effect on abundance and negatively correlated with the leaf-tie effect on species diversity. Species diversity, but not abundance, was affected by the identity of the tie-maker. Arthropod species composition differed between untied leaves and artificial leaf ties, and between ties made by the two leaf-tier species. Our results demonstrate that the presence of leaf ties adds to habitat diversity within the oak-herbivore system, not only by creating a new kind of microhabitat (the leaf tie) within trees, but also by exacerbating differences among the eight oak species in apparent habitat quality. The identity of the leaf-tying caterpillar adds to this heterogeneity by creating leaf ties of different size, thus

  13. Engineering Macaca fascicularis cytochrome P450 2C20 to reduce animal testing for new drugs.

    PubMed

    Rua, Francesco; Sadeghi, Sheila J; Castrignanò, Silvia; Di Nardo, Giovanna; Gilardi, Gianfranco

    2012-12-01

    In order to develop in vitro methods as an alternative to P450 animal testing in the drug discovery process, two main requisites are necessary: 1) gathering of data on animal homologues of the human P450 enzymes, currently very limited, and 2) bypassing the requirement for both the P450 reductase and the expensive cofactor NADPH. In this work, P450 2C20 from Macaca fascicularis, homologue of the human P450 2C8 has been taken as a model system to develop such an alternative in vitro method by two different approaches. In the first approach called "molecular Lego", a soluble self-sufficient chimera was generated by fusing the P450 2C20 domain with the reductase domain of cytochrome P450 BM3 from Bacillus megaterium (P450 2C20/BMR). In the second approach, the need for the redox partner and also NADPH were both obviated by the direct immobilization of the P450 2C20 on glassy carbon and gold electrodes. Both systems were then compared to those obtained from the reconstituted P450 2C20 monooxygenase in presence of the human P450 reductase and NADPH using paclitaxel and amodiaquine, two typical drug substrates of the human P450 2C8. The K(M) values calculated for the 2C20 and 2C20/BMR in solution and for 2C20 immobilized on electrodes modified with gold nanoparticles were 1.9 ± 0.2, 5.9 ± 2.3, 3.0 ± 0.5 μM for paclitaxel and 1.2 ± 0.2, 1.6±0.2 and 1.4 ± 0.2 μM for amodiaquine, respectively. The data obtained not only show that the engineering of M. fascicularis did not affect its catalytic properties but also are consistent with K(M) values measured for the microsomal human P450 2C8 and therefore show the feasibility of developing alternative in vitro animal tests.

  14. Impacts by heavy-oil spill from the Russian tanker Nakhodka on intertidal ecosystems: recovery of animal community.

    PubMed

    Yamamoto, Tomoko; Nakaoka, Masahiro; Komatsu, Teruhisa; Kawai, Hiroshi; Ohwada, Kouichi

    2003-01-01

    The impact of a heavy-oil spill from the Nakhodka on an intertidal animal community, and the recovery process of animals from the damage were surveyed from the autumn of 1997 to the spring of 2001. The field study was carried out in the rocky coast of Imago-Ura Cove, located along the Sea of Japan, where clean-up operations for oil pollution had been conducted less intensely than in other polluted areas. We have examined individual number of each animal taxon by continuously placing a quadrat of 5 m width along the entire intertidal zone of the cove. A total of 76 invertebrate taxa including 57 species of mollusks, 10 species of crustaceans were observed during the survey. The number of taxa increased from 1998 to 1999 in areas where the initial oil pollution was intense. Total individual number of benthic animals continued to increase from 1998 to 2000 in the polluted areas. The impact of oil on benthic animals was different from species to species. Some species such as Cellana toreuma and Monodonta labio confusa increased rapidly after the oil spill, whereas other species such as Patelloida saccharina lanx and Septifer virgatus did not show any apparent temporal tendencies. Population size structure of P. saccharina lanx varied greatly among years, however that of M. labio confusa did not. For P. saccharina lanx, recruitment was unsuccessful in 1997, possibly due to the effect of oil pollution. These differences in responses to oil pollution among benthic animals are considered to be caused by the differences in habitat use, susceptibility to heavy-oil, life history and migration ability. The findings suggest that it took at least 2-3 years for the intertidal animal community to recover to its original level after the oil spill.

  15. Will the balance of power shift among native eastern Pacific estuary ecosystem engineers with the introduced bopyrid isopod parasite orthione griffenis?

    EPA Science Inventory

    The blue mud shrimp, Upogebia pugettensis, the bay ghost shrimp, Neotrypaea californiensis, and eelgrass, Zostera marina are endemic ecosystem engineers that define the ecological structure and function of estuaries along the Pacific coast of the US as significantly as do marshes...

  16. Design and engineering aspects of a high resolution positron tomograph for small animal imaging

    SciTech Connect

    Lecomte, R.; Cadorette, J.; Richard, P.; Rodrique, S.; Rouleau, D. . Dept. of Nuclear Medicine and Radiobiology)

    1994-08-01

    The authors describe the Sherbrooke positron emission tomograph, a very high resolution device dedicated to dynamic imaging of small laboratory animals. Its distinctive features are: small discrete scintillation detectors based on avalanche photodiodes (APD) to achieve uniform, isotropic, very high spatial resolution; parallel processing for low deadtime and high count rate capability; multispectral data acquisition hardware to improve sensitivity and scatter correction; modularity to allow design flexibility and upgradability. The system implements the clam-shell'' sampling scheme and a rotating rod transmission source. All acquisition parameters can be adjusted under computer control. Temperature stability at the detector site is ensured by the use of thermoelectric modules. The initial system consists of one layer of 256 modules (two rings of detectors) defining 3 image slices in a 118 mm diameter by 10.5 mm thick field. The axial field can be extended to 50 mm using 4 layers of modules (8 rings of detectors). The design constraints and engineering aspects of an APD-based PET scanner are reviewed and preliminary results are reported.

  17. Caterpillars benefit from thermal ecosystem engineering by wandering albatrosses on sub-Antarctic Marion Island.

    PubMed

    Sinclair, Brent J; Chown, Steven L

    2006-03-22

    Wandering albatrosses (Diomedea exulans) nest on Southern Ocean islands, building elevated nests upon which they incubate eggs and raise chicks, and which the chicks occupy through winter. The nests support high invertebrate biomass, including larvae of the flightless moth Pringleophaga marioni. Here we argue that high biomass of P. marioni in the nests is not associated with nutrient loading as previously suspected, but that higher temperatures in the nests increase growth and feeding rate, and decrease deleterious repeated cold exposure, providing fitness advantages for P. marioni. Thus, wandering albatrosses may be serving as thermal engineers, modifying temperature and therefore enabling better resource use by P. marioni.

  18. Exploitation and destabilization of a warm, freshwater ecosystem through engineered hydrological change.

    PubMed

    Hambright, K David; Zohary, Tamar; Eckert, Werner; Schwartz, Steven S; Schelske, Claire L; Laird, Kathleen R; Leavitt, Peter R

    2008-10-01

    Exploitation of freshwater resources is having catastrophic effects on the ecological dynamics, stability, and quality of those water resources on a global scale, especially in arid and semiarid regions. Lake Kinneret, Israel (the Biblical Sea of Galilee), the only major natural freshwater lake in the Middle East, has been transformed functionally into a reservoir over the course of approximately 70 years of hydrological alterations aimed mostly at producing electrical power and increasing domestic and agricultural water supply. Historical changes in lake chemistry and biology were reconstructed using analysis of sedimentary nutrient content, stable and radioisotope composition, biochemical and morphological fossils from algae, remains of aquatic invertebrates, and chemical indices of past light regimes. Together, these paleolimnological analyses of the lake's bottom sediments revealed that this transformation has been accompanied by acceleration in the rate of eutrophication, as indicated by increased accumulation rates of phosphorus, nitrogen, organic matter, phytoplankton and bacterial pigments, and remains of phytoplankton and zooplankton. Substantial increases in these indices of eutrophication coincide with periods of increased water-level fluctuations and drainage of a major upstream wetland in the early to middle 20th century and suggest that management of the lake for increased water supply has degraded water quality to the point that ecosystem stability and sustainability are threatened. Such destabilization may be a model for eutrophication of freshwater lakes in other arid regions of the world in which management emphasizes water quantity over quality.

  19. Thermal impacts of engineering activities and vegetation layer on permafrost in different alpine ecosystems of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wu, Qingbai; Zhang, Zhongqiong; Gao, Siru; Ma, Wei

    2016-08-01

    Climate warming and engineering activities have various impacts on the thermal regime of permafrost in alpine ecosystems of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Using recent observations of permafrost thermal regimes along the Qinghai-Tibet highway and railway, the changes of such regimes beneath embankments constructed in alpine meadows and steppes are studied. The results show that alpine meadows on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau can have a controlling role among engineering construction effects on permafrost beneath embankments. As before railway construction, the artificial permafrost table (APT) beneath embankments is not only affected by climate change and engineering activities but is also controlled by alpine ecosystems. However, the change rate of APT is not dependent on ecosystem type, which is predominantly affected by climate change and engineering activities. Instead, the rate is mainly related to cooling effects of railway ballast and heat absorption effects of asphalt pavement. No large difference between alpine and steppe can be identified regarding the variation of soil temperature beneath embankments, but this difference is readily identified in the variation of mean annual soil temperature with depth. The vegetation layer in alpine meadows has an insulation role among engineering activity effects on permafrost beneath embankments, but this insulation gradually disappears because the layer decays and compresses over time. On the whole, this layer is advantageous for alleviating permafrost temperature rise in the short term, but its effect gradually weakens in the long term.

  20. Validation of a randomization procedure to assess animal habitat preferences: microhabitat use of tiger sharks in a seagrass ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Heithaus, Michael R; Hamilton, Ian M; Wirsing, Aaron J; Dill, Lawrence M

    2006-05-01

    1. Tiger sharks Galeocerdo cuvier are important predators in a variety of nearshore communities, including the seagrass ecosystem of Shark Bay, Western Australia. Because tiger sharks are known to influence spatial distributions of multiple prey species, it is important to understand how they use habitats at a variety of spatial scales. We used a combination of catch rates and acoustic tracking to determine tiger shark microhabitat use in Shark Bay. 2. Comparing habitat-use data from tracking against the null hypothesis of no habitat preference is hindered in Shark Bay, as elsewhere, by the difficulty of defining expected habitat use given random movement. We used randomization procedures to generate expected habitat use in the absence of habitat preference and expected habitat use differences among groups (e.g. males and females). We tested the performance of these protocols using simulated data sets with known habitat preferences. 3. The technique correctly classified sets of simulated tracks as displaying a preference or not and was a conservative test for differences in habitat preferences between subgroups of tracks (e.g. males vs. females). 4. Sharks preferred shallow habitats over deep ones, and preferred shallow edge microhabitats over shallow interior ones. The use of shallow edges likely increases encounter rates with potential prey and may have profound consequences for the dynamics of Shark Bay's seagrass ecosystem through indirect effects transmitted by grazers that are common prey of tiger sharks. 5. Females showed a greater tendency to use shallow edge microhabitats than did males; this pattern was not detected by traditional analysis techniques. 6. The randomization procedures presented here are applicable to many field studies that use tracking by allowing researchers both to determine overall habitat preferences and to identify differences in habitat use between groups within their sample.

  1. Regional extent of an ecosystem engineer: earthworm invasion in northern hardwood forests.

    PubMed

    Holdsworth, Andrew R; Frelich, Lee E; Reich, Peter B

    2007-09-01

    The invasion of exotic earthworms into northern temperate and boreal forests previously devoid of earthworms is an important driver of ecosystem change. Earthworm invasion can cause significant changes in soil structure and communities, nutrient cycles, and the diversity and abundance of herbaceous plants. However, the regional extent and patterns of this invasion are poorly known. We conducted a regional survey in the Chippewa and Chequamegon National Forests, in Minnesota and Wisconsin, U.S.A., respectively, to measure the extent and patterns of earthworm invasion and their relationship to potential earthworm introduction sites. We sampled earthworms, soils, and vegetation in 20 mature, sugar maple-dominated forest stands in each national forest and analyzed the relationship between the presence of five earthworm taxonomic groups, habitat variables, and distance to the nearest potential introduction site. Earthworm invasion was extensive but incomplete in the two national forests. Four of the six earthworm taxonomic groups occurred in 55-95% of transects; however 20% of all transects were invaded by only one taxonomic group that has relatively minor ecological effects. Earthworm taxonomic groups exhibited a similar sequence of invasion found in other studies: Dendrobaena > Aporrectodea = Lumbricus juveniles > L. rubellus > L. terrestris. Distance to the nearest road was the best predictor of earthworm invasion in Wisconsin while distance to the nearest cabin was the best predictor in Minnesota. These data allow us to make preliminary assessments of landscape patterns of earthworm invasion. As an example, we estimate that 82% of upland mesic hardwood stands in the Wisconsin region are likely invaded by most taxonomic groups while only 3% are unlikely to be invaded at present. Distance to roads and cabins provides a coarse-scale predictor of earthworm invasion to focus stand-level assessments that will help forest managers better understand current and potential

  2. Modeling the Effects of Ecosystem Fragmentation and Restoration: Management Models for Mobile Animals. Volume 2. Appendices 3-7

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2007-11-02

    powerline corridor Maryland Evans and Gates 1997 oak woodlands chaparral , grassland California Sisk et al. 1997 mixed forest, clearcut clearcut...providing habitat for animals that prefer the unrestored forest type. Introduction In the American Southwest, a recent increase in the frequency of...Rotenberry. 2003. Alternative causes of edge-abundance relationships in birds and small mammals of California coastal sage scrub. Ecography 26:29

  3. The influence of the biological pump on ocean chemistry: implications for long-term trends in marine redox chemistry, the global carbon cycle, and marine animal ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Meyer, K M; Ridgwell, A; Payne, J L

    2016-05-01

    The net export of organic matter from the surface ocean and its respiration at depth create vertical gradients in nutrient and oxygen availability that play a primary role in structuring marine ecosystems. Changes in the properties of this 'biological pump' have been hypothesized to account for important shifts in marine ecosystem structure, including the Cambrian explosion. However, the influence of variation in the behavior of the biological pump on ocean biogeochemistry remains poorly quantified, preventing any detailed exploration of how changes in the biological pump over geological time may have shaped long-term shifts in ocean chemistry, biogeochemical cycling, and ecosystem structure. Here, we use a 3-dimensional Earth system model of intermediate complexity to quantitatively explore the effects of the biological pump on marine chemistry. We find that when respiration of sinking organic matter is efficient, due to slower sinking or higher respiration rates, anoxia tends to be more prevalent and to occur in shallower waters. Consequently, the Phanerozoic trend toward less bottom-water anoxia in continental shelf settings can potentially be explained by a change in the spatial dynamics of nutrient cycling rather than by any change in the ocean phosphate inventory. The model results further suggest that the Phanerozoic decline in the prevalence ocean anoxia is, in part, a consequence of the evolution of larger phytoplankton, many of which produce mineralized tests. We hypothesize that the Phanerozoic trend toward greater animal abundance and metabolic demand was driven more by increased oxygen concentrations in shelf environments than by greater food (nutrient) availability. In fact, a lower-than-modern ocean phosphate inventory in our closed system model is unable to account for the Paleozoic prevalence of bottom-water anoxia. Overall, these model simulations suggest that the changing spatial distribution of photosynthesis and respiration in the oceans has

  4. Assessing health in agriculture--towards a common research framework for soils, plants, animals, humans and ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Vieweger, Anja; Döring, Thomas F

    2015-02-01

    In agriculture and food systems, health-related research includes a vast diversity of topics. Nutritional, toxicological, pharmacological, epidemiological, behavioural, sociological, economic and political methods are used to study health in the five domains of soils, plants, livestock, humans and ecosystems. An idea developed in the early founding days of organic agriculture stated that the health of all domains is one and indivisible. Here we show that recent research reveals the existence and complex nature of such health links among domains. However, studies of health aspects in agriculture are often separated by disciplinary boundaries. This restrains the understanding of health in agricultural systems. Therefore we explore the opportunities and limitations of bringing perspectives together from the different domains. We review current approaches to define and assess health in agricultural contexts, comparing the state of the art of commonly used approaches and bringing together the presently disconnected debates in soil science, plant science, veterinary science and human medicine. Based on a qualitative literature analysis, we suggest that many health criteria fall into two paradigms: (1) the Growth Paradigm, where terms are primarily oriented towards continued growth; (2) the Boundary Paradigm, where terms focus on maintaining or coming back to a status quo, recognising system boundaries. Scientific health assessments in agricultural and food systems need to be explicit in terms of their position on the continuum between Growth Paradigm and Boundary Paradigm. Finally, we identify areas and concepts for a future direction of health assessment and research in agricultural and food systems.

  5. Microbiome engineering: Current applications and its future.

    PubMed

    Foo, Jee Loon; Ling, Hua; Lee, Yung Seng; Chang, Matthew Wook

    2017-03-01

    Microbiomes exist in all ecosystems and are composed of diverse microbial communities. Perturbation to microbiomes brings about undesirable phenotypes in the hosts, resulting in diseases and disorders, and disturbs the balance of the associated ecosystems. Engineering of microbiomes can be used to modify structures of the microbiota and restore ecological balance. Consequently, microbiome engineering has been employed for improving human health and agricultural productivity. The importance and current applications of microbiome engineering, particularly in humans, animals, plants and soil is reviewed. Furthermore, we explore the challenges in engineering microbiome and the future of this field, thus providing perspectives and outlook of microbiome engineering.

  6. The impact of deep-tier burrow systems in sediment mixing and ecosystem engineering in early Cambrian carbonate settings

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Li-Jun; Qi, Yong-An; Buatois, Luis A.; Mángano, M. Gabriela; Meng, Yao; Li, Da

    2017-01-01

    Bioturbation plays a substantial role in sediment oxygen concentration, chemical cycling, regeneration of nutrients, microbial activity, and the rate of organic matter decomposition in modern oceans. In addition, bioturbators are ecosystem engineers which promote the presence of some organisms, while precluding others. However, the impact of bioturbation in deep time remains controversial and limited sediment mixing has been indicated for early Paleozoic seas. Our understanding of the actual impact of bioturbation early in the Phanerozoic has been hampered by the lack of detailed analysis of the functional significance of specific burrow architectures. Integration of ichnologic and sedimentologic evidence from North China shows that deep-tier Thalassinoides mazes occur in lower Cambrian nearshore carbonate sediments, leading to intense disruption of the primary fabric. Comparison with modern studies suggest that some of the effects of this style of Cambrian bioturbation may have included promotion of nitrogen and ammonium fluxes across the sediment-water interface, average deepening of the redox discontinuity surface, expansion of aerobic bacteria, and increase in the rate of organic matter decomposition and the regeneration of nutrients. Our study suggests that early Cambrian sediment mixing in carbonate settings may have been more significant than assumed in previous models. PMID:28374857

  7. Native leaf-tying caterpillars influence host plant use by the invasive Asiatic oak weevil through ecosystem engineering.

    PubMed

    Baer, Christina S; Marquis, Robert J

    2014-06-01

    We tested the effect of leaf-tying caterpillars, native ecosystem engineers, on the abundance and host feeding of an invasive insect, the Asiatic oak weevil, Cyrtepistomus castaneus (Roelofs). Leaf quality was previously thought to be the sole factor determining host use by C. castaneus, but adult weevils congregate in leaf ties made by lepidopteran larvae (caterpillars). Adult weevil abundance was naturally higher on Quercus alba and Q. velutina compared to four other tree species tested (Acer rubrum, Carya ovata, Cornus florida, and Sassafras albidum). These differences were associated with more natural leaf ties on the two Quercus species. In the laboratory, weevils fed on all six species but again preferred Q. alba and Q. velutina. When artificial ties were added to all six tree species, controlling for differences in leaf-tie density, adult weevil density increased on all six tree species, damage increased on all species but A. rubrum, and host ranking changed based on both abundance and damage. We conclude that leaf ties increase the local abundance of C. castaneus adults and their feeding. Thus, these native leaf-tying caterpillars engender the success of an invasive species via structural modification of potential host plants, the first described example of this phenomenon.

  8. Stable hydrogen isotopic compositions in plants and animals can provide ecosystem-hydrology connections: Santeelah Creek watershed

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fogel, M. L.; Newsome, S.; Graves, G.

    2013-12-01

    Connecting a watershed to its ecosystem can be accomplished with stable isotope tracers of hydrogen and oxygen at the natural abundance level. We have concentrated our study on a watershed with a significant altitudinal gradient in North Carolina. The Santeelah Creek watershed extends from 700 to 1600 m and is host to a robust population of black-throated blue warblers (Setophaga caerulescens; BTBW), which feed almost exclusively on caterpillars and small insects during their breeding and molting periods in June and July. The forests in this watershed are composed of a rich flora, including Betula, Rhododendron, Acer, Quercus, along with shrubs, ferns, and mosses. The δD of plants and insects along with creek and spring water samples provided us with background information that we extrapolated to the landscape scale. In addition, we have 13 years of δD data of feathers collected from over 500 specimens of BTBW that were collected from specific territories throughout the watershed. Variations in δD of plants within the watershed was not correlated with altitude, however, specific plant species (e.g. Betula vs. ferns) provide a direct link to the within watershed hydrology, because the δD values of plants are dependent not only on the δD of source water, but also growth temperature and the amount of evaporative transpiration. The δD values of BTBW feathers also do not vary with altitude, but vary annually and correlate with the amount of growing season and annual precipitation from the previous year when feathers were grown. While the δD of avian feathers has become a proven technique for tracing the natal origins of birds, our dataset allows us to delve further into the connections between water-primary producers-consumers-predators that will provide insight into how these analyses are truly linked to the hydrology of their environment.

  9. Seeding cell approach for tissue-engineered urethral reconstruction in animal study: A systematic review and meta-analysis

    PubMed Central

    Xue, Jing-Dong; Gao, Jing; Fu, Qiang; Feng, Chao

    2016-01-01

    We systematically reviewed published preclinical studies to evaluate the effectiveness of cell-seeded tissue engineering approach for urethral reconstruction in an animal model. The outcomes were summarized by success factors in the animal experiments, which evaluate the possibility and feasibility of a clinical application in the future. Preclinical studies of tissue engineering approaches for urethral reconstruction were identified through a systematic search in PubMed, Embase, and Biosis Previews (web of science SP) databases for studies published from 1 January 1980 to 23 November 2014. Primary studies were included if urethral reconstruction was performed using a tissue-engineered biomaterial in any animal species (with the experiment group being a cell-seeded scaffold and the control group being a cell-free scaffold) with histology and urethrography as the outcome measure. A total of 15 preclinical studies were included in our meta-analysis. The histology and urethrography outcome between the experimental and control groups were considered to be the most clinically relevant. Through this systematic approach, our outcomes suggested that applying the cell-seeded biomaterial in creating a neo-urethra was stable and effective. And multi-type cells including epithelial cells as well as smooth muscle cells or fibroblasts seemed to be a better strategy. Stem cells, especially after epithelial differentiation, could be a promising choice for future researches. PMID:27022134

  10. Seeding cell approach for tissue-engineered urethral reconstruction in animal study: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

    PubMed

    Xue, Jing-Dong; Gao, Jing; Fu, Qiang; Feng, Chao; Xie, Hong

    2016-07-01

    We systematically reviewed published preclinical studies to evaluate the effectiveness of cell-seeded tissue engineering approach for urethral reconstruction in an animal model. The outcomes were summarized by success factors in the animal experiments, which evaluate the possibility and feasibility of a clinical application in the future. Preclinical studies of tissue engineering approaches for urethral reconstruction were identified through a systematic search in PubMed, Embase, and Biosis Previews (web of science SP) databases for studies published from 1 January 1980 to 23 November 2014. Primary studies were included if urethral reconstruction was performed using a tissue-engineered biomaterial in any animal species (with the experiment group being a cell-seeded scaffold and the control group being a cell-free scaffold) with histology and urethrography as the outcome measure. A total of 15 preclinical studies were included in our meta-analysis. The histology and urethrography outcome between the experimental and control groups were considered to be the most clinically relevant. Through this systematic approach, our outcomes suggested that applying the cell-seeded biomaterial in creating a neo-urethra was stable and effective. And multi-type cells including epithelial cells as well as smooth muscle cells or fibroblasts seemed to be a better strategy. Stem cells, especially after epithelial differentiation, could be a promising choice for future researches.

  11. Ear-Shaped Stable Auricular Cartilage Engineered from Extensively Expanded Chondrocytes in an Immunocompetent Experimental Animal Model

    PubMed Central

    Pomerantseva, Irina; Bichara, David A.; Tseng, Alan; Cronce, Michael J.; Cervantes, Thomas M.; Kimura, Anya M.; Neville, Craig M.; Roscioli, Nick; Vacanti, Joseph P.; Randolph, Mark A.

    2016-01-01

    Advancement of engineered ear in clinical practice is limited by several challenges. The complex, largely unsupported, three-dimensional auricular neocartilage structure is difficult to maintain. Neocartilage formation is challenging in an immunocompetent host due to active inflammatory and immunological responses. The large number of autologous chondrogenic cells required for engineering an adult human-sized ear presents an additional challenge because primary chondrocytes rapidly dedifferentiate during in vitro culture. The objective of this study was to engineer a stable, human ear-shaped cartilage in an immunocompetent animal model using expanded chondrocytes. The impact of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) supplementation on achieving clinically relevant expansion of primary sheep chondrocytes by in vitro culture was determined. Chondrocytes expanded in standard medium were either combined with cryopreserved, primary passage 0 chondrocytes at the time of scaffold seeding or used alone as control. Disk and human ear-shaped scaffolds were made from porous collagen; ear scaffolds had an embedded, supporting titanium wire framework. Autologous chondrocyte-seeded scaffolds were implanted subcutaneously in sheep after 2 weeks of in vitro incubation. The quality of the resulting neocartilage and its stability and retention of the original ear size and shape were evaluated at 6, 12, and 20 weeks postimplantation. Neocartilage produced from chondrocytes that were expanded in the presence of bFGF was superior, and its quality improved with increased implantation time. In addition to characteristic morphological cartilage features, its glycosaminoglycan content was high and marked elastin fiber formation was present. The overall shape of engineered ears was preserved at 20 weeks postimplantation, and the dimensional changes did not exceed 10%. The wire frame within the engineered ear was able to withstand mechanical forces during wound healing and neocartilage

  12. Ear-Shaped Stable Auricular Cartilage Engineered from Extensively Expanded Chondrocytes in an Immunocompetent Experimental Animal Model.

    PubMed

    Pomerantseva, Irina; Bichara, David A; Tseng, Alan; Cronce, Michael J; Cervantes, Thomas M; Kimura, Anya M; Neville, Craig M; Roscioli, Nick; Vacanti, Joseph P; Randolph, Mark A; Sundback, Cathryn A

    2016-02-01

    Advancement of engineered ear in clinical practice is limited by several challenges. The complex, largely unsupported, three-dimensional auricular neocartilage structure is difficult to maintain. Neocartilage formation is challenging in an immunocompetent host due to active inflammatory and immunological responses. The large number of autologous chondrogenic cells required for engineering an adult human-sized ear presents an additional challenge because primary chondrocytes rapidly dedifferentiate during in vitro culture. The objective of this study was to engineer a stable, human ear-shaped cartilage in an immunocompetent animal model using expanded chondrocytes. The impact of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) supplementation on achieving clinically relevant expansion of primary sheep chondrocytes by in vitro culture was determined. Chondrocytes expanded in standard medium were either combined with cryopreserved, primary passage 0 chondrocytes at the time of scaffold seeding or used alone as control. Disk and human ear-shaped scaffolds were made from porous collagen; ear scaffolds had an embedded, supporting titanium wire framework. Autologous chondrocyte-seeded scaffolds were implanted subcutaneously in sheep after 2 weeks of in vitro incubation. The quality of the resulting neocartilage and its stability and retention of the original ear size and shape were evaluated at 6, 12, and 20 weeks postimplantation. Neocartilage produced from chondrocytes that were expanded in the presence of bFGF was superior, and its quality improved with increased implantation time. In addition to characteristic morphological cartilage features, its glycosaminoglycan content was high and marked elastin fiber formation was present. The overall shape of engineered ears was preserved at 20 weeks postimplantation, and the dimensional changes did not exceed 10%. The wire frame within the engineered ear was able to withstand mechanical forces during wound healing and neocartilage

  13. Integrating Ecosystem Engineering and Food Web Ecology: Testing the Effect of Biogenic Reefs on the Food Web of a Soft-Bottom Intertidal Area.

    PubMed

    De Smet, Bart; Fournier, Jérôme; De Troch, Marleen; Vincx, Magda; Vanaverbeke, Jan

    2015-01-01

    The potential of ecosystem engineers to modify the structure and dynamics of food webs has recently been hypothesised from a conceptual point of view. Empirical data on the integration of ecosystem engineers and food webs is however largely lacking. This paper investigates the hypothesised link based on a field sampling approach of intertidal biogenic aggregations created by the ecosystem engineer Lanice conchilega (Polychaeta, Terebellidae). The aggregations are known to have a considerable impact on the physical and biogeochemical characteristics of their environment and subsequently on the abundance and biomass of primary food sources and the macrofaunal (i.e. the macro-, hyper- and epibenthos) community. Therefore, we hypothesise that L. conchilega aggregations affect the structure, stability and isotopic niche of the consumer assemblage of a soft-bottom intertidal food web. Primary food sources and the bentho-pelagic consumer assemblage of a L. conchilega aggregation and a control area were sampled on two soft-bottom intertidal areas along the French coast and analysed for their stable isotopes. Despite the structural impacts of the ecosystem engineer on the associated macrofaunal community, the presence of L. conchilega aggregations only has a minor effect on the food web structure of soft-bottom intertidal areas. The isotopic niche width of the consumer communities of the L. conchilega aggregations and control areas are highly similar, implying that consumer taxa do not shift their diet when feeding in a L. conchilega aggregation. Besides, species packing and hence trophic redundancy were not affected, pointing to an unaltered stability of the food web in the presence of L. conchilega.

  14. Integrating Ecosystem Engineering and Food Web Ecology: Testing the Effect of Biogenic Reefs on the Food Web of a Soft-Bottom Intertidal Area

    PubMed Central

    De Smet, Bart; Fournier, Jérôme; De Troch, Marleen; Vincx, Magda; Vanaverbeke, Jan

    2015-01-01

    The potential of ecosystem engineers to modify the structure and dynamics of food webs has recently been hypothesised from a conceptual point of view. Empirical data on the integration of ecosystem engineers and food webs is however largely lacking. This paper investigates the hypothesised link based on a field sampling approach of intertidal biogenic aggregations created by the ecosystem engineer Lanice conchilega (Polychaeta, Terebellidae). The aggregations are known to have a considerable impact on the physical and biogeochemical characteristics of their environment and subsequently on the abundance and biomass of primary food sources and the macrofaunal (i.e. the macro-, hyper- and epibenthos) community. Therefore, we hypothesise that L. conchilega aggregations affect the structure, stability and isotopic niche of the consumer assemblage of a soft-bottom intertidal food web. Primary food sources and the bentho-pelagic consumer assemblage of a L. conchilega aggregation and a control area were sampled on two soft-bottom intertidal areas along the French coast and analysed for their stable isotopes. Despite the structural impacts of the ecosystem engineer on the associated macrofaunal community, the presence of L. conchilega aggregations only has a minor effect on the food web structure of soft-bottom intertidal areas. The isotopic niche width of the consumer communities of the L. conchilega aggregations and control areas are highly similar, implying that consumer taxa do not shift their diet when feeding in a L. conchilega aggregation. Besides, species packing and hence trophic redundancy were not affected, pointing to an unaltered stability of the food web in the presence of L. conchilega. PMID:26496349

  15. The chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) assay for the study of human bone regeneration: a refinement animal model for tissue engineering

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moreno-Jiménez, Inés; Hulsart-Billstrom, Gry; Lanham, Stuart A.; Janeczek, Agnieszka A.; Kontouli, Nasia; Kanczler, Janos M.; Evans, Nicholas D.; Oreffo, Richard Oc

    2016-08-01

    Biomaterial development for tissue engineering applications is rapidly increasing but necessitates efficacy and safety testing prior to clinical application. Current in vitro and in vivo models hold a number of limitations, including expense, lack of correlation between animal models and human outcomes and the need to perform invasive procedures on animals; hence requiring new predictive screening methods. In the present study we tested the hypothesis that the chick embryo chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) can be used as a bioreactor to culture and study the regeneration of human living bone. We extracted bone cylinders from human femoral heads, simulated an injury using a drill-hole defect, and implanted the bone on CAM or in vitro control-culture. Micro-computed tomography (μCT) was used to quantify the magnitude and location of bone volume changes followed by histological analyses to assess bone repair. CAM blood vessels were observed to infiltrate the human bone cylinder and maintain human cell viability. Histological evaluation revealed extensive extracellular matrix deposition in proximity to endochondral condensations (Sox9+) on the CAM-implanted bone cylinders, correlating with a significant increase in bone volume by μCT analysis (p < 0.01). This human-avian system offers a simple refinement model for animal research and a step towards a humanized in vivo model for tissue engineering.

  16. The chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) assay for the study of human bone regeneration: a refinement animal model for tissue engineering

    PubMed Central

    Moreno-Jiménez, Inés; Hulsart-Billstrom, Gry; Lanham, Stuart A.; Janeczek, Agnieszka A.; Kontouli, Nasia; Kanczler, Janos M.; Evans, Nicholas D.; Oreffo, Richard OC

    2016-01-01

    Biomaterial development for tissue engineering applications is rapidly increasing but necessitates efficacy and safety testing prior to clinical application. Current in vitro and in vivo models hold a number of limitations, including expense, lack of correlation between animal models and human outcomes and the need to perform invasive procedures on animals; hence requiring new predictive screening methods. In the present study we tested the hypothesis that the chick embryo chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) can be used as a bioreactor to culture and study the regeneration of human living bone. We extracted bone cylinders from human femoral heads, simulated an injury using a drill-hole defect, and implanted the bone on CAM or in vitro control-culture. Micro-computed tomography (μCT) was used to quantify the magnitude and location of bone volume changes followed by histological analyses to assess bone repair. CAM blood vessels were observed to infiltrate the human bone cylinder and maintain human cell viability. Histological evaluation revealed extensive extracellular matrix deposition in proximity to endochondral condensations (Sox9+) on the CAM-implanted bone cylinders, correlating with a significant increase in bone volume by μCT analysis (p < 0.01). This human-avian system offers a simple refinement model for animal research and a step towards a humanized in vivo model for tissue engineering. PMID:27577960

  17. Multidisciplinary Design Optimization for Aeropropulsion Engines and Solid Modeling/Animation via the Integrated Forced Methods

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    The grant closure report is organized in the following four chapters: Chapter describes the two research areas Design optimization and Solid mechanics. Ten journal publications are listed in the second chapter. Five highlights is the subject matter of chapter three. CHAPTER 1. The Design Optimization Test Bed CometBoards. CHAPTER 2. Solid Mechanics: Integrated Force Method of Analysis. CHAPTER 3. Five Highlights: Neural Network and Regression Methods Demonstrated in the Design Optimization of a Subsonic Aircraft. Neural Network and Regression Soft Model Extended for PX-300 Aircraft Engine. Engine with Regression and Neural Network Approximators Designed. Cascade Optimization Strategy with Neural network and Regression Approximations Demonstrated on a Preliminary Aircraft Engine Design. Neural Network and Regression Approximations Used in Aircraft Design.

  18. Academic Institutions and One Health: Building Capacity for Transdisciplinary Research Approaches to Address Complex Health Issues at the Animal-Human-Ecosystem Interface.

    PubMed

    Allen-Scott, Lisa K; Buntain, Bonnie; Hatfield, Jennifer M; Meisser, Andrea; Thomas, Christopher James

    2015-07-01

    To improve health at the human, animal, and ecosystem interface, defined as One Health, training of researchers must transcend individual disciplines to develop a new process of collaboration. The transdisciplinary research approach integrates frameworks and methodologies beyond academic disciplines and includes involvement of and input from policy makers and members of the community. The authors argue that there should be a significant shift in academic institutions' research capacity to achieve the added value of a transdisciplinary approach for addressing One Health problems. This Perspective is a call to action for academic institutions to provide the foundations for this salient shift. The authors begin by describing the transdisciplinary approach, propose methods for building transdisciplinary research capacity, and highlight three value propositions that support the case. Examples are provided to illustrate how the transdisciplinary approach to research adds value through improved sustainability of impact, increased cost-effectiveness, and enhanced abilities to mitigate potentially harmful unintended consequences. The authors conclude with three key recommendations for academic institutions: (1) a focus on creating enabling environments for One Health and transdisciplinary research, (2) the development of novel funding structures for transdisciplinary research, and (3) training of "transmitters" using real-world-oriented educational programs that break down research silos through collaboration across disciplines.

  19. Evaluating learning and attitudes on tissue engineering: a study of children viewing animated digital dome shows detailing the biomedicine of tissue engineering.

    PubMed

    Wilson, Anna C; Gonzalez, Laura L; Pollock, John A

    2012-03-01

    Informal science education creates opportunities for the general public to learn about complex health and science topics. Tissue engineering is a fast-growing field of medical science that combines advanced chemistries to create synthetic scaffolds, stem cells, and growth factors that individually or in combination can support the bodies own healing powers to remedy a range of maladies. Health literacy about this topic is increasingly important as our population ages and as treatments become more technologically advanced. We are using a science center planetarium as a projection space to engage and educate the public about the science and biomedical research that supports tissue engineering. The purpose of this study was to test the effectiveness of the films that we have produced for part of the science center planetarium demographic, specifically children ranging in age from 7 to 16 years. A two-group pre- and post-test design was used to compare children's learning and attitude changes in response to the two versions of the film. One version uses traditional voice-over narration; the other version uses dialog between two animated characters. The results of this study indicate that children demonstrated increases in knowledge of the topic with either film format, but preferred the animated character version. The percentage change in children's scores on the knowledge questions given before and after viewing the show exhibited an improvement from 23% correct to 61% correct on average. In addition, many of the things that the children reported liking were part of the design process of the art-science collaboration. Other results indicated that before viewing the shows 77% of the children had not even heard about tissue engineering and only 17% indicated that they were very interested in it, whereas after viewing the shows, 95% indicated that tissue engineering was a good idea. We also find that after viewing the show, 71% of the children reported that the show made

  20. Evaluating Learning and Attitudes on Tissue Engineering: A Study of Children Viewing Animated Digital Dome Shows Detailing the Biomedicine of Tissue Engineering

    PubMed Central

    Wilson, Anna C.; Gonzalez, Laura L.

    2012-01-01

    Informal science education creates opportunities for the general public to learn about complex health and science topics. Tissue engineering is a fast-growing field of medical science that combines advanced chemistries to create synthetic scaffolds, stem cells, and growth factors that individually or in combination can support the bodies own healing powers to remedy a range of maladies. Health literacy about this topic is increasingly important as our population ages and as treatments become more technologically advanced. We are using a science center planetarium as a projection space to engage and educate the public about the science and biomedical research that supports tissue engineering. The purpose of this study was to test the effectiveness of the films that we have produced for part of the science center planetarium demographic, specifically children ranging in age from 7 to 16 years. A two-group pre- and post-test design was used to compare children's learning and attitude changes in response to the two versions of the film. One version uses traditional voice-over narration; the other version uses dialog between two animated characters. The results of this study indicate that children demonstrated increases in knowledge of the topic with either film format, but preferred the animated character version. The percentage change in children's scores on the knowledge questions given before and after viewing the show exhibited an improvement from 23% correct to 61% correct on average. In addition, many of the things that the children reported liking were part of the design process of the art–science collaboration. Other results indicated that before viewing the shows 77% of the children had not even heard about tissue engineering and only 17% indicated that they were very interested in it, whereas after viewing the shows, 95% indicated that tissue engineering was a good idea. We also find that after viewing the show, 71% of the children reported that the show

  1. Cell sheet-engineered bones used for the reconstruction of mandibular defects in an animal model

    PubMed Central

    DU, CHUNHUA; YAO, CHAO; LI, NINGYI; WANG, SHUANGYI; FENG, YUANYONG; YANG, XUECAI

    2015-01-01

    The aim of the present study was to investigate the generation of cell sheet-engineered bones used for the reconstruction of mandibular defects. Bone marrow stem cells (BMSCs) were cultured and induced to generate osteoblasts. Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) scaffolds were wrapped with or without cell sheets and then implanted into dogs with mandibular defects in the right side (experimental group) or the left side (control group), respectively. Subsequently, X-ray analyses, and hematoxylin and eosin staining were performed at various time points (at 4, 8, 12 or 16 weeks post-implantation; n=4 at each time point). The osteogenesis in the experimental group was significantly improved compared with that in the control group. At 16 weeks after implantation, numerous Haversian systems and a few lamellar bones were observed at the periphery. In the control group, the engineered bone (without BMSC sheets) presented fewer Haversian systems and no lamellar bones. The optical density of the fresh bone in the experimental group was significantly higher compared with that in the control group (P<0.05). In conclusion, tissue-engineered bone with the structure of lamellar bones can be generated using BMSC sheets and implantation of these bones had an improved effects compared with the control group. Cell sheet transplantation was found to enhance bone formation at the reconstruction site of the mandibular defects. PMID:26668619

  2. A FIELD STUDY WITH GENETICALLY ENGINEERED ALFALFA INOCULATED WITH RECOMBINANT SINORHIZOBIUM MELILOTI: EFFECTS ON THE SOIL ECOSYSTEM

    EPA Science Inventory

    The agricultural use of genetically engineered plants and microorganisms has become increasingly common. Because genetically engineered plants and microorganisms can produce compounds foreign to their environment, there is concern that they may become established outside of thei...

  3. Dissolved Oxygen Sensor in Animal-Borne Instruments: An Innovation for Monitoring the Health of Oceans and Investigating the Functioning of Marine Ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Bailleul, Frederic; Vacquie-Garcia, Jade; Guinet, Christophe

    2015-01-01

    The current decline in dissolved oxygen concentration within the oceans is a sensitive indicator of the effect of climate change on marine environment. However the impact of its declining on marine life and ecosystems' health is still quite unclear because of the difficulty in obtaining in situ data, especially in remote areas, like the Southern Ocean (SO). Southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) proved to be a relevant alternative to the traditional oceanographic platforms to measure physical and biogeochemical structure of oceanic regions rarely observed. In this study, we use a new stage of development in biologging technology to draw a picture of dissolved oxygen concentration in the SO. We present the first results obtained from a dissolved oxygen sensor added to Argos CTD-SRDL tags and deployed on 5 female elephant seals at Kerguelen. From October 2010 and October 2011, 742 oxygen profiles associated with temperature and salinity measurements were recorded. Whether a part of the data must be considered cautiously, especially because of offsets and temporal drifts of the sensors, the range of values recorded was consistent with a concomitant survey conducted from a research vessel (Keops-2 project). Once again, elephant seals reinforced the relationship between marine ecology and oceanography, delivering essential information about the water masses properties and the biological status of the Southern Ocean. But more than the presentation of a new stage of development in animal-borne instrumentation, this pilot study opens a new field of investigation in marine ecology and could be enlarged in a near future to other key marine predators, especially large fish species like swordfish, tuna or sharks, for which dissolved oxygen is expected to play a crucial role in distribution and behaviour.

  4. [Complexity of land ecosystem].

    PubMed

    Wu, Cifang; Chen, Meiqiu

    2002-06-01

    In recent years, complexity studies has become a new research region and been widely applied in engineering, biology, economy, management, military, police and sociology. In this paper, from the view of complex science, the main complexity characteristics of land ecosystem were described, furthermore, the application of fractal, chaos, and artificial neural network on the complexity of land ecosystem were also discussed.

  5. From stem cells to bone: phenotype acquisition, stabilization, and tissue engineering in animal models.

    PubMed

    Gordeladze, Jan O; Reseland, Janne E; Duroux-Richard, Isabelle; Apparailly, Florence; Jorgensen, Christian

    2009-01-01

    The regeneration of bone tissue depends on the concerted actions of a plethora of signals that recruit mesenchymal stem cells for lineage-specific differentiation, with cellular phenotypes serving various functions throughout their life span. The signals are conveyed in hormones, growth factors, and mechanical forces, all of which ensure proper modeling and remodeling. Both processes are secured by indigenous and programmed metabolism in osteoblasts/osteocytes as well as in other stem cell (SC)-derived cell types (e.g., osteoclasts, bone lining cells) involved in the remodeling of the subject tissue. The focus of this review is the concerted action of these signals as well as the regulatory and/or stabilizing control circuits exhibited by a class of small RNAs, designated microRNAs. We discuss an in vitro approach for ensuring proper phenotype acquisition as well as the choice of scaffolds and animal models for in vivo tissue repair. This approach includes selection of SC niches to optimize bone formation in vivo, transcription factors important for osteoblastogenesis, the Wnt and Notch pathways of signaling, selection of delivery systems for gene therapy, use of appropriate matrices and scaffolds, in vivo mechanostimulation, choice of lesions to be repaired, and type of animal to use. We also discuss Wnt-related and SC-based treatment of osteoporosis. Throughout, we offer considerations for the selection of model systems and parameters to assess the entire procedure from initial SC selection to final bone repair, and conclude with a table summarizing our recommendations.

  6. Electrophysiology for biomedical engineering students: a practical and theoretical course in animal electrocorticography.

    PubMed

    Albarracín, Ana L; Farfán, Fernando D; Coletti, Marcos A; Teruya, Pablo Y; Felice, Carmelo J

    2016-09-01

    The major challenge in laboratory teaching is the application of abstract concepts in simple and direct practical lessons. However, students rarely have the opportunity to participate in a laboratory that combines practical learning with a realistic research experience. In the Biomedical Engineering career, we offer short and optional courses to complement studies for students as they initiate their Graduation Project. The objective of these theoretical and practical courses is to introduce students to the topics of their projects. The present work describes an experience in electrophysiology to teach undergraduate students how to extract cortical information using electrocorticographic techniques. Students actively participate in some parts of the experience and then process and analyze the data obtained with different signal processing tools. In postlaboratory evaluations, students described the course as an exceptional opportunity for students interested in following a postgraduate science program and fully appreciated their contents.

  7. Governing the moral economy: Animal engineering, ethics and the liberal government of science

    PubMed Central

    Harvey, Alison; Salter, Brian

    2012-01-01

    The preferred Western model for science governance has come to involve attending to the perspectives of the public. In practice, however, this model has been criticised for failing to promote democracy along participatory lines. We argue that contemporary approaches to science policy making demonstrate less the failure of democracy and more the success of liberal modes of government in adapting to meet new governance challenges. Using a case study of recent UK policy debates on scientific work mixing human and animal biological material, we show first how a ‘moral economy’ is brought into being as a regulatory domain and second how this domain is governed to align cultural with scientific values. We suggest that it is through these practices that the state assures its aspirations for enhancing individual and collective prosperity through technological advance are met. PMID:22507952

  8. Governing the moral economy: animal engineering, ethics and the liberal government of science.

    PubMed

    Harvey, Alison; Salter, Brian

    2012-07-01

    The preferred Western model for science governance has come to involve attending to the perspectives of the public. In practice, however, this model has been criticised for failing to promote democracy along participatory lines. We argue that contemporary approaches to science policy making demonstrate less the failure of democracy and more the success of liberal modes of government in adapting to meet new governance challenges. Using a case study of recent UK policy debates on scientific work mixing human and animal biological material, we show first how a 'moral economy' is brought into being as a regulatory domain and second how this domain is governed to align cultural with scientific values. We suggest that it is through these practices that the state assures its aspirations for enhancing individual and collective prosperity through technological advance are met.

  9. Genetically engineered flavonol enriched tomato fruit modulates chondrogenesis to increase bone length in growing animals.

    PubMed

    Choudhary, Dharmendra; Pandey, Ashutosh; Adhikary, Sulekha; Ahmad, Naseer; Bhatia, Chitra; Bhambhani, Sweta; Trivedi, Prabodh Kumar; Trivedi, Ritu

    2016-02-26

    Externally visible body and longitudinal bone growth is a result of proliferation of chondrocytes. In growth disorder, there is delay in the age associated increase in height. The present study evaluates the effect of extract from transgenic tomato fruit expressing AtMYB12 transcription factor on bone health including longitudinal growth. Constitutive expression of AtMYB12 in tomato led to a significantly enhanced biosynthesis of flavonoids in general and the flavonol biosynthesis in particular. Pre-pubertal ovary intact BALB/c mice received daily oral administration of vehicle and ethanolic extract of wild type (WT-TOM) and transgenic AtMYB12-tomato (MYB12-TOM) fruits for six weeks. Animal fed with MYB12-TOM showed no inflammation in hepatic tissues and normal sinusoidal Kupffer cell morphology. MYB12-TOM extract significantly increased tibial and femoral growth and subsequently improved the bone length as compared to vehicle and WT-TOM. Histomorphometry exhibited significantly wider distal femoral and proximal tibial growth plate, increased number and size of hypertrophic chondrocytes in MYB12-TOM which corroborated with micro-CT and expression of BMP-2 and COL-10, marker genes for hypertrophic cells. We conclude that metabolic reprogramming of tomato by AtMYB12 has the potential to improve longitudinal bone growth thus helping in achievement of greater peak bone mass during adolescence.

  10. Genetically engineered flavonol enriched tomato fruit modulates chondrogenesis to increase bone length in growing animals

    PubMed Central

    Choudhary, Dharmendra; Pandey, Ashutosh; Adhikary, Sulekha; Ahmad, Naseer; Bhatia, Chitra; Bhambhani, Sweta; Trivedi, Prabodh Kumar; Trivedi, Ritu

    2016-01-01

    Externally visible body and longitudinal bone growth is a result of proliferation of chondrocytes. In growth disorder, there is delay in the age associated increase in height. The present study evaluates the effect of extract from transgenic tomato fruit expressing AtMYB12 transcription factor on bone health including longitudinal growth. Constitutive expression of AtMYB12 in tomato led to a significantly enhanced biosynthesis of flavonoids in general and the flavonol biosynthesis in particular. Pre-pubertal ovary intact BALB/c mice received daily oral administration of vehicle and ethanolic extract of wild type (WT-TOM) and transgenic AtMYB12-tomato (MYB12-TOM) fruits for six weeks. Animal fed with MYB12-TOM showed no inflammation in hepatic tissues and normal sinusoidal Kupffer cell morphology. MYB12-TOM extract significantly increased tibial and femoral growth and subsequently improved the bone length as compared to vehicle and WT-TOM. Histomorphometry exhibited significantly wider distal femoral and proximal tibial growth plate, increased number and size of hypertrophic chondrocytes in MYB12-TOM which corroborated with micro-CT and expression of BMP-2 and COL-10, marker genes for hypertrophic cells. We conclude that metabolic reprogramming of tomato by AtMYB12 has the potential to improve longitudinal bone growth thus helping in achievement of greater peak bone mass during adolescence. PMID:26917158

  11. Y chromosome detection of three-dimensional tissue-engineered skeletal muscle constructs in a syngeneic rat animal model.

    PubMed

    Beier, J P; Kneser, U; Stern-Sträter, J; Stark, G B; Bach, A D

    2004-01-01

    Surgical reconstruction of muscle tissue lost by trauma or tumor ablation is limited by the lack of availability of functional native tissue substitution. Moreover, so far most inherited or acquired muscle diseases are lacking sufficient treatment, because only few alternatives exist to provide functional restoration of lost muscle tissues. Engineering those tissues and transplantation into sites of dysfunction may be an alternative approach and may allow replacement of such damaged or failing skeletal muscle tissues. Techniques attempting reconstruction of some human tissues and organs (tissue engineering) have been introduced into clinical practice recently. One major problem that previous transplantation studies were facing is the ability of detection of transplanted cells after integration. Using the Y chromosome in situ hybridization technique in a syngeneic rat model allows transplantation of cell constructs orthotopically, without manipulation of the cells, with no rejection or immunosuppression being implied, but providing a nondilutable genetic marker to identify transplanted cells. The purpose of our study was to create functional skeletal muscle tissue in vivo using the transplantation of primary myoblasts precultivated within a three-dimensional (3D) fibrin matrix and to determine the fate of the transplanted cells using the Y chromosome detection technique. 3D myoblast cultures were established derived from male donor rats and after 7 days of cultivation we performed an orthotopic transplantation of 3D cell constructs into a created muscle defect within the gracilis muscle of syngeneic female rats. Anti-desmin immunostaining and Y chromosome in situ hybridization indicated the survival and integration of transplanted male myoblasts into the female recipient animal, thus demonstrating the feasibility of this approach in tissue engineering and the research of cell transplantation in general.

  12. Investigating Ecosystems in a Biobottle

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Breene, Arnica; Gilewski, Donna

    2008-01-01

    Biobottles are miniature ecosystems made from 2-liter plastic soda bottles. They allow students to explore how organisms in an ecosystem are connected to each other, examine how biotic and abiotic factors influence plant and animal growth and development, and discover how important biodiversity is to an ecosystem. This activity was inspired by an…

  13. Ecosystem Services

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    Ecosystem goods and services are the many life-sustaining benefits we receive from nature and contribute to environmental and human health and well-being. Ecosystem-focused research will develop methods to measure ecosystem goods and services.

  14. The Climate Space Concept: Analysis of the Steady State Heat Energy Budget of Animals. Physical Processes in Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecosystems, Transport Processes.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Stevenson, R. D.

    These materials were designed to be used by life science students for instruction in the application of physical theory to ecosystem operation. Most modules contain computer programs which are built around a particular application of a physical process. Several modules in the thermodynamic series considered the application of the First Law to…

  15. Effects of conventional and biodegradable microplastics on a marine ecosystem engineer (Arenicola marina) and sediment nutrient cycling.

    PubMed

    Green, Dannielle Senga; Boots, Bas; Sigwart, Julia; Jiang, Shan; Rocha, Carlos

    2016-01-01

    Effects of microplastic pollution on benthic organisms and ecosystem services provided by sedimentary habitats are largely unknown. An outdoor mesocosm experiment was done to realistically assess the effects of three different types of microplastic pollution (one biodegradable type; polylactic acid and two conventional types; polyethylene and polyvinylchloride) at increasing concentrations (0.02, 0.2 and 2% of wet sediment weight) on the health and biological activity of lugworms, Arenicola marina (Linnaeus, 1758), and on nitrogen cycling and primary productivity of the sediment they inhabit. After 31 days, A. marina produced less casts in sediments containing microplastics. Metabolic rates of A. marina increased, while microalgal biomass decreased at high concentrations, compared to sediments with low concentrations or without microplastics. Responses were strongest to polyvinylchloride, emphasising that different materials may have differential effects. Each material needs to be carefully evaluated in order to assess their risks as microplastic pollution. Overall, both conventional and biodegradable microplastics in sandy sediments can affect the health and behaviour of lugworms and directly or indirectly reduce primary productivity of these habitats.

  16. CRISPR/Cas9: a powerful genetic engineering tool for establishing large animal models of neurodegenerative diseases.

    PubMed

    Tu, Zhuchi; Yang, Weili; Yan, Sen; Guo, Xiangyu; Li, Xiao-Jiang

    2015-08-04

    Animal models are extremely valuable to help us understand the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders and to find treatments for them. Since large animals are more like humans than rodents, they make good models to identify the important pathological events that may be seen in humans but not in small animals; large animals are also very important for validating effective treatments or confirming therapeutic targets. Due to the lack of embryonic stem cell lines from large animals, it has been difficult to use traditional gene targeting technology to establish large animal models of neurodegenerative diseases. Recently, CRISPR/Cas9 was used successfully to genetically modify genomes in various species. Here we discuss the use of CRISPR/Cas9 technology to establish large animal models that can more faithfully mimic human neurodegenerative diseases.

  17. Impact of typhoon disturbance on the diversity of key ecosystem engineers in a monoculture mangrove forest plantation, Can Gio Biosphere Reserve, Vietnam

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Diele, K.; Tran Ngoc, D. M.; Geist, S. J.; Meyer, F. W.; Pham, Q. H.; Saint-Paul, U.; Tran, T.; Berger, U.

    2013-11-01

    Mangrove crabs as key ecosystem engineers may play an important role in the recovery process of storm-damaged forests. Yet, their response to storm disturbance is largely unknown. Here we compare the ground-dwelling brachyuran crab community of intact mangrove stands with that of typhoon gaps having experienced 100% tree mortality. Field work was conducted in two adjacent areas in Can Gio Biosphere Reserve, southern Vietnam. In each area, an 18-20 yr old monoculture Rhizophora apiculata stand served as control and was compared with typhoon gaps where downed stems had been removed or left on-site. The gaps were 14 and 20 months old when studied in the dry and rainy season 2008, respectively. Time-based sampling of ground-dwelling crabs with hand or shovel was conducted by 4 persons inside 100 m2 plots for 30 min (7 replicate plots per area, treatment and month). Abiotic (sediment pH, salinity, temperature, grain size, water content, carbon and nitrogen content), and biotic measures (e.g. canopy coverage, woody debris, number of trees, leaf litter) were also taken. Despite complete canopy loss, total crab abundance has not changed significantly (in contrast to biomass) and all 12 species found in the forest were also found in the gaps, demonstrating their robustness. Another 9 gap-exclusive species were recorded and average species number and Shannon diversity were thus higher in the gaps. Perisesarma eumolpe was the most abundant species, both in the forest and in the gaps, and a shift from sesarmids (typical forest species) to ocypodids (generally more prominent in open areas) has not occurred. The persistence of litter-feeding sesarmid crabs prior to the re-establishment of a mangrove canopy is likely to depend on the availability of woody debris on the ground of the gaps, fuelling a mangrove detritus based food web, rather than one based on microphytobenthos and deposit-feeding ocypodids. The presence of burrowing crabs in the gaps suggests that important

  18. Soil food web changes during spontaneous succession at post mining sites: a possible ecosystem engineering effect on food web organization?

    PubMed

    Frouz, Jan; Thébault, Elisa; Pižl, Václav; Adl, Sina; Cajthaml, Tomáš; Baldrián, Petr; Háněl, Ladislav; Starý, Josef; Tajovský, Karel; Materna, Jan; Nováková, Alena; de Ruiter, Peter C

    2013-01-01

    Parameters characterizing the structure of the decomposer food web, biomass of the soil microflora (bacteria and fungi) and soil micro-, meso- and macrofauna were studied at 14 non-reclaimed 1- 41-year-old post-mining sites near the town of Sokolov (Czech Republic). These observations on the decomposer food webs were compared with knowledge of vegetation and soil microstructure development from previous studies. The amount of carbon entering the food web increased with succession age in a similar way as the total amount of C in food web biomass and the number of functional groups in the food web. Connectance did not show any significant changes with succession age, however. In early stages of the succession, the bacterial channel dominated the food web. Later on, in shrub-dominated stands, the fungal channel took over. Even later, in the forest stage, the bacterial channel prevailed again. The best predictor of fungal bacterial ratio is thickness of fermentation layer. We argue that these changes correspond with changes in topsoil microstructure driven by a combination of plant organic matter input and engineering effects of earthworms. In early stages, soil is alkaline, and a discontinuous litter layer on the soil surface promotes bacterial biomass growth, so the bacterial food web channel can dominate. Litter accumulation on the soil surface supports the development of the fungal channel. In older stages, earthworms arrive, mix litter into the mineral soil and form an organo-mineral topsoil, which is beneficial for bacteria and enhances the bacterial food web channel.

  19. Non-indigenous predators threaten ecosystem engineers: Interactive effects of green crab and oyster size on American oyster mortality.

    PubMed

    Pickering, Tyler R; Poirier, Luke A; Barrett, Timothy J; McKenna, Shawn; Davidson, Jeff; Quijón, Pedro A

    2017-03-12

    Non-indigenous green crabs (Carcinus maenas) are emerging as important predators of autogenic engineers like American oysters (Crassostrea virginica) throughout the eastern seaboard of Canada and the United States. To document the spreading distribution of green crabs, we carried out surveys in seven sites of Prince Edward Island during three fall seasons. To assess the potential impact of green crabs on oyster mortality in relation to predator and prey size, we conducted multiple predator-prey manipulations in the field and laboratory. The surveys confirmed an ongoing green crab spread into new productive oyster habitats while rapidly increasing in numbers in areas where crabs had established already. The experiments measured mortality rates on four sizes of oysters exposed to three sizes of crab, and lasted 3-5 days. The outcomes of experiments conducted in Vexar(®) bags, laboratory tanks and field cages were consistent and were heavily dependent on both crab size and oyster size: while little predation occurred on large oysters, large and medium green crabs preyed heavily on small sizes. Oysters reached a refuge within the 35-55 mm shell length range; below that range, oysters suffered high mortality due to green crab predation and thus require management measures to enhance their survival. These results are most directly applicable to aquaculture operations and restoration initiatives but have implications for oyster sustainability.

  20. Ecosystem Journalism

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Robertson, Amy; Mahlin, Kathryn

    2005-01-01

    If the organisms in a prairie ecosystem created a newspaper, what would it look like? What important news topics of the ecosystem would the organisms want to discuss? Imaginative and enthusiastic third-grade students were busy pondering these questions as they tried their hands at "ecosystem journalism." The class had recently completed…

  1. Natural ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fleishman, Erica; Belnap, Jayne; Cobb, Neil; Enquist, Carolyn A.F.; Ford, Karl; MacDonald, Glen; Pellant, Mike; Schoennagel, Tania; Schmit, Lara M.; Schwartz, Mark; van Drunick, Suzanne; Westerling, Anthony LeRoy; Keyser, Alisa; Lucas, Ryan

    2013-01-01

    Natural Ecosystems analyzes the association of observed changes in climate with changes in the geographic distributions and phenology (the timing of blossoms or migrations of birds) for Southwestern ecosystems and their species, portraying ecosystem disturbances—such as wildfires and outbreaks of forest pathogens—and carbon storage and release, in relation to climate change.

  2. Ecosystem Jenga!

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Umphlett, Natalie; Brosius, Tierney; Laungani, Ramesh; Rousseau, Joe; Leslie-Pelecky, Diandra L.

    2009-01-01

    To give students a tangible model of an ecosystem and have them experience what could happen if a component of that ecosystem were removed; the authors developed a hands-on, inquiry-based activity that visually demonstrates the concept of a delicately balanced ecosystem through a modification of the popular game Jenga. This activity can be…

  3. A global perspective on the use, occurrence, fate and effects of anti-diabetic drug metformin in natural and engineered ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Briones, Rowena M; Sarmah, Ajit K; Padhye, Lokesh P

    2016-12-01

    Metformin is the most commonly used anti-diabetic drug in the world. When consumed, this unmetabolised pharmaceutical compound is excreted by the body and eventually enters the environment through a variety of pathways. Based on its high consumption and excretion rates, high concentrations of metformin have been detected in influents of wastewater treatment plants. Metformin and its transformation product, guanylurea, are also expected to be present in other aquatic environments based on their physico-chemical properties. Not surprisingly, guanylurea has also been detected in surface water, groundwater, and drinking water. Available information on ecotoxicological effects of metformin suggests that metformin is a potential endocrine disruptor and thus further emphasising the threat this drug could pose to our environment. This review provides a comprehensive overview of metformin and critically discusses available literature data with respect to its global use/demand, occurrence, fate and ecotoxicity in treatment facilities equipped with conventional and advanced treatment technologies, and its degradation/removal mechanisms. Final section highlights the existing knowledge gaps regarding its ultimate fate under the natural and engineered ecosystems and identifies some important research areas requiring urgent attention from regulatory makers and scientific community.

  4. Heavy metal accumulation and ecosystem engineering by two common mine site-nesting ant species: implications for pollution-level assessment and bioremediation of coal mine soil.

    PubMed

    Khan, Shbbir R; Singh, Satish K; Rastogi, Neelkamal

    2017-04-01

    The present study focuses on the abundance, heavy metal content, and the impact of ecosystem engineering activities of two coal mine site-inhabiting ant species, Cataglyphis longipedem and Camponotus compressus. The abundance of Ct. longipedem increased while that of C. compressus decreased, with increasing soil pollution. Correspondence analysis reveals a close association between soil heavy metal concentrations and Ct. longipedem abundance, but this association is lacking in the case of C. compressus. Cataglyphis ants which occupy stress-characterized niches appear to be pre-adapted to tolerate heavy metal pollution. Higher concentrations of Zn and Mn in Ct. longipedem may contribute to the strengthening of the cuticular structures, necessary for nest excavation in the hard, arid soil and for single load carrying. C. compressus ants appear to be pollution sensitive. Their higher Fe content may be related to metal uptake via plant-derived liquids and species-specific regulatory mechanisms. The metal pollution index and biota-to-soil accumulation factors, calculated by using the ant body metal content of the two species, indicate an overall decrease of soil heavy metal concentrations with increase of the site age, which reflects the degree of pollution related to the mine site age. The concentrations of total and available heavy metals (Fe, Zn, Mn, Pb, and Cu) were significantly lower in the ant nest debris soil as compared to the reference soil. The results of the present study highlight the role of ants as bioindicators and in bioremediation of contaminated soil.

  5. Same pattern, different mechanism: Locking onto the role of key species in seafloor ecosystem process

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Woodin, Sarah Ann; Volkenborn, Nils; Pilditch, Conrad A.; Lohrer, Andrew M.; Wethey, David S.; Hewitt, Judi E.; Thrush, Simon F.

    2016-05-01

    Seafloor biodiversity is a key mediator of ecosystem functioning, but its role is often excluded from global budgets or simplified to black boxes in models. New techniques allow quantification of the behavior of animals living below the sediment surface and assessment of the ecosystem consequences of complex interactions, yielding a better understanding of the role of seafloor animals in affecting key processes like primary productivity. Combining predictions based on natural history, behavior of key benthic species and environmental context allow assessment of differences in functioning and process, even when the measured ecosystem property in different systems is similar. Data from three sedimentary systems in New Zealand illustrate this. Analysis of the behaviors of the infaunal ecosystem engineers in each system revealed three very different mechanisms driving ecosystem function: density and excretion, sediment turnover and surface rugosity, and hydraulic activities and porewater bioadvection. Integrative metrics of ecosystem function in some cases differentiate among the systems (gross primary production) and in others do not (photosynthetic efficiency). Analyses based on behaviors and activities revealed important ecosystem functional differences and can dramatically improve our ability to model the impact of stressors on ecosystem and global processes.

  6. Same pattern, different mechanism: Locking onto the role of key species in seafloor ecosystem process

    PubMed Central

    Woodin, Sarah Ann; Volkenborn, Nils; Pilditch, Conrad A.; Lohrer, Andrew M.; Wethey, David S.; Hewitt, Judi E.; Thrush, Simon F.

    2016-01-01

    Seafloor biodiversity is a key mediator of ecosystem functioning, but its role is often excluded from global budgets or simplified to black boxes in models. New techniques allow quantification of the behavior of animals living below the sediment surface and assessment of the ecosystem consequences of complex interactions, yielding a better understanding of the role of seafloor animals in affecting key processes like primary productivity. Combining predictions based on natural history, behavior of key benthic species and environmental context allow assessment of differences in functioning and process, even when the measured ecosystem property in different systems is similar. Data from three sedimentary systems in New Zealand illustrate this. Analysis of the behaviors of the infaunal ecosystem engineers in each system revealed three very different mechanisms driving ecosystem function: density and excretion, sediment turnover and surface rugosity, and hydraulic activities and porewater bioadvection. Integrative metrics of ecosystem function in some cases differentiate among the systems (gross primary production) and in others do not (photosynthetic efficiency). Analyses based on behaviors and activities revealed important ecosystem functional differences and can dramatically improve our ability to model the impact of stressors on ecosystem and global processes. PMID:27230562

  7. Soil fauna, soil properties and geo-ecosystem functioning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cammeraat, L. H.

    2012-04-01

    The impact of soil fauna on soil processes is of utmost importance, as the activity of soil fauna directly affects soil quality. This is expressed by the direct effects of soil fauna on soil physical and soil chemical properties that not only have great importance to food production and ecosystems services, but also on weathering and hydrological and geomorphological processes. Soil animals can be perceived as ecosystem engineers that directly affect the flow of water, sediments and nutrients through terrestrial ecosystems. The biodiversity of animals living in the soil is huge and shows a huge range in size, functions and effects. Most work has been focused on only a few species such as earthworms and termites, but in general the knowledge on the effect of soil biota on soil ecosystem functioning is limited as it is for their impact on processes in the soil and on the soil surface. In this presentation we would like to review some of the impacts of soil fauna on soil properties that have implications for geo-ecosystem functioning and soil formation processes.

  8. A New Nonmonetary Metric for Indicating Environmental Benefits from Ecosystem Restoration Projects of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Report 2

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2010-07-01

    from decline toward extinction by providing more natural ecosystem support. The BSI takes different forms of expression depending on ecosystem...terms of cultural (including historic) and natural resources with ecological, cultural, and aesthetic attributes. But the ecosystem restoration purpose...improvement authority, the study objective added a constraint—that the degraded ecological resources are restored “to a less degraded, more natural condition

  9. A Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) Approach Improves Science Process Skills in 4-H Animal Science Participants

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Clarke, Katie C.

    2010-01-01

    A new Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) approach was designed for youth who participated in the Minnesota State Fair Livestock interview process. The project and evaluation were designed to determine if the new SET approach increased content knowledge and science process skills in participants. Results revealed that youth participants not…

  10. AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS,

    EPA Science Inventory

    Aquatic ecosystems are a vital part of the urban water cycle (and of urban areas more broadly), and, if healthy, provide a range of goods and services valued by humans (Meyer 1997). For example, aquatic ecosystems (e.g., rivers, lakes, wetlands) provide potable water, food resou...

  11. Soil-plant-animal continuum in relation to macro and micro mineral status of dairy cattle in subtropical hill agro ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Kumaresan, A; Bujarbaruah, K M; Pathak, K A; Brajendra; Ramesh, T

    2010-04-01

    The purpose of the present study was to study the soil-plant-animal continuum in subtropical hilly areas. Soil (n = 96), fodder (n = 96), and blood serum samples from dairy cattle (n = 120) were collected from eight districts of Mizoram, a hilly state in India. The samples were digested using diacid mixture (HNO(3):HClO(4); 10:4) and analyzed for macro (Ca, P, Mg, Na, and K) and micro (Cu, Co, Mn, Fe, and Zn) mineral concentrations. The macro and micro mineral concentrations varied among the different districts. The correlation values between fodder and cattle were significant for all the minerals studied except for P and K. The correlation value between fodder and cattle was highly significant (P < 0.01) for Ca (0.878), Mg (0.88), Cu (0.885), and Zn (0.928). However, such correlations were not observed between the mineral levels in cattle and mineral levels in soil except for Ca (0.782). Equations developed in the present study for prediction of Ca (R(2) = 0.797), Mg (R(2) = 0.777), Zn (R(2) = 0.937), Fe (R(2) = 0.861), and Cu (R(2) = 0.794) had significant R(2) values. Further, it is inferred that dairy cattle reared under smallholder production system were deficient in most of the minerals and supplementation of required minerals is essential for optimum production.

  12. Dissolved Oxygen Sensor in Animal-Borne Instruments: An Innovation for Monitoring the Health of Oceans and Investigating the Functioning of Marine Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Bailleul, Frederic; Vacquie-Garcia, Jade; Guinet, Christophe

    2015-01-01

    The current decline in dissolved oxygen concentration within the oceans is a sensitive indicator of the effect of climate change on marine environment. However the impact of its declining on marine life and ecosystems’ health is still quite unclear because of the difficulty in obtaining in situ data, especially in remote areas, like the Southern Ocean (SO). Southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) proved to be a relevant alternative to the traditional oceanographic platforms to measure physical and biogeochemical structure of oceanic regions rarely observed. In this study, we use a new stage of development in biologging technology to draw a picture of dissolved oxygen concentration in the SO. We present the first results obtained from a dissolved oxygen sensor added to Argos CTD-SRDL tags and deployed on 5 female elephant seals at Kerguelen. From October 2010 and October 2011, 742 oxygen profiles associated with temperature and salinity measurements were recorded. Whether a part of the data must be considered cautiously, especially because of offsets and temporal drifts of the sensors, the range of values recorded was consistent with a concomitant survey conducted from a research vessel (Keops-2 project). Once again, elephant seals reinforced the relationship between marine ecology and oceanography, delivering essential information about the water masses properties and the biological status of the Southern Ocean. But more than the presentation of a new stage of development in animal-borne instrumentation, this pilot study opens a new field of investigation in marine ecology and could be enlarged in a near future to other key marine predators, especially large fish species like swordfish, tuna or sharks, for which dissolved oxygen is expected to play a crucial role in distribution and behaviour. PMID:26200780

  13. Sea ice ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Arrigo, Kevin R

    2014-01-01

    Polar sea ice is one of the largest ecosystems on Earth. The liquid brine fraction of the ice matrix is home to a diverse array of organisms, ranging from tiny archaea to larger fish and invertebrates. These organisms can tolerate high brine salinity and low temperature but do best when conditions are milder. Thriving ice algal communities, generally dominated by diatoms, live at the ice/water interface and in recently flooded surface and interior layers, especially during spring, when temperatures begin to rise. Although protists dominate the sea ice biomass, heterotrophic bacteria are also abundant. The sea ice ecosystem provides food for a host of animals, with crustaceans being the most conspicuous. Uneaten organic matter from the ice sinks through the water column and feeds benthic ecosystems. As sea ice extent declines, ice algae likely contribute a shrinking fraction of the total amount of organic matter produced in polar waters.

  14. Sea Ice Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arrigo, Kevin R.

    2014-01-01

    Polar sea ice is one of the largest ecosystems on Earth. The liquid brine fraction of the ice matrix is home to a diverse array of organisms, ranging from tiny archaea to larger fish and invertebrates. These organisms can tolerate high brine salinity and low temperature but do best when conditions are milder. Thriving ice algal communities, generally dominated by diatoms, live at the ice/water interface and in recently flooded surface and interior layers, especially during spring, when temperatures begin to rise. Although protists dominate the sea ice biomass, heterotrophic bacteria are also abundant. The sea ice ecosystem provides food for a host of animals, with crustaceans being the most conspicuous. Uneaten organic matter from the ice sinks through the water column and feeds benthic ecosystems. As sea ice extent declines, ice algae likely contribute a shrinking fraction of the total amount of organic matter produced in polar waters.

  15. Animals and the invention of the Phanerozoic Earth system.

    PubMed

    Butterfield, Nicholas J

    2011-02-01

    Animals do not just occupy the modern biosphere, they permeate its structure and define how it works. Their unique combination of organ-grade multicellularity, motility and heterotrophic habit makes them powerful geobiological agents, imposing myriad feedbacks on nutrient cycling, productivity and environment. Most significantly, animals have 'engineered' the biosphere over evolutionary time, forcing the diversification of, for example, phytoplankton, land plants, trophic structure, large body size, bioturbation, biomineralization and indeed the evolutionary process itself. This review surveys how animals contribute to the modern world and provides a basis for reconstructing ancient ecosystems. Earlier, less animal-influenced biospheres worked quite differently from the one currently occupied, with the Ediacaran-Cambrian radiation of organ-grade animals marking a fundamental shift in macroecological and macroevolutionary expression.

  16. Managing riverine landscapes as meta-ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tockner, K.

    2014-12-01

    Aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems are tightly linked through energy, material, information, and organism flows. At the landscape scale, these reciprocal flows are controlled by the composition, configuration, boundary conditions and linkage of individual ecosystem types, thereby forming so-called meta-ecosystems. The relative importance of individual ecosystem types depends on the intrinsic properties (so-called "ecosystem traits"), the setting within the landscape, and the characteristics of interfaces that control cross-system fluxes. For example, the juxtaposition of particular ecosystem types (i.e. their composition and configuration) may alter the magnitude of landscape processes as well as the directions of flow among ecosystem types. Therefore, the meta-ecosystem concept provides a framework to quantify ecosystem diversity, a neglected component of biodiversity, and to test its effects on genetic and species diversity as well as the functional performance in coupled ecosystems. Given their topographic position at the lowest point in the landscape, aquatic ecosystems are particularly susceptible to influences exerted by their surrounding terrestrial environment, both the immediately adjacent riparian zones and the entire catchment that they drain. Questions that need to be tackled may include: What are the consequences of exchange pulses between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems on the functional performance of individual ecosystems? What are the mechanisms and processes underlying structural and functional biodiversity at aquatic-terrestrial interfaces? In this respect, the meta-ecosystem concept might be very helpful in landscape management and in ecosystem design and engineering.

  17. Engineering and design of vessels for sea transport of animals: the Australian design regulations for livestock carriers.

    PubMed

    Schultz-Altmann, Alexander G T

    2008-01-01

    The author outlines the principles underlying the standards employed by the Australian Marine Safety Authority to regulate live animal carriers, vessels used for sea transport of livestock, that operate from Australia. The standards are contained in regulations adopted by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority known as Marine Orders. The Cargo and Cargo Handling-Livestock Marine Order has evolved over time with subsequent 'issues' of the order as a consequence of operational experience and specific research. Recent changes have focused on the need to have adequate redundancy in systems and equipment of ships. A history of the development of these regulations is given and is followed by a description of the principles employed to develop the provisions contained in the regulations.

  18. Potential tumor-tropic effect of genetically engineered stem cells expressing suicide enzymes to selectively target invasive cancer in animal models.

    PubMed

    Kim, Seung U; Jeung, Eui-Bae; Kim, Yun-Bae; Cho, Myung-Haing; Choi, Kyung-Chul

    2011-04-01

    Stem cells have recently received a great deal of attention for their clinical and therapeutic potential to treat human disease and disorders. For instance, neural stem cells expressing a suicide gene which can concert prodrugs to their active metabolites may have great tropic and therapeutic potential for brain tumors, i.e., medulloblastoma and glioma. We are currently interested in therapeutic potential of these genetically engineered stem cells (GESTECs) to selectively target invasive tumors, i.e. ovarian, endometrial, breast, and lung cancer which can have a great impact on human and animal health. Thus, in this review we summarize the therapeutic potential of GESTEC, developed by us, and the putative mechanism(s) underlying their therapeutic and tropic potential in expressing suicide genes which can convert prodrugs to their active metabolites and in selectively targeting invasive tumors.

  19. Genome Editing with Engineered Nucleases in Economically Important Animals and Plants: State of the Art in the Research Pipeline.

    PubMed

    Sovová, Tereza; Kerins, Gerard; Demnerová, Kateřina; Ovesná, Jaroslava

    2017-01-01

    After induced mutagenesis and transgenesis, genome editing is the next step in the development of breeding techniques. Genome editing using site-directed nucleases - including meganucleases, zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs), transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs), and the CRISPR/Cas9 system - is based on the mechanism of double strand breaks. The nuclease is directed to cleave the DNA at a specific place of the genome which is then repaired by natural repair mechanisms. Changes are introduced during the repair that are either accidental or can be targeted if a DNA template with the desirable sequence is provided. These techniques allow making virtually any change to the genome including specific DNA sequence changes, gene insertion, replacements or deletions with unprecedented precision and specificity while being less laborious and more straightforward compared to traditional breeding techniques or transgenesis. Therefore, the research in this field is developing quickly and, apart from model species, multiple studies have focused on economically important species and agronomically important traits that were the key subjects of this review. In plants, studies have been undertaken on disease resistance, herbicide tolerance, nutrient metabolism and nutritional value. In animals, the studies have mainly focused on disease resistance, meat production and allergenicity of milk. However, none of the promising studies has led to commercialization despite several patent applications. The uncertain legal status of genome-editing methods is one of the reasons for poor commercial development, as it is not clear whether the products would fall under the GMO regulation. We believe this issue should be clarified soon in order to allow promising methods to reach their full potential.

  20. Case Study Application of the Biodiversity Security Index to Ranking Feasibility Studies for Ecosystem Restoration Projects of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2016-04-01

    Engineers. The sites were selected to represent a wide range of geographic, ecological , and engineering attributes. The BSI application method...51 Accuracy of Ecological and Management Data... ecological elements into the value it represents and is broadly applicable across Corps projects and programs. This is in sharp contrast with metrics now

  1. Changing ecosystem service values following technological change.

    PubMed

    Honey-Rosés, Jordi; Schneider, Daniel W; Brozović, Nicholas

    2014-06-01

    Research on ecosystem services has focused mostly on natural areas or remote places, with less attention given to urban ecosystem services and their relationship with technological change. However, recent work by urban ecologists and urban designers has more closely examined and appreciated the opportunities associated with integrating natural and built infrastructures. Nevertheless, a perception remains in the literature on ecosystem services that technology may easily and irreversibly substitute for services previously obtained from ecosystems, especially when the superiority of the engineered system motivated replacement in the first place. We emphasize that the expected tradeoff between natural and manufactured capital is false. Rather, as argued in other contexts, the adoption of new technologies is complementary to ecosystem management. The complementarity of ecosystem services and technology is illustrated with a case study in Barcelona, Spain where the installation of sophisticated water treatment technology increased the value of the ecosystem services found there. Interestingly, the complementarity between natural and built infrastructures may remain even for the very ecosystems that are affected by the technological change. This finding suggests that we can expect the value of ecosystem services to co-evolve with new technologies. Technological innovation can generate new opportunities to harness value from ecosystems, and the engineered structures found in cities may generate more reliance on ecosystem processes, not less.

  2. Changing Ecosystem Service Values Following Technological Change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Honey-Rosés, Jordi; Schneider, Daniel W.; Brozović, Nicholas

    2014-06-01

    Research on ecosystem services has focused mostly on natural areas or remote places, with less attention given to urban ecosystem services and their relationship with technological change. However, recent work by urban ecologists and urban designers has more closely examined and appreciated the opportunities associated with integrating natural and built infrastructures. Nevertheless, a perception remains in the literature on ecosystem services that technology may easily and irreversibly substitute for services previously obtained from ecosystems, especially when the superiority of the engineered system motivated replacement in the first place. We emphasize that the expected tradeoff between natural and manufactured capital is false. Rather, as argued in other contexts, the adoption of new technologies is complementary to ecosystem management. The complementarity of ecosystem services and technology is illustrated with a case study in Barcelona, Spain where the installation of sophisticated water treatment technology increased the value of the ecosystem services found there. Interestingly, the complementarity between natural and built infrastructures may remain even for the very ecosystems that are affected by the technological change. This finding suggests that we can expect the value of ecosystem services to co-evolve with new technologies. Technological innovation can generate new opportunities to harness value from ecosystems, and the engineered structures found in cities may generate more reliance on ecosystem processes, not less.

  3. Nitrogen cycling process rates across urban ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Reisinger, Alexander J; Groffman, Peter M; Rosi-Marshall, Emma J

    2016-09-21

    Nitrogen (N) pollution of freshwater, estuarine, and marine ecosystems is widespread and has numerous environmental and economic impacts. A portion of this excess N comes from urban watersheds comprised of natural and engineered ecosystems which can alter downstream N export. Studies of urban N cycling have focused on either specific ecosystems or on watershed-scale mass balances. Comparisons of specific N transformations across ecosystems are required to contextualize rates from individual studies. Here we reviewed urban N cycling in terrestrial, aquatic, and engineered ecosystems, and compared N processing in these urban ecosystem types to native reference ecosystems. We found that net N mineralization and net nitrification rates were enhanced in urban forests and riparian zones relative to reference ecosystems. Denitrification was highly variable across urban ecosystem types, but no significant differences were found between urban and reference denitrification rates. When focusing on urban streams, ammonium uptake was more rapid than nitrate uptake in urban streams. Additionally, reduction of stormwater runoff coupled with potential decreases in N concentration suggests that green infrastructure may reduce downstream N export. Despite multiple environmental stressors in urban environments, ecosystems within urban watersheds can process and transform N at rates similar to or higher than reference ecosystems.

  4. Sciatic nerve repair with tissue engineered nerve: Olfactory ensheathing cells seeded poly(lactic-co-glygolic acid) conduit in an animal model

    PubMed Central

    Tan, C W; Ng, M H; Ohnmar, H; Lokanathan, Y; Nur-Hidayah, H; Roohi, S A; Ruszymah, BHI; Nor-Hazla, M H; Shalimar, A; Naicker, A S

    2013-01-01

    Background and Aim: Synthetic nerve conduits have been sought for repair of nerve defects as the autologous nerve grafts causes donor site morbidity and possess other drawbacks. Many strategies have been investigated to improve nerve regeneration through synthetic nerve guided conduits. Olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) that share both Schwann cell and astrocytic characteristics have been shown to promote axonal regeneration after transplantation. The present study was driven by the hypothesis that tissue-engineered poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) seeded with OECs would improve peripheral nerve regeneration in a long sciatic nerve defect. Materials and Methods: Sciatic nerve gap of 15 mm was created in six adult female Sprague-Dawley rats and implanted with PLGA seeded with OECs. The nerve regeneration was assessed electrophysiologically at 2, 4 and 6 weeks following implantation. Histopathological examination, scanning electron microscopic (SEM) examination and immunohistochemical analysis were performed at the end of the study. Results: Nerve conduction studies revealed a significant improvement of nerve conduction velocities whereby the mean nerve conduction velocity increases from 4.2 ΁ 0.4 m/s at week 2 to 27.3 ΁ 5.7 m/s at week 6 post-implantation (P < 0.0001). Histological analysis revealed presence of spindle-shaped cells. Immunohistochemical analysis further demonstrated the expression of S100 protein in both cell nucleus and the cytoplasm in these cells, hence confirming their Schwann-cell-like property. Under SEM, these cells were found to be actively secreting extracellular matrix. Conclusion: Tissue-engineered PLGA conduit seeded with OECs provided a permissive environment to facilitate nerve regeneration in a small animal model. PMID:24379458

  5. Lightning safety of animals.

    PubMed

    Gomes, Chandima

    2012-11-01

    This paper addresses a concurrent multidisciplinary problem: animal safety against lightning hazards. In regions where lightning is prevalent, either seasonally or throughout the year, a considerable number of wild, captive and tame animals are injured due to lightning generated effects. The paper discusses all possible injury mechanisms, focusing mainly on animals with commercial value. A large number of cases from several countries have been analyzed. Economically and practically viable engineering solutions are proposed to address the issues related to the lightning threats discussed.

  6. Sagebrush Ecosystems Under Fire

    SciTech Connect

    Downs, Janelle L.

    2014-12-30

    Since settlement of the western United States began, sagebrush (Artemisia L. spp.) ecosystems have decreased both in quantity and quality. Originally encompassing up to 150 million acres in the West, the “interminable fields” of sage described by early explorers (Fremont 1845) have been degraded and often eliminated by conversion to agriculture, urbanization, livestock grazing, invasion by alien plants, and alteration of wildfire cycles (Hann et al. 1997; West 1999). More than half of the original sagebrush steppe ecosystems in Washington have been converted to agriculture and many of the remaining stands of sagebrush are degraded by invasion of exotic annuals such as cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum L.). Today, sagebrush ecosystems are considered to be one of the most imperiled in the United States (Noss, LeRoe and Scott 1995), and more than 350 sagebrush-associated plants and animals have been identified as species of conservation concern (Suring et al. 2005; Wisdom et al. 2005). The increasing frequency of wildfire in sagebrush-dominated landscapes is one of the greatest threats to these habitats and also presents one of the most difficult to control.

  7. Louisiana coastal ecosystem

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    ,

    2000-01-01

    Louisiana's coast and its degradation and restoration are major environmental issues being studied at the National Wetlands Research Center. Coastal ecosystems are vulnerable because of the tremendous amount of human activity that takes place along the coast. Information on ecological processes is essential to guide the development along the coast as well as to protect and restore wildlife habitat.Louisiana has about 40% of coastal wetlands in the lower 48 states; they support fish, waterfowl, and fur-bearing animals as well as unique cultures like that of the Acadians. The fish and wildlife resources of Louisiana's coast produce over $1 billion each year in revenues.But Louisiana has the highest coastal loss rate because of natural and human causes. Over the past three decades, Louisiana has lost as much as 35-40 mi2 (90-104 km2) of coastal wetlands a year.The National Wetlands Research Center is qualified to assess and monitor this ecosystem because of its proximity to the study area, a staff chosen for their expertise in the system, and a number of established partnerships with others who study the areas. The Center is often the lead group in partnerships with universities, other federal agencies, and private entities who study this ecosystem.Most of the Center's research and technology development performed for coastal wetlands are done at the Lafayette headquarters; some work is performed at the National Wetlands Research Center's project office in Baton Rouge, LA.

  8. Human driven transitions in complex model ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harfoot, Mike; Newbold, Tim; Tittinsor, Derek; Purves, Drew

    2015-04-01

    Human activities have been observed to be impacting ecosystems across the globe, leading to reduced ecosystem functioning, altered trophic and biomass structure and ultimately ecosystem collapse. Previous attempts to understand global human impacts on ecosystems have usually relied on statistical models, which do not explicitly model the processes underlying the functioning of ecosystems, represent only a small proportion of organisms and do not adequately capture complex non-linear and dynamic responses of ecosystems to perturbations. We use a mechanistic ecosystem model (1), which simulates the underlying processes structuring ecosystems and can thus capture complex and dynamic interactions, to investigate boundaries of complex ecosystems to human perturbation. We explore several drivers including human appropriation of net primary production and harvesting of animal biomass. We also present an analysis of the key interactions between biotic, societal and abiotic earth system components, considering why and how we might think about these couplings. References: M. B. J. Harfoot et al., Emergent global patterns of ecosystem structure and function from a mechanistic general ecosystem model., PLoS Biol. 12, e1001841 (2014).

  9. Retrospective Evaluation of the Protocol for US Army Corps of Engineers Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Projects. Part 2. Database Content and Data Entry Guidelines

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2014-01-01

    no extent (~F); 2=to some extent (~D); 3=to a moderate extent (~C); 4=to a great extent (~B); 5=to a very great extent (~A); N/A= no basis for...time  Connectivity: habitat corridors, fragmentations, barriers  Limiting Habitat: habitats essential to species survival  Respresentativeness...animal species and/or the removal of invasive/nuisance species. Fish Passage Removal of barriers to upstream-downstream migration of fishes. Includes

  10. Genetic Engineering

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Phillips, John

    1973-01-01

    Presents a review of genetic engineering, in which the genotypes of plants and animals (including human genotypes) may be manipulated for the benefit of the human species. Discusses associated problems and solutions and provides an extensive bibliography of literature relating to genetic engineering. (JR)

  11. Amazing Animals

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Al-Kuwari, Najat Saad

    2007-01-01

    "Animals" is a three-part lesson plan for young learners with a zoo animal theme. The first lesson is full of activities to describe animals, with Simon Says, guessing games, and learning stations. The second lesson is about desert animals, but other types of animals could be chosen depending on student interest. This lesson teaches…

  12. Animal Bites

    MedlinePlus

    ... Ear Nose & Throat Emotional Problems Eyes Fever From Insects or Animals Genitals and Urinary Tract Glands & Growth ... Preventable Diseases Healthy Children > Health Issues > Conditions > From Insects or Animals > Animal Bites Health Issues Listen Español ...

  13. Comparison of drug and cell-based delivery: engineered adult mesenchymal stem cells expressing soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor II prevent arthritis in mouse and rat animal models.

    PubMed

    Liu, Linda N; Wang, Gang; Hendricks, Kyle; Lee, Keunmyoung; Bohnlein, Ernst; Junker, Uwe; Mosca, Joseph D

    2013-05-01

    Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disease with unknown etiology where tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) plays a critical role. Etanercept, a recombinant fusion protein of human soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor II (hsTNFR) linked to the Fc portion of human IgG1, is used to treat RA based on the rationale that sTNFR binds TNFα and blocks TNFα-mediated inflammation. We compared hsTNFR protein delivery from genetically engineered human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) with etanercept. Blocking TNFα-dependent intercellular adhesion molecule-1 expression on transduced hMSCs and inhibition of nitric oxide production from TNFα-treated bovine chondrocytes by conditioned culture media from transduced hMSCs demonstrated the functionality of the hsTNFR construction. Implanted hsTNFR-transduced mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) reduced mouse serum circulating TNFα generated from either implanted TNFα-expressing cells or lipopolysaccharide induction more effectively than etanercept (TNFα, 100%; interleukin [IL]-1α, 90%; and IL-6, 60% within 6 hours), suggesting faster clearance of the soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor (sTNFR)-TNFα complex from the animals. In vivo efficacy of sTNFR-transduced MSCs was illustrated in two (immune-deficient and immune-competent) arthritic rodent models. In the antibody-induced arthritis BalbC/SCID mouse model, intramuscular injection of hsTNFR-transduced hMSCs reduced joint inflammation by 90% compared with untransduced hMSCs; in the collagen-induced arthritis Fischer rat model, both sTNFR-transduced rat MSCs and etanercept inhibited joint inflammation by 30%. In vitro chondrogenesis assays showed the ability of TNFα and IL1α, but not interferon γ, to inhibit hMSC differentiation to chondrocytes, illustrating an additional negative role for inflammatory cytokines in joint repair. The data support the utility of hMSCs as therapeutic gene delivery vehicles and their potential to be used in alleviating inflammation

  14. Consideration of Ecosystem for ICME

    SciTech Connect

    Ren, Weiju

    2013-01-01

    As the Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) emerges as a hot topic, computation, experimentation, and digital database are identified as its three major components. Efforts are being actively made from various aspects to bring ICME to reality. However, many factors that would affect ICEM development still remain vague. This paper is an attempt to discuss the needs for establishing a database centered ecosystem to facilitate ICEM development.

  15. Parallel ecological networks in ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Olff, Han; Alonso, David; Berg, Matty P; Eriksson, B Klemens; Loreau, Michel; Piersma, Theunis; Rooney, Neil

    2009-06-27

    In ecosystems, species interact with other species directly and through abiotic factors in multiple ways, often forming complex networks of various types of ecological interaction. Out of this suite of interactions, predator-prey interactions have received most attention. The resulting food webs, however, will always operate simultaneously with networks based on other types of ecological interaction, such as through the activities of ecosystem engineers or mutualistic interactions. Little is known about how to classify, organize and quantify these other ecological networks and their mutual interplay. The aim of this paper is to provide new and testable ideas on how to understand and model ecosystems in which many different types of ecological interaction operate simultaneously. We approach this problem by first identifying six main types of interaction that operate within ecosystems, of which food web interactions are one. Then, we propose that food webs are structured among two main axes of organization: a vertical (classic) axis representing trophic position and a new horizontal 'ecological stoichiometry' axis representing decreasing palatability of plant parts and detritus for herbivores and detrivores and slower turnover times. The usefulness of these new ideas is then explored with three very different ecosystems as test cases: temperate intertidal mudflats; temperate short grass prairie; and tropical savannah.

  16. Glyphosate in northern ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Helander, Marjo; Saloniemi, Irma; Saikkonen, Kari

    2012-10-01

    Glyphosate is the main nonselective, systemic herbicide used against a wide range of weeds. Its worldwide use has expanded because of extensive use of certain agricultural practices such as no-till cropping, and widespread application of glyphosate-resistant genetically modified crops. Glyphosate has a reputation of being nontoxic to animals and rapidly inactivated in soils. However, recent evidence has cast doubts on its safety. Glyphosate may be retained and transported in soils, and there may be cascading effects on nontarget organisms. These processes may be especially detrimental in northern ecosystems because they are characterized by long biologically inactive winters and short growing seasons. In this opinion article, we discuss the potential ecological, environmental and agricultural risks of intensive glyphosate use in boreal regions.

  17. Ecotoxicology of tropical marine ecosystems

    SciTech Connect

    Peters, E.C.; Gassman, N.J.; Firman, J.C.; Richmond, R.H.; Power, E.A.

    1997-01-01

    The negative effects of chemical contaminants on tropical marine ecosystems are of increasing concern as human populations expand adjacent to these communities. Watershed streams and ground water carry a variety of chemicals from agricultural, industrial, and domestic activities, while winds and currents transport pollutants from atmospheric and oceanic sources to these coastal ecosystems. The implications of the limited information available on impacts of chemical stressors on mangrove forests, seagrass meadows, and coral reefs are discussed in the context of ecosystem management and ecological risk assessment. Three classes of pollutants have received attention: heavy metals, petroleum, and synthetic organics. Heavy metals have been detected in all three ecosystems, causing physiological stress, reduced reproductive success, and outright mortality in associated invertebrates and fishes. Oil spills have been responsible for the destruction of entire coastal shallow-water communities, with recovery requiring years. Herbicides are particularly detrimental to mangroves and seagrasses and adversely affect the animal-algal symbioses in corals. Pesticides interfere with chemical cues responsible for key biological processes, including reproduction and recruitment of a variety of organisms. Information is lacking with regard to long-term recovery, indicator species, and biomarkers for tropical communities. Critical areas that are beginning to be addressed include the development of appropriate benchmarks for risk assessment, baseline monitoring criteria, and effective management strategies to protect tropical marine ecosystems in the face of mounting anthropogenic disturbance.

  18. AGATE animation - business theme

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1998-01-01

    Business jet 4 of 6. Advanced General Aviation Technology Experiment (AGATE). The AGATE program is complimented by a NASA Lewis-led program to develop safe, smooth, quiet and affordable propulsion systems for future four-to-six-seat general aviation airplanes. The General Aviation Propulsion (GAP) program is developing diesel prop and jet engines to be flight demonstrated at the year 2000 EAA AirVenture Air Show & Convention in Oshkosh, Wisc. Commericially produced engines based on these demonstrator engines and their manufacturing technologies will soon follow. Image from AGATE 'business jet' video animation.

  19. Forest ecosystems in the Alaskan taiga

    SciTech Connect

    Van Cleve, K.; Chapin, F.S. III; Flanagan, P.W.; Viereck, L.A.

    1986-01-01

    This volume in the series ''Ecological Studies'' provides an overview and synthesis of research on the structure and function of taiga forest ecosystems of interior Alaska. The first section discusses the nature of the taiga environment and covers climate, forest ecosystem distribution, natural regeneration of vegetation, and the role of fire. The second edition focuses on environmental controls over organism activity with discussions on growth and nutrient use, nitrogen fixation, physiological ecology of mosses, and microbial activity and element availability. The final section considers environmental controls over ecosystem processes with discussions of processes, plant-animal interactions, and a model of forest growth and yield.

  20. Animal Bites

    MedlinePlus

    Wild animals usually avoid people. They might attack, however, if they feel threatened, are sick, or are protecting their ... or territory. Attacks by pets are more common. Animal bites rarely are life-threatening, but if they ...

  1. Evolutionary diversification in stickleback affects ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

    Harmon, Luke J; Matthews, Blake; Des Roches, Simone; Chase, Jonathan M; Shurin, Jonathan B; Schluter, Dolph

    2009-04-30

    Explaining the ecological causes of evolutionary diversification is a major focus of biology, but surprisingly little has been said about the effects of evolutionary diversification on ecosystems. The number of species in an ecosystem and their traits are key predictors of many ecosystem-level processes, such as rates of productivity, biomass sequestration and decomposition. Here we demonstrate short-term ecosystem-level effects of adaptive radiation in the threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) over the past 10,000 years. These fish have undergone recent parallel diversification in several lakes in coastal British Columbia, resulting in the formation of two specialized species (benthic and limnetic) from a generalist ancestor. Using a mesocosm experiment, we demonstrate that this diversification has strong effects on ecosystems, affecting prey community structure, total primary production, and the nature of dissolved organic materials that regulate the spectral properties of light transmission in the system. However, these ecosystem effects do not simply increase in their relative strength with increasing specialization and species richness; instead, they reflect the complex and indirect consequences of ecosystem engineering by sticklebacks. It is well known that ecological factors influence adaptive radiation. We demonstrate that adaptive radiation, even over short timescales, can have profound effects on ecosystems.

  2. Arctic terrestrial ecosystem contamination.

    PubMed

    Thomas, D J; Tracey, B; Marshall, H; Norstrom, R J

    1992-07-15

    Limited data have been collected on the presence of contaminants in the Arctic terrestrial ecosystem, with the exception of radioactive fallout from atmospheric weapons testing. Although southern and temperate biological systems have largely cleansed themselves of radioactive fallout deposited during the 1950s and 1960s, Arctic environments have not. Lichens accumulate radioactivity more than many other plants because of their large surface area and long life span; the presence and persistence of radioisotopes in the Arctic is of concern because of the lichen----reindeer----human ecosystem. Effective biological half-life of cesium 137 is reckoned to be substantially less than its physical half-life. The database on organochlorines in Canadian Arctic terrestrial mammals and birds is very limited, but indications are that the air/plant/animal contaminant pathway is the major route of these compounds into the terrestrial food chain. For terrestrial herbivores, the most abundant organochlorine is usually hexachlorobenzene followed by hexachlorocyclohexane isomers. PCB accumulation favours the hexachlorobiphenyl, pentachlorobiphenyl and heptachlorobiphenyl homologous series. The concentrations of the various classes of organochlorine compounds are substantially lower in terrestrial herbivore tissues than in marine mammal tissues. PCBs and DDT are the most abundant residues in peregrine falcons (a terrestrial carnivore) reaching average levels of 9.2 and 10.4 micrograms.g-1, respectively, more than 10 times higher than other organochlorines and higher than in marine mammals, including the polar bear. Contaminants from local sources include metals from mining activities, hydrocarbons and waste drilling fluids from oil and gas exploration and production, wastes from DEW line sites, naturally occurring radionuclides associated with uranium mineralization, and smoke containing SO2 and H2SO4 aerosol from the Smoking Hills at Cape Bathurst, N.W.T.

  3. Glacier Ecosystems of Himalaya

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kohshima, S.; Yoshimura, Y.; Takeuchi, N.; Segawa, T.; Uetake, J.

    2012-12-01

    Biological activity on glaciers has been believed to be extremely limited. However, we found various biotic communities specialized to the glacier environment in various part of the world, such as Himalaya, Patagonia and Alaska. Some of these glacier hosted biotic communities including various cold-tolerant insects, annelids and copepods that were living in the glacier by feeding on algae and bacteria growing in the snow and ice. Thus, the glaciers are simple and relatively closed ecosystems sustained by the primary production in the snow and ice. In this presentation, we will briefly introduce glacier ecosystems in Himalaya; ecology and behavior of glacier animals, altitudinal zonation of snow algal communities, and the structure of their habitats in the glacier. Since the microorganisms growing on the glacier surface are stored in the glacial strata every year, ice-core samples contain many layers with these microorganisms. We showed that the snow algae in the ice-core are useful for ice core dating and could be new environmental signals for the studies on past environment using ice cores. These microorganisms in the ice core will be important especially in the studies of ice core from the glaciers of warmer regions, in which chemical and isotopic contents are often heavily disturbed by melt water percolation. Blooms of algae and bacteria on the glacier can reduce the surface albedo and significantly affect the glacier melting. For example, the surface albedo of some Himalayan glaciers was significantly reduced by a large amount of dark-colored biogenic material (cryoconite) derived from snow algae and bacteria. It increased the melting rates of the surfaces by as much as three-fold. Thus, it was suggested that the microbial activity on the glacier could affect the mass balance and fluctuation of the glaciers.

  4. Entry, Descent, Landing Animation (Animation)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2005-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Click on the image for Entry, Descent, Landing animation

    This animation illustrates the path the Stardust return capsule will follow once it enters Earth's atmosphere.

  5. Ship canals and aquatic ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Aron, William I.; Smith, Stanford H.

    1971-01-01

    Through a combination of ecosystem homeostasis and the perversity of man and nature, oftentimes the significant biological changes effected by environmental modifications are not detected until long after the initial change has taken place. The immediate impact, which may range from the spectacular to the undetectable, is a deceptive measure of the long-term and often more important changes in the ecosystem. Two major engineering achievements illustrate this premise: (i) construction of the Erie Canal, which provided access from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes, and the Welland Canal, which bypasses the block between Lakes Ontario and Erie created by Niagara Falls (Fig. 1), and (ii) construction of the Suez Canal between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.

  6. Plant functional traits predict green roof ecosystem services.

    PubMed

    Lundholm, Jeremy; Tran, Stephanie; Gebert, Luke

    2015-02-17

    Plants make important contributions to the services provided by engineered ecosystems such as green roofs. Ecologists use plant species traits as generic predictors of geographical distribution, interactions with other species, and ecosystem functioning, but this approach has been little used to optimize engineered ecosystems. Four plant species traits (height, individual leaf area, specific leaf area, and leaf dry matter content) were evaluated as predictors of ecosystem properties and services in a modular green roof system planted with 21 species. Six indicators of ecosystem services, incorporating thermal, hydrological, water quality, and carbon sequestration functions, were predicted by the four plant traits directly or indirectly via their effects on aggregate ecosystem properties, including canopy density and albedo. Species average height and specific leaf area were the most useful traits, predicting several services via effects on canopy density or growth rate. This study demonstrates that easily measured plant traits can be used to select species to optimize green roof performance across multiple key services.

  7. ECOSYSTEM GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT

    EPA Science Inventory

    Thermodynamically, ecosystem growth and development is the process by which energy throughflow and stored biomass increase. Several proposed hypotheses describe the natural tendencies that occur as an ecosystem matures, and here, we consider five: minimum entropy production, maxi...

  8. Climate Action Benefits: Ecosystems

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    This page provides background on the relationship between ecosystems and climate change and describes what the CIRA Ecosystems analyses cover. It provides links to the subsectors Coral Reefs, Shellfish, Freshwater Fish, Wildfire, and Carbon Storage.

  9. Valuation of rangeland ecosystem services

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gascoigne, W.R.

    2011-01-01

    Economic valuation lends itself well to the anthropocentric orientation of ecosystem services. An economic perspective on ecosystems portrays them as natural assets providing a flow of goods and services valuable to individuals and society collectively. A few examples include the purification of drinking water, reduced risk from flooding and other extreme events, pollination of agricultural crops, climate regulation, and recreation opportunities from plant and animal habitat maintenance, among many others. Once these goods and services are identified and quantified, they can be monetized to complete the valuation process. The monetization of ecosystem goods and services (in the form of dollars) provides a common metric that allows for cross-comparison of attributes and evaluation of differing ecological scenarios. Complicating the monetization process is the fact that most of these goods and services are public and non-market in nature; meaning they are non-rival and non-exclusive and are typically not sold in a traditional market setting where monetary values are revealed. Instead, one must employ non-market valuation techniques, with primary valuation methods typically being very time and resource consuming, intimidating to non-economists, and often impractical. For these reasons, benefit transfer methods have gained popularity. This methodology harnesses the primary collection results of existing studies to make inferences about the economic values of non-market goods and services at an alternative policy site (in place and/or in time). For instance, if a primary valuation study on oak reestablishment on rangelands in southern California yielded a value of $30 per-acre associated with water regulation, this result can be transferred, with some adjustments, to say something about the value of an acre of oaks on rangelands in northern portions of the state. The economic valuation of rangeland ecosystem services has many roles. Economic values may be used as input

  10. Ecosystems and landscapes: Describing and valuing whole ecosystems

    SciTech Connect

    Cooper, B.E.

    1995-12-31

    Ecosystem management involves both the design and management of complex ecological systems. This involves the application of {open_quotes}ecological engineering{close_quotes} principles. There are many alternative {open_quotes}states{close_quotes} of a landscape, all of which are ecologically sustainable. Once one fulfills the constraints of healthy, diverse, self-reproducing stocks of desirable species, there exists a wide array of alternative states, the characteristics of which represent social, economic and lifestyle trade-offs. There is no single {open_quotes}right{close_quotes} ecological design. Case studies will be used to illustrate these points.

  11. Estuarine Total Ecosystem Metabolism

    EPA Science Inventory

    Total ecosystem metabolism (TEM), both as discrete measurements and as a theoretical concept, has an important history in ecosystem ecology, particularly in estuaries. Some of the earliest ecological studies were developed to determine how energy flowed through an ecosystem and w...

  12. Ecosystem Health: Energy Indicators.

    EPA Science Inventory

    Just as for human beings health is a concept that applies to the condition of the whole organism, the health of an ecosystem refers to the condition of the ecosystem as a whole. For this reason, the study and characterization of ecosystems is fundamental to establishing accurate ...

  13. Metabolic theory predicts whole-ecosystem properties.

    PubMed

    Schramski, John R; Dell, Anthony I; Grady, John M; Sibly, Richard M; Brown, James H

    2015-02-24

    Understanding the effects of individual organisms on material cycles and energy fluxes within ecosystems is central to predicting the impacts of human-caused changes on climate, land use, and biodiversity. Here we present a theory that integrates metabolic (organism-based bottom-up) and systems (ecosystem-based top-down) approaches to characterize how the metabolism of individuals affects the flows and stores of materials and energy in ecosystems. The theory predicts how the average residence time of carbon molecules, total system throughflow (TST), and amount of recycling vary with the body size and temperature of the organisms and with trophic organization. We evaluate the theory by comparing theoretical predictions with outputs of numerical models designed to simulate diverse ecosystem types and with empirical data for real ecosystems. Although residence times within different ecosystems vary by orders of magnitude-from weeks in warm pelagic oceans with minute phytoplankton producers to centuries in cold forests with large tree producers-as predicted, all ecosystems fall along a single line: residence time increases linearly with slope = 1.0 with the ratio of whole-ecosystem biomass to primary productivity (B/P). TST was affected predominantly by primary productivity and recycling by the transfer of energy from microbial decomposers to animal consumers. The theory provides a robust basis for estimating the flux and storage of energy, carbon, and other materials in terrestrial, marine, and freshwater ecosystems and for quantifying the roles of different kinds of organisms and environments at scales from local ecosystems to the biosphere.

  14. MEDLI Animation

    NASA Video Gallery

    Animation of MEDLI, the Mars Science Laboratory Entry, Descent, and Landing Instrument, which contains multiple sophisticated temperature sensors to measure atmospheric conditions and performance o...

  15. Fort Collins Science Center Ecosystem Dynamics Branch

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wilson, Jim; Melcher, C.; Bowen, Z.

    2009-01-01

    Complex natural resource issues require understanding a web of interactions among ecosystem components that are (1) interdisciplinary, encompassing physical, chemical, and biological processes; (2) spatially complex, involving movements of animals, water, and airborne materials across a range of landscapes and jurisdictions; and (3) temporally complex, occurring over days, weeks, or years, sometimes involving response lags to alteration or exhibiting large natural variation. Scientists in the Ecosystem Dynamics Branch of the U.S. Geological Survey, Fort Collins Science Center, investigate a diversity of these complex natural resource questions at the landscape and systems levels. This Fact Sheet describes the work of the Ecosystems Dynamics Branch, which is focused on energy and land use, climate change and long-term integrated assessments, herbivore-ecosystem interactions, fire and post-fire restoration, and environmental flows and river restoration.

  16. Fishing for ecosystem services

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pope, Kevin L.; Pegg, Mark A.; Cole, Nicholas W.; Siddons, Stephen F.; Fedele, Alexis D.; Harmon, Brian S.; Ruskamp, Ryan L.; Turner, Dylan R.; Uerling, Caleb C.

    2016-01-01

    Ecosystems are commonly exploited and manipulated to maximize certain human benefits. Such changes can degrade systems, leading to cascading negative effects that may be initially undetected, yet ultimately result in a reduction, or complete loss, of certain valuable ecosystem services. Ecosystem-based management is intended to maintain ecosystem quality and minimize the risk of irreversible change to natural assemblages of species and to ecosystem processes while obtaining and maintaining long-term socioeconomic benefits. We discuss policy decisions in fishery management related to commonly manipulated environments with a focus on influences to ecosystem services. By focusing on broader scales, managing for ecosystem services, and taking a more proactive approach, we expect sustainable, quality fisheries that are resilient to future disturbances. To that end, we contend that: (1) management always involves tradeoffs; (2) explicit management of fisheries for ecosystem services could facilitate a transition from reactive to proactive management; and (3) adaptive co-management is a process that could enhance management for ecosystem services. We propose adaptive co-management with an ecosystem service framework where actions are implemented within ecosystem boundaries, rather than political boundaries, through strong interjurisdictional relationships.

  17. Mercury in the ecosystem

    SciTech Connect

    Mitra, S.

    1986-01-01

    This treatise on the environmental dispersion of mercury emphasizes the importance of ''mercury-consciousness'' in the present-day world, where rapidly expanding metallurgical, chemical, and other industrial developments are causing widespread contamination of the atmosphere, soil, and water by this metal and its toxic organic derivatives. Concepts concerning the mechanism of mercury dispersion and methyl-mercury formation in the physico-biological ecosystem are discussed in detail and a substantial body of data on the degree and nature of the mercury contamination of various plants, fish, and land animals by industrial and urban effluents is presented. Various analytical methods for the estimation of mercury in inorganic and organic samples are presented. These serve as a ready guide to the selection of the correct method for analyzing environmental samples. This book is reference work in mercury-related studies. It is written to influence industrial policies of governments in their formulation of control measures to avoid the recurrence of human tragedies such as the well-known Minamata case in Japan, and the lesser known cases in Iraq, Pakistan, and Guatamala.

  18. Properties of ecosystems that are vulnerable during eco-fusion

    PubMed Central

    Yoshida, Katsuhiko; Tokita, Kei

    2015-01-01

    When two ecosystems with separate evolutionary histories come into contact (eco-fusion), reciprocal invasions occur during their fusion. Asymmetries in the migration direction or extinction rate then occur (e.g., during the Great American Biotic Interchange, GABI). Hypotheses have been proposed to describe this process, but the ecosystem properties have not been adequately discussed. To identify the ecosystem properties that create vulnerability to species loss during eco-fusion, we conducted computer simulations of the fusion of ecosystems with independent evolutionary histories. With asymmetrical species extinction rates, the ecosystem with a higher extinction rate had a shorter food chain, a higher ratio of animal species to plant species, and a lower ratio of carnivores to herbivores. Most ecosystems that have undergone isolated evolution are vulnerable. These results may explain the vulnerability of South America's ecosystem during the GABI and that of modern Australia. PMID:25631294

  19. Properties of ecosystems that are vulnerable during eco-fusion.

    PubMed

    Yoshida, Katsuhiko; Tokita, Kei

    2015-01-29

    When two ecosystems with separate evolutionary histories come into contact (eco-fusion), reciprocal invasions occur during their fusion. Asymmetries in the migration direction or extinction rate then occur (e.g., during the Great American Biotic Interchange, GABI). Hypotheses have been proposed to describe this process, but the ecosystem properties have not been adequately discussed. To identify the ecosystem properties that create vulnerability to species loss during eco-fusion, we conducted computer simulations of the fusion of ecosystems with independent evolutionary histories. With asymmetrical species extinction rates, the ecosystem with a higher extinction rate had a shorter food chain, a higher ratio of animal species to plant species, and a lower ratio of carnivores to herbivores. Most ecosystems that have undergone isolated evolution are vulnerable. These results may explain the vulnerability of South America's ecosystem during the GABI and that of modern Australia.

  20. A Hierarchy Among Attitudes Toward Animals

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bart, William M.

    1972-01-01

    Changing attitudes of man toward many animal species are viewed as one aspect in stabilizing ecosystems. This research study attempts to indicate a hierarchy among attitudes toward animals, particularly for the purpose of developing positive attitudes toward rare and endangered species. (BL)

  1. Kindergarten Animation

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hinshaw, Craig

    2012-01-01

    Animation is one of the last lessons that come to mind when thinking of kindergarten art. The necessary understanding of sequencing, attention to small, often detailed drawings, and the use of technology all seem more suitable to upper elementary. With today's emphasis on condensing and integrating curriculum, consider developing animation lessons…

  2. Excelsior Animals.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Steinkamp, Mary J.

    2001-01-01

    Describes an art project where students used excelsior, shredded wood used for packing, to create animals. Explains that excelsior can be found at furniture and grocery stores. Discusses in detail the process of making the animals and includes learning objectives. (CMK)

  3. Animal Detectives

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mulvey, Bridget; Warnock, Carly

    2015-01-01

    During a two-week inquiry-based 5E learning cycle unit, children made observations and inferences to guide their explorations of animal traits and habitats (Bybee 2014). The children became "animal detectives" by studying a live-feed webcam and digital images of wolves in their natural habitat, reading books and online sources about…

  4. Animal Allies.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Peterson, Brenda

    1999-01-01

    Discusses young teenagers' adoption of animal personas in their creative writing classes, and the way these classroom activities follow Montessori principles. Considers both the role of imagination in the animal identification and the psychological and pedagogical significance of the underlying development of unconscious kinship with Earth and its…

  5. Application of 34S analysis for elucidating terrestrial, marine and freshwater ecosystems: Evidence of animal movement/husbandry practices in an early Viking community around Lake Mývatn, Iceland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sayle, Kerry L.; Cook, Gordon T.; Ascough, Philippa L.; Hastie, Helen R.; Einarsson, Árni; McGovern, Thomas H.; Hicks, Megan T.; Edwald, Ágústa; Friðriksson, Adolf

    2013-11-01

    Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios (δ13C and δ15N) have been used widely in archaeology to investigate palaeodiet. Sulphur stable isotope ratios (δ34S) have shown great promise in this regard but the potential of this technique within archaeological science has yet to be fully explored. Here we report δ34S, δ13C and δ15N values for 129 samples of animal bone collagen from Skútustaðir, an early Viking age (landnám) settlement in north-east Iceland. This dataset represents the most comprehensive study to date of its kind on archaeological material and the results show a clear offset in δ34S values between animals deriving their dietary resources from terrestrial (mean = +5.6 ± 2.8‰), freshwater (mean = -2.7 ± 1.4‰) or marine (mean = +15.9 ± 1.5‰) reservoirs (with the three food groups being significantly different at 2σ). This offset allows reconstruction of the dietary history of domesticated herbivores and demonstrates differences in husbandry practices and animal movement/trade, which would be otherwise impossible using only δ13C and δ15N values. For example, several terrestrial herbivores displayed enriched bone collagen δ34S values compared to the geology of the Lake Mývatn region, indicating they may have been affected by sea-spray whilst being pastured closer to the coast, before being traded inland. Additionally, the combination of heavy δ15N values coupled with light δ34S values within pig bone collagen suggests that these omnivores were consuming freshwater fish as a significant portion of their diet. Arctic foxes were also found to be consuming large quantities of freshwater resources and radiocarbon dating of both the pigs and foxes confirmed previous studies showing that a large freshwater radiocarbon (14C) reservoir effect exists within the lake. Overall, these stable isotope and 14C data have important implications for obtaining a fuller reconstruction of the diets of the early Viking settlers in Iceland, and may allow

  6. Emerging oomycete threats to plants and animals.

    PubMed

    Derevnina, Lida; Petre, Benjamin; Kellner, Ronny; Dagdas, Yasin F; Sarowar, Mohammad Nasif; Giannakopoulou, Artemis; De la Concepcion, Juan Carlos; Chaparro-Garcia, Angela; Pennington, Helen G; van West, Pieter; Kamoun, Sophien

    2016-12-05

    Oomycetes, or water moulds, are fungal-like organisms phylogenetically related to algae. They cause devastating diseases in both plants and animals. Here, we describe seven oomycete species that are emerging or re-emerging threats to agriculture, horticulture, aquaculture and natural ecosystems. They include the plant pathogens Phytophthora infestans, Phytophthora palmivora, Phytophthora ramorum, Plasmopara obducens, and the animal pathogens Aphanomyces invadans, Saprolegnia parasitica and Halioticida noduliformans For each species, we describe its pathology, importance and impact, discuss why it is an emerging threat and briefly review current research activities.This article is part of the themed issue 'Tackling emerging fungal threats to animal health, food security and ecosystem resilience'.

  7. [Veterinary medicine and organic animal husbandry. III. Animal health in organic dairy farms].

    PubMed

    van Klink, E G; de Ruyter, W G; Sijpkens, C D; van Ham, P W

    1995-03-01

    Animal health is dealt with differently on biological farms then on conventional farms. On biological farms, stockmen see their animals not only as individual animals, but also as part of a herd in a balanced ecosystem. Disease prevention is therefore given much thought. The use of medicines is selective and subjected to strict regulations. This paper presents a summary of disease incidence in dairy cattle on biological farms and highlights specific problems and problem prevention in biological animal husbandry.

  8. Grant Patents on Animals? An Ethical and Legal Battle Looms.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wheeler, David L.

    1987-01-01

    Rulings on applications for animal patents being considered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office could profoundly influence university patent and research income. Many animal-rights advocates have expressed philosophical objections to genetic engineering of animals. (MLW)

  9. Animal experimentation.

    PubMed

    Kolar, Roman

    2006-01-01

    Millions of animals are used every year in often times extremely painful and distressing scientific procedures. Legislation of animal experimentation in modern societies is based on the supposition that this is ethically acceptable when certain more or less defined formal (e.g. logistical, technical) demands and ethical principles are met. The main parameters in this context correspond to the "3Rs" concept as defined by Russel and Burch in 1959, i.e. that all efforts to replace, reduce and refine experiments must be undertaken. The licensing of animal experiments normally requires an ethical evaluation process, often times undertaken by ethics committees. The serious problems in putting this idea into practice include inter alia unclear conditions and standards for ethical decisions, insufficient management of experiments undertaken for specific (e.g. regulatory) purposes, and conflicts of interest of ethics committees' members. There is an ongoing societal debate about ethical issues of animal use in science. Existing EU legislation on animal experimentation for cosmetics testing is an example of both the public will for setting clear limits to animal experiments and the need to further critically examine other fields and aspects of animal experimentation.

  10. Farm Animals

    MedlinePlus

    ... Pets Pets Birds Cats Dogs Farm Animals Backyard Poultry Ferrets Fish Horses Reptiles and Amphibians Turtles Kept ... including cattle; sheep; pigs; goats; llamas; alpacas; and poultry only happens at petting zoos or on farm ...

  11. Suzaku Animation

    NASA Video Gallery

    This animation depicts the Suzaku spacecraft. Suzaku (originally known as Astro-E2) was launched July 10, 2005, and maintains a low-Earth orbit while it observes X-rays from the universe. The satel...

  12. Pulsar Animation

    NASA Video Gallery

    Pulsars are thought to emit relatively narrow radio beams, shown as green in this animation. If these beams don't sweep toward Earth, astronomers cannot detect the radio signals. Pulsar gamma-ray e...

  13. Wild Animals.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Web Feet K-8, 2000

    2000-01-01

    This annotated subject guide to Web sites and other resources focuses on wild animals. Includes Web sites, CD-ROMs and software, videos, books, audios, magazines, and professional resources, as well as a class activity. (LRW)

  14. Small Animal Bone Biomechanics

    PubMed Central

    Vashishth, Deepak

    2008-01-01

    Animal models, in particular mice, offer the possibility of naturally achieving or genetically engineering a skeletal phenotype associated with disease and conducting destructive fracture tests on bone to determine the resulting change in bone’s mechanical properties. Several recent developments, including nano- and micro- indentation testing, microtensile and microcompressive testing, and bending tests on notched whole bone specimens, offer the possibility to mechanically probe small animal bone and investigate the effects of aging, therapeutic treatments, disease, and genetic variation. In contrast to traditional strength tests on small animal bones, fracture mechanics tests display smaller variation and therefore offer the possibility of reducing sample sizes. This article provides an analysis of what such tests measure and proposes methods to reduce errors associated with testing smaller than ideal specimens. PMID:18672104

  15. Animal Bioacoustics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fletcher, Neville H.

    Animals rely upon their acoustic and vibrational senses and abilities to detect the presence of both predators and prey and to communicate with members of the same species. This chapter surveys the physical bases of these abilities and their evolutionary optimization in insects, birds, and other land animals, and in a variety of aquatic animals other than cetaceans, which are treated in Chap. 20. While there are many individual variations, and some animals devote an immense fraction of their time and energy to acoustic communication, there are also many common features in their sound production and in the detection of sounds and vibrations. Excellent treatments of these matters from a biological viewpoint are given in several notable books [19.1,2] and collections of papers [19.3,4,5,6,7,8], together with other more specialized books to be mentioned in the following sections, but treatments from an acoustical viewpoint [19.9] are rare. The main difference between these two approaches is that biological books tend to concentrate on anatomical and physiological details and on behavioral outcomes, while acoustical books use simplified anatomical models and quantitative analysis to model vocalization frequency scaling in animals hearing sound production animal animal biological biological bioacoustics whole-system behavior. This latter is the approach to be adopted here.

  16. Translation of an engineered nanofibrous disc-like angle-ply structure for intervertebral disc replacement in a small animal model.

    PubMed

    Martin, John T; Milby, Andrew H; Chiaro, Joseph A; Kim, Dong Hwa; Hebela, Nader M; Smith, Lachlan J; Elliott, Dawn M; Mauck, Robert L

    2014-06-01

    Intervertebral disc degeneration has been implicated in the etiology of low back pain; however, the current surgical strategies for treating symptomatic disc disease are limited. A variety of materials have been developed to replace disc components, including the nucleus pulposus (NP), the annulus fibrosus (AF) and their combination into disc-like engineered constructs. We have previously shown that layers of electrospun poly(ε-caprolactone) scaffold, mimicking the hierarchical organization of the native AF, can achieve functional parity with native tissue. Likewise, we have combined these structures with cell-seeded hydrogels (as an NP replacement) to form disc-like angle-ply structures (DAPS). The objective of this study was to develop a model for the evaluation of DAPS in vivo. Through a series of studies, we developed a surgical approach to replace the rat caudal disc with an acellular DAPS and then stabilized the motion segment via external fixation. We then optimized cell infiltration into DAPS by including sacrificial poly(ethylene oxide) layers interspersed throughout the angle-ply structure. Our findings illustrate that DAPS are stable in the caudal spine, are infiltrated by cells from the peri-implant space and that infiltration is expedited by providing additional routes for cell migration. These findings establish a new in vivo platform in which to evaluate and optimize the design of functional disc replacements.

  17. Ecosystems, Teacher's Guide.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    California Univ., Berkeley. Science Curriculum Improvement Study.

    The Science Curriculum Improvement Study has developed this teacher's guide to "Ecosystems," the sixth part of a six unit life science curriculum sequence. The six basic units, emphasizing organism-environment interactions, are organisms, life cycles, populations, environments, communities, and ecosystems. They make use of scientific and…

  18. Where Will Ecosystems Go?

    SciTech Connect

    Janetos, Anthony C.

    2008-09-29

    Climate-induced changes in ecosystems have been both modeled and documented extensively over the past 15-20 years. Those changes occur in the context of many other stresses and interacting factors, but it is clear that many, if not most, ecosystems are sensitive to changing climate.

  19. The Library as Ecosystem

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Walter, Scott

    2008-01-01

    Ecology is the study of interactions between organisms and their environment, and the academic library could be considered to be an ecosystem, i.e., a "biological organization" in which multiple species must interact, both with one another and with their environment. The metaphor of the library as ecosystem is flexible enough to be applied not…

  20. Animal Bioacoustics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fletcher, Neville

    Animals rely upon their acoustic and vibrational senses and abilities to detect the presence of both predators and prey and to communicate with members of the same species. This chapter surveys the physical bases of these abilities and their evolutionary optimization in insects, birds, and other land animals, and in a variety of aquatic animals other than cetaceans, which are treated in Chap. 20. While there are many individual variations, and some animals devote an immense fraction of their time and energy to acoustic communication, there are also many common features in their sound production and in the detection of sounds and vibrations. Excellent treatments of these matters from a biological viewpoint are given in several notable books [19.1,2] and collections of papers [19.3,4,5,6,7,8], together with other more specialized books to be mentioned in the following sections, but treatments from an acoustical viewpoint [19.9] are rare. The main difference between these two approaches is that biological books tend to concentrate on anatomical and physiological details and on behavioral outcomes, while acoustical books use simplified anatomical models and quantitative analysis to model whole-system behavior. This latter is the approach to be adopted here.

  1. Animal Science.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    VanCleave, Janice

    2001-01-01

    Presents a set of hands-on, outdoor science experiments designed to teach elementary school students about animal adaptation. The experiments focus on: how color camouflage affects an insect population; how spiderlings find a home; and how chameleons camouflage themselves by changing color. (SM)

  2. Transgenic Animals.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Jaenisch, Rudolf

    1988-01-01

    Describes three methods and their advantages and disadvantages for introducing genes into animals. Discusses the predictability and tissue-specificity of the injected genes. Outlines the applications of transgenic technology for studying gene expression, the early stages of mammalian development, mutations, and the molecular nature of chromosomes.…

  3. SEVEN PILLARS OF ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT

    EPA Science Inventory

    Ecosystem management is widely proposed in the popular and professional literature as the modern and preferred way of managing natural resources and ecosystems. Advocates glowingly describe ecosystem management as an approach that will protect the environment, maintain healthy ec...

  4. Nutrient controls on biocomplexity of mangrove ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McKee, Karen L.

    2004-01-01

    Mangrove forests are important coastal ecosystems that provide a variety of ecological and societal services. These intertidal, tree-dominated communities along tropical coastlines are often described as “simple systems,” compared to other tropical forests with larger numbers of plant species and multiple understory strata; however, mangrove ecosystems have complex trophic structures, and organisms exhibit unique physiological, morphological, and behavioral adaptations to environmental conditions characteristic of the land-sea interface. Biogeochemical functioning of mangrove forests is also controlled by interactions among the microbial, plant, and animal communities and feedback linkages mediated by hydrology and other forcing functions. Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) at the National Wetlands Research Center are working to understand more fully the impact of nutrient variability on these delicate and important ecosystems.

  5. Coso geothermal environmental overview study ecosystem quality

    SciTech Connect

    Leitner, P.

    1981-09-01

    The Coso Known Geothermal Resource Area is located just east of the Sierra Nevada, in the broad transition zone between the Mohave and Great Basin desert ecosystems. The prospect of large-scale geothermal energy development here in the near future has led to concern for the protection of biological resources. Objectives here are the identification of ecosystem issues, evaluation of the existing data base, and recommendation of additional studies needed to resolve key issues. High-priority issues include the need for (1) site-specific data on the occurrence of plant and animal species of special concern, (2) accurate and detailed information on the nature and extent of the geothermal resource, and (3) implementation of a comprehensive plan for ecosystem protection.

  6. Quantum and Ecosystem Entropies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kirwan, A. D.

    2008-06-01

    Ecosystems and quantum gases share a number of superficial similarities including enormous numbers of interacting elements and the fundamental role of energy in such interactions. A theory for the synthesis of data and prediction of new phenomena is well established in quantum statistical mechanics. The premise of this paper is that the reason a comparable unifying theory has not emerged in ecology is that a proper role for entropy has yet to be assigned. To this end, a phase space entropy model of ecosystems is developed. Specification of an ecosystem phase space cell size based on microbial mass, length, and time scales gives an ecosystem uncertainty parameter only about three orders of magnitude larger than Planck’s constant. Ecosystem equilibria is specified by conservation of biomass and total metabolic energy, along with the principle of maximum entropy at equilibria. Both Bose - Einstein and Fermi - Dirac equilibrium conditions arise in ecosystems applications. The paper concludes with a discussion of some broader aspects of an ecosystem phase space.

  7. Global climate change and the evolutionary ecology of ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

    Schmitz, Oswald J

    2013-09-01

    Environmental warming due to global climate change is an important stressor that stands to alter organismal physiology and, ultimately, carbon cycling in ecosystems. Yet the theoretical framework for predicting warming effects on whole-ecosystem carbon balance by way of changes in organismal physiology remains rudimentary. This is because ecosystem science has yet to embrace principles of evolutionary ecology that offer the means to explain how environmental stress on organisms mediates ecosystem carbon dynamics. Here, using selected case studies and a theoretical model, I sketch out one framework that shows how increases in animal metabolic rates in response to thermal stress lead to phenotypically plastic shifts in animal elemental demand, from nitrogen-rich proteins that support production to carbon-rich soluble carbohydrates that support elevated energy demands. I further show how such a switch in resource selection alters the fate of carbon between atmospheric versus animal, plant, and soil pools. The framework shows that animals, despite having relatively low biomass representation in ecosystems, can nonetheless have disproportionately larger effects on carbon cycling in ecosystems whose effects are exacerbated by environmental stressors like climate warming.

  8. [Dangerous animals].

    PubMed

    Hasle, Gunnar

    2002-06-30

    As travellers seek ever more exotic destinations they are more likely to encounter dangerous animals. Compared to risks such as AIDS, traffic accidents and malaria, the risk is not so great; many travellers are, however, concerned about this and those who give pre-travel vaccines and advice should know something about it. This article is mainly based on medical and zoological textbooks. Venomous stings and bites may be prevented by adequate clothing and by keeping safe distance to the animals. Listening to those who live in the area is of course important. Travellers should not carry antisera with them, but antisera should be available at local hospitals. It should be borne in mind that plant eaters cause just as many deaths as large predators. In some cases it is necessary to carry a sufficiently powerful firearm.

  9. Toward understanding, managing, and protecting microbial ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Bodelier, Paul L E

    2011-01-01

    Microbial communities are at the very basis of life on earth, catalyzing biogeochemical reactions driving global nutrient cycles. However, unlike for plants and animals, microbial diversity is not on the biodiversity-conservation agenda. The latter, however, would imply that microbial diversity is not under any threat by anthropogenic disturbance or climate change. This maybe a misconception caused by the rudimentary knowledge we have concerning microbial diversity and its role in ecosystem functioning. This perspective paper identifies major areas with knowledge gaps within the field of environmental microbiology that preclude a comprehension of microbial ecosystems on the level we have for plants and animals. Opportunities and challenges are pointed out to open the microbial black box and to go from descriptive to predictive microbial ecology.

  10. Toward Understanding, Managing, and Protecting Microbial Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Bodelier, Paul L. E.

    2011-01-01

    Microbial communities are at the very basis of life on earth, catalyzing biogeochemical reactions driving global nutrient cycles. However, unlike for plants and animals, microbial diversity is not on the biodiversity–conservation agenda. The latter, however, would imply that microbial diversity is not under any threat by anthropogenic disturbance or climate change. This maybe a misconception caused by the rudimentary knowledge we have concerning microbial diversity and its role in ecosystem functioning. This perspective paper identifies major areas with knowledge gaps within the field of environmental microbiology that preclude a comprehension of microbial ecosystems on the level we have for plants and animals. Opportunities and challenges are pointed out to open the microbial black box and to go from descriptive to predictive microbial ecology. PMID:21747797

  11. Synthetic microbial ecosystems for biotechnology.

    PubMed

    Pandhal, Jagroop; Noirel, Josselin

    2014-06-01

    Most highly controlled and specific applications of microorganisms in biotechnology involve pure cultures. Maintaining single strain cultures is important for industry as contaminants can reduce productivity and lead to longer "down-times" during sterilisation. However, microbes working together provide distinct advantages over pure cultures. They can undertake more metabolically complex tasks, improve efficiency and even expand applications to open systems. By combining rapidly advancing technologies with ecological theory, the use of microbial ecosystems in biotechnology will inevitably increase. This review provides insight into the use of synthetic microbial communities in biotechnology by applying the engineering paradigm of measure, model, manipulate and manufacture, and illustrate the emerging wider potential of the synthetic ecology field. Systems to improve biofuel production using microalgae are also discussed.

  12. Lakes Ecosystem Services Online

    EPA Science Inventory

    Northeastern lakes provide valuable ecosystem services that benefit residents and visitors and are increasingly important for provisioning of recreational opportunities and amenities. Concurrently, however, population growth threatens lakes by, for instance, increasing nutrient ...

  13. Ecosystem restoration: Chapter 4

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cullinane Thomas, Catherine M.; Skrabis, K. E.; Gascoigne, William

    2012-01-01

    The Department of the Interior extensively supports―through its mission, policy, programs, and funding― the study, planning, implementation, and monitoring of ecosystem restoration. This commitment is reflected in the Department's FY2011-2016 Strategic Plan.

  14. Ecosystems in the Laboratory

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Madders, M.

    1975-01-01

    Describes the materials and laboratory techniques for the study of food chains and food webs, pyramids of numbers and biomass, energy pyramids, and oxygen gradients. Presents a procedure for investigating the effects of various pollutants on an entire ecosystem. (GS)

  15. List identifies threatened ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Showstack, Randy

    2012-09-01

    The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) announced on 9 September that it will develop a new Red List of Ecosystems that will identify which ecosystems are vulnerable or endangered. The list, which is modeled on the group's Red List of Threatened Species™, could help to guide conservation activities and influence policy processes such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, according to the group. “We will assess the status of marine, terrestrial, freshwater, and subterranean ecosystems at local, regional, and global levels,” stated Jon Paul Rodriguez, leader of IUCN's Ecosystems Red List Thematic Group. “The assessment can then form the basis for concerted implementation action so that we can manage them sustainably if their risk of collapse is low or restore them if they are threatened and then monitor their recovery.”

  16. Nanotechnology and animal health.

    PubMed

    Scott, N R

    2005-04-01

    Nanotechnology, as a new enabling technology, has the potential to revolutionise agriculture and food systems in the United States of America and throughout the world. Examples of potential applications of nanotechnology in the science and engineering of agriculture and food systems include disease treatment delivery systems, new tools for molecular and cellular biology, the security of agricultural and food systems, new materials for pathogen detection, and protection of the environment. Existing research has clearly demonstrated the feasibility of introducing nanoshells and nanotubes into animal systems to seek out and destroy targeted cells. Nanoparticles smaller than one micron have been used to deliver drugs and genes into cells. Thus, some building blocks do exist in isolation and are expected to be integrated into systems over the next 10 to 15 years. It is reasonable to presume over the next couple of decades that nanobiotechnology industries and unique developments will revolutionise animal health and medicine.

  17. An animal welfare perspective on animal testing of GMO crops.

    PubMed

    Kolar, Roman; Rusche, Brigitte

    2008-01-01

    The public discussion on the introduction of agro-genetic engineering focuses mainly on economical, ecological and human health aspects. The fact is neglected that laboratory animals must suffer before either humans or the environment are affected. However, numerous animal experiments are conducted for toxicity testing and authorisation of genetically modified plants in the European Union. These are ethically questionable, because death and suffering of the animals for purely commercial purposes are accepted. Therefore, recent political initiatives to further increase animal testing for GMO crops must be regarded highly critically. Based on concrete examples this article demonstrates that animal experiments, on principle, cannot provide the expected protection of users and consumers despite all efforts to standardise, optimise or extend them.

  18. Coastal Adaptation and Ecological Engineering

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cheong, S. M.

    2014-12-01

    Ecological engineering combines ecology and engineering to sustain coastal environment and facilitate adaptation to climate change. This paper discusses how the cases of mangroves, oyster reefs, and marshes help mainstream climate change with ecosystem conservation. It demonstrates the benefits of combining strategies to combat changing climate given the financial and political constraints.

  19. Animal Testing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moretto, Johnny; Chauffert, Bruno; Bouyer, Florence

    The development of a new anticancer drug is a long, complex and multistep process which is supervised by regulatory authorities from the different countries all around the world [1]. Application of a new drug for admission to the market is supported by preclinical and clinical data, both including the determination of pharmacodynamics, toxicity, antitumour activity, therapeutic index, etc. As preclinical studies are associated with high cost, optimization of animal experiments is crucial for the overall development of a new anticancer agent. Moreover, in vivo efficacy studies remain a determinant panel for advancement of agents to human trials and thus, require cautious design and interpretation from experimental and ethical point of views.

  20. Animal papillomaviruses.

    PubMed

    Rector, Annabel; Van Ranst, Marc

    2013-10-01

    We provide an overview of the host range, taxonomic classification and genomic diversity of animal papillomaviruses. The complete genomes of 112 non-human papillomavirus types, recovered from 54 different host species, are currently available in GenBank. The recent characterizations of reptilian papillomaviruses extend the host range of the Papillomaviridae to include all amniotes. Although the genetically diverse papillomaviruses have a highly conserved genomic lay-out, deviations from this prototypic genome organization are observed in several animal papillomaviruses, and only the core ORFs E1, E2, L2 and L1 are present in all characterized papillomavirus genomes. The discovery of papilloma-polyoma hybrids BPCV1 and BPCV2, containing a papillomaviral late region but an early region encoding typical polyomaviral nonstructural proteins, and the detection of recombination breakpoints between the early and late coding regions of cetacean papillomaviruses, could indicate that early and late gene cassettes of papillomaviruses are relatively independent entities that can be interchanged by recombination.

  1. Ecosystem growth and development.

    PubMed

    Fath, Brian D; Jørgensen, Sven E; Patten, Bernard C; Straskraba, Milan

    2004-11-01

    One of the most important features of biosystems is how they are able to maintain local order (low entropy) within their system boundaries. At the ecosystem scale, this organization can be observed in the thermodynamic parameters that describe it, such that these parameters can be used to track ecosystem growth and development during succession. Thermodynamically, ecosystem growth is the increase of energy throughflow and stored biomass, and ecosystem development is the internal reorganization of these energy mass stores, which affect transfers, transformations, and time lags within the system. Several proposed hypotheses describe thermodynamically the orientation or natural tendency that ecosystems follow during succession, and here, we consider five: minimize specific entropy production, maximize dissipation, maximize exergy storage (includes biomass and information), maximize energy throughflow, and maximize retention time. These thermodynamic orientors were previously all shown to occur to some degree during succession, and here we present a refinement by observing them during different stages of succession. We view ecosystem succession as a series of four growth and development stages: boundary, structural, network, and informational. We demonstrate how each of these ecological thermodynamic orientors behaves during the different growth and development stages, and show that while all apply during some stages only maximizing energy throughflow and maximizing exergy storage are applicable during all four stages. Therefore, we conclude that the movement away from thermodynamic equilibrium, and the subsequent increase in organization during ecosystem growth and development, is a result of system components and configurations that maximize the flux of useful energy and the amount of stored exergy. Empirical data and theoretical models support these conclusions.

  2. [Dignity or integrity - does the genetic modification of animals require new concepts in animal ethics?].

    PubMed

    Schmidt, Kirsten

    2008-01-01

    Animal genetic engineering seems to point at a normative gap beyond pathocentric welfare theories in animal ethics. Recently developed approaches aim to bridge this gap by means of new normative criteria such as animal dignity and animal integrity. The following comparison of dignity and integrity in the context of animal ethics shows that the dignity concept faces serious problems because of its necessarily anthroporelational character and the different functions of contingent and inherent dignity within ethical reasoning. Unlike animal dignity the concept of animal integrity could prove to be a useful enhancement for pathocentric approaches.

  3. Consumer-driven nutrient dynamics in freshwater ecosystems: from individuals to ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Atkinson, Carla L; Capps, Krista A; Rugenski, Amanda T; Vanni, Michael J

    2016-12-23

    The role of animals in modulating nutrient cycling [hereafter, consumer-driven nutrient dynamics (CND)] has been accepted as an important influence on both community structure and ecosystem function in aquatic systems. Yet there is great variability in the influence of CND across species and ecosystems, and the causes of this variation are not well understood. Here, we review and synthesize the mechanisms behind CND in fresh waters. We reviewed 131 articles on CND published between 1973 and 1 June 2015. The rate of new publications in CND has increased from 1.4 papers per year during 1973-2002 to 7.3 per year during 2003-2015. The majority of investigations are in North America with many concentrating on fish. More recent studies have focused on animal-mediated nutrient excretion rates relative to nutrient demand and indirect impacts (e.g. decomposition). We identified several mechanisms that influence CND across levels of biological organization. Factors affecting the stoichiometric plasticity of consumers, including body size, feeding history and ontogeny, play an important role in determining the impact of individual consumers on nutrient dynamics and underlie the stoichiometry of CND across time and space. The abiotic characteristics of an ecosystem affect the net impact of consumers on ecosystem processes by influencing consumer metabolic processes (e.g. consumption and excretion/egestion rates), non-CND supply of nutrients and ecosystem nutrient demand. Furthermore, the transformation and transport of elements by populations and communities of consumers also influences the flow of energy and nutrients across ecosystem boundaries. This review highlights that shifts in community composition or biomass of consumers and eco-evolutionary underpinnings can have strong effects on the functional role of consumers in ecosystem processes, yet these are relatively unexplored aspects of CND. Future research should evaluate the value of using species traits and abiotic

  4. Trophic cascades across ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Knight, Tiffany M; McCoy, Michael W; Chase, Jonathan M; McCoy, Krista A; Holt, Robert D

    2005-10-06

    Predation can be intense, creating strong direct and indirect effects throughout food webs. In addition, ecologists increasingly recognize that fluxes of organisms across ecosystem boundaries can have major consequences for community dynamics. Species with complex life histories often shift habitats during their life cycles and provide potent conduits coupling ecosystems. Thus, local interactions that affect predator abundance in one ecosystem (for example a larval habitat) may have reverberating effects in another (for example an adult habitat). Here we show that fish indirectly facilitate terrestrial plant reproduction through cascading trophic interactions across ecosystem boundaries. Fish reduce larval dragonfly abundances in ponds, leading to fewer adult dragonflies nearby. Adult dragonflies consume insect pollinators and alter their foraging behaviour. As a result, plants near ponds with fish receive more pollinator visits and are less pollen limited than plants near fish-free ponds. Our results confirm that strong species interactions can reverberate across ecosystems, and emphasize the importance of landscape-level processes in driving local species interactions.

  5. Contrasting Ecosystem-Effects of Morphologically Similar Copepods

    PubMed Central

    Matthews, Blake; Hausch, Stephen; Winter, Christian; Suttle, Curtis A.; Shurin, Jonathan B.

    2011-01-01

    Organisms alter the biotic and abiotic conditions of ecosystems. They can modulate the availability of resources to other species (ecosystem engineering) and shape selection pressures on other organisms (niche construction). Very little is known about how the engineering effects of organisms vary among and within species, and, as a result, the ecosystem consequences of species diversification and phenotypic evolution are poorly understood. Here, using a common gardening experiment, we test whether morphologically similar species and populations of Diaptomidae copepods (Leptodiaptomus ashlandi, Hesperodiaptomus franciscanus, Skistodiaptomus oregonensis) have similar or different effects on the structure and function of freshwater ecosystems. We found that copepod species had contrasting effects on algal biomass, ammonium concentrations, and sedimentation rates, and that copepod populations had contrasting effects on prokaryote abundance, sedimentation rates, and gross primary productivity. The average size of ecosystem-effect contrasts between species was similar to those between populations, and was comparable to those between fish species and populations measured in previous common gardening experiments. Our results suggest that subtle morphological variation among and within species can cause multifarious and divergent ecosystem-effects. We conclude that using morphological trait variation to assess the functional similarity of organisms may underestimate the importance of species and population diversity for ecosystem functioning. PMID:22140432

  6. Columbia River Estuary Ecosystem Classification Ecosystem Complex

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cannon, Charles M.; Ramirez, Mary F.; Heatwole, Danelle W.; Burke, Jennifer L.; Simenstad, Charles A.; O'Connor, Jim E.; Marcoe, Keith Marcoe

    2012-01-01

    Estuarine ecosystems are controlled by a variety of processes that operate at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Understanding the hierarchical nature of these processes will aid in prioritization of restoration efforts. This hierarchical Columbia River Estuary Ecosystem Classification (henceforth "Classification") of the Columbia River estuary is a spatial database of the tidally-influenced reaches of the lower Columbia River, the tidally affected parts of its tributaries, and the landforms that make up their floodplains for the 230 kilometers between the Pacific Ocean and Bonneville Dam. This work is a collaborative effort between University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (henceforth "UW"), U.S. Geological Survey (henceforth "USGS"), and the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership (henceforth "EP"). Consideration of geomorphologic processes will improve the understanding of controlling physical factors that drive ecosystem evolution along the tidal Columbia River. The Classification is organized around six hierarchical levels, progressing from the coarsest, regional scale to the finest, localized scale: (1) Ecosystem Province; (2) Ecoregion; (3) Hydrogeomorphic Reach; (4) Ecosystem Complex; (5) Geomorphic Catena; and (6) Primary Cover Class. For Levels 4 and 5, we mapped landforms within the Holocene floodplain primarily by visual interpretation of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) topography supplemented with aerial photographs, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) soils data, and historical maps. Mapped landforms are classified as to their current geomorphic function, the inferred process regime that formed them, and anthropogenic modification. Channels were classified primarily by a set of depth-based rules and geometric relationships. Classification Level 5 floodplain landforms ("geomorphic catenae") were further classified based on multivariate analysis of land-cover within the mapped landform area and attributed as "sub

  7. Ecosystems Vulnerability Challenge and Prize Competition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, J. H.; Frame, M. T.; Ferriter, O.; Recker, J.

    2014-12-01

    Stimulating innovation and private sector entrepreneurship is an important way to advance the preparedness of communities, businesses and individuals for the impacts of climate change on certain aspects of ecosystems, such as: fire regimes; water availability; carbon sequestration; biodiversity conservation; weather-related hazards, and the spread of invasive species. The creation of tools is critical to help communities and natural resource managers better understand the impacts of climate change on ecosystems and the potential resulting implications for ecosystem services and conservation efforts. The Department of the Interior is leading an interagency effort to develop the Ecosystems Vulnerability theme as part of the President's Climate Action Plan. This effort will provide seamless access to relevant datasets that can help address such issues as: risk of wildfires to local communities and federal lands; water sensitivity to climate change; and understanding the role of ecosystems in a changing climate. This session will provide an overview of the proposed Ecosystem Vulnerability Challenge and Prize Competition, outlining the intended audience, scope, goals, and overall timeline. The session will provide an opportunity for participants to offer new ideas. Through the Challenge, access will be made available to critical datasets for software developers, engineers, scientists, students, and researchers to develop and submit applications addressing critical science issues facing our Nation today. Application submission criteria and guidelines will also be discussed. The Challenge will be open to all sectors and organizations (i.e. federal, non-federal, private sector, non-profits, and universities) within the United States. It is anticipated the Challenge will run from early January 2015 until spring of 2015.

  8. Environmental education for all engineers.

    PubMed

    Jahan, K; Everett, J W; Hesketh, R P; Jansson, P M; Hollar, K

    2004-01-01

    Environmental engineering education at universities is a rapidly changing field globally. Traditionally it has resided in the civil engineering program addressing water and wastewater quality, treatment, design and regulatory issues. In recent years environmental engineering has become a much broader field encompassing water, wastewater, soil pollution, air pollution, risk assessment, ecosystems, human health, toxicology, sustainable development, regulatory aspects and much more. The need to introduce environmental engineering/green engineering/pollution prevention/design for the environment concepts to undergraduate engineering students has become recognized to be increasingly important. This need is being driven in part through the US Engineering Accreditation Commission Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology criteria 2000. Thus there has been a major shift in environmental engineering education and it no longer resides only within the civil engineering discipline. This paper focuses on the development of innovative curricula for a brand new engineering program at Rowan University that integrates environmental education for all engineers. A common course known as "engineering clinic" was developed for all engineering students throughout their eight semesters of engineering education. One of the clinic goals is to integrate engineering design and the environment. The program, in its seventh year, indicates successful implementation of environmental education in all four engineering disciplines in their course work and clinics.

  9. Bioenergetics in ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Madenjian, Charles P.; Farrell, Anthony P.

    2011-01-01

    A bioenergetics model for a fish can be defined as a quantitative description of the fish’s energy budget. Bioenergetics modeling can be applied to a fish population in a lake, river, or ocean to estimate the annual consumption of food by the fish population; such applications have proved to be useful in managing fisheries. In addition, bioenergetics models have been used to better understand fish growth and consumption in ecosystems, to determine the importance of the role of fish in cycling nutrients within ecosystems, and to identify the important factors regulating contaminant accumulation in fish from lakes, rivers, and oceans.

  10. Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems

    SciTech Connect

    Walton, D.W.H.

    1987-01-01

    The Maritime and Continental Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems are considered in the context of environmental impacts - habitat destruction, alien introductions, and pollution. Four types of pollution are considered: nutrients, radionuclides, inert materials, and noxious chemicals. Their ability to recover from perturbation is discussed in the light of present scientific knowledge, and the methods used to control impacts are reviewed. It is concluded that techniques of waste disposal are still inadequate, adequate training in environmental and conservation principles for Antarctic personnel in many countries is lacking, and scientific investigations may be a much more serious threat than tourism to the integrity of these ecosystems. Some priorities crucial to future management are suggested.

  11. Bioethical Problems: Animal Welfare, Animal Rights.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    March, B. E.

    1984-01-01

    Discusses various bioethical issues and problems related to animal welfare and animal rights. Areas examined include: Aristotelian views; animal welfare legislation; Darwin and evolutionary theory; animal and human behavior; and vegetarianism. A 14-point universal declaration of the rights of animals is included. (JN)

  12. Animating Brains

    PubMed Central

    Borck, Cornelius

    2016-01-01

    A recent paper famously accused the rising field of social neuroscience of using faulty statistics under the catchy title ‘Voodoo Correlations in Social Neuroscience’. This Special Issue invites us to take this claim as the starting point for a cross-cultural analysis: in which meaningful ways can recent research in the burgeoning field of functional imaging be described as, contrasted with, or simply compared to animistic practices? And what light does such a reading shed on the dynamics and effectiveness of a century of brain research into higher mental functions? Reviewing the heated debate from 2009 around recent trends in neuroimaging as a possible candidate for current instances of ‘soul catching’, the paper will then compare these forms of primarily image-based brain research with older regimes, revolving around the deciphering of the brain’s electrical activity. How has the move from a decoding paradigm to a representational regime affected the conceptualisation of self, psyche, mind and soul (if there still is such an entity)? And in what ways does modern technoscience provide new tools for animating brains? PMID:27292322

  13. Animating Brains.

    PubMed

    Borck, Cornelius

    2016-07-01

    A recent paper famously accused the rising field of social neuroscience of using faulty statistics under the catchy title 'Voodoo Correlations in Social Neuroscience'. This Special Issue invites us to take this claim as the starting point for a cross-cultural analysis: in which meaningful ways can recent research in the burgeoning field of functional imaging be described as, contrasted with, or simply compared to animistic practices? And what light does such a reading shed on the dynamics and effectiveness of a century of brain research into higher mental functions? Reviewing the heated debate from 2009 around recent trends in neuroimaging as a possible candidate for current instances of 'soul catching', the paper will then compare these forms of primarily image-based brain research with older regimes, revolving around the deciphering of the brain's electrical activity. How has the move from a decoding paradigm to a representational regime affected the conceptualisation of self, psyche, mind and soul (if there still is such an entity)? And in what ways does modern technoscience provide new tools for animating brains?

  14. Fantastic animals as an experimental model to teach animal adaptation

    PubMed Central

    Guidetti, Roberto; Baraldi, Laura; Calzolai, Caterina; Pini, Lorenza; Veronesi, Paola; Pederzoli, Aurora

    2007-01-01

    Background Science curricula and teachers should emphasize evolution in a manner commensurate with its importance as a unifying concept in science. The concept of adaptation represents a first step to understand the results of natural selection. We settled an experimental project of alternative didactic to improve knowledge of organism adaptation. Students were involved and stimulated in learning processes by creative activities. To set adaptation in a historic frame, fossil records as evidence of past life and evolution were considered. Results The experimental project is schematized in nine phases: review of previous knowledge; lesson on fossils; lesson on fantastic animals; planning an imaginary world; creation of an imaginary animal; revision of the imaginary animals; adaptations of real animals; adaptations of fossil animals; and public exposition. A rubric to evaluate the student's performances is reported. The project involved professors and students of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and of the "G. Marconi" Secondary School of First Degree (Modena, Italy). Conclusion The educational objectives of the project are in line with the National Indications of the Italian Ministry of Public Instruction: knowledge of the characteristics of living beings, the meanings of the term "adaptation", the meaning of fossils, the definition of ecosystem, and the particularity of the different biomes. At the end of the project, students will be able to grasp particular adaptations of real organisms and to deduce information about the environment in which the organism evolved. This project allows students to review previous knowledge and to form their personalities. PMID:17767729

  15. Animal welfare: an animal science approach.

    PubMed

    Koknaroglu, H; Akunal, T

    2013-12-01

    Increasing world population and demand for animal-derived protein puts pressure on animal production to meet this demand. For this purpose animal breeding efforts were conducted to obtain the maximum yield that the genetic makeup of the animals permits. Under the influence of economics which is the driving force behind animal production, animal farming became more concentrated and controlled which resulted in rearing animals under confinement. Since more attention was given on economics and yield per animal, animal welfare and behavior were neglected. Animal welfare which can be defined as providing environmental conditions in which animals can display all their natural behaviors in nature started gaining importance in recent years. This does not necessarily mean that animals provided with good management practices would have better welfare conditions as some animals may be distressed even though they are in good environmental conditions. Consumers are willing to pay more for welfare-friendly products (e.g.: free range vs caged egg) and this will change the animal production practices in the future. Thus animal scientists will have to adapt themselves for the changing animal welfare rules and regulations that differ for farm animal species and countries. In this review paper, animal welfare is discussed from an animal science standpoint.

  16. Extreme temperatures, foundation species, and abrupt ecosystem change: an example from an iconic seagrass ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Thomson, Jordan A; Burkholder, Derek A; Heithaus, Michael R; Fourqurean, James W; Fraser, Matthew W; Statton, John; Kendrick, Gary A

    2015-04-01

    Extreme climatic events can trigger abrupt and often lasting change in ecosystems via the reduction or elimination of foundation (i.e., habitat-forming) species. However, while the frequency/intensity of extreme events is predicted to increase under climate change, the impact of these events on many foundation species and the ecosystems they support remains poorly understood. Here, we use the iconic seagrass meadows of Shark Bay, Western Australia--a relatively pristine subtropical embayment whose dominant, canopy-forming seagrass, Amphibolis antarctica, is a temperate species growing near its low-latitude range limit--as a model system to investigate the impacts of extreme temperatures on ecosystems supported by thermally sensitive foundation species in a changing climate. Following an unprecedented marine heat wave in late summer 2010/11, A. antarctica experienced catastrophic (>90%) dieback in several regions of Shark Bay. Animal-borne video footage taken from the perspective of resident, seagrass-associated megafauna (sea turtles) revealed severe habitat degradation after the event compared with a decade earlier. This reduction in habitat quality corresponded with a decline in the health status of largely herbivorous green turtles (Chelonia mydas) in the 2 years following the heat wave, providing evidence of long-term, community-level impacts of the event. Based on these findings, and similar examples from diverse ecosystems, we argue that a generalized framework for assessing the vulnerability of ecosystems to abrupt change associated with the loss of foundation species is needed to accurately predict ecosystem trajectories in a changing climate. This includes seagrass meadows, which have received relatively little attention in this context. Novel research and monitoring methods, such as the analysis of habitat and environmental data from animal-borne video and data-logging systems, can make an important contribution to this framework.

  17. Shelf-sea ecosystems

    SciTech Connect

    Walsh, J J

    1980-01-01

    An analysis of the food chain dynamics of the Oregon, Alaskan, and New York shelves is made with respect to differences in physical forcing of these ecosystems. The world's shelves are 10% of the area of the ocean, yield 99% of the world's fish catch, and may be a major sink in the global CO/sub 2/ budget.

  18. Partitioning ecosystems for sustainability.

    PubMed

    Murray, Martyn G

    2016-03-01

    Decline in the abundance of renewable natural resources (RNRs) coupled with increasing demands of an expanding human population will greatly intensify competition for Earth's natural resources during this century, yet curiously, analytical approaches to the management of productive ecosystems (ecological theory of wildlife harvesting, tragedy of the commons, green economics, and bioeconomics) give only peripheral attention to the driving influence of competition on resource exploitation. Here, I apply resource competition theory (RCT) to the exploitation of RNRs and derive four general policies in support of their sustainable and equitable use: (1) regulate resource extraction technology to avoid damage to the resource base; (2) increase efficiency of resource use and reduce waste at every step in the resource supply chain and distribution network; (3) partition ecosystems with the harvesting niche as the basic organizing principle for sustainable management of natural resources by multiple users; and (4) increase negative feedback between consumer and resource to bring about long-term sustainable use. A simple policy framework demonstrates how RCT integrates with other elements of sustainability science to better manage productive ecosystems. Several problem areas of RNR management are discussed in the light of RCT, including tragedy of the commons, overharvesting, resource collapse, bycatch, single species quotas, and simplification of ecosystems.

  19. TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEM SIMULATOR

    EPA Science Inventory

    The Terrestrial Habitats Project at the Western Ecology Division (Corvallis, OR) is developing tools and databases to meet the needs of Program Office clients for assessing risks to wildlife and terrestrial ecosystems. Because habitat is a dynamic condition in real-world environm...

  20. Biocomplexity in Mangrove Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Feller, I. C.; Lovelock, C. E.; Berger, U.; McKee, K. L.; Joye, S. B.; Ball, M. C.

    2010-01-01

    Mangroves are an ecological assemblage of trees and shrubs adapted to grow in intertidal environments along tropical coasts. Despite repeated demonstration of their economic and societal value, more than 50% of the world's mangroves have been destroyed, 35% in the past two decades to aquaculture and coastal development, altered hydrology, sea-level rise, and nutrient overenrichment. Variations in the structure and function of mangrove ecosystems have generally been described solely on the basis of a hierarchical classification of the physical characteristics of the intertidal environment, including climate, geomorphology, topography, and hydrology. Here, we use the concept of emergent properties at multiple levels within a hierarchical framework to review how the interplay between specialized adaptations and extreme trait plasticity that characterizes mangroves and intertidal environments gives rise to the biocomplexity that distinguishes mangrove ecosystems. The traits that allow mangroves to tolerate variable salinity, flooding, and nutrient availability influence ecosystem processes and ultimately the services they provide. We conclude that an integrated research strategy using emergent properties in empirical and theoretical studies provides a holistic approach for understanding and managing mangrove ecosystems.

  1. A global database of nitrogen and phosphorus excretion rates of aquatic animals

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Animals can be important in modulating ecosystem-level nutrient cycling, although their importance varies greatly among species and ecosystems. Nutrient cycling rates of individual animals represent valuable data for testing the predictions of important frameworks such as the Metabolic Theory of Eco...

  2. Environmental contamination in Antarctic ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Bargagli, R

    2008-08-01

    Although the remote continent of Antarctica is perceived as the symbol of the last great wilderness, the human presence in the Southern Ocean and the continent began in the early 1900s for hunting, fishing and exploration, and many invasive plant and animal species have been deliberately introduced in several sub-Antarctic islands. Over the last 50 years, the development of research and tourism have locally affected terrestrial and marine coastal ecosystems through fuel combustion (for transportation and energy production), accidental oil spills, waste incineration and sewage. Although natural "barriers" such as oceanic and atmospheric circulation protect Antarctica from lower latitude water and air masses, available data on concentrations of metals, pesticides and other persistent pollutants in air, snow, mosses, lichens and marine organisms show that most persistent contaminants in the Antarctic environment are transported from other continents in the Southern Hemisphere. At present, levels of most contaminants in Antarctic organisms are lower than those in related species from other remote regions, except for the natural accumulation of Cd and Hg in several marine organisms and especially in albatrosses and petrels. The concentrations of organic pollutants in the eggs of an opportunistic top predator such as the south polar skua are close to those that may cause adverse health effects. Population growth and industrial development in several countries of the Southern Hemisphere are changing the global pattern of persistent anthropogenic contaminants and new classes of chemicals have already been detected in the Antarctic environment. Although the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty provides strict guidelines for the protection of the Antarctic environment and establishes obligations for all human activity in the continent and the Southern Ocean, global warming, population growth and industrial development in countries of the Southern

  3. [Urban ecosystem services: A review].

    PubMed

    Mao, Qi-zheng; Huang, Gan-lin; Wu, Jian-guo

    2015-04-01

    Maintaining and improving ecosystem services in urban areas and human well-being are essential for sustainable development and therefore constitute an important topic in urban ecology. Here we reviewed studies on ecosystem services in urban areas. Based on the concept and classification of urban ecosystem services, we summarized characteristics of urban ecosystem services, including the human domination, high demand of ecosystem services in urban areas, spatial heterogeneity and temporal dynamics of ecosystem services supply and demand in urban areas, multi-services of urban green infrastructures, the socio-economic dimension of ecosystem services supply and ecosystem disservices in urban areas. Among different urban ecosystem services, the regulating service and cultural service are particularly indispensable to benefit human health. We pointed out that tradeoffs among different types of ecosystem services mostly occur between supportive service and cultural service, as well as regulating service and cultural service. In particular, we emphasized the relationship between landscape design (i.e. green infrastructure) and ecosystem services supply. Finally, we discussed current gaps to link urban ecosystem services studies to landscape design and management and pointed out several directions for future research in urban ecosystem services.

  4. Microbes are trophic analogs of animals

    PubMed Central

    Steffan, Shawn A.; Chikaraishi, Yoshito; Currie, Cameron R.; Horn, Heidi; Gaines-Day, Hannah R.; Pauli, Jonathan N.; Zalapa, Juan E.; Ohkouchi, Naohiko

    2015-01-01

    In most ecosystems, microbes are the dominant consumers, commandeering much of the heterotrophic biomass circulating through food webs. Characterizing functional diversity within the microbiome, therefore, is critical to understanding ecosystem functioning, particularly in an era of global biodiversity loss. Using isotopic fingerprinting, we investigated the trophic positions of a broad diversity of heterotrophic organisms. Specifically, we examined the naturally occurring stable isotopes of nitrogen (15N:14N) within amino acids extracted from proteobacteria, actinomycetes, ascomycetes, and basidiomycetes, as well as from vertebrate and invertebrate macrofauna (crustaceans, fish, insects, and mammals). Here, we report that patterns of intertrophic 15N-discrimination were remarkably similar among bacteria, fungi, and animals, which permitted unambiguous measurement of consumer trophic position, independent of phylogeny or ecosystem type. The observed similarities among bacterial, fungal, and animal consumers suggest that within a trophic hierarchy, microbiota are equivalent to, and can be interdigitated with, macrobiota. To further test the universality of this finding, we examined Neotropical fungus gardens, communities in which bacteria, fungi, and animals are entwined in an ancient, quadripartite symbiosis. We reveal that this symbiosis is a discrete four-level food chain, wherein bacteria function as the apex carnivores, animals and fungi are meso-consumers, and the sole herbivores are fungi. Together, our findings demonstrate that bacteria, fungi, and animals can be integrated within a food chain, effectively uniting the macro- and microbiome in food web ecology and facilitating greater inclusion of the microbiome in studies of functional diversity. PMID:26598691

  5. Microbes are trophic analogs of animals.

    PubMed

    Steffan, Shawn A; Chikaraishi, Yoshito; Currie, Cameron R; Horn, Heidi; Gaines-Day, Hannah R; Pauli, Jonathan N; Zalapa, Juan E; Ohkouchi, Naohiko

    2015-12-08

    In most ecosystems, microbes are the dominant consumers, commandeering much of the heterotrophic biomass circulating through food webs. Characterizing functional diversity within the microbiome, therefore, is critical to understanding ecosystem functioning, particularly in an era of global biodiversity loss. Using isotopic fingerprinting, we investigated the trophic positions of a broad diversity of heterotrophic organisms. Specifically, we examined the naturally occurring stable isotopes of nitrogen ((15)N:(14)N) within amino acids extracted from proteobacteria, actinomycetes, ascomycetes, and basidiomycetes, as well as from vertebrate and invertebrate macrofauna (crustaceans, fish, insects, and mammals). Here, we report that patterns of intertrophic (15)N-discrimination were remarkably similar among bacteria, fungi, and animals, which permitted unambiguous measurement of consumer trophic position, independent of phylogeny or ecosystem type. The observed similarities among bacterial, fungal, and animal consumers suggest that within a trophic hierarchy, microbiota are equivalent to, and can be interdigitated with, macrobiota. To further test the universality of this finding, we examined Neotropical fungus gardens, communities in which bacteria, fungi, and animals are entwined in an ancient, quadripartite symbiosis. We reveal that this symbiosis is a discrete four-level food chain, wherein bacteria function as the apex carnivores, animals and fungi are meso-consumers, and the sole herbivores are fungi. Together, our findings demonstrate that bacteria, fungi, and animals can be integrated within a food chain, effectively uniting the macro- and microbiome in food web ecology and facilitating greater inclusion of the microbiome in studies of functional diversity.

  6. Does Biodiversity-Ecosystem Function Literature Neglect Tropical Ecosystems?

    PubMed

    Clarke, David A; York, Paul H; Rasheed, Michael A; Northfield, Tobin D

    2017-03-06

    Current evidence suggests that there is a positive relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, but few studies have addressed tropical ecosystems where the highest levels of biodiversity occur. We develop two hypotheses for the implications of generalizing from temperate studies to tropical ecosystems, and discuss the need for more tropical research.

  7. Transgenic animals resistant to infectious diseases.

    PubMed

    Tiley, L

    2016-04-01

    The list of transgenic animals developed to test ways of producing livestock resistant to infectious disease continues to grow. Although the basic techniques for generating transgenic animals have not changed very much in the ten years since they were last reviewed for the World Organisation for Animal Health, one recent fundamental technological advance stands to revolutionise genome engineering. The advent of technically simple and efficient site-specific gene targeting has profound implications for genetically modifying livestock species.

  8. Fog, Clouds and the Maintenance of Ecosystems: Mist Opportunities?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weathers, K. C.

    2006-12-01

    What is the significance of occult precipitation-- otherwise known as fog or cloud water (terms used interchangeably here)--in the maintenance of ecosystems? More than a century of natural history observations and decades of research have demonstrated that occult precipitation does deliver water, nutrients, and pollutants to coastal and montane ecosystems, but that its ecological importance is likely to vary by ecosystem. Still, many key ecological questions about the role of fog in the maintenance of ecosystems remain unanswered: For example, what is the effect of fog water and nutrient inputs on annual productivity or rates of nutrient cycling? Are soil processes affected by fog water input to ecosystems? To what extent do plants or animals actually use cloud or fog-delivered nutrients, and if they do, what are the mechanisms? Does fog input control the distribution and abundance of plant and/or animal species? If so, are the mechanisms hydrologic, physical (i.e., influence on temperature or light) and/or nutrient based? Although many of the early observations and research suggested that the delivery of water was one of the more important roles of fog in ecosystem maintenance, we and others have demonstrated that nutrient, as well as pollutants in fog are often 3-10x more concentrated than rain water, and can range up to 100x more concentrated. In some ecosystems, such as old growth forests on Chiloe Island, Chile, we have shown that comparatively large nutrient (e.g., nitrogen) loads can be delivered to ecosystems via a small amount (10s of cms/year) of fog water deposition. Thus, a little fog water has the potential to influence ecosystem processes. In addition, we have hypothesized that "the ocean may be feeding the forest," i.e., the source of the nutrients in fog water may be the ocean. In contrast to this fog subsidy, the ecological function of some high-elevation forests in the northeastern United States has been shown to be negatively impacted, in part

  9. The Coevolution of Digital Ecosystems

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    SungYong, Um

    2016-01-01

    Digital ecosystems are one of the most important strategic issues in the current digital economy. Digital ecosystems are dynamic and generative. They evolve as new firms join and as heterogeneous systems are integrated into other systems. These features digital ecosystems determine economic and technological success in the competition among…

  10. Ecosystems in the Learning Environment

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Louviere, Gregory

    2011-01-01

    Habitats, ecology and evolution are a few of the many metaphors commonly associated with the domain of biological ecosystems. Surprisingly, these and other similar biological metaphors are proving to be equally associated with a phenomenon known as digital ecosystems. Digital ecosystems make a direct connection between biological properties and…

  11. Biogeochemical processes underpin ecosystem services

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Elemental cycling is critical to the function of ecosystems and delivery of key ecosystem services because many of these elements are essential nutrients or detrimental toxicants that directly affect the health of organisms and ecosystems. A team of authors from North Carolina State University and ...

  12. Animal models of narcolepsy.

    PubMed

    Chen, Lichao; Brown, Ritchie E; McKenna, James T; McCarley, Robert W

    2009-08-01

    Narcolepsy is a debilitating sleep disorder with excessive daytime sleepiness and cataplexy as its two major symptoms. Although this disease was first described about one century ago, an animal model was not available until the 1970s. With the establishment of the Stanford canine narcolepsy colony, researchers were able to conduct multiple neurochemical studies to explore the pathophysiology of this disease. It was concluded that there was an imbalance between monoaminergic and cholinergic systems in canine narcolepsy. In 1999, two independent studies revealed that orexin neurotransmission deficiency was pivotal to the development of narcolepsy with cataplexy. This scientific leap fueled the generation of several genetically engineered mouse and rat models of narcolepsy. To facilitate further research, it is imperative that researchers reach a consensus concerning the evaluation of narcoleptic behavioral and EEG phenomenology in these models.

  13. Different cesium-137 transfers to forest and stream ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Sakai, Masaru; Gomi, Takashi; Negishi, Junjiro N; Iwamoto, Aimu; Okada, Kengo

    2016-02-01

    Understanding the mechanisms of (137)Cs movement across different ecosystems is crucial for projecting the environmental impact and management of nuclear contamination events. Here, we report differential movement of (137)Cs in adjacent forest and stream ecosystems. The food webs of the forest and stream ecosystems in our study were similar, in that they were both dominated by detrital-based food webs and the basal energy source was terrestrial litter. However, the concentration of (137)Cs in stream litter was significantly lower than in forest litter, the result of (137)Cs leaching from litter in stream water. The difference in (137)Cs concentrations between the two types of litter was reflected in the (137)Cs concentrations in the animal community. While the importance of (137)Cs fallout and the associated transfer to food webs has been well studied, research has been primarily limited to cases in a single ecosystem. Our results indicate that there are differences in the flow of (137)Cs through terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and that (137)Cs concentrations are reduced in both basal food resources and higher trophic animals in aquatic systems, where primary production is subsidized by a neighboring terrestrial ecosystem.

  14. How ecosystems organize their moisture storage requirement

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Savenije, H.

    2014-12-01

    The moisture storage capacity in the root zone of ecosystems acts as a buffer against climatic variability and is a critical factor controlling many physical, biogeochemical and biological processes including land-atmosphere exchanges, rainfall-runoff generation, carbon cycling and nutrient dynamics. Notwithstanding its importance this storage capacity cannot be directly observed at catchment scale. Approaching this problem from a different angle, we can try to understand how adaptive systems cope with the variability of essential inputs through the creation of buffers. Surprisingly, there appears to be a strong correspondence between how societies and ecosystems try to safeguard their water supply. People build reservoirs to buffer against periods of water shortage; ecosystems essentially do the same by creating sufficient moisture storage in their root zone. Both try to do this at minimum expense: people by optimizing the amount of storage at minimum costs; and ecosystems by creating an optimum root zone buffer at minimum biomass investment. A classical engineering way for designing the size of a reservoir is the Rippl (1883) diagram, where tangents to the accumulated inflow determine the required storage. It is a logical method for people to size the storage required to satisfy the long-term water demand. Using this principle, over time, many societies have tried to regulate their rivers, leveling out the natural dynamics of the system. But are people unique in trying to even out unwanted fluctuations or to bridge periods of water shortage? Like societies, ecosystems adjust their storage buffer to climatic variability. Similar to the way in which engineers design reservoirs, we can estimate the root zone storage capacity at catchment scale on the basis of observed climate and hydrological data. This approach was proven to be remarkably accurate not only in 11 catchments of the Ping river in Thailand but also in 413 catchments across the USA, with diverse climate

  15. An Ecosystem-Based Approach to Assess the Status of a Mediterranean Ecosystem, the Posidonia oceanica Seagrass Meadow

    PubMed Central

    Personnic, Sébastien; Boudouresque, Charles F.; Astruch, Patrick; Ballesteros, Enric; Blouet, Sylvain; Bellan-Santini, Denise; Bonhomme, Patrick; Thibault-Botha, Delphine; Feunteun, Eric; Harmelin-Vivien, Mireille; Pergent, Gérard; Pergent-Martini, Christine; Pastor, Jérémy; Poggiale, Jean-Christophe; Renaud, Florent; Thibaut, Thierry; Ruitton, Sandrine

    2014-01-01

    Biotic indices, which reflect the quality of the environment, are widely used in the marine realm. Sometimes, key species or ecosystem engineers are selected for this purpose. This is the case of the Mediterranean seagrass Posidonia oceanica, widely used as a biological quality element in the context of the European Union Water Framework Directive (WFD). The good quality of a water body and the apparent health of a species, whether or not an ecosystem engineer such as P. oceanica, is not always indicative of the good structure and functioning of the whole ecosystem. A key point of the recent Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) is the ecosystem-based approach. Here, on the basis of a simplified conceptual model of the P. oceanica ecosystem, we have proposed an ecosystem-based index of the quality of its functioning, compliant with the MSFD requirements. This index (EBQI) is based upon a set of representative functional compartments, the weighting of these compartments and the assessment of the quality of each compartment by comparison of a supposed baseline. The index well discriminated 17 sites in the north-western Mediterranean (French Riviera, Provence, Corsica, Catalonia and Balearic Islands) covering a wide range of human pressure levels. The strong points of the EBQI are that it is easy to implement, non-destructive, relatively robust, according to the selection of the compartments and to their weighting, and associated with confidence indices that indicate possible weakness and biases and therefore the need for further field data acquisition. PMID:24933020

  16. It Takes an Ecosystem

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2012-04-25

    Business Review (April 2006). [7] Marco Iansiti and Roy Levien. “Strategy as Ecology,” Harvard Business Review , March 2004. 27 It Takes an... Harvard Business Review (March 2004). [8] Viljainen, Martti & Kauppinen, Marjo. "Software Ecosystems: A Set of Management Practices for Platform...E. “How Competitive Forces Shape Strategy.” Harvard Business Review (March 1979). [11] ASA(ALT) Common Operating Environment Implementation Plan

  17. Bacteriophages: an underestimated role in human and animal health?

    PubMed

    De Paepe, Marianne; Leclerc, Marion; Tinsley, Colin R; Petit, Marie-Agnès

    2014-01-01

    Metagenomic approaches applied to viruses have highlighted their prevalence in almost all microbial ecosystems investigated. In all ecosystems, notably those associated with humans or animals, the viral fraction is dominated by bacteriophages. Whether they contribute to dysbiosis, i.e., the departure from microbiota composition in symbiosis at equilibrium and entry into a state favoring human or animal disease is unknown at present. This review summarizes what has been learnt on phages associated with human and animal microbiota, and focuses on examples illustrating the several ways by which phages may contribute to a shift to pathogenesis, either by modifying population equilibrium, by horizontal transfer, or by modulating immunity.

  18. Bacteriophages: an underestimated role in human and animal health?

    PubMed Central

    De Paepe, Marianne; Leclerc, Marion; Tinsley, Colin R.; Petit, Marie-Agnès

    2014-01-01

    Metagenomic approaches applied to viruses have highlighted their prevalence in almost all microbial ecosystems investigated. In all ecosystems, notably those associated with humans or animals, the viral fraction is dominated by bacteriophages. Whether they contribute to dysbiosis, i.e., the departure from microbiota composition in symbiosis at equilibrium and entry into a state favoring human or animal disease is unknown at present. This review summarizes what has been learnt on phages associated with human and animal microbiota, and focuses on examples illustrating the several ways by which phages may contribute to a shift to pathogenesis, either by modifying population equilibrium, by horizontal transfer, or by modulating immunity. PMID:24734220

  19. Microplastic in Aquatic Ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Ivleva, Natalia P; Wiesheu, Alexandra C; Niessner, Reinhard

    2017-02-06

    The contamination of marine and freshwater ecosystems with plastic, and especially with microplastic (MP), is a global ecological problem of increasing scientific concern. This has stimulated a great deal of research on the occurrence of MP, interaction of MP with chemical pollutants, the uptake of MP by aquatic organisms, and the resulting (negative) impact of MP. Herein, we review the major issues of MP in aquatic environments, with the principal aims 1) to characterize the methods applied for MP analysis (including sampling, processing, identification and quantification), indicate the most reliable techniques, and discuss the required further improvements; 2) to estimate the abundance of MP in marine/freshwater ecosystems and clarify the problems that hamper the comparability of such results; and 3) to summarize the existing literature on the uptake of MP by living organisms. Finally, we identify knowledge gaps, suggest possible strategies to assess environmental risks arising from MP, and discuss prospects to minimize MP abundance in aquatic ecosystems.

  20. Engineering Encounters: Engineering Adaptations

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gatling, Anne; Vaughn, Meredith Houle

    2015-01-01

    Engineering is not a subject that has historically been taught in elementary schools, but with the emphasis on engineering in the "Next Generation Science Standards," curricula are being developed to explicitly teach engineering content and design. However, many of the scientific investigations already conducted with students have…

  1. COUNTERACTING ECOSYSTEM LOSSES DUE TO DEVELOPMENT

    EPA Science Inventory

    Interventions into ecosystems to develop the built/socio-physical environment involve normative decisions regarding human well-being that inevitably compromise ecosystem capacities, but ecosystem sustainability is conditioned by properties established by ecosystems and unrelated ...

  2. [2 rules for the life cycles of cestodes in the ecosystem].

    PubMed

    Bozkov, D

    1983-08-01

    Rule I: The more advanced in its primary evolution the life cycle of a cestode is, the greater is the participation of the animal component of the ecosystem in it. The direct influence of the non-living component of the ecosystem on the course of the cycle is one and the same with both the primarily evolved 2-host and 3-host life cycles within the separate orders. Rule II: In the secondarily evolved life cycles of cestodes, when compared with their initial life cycles, the following things are observed: a) either a decrease of both the participation of the animal component of the ecosystem in the life cycle and the direct influence of the non-living component of the ecosystem on the course of the cycle; b) or a decrease only of the participation of the animal component of the ecosystem in the life cycle, without any change in the direct influence of the non-living component of the ecosystem on the course of the cycle; c) or, quite rarely, a decrease only of the direct influence of the non-living component of the ecosystem on the course of the life cycle, without any change in the participation of the animal component of the ecosystem in the life cycle.

  3. The state of the ecosystem on Anticosti Island, Québec.

    PubMed Central

    Silverstone, A M

    2001-01-01

    The state of the ecosystem of Anticosti Island, Québec, was studied by veterinary students (n = 17) and faculty (n = 4) in the summer of 1999. The field of ecosystem health is an integrative science requiring the expertise of professionals in several disciplines, including socioeconomic, ecological, biophysical, human health, and animal health (1). PMID:11519275

  4. A toolkit for ecosystems ecologists in the time of big science

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Ecosystems ecologists are being challenged to address the increasingly complex problems that comprise Big Science. These problems include multiple levels of biological organization that cross multiple interacting temporal and spatial scales, from individual plants, animals and microbes to landscapes...

  5. Management to conserve forest ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Robbins, C.S.; McComb, William C.

    1984-01-01

    Historically, management of forests for wildlife has emphasized creation of openings and provision for a maximum of edge habitats. Wildlife managers have believed, quite logically, that increased sunlight enhances productivity among plants and insects, resulting in greater use by game animals and other wildlife. Recent studies comparing breeding bird populations of extensive forests with those of isolated woodlots have shown that the smaller woodlots, especially those under 35 ha (about 85 acres), lack many species that are typical of the larger tracts. The missing species can be predicted, and basically are the neotropical migrants. These long-distance migrants share several characteristics that make them especially vulnerable to reproductive failure in situations where predation and cowbird parasitism are high: they are primarily single-brooded, open nesters that lay small clutches on or near the ground. Edge habitats and forest openings attract cowbirds and predators. The edge species of birds, which are mostly permanent residents or short-distance migrants, are well adapted to survive and reproduce in small isolated woodlands without the benefit of special habitat management. The obligate forest interior species, on the other hand, are decreasing in those parts of North America where extensive forests are being replaced by isolated woodlands. If we are to preserve ecosystems intact for the benefit of future generations, and maintain a viable gene pool for the scarcer species, we must think in terms of retaining large, unbroken tracts of forest and of limiting disturbance in the more remote portions of these tracts.

  6. Germline modification of domestic animals

    PubMed Central

    Tang, L.; González, R.; Dobrinski, I.

    2016-01-01

    Genetically-modified domestic animal models are of increasing significance in biomedical research and agriculture. As authentic ES cells derived from domestic animals are not yet available, the prevailing approaches for engineering genetic modifications in those animals are pronuclear microinjection and somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT, also known as cloning). Both pronuclear microinjection and SCNT are inefficient, costly, and time-consuming. In animals produced by pronuclear microinjection, the exogenous transgene is usually inserted randomly into the genome, which results in highly variable expression patterns and levels in different founders. Therefore, significant efforts are required to generate and screen multiple founders to obtain animals with optimal transgene expression. For SCNT, specific genetic modifications (both gain-of-function and loss-of-function) can be engineered and carefully selected in the somatic cell nucleus before nuclear transfer. SCNT has been used to generate a variety of genetically modified animals such as goats, pigs, sheep and cattle; however, animals resulting from SCNT frequently suffer from developmental abnormalities associated with incomplete nuclear reprogramming. Other strategies to generate genetically-modified animals rely on the use of the spermatozoon as a natural vector to introduce genetic material into the female gamete. This sperm mediated DNA transfer (SMGT) combined with intracytoplasmatic sperm injection (ICSI) has relatively high efficiency and allows the insertion of large DNA fragments, which, in turn, enhance proper gene expression. An approach currently being developed to complement SCNT for producing genetically modified animals is germ cell transplantation using genetically modified male germline stem cells (GSCs). This approach relies on the ability of GSCs that are genetically modified in vitro to colonize the recipient testis and produce donor derived sperm upon transplantation. As the genetic change

  7. Germline modification of domestic animals.

    PubMed

    Tang, L; González, R; Dobrinski, I

    2015-01-01

    Genetically-modified domestic animal models are of increasing significance in biomedical research and agriculture. As authentic ES cells derived from domestic animals are not yet available, the prevailing approaches for engineering genetic modifications in those animals are pronuclear microinjection and somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT, also known as cloning). Both pronuclear microinjection and SCNT are inefficient, costly, and time-consuming. In animals produced by pronuclear microinjection, the exogenous transgene is usually inserted randomly into the genome, which results in highly variable expression patterns and levels in different founders. Therefore, significant efforts are required to generate and screen multiple founders to obtain animals with optimal transgene expression. For SCNT, specific genetic modifications (both gain-of-function and loss-of-function) can be engineered and carefully selected in the somatic cell nucleus before nuclear transfer. SCNT has been used to generate a variety of genetically modified animals such as goats, pigs, sheep and cattle; however, animals resulting from SCNT frequently suffer from developmental abnormalities associated with incomplete nuclear reprogramming. Other strategies to generate genetically-modified animals rely on the use of the spermatozoon as a natural vector to introduce genetic material into the female gamete. This sperm mediated DNA transfer (SMGT) combined with intracytoplasmatic sperm injection (ICSI) has relatively high efficiency and allows the insertion of large DNA fragments, which, in turn, enhance proper gene expression. An approach currently being developed to complement SCNT for producing genetically modified animals is germ cell transplantation using genetically modified male germline stem cells (GSCs). This approach relies on the ability of GSCs that are genetically modified in vitro to colonize the recipient testis and produce donor derived sperm upon transplantation. As the genetic change

  8. [Health assessment of river ecosystem in Haihe River Basin, China].

    PubMed

    Hao, Li-Xia; Sun, Ran-Hao; Chen, Li-Ding

    2014-10-01

    With the development of economy, the health of river ecosystem is severely threatened because of the increasing effects of human activities on river ecosystem. In this paper, the authors assessed the river ecosystem health in aspects of chemical integrity and biological integrity, using the criterion in water quality, nutrient, and benthic macroinvertebrates of 73 samples in Haihe River Basin. The research showed that the health condition of river ecosystem in Haihe River Basin was bad overall since the health situation of 72. 6% of the samples was "extremely bad". At the same time, the health situation in Haihe River Basin exhibited obvious regional gathering effect. We also found that the river water quality was closely related to human activities, and the eutrophication trend of water body was evident in Haihe River Basin. The biodiversity of the benthic animal was low and lack of clean species in the basin. The indicators such as ammonia nitrogen, total nitrogen and total phosphorus were the key factors that affected the river ecosystem health in Haihe River Basin, so the government should start to curb the deterioration of river ecosystem health by controlling these nutrients indicators. For river ecosystem health assessment, the multi-factors comprehensive evaluation method was superior to single-factor method.

  9. Obscuring ecosystem function with application of the ecosystem services concept.

    PubMed

    Peterson, Markus J; Hall, Damon M; Feldpausch-Parker, Andrea M; Peterson, Tarla Rai

    2010-02-01

    Conservationists commonly have framed ecological concerns in economic terms to garner political support for conservation and to increase public interest in preserving global biodiversity. Beginning in the early 1980s, conservation biologists adapted neoliberal economics to reframe ecosystem functions and related biodiversity as ecosystem services to humanity. Despite the economic success of programs such as the Catskill/Delaware watershed management plan in the United States and the creation of global carbon exchanges, today's marketplace often fails to adequately protect biodiversity. We used a Marxist critique to explain one reason for this failure and to suggest a possible, if partial, response. Reframing ecosystem functions as economic services does not address the political problem of commodification. Just as it obscures the labor of human workers, commodification obscures the importance of the biota (ecosystem workers) and related abiotic factors that contribute to ecosystem functions. This erasure of work done by ecosystems impedes public understanding of biodiversity. Odum and Odum's radical suggestion to use the language of ecosystems (i.e., emergy or energy memory) to describe economies, rather than using the language of economics (i.e., services) to describe ecosystems, reverses this erasure of the ecosystem worker. Considering the current dominance of economic forces, however, implementing such solutions would require social changes similar in magnitude to those that occurred during the 1960s. Niklas Luhmann argues that such substantive, yet rapid, social change requires synergy among multiple societal function systems (i.e., economy, education, law, politics, religion, science), rather than reliance on a single social sphere, such as the economy. Explicitly presenting ecosystem services as discreet and incomplete aspects of ecosystem functions not only allows potential economic and environmental benefits associated with ecosystem services, but also

  10. Spatial Self-Organization of Ecosystems: Integrating Multiple Mechanisms of Regular-Pattern Formation.

    PubMed

    Pringle, Robert M; Tarnita, Corina E

    2017-01-31

    Large-scale regular vegetation patterns are common in nature, but their causes are disputed. Whereas recent theory focuses on scale-dependent feedbacks as a potentially universal mechanism, earlier studies suggest that many regular spatial patterns result from territorial interference competition between colonies of social-insect ecosystem engineers, leading to hexagonally overdispersed nest sites and associated vegetation. Evidence for this latter mechanism is scattered throughout decades of disparate literature and lacks a unified conceptual framework, fueling skepticism about its generality in debates over the origins of patterned landscapes. We review these mechanisms and debates, finding evidence that spotted and gapped vegetation patterns generated by ants, termites, and other subterranean animals are globally widespread, locally important for ecosystem functioning, and consistent with models of intraspecific territoriality. Because these and other mechanisms of regular-pattern formation are not mutually exclusive and can coexist and interact at different scales, the prevailing theoretical outlook on spatial self-organization in ecology must expand to incorporate the dynamic interplay of multiple processes.

  11. [Management of large marine ecosystem based on ecosystem approach].

    PubMed

    Chu, Jian-song

    2011-09-01

    Large marine ecosystem (LME) is a large area of ocean characterized by distinct oceanology and ecology. Its natural characteristics require management based on ecosystem approach. A series of international treaties and regulations definitely or indirectly support that it should adopt ecosystem approach to manage LME to achieve the sustainable utilization of marine resources. In practices, some countries such as Canada, Australia, and U.S.A. have adopted ecosystem-based approach to manage their oceans, and some international organizations such as global environment fund committee have carried out a number of LME programs based on ecosystem approach. Aiming at the sustainable development of their fisheries, the regional organizations such as Caribbean Community have established regional fisheries mechanism. However, the adoption of ecosystem approach to manage LME is not only a scientific and legal issue, but also a political matter largely depending on the political will and the mutual cooperation degree of related countries.

  12. Cryptic function loss in animal populations.

    PubMed

    McConkey, Kim R; O'Farrill, Georgina

    2015-04-01

    The essential functional roles performed by animal species are lost when they become locally extinct, and ecosystems are critically threatened by this decline in functional diversity. Theory that links function, diversity, and ecosystem stability exists but fails to assess function loss that occurs in species with persistent populations. The entire functional role of a species, or a critical component of it, can be lost following large population declines (functional extinction), following population increase, or after behavioural adaptations to changes in the population, community, habitat, or climate. Here, we provide a framework that identifies the scenarios under which 'cryptic' function loss can occur in persistent populations. Cryptic function loss is potentially widespread and critically threatens ecosystem stability across the globe.

  13. Carbon dioxide dynamics in an artificial ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hu, Enzhu; Hu, Dawei; Tong, Ling; Li, Ming; Fu, Yuming; He, Wenting; Liu, Hong

    An experimental artificial ecosystem was established as a tool to understand the behavior of closed ecosystem and to develop the technology for a future bioregenerative life support system for lunar or planetary exploration. Total effective volume of the system is 0.7 m3 . It consists of a higher plant chamber, an animal chamber and a photo-bioreactor which cultivated lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.), silkworm (Bombyx Mori L.) and microalgae (Chlorella), respectively. For uniform and sustained observations, lettuce and silkworms was cultivated using sequential cultivation method, and microalgae using continuous culture. Four researchers took turns breathing the system air through a tube for brief periods every few hours. A mathematic model, simulating the carbon dioxide dynamics was developed. The main biological parameters concerning photosynthesis of lettuce and microalgae, respiration of silkworms and human were validated by the experimental data. The model described the respiratory relationship between autotrophic and heterotrophic compartments. A control strategy was proposed as a tool for the atmosphere management of the artificial ecosystem.

  14. The parasite connection in ecosystems and macroevolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seilacher, Adolf; Reif, Wolf-Ernst; Wenk, Peter

    2007-03-01

    In addition to their obvious negative effects (“pathogens”), endoparasites of various kinds play an important role in shaping and maintaining modern animal communities. In the long-term, parasites including pathogens are indispensable entities of any ecosystem. To understand this, it is essential that one changes the viewpoint from the host’s interests to that of the parasite. Together with geographic isolation, trophic arms race, symbiosis, and niche partitioning, all parasites (including balance strategists, i.e. seemingly non-pathogenic ones) modulate their hosts’ population densities. In addition, heteroxenic parasites control the balance between predator and prey species, particularly if final and intermediate hosts are vertebrates. Thereby, such parasites enhance the bonds in ecosystems and help maintain the status quo. As the links between eukaryotic parasites and their hosts are less flexible than trophic connections, parasite networks probably contributed to the observed stasis and incumbency of ecosystems over geologic time, in spite of continuous Darwinian innovation. Because heteroxenic parasites target taxonomic levels above that of the species (e.g. families), these taxa may have also become units of selection in global catastrophies. Macroevolutionary extrapolations, however, are difficult to verify because endoparasites cannot fossilize.

  15. The parasite connection in ecosystems and macroevolution.

    PubMed

    Seilacher, Adolf; Reif, Wolf-Ernst; Wenk, Peter

    2007-03-01

    In addition to their obvious negative effects ("pathogens"), endoparasites of various kinds play an important role in shaping and maintaining modern animal communities. In the long-term, parasites including pathogens are indispensable entities of any ecosystem. To understand this, it is essential that one changes the viewpoint from the host's interests to that of the parasite. Together with geographic isolation, trophic arms race, symbiosis, and niche partitioning, all parasites (including balance strategists, i.e. seemingly non-pathogenic ones) modulate their hosts' population densities. In addition, heteroxenic parasites control the balance between predator and prey species, particularly if final and intermediate hosts are vertebrates. Thereby, such parasites enhance the bonds in ecosystems and help maintain the status quo. As the links between eukaryotic parasites and their hosts are less flexible than trophic connections, parasite networks probably contributed to the observed stasis and incumbency of ecosystems over geologic time, in spite of continuous Darwinian innovation. Because heteroxenic parasites target taxonomic levels above that of the species (e.g. families), these taxa may have also become units of selection in global catastrophies. Macroevolutionary extrapolations, however, are difficult to verify because endoparasites cannot fossilize.

  16. [Animal experimentation, animal welfare and scientific research].

    PubMed

    Tal, H

    2013-10-01

    Hundreds of thousands of laboratory animals are being used every year for scientific experiments held in Israel, mostly mice, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and a few sheep, cattle, pigs, cats, dogs, and even a few dozen monkeys. In addition to the animals sacrificed to promote scientific research, millions of animals slain every year for other purposes such as meat and fine leather fashion industries. While opening a front against all is an impossible and perhaps an unjustified task, the state of Israel enacted the Animal Welfare (Animal Experimentation) Law (1994). The law aims to regulate scientific animal experiments and to find the appropriate balance between the need to continue to perform animal experiments for the advancement of research and medicine, and at the same time to avoid unnecessary trials and minimize animal suffering. Among other issues the law deals with the phylogenetic scale according to which experimental animals should be selected, experiments for teaching and practicing, and experiments for the cosmetic industry. This article discusses bioethics considerations in animal experiments as well as the criticism on the scientific validity of such experiments. It further deals with the vitality of animal studies and the moral and legal obligation to prevent suffering from laboratory animals.

  17. Recapitulating the Tumor Ecosystem Along the Metastatic Cascade Using 3D Culture Models

    PubMed Central

    Kim, Jiyun; Tanner, Kandice

    2015-01-01

    Advances in cancer research have shown that a tumor can be likened to a foreign species that disrupts delicately balanced ecological interactions, compromising the survival of normal tissue ecosystems. In efforts to mitigate tumor expansion and metastasis, experimental approaches from ecology are becoming more frequently and successfully applied by researchers from diverse disciplines to reverse engineer and re-engineer biological systems in order to normalize the tumor ecosystem. We present a review on the use of 3D biomimetic platforms to recapitulate biotic and abiotic components of the tumor ecosystem, in efforts to delineate the underlying mechanisms that drive evolution of tumor heterogeneity, tumor dissemination, and acquisition of drug resistance. PMID:26284194

  18. Air-Pollution-Mediated Changes in Alpine Ecosystems and Ecotones.

    PubMed

    Rusek, Josef

    1993-08-01

    Soil biological parameters (e.g., Collembola), soil types, soil chemical parameters (pH, humus substances), and plant communities were studied in different ecosystems and ecotones in alpine, subalpine, and spruce forest zones in the Tatra National Park, Slovak Republic. The preliminary, selected data, based on a long-term research program, showed a high sensitivity of some alpine ecotones and ecosystems to long-distance transported acid deposits. The changes in different ecosystem parameters since 1977 were more extensive in alpine grasslands on limestone than on granite. The greatest soil pH decrease was in the plant communities Festucetum versicoloris (-1.5 pH), Geranio-Alchemilletum crinitae (-1.32 pH), and Saxifragetum perdurantis (-1.25 pH), which are restricted to places with snow accumulation and water runoff gullies. In these ecosystems the greatest changes occurred in the leaching of humus substances. Some formerly less abundant and rare soil animals restricted to acid bedrock became dominant in some ecosystems on limestone as well as on granite; other formerly dominant species disappeared from the entire study area (e.g., Folsomia alpina). The aerial extent of some ecosystems changed substantially since 1977, and their surrounding ecotones moved into the space formerly occupied by one of the adjacent ecosystems. These changes are detectable by remote-sensing methods. In Central European mountains, strongly affected by global and regional industrial air pollution (e.g., Krusne Hory, Krkonose, Beskydy), spruce forests started to die back from higher to lower mountain elevations. The effects of air pollution on alpine and subalpine vegetation were not studied there. Strong alterations in alpine ecosystems and ecotones were detected by the author during long-term studies in the High Tatra Mountains, and I suggest that subalpine and mountain forest belts will be affected here in the near future as they were in the more polluted Central European mountains. The

  19. Nitrogen in aquatic ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Rabalais, Nancy N

    2002-03-01

    Aquatic ecosystems respond variably to nutrient enrichment and altered nutrient ratios, along a continuum from fresh water through estuarine, coastal, and marine systems. Although phosphorus is considered the limiting nutrient for phytoplankton production in freshwater systems, the effects of atmospheric nitrogen and its contribution to acidification of fresh waters can be detrimental. Within the estuarine to coastal continuum, multiple nutrient limitations occur among nitrogen, phosphorus, and silicon along the salinity gradient and by season, but nitrogen is generally considered the primary limiting nutrient for phytoplankton biomass accumulation. There are well-established, but nonlinear, positive relationships among nitrogen and phosphorus flux, phytoplankton primary production, and fisheries yield. There are thresholds, however, where the load of nutrients to estuarine, coastal and marine systems exceeds the capacity for assimilation of nutrient-enhanced production, and water-quality degradation occurs. Impacts can include noxious and toxic algal blooms, increased turbidity with a subsequent loss of submerged aquatic vegetation, oxygen deficiency, disruption of ecosystem functioning, loss of habitat, loss of biodiversity, shifts in food webs, and loss of harvestable fisheries.

  20. Animal Talk in Cocopa

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Langdon, Margaret

    1978-01-01

    This article discusses an abnormal type of speech in the Cocopa language called animal talk, which deals with how humans refer to the communication between humans and animals and between animals themselves. The derivation of animal talk from normal speech and speech of mythical animals is discussed. (NCR)

  1. Assessing risks to ecosystem quality

    SciTech Connect

    Barnthouse, L.W.

    1995-12-31

    Ecosystems are not organisms. Because ecosystems do not reproduce, grow old or sick, and die, the term ecosystem health is somewhat misleading and perhaps should not be used. A more useful concept is ``ecosystem quality,`` which denotes a set of desirable ecosystem characteristics defined in terms of species composition, productivity, size/condition of specific populations, or other measurable properties. The desired quality of an ecosystem may be pristine, as in a nature preserve, or highly altered by man, as in a managed forest or navigational waterway. ``Sustainable development`` implies that human activities that influence ecosystem quality should be managed so that high-quality ecosystems are maintained for future generations. In sustainability-based environmental management, the focus is on maintaining or improving ecosystem quality, not on restricting discharges or requiring particular waste treatment technologies. This approach requires management of chemical impacts to be integrated with management of other sources of stress such as erosion, eutrophication, and direct human exploitation. Environmental scientists must (1) work with decision makers and the public to define ecosystem quality goals, (2) develop corresponding measures of ecosystem quality, (3) diagnose causes for departures from desired states, and (4) recommend appropriate restoration actions, if necessary. Environmental toxicology and chemical risk assessment are necessary for implementing the above framework, but they are clearly not sufficient. This paper reviews the state-of-the science relevant to sustaining the quality of aquatic ecosystems. Using the specific example of a reservoir in eastern Tennessee, the paper attempts to define roles for ecotoxicology and risk assessment in each step of the management process.

  2. [Ecosystem approach: a new concept for ecosystem management].

    PubMed

    Wang, Silong; Zhao, Shidong

    2004-12-01

    Ecosystem approach (EA) was firstly proposed by ecologists in developed countries and then supported by a number of international institutions and NGOs, among which, CBD, IUCN and WWF played important roles. Ecosystem approach is an integrated strategy for the management of land, soil and bio-resources. The application of EA will help to reach a balance between conservation, sustainable use, and fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of biological resources. Ecosystem approach is a methodology of ecosystem management, focusing on the biological organisms and recognising that human beings, with their cultural diversity, are an integral component of many ecosystems. The decision V/6 adopted by the Conference of the Parties to the CBD at its fifth meeting in 2000 concretized the EA in the form of twelve principles and five operational guidelines. Our government has recently made a lot of efforts in ecosystem management at large scale with many important measures and obtained significant achievements, but the potential role of local governments, institutions and individuals has not been fully played. In the attempts of managing a specific ecosystem, there are many successful cases done by our ecologists, for example, the ecological management of Chinese fir plantation forest in central subtropical China. However, the whole ecosystem at national or regional level is confronted with a lot of serious problems, mainly because there is a lack of complete understanding of the significance of ecosystem management and a lack of guidelines or principles from an integrated scientific theory. The introduction and implementation of ecosystem approach will play an important role in improving the ecosystem management in China.

  3. Deciphering arboviral emergence within insular ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Tortosa, Pablo; Pascalis, Hervé; Guernier, Vanina; Cardinale, Eric; Le Corre, Matthieu; Goodman, Steven M; Dellagi, Koussay

    2012-08-01

    The spatial dynamics of zoonotic arthropod-borne viruses is a fashionable though challenging topic. Inter-human local transmission of a given arbovirus during an outbreak and its spread over large distances are considered as key parameters of emergence. Here, we suggest that insular ecosystems provide ideal natural "laboratory" conditions to uncouple local transmission from long distance spread, and differentiate these two processes. Due to geographic isolation, often-limited land surface area and relatively homogenous ecosystems, oceanic islands display low species richness and often-high levels of endemism. These aspects provide the means for comprehensive entomological surveys and investigations of original host/pathogen interactions. In addition, islands are interconnected through discrete anthropogenic and non-anthropogenic exchanges: whilst islands maintain a substantial level of human and domestic animal exchange with other neighbouring or distant territories, they also comprise dispersal and migratory pathways of volant organisms (insects, birds and bats). Hence, both anthropogenic and non-anthropogenic exchanges in island systems are easier to identify and investigate than in continuous, continental systems. Finally, island ecosystems tend to be notably simpler, more prone to invasive taxa and, therefore, easier to document the colonization or displacement of vector species. These different aspects are presented and overlaid upon the spread of arboviruses within two distinct insular systems: islands of Polynesia and the south-western Indian Ocean. The former have been repeatedly affected by Dengue fever epidemics, while the latter recently suffered four successive epidemics, probably of east African origin, three of which involved the emerging viruses Chikungunya, Rift Valley and Dengue fever. Here, we review some new insights into arboviral spread and evolution associated with investigations that followed these epidemics, as well as several aspects that

  4. Probiotics in animal nutrition and health.

    PubMed

    Chaucheyras-Durand, F; Durand, H

    2010-03-01

    The use of probiotics for farm animals has increased considerably over the last 15 years. Probiotics are defined as live microorganisms which can confer a health benefit for the host when administered in appropriate and regular quantities. Once ingested, the probiotic microorganisms can modulate the balance and activities of the gastrointestinal microbiota, whose role is fundamental to gut homeostasis. It has been demonstrated that numerous factors, such as dietary and management constraints, can strongly affect the structure and activities of the gut microbial communities, leading to impaired health and performance in livestock animals. In this review, the most important benefits of yeast and bacterial probiotics upon the gastrointestinal microbial ecosystem in ruminants and monogastric animals (equines, pigs, poultry, fish) reported in the recent scientific literature are described, as well as their implications in terms of animal nutrition and health. Additional knowledge on the possible mechanisms of action is also provided.

  5. Animation of Antimicrobial Resistance

    MedlinePlus Videos and Cool Tools

    ... Home Food Drugs Medical Devices Radiation-Emitting Products Vaccines, Blood & Biologics Animal & Veterinary Cosmetics Tobacco Products Animal & ... back Food Drugs Medical Devices Radiation-Emitting Products Vaccines, Blood & Biologics Animal & Veterinary Cosmetics Tobacco Products

  6. Game Animals of Colorado.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Colorado State Div. of Wildlife, Denver.

    This booklet is intended to familiarize the reader with game animals typical of Colorado. Discussions in both English and Spanish are presented. Discussions cover the management of game animals, individual game species, and introduced species of game animals. (RE)

  7. POLLUTION AND ECOSYSTEM HEALTH - ASSESSING ECOLOGICAL CONDITION OF COASTAL ECOSYSTEMS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Summers, Kevin. 2004. Pollution and Ecosystem Health - Assessing Ecological Condition of Coastal Ecosystems. Presented at the White Water to Blue Water (WW2BW) Miami Conference, 21-26 March 2004, Miami, FL. 1 p. (ERL,GB R973).

    Throughout the coastal regions and Large Mari...

  8. Spacecraft -- Capsule Separation (Animation)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2005-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Click on the image for Spacecraft -- Capsule Separation animation

    This animation shows the return capsule separating from the Stardust spacecraft.

  9. Animal rights, animal minds, and human mindreading.

    PubMed

    Mameli, M; Bortolotti, L

    2006-02-01

    Do non-human animals have rights? The answer to this question depends on whether animals have morally relevant mental properties. Mindreading is the human activity of ascribing mental states to other organisms. Current knowledge about the evolution and cognitive structure of mindreading indicates that human ascriptions of mental states to non-human animals are very inaccurate. The accuracy of human mindreading can be improved with the help of scientific studies of animal minds. However, the scientific studies do not by themselves solve the problem of how to map psychological similarities (and differences) between humans and animals onto a distinction between morally relevant and morally irrelevant mental properties. The current limitations of human mindreading-whether scientifically aided or not-have practical consequences for the rational justification of claims about which rights (if any) non-human animals should be accorded.

  10. "Pleistocene Park" - A Glacial Ecosystem in a Warming World

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zimov, N.; Zimov, S. A.

    2011-12-01

    Most people if asked what association they have to the phrase - ice age, will answer - "Mammoth". But mammoths are not only big wooly elephants which went extinct in the beginning of Holocene. They were also part of a great ecosystem, the Northern Steppe or Mammoth Ecosystem, which was the world's largest ecosystem for hundreds thousand of years. This ecosystem, with extremely high rates of biocycling, could maintain animal densities which can be hardly found anywhere in the modern world. Northern steppe played an important role in shaping the glacial climate of the planet. High albedo grasslands reflected a much bigger portion of sun heat back to the atmosphere. Cold soils and permafrost served as sinks of carbon, helping to keep greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere at low levels. In the beginning of Holocene, simultaneously with wave of human expansion, an extinction wave took place. Tens of megafauna species became extinct at that time worldwide, while ones that resisted the extinction substantially dropped in numbers. The Northern Steppe ecosystem became imbalanced. Without large numbers of herbivores grazing and trampling the pasture, trees, shrubs and moss invaded grasslands. Within just a few hundreds years the mammoth ecosystem was gone, replaced by much lower productivity ecosystems. Already 14 thousand year ago, by simply increasing hunting pressure, humans managed to dramatically change Earth's appearance. We propose that by artificially maintaining a high animal density and diversity on a limited territory for extended period of time, it will be possible to reverse the shift, reestablishing the productive Northern Steppe ecosystem. Moss, shrubs and tree sprouts are not able to resist grazing pressure so they will be quickly replaced by grasses and herbs. Animals digesting all aboveground biomass would accelerate nutrition cycling and consequently increase bioproductivity. Higher bioproductivity would increase evapotranspiration, keeping soils

  11. National Atlas of Ecosystem Services

    EPA Science Inventory

    The nation’s ecosystems provide a vast array of services to humans from clean and abundant water to recreational opportunities. The benefits of nature or “ecosystem services” are often taken for granted and not considered in environmental decision-making. In some cases, decis...

  12. Teaching about Ecosystems. ERIC Digest.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Haury, David L.

    Ecosystems are available to educators as interactive units and as such the National Science Education Standards (NSES) and the Excellence in Environmental Education: Guidelines for Learning (EEE) put considerable emphasis on ecosystems. This ERIC Digest describes the NSES and EEE guidelines for grades 5-8 and 9-12 to provide a basic ecosystem…

  13. Occupational allergy to animals.

    PubMed

    Seward, J P

    1999-01-01

    This chapter reviews the epidemiology, manifestations, etiologic agents, and exposure controls related to occupational allergies from animals and insects, including both respiratory and dermatologic responses. The overall prevalence of allergic respiratory symptoms in exposed workers is about 23% 4-9% of exposed individuals develop asthma. Symptom development is related to duration and intensity of exposure. The most prevalent dermatologic findings are contact urticaria and eczematous dermatitis. While a history of atopy is associated with the risk of symptom development, this factor has poor predictive value for any given individual. Similarly, skin testing and RAST testing are not sufficiently predictive to be recommended as screening tools, although they may identify individuals at some increased risk. The specific tissue sources of the major allergens are reviewed; for laboratory rats and mice, a urinary protein complex has been implicated. Environmental control of antigens is key in the prevention of allergic disease. Task-specific engineering controls, general environmental hygiene, training, and medical surveillance of workers are important elements of the prevention program.

  14. Using expert judgment to estimate marine ecosystem vulnerability in the California Current.

    PubMed

    Teck, Sarah J; Halpern, Benjamin S; Kappel, Carrie V; Micheli, Fiorenza; Selkoe, Kimberly A; Crain, Caitlin M; Martone, Rebecca; Shearer, Christine; Arvai, Joe; Fischhoff, Baruch; Murray, Grant; Neslo, Rabin; Cooke, Roger

    2010-07-01

    As resource management and conservation efforts move toward multi-sector, ecosystem-based approaches, we need methods for comparing the varying responses of ecosystems to the impacts of human activities in order to prioritize management efforts, allocate limited resources, and understand cumulative effects. Given the number and variety of human activities affecting ecosystems, relatively few empirical studies are adequately comprehensive to inform these decisions. Consequently, management often turns to expert judgment for information. Drawing on methods from decision science, we offer a method for eliciting expert judgment to (1) quantitatively estimate the relative vulnerability of ecosystems to stressors, (2) help prioritize the management of stressors across multiple ecosystems, (3) evaluate how experts give weight to different criteria to characterize vulnerability of ecosystems to anthropogenic stressors, and (4) identify key knowledge gaps. We applied this method to the California Current region in order to evaluate the relative vulnerability of 19 marine ecosystems to 53 stressors associated with human activities, based on surveys from 107 experts. When judging the relative vulnerability of ecosystems to stressors, we found that experts primarily considered two criteria: the ecosystem's resistance to the stressor and the number of species or trophic levels affected. Four intertidal ecosystems (mudflat, beach, salt marsh, and rocky intertidal) were judged most vulnerable to the suite of human activities evaluated here. The highest vulnerability rankings for coastal ecosystems were invasive species, ocean acidification, sea temperature change, sea level rise, and habitat alteration from coastal engineering, while offshore ecosystems were assessed to be most vulnerable to ocean acidification, demersal destructive fishing, and shipwrecks. These results provide a quantitative, transparent, and repeatable assessment of relative vulnerability across ecosystems to

  15. Linking ecosystem characteristics to final ecosystem services for public policy.

    PubMed

    Wong, Christina P; Jiang, Bo; Kinzig, Ann P; Lee, Kai N; Ouyang, Zhiyun

    2015-01-01

    Governments worldwide are recognising ecosystem services as an approach to address sustainability challenges. Decision-makers need credible and legitimate measurements of ecosystem services to evaluate decisions for trade-offs to make wise choices. Managers lack these measurements because of a data gap linking ecosystem characteristics to final ecosystem services. The dominant method to address the data gap is benefit transfer using ecological data from one location to estimate ecosystem services at other locations with similar land cover. However, benefit transfer is only valid once the data gap is adequately resolved. Disciplinary frames separating ecology from economics and policy have resulted in confusion on concepts and methods preventing progress on the data gap. In this study, we present a 10-step approach to unify concepts, methods and data from the disparate disciplines to offer guidance on overcoming the data gap. We suggest: (1) estimate ecosystem characteristics using biophysical models, (2) identify final ecosystem services using endpoints and (3) connect them using ecological production functions to quantify biophysical trade-offs. The guidance is strategic for public policy because analysts need to be: (1) realistic when setting priorities, (2) attentive to timelines to acquire relevant data, given resources and (3) responsive to the needs of decision-makers.

  16. Linking ecosystem characteristics to final ecosystem services for public policy

    PubMed Central

    Wong, Christina P; Jiang, Bo; Kinzig, Ann P; Lee, Kai N; Ouyang, Zhiyun

    2015-01-01

    Governments worldwide are recognising ecosystem services as an approach to address sustainability challenges. Decision-makers need credible and legitimate measurements of ecosystem services to evaluate decisions for trade-offs to make wise choices. Managers lack these measurements because of a data gap linking ecosystem characteristics to final ecosystem services. The dominant method to address the data gap is benefit transfer using ecological data from one location to estimate ecosystem services at other locations with similar land cover. However, benefit transfer is only valid once the data gap is adequately resolved. Disciplinary frames separating ecology from economics and policy have resulted in confusion on concepts and methods preventing progress on the data gap. In this study, we present a 10-step approach to unify concepts, methods and data from the disparate disciplines to offer guidance on overcoming the data gap. We suggest: (1) estimate ecosystem characteristics using biophysical models, (2) identify final ecosystem services using endpoints and (3) connect them using ecological production functions to quantify biophysical trade-offs. The guidance is strategic for public policy because analysts need to be: (1) realistic when setting priorities, (2) attentive to timelines to acquire relevant data, given resources and (3) responsive to the needs of decision-makers. PMID:25394857

  17. Physics for Animation Artists

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Chai, David; Garcia, Alejandro L.

    2011-01-01

    Animation has become enormously popular in feature films, television, and video games. Art departments and film schools at universities as well as animation programs at high schools have expanded in recent years to meet the growing demands for animation artists. Professional animators identify the technological facet as the most rapidly advancing…

  18. Carotenoids in Marine Animals

    PubMed Central

    Maoka, Takashi

    2011-01-01

    Marine animals contain various carotenoids that show structural diversity. These marine animals accumulate carotenoids from foods such as algae and other animals and modify them through metabolic reactions. Many of the carotenoids present in marine animals are metabolites of β-carotene, fucoxanthin, peridinin, diatoxanthin, alloxanthin, and astaxanthin, etc. Carotenoids found in these animals provide the food chain as well as metabolic pathways. In the present review, I will describe marine animal carotenoids from natural product chemistry, metabolism, food chain, and chemosystematic viewpoints, and also describe new structural carotenoids isolated from marine animals over the last decade. PMID:21566799

  19. Layered Systems Engineering Engines

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Breidenthal, Julian C.; Overman, Marvin J.

    2009-01-01

    A notation is described for depicting the relationships between multiple, contemporaneous systems engineering efforts undertaken within a multi-layer system-of-systems hierarchy. We combined the concepts of remoteness of activity from the end customer, depiction of activity on a timeline, and data flow to create a new kind of diagram which we call a "Layered Vee Diagram." This notation is an advance over previous notations because it is able to be simultaneously precise about activity, level of granularity, product exchanges, and timing; these advances provide systems engineering managers a significantly improved ability to express and understand the relationships between many systems engineering efforts. Using the new notation, we obtain a key insight into the relationship between project duration and the strategy selected for chaining the systems engineering effort between layers, as well as insights into the costs, opportunities, and risks associated with alternate chaining strategies.

  20. Diversity, Productivity, and Stability of an Industrial Microbial Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Tang, Pei-Zhong; Becker, Scott; Hoang, Tony; Bilgin, Damla; Lim, Yan Wei; Peterson, Todd C.; Mayfield, Stephen; Haerizadeh, Farzad; Shurin, Jonathan B.; Bafna, Vineet; McBride, Robert

    2016-01-01

    Managing ecosystems to maintain biodiversity may be one approach to ensuring their dynamic stability, productivity, and delivery of vital services. The applicability of this approach to industrial ecosystems that harness the metabolic activities of microbes has been proposed but has never been tested at relevant scales. We used a tag-sequencing approach with bacterial small subunit rRNA (16S) genes and eukaryotic internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) to measuring the taxonomic composition and diversity of bacteria and eukaryotes in an open pond managed for bioenergy production by microalgae over a year. Periods of high eukaryotic diversity were associated with high and more-stable biomass productivity. In addition, bacterial diversity and eukaryotic diversity were inversely correlated over time, possibly due to their opposite responses to temperature. The results indicate that maintaining diverse communities may be essential to engineering stable and productive bioenergy ecosystems using microorganisms. PMID:26896141

  1. Animals in space

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    White, Angela

    1988-01-01

    Animals are indispensable to the space program. Their continued use could have many significant results. Those who are opposed to using animals in space should remember that space animals are treated humanely; they are necessary because results can be obtained from them that would be unobtainable from humans; and results from animal experiments can be applied to human systems. Therefore, NASA should continue to use animals in space research.

  2. Declining resilience of ecosystem functions under biodiversity loss.

    PubMed

    Oliver, Tom H; Isaac, Nick J B; August, Tom A; Woodcock, Ben A; Roy, David B; Bullock, James M

    2015-12-08

    The composition of species communities is changing rapidly through drivers such as habitat loss and climate change, with potentially serious consequences for the resilience of ecosystem functions on which humans depend. To assess such changes in resilience, we analyse trends in the frequency of species in Great Britain that provide key ecosystem functions--specifically decomposition, carbon sequestration, pollination, pest control and cultural values. For 4,424 species over four decades, there have been significant net declines among animal species that provide pollination, pest control and cultural values. Groups providing decomposition and carbon sequestration remain relatively stable, as fewer species are in decline and these are offset by large numbers of new arrivals into Great Britain. While there is general concern about degradation of a wide range of ecosystem functions, our results suggest actions should focus on particular functions for which there is evidence of substantial erosion of their resilience.

  3. Antarctic cryptoendolithic microbial ecosystem research, 1986-1987

    PubMed

    Friedmann, E I; Meyer, M A

    1987-01-01

    The apparent lifelessness of the Ross Desert is in marked contrast to the diversity of cryptoendolithic microorganisms inhabiting the interstices of sandstone rocks. The endolithic habitat provides a protective niche for lichens, bacteria, algae, and fungi, enabling them to exist in an extremely dry and cold climate. Composed solely of microorganisms living under the surface of rocks and totally lacking animals and protozoa, this ecosystem is controlled by measurable physical variables and well suited for ecosystem study and modeling. The work of the antarctic cryptoendolithic microbial ecosystem research group has involved physical measurements of nanoclimate (microbial environment inside rocks) (Friedmann, McKay, and Nienow 1987), taxonomy (Darling, Friedmann, and Broady 1987; Hale 1987), microdistribution, organism-substrate interactions including the ongoing process of fossilization (Friedmann and Weed 1987), physiological ecology, and quantification of the nitrogen economy.

  4. Declining resilience of ecosystem functions under biodiversity loss

    PubMed Central

    Oliver, Tom H.; Isaac, Nick J. B.; August, Tom A.; Woodcock, Ben A.; Roy, David B.; Bullock, James M.

    2015-01-01

    The composition of species communities is changing rapidly through drivers such as habitat loss and climate change, with potentially serious consequences for the resilience of ecosystem functions on which humans depend. To assess such changes in resilience, we analyse trends in the frequency of species in Great Britain that provide key ecosystem functions—specifically decomposition, carbon sequestration, pollination, pest control and cultural values. For 4,424 species over four decades, there have been significant net declines among animal species that provide pollination, pest control and cultural values. Groups providing decomposition and carbon sequestration remain relatively stable, as fewer species are in decline and these are offset by large numbers of new arrivals into Great Britain. While there is general concern about degradation of a wide range of ecosystem functions, our results suggest actions should focus on particular functions for which there is evidence of substantial erosion of their resilience. PMID:26646209

  5. Sensitivity and Thresholds of Ecosystems to Abrupt Climate Change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peteet, D. M.; Peteet, D. M.

    2001-12-01

    Rapid vegetational change is a hallmark of past abrupt climate change, as evidenced from Younger Dryas records in Europe, eastern North America, and the Pacific North American rim. The potential response of future ecosystems to abrupt climate change is targeted, with a focus on particular changes in the hydrological cycle. The vulnerability of ecosystems is notable when particular shifts cross thresholds of precipitation and temperature, as many plants and animals are adapted to specific climatic "windows". Significant forest species compositional changes occur at ecotonal boundaries, which are often the first locations to record a climatic response. Historical forest declines have been linked to stress, and even Pleistocene extinctions have been associated with human interaction at times of rapid climatic shifts. Environmental extremes are risky for reproductive stages, and result in nonlinearities. The role of humans in association with abrupt climate change suggests that many ecosystems may cross thresholds from which they will find it difficult to recover. Sectors particularly vulnerable will be reviewed.

  6. Bioaccumulation processes in ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Streit, B

    1992-10-15

    The fate of environmental pollutants--the various isotopes of elements, and inorganic or organic compounds--is a fundamental aspect of ecology and ecotoxicology, and bioaccumulation is a phenomenon often discussed in this context. Human activities have drastically altered natural concentrations of many substances in the environment and added numerous new chemicals. An understanding of the processes of bioaccumulation is important for several reasons. 1) Bioaccumulation in organisms may enhance the persistence of industrial chemicals in the ecosystem as a whole, since they can be fixed in the tissues of organisms. 2) Stored chemicals are not exposed to direct physical, chemical, or biochemical degradation. 3) Stored chemicals can directly affect an individual's health. 4) Predators of those organisms that have bioaccumulated harmful substances may be endangered by food chain effects. While former theories on the processes of bioaccumulation focused on single aspects that affect the extent of accumulation (such as the trophic level within the food chain or the lipophilicity of the chemical), modern theories are based on compartmental kinetics and the integration of various environmental interactions. Concepts include results from quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSAR), pharmacokinetics, ecophysiology and general biology, molecular genetic aspects and selection, and finally the structure of communities and man-made alterations in them.

  7. Coral Reef Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yap, Helen T.

    Coral reefs are geological structures of significant dimensions, constructed over millions of years by calcifying organisms. The present day reef-builders are hard corals belonging to the order Scleractinia, phylum Cnidaria. The greatest concentrations of coral reefs are in the tropics, with highest levels of biodiversity situated in reefs of the Indo-West Pacific region. These ecosystems have provided coastal protection and livelihood to human populations over the millennia. Human activities have caused destruction of these habitats, the intensity of which has increased alarmingly since the latter decades of the twentieth century. The severity of this impact is directly related to exponential growth rates of human populations especially in the coastal areas of the developing world. However, a more recently recognized phenomenon concerns disturbances brought about by the changing climate, manifested mainly as rising sea surface temperatures, and increasing acidification of ocean waters due to greater drawdown of higher concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Management efforts have so far not kept pace with the rates of degradation, so that the spatial extent of damaged reefs and the incidences of localized extinction of reef species are increasing year after year. The major management efforts to date consist of establishing marine protected areas and promoting the active restoration of coral habitats.

  8. Ecosystem overfishing in the ocean.

    PubMed

    Coll, Marta; Libralato, Simone; Tudela, Sergi; Palomera, Isabel; Pranovi, Fabio

    2008-01-01

    Fisheries catches represent a net export of mass and energy that can no longer be used by trophic levels higher than those fished. Thus, exploitation implies a depletion of secondary production of higher trophic levels (here the production of mass and energy by herbivores and carnivores in the ecosystem) due to the removal of prey. The depletion of secondary production due to the export of biomass and energy through catches was recently formulated as a proxy for evaluating the ecosystem impacts of fishing-i.e., the level of ecosystem overfishing. Here we evaluate the historical and current risk of ecosystem overfishing at a global scale by quantifying the depletion of secondary production using the best available fisheries and ecological data (i.e., catch and primary production). Our results highlight an increasing trend in the number of unsustainable fisheries (i.e., an increase in the risk of ecosystem overfishing) from the 1950s to the 2000s, and illustrate the worldwide geographic expansion of overfishing. These results enable to assess when and where fishing became unsustainable at the ecosystem level. At present, total catch per capita from Large Marine Ecosystems is at least twice the value estimated to ensure fishing at moderate sustainable levels.

  9. Computational modeling for eco engineering: Making the connections between engineering and ecology (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bowles, C.

    2013-12-01

    Ecological engineering, or eco engineering, is an emerging field in the study of integrating ecology and engineering, concerned with the design, monitoring, and construction of ecosystems. According to Mitsch (1996) 'the design of sustainable ecosystems intends to integrate human society with its natural environment for the benefit of both'. Eco engineering emerged as a new idea in the early 1960s, and the concept has seen refinement since then. As a commonly practiced field of engineering it is relatively novel. Howard Odum (1963) and others first introduced it as 'utilizing natural energy sources as the predominant input to manipulate and control environmental systems'. Mtisch and Jorgensen (1989) were the first to define eco engineering, to provide eco engineering principles and conceptual eco engineering models. Later they refined the definition and increased the number of principles. They suggested that the goals of eco engineering are: a) the restoration of ecosystems that have been substantially disturbed by human activities such as environmental pollution or land disturbance, and b) the development of new sustainable ecosystems that have both human and ecological values. Here a more detailed overview of eco engineering is provided, particularly with regard to how engineers and ecologists are utilizing multi-dimensional computational models to link ecology and engineering, resulting in increasingly successful project implementation. Descriptions are provided pertaining to 1-, 2- and 3-dimensional hydrodynamic models and their use at small- and large-scale applications. A range of conceptual models that have been developed to aid the in the creation of linkages between ecology and engineering are discussed. Finally, several case studies that link ecology and engineering via computational modeling are provided. These studies include localized stream rehabilitation, spawning gravel enhancement on a large river system, and watershed-wide floodplain modeling of

  10. Ecosystem services provided by bats.

    PubMed

    Kunz, Thomas H; Braun de Torrez, Elizabeth; Bauer, Dana; Lobova, Tatyana; Fleming, Theodore H

    2011-03-01

    Ecosystem services are the benefits obtained from the environment that increase human well-being. Economic valuation is conducted by measuring the human welfare gains or losses that result from changes in the provision of ecosystem services. Bats have long been postulated to play important roles in arthropod suppression, seed dispersal, and pollination; however, only recently have these ecosystem services begun to be thoroughly evaluated. Here, we review the available literature on the ecological and economic impact of ecosystem services provided by bats. We describe dietary preferences, foraging behaviors, adaptations, and phylogenetic histories of insectivorous, frugivorous, and nectarivorous bats worldwide in the context of their respective ecosystem services. For each trophic ensemble, we discuss the consequences of these ecological interactions on both natural and agricultural systems. Throughout this review, we highlight the research needed to fully determine the ecosystem services in question. Finally, we provide a comprehensive overview of economic valuation of ecosystem services. Unfortunately, few studies estimating the economic value of ecosystem services provided by bats have been conducted to date; however, we outline a framework that could be used in future studies to more fully address this question. Consumptive goods provided by bats, such as food and guano, are often exchanged in markets where the market price indicates an economic value. Nonmarket valuation methods can be used to estimate the economic value of nonconsumptive services, including inputs to agricultural production and recreational activities. Information on the ecological and economic value of ecosystem services provided by bats can be used to inform decisions regarding where and when to protect or restore bat populations and associated habitats, as well as to improve public perception of bats.

  11. Ecosystem Services: Benefits Supplied to Human Societies by Natural Ecosystems

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    The module provides a link to an article that is part of a series of articles in Issues in Ecology. This article discusses the many services an ecosystem provides in order to sustain and fulfill human needs.

  12. DECOMPOSTION OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERED TOBACCO UNDER FIELD CONDITIONS: PERSISTENCE OF THE PROTEINASE INHIBITOR I PRODUCT AND EFFECTS OF SOIL MICROBIAL RESPIRATION AND PROTOZOA, NEMATODE AND MICROARTHR

    EPA Science Inventory

    1. To evaluate the potential effects of genetically engineered (transgenic) plants on soil ecosystems, litterbags containing leaves of non-engineered (parental) and transgenic tobacco plants were buried in field plots. The transgenic tobacco plants were genetically engineered to ...

  13. Hydrologic dynamics and ecosystem structure.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez-Iturbe, I

    2003-01-01

    Ecohydrology is the science that studies the mutual interaction between the hydrological cycle and ecosystems. Such an interaction is especially intense in water-controlled ecosystems, where water may be a limiting factor, not only because of its scarcity, but also because of its intermittent and unpredictable appearance. Hydrologic dynamics is shown to be a crucial factor for ecological patterns and processes. The probabilistic structure of soil moisture in time and space is presented as the key linkage between soil, climate and vegetation dynamics. Nutrient cycles, vegetation coexistence and plant response to environmental conditions are all intimately linked to the stochastic fluctuation of the hydrologic inputs driving an ecosystem.

  14. Prebiotic use in food animals to reduce foodborne pathogens and disease

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    As our understanding of the complexities of the gastrointestinal microbial ecosystem has grown in recent years, so has interest in utilizing the natural power contained within this ecosystem as a tool in our arsenal to improve both animal and human health. The diversity of the microbial population ...

  15. Assessing Ecosystem Impacts from Simulant and Decontaminant Use

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1988-05-01

    that use varying amounts of data for ranking ecotoxicological effects of chemicals. N The generic problem is: given particular chemicals, use scenarios...Screen for Ecotoxicologic Effects ," Environ. Toxicol. Chem., Vol 2 (1983), pp 463-476. 26. Chapara, S. C. and K. H. Reckhow, "Engineering Approaches...34 Am. Nature, Vol 114, No. 6 (1979), pp 765-783. 45. Levins, R., "Ecosystem Properties Relevant to Ecotoxicology ," In Testing for Effects of Chemicals on

  16. New insights into animal pathogenic oomycetes.

    PubMed

    Phillips, Andrew J; Anderson, Victoria L; Robertson, Emma J; Secombes, Chris J; van West, Pieter

    2008-01-01

    Many species of oomycetes cause economic and environmental damage owing to their ability to infect a range of plants and animals. Although research on plant pathogenic oomycetes has flourished in recent years, the animal pathogenic oomycetes have received less attention. This is unfortunate because several species are responsible for devastating diseases in aquaculture and natural ecosystems and proper treatments are not available or are limited. Therefore, momentum is being created to revive research into this neglected group of pathogens. Here, we discuss the latest developments in our current understanding of the biology, host-pathogen interactions and environmental and economical impact of the animal pathogenic oomycetes and review the recent advances in this emerging field.

  17. Geospatial tools for Ecosystem Services

    EPA Science Inventory

    Northeastern lakes provide valuable ecosystem services that benefit residents and visitors and are increasingly important for provisioning of recreational opportunities and amenities. Concurrently, population growth threatens lakes by, for instance, increasing nutrient loads. ...

  18. Rapid Recovery of Damaged Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Jones, Holly P.; Schmitz, Oswald J.

    2009-01-01

    Background Recent reports on the state of the global environment provide evidence that humankind is inflicting great damage to the very ecosystems that support human livelihoods. The reports further predict that ecosystems will take centuries to recover from damages if they recover at all. Accordingly, there is despair that we are passing on a legacy of irreparable damage to future generations which is entirely inconsistent with principles of sustainability. Methodology/Principal Findings We tested the prediction of irreparable harm using a synthesis of recovery times compiled from 240 independent studies reported in the scientific literature. We provide startling evidence that most ecosystems globally can, given human will, recover from very major perturbations on timescales of decades to half-centuries. Significance/Conclusions Accordingly, we find much hope that humankind can transition to more sustainable use of ecosystems. PMID:19471645

  19. Resetting predator baselines in coral reef ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Bradley, Darcy; Conklin, Eric; Papastamatiou, Yannis P.; McCauley, Douglas J.; Pollock, Kydd; Pollock, Amanda; Kendall, Bruce E.; Gaines, Steven D.; Caselle, Jennifer E.

    2017-01-01

    What did coral reef ecosystems look like before human impacts became pervasive? Early efforts to reconstruct baselines resulted in the controversial suggestion that pristine coral reefs have inverted trophic pyramids, with disproportionally large top predator biomass. The validity of the coral reef inverted trophic pyramid has been questioned, but until now, was not resolved empirically. We use data from an eight-year tag-recapture program with spatially explicit, capture-recapture models to re-examine the population size and density of a key top predator at Palmyra atoll, the same location that inspired the idea of inverted trophic biomass pyramids in coral reef ecosystems. Given that animal movement is suspected to have significantly biased early biomass estimates of highly mobile top predators, we focused our reassessment on the most mobile and most abundant predator at Palmyra, the grey reef shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos). We estimated a density of 21.3 (95% CI 17.8, 24.7) grey reef sharks/km2, which is an order of magnitude lower than the estimates that suggested an inverted trophic pyramid. Our results indicate that the trophic structure of an unexploited reef fish community is not inverted, and that even healthy top predator populations may be considerably smaller, and more precarious, than previously thought. PMID:28220895

  20. The ecosystem study on Rongelap Atoll

    SciTech Connect

    Walker, R.B.; Gessel, S.P.; Held, E.E.

    1997-07-01

    During the 1950`s and 1960`s, the Laboratory of Radiation Biology at the University of Washington carried out an intensive study of this Atoll, which was contaminated with radioactive fallout from the {open_quotes}Bravo shot{close_quotes} in 1954. This study involved many aspects of the environment and the plant and animal life: soils, land plants, marine life, birds, geology and hydrology, and human diets as well. In much of the research, the fortuitiously present radioactive isotopes, especially {sup 137}Cs and {sup 90}Sr, were tracers. Although the term {open_quotes}ecosystem study{close_quotes} was not in vogue at that time, it is clear that this was an early use of the ecosystem approach. Soil types and their development, the distribution of mineral elements in plants and soils, including predominant radionuclides, distribution and growth of native terrestrial plants in relation to topography and salinity, some aspects of the human diets, micronutrient nutrition of the coconut palm, island and islet development and stability, were given attention in the studies. Some of the findings in the various areas of study will be presented and discussed. 32 refs., 2 figs., 8 tabs.

  1. Resetting predator baselines in coral reef ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Bradley, Darcy; Conklin, Eric; Papastamatiou, Yannis P; McCauley, Douglas J; Pollock, Kydd; Pollock, Amanda; Kendall, Bruce E; Gaines, Steven D; Caselle, Jennifer E

    2017-02-21

    What did coral reef ecosystems look like before human impacts became pervasive? Early efforts to reconstruct baselines resulted in the controversial suggestion that pristine coral reefs have inverted trophic pyramids, with disproportionally large top predator biomass. The validity of the coral reef inverted trophic pyramid has been questioned, but until now, was not resolved empirically. We use data from an eight-year tag-recapture program with spatially explicit, capture-recapture models to re-examine the population size and density of a key top predator at Palmyra atoll, the same location that inspired the idea of inverted trophic biomass pyramids in coral reef ecosystems. Given that animal movement is suspected to have significantly biased early biomass estimates of highly mobile top predators, we focused our reassessment on the most mobile and most abundant predator at Palmyra, the grey reef shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos). We estimated a density of 21.3 (95% CI 17.8, 24.7) grey reef sharks/km(2), which is an order of magnitude lower than the estimates that suggested an inverted trophic pyramid. Our results indicate that the trophic structure of an unexploited reef fish community is not inverted, and that even healthy top predator populations may be considerably smaller, and more precarious, than previously thought.

  2. Ecosystem restoration on the California Channel Islands

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Halvorson, W.L.

    2004-01-01

    Restoration of natural habitat has become increasingly important over the last three decades in the United States, first as mitigation for development (especially in wetlands), and more recently in natural areas. This latter restoration has come about as land managing agencies have seen the need to reverse the impact of past land uses and agencies like the National Park Service have taken on the responsibility for less-than-pristine lands. Restorations have typically been carried out with little prior study and with no follow-up monitoring. On the Channel Islands, the need for restoration is great, but the desire is to base this restoration on sound ecological understanding. By conducting surveys, implementing long-term research and monitoring, and by conducting population and community dynamics research, the necessary data is obtained to arrive at such an understanding. Once management actions have been taken to effect restoration, monitoring is used to determine the success of those actions. The intention is to gain enough of an understanding of the islands' ecosystems that we can manage to restore, not just populations of native plants and animals, but also the processes of a naturally functioning ecosystem. ?? International Scientific Publications, New Delhi.

  3. Auditing animal welfare at slaughter plants.

    PubMed

    Grandin, Temple

    2010-09-01

    The OIE Welfare Standards on slaughter transport, and killing of animals for disease control are basic minimum standards that every country should follow. The OIE, European Union, and many private standards used by commercial industry have an emphasis on animal based outcome standards instead of engineering based standards. Numerical scoring is used by both private industry and some governments to access animal welfare at slaughter plants. Five variables are measured. They are: 1) Percentage of animals effectively stunned on the first attempt, 2) Percentage rendered insensible, 3) Percentage that vocalize (bellow, moo, squeal) during handling and stunning, 4) Percentage that fall during handling, and 5) Percentage moved with an electric goad. Each one of these critical control points measures the outcome of many problems. A good animal welfare auditing system also has standards that prohibit really bad practices such as dragging, dropping, throwing, puntilla, and hoisting live animals before ritual slaughter. On farm and transport problems that can be measured at the slaughter plant are: percentage of lame animals, percentage of thin animals, percentage of dirty animals, percentage with sores, bruises or lesions, death losses, morbidity, and percentage of birds with broken wings and legs.

  4. Animal Communication: What Do Animals Say?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Morton, Eugene S.

    1983-01-01

    Discusses the nature of animal communication, including possible relationships between the physical structure of vocalizations and their functions in communicating. Provides tables of mammalian and avian sounds (by species/family) used in hostile and friendly appeasing contexts. (JN)

  5. Aerial Explorers and Robotic Ecosystems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Young, Larry A.; Pisanich, Greg

    2004-01-01

    A unique bio-inspired approach to autonomous aerial vehicle, a.k.a. aerial explorer technology is discussed. The work is focused on defining and studying aerial explorer mission concepts, both as an individual robotic system and as a member of a small robotic "ecosystem." Members of this robotic ecosystem include the aerial explorer, air-deployed sensors and robotic symbiotes, and other assets such as rovers, landers, and orbiters.

  6. Conservation Planning for Ecosystem Services

    PubMed Central

    Chan, Kai M. A; Shaw, M. Rebecca; Cameron, David R; Underwood, Emma C; Daily, Gretchen C

    2006-01-01

    Despite increasing attention to the human dimension of conservation projects, a rigorous, systematic methodology for planning for ecosystem services has not been developed. This is in part because flows of ecosystem services remain poorly characterized at local-to-regional scales, and their protection has not generally been made a priority. We used a spatially explicit conservation planning framework to explore the trade-offs and opportunities for aligning conservation goals for biodiversity with six ecosystem services (carbon storage, flood control, forage production, outdoor recreation, crop pollination, and water provision) in the Central Coast ecoregion of California, United States. We found weak positive and some weak negative associations between the priority areas for biodiversity conservation and the flows of the six ecosystem services across the ecoregion. Excluding the two agriculture-focused services—crop pollination and forage production—eliminates all negative correlations. We compared the degree to which four contrasting conservation network designs protect biodiversity and the flow of the six services. We found that biodiversity conservation protects substantial collateral flows of services. Targeting ecosystem services directly can meet the multiple ecosystem services and biodiversity goals more efficiently but cannot substitute for targeted biodiversity protection (biodiversity losses of 44% relative to targeting biodiversity alone). Strategically targeting only biodiversity plus the four positively associated services offers much promise (relative biodiversity losses of 7%). Here we present an initial analytical framework for integrating biodiversity and ecosystem services in conservation planning and illustrate its application. We found that although there are important potential trade-offs between conservation for biodiversity and for ecosystem services, a systematic planning framework offers scope for identifying valuable synergies. PMID

  7. Retainer for laboratory animals

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lee, R. W.

    1979-01-01

    Bio-retainer holds laboratory animals in fixed position for research and clinical experiments. Retainer allows full access to animals and can be rapidly opened and closed to admit and release specimens.

  8. Animal Drug Safety FAQs

    MedlinePlus

    ... Animal & Veterinary Safety & Health Frequently Asked Questions Animal Drug Safety Frequently Asked Questions Share Tweet Linkedin Pin ... issues? Additional Information I gave my dog a drug and he got sick. How do I report ...

  9. "Name" that Animal

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Laird, Shirley

    2010-01-01

    In this article, the author describes a texture and pattern project. Students started by doing an outline contour drawing of an animal. With the outline drawn, the students then write one of their names to fit "inside" the animal.

  10. Working with Animals

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Herrmann, Charles F., III; Hodge, Guy

    1978-01-01

    After discussing various job categories involving working with animals, the authors give more specific information about the occupations of humane agent, animal care attendant, conservation officer, veterinary technician, and zoo keeper. (MF)

  11. Potential biomass in deep-sea hydrothermal vent ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nakamura, K.; Takai, K.

    2012-12-01

    Since the first discovery of black smoker vents hosting chemosynthetic macrofaunal communities (Spiess et al., 1980), submarine hydrothermal systems and associated biota have attracted interest of many researchers (e.g., Humphris et al., 1995; Van Dover, 2000; Wilcock et al., 2004). In the past couple of decades, particular attention has been paid to chemolithoautotrophic microorganisms that sustain the hydrothermal vent-endemic animal communities as the primary producer. This type of microorganisms obtains energy from inorganic substances (e.g., sulfur, hydrogen, and methane) derived from hydrothermal vent fluids, and is often considered as an important modern analogue to the early ecosystems of the Earth as well as the extraterrestrial life in other planets and moons (e.g., Jannasch and Mottl, 1985; Nealson et al., 2005; Takai et al., 2006). Even today, however, the size of this type of chemosynthetic deep-sea hydrothermal vent ecosystem is largely unknown. Here, we present geophysical and geochemical constraints on potential biomass in the deep-sea hydrothermal vent ecosystem. The estimation of the potential biomass in the deep-sea hydrothermal vent ecosystem is based on hydrothermal fluid flux calculated from heat flux (Elderfield and Schltz, 1996), maximum chemical energy available from metabolic reactions during mixing between hydrothermal vent fluids and seawater (McCollom, 2007), and maintenance energy requirements of the chemolithoautotrophic microorganisms (Hoehler, 2004). The result shows that the most of metabolic energy sustaining the deep-sea hydrothermal vent ecosystem is produced by oxidation reaction of reduced sulfur, although some parts of the energy are derived from hydrogenotrophic and methanotrophic reactions. The overall total of the potential biomass in deep-sea hydrothermal vent ecosystem is calculated to be much smaller than that in terrestrial ecosystems including terrestrial plants. The big difference in biomass between the

  12. Decomposer animals and bioremediation of soils.

    PubMed

    Haimi, J

    2000-02-01

    Although microorganisms are degrading the contaminants in bioremediation processes, soil animals can also have important--while usually an indirect--role in these processes. Soil animals are useful indicators of soil contamination, both before and after the bioremediation. Many toxicity and bioavailability assessment methods utilizing soil animals have been developed for hazard and risk-assessment procedures. Not only the survival of the animals, but also more sensitive parameters like growth, reproduction and community structure have often been taken into account in the assessment. The use of bioassays together with chemical analyses gives the most reliable results for risk analyses. This is because physical, chemical and biological properties of the remediated soil may be changed during the process, and it is possible that transformation rather than mineralization of the contaminants has taken place. In addition, the soil may contain other harmful substances than those searched in chemical analyses. Finally, because the ultimate goal of the bioremediation should be--together with mineralization of the harmful substances--the ecological recovery of the soil, development of diverse decomposer community as a basis of the functioning ecosystem should be ensured. Soil animals, especially the large ones, can also actively take part in the ecological recovery processes through their own activity. The potential risk of transfer of contaminants accumulated in soil animals to the above-ground food webs should be borne in mind.

  13. Biophysical interactions in fluvial ecosystems: effects of submerged aquatic macrophytes on hydro-morphological processes and ecosystem functioning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cornacchia, Loreta; Davies, Grieg; Grabowski, Robert; van der Wal, Daphne; van de Koppel, Johan; Wharton, Geraldene; Bouma, Tjeerd

    2016-04-01

    Strong mutual interactions occur at the interface between biota and physical processes in biogeomorphic ecosystems, possibly resulting in self-organized spatial patterns. While these interactions and feedbacks have been increasingly studied in a wide range of landscapes previously, they are still poorly understood in lower energy fluvial systems. Consequently, their impact on the functioning of aquatic ecosystems is largely unknown. In this study we investigate the role of aquatic macrophytes as biological engineers of flow and sediment in lowland streams dominated by water crowfoot (Ranunculus spp.). Using field measurements from two annual growth cycles, we demonstrate that seasonally-changing macrophyte cover maintains relative constant flow rates, both within and between vegetation, despite temporal changes in channel flow discharge. By means of a mathematical model representing the interaction between hydrodynamics and vegetation dynamics, we reveal that scale-dependent feedbacks between plant growth and flow redistribution explain the influence of macrophytes on stabilizing flow rates. Our analysis reveals important implications for ecosystem functions. The creation of fast-flowing channels allows an adequate conveyance of water throughout the annual cycle; yet, patches also have a significant influence on sediment dynamics leading to heterogeneous habitats, thereby facilitating other species. As a last step we investigate the consequences on stream ecosystem functioning, by exploring the relationship between changes in macrophyte cover and the provision of different ecosystem functions (e.g. water conveyance, sediment trapping). Our results highlight that self-organization promotes the combination of multiple ecosystem functions through its effects on hydrological and morphological processes within biogeomorphic ecosystems.

  14. Flexible Animation Computer Program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stallcup, Scott S.

    1990-01-01

    FLEXAN (Flexible Animation), computer program animating structural dynamics on Evans and Sutherland PS300-series graphics workstation with VAX/VMS host computer. Typical application is animation of spacecraft undergoing structural stresses caused by thermal and vibrational effects. Displays distortions in shape of spacecraft. Program displays single natural mode of vibration, mode history, or any general deformation of flexible structure. Written in FORTRAN 77.

  15. Pixel Palette: Palm Animation.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hinshaw, Craig

    2003-01-01

    Describes a project used with fifth-grade students in which they learned about animation. Explains that the students learned about animation used in art. States that they received a personal data assistant to create their own animation of a flower that was growing and pollinated by a butterfly. (CMK)

  16. Software For Animated Graphics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Merritt, F.; Bancroft, G.; Kelaita, P.

    1992-01-01

    Graphics Animation System (GAS) software package serves as easy-to-use, menu-driven program providing fast, simple viewing capabilities as well as more-complex features for rendering and animation in computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Displays two- and three-dimensional objects along with computed data and records animation sequences on video digital disk, videotape, and 16-mm film. Written in C.

  17. Animation in the Schools.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Greer, Martin L.

    Directed to the class or individual with limited film making equipment, this paper presents a "hands on" guide to the production of animated cartoons. Its 14 sections deal with the following topics: understanding animation; choosing subject matter for an animation; writing a script; getting the timing right; choosing a camera and projector;…

  18. Careers Working with Animals.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Soltow, Willow

    1985-01-01

    Surveys careers in working with animals and gives suggestions for use of this topic in the classroom. Activities involve identifying reasons for choosing any career, careers involving animals (traditional and nontraditional), community personnel, and pros and cons of animal careers. Two student activity sheets are included for duplicating. (DH)

  19. Engineering Practice and Engineering Ethics.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lynch, William T.; Kline, Ronald

    2000-01-01

    Offers ways of applying science and technology studies to the teaching of engineering ethics. Suggests modifications of both detailed case studies on engineering disasters and hypothetical, ethical dilemmas employed in engineering ethics classes. (Author/CCM)

  20. Tourist Opinions on Animal Culling: A South Australian Example

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Moskwa, Emily C.

    2015-01-01

    Environmental education is commonly used to satisfy the natural curiosity of tourists, increase conservation awareness and strengthen pro-conservation values. Yet it does not always address the more sensitive ecosystem management issues such as animal culling as it may be seen to upset the balance of the positive tourist experience. For this…

  1. Assessment and evaluation of soil ecosystem services

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Ecosystems are defined by the complex relationships that exist between living resources and habitats of an area - and how they function as a unit. When ecosystems are described in the context of the benefits that people obtain from them, they are defined as ecosystem services. An ecosystem service...

  2. Defining Ecosystem Assets for Natural Capital Accounting.

    PubMed

    Hein, Lars; Bagstad, Ken; Edens, Bram; Obst, Carl; de Jong, Rixt; Lesschen, Jan Peter

    2016-01-01

    In natural capital accounting, ecosystems are assets that provide ecosystem services to people. Assets can be measured using both physical and monetary units. In the international System of Environmental-Economic Accounting, ecosystem assets are generally valued on the basis of the net present value of the expected flow of ecosystem services. In this paper we argue that several additional conceptualisations of ecosystem assets are needed to understand ecosystems as assets, in support of ecosystem assessments, ecosystem accounting and ecosystem management. In particular, we define ecosystems' capacity and capability to supply ecosystem services, as well as the potential supply of ecosystem services. Capacity relates to sustainable use levels of multiple ecosystem services, capability involves prioritising the use of one ecosystem service over a basket of services, and potential supply considers the ability of ecosystems to generate services regardless of demand for these services. We ground our definitions in the ecosystem services and accounting literature, and illustrate and compare the concepts of flow, capacity, capability, and potential supply with a range of conceptual and real-world examples drawn from case studies in Europe and North America. Our paper contributes to the development of measurement frameworks for natural capital to support environmental accounting and other assessment frameworks.

  3. Formulating an ecosystem approach to environmental protection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gonzalez, Otto J.

    1996-09-01

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has embraced a new strategy of environmental protection that is place-driven rather than program-driven. This new approach focuses on the protection of entire ecosystems. To develop an effective strategy of ecosystem protection, however, EPA will need to: (1) determine how to define and delineate ecosystems and (2) categorize threats to individual ecosystems and priority rank ecosystems at risk. Current definitions of ecosystem in use at EPA are inadequate for meaningful use in a management or regulatory context. A landscape-based definition that describes an ecosystem as a volumetric unit delineated by climatic and landscape features is suggested. Following this definition, ecosystems are organized hierarchically, from megaecosystems, which exist on a continental scale (e.g., Great Lakes), to small local ecosystems. Threats to ecosystems can generally be categorized as: (1) ecosystem degradation (occurs mainly through pollution) (2) ecosystem alteration (physical changes such as water diversion), and (3) ecosystem removal (e.g., conversion of wetlands or forest to urban or agricultural lands). Level of threat (i.e., how imminent), and distance from desired future condition are also important in evaluating threats to ecosystems. Category of threat, level of threat, and “distance” from desired future condition can be combined into a three-dimensional ranking system for ecosystems at risk. The purpose of the proposed ranking system is to suggest a preliminary framework for agencies such as EPA to prioritize responses to ecosystems at risk.

  4. The Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dubayah, R.; Goetz, S. J.; Blair, J. B.; Fatoyinbo, T. E.; Hansen, M.; Healey, S. P.; Hofton, M. A.; Hurtt, G. C.; Kellner, J.; Luthcke, S. B.; Swatantran, A.

    2014-12-01

    Spaceborne lidar has been identified as a key technology by the international ecosystem science community because it enables accurate estimates of canopy structure and biomass and forms the basis for fusion approaches that extend the capabilities of existing and planned radar missions, such as the NASA-ISRO SAR and the ESA BIOMASS mission. The Global Ecosystems Dynamics Investigation Lidar (GEDI Lidar) was recently selected by NASA's Earth Ventures Instrument (EVI) program. From its vantage point on the International Space Station, GEDI Lidar provides high-resolution observations of forest vertical structure and addresses three, core science questions: What is the aboveground carbon balance of the land surface? What role will the land surface play in mitigating atmospheric CO2 in the coming decades? How does ecosystem structure affect habitat quality and biodiversity? GEDI informs these science questions by making billions of lidar waveform observations of canopy structure over its nominal one year mission length. The instrument uses three laser transmitters to produce 14 parallel tracks of 25 m footprints. These canopy measurements are then used to measure biomass and in fusion with radar and other remote sensing data to quantify changes in biomass resulting from disturbance and recovery. GEDI further marries ecosystem structure from lidar with ecosystem modeling to predict the sequestration potential of existing forests and to evaluate the impact of policy-driven afforestation and reforestation actions on sequestering additional carbon. Lastly, GEDI's observations of ecosystem structure provide a mapping of critical habitat metrics at the fine scales required for understanding the patterns, processes, and controls on biodiversity and habitat quality. The selection of GEDI Lidar, when combined with the rapid advancement of new radar missions and the availability of long-term land cover archives from passive optical sensors, ushers in an exciting new era of land

  5. [Animal experimentation in Israel].

    PubMed

    Epstein, Yoram; Leshem, Micah

    2002-04-01

    In 1994 the Israeli parliament (Knesset) amended the Cruelty to Animals Act to regulate the use of experimental animals. Accordingly, animal experiments can only be carried out for the purposes of promoting health and medical science, reducing suffering, advancing scientific research, testing or production of materials and products (excluding cosmetics and cleaning products) and education. Animal experiments are only permitted if alternative methods are not possible. The National Board for Animal Experimentation was established to implement the law. Its members are drawn from government ministries, representatives of doctors, veterinarians, and industry organizations, animal rights groups, and academia. In order to carry out an animal experiment, the institution, researchers involved, and the specific experiment, all require approval by the Board. To date the Board has approved some 35 institutions, about half are public institutions (universities, hospitals and colleges) and the rest industrial firms in biotechnology and pharmaceutics. In 2000, 250,000 animals were used in research, 85% were rodents, 11% fowls, 1,000 other farm animals, 350 dogs and cats, and 39 monkeys. Academic institutions used 74% of the animals and industry the remainder. We also present summarized data on the use of animals in research in other countries.

  6. [Animals and environmentalist ethics].

    PubMed

    Guichet, Jean-Luc

    2013-01-01

    While environmental ethics and animal ethics have a common source of inspiration, they do not agree on the question of the status of animals. Environmental ethicists criticise the narrowness of the reason, focused on pain, given by animal ethicists and their strictly individual point of view; they maintain that their ethical concept is less emotional and more informed by science, with a broad point of view taking natural networks into account. Animal ethicists respond critically, accusing the environmental ethicists of not having any ethical foundation. There are, however, prospects for reconciling the two approaches, provided that they recognise two different ethical stances for animals: one based on the integrity of wild animals and the other based on a model contract for tame animals.

  7. From food to pest: Conversion factors determine switches between ecosystem services and disservices.

    PubMed

    Rasmussen, Laura Vang; Christensen, Andreas E; Danielsen, Finn; Dawson, Neil; Martin, Adrian; Mertz, Ole; Sikor, Thomas; Thongmanivong, Sithong; Xaydongvanh, Pheang

    2017-03-01

    Ecosystem research focuses on goods and services, thereby ascribing beneficial values to the ecosystems. Depending on the context, however, outputs from ecosystems can be both positive and negative. We examined how provisioning services of wild animals and plants can switch between being services and disservices. We studied agricultural communities in Laos to illustrate when and why these switches take place. Government restrictions on land use combined with economic and cultural changes have created perceptions of rodents and plants as problem species in some communities. In other communities that are maintaining shifting cultivation practices, the very same taxa were perceived as beneficial. We propose conversion factors that in a given context can determine where an individual taxon is located along a spectrum from ecosystem service to disservice, when, and for whom. We argue that the omission of disservices in ecosystem service accounts may lead governments to direct investments at inappropriate targets.

  8. Effects of micro- and nanoplastics on aquatic ecosystems: Current research trends and perspectives.

    PubMed

    Chae, Yooeun; An, Youn-Joo

    2017-02-17

    Contamination by bulk plastics and plastic debris is currently the one of the most serious environmental problems in aquatic ecosystems. In particular, small-scale plastic debris such as microplastics and nanoplastics has become leading contributors to the pollution of marine and freshwater ecosystems. Studies are investigating the impacts of micro-and nanoplastics on aquatic organisms and ecosystems worldwide. This review covers 83 studies that investigated the distribution of microplastics and the ecotoxicity of micro- and nanoplastics in marine and freshwater ecosystems. The studies indicated that micro-sized plastics and plastic debris were distributed at various concentrations in aquatic ecosystems around the world. They had various effects on the growth, development, behavior, reproduction, and mortality of aquatic animals. We discuss these studies in detail and suggest directions for future research.

  9. Infaunal hydraulic ecosystem engineers: cast of characters and impacts.

    PubMed

    Woodin, Sarah Ann; Wethey, David S; Volkenborn, Nils

    2010-08-01

    Biogenic forces alter sediment characteristics along several axes with important consequences for structure of benthic communities. The usual axes discussed are those of sediment stabilization versus resuspension and mobile versus temporally persistent organisms. A third axis of bioadvection is typically subsumed within the others. Here we argue that given the complex fluid dynamics resulting from the bidirectional forces that organisms exert on porewater, bioadvection needs to be examined separately. The probable major players in generation of bioadvection are described with impacts on transport both of materials and heat. Illustrations are given of the bidirectionality of bioadvection and the resultant changes in oxygenation either surficially or at depth, as well as of heat transport both laterally within the sediment and vertically.

  10. The Role of Microbial Biofilms as Ecosystem Engineers in Streams

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Battin, T. I.; Battin, T. I.; Kaplan, L. A.; Newbold, J. D.

    2001-12-01

    Microbial biofilms growing on and through the surface of streambeds physically alter the interface between the water column and benthic zone and influence the biogeochemistry within the steambed and hyporheic zone. We monitored the development of biofilms within stream-side flumes, and were able to relate changes in biofilm structure to concomitant changes in hydrodynamics, particle deposition, and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) uptake. Biofilm development was assessed by measurements of ash free dry mass, bacterial density, concentrations of chlorophyll a and exopolysaccharides, and confocal microscopy of fluorescent-stained biotic and abiotic assemblages. The microbial biofilms were followed through an initial colonization period, the development of mm-thick mats that included streamers undulating in the current, and the eventual erosion and sloughing of these structural features. As the biofilms matured, hydrologic exchange rate, transient storage capacity, and particle deposition rates increased, reached a plateau, and eventually declined. The uptake of glucose and arabinose, added in nM concentrations to the flumes, showed a preferential uptake of glucose over arabinose. However, as the biofilms grew, the differences between the uptake of these two saccharides declined. This change is consistent with a shift in the rate-limiting step for DOC uptake from internal biofilm processes to greater diffusion-limitation as biofilm thickness, and thus the diffusion barrier, increased. We suggest that microscale processes, which alter biofilm structure, in turn alter large-scale physical and biogeochemical processes, including streamwater/subsurface hydrodynamics and organic matter fluxes.

  11. Cattle as ecosystem engineers: New grazing management enhances rangeland biodiversity

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    A confluence of factors has shaped the composition and structure of vegetation on rangelands in the American West. These factors include climate, soils, topography, history of grazing and fire (both wildfire and prescribed fire) as well as legacy effects from prior land management practices. Despite...

  12. Ensemble ecosystem modeling for predicting ecosystem response to predator reintroduction.

    PubMed

    Baker, Christopher M; Gordon, Ascelin; Bode, Michael

    2017-04-01

    Introducing a new or extirpated species to an ecosystem is risky, and managers need quantitative methods that can predict the consequences for the recipient ecosystem. Proponents of keystone predator reintroductions commonly argue that the presence of the predator will restore ecosystem function, but this has not always been the case, and mathematical modeling has an important role to play in predicting how reintroductions will likely play out. We devised an ensemble modeling method that integrates species interaction networks and dynamic community simulations and used it to describe the range of plausible consequences of 2 keystone-predator reintroductions: wolves (Canis lupus) to Yellowstone National Park and dingoes (Canis dingo) to a national park in Australia. Although previous methods for predicting ecosystem responses to such interventions focused on predicting changes around a given equilibrium, we used Lotka-Volterra equations to predict changing abundances through time. We applied our method to interaction networks for wolves in Yellowstone National Park and for dingoes in Australia. Our model replicated the observed dynamics in Yellowstone National Park and produced a larger range of potential outcomes for the dingo network. However, we also found that changes in small vertebrates or invertebrates gave a good indication about the potential future state of the system. Our method allowed us to predict when the systems were far from equilibrium. Our results showed that the method can also be used to predict which species may increase or decrease following a reintroduction and can identify species that are important to monitor (i.e., species whose changes in abundance give extra insight into broad changes in the system). Ensemble ecosystem modeling can also be applied to assess the ecosystem-wide implications of other types of interventions including assisted migration, biocontrol, and invasive species eradication.

  13. Belowground dynamics in mangrove ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McKee, Karen L.

    2004-01-01

    Mangrove ecosystems are tropical/subtropical communities of primarily tree species that grow in the intertidal zone. These tidal communities are important coastal ecosystems that are valued for a variety of ecological and societal goods and services (fig. 1). Mangrove wetlands are important filters of materials moving between the land and sea, trapping sediment, nutrients, and pollutants in runoff from uplands and preventing their direct introduction into sensitive marine ecosystems such as seagrass beds and coral reefs. Mangroves serve as nursery grounds and refuge for a variety of organisms and are consequently vital to the biological productivity of coastal waters. Furthermore, because mangroves are highly resilient to disturbances such as hurricanes, they represent a self-sustaining, protective barrier for human populations living in the coastal zone. Mangrove ecosystems also contribute to shoreline stabilization through consolidation of unstable mineral sediments and peat formation. In order to help conserve mangrove ecoystems, scientists with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) at the National Wetlands Research Center are working to more fully understand the dynamics that impact these vital ecosystems.

  14. Ecosystem services provided by waterbirds.

    PubMed

    Green, Andy J; Elmberg, Johan

    2014-02-01

    Ecosystem services are ecosystem processes that directly or indirectly benefit human well-being. There has been much recent literature identifying different services and the communities and species that provide them. This is a vital first step towards management and maintenance of these services. In this review, we specifically address the waterbirds, which play key functional roles in many aquatic ecosystems, including as predators, herbivores and vectors of seeds, invertebrates and nutrients, although these roles have often been overlooked. Waterbirds can maintain the diversity of other organisms, control pests, be effective bioindicators of ecological conditions, and act as sentinels of potential disease outbreaks. They also provide important provisioning (meat, feathers, eggs, etc.) and cultural services to both indigenous and westernized societies. We identify key gaps in the understanding of ecosystem services provided by waterbirds and areas for future research required to clarify their functional role in ecosystems and the services they provide. We consider how the economic value of these services could be calculated, giving some examples. Such valuation will provide powerful arguments for waterbird conservation.

  15. Toward ethical norms and institutions for climate engineering research

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morrow, David R.; Kopp, Robert E.; Oppenheimer, Michael

    2009-10-01

    Climate engineering (CE), the intentional modification of the climate in order to reduce the effects of increasing greenhouse gas concentrations, is sometimes touted as a potential response to climate change. Increasing interest in the topic has led to proposals for empirical tests of hypothesized CE techniques, which raise serious ethical concerns. We propose three ethical guidelines for CE researchers, derived from the ethics literature on research with human and animal subjects, applicable in the event that CE research progresses beyond computer modeling. The Principle of Respect requires that the scientific community secure the global public's consent, voiced through their governmental representatives, before beginning any empirical research. The Principle of Beneficence and Justice requires that researchers strive for a favorable risk-benefit ratio and a fair distribution of risks and anticipated benefits, all while protecting the basic rights of affected individuals. Finally, the Minimization Principle requires that researchers minimize the extent and intensity of each experiment by ensuring that no experiments last longer, cover a greater geographical extent, or have a greater impact on the climate, ecosystem, or human welfare than is necessary to test the specific hypotheses in question. Field experiments that might affect humans or ecosystems in significant ways should not proceed until a full discussion of the ethics of CE research occurs and appropriate institutions for regulating such experiments are established.

  16. Process-based Principles for Restoring Dynamic River Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pess, G. R.; Beechie, T. J.; Pollock, M. M.

    2006-12-01

    Process-based restoration focuses on re-establishing natural rates and magnitudes of geomorphological, hydrological, and biological processes that sustain biodiversity and biological productivity in dynamic river ecosystems. It contrasts with traditional restoration practices, which focus on creating specific habitat characteristics that meet perceived "good" or "minimum" habitat conditions or standards. Process-based restoration relies on the understanding that habitat-forming processes are dynamic and comprise a shifting mosaic of diverse habitats. Local animal populations or communities are adapted to this dynamic habitat mosaic. Fundamental principles underlying process-based restoration are: (1) restoration must address biophysical processes that drive ecosystem change, and (2) the scale of restoration must be relevant to the appropriate landscape and biological process scales. Restoration efforts that re-establish natural rates and magnitudes of system processes promote ecosystem recovery, and help avoid common pitfalls of traditional restoration practices such as creating habitats that are outside the range of a site's natural potential, fixing habitats in space and time, and building habitats that are ultimately overwhelmed by untreated or uncontrollable system drivers. Restoring such processes also allows dynamic riverine ecosystems to express their natural potential, which generates the natural range of habitat conditions to which biological communities are adapted. Non-point processes such as erosion often require restoration at the scale of watersheds to effectively restore river ecosystems, whereas reach-level processes such as the maintenance of connected floodplain habitats can be effective at smaller spatial scales. Flow restoration in regulated rivers should consider the full range of environmentally important flows (e.g., low flow to floods). Biological processes such as the life-history scales of migratory animals (e.g., anadromous salmon) may be

  17. Ecosystem Health Disorders - changing perspectives in clinical medicine and nutrition.

    PubMed

    Wahlqvist, Mark L

    2014-01-01

    The inseparability of people from their ecosystem without biological change is increasingly clear. The discrete species concept is becoming more an approximation as the interconnectedness of all things, animate and inanimate, becomes more apparent. Yet this was evident even to our earliest Homo Sapiens sapiens ancestors as they hunted and gathered from one locality to another and migrated across the globe. During a rather short 150-200,000 years of ancestral history, we have changed the aeons-old planet and our ecology with dubious sustainability. As we have changed the ecosystems of which we are a part, with their opportunities for shelter, rest, ambulation, discourse, food, recreation and their sensory inputs, we have changed our shared biology and our health prospects. The rate of ecosystem change has increased quantitatively and qualitatively and so will that of our health patterns, depending on our resilience and how linear, non-linear or fractal-like the linkage. Our health-associated ecosystem trajectories are uncertain. The interfaces between us and our environment are blurred, but comprise time, biorhythms, prokaryotic organisms, sensory (auditory, visual, tactile, taste and smell), conjoint movement, endocrine with various external hormonal through food and contaminants, the reflection of soil and rock composition in the microbes, plants, insects and animals that we eat (our biogeology) and much more. We have sought ways to optimise our health through highly anthropocentric means, which have proven inadequate. Accumulated ecosystem change may now overwhelm our health. On these accounts, more integrative approaches and partnerships for health care practice are required.

  18. Defining ecosystem assets for natural capital accounting

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hein, Lars; Bagstad, Kenneth J.; Edens, Bram; Obst, Carl; de Jong, Rixt; Lesschen, Jan Peter

    2016-01-01

    In natural capital accounting, ecosystems are assets that provide ecosystem services to people. Assets can be measured using both physical and monetary units. In the international System of Environmental-Economic Accounting, ecosystem assets are generally valued on the basis of the net present value of the expected flow of ecosystem services. In this paper we argue that several additional conceptualisations of ecosystem assets are needed to understand ecosystems as assets, in support of ecosystem assessments, ecosystem accounting and ecosystem management. In particular, we define ecosystems’ capacity and capability to supply ecosystem services, as well as the potential supply of ecosystem services. Capacity relates to sustainable use levels of multiple ecosystem services, capability involves prioritising the use of one ecosystem service over a basket of services, and potential supply considers the ability of ecosystems to generate services regardless of demand for these services. We ground our definitions in the ecosystem services and accounting literature, and illustrate and compare the concepts of flow, capacity, capability, and potential supply with a range of conceptual and real-world examples drawn from case studies in Europe and North America. Our paper contributes to the development of measurement frameworks for natural capital to support environmental accounting and other assessment frameworks.

  19. Defining Ecosystem Assets for Natural Capital Accounting

    PubMed Central

    Hein, Lars; Bagstad, Ken; Edens, Bram; Obst, Carl; de Jong, Rixt; Lesschen, Jan Peter

    2016-01-01

    In natural capital accounting, ecosystems are assets that provide ecosystem services to people. Assets can be measured using both physical and monetary units. In the international System of Environmental-Economic Accounting, ecosystem assets are generally valued on the basis of the net present value of the expected flow of ecosystem services. In this paper we argue that several additional conceptualisations of ecosystem assets are needed to understand ecosystems as assets, in support of ecosystem assessments, ecosystem accounting and ecosystem management. In particular, we define ecosystems’ capacity and capability to supply ecosystem services, as well as the potential supply of ecosystem services. Capacity relates to sustainable use levels of multiple ecosystem services, capability involves prioritising the use of one ecosystem service over a basket of services, and potential supply considers the ability of ecosystems to generate services regardless of demand for these services. We ground our definitions in the ecosystem services and accounting literature, and illustrate and compare the concepts of flow, capacity, capability, and potential supply with a range of conceptual and real-world examples drawn from case studies in Europe and North America. Our paper contributes to the development of measurement frameworks for natural capital to support environmental accounting and other assessment frameworks. PMID:27828969

  20. Stirling engines

    SciTech Connect

    Reader, G.T.; Hooper

    1983-01-01

    The Stirling engine was invented by a Scottish clergyman in 1816, but fell into disuse with the coming of the diesel engine. Advances in materials science and the energy crisis have made a hot air engine economically attractive. Explanations are full and understandable. Includes coverage of the underlying thermodynamics and an interesting historical section. Topics include: Introduction to Stirling engine technology, Theoretical concepts--practical realities, Analysis, simulation and design, Practical aspects, Some alternative energy sources, Present research and development, Stirling engine literature.

  1. Neural Engineering

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    He, Bin

    About the Series: Bioelectric Engineering presents state-of-the-art discussions on modern biomedical engineering with respect to applications of electrical engineering and information technology in biomedicine. This focus affirms Springer's commitment to publishing important reviews of the broadest interest to biomedical engineers, bioengineers, and their colleagues in affiliated disciplines. Recent volumes have covered modeling and imaging of bioelectric activity, neural engineering, biosignal processing, bionanotechnology, among other topics.

  2. Springs as Ecosystems: Clarifying Groundwater Dependence and Wetland Status (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stevens, L.; Springer, A. E.; Ledbetter, J. D.

    2013-12-01

    natural variation in flow, and many of the 12 springs types do not develop hydric soils or wetland vegetation. These factors and their normally small size preclude springs as jurisdictional wetlands by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers criteria. Helocrenes (springfed wet meadows, cienegas, and some fens) are considered as wetlands, but the other 11 types of terrestrial springs often are not. The use of the phrase 'GDE' applies to any aquatic ecosystem supported by groundwater, and the utility of this phrase as a descriptor of springs is diluted by its application to all subterranean and surface aquatic habitats. The failure to recognize the importance of springs ecosystems has become a quiet but global crisis, in part due to inappropriate conceptual understanding and poor jurisdictional terminology. We clarify relationships between these concepts and terms to establish effective, consistent monitoring, assessment, restoration, management, and monitoring goals and protocols for improving springs stewardship.

  3. Assessing Dryland Ecosystem Services in Xinjiang, Northwest China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Siew, T. F.; Brauman, K. A.; Zuo, L.; Doll, P. M.

    2014-12-01

    Dryland ecosystems, including grassland, forest, and irrigated cropland, cover about 41% of earth's land area and are inhabited by over two billion people. In drylands, particularly arid and semiarid areas, the production of ecosystem services is primarily constrained by freshwater availability. Often, water allocated to production by one ecosystem or of one ecosystem service negatively impacts other ecosystems or ecosystem services (ESS). The challenge is to determine how much water should be allocated to which ecosystems (natural and manmade) such that multiple ESS are maximized, thus improving overall well-being. This strategic management decision must be supported by knowledge about spatial and temporal availability of water and its relationship to production (location and scale) of ESS that people receive. We assess the spatial and temporal relationships between water availability and ESS production in Xinjiang, Northwest China. We address four questions: (1) What services are produced by which ecosystems with water available? (2) Where are these services produced? (3) Who uses the services produced? (4) How the production of services changes with variability of water available? Using existing global, national, and regional spatial and statistical data, we assess food, fiber, livestock, and wood production as well as unique forest landscapes (as a proxy for aesthetic appreciation and habitats for unique animals and plants) and protection from dust storms. Irrigation is necessary for crop production in Xinjiang. The production of about 4.2 million tons of wheat and 500,000 tons of cotton requires more than 2 km3 of water each year. This is an important source of food and income for local residents, but the diverted water has negative and potentially costly impacts on downstream forests that potentially provide aesthetic services and protection from dust. Our analyses also show that cropland had increased by about 1.6 million ha from 1987 to 2010, while

  4. Ethics in biomedical engineering.

    PubMed

    Morsy, Ahmed; Flexman, Jennifer

    2008-01-01

    This session focuses on a number of aspects of the subject of Ethics in Biomedical Engineering. The session starts by providing a case study of a company that manufactures artificial heart valves where the valves were failing at an unexpected rate. The case study focuses on Biomedical Engineers working at the company and how their education and training did not prepare them to deal properly with such situation. The second part of the session highlights the need to learn about various ethics rules and policies regulating research involving human or animal subjects.

  5. Ecosystem structure and function modeling

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Humphries, H.C.; Baron, J.S.; Jensen, M.E.; Bourgeron, P.

    2001-01-01

    An important component of ecological assessments is the ability to predict and display changes in ecosystem structure and function over a variety of spatial and temporal scales. These changes can occur over short (less than 1 year) or long time frames (over 100 years). Models may emphasize structural responses (changes in species composition, growth forms, canopy height, amount of old growth, etc.) or functional responses (cycling of carbon, nutrients, and water). Both are needed to display changes in ecosystem components for use in robust ecological assessments. Structure and function models vary in the ecosystem components included, algorithms employed, level of detail, and spatial and temporal scales incorporated. They range from models that track individual organisms to models of broad-scale landscape changes. This chapter describes models appropriate for ecological assessments. The models selected for inclusion can be implemented in a spatial framework and for the most part have been run in more than one system.

  6. Phylogenetic constraints on ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

    Gravel, Dominique; Bell, Thomas; Barbera, Claire; Combe, Marine; Pommier, Thomas; Mouquet, Nicolas

    2012-01-01

    There is consensus that biodiversity losses will result in declining ecosystem functioning if species have different functional traits. Phylogenetic diversity has recently been suggested as a predictor of ecosystem functioning because it could approximate the functional complementarity among species. Here we describe an experiment that takes advantage of the rapid evolutionary response of bacteria to disentangle the role of phylogenetic and species diversity. We impose a strong selection regime on marine bacterial lineages and assemble the ancestral and evolved lines in microcosms of varying lineage and phylogenetic diversity. We find that the relationship between phylogenetic diversity and productivity is strong for the ancestral lineages but brakes down for the evolved lineages. Our results not only emphasize the potential of using phylogeny to evaluate ecosystem functioning, but also they warn against using phylogenetics as a proxy for functional diversity without good information on species evolutionary history.

  7. Match your innovation strategy to your innovation ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Adner, Ron

    2006-04-01

    High-definition televisions should, by now, be a huge success. Philips, Sony, and Thompson invested billions of dollars to develop TV sets with astonishing picture quality. From a technology perspective, they've succeeded: Console manufacturers have been ready for the mass market since the early 1990s. Yet the category has been an unmitigated failure, not because of deficiencies, but because critical complements such as studio production equipment were not developed or adopted in time. Under-performing complements have left console producers in the position of offering a Ferrari in a world without gasoline or highways--an admirable engineering feat, but not one that creates value for customers. The HDTV story exemplifies the promise and peril of innovation ecosystems--the collaborative arrangements through which firms combine their individual offers into a coherent, customer-facing solution. When they work, innovation ecosystems allow companies to create value that no one firm could have created alone. The benefits of these systems are real. But for many organizations the attempt at ecosystem innovation has been a costly failure. This is because, along with new opportunities, innovation ecosystems also present a new set of risks that can brutally derail a firm's best efforts. Innovation ecosystems are characterized by three fundamental types of risk: initiative risks--the familiar uncertainties of managing a project; interdependence risks--the uncertainties of coordinating with complementary innovators; and integration risks--the uncertainties presented by the adoption process across the value chain. Firms that assess ecosystem risks holistically and systematically will be able to establish more realistic expectations, develop a more refined set of environmental contingencies, and arrive at a more robust innovation strategy. Collectively, these actions will lead to more effective implementation and more profitable innovation.

  8. Conspicuous and aposematic spines in the animal kingdom

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Inbar, Moshe; Lev-Yadun, Simcha

    2005-04-01

    Spines serve as a common physical defence mechanism in both the plant and animal kingdoms. Here we argue that as in plants, defensive animal spines are often conspicuous (shape and colour) and should be considered aposematic. Conspicuous spines may evolve as signals or serve as a cue for potential predators. Spine conspicuousness in animals has evolved independently across and within phyla occupying aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, indicating that this convergent phenomenon is highly adaptive. Still, many spines are cryptic, suggesting that conspicuity is not simply constrained by developmental factors such as differences in the chemical composition of the integument. Aposematism does not preclude the signalling role of conspicuous spines in the sexual arena.

  9. Conspicuous and aposematic spines in the animal kingdom.

    PubMed

    Inbar, Moshe; Lev-Yadun, Simcha

    2005-04-01

    Spines serve as a common physical defence mechanism in both the plant and animal kingdoms. Here we argue that as in plants, defensive animal spines are often conspicuous (shape and colour) and should be considered aposematic. Conspicuous spines may evolve as signals or serve as a cue for potential predators. Spine conspicuousness in animals has evolved independently across and within phyla occupying aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, indicating that this convergent phenomenon is highly adaptive. Still, many spines are cryptic, suggesting that conspicuity is not simply constrained by developmental factors such as differences in the chemical composition of the integument. Aposematism does not preclude the signalling role of conspicuous spines in the sexual arena.

  10. Biodiversity and Industry Ecosystem Management

    PubMed

    COLEMAN

    1996-11-01

    / The term biodiversity describes the array of interacting, genetically distinct populations and species in a region, the communities they comprise, and the variety of ecosystems of which they are functioning parts. Ecosystem health, a closely related concept, is described in terms of a process identifying biological indicators, end points, and values. The decline of populations or species, an accelerating trend worldwide, can lead to simplification of ecosystem processes, thus threatening the stability and sustainability of ecosystem services directly relevant to human welfare in the chain of economic and ecological relationships. The challenge of addressing issues of such enormous scope and complexity has highlighted the limitations of ecology-as-science. Additionally, biosphere-scale conflicts seem to lie beyond the scope of conventional economics, leading to differences of opinion about the commodity value of biodiversity and of the services that intact ecosystems provide. In the face of these uncertainties, many scientists and economists have adopted principles that clearly assign burdens of proof to those who would promote the loss of biodiversity and that also establish "near-trump" (preeminent) status for ecological integrity. Electric utility facilities and operations impact biodiversity whenever construction, operation, or maintenance of generation, delivery, and support facilities alters landscapes and habitats and thereby impacts species. Although industry is accustomed to dealing with broad environmental concerns (such as global warming or acid rain), the biodiversity issue invokes hemisphere-wide, regional, local, and site-specific concerns all at the same time. Industry can proactively address these issues of scope and scale in two main ways: first, by aligning strategically with the broad research agenda put forth by informed scientists and institutions; and second, by supporting focused management processes whose results will contribute

  11. Animal experiments: conference report.

    PubMed

    Dawson, Jane

    1986-06-21

    Researchers who use animal subjects and representatives from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and moderate antivivisection groups held a press seminar in London in June 1986. Their intention was to correct what is seen by scientists as the misinforming of the public by the press, which tends to highlight confrontations between researchers and animal rights advocates. Dawson summarizes the major issues discussed, which included a proposal that local review committees be established, criticism of researchers for not justifying their work more completely to the public and to the press, and disagreement over the need to use animals in research with human applications. Scientists and antivivisectionists also aired their differences over the problem of pain in animal experimentation and over the usefulness of animal behavior studies.

  12. Draught animals and welfare.

    PubMed

    Ramaswamy, N S

    1994-03-01

    In fifty developing countries, which contain half of the total human population of the world, there is a heavy dependence on draught animals as an energy source. These animals are used for agriculture operations in 52% of cultivated areas of the world, as well as for hauling 25 million carts. This situation is likely to continue for at least another fifty years. The work performed annually by these draught animals would require 20 million tons of petroleum, valued at US$6 billion, if it were performed by motorized vehicles. The poor working conditions of these animals often adversely affect their productivity. The application of improved technology and better management (i.e. through better feed and health services, and improved design of agricultural implements and carts) could considerably improve the welfare of these animals. Improved systems would generate sufficient benefits for the economy to justify the required investment. High priority should therefore be given to draught animal power in the economic development agenda.

  13. Zoo animal welfare.

    PubMed

    Kohn, B

    1994-03-01

    The history of zoo animal welfare legislation extends back to 1876, and is often tied to general animal welfare regulations. As knowledge and societal values have changed, so have the focus of zoos and the regulations governing them. Today, the issues involved in zoo animal welfare are complex and broad-based. Building on the basic welfare tenets of adequate feed, water, shelter, sanitation and veterinary care, current issues include the following: handling and training of captive animals, psychological well-being and environmental enrichment, enclosure design, species preservation, environmental and conservation issues, captive-breeding programmes. Complicating the matter further, government regulations try to assimilate all aspects of zoo animal welfare into the laws to provide humane care and handling for all species concerned. Zoo animal welfare will remain a challenging area, as increasing demands are placed on zoos and regulatory agencies to manage this diminishing resource.

  14. Small Animal Retinal Imaging

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Choi, Woo