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Sample records for assess plant diversity

  1. PLANT DIVERSITY

    EPA Science Inventory

    Habitat change statistics and species-area curves were used to estimate the effects of alternative future scenarios for agriculture on plant diversity in Iowa farmlands. Study areas were two watersheds in central Iowa of about 50 and 90 square kilometers, respectively. Future s...

  2. Incorporating plant functional diversity effects in ecosystem service assessments.

    PubMed

    Díaz, Sandra; Lavorel, Sandra; de Bello, Francesco; Quétier, Fabien; Grigulis, Karl; Robson, T Matthew

    2007-12-26

    Global environmental change affects the sustained provision of a wide set of ecosystem services. Although the delivery of ecosystem services is strongly affected by abiotic drivers and direct land use effects, it is also modulated by the functional diversity of biological communities (the value, range, and relative abundance of functional traits in a given ecosystem). The focus of this article is on integrating the different possible mechanisms by which functional diversity affects ecosystem properties that are directly relevant to ecosystem services. We propose a systematic way for progressing in understanding how land cover change affects these ecosystem properties through functional diversity modifications. Models on links between ecosystem properties and the local mean, range, and distribution of plant trait values are numerous, but they have been scattered in the literature, with varying degrees of empirical support and varying functional diversity components analyzed. Here we articulate these different components in a single conceptual and methodological framework that allows testing them in combination. We illustrate our approach with examples from the literature and apply the proposed framework to a grassland system in the central French Alps in which functional diversity, by responding to land use change, alters the provision of ecosystem services important to local stakeholders. We claim that our framework contributes to opening a new area of research at the interface of land change science and fundamental ecology.

  3. Assessing the diversity of bacterial communities associated with plants

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

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

  4. Evolution & Diversity in Plants.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Pearson, Lorentz C.

    1988-01-01

    Summarizes recent findings that help in understanding how evolution has brought about the diversity of plant life that presently exists. Discusses basic concepts of evolution, diversity and classification, the three-line hypothesis of plant evolution, the origin of fungi, and the geologic time table. Included are 31 references. (CW)

  5. Assessment of genetic diversity in seed plants based on a uniform π criterion.

    PubMed

    Ai, Bin; Kang, Ming; Huang, Hongwen

    2014-12-01

    Despite substantial advances in genotyping techniques and massively accumulated data over the past half century, a uniform measurement of neutral genetic diversity derived by different molecular markers across a wide taxonomical range has not yet been formulated. We collected genetic diversity data on seed plants derived by AFLP, allozyme, ISSR, RAPD, SSR and nucleotide sequences, converted expected heterozygosity (He) to nucleotide diversity (π), and reassessed the relationship between plant genetic diversity and life history traits or extinction risk. We successfully established a uniform π criterion and developed a comprehensive plant genetic diversity database. The mean population-level and species-level π values across seed plants were 0.00374 (966 taxa, 155 families, 47 orders) and 0.00569 (728 taxa, 130 families, 46 orders), respectively. Significant differences were recovered for breeding system (p < 0.001) at the population level and geographic range (p = 0.023) at the species level. Selfing taxa had significantly lower π values than outcrossing and mixed-mating taxa, whereas narrowly distributed taxa had significantly lower π values than widely distributed taxa. Despite significant differences between the two extreme threat categories (critically endangered and least concern), the genetic diversity reduction on the way to extinction was difficult to detect in early stages.

  6. Palaeo plant diversity in subtropical Africa - ecological assessment of a conceptual model of climate-vegetation interaction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Groner, V. P.; Claussen, M.; Reick, C.

    2015-07-01

    We here critically re-assess a conceptual model dealing with the potential effect of plant diversity on climate-vegetation feedback, and provide an improved version adjusted to plant types that prevailed during the African Humid Period (AHP). Our work contributes to the understanding of the timing and abruptness of vegetation decline at the end of the AHP, investigated by various working groups during the past two decades using a wide range of model and palaeoproxy reconstruction approaches. While some studies indicated an abrupt collapse of vegetation at the end of the AHP, others suggested a gradual decline. Claussen et al. (2013) introduced a new aspect in the discussion, proposing that plant diversity in terms of moisture requirements could affect the strength of climate-vegetation feedback. In a conceptual model study, the authors illustrated that high plant diversity could stabilize an ecosystem, whereas a reduction in plant diversity might allow for an abrupt regime shift under gradually changing environmental conditions. Based on recently published pollen data and the current state of ecological literature, we evaluate the representation of climate-vegetation feedback in this conceptual approach, and put the suggested conclusions into an ecological context. In principle, the original model reproduces the main features of different plant types interacting together with climate although vegetation determinants other than precipitation are neglected. However, the model cannot capture the diversity of AHP vegetation. Especially tropical gallery forest taxa, indirectly linked to local precipitation, are not appropriately represented. In order to fill the gaps in the description of plant types regarding AHP diversity, we modify the original model in four main aspects. First, the growth ranges in terms of moisture requirements are extended by upper limits to represent full environmental envelopes. Second, data-based AHP plant types replace the hypothetical plant

  7. Phytochemical diversity drives plant-insect community diversity.

    PubMed

    Richards, Lora A; Dyer, Lee A; Forister, Matthew L; Smilanich, Angela M; Dodson, Craig D; Leonard, Michael D; Jeffrey, Christopher S

    2015-09-01

    What are the ecological causes and consequences of variation in phytochemical diversity within and between plant taxa? Despite decades of natural products discovery by organic chemists and research by chemical ecologists, our understanding of phytochemically mediated ecological processes in natural communities has been restricted to studies of either broad classes of compounds or a small number of well-characterized molecules. Until now, no studies have assessed the ecological causes or consequences of rigorously quantified phytochemical diversity across taxa in natural systems. Consequently, hypotheses that attempt to explain variation in phytochemical diversity among plants remain largely untested. We use spectral data from crude plant extracts to characterize phytochemical diversity in a suite of co-occurring plants in the tropical genus Piper (Piperaceae). In combination with 20 years of data focused on Piper-associated insects, we find that phytochemical diversity has a direct and positive effect on the diversity of herbivores but also reduces overall herbivore damage. Elevated chemical diversity is associated with more specialized assemblages of herbivores, and the cascading positive effect of phytochemistry on herbivore enemies is stronger as herbivore diet breadth narrows. These results are consistent with traditional hypotheses that predict positive associations between plant chemical diversity, insect herbivore diversity, and trophic specialization. It is clear from these results that high phytochemical diversity not only enhances the diversity of plant-associated insects but also contributes to the ecological predominance of specialized insect herbivores.

  8. Higher plant diversity promotes higher diversity of fungal pathogens, while it decreases pathogen infection per plant.

    PubMed

    Rottstock, Tanja; Joshi, Jasmin; Kummer, Volker; Fischer, Markus

    2014-07-01

    Fungal plant pathogens are common in natural communities where they affect plant physiology, plant survival, and biomass production. Conversely, pathogen transmission and infection may be regulated by plant community characteristics such as plant species diversity and functional composition that favor pathogen diversity through increases in host diversity while simultaneously reducing pathogen infection via increased variability in host density and spatial heterogeneity. Therefore, a comprehensive understanding of multi-host multi-pathogen interactions is of high significance in the context of biodiversity-ecosystem functioning. We investigated the relationship between plant diversity and aboveground obligate parasitic fungal pathogen ("pathogens" hereafter) diversity and infection in grasslands of a long-term, large-scale, biodiversity experiment with varying plant species (1-60 species) and plant functional group diversity (1-4 groups). To estimate pathogen infection of the plant communities, we visually assessed pathogen-group presence (i.e., rusts, powdery mildews, downy mildews, smuts, and leaf-spot diseases) and overall infection levels (combining incidence and severity of each pathogen group) in 82 experimental plots on all aboveground organs of all plant species per plot during four surveys in 2006. Pathogen diversity, assessed as the cumulative number of pathogen groups on all plant species per plot, increased log-linearly with plant species diversity. However, pathogen incidence and severity, and hence overall infection, decreased with increasing plant species diversity. In addition, co-infection of plant individuals by two or more pathogen groups was less likely with increasing plant community diversity. We conclude that plant community diversity promotes pathogen-community diversity while at the same time reducing pathogen infection levels of plant individuals.

  9. Importance of Genetic Diversity Assessment in Crop Plants and Its Recent Advances: An Overview of Its Analytical Perspectives

    PubMed Central

    Govindaraj, M.; Vetriventhan, M.; Srinivasan, M.

    2015-01-01

    The importance of plant genetic diversity (PGD) is now being recognized as a specific area since exploding population with urbanization and decreasing cultivable lands are the critical factors contributing to food insecurity in developing world. Agricultural scientists realized that PGD can be captured and stored in the form of plant genetic resources (PGR) such as gene bank, DNA library, and so forth, in the biorepository which preserve genetic material for long period. However, conserved PGR must be utilized for crop improvement in order to meet future global challenges in relation to food and nutritional security. This paper comprehensively reviews four important areas; (i) the significance of plant genetic diversity (PGD) and PGR especially on agriculturally important crops (mostly field crops); (ii) risk associated with narrowing the genetic base of current commercial cultivars and climate change; (iii) analysis of existing PGD analytical methods in pregenomic and genomic era; and (iv) modern tools available for PGD analysis in postgenomic era. This discussion benefits the plant scientist community in order to use the new methods and technology for better and rapid assessment, for utilization of germplasm from gene banks to their applied breeding programs. With the advent of new biotechnological techniques, this process of genetic manipulation is now being accelerated and carried out with more precision (neglecting environmental effects) and fast-track manner than the classical breeding techniques. It is also to note that gene banks look into several issues in order to improve levels of germplasm distribution and its utilization, duplication of plant identity, and access to database, for prebreeding activities. Since plant breeding research and cultivar development are integral components of improving food production, therefore, availability of and access to diverse genetic sources will ensure that the global food production network becomes more sustainable

  10. Importance of genetic diversity assessment in crop plants and its recent advances: an overview of its analytical perspectives.

    PubMed

    Govindaraj, M; Vetriventhan, M; Srinivasan, M

    2015-01-01

    The importance of plant genetic diversity (PGD) is now being recognized as a specific area since exploding population with urbanization and decreasing cultivable lands are the critical factors contributing to food insecurity in developing world. Agricultural scientists realized that PGD can be captured and stored in the form of plant genetic resources (PGR) such as gene bank, DNA library, and so forth, in the biorepository which preserve genetic material for long period. However, conserved PGR must be utilized for crop improvement in order to meet future global challenges in relation to food and nutritional security. This paper comprehensively reviews four important areas; (i) the significance of plant genetic diversity (PGD) and PGR especially on agriculturally important crops (mostly field crops); (ii) risk associated with narrowing the genetic base of current commercial cultivars and climate change; (iii) analysis of existing PGD analytical methods in pregenomic and genomic era; and (iv) modern tools available for PGD analysis in postgenomic era. This discussion benefits the plant scientist community in order to use the new methods and technology for better and rapid assessment, for utilization of germplasm from gene banks to their applied breeding programs. With the advent of new biotechnological techniques, this process of genetic manipulation is now being accelerated and carried out with more precision (neglecting environmental effects) and fast-track manner than the classical breeding techniques. It is also to note that gene banks look into several issues in order to improve levels of germplasm distribution and its utilization, duplication of plant identity, and access to database, for prebreeding activities. Since plant breeding research and cultivar development are integral components of improving food production, therefore, availability of and access to diverse genetic sources will ensure that the global food production network becomes more sustainable

  11. Palaeo plant diversity in subtropical Africa - ecological assessment of a conceptual model of climate-vegetation interaction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Groner, V. P.; Claussen, M.; Reick, C.

    2015-10-01

    We critically reassess a conceptual model here, dealing with the potential effect of plant diversity on climate-vegetation feedback, and we provide an improved version adjusted to plant types that prevailed during the African Humid Period (AHP). Our work contributes to the understanding of the timing and abruptness of vegetation decline at the end of the AHP, investigated by various working groups during the past 2 decades using a wide range of model and palaeo-proxy reconstruction approaches. While some studies indicated an abrupt collapse of vegetation at the end of the AHP, others suggested a gradual decline. Claussen et al. (2013) introduced a new aspect in the discussion, proposing that plant diversity in terms of moisture requirements could affect the strength of climate-vegetation feedback. In a conceptual model study, the authors illustrated that high plant diversity could stabilize an ecosystem, whereas a reduction in plant diversity might allow for an abrupt regime shift under gradually changing environmental conditions. In the light of recently published pollen data and the current state of ecological literature, the conceptual model by Claussen et al. (2013) reproduces the main features of different plant types interacting together with climate, but it does not capture the reconstructed diversity of AHP vegetation. Especially tropical gallery forest taxa, indirectly linked to local precipitation, are not appropriately represented. With a new model version adjusted to AHP vegetation, we can simulate a diverse mosaic-like environment as reconstructed from pollen, and we observe a stabilizing effect of high functional diversity on vegetation cover and precipitation. Sensitivity studies with different combinations of plant types highlight the importance of plant composition on system stability, and the stabilizing or destabilizing potential a single plant type may inherit. The model's simplicity limits its application; however, it provides a useful tool to

  12. Socioeconomics drive urban plant diversity

    PubMed Central

    Hope, Diane; Gries, Corinna; Zhu, Weixing; Fagan, William F.; Redman, Charles L.; Grimm, Nancy B.; Nelson, Amy L.; Martin, Chris; Kinzig, Ann

    2003-01-01

    Spatial variation in plant diversity has been attributed to heterogeneity in resource availability for many ecosystems. However, urbanization has resulted in entire landscapes that are now occupied by plant communities wholly created by humans, in which diversity may reflect social, economic, and cultural influences in addition to those recognized by traditional ecological theory. Here we use data from a probability-based survey to explore the variation in plant diversity across a large metropolitan area using spatial statistical analyses that incorporate biotic, abiotic, and human variables. Our prediction for the city was that land use, along with distance from urban center, would replace the dominantly geomorphic controls on spatial variation in plant diversity in the surrounding undeveloped Sonoran desert. However, in addition to elevation and current and former land use, family income and housing age best explained the observed variation in plant diversity across the city. We conclude that a functional relationship, which we term the “luxury effect,” may link human resource abundance (wealth) and plant diversity in urban ecosystems. This connection may be influenced by education, institutional control, and culture, and merits further study. PMID:12847293

  13. Pyrodiversity begets plant-pollinator community diversity.

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-01

    Fire has a major impact on the structure and function of many ecosystems globally. Pyrodiversity, the diversity of fires within a region (where diversity is based on fire characteristics such as extent, severity, and frequency), has been hypothesized to promote biodiversity, but changing climate and land management practices have eroded pyrodiversity. To assess whether changes in pyrodiversity will have impacts on ecological communities, we must first understand the mechanisms that might enable pyrodiversity to sustain biodiversity, and how such changes might interact with other disturbances such as drought. Focusing on plant-pollinator communities in mixed-conifer forest with frequent fire in Yosemite National Park, California, we examine how pyrodiversity, combined with drought intensity, influences those communities. We find that pyrodiversity is positively related to the richness of the pollinators, flowering plants, and plant-pollinator interactions. On average, a 5% increase in pyrodiversity led to the gain of approximately one pollinator and one flowering plant species and nearly two interactions. We also find that a diversity of fire characteristics contributes to the spatial heterogeneity (β-diversity) of plant and pollinator communities. Lastly, we find evidence that fire diversity buffers pollinator communities against the effects of drought-induced floral resource scarcity. Fire diversity is thus important for the maintenance of flowering plant and pollinator diversity and predicted shifts in fire regimes to include less pyrodiversity compounded with increasing drought occurrence will negatively influence the richness of these communities in this and other forested ecosystems. In addition, lower heterogeneity of fire severity may act to reduce spatial turnover of plant-pollinator communities. The heterogeneity of community composition is a primary determinant of the total species diversity present in a landscape, and thus, lower pyrodiversity may

  14. Facilitative plant interactions and climate simultaneously drive alpine plant diversity.

    PubMed

    Cavieres, Lohengrin A; Brooker, Rob W; Butterfield, Bradley J; Cook, Bradley J; Kikvidze, Zaal; Lortie, Christopher J; Michalet, Richard; Pugnaire, Francisco I; Schöb, Christian; Xiao, Sa; Anthelme, Fabien; Björk, Robert G; Dickinson, Katharine J M; Cranston, Brittany H; Gavilán, Rosario; Gutiérrez-Girón, Alba; Kanka, Robert; Maalouf, Jean-Paul; Mark, Alan F; Noroozi, Jalil; Parajuli, Rabindra; Phoenix, Gareth K; Reid, Anya M; Ridenour, Wendy M; Rixen, Christian; Wipf, Sonja; Zhao, Liang; Escudero, Adrián; Zaitchik, Benjamin F; Lingua, Emanuele; Aschehoug, Erik T; Callaway, Ragan M

    2014-02-01

    Interactions among species determine local-scale diversity, but local interactions are thought to have minor effects at larger scales. However, quantitative comparisons of the importance of biotic interactions relative to other drivers are rarely made at larger scales. Using a data set spanning 78 sites and five continents, we assessed the relative importance of biotic interactions and climate in determining plant diversity in alpine ecosystems dominated by nurse-plant cushion species. Climate variables related with water balance showed the highest correlation with richness at the global scale. Strikingly, although the effect of cushion species on diversity was lower than that of climate, its contribution was still substantial. In particular, cushion species enhanced species richness more in systems with inherently impoverished local diversity. Nurse species appear to act as a 'safety net' sustaining diversity under harsh conditions, demonstrating that climate and species interactions should be integrated when predicting future biodiversity effects of climate change.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  16. Curvilinear effects of invasive plants on plant diversity: plant community invaded by Sphagneticola trilobata.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  17. Resource availability controls fungal diversity across a plant diversity gradient

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Waldrop, M.P.; Zak, D.R.; Blackwood, C.B.; Curtis, C.D.; Tilman, D.

    2006-01-01

    Despite decades of research, the ecological determinants of microbial diversity remain poorly understood. Here, we test two alternative hypotheses concerning the factors regulating fungal diversity in soil. The first states that higher levels of plant detritus production increase the supply of limiting resources (i.e. organic substrates) thereby increasing fungal diversity. Alternatively, greater plant diversity increases the range of organic substrates entering soil, thereby increasing the number of niches to be filled by a greater array of heterotrophic fungi. These two hypotheses were simultaneously examined in experimental plant communities consisting of one to 16 species that have been maintained for a decade. We used ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (RISA), in combination with cloning and sequencing, to quantify fungal community composition and diversity within the experimental plant communities. We used soil microbial biomass as a temporally integrated measure of resource supply. Plant diversity was unrelated to fungal diversity, but fungal diversity was a unimodal function of resource supply. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) indicated that plant diversity showed a relationship to fungal community composition, although the occurrence of RISA bands and operational taxonomic units (OTUs) did not differ among the treatments. The relationship between fungal diversity and resource availability parallels similar relationships reported for grasslands, tropical forests, coral reefs, and other biotic communities, strongly suggesting that the same underlying mechanisms determine the diversity of organisms at multiple scales. ?? 2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.

  18. Diversity protects plant communities against generalist molluscan herbivores

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  19. Diversity of plant evolutionary lineages promotes arthropod diversity.

    PubMed

    Dinnage, Russell; Cadotte, Marc W; Haddad, Nick M; Crutsinger, Gregory M; Tilman, David

    2012-11-01

    Large-scale habitat destruction and climate change result in the non-random loss of evolutionary lineages, reducing the amount of evolutionary history represented in ecological communities. Yet, we have limited understanding of the consequences of evolutionary history on the structure of food webs and the services provided by biological communities. Drawing on 11 years of data from a long-term plant diversity experiment, we show that evolutionary history of plant communities - measured as phylogenetic diversity - strongly predicts diversity and abundance of herbivorous and predatory arthropods. Effects of plant species richness on arthropods become stronger when phylogenetic diversity is high. Plant phylogenetic diversity explains predator and parasitoid richness as strongly as it does herbivore richness. Our findings indicate that accounting for evolutionary relationships is critical to understanding the severity of species loss for food webs and ecosystems, and for developing conservation and restoration policies.

  20. How does pedogenesis drive plant diversity?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Laliberté, Etienne; Grace, James B.; Huston, Michael A.; Lambers, Hans; Teste, François P.; Turner, Benjamin L.; Wardle, David A.

    2013-01-01

    Some of the most species-rich plant communities occur on ancient, strongly weathered soils, whereas those on recently developed soils tend to be less diverse. Mechanisms underlying this well-known pattern, however, remain unresolved. Here, we present a conceptual model describing alternative mechanisms by which pedogenesis (the process of soil formation) might drive plant diversity. We suggest that long-term soil chronosequences offer great, yet largely untapped, potential as 'natural experiments' to determine edaphic controls over plant diversity. Finally, we discuss how our conceptual model can be evaluated quantitatively using structural equation modeling to advance multivariate theories about the determinants of local plant diversity. This should help us to understand broader-scale diversity patterns, such as the latitudinal gradient of plant diversity.

  1. How does pedogenesis drive plant diversity?

    PubMed

    Laliberté, Etienne; Grace, James B; Huston, Michael A; Lambers, Hans; Teste, François P; Turner, Benjamin L; Wardle, David A

    2013-06-01

    Some of the most species-rich plant communities occur on ancient, strongly weathered soils, whereas those on recently developed soils tend to be less diverse. Mechanisms underlying this well-known pattern, however, remain unresolved. Here, we present a conceptual model describing alternative mechanisms by which pedogenesis (the process of soil formation) might drive plant diversity. We suggest that long-term soil chronosequences offer great, yet largely untapped, potential as 'natural experiments' to determine edaphic controls over plant diversity. Finally, we discuss how our conceptual model can be evaluated quantitatively using structural equation modeling to advance multivariate theories about the determinants of local plant diversity. This should help us to understand broader-scale diversity patterns, such as the latitudinal gradient of plant diversity.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-08-01

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

  3. Fungal phylogenetic diversity drives plant facilitation.

    PubMed

    Montesinos-Navarro, Alicia; Segarra-Moragues, J G; Valiente-Banuet, A; Verdú, M

    2016-06-01

    Plant-plant facilitation is a crucial ecological process, as many plant species (facilitated) require the presence of an established individual (nurse) to recruit. Some plant facilitative interactions disappear during the ontogenetic development of the facilitated plant but others persist, even when the two plants are adults. We test whether the persistence of plant facilitative interactions is explained by the phylogenetic diversity of mutualistic and non-mutualistic fungi that the nurse and the facilitated species add to the shared rhizosphere. We classify plant facilitative interactions as persistent and non-persistent interactions and quantify the phylogenetic diversity of mutualistic and non-mutualistic fungi added by the plant species to the shared rhizosphere. Our results show that the facilitated species add less phylogenetic diversity of non-mutualistic fungi when plant facilitative interactions persist than when they do not persist. However, persistent and non-persistent facilitative interactions did not differ in the phylogenetic diversity of mutualistic fungi added by the facilitated species to the shared rhizosphere. Finally, the fungal phylogenetic diversity added by the nurse to the shared rhizosphere did not differ between persistent and non-persistent interactions. This study suggests that considering the fungal associates of the plant species involved in facilitative interactions can shed light on the mechanisms of persistence for plant-plant interactions.

  4. Mutualistic rhizobia reduce plant diversity and alter community composition.

    PubMed

    Keller, Kane R

    2014-12-01

    Mutualistic interactions can be just as important to community dynamics as antagonistic species interactions like competition and predation. Because of their large effects on both abiotic and biotic environmental variables, resource mutualisms, in particular, have the potential to influence plant communities. Moreover, the effects of resource mutualists such as nitrogen-fixing rhizobia on diversity and community composition may be more pronounced in nutrient-limited environments. I experimentally manipulated the presence of rhizobia across a nitrogen gradient in early assembling mesocosm communities with identical starting species composition to test how the classic mutualism between nitrogen-fixing rhizobia and their legume host influence diversity and community composition. After harvest, I assessed changes in α-diversity, community composition, β-diversity, and ecosystem properties such as inorganic nitrogen availability and productivity as a result of rhizobia and nitrogen availability. The presence of rhizobia decreased plant community diversity, increased community convergence (reduced β-diversity), altered plant community composition, and increased total community productivity. These community-level effects resulted from rhizobia increasing the competitive dominance of their legume host Chamaecrista fasciculata. Moreover, different non-leguminous species responded both negatively and positively to the presence of rhizobia, indicating that rhizobia are driving both inhibitory and potentially facilitative effects in communities. These findings expand our understanding of plant communities by incorporating the effects of positive symbiotic interactions on plant diversity and composition. In particular, rhizobia that specialize on dominant plants may serve as keystone mutualists in terrestrial plant communities, reducing diversity by more than 40%.

  5. Rapid plant diversity assessment using a pixel nested plot design: A case study in Beaver Meadows, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kalkhan, M.A.; Stafford, E.J.; Stohlgren, T.J.

    2007-01-01

    Geospatial statistical modelling and thematic maps have recently emerged as effective tools for the management of natural areas at the landscape scale. Traditional methods for the collection of field data pertaining to questions of landscape were developed without consideration for the parameters of these applications. We introduce an alternative field sampling design based on smaller unbiased random plot and subplot locations called the pixel nested plot (PNP). We demonstrate the applicability of the PNP design of 15 m x 15 m to assess patterns of plant diversity and species richness across the landscape at Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), Colorado, USA in a time (cost)-efficient manner for field data collection. Our results produced comparable results to a previous study in the Beaver Meadow study (BMS) area within RMNP, where there was a demonstrated focus of plant diversity. Our study used the smaller PNP sampling design for field data collection which could be linked to geospatial information data and could be used for landscape-scale analyses and assessment applications. In 2003, we established 61 PNP in the eastern region of RMNP. We present a comparison between this approach using a sub-sample of 19 PNP from this data set and 20 of Modified Whittaker nested plots (MWNP) of 20 m x 50 m that were collected in the BMS area. The PNP captured 266 unique plant species while the MWNP captured 275 unique species. Based on a comparison of PNP and MWNP in the Beaver Meadows area, RMNP, the PNP required less time and area sampled to achieve a similar number of species sampled. Using the PNP approach for data collection can facilitate the ecological monitoring of these vulnerable areas at the landscape scale in a time- and therefore cost-effective manner. ?? 2007 The Authors.

  6. Genetic diversity within a dominant plant outweighs plant species diversity in structuring an arthropod community.

    PubMed

    Crawford, Kerri M; Rudgers, Jennifer A

    2013-05-01

    Plant biodiversity is being lost at a rapid rate. This has spurred much interest in elucidating the consequences of this loss for higher trophic levels. Experimental tests have shown that both plant species diversity and genetic diversity within a plant species can influence arthropod community structure. However, the majority of these studies have been conducted in separate systems, so their relative importance is currently unresolved. Furthermore, potential interactions between the two levels of diversity, which likely occur in natural systems, have not been investigated. To clarify these issues, we conducted three experiments in a freshwater sand dune ecosystem. We (1) independently manipulated plant species diversity, (2) independently manipulated genetic diversity within the dominant plant species, Ammophila breviligulata, and (3) jointly manipulated genetic diversity within the dominant plant and species diversity. We found that genetic diversity within the dominant plant species, Ammophila breviligulata, more strongly influenced arthropod communities than plant species diversity, but this effect was dependent on the presence of other species. In species mixtures, A. breviligulata genetic diversity altered overall arthropod community composition, and arthropod richness and abundance peaked at the highest level of genetic diversity. Positive nonadditive effects of diversity were detected, suggesting that arthropods respond to emergent properties of diverse plant communities. However, in the independent manipulations where A. breviligulata was alone, effects of genetic diversity were weaker, with only arthropod richness responding. In contrast, plant species diversity only influenced arthropods when A. breviligulata was absent, and then only influenced herbivore abundance. In addition to showing that genetic diversity within a dominant plant species can have large effects on arthropod community composition, these results suggest that understanding how species

  7. Variation in tidal wetland plant diversity and composition within and among coastal estuaries: assessing the relative importance of environmental gradients

    EPA Science Inventory

    Question: Does wetland plant composition vary more by estuarine type (differentiated by the degree of riverine versus oceanic influence) or habitat type within estuaries (defined by US National Wetlands Inventory [NWI] marsh classes)? Location: Oregon estuaries: Netarts Bay, ...

  8. Plant diversity effects on root decomposition in grasslands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Hongmei; Mommer, Liesje; van Ruijven, Jasper; de Kroon, Hans; Gessler, Arthur; Scherer-Lorenzen, Michael; Wirth, Christian; Weigelt, Alexandra

    2016-04-01

    understand the negative diversity-root decomposition relationship we additionally aim to unravel the true predictors of the diversity effect. We use morphological and chemical traits of community bulk roots to specify the root substrate quality effect. We use soil physical and chemical conditions as well as diversity and abundance of soil decomposers to describe the effect of the soil decomposition environment. Moreover, plant diversity is included as species richness, functional group richness and measures of functional diversity calculated with a large set of traits for all 60 species of the Jena Experiment. Using structural equation modeling (SEM) we integrate all this information to assess the individual pathways controlling the negative diversity-root decomposition relationship to promote our mechanistic understanding of increased soil C accumulation in more diverse grassland plant communities.

  9. Mycorrhizal fungal identity and diversity relaxes plant-plant competition.

    PubMed

    Wagg, Cameron; Jansa, Jan; Stadler, Marina; Schmid, Bernhard; van der Heijden, Marcel G A

    2011-06-01

    There is a great interest in ecology in understanding the role of soil microbial diversity for plant productivity and coexistence. Recent research has shown increases in species richness of mutualistic soil fungi, the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), to be related to increases in aboveground productivity of plant communities. However, the impact of AMF richness on plant-plant interactions has not been determined. Moreover, it is unknown whether species-rich AMF communities can act as insurance to maintain productivity in a fluctuating environment (e.g., upon changing soil conditions). We tested the impact of four different AMF taxa and of AMF diversity (no AMF, single AMF taxa, and all four together) on competitive interactions between the legume Trifolium pratense and the grass Lolium multiflorum grown under two different soil conditions of low and high sand content. We hypothesized that more diverse mutualistic interactions (e.g., when four AMF taxa are present) can ease competitive effects between plants, increase plant growth, and maintain plant productivity across different soil environments. We used quantitative PCR to verify that AMF taxa inoculated at the beginning of the experiment were still present at the end. The presence of AMF reduced the competitive inequality between the two plant species by reducing the growth suppression of the legume by the grass. High AMF richness enhanced the combined biomass production of the two plant species and the yield of the legume, particularly in the more productive soil with low sand content. In the less productive (high sand content) soil, the single most effective AMF had an equally beneficial effect on plant productivity as the mixture of four AMF. Since contributions of single AMF to plant productivity varied between both soils, higher AMF richness would be required to maintain plant productivity in heterogeneous environments. Overall this work shows that AMF diversity promotes plant productivity and that AMF

  10. Relationships between Spatial Metrics and Plant Diversity in Constructed Freshwater Wetlands

    PubMed Central

    Grossman, Jake J.; Allen, George A.; Benzing, David H.

    2015-01-01

    The diversity of plant species and their distribution in space are both thought to have important effects on the function of wetland ecosystems. However, knowledge of the relationships between plant species and spatial diversity remains incomplete. In this study, we investigated relationships between spatial pattern and plant species diversity over a five year period following the initial restoration of experimental wetland ecosystems. In 2003, six identical and hydrologically-isolated 0.18 ha wetland “cells” were constructed in former farmland in northeast Ohio. The systems were subjected to planting treatments that resulted in different levels of vascular plant species diversity among cells. Plant species diversity was assessed through annual inventories. Plant spatial pattern was assessed by digitizing low-altitude aerial photographs taken at the same time as the inventories. Diversity metrics derived from the inventories were significantly related to certain spatial metrics derived from the photographs, including cover type diversity and contagion. We found that wetlands with high cover type diversity harbor higher plant species diversity than wetlands with fewer types of patches. We also found significant relationships between plant species diversity and spatial patterning of patch types, but the direction of the effect differed depending on the diversity metric used. Links between diversity and spatial pattern observed in this study suggest that high-resolution aerial imagery may provide wetland scientists with a useful tool for assessing plant diversity. PMID:26296205

  11. Relationships between Spatial Metrics and Plant Diversity in Constructed Freshwater Wetlands.

    PubMed

    Brandt, Erika C; Petersen, John E; Grossman, Jake J; Allen, George A; Benzing, David H

    2015-01-01

    The diversity of plant species and their distribution in space are both thought to have important effects on the function of wetland ecosystems. However, knowledge of the relationships between plant species and spatial diversity remains incomplete. In this study, we investigated relationships between spatial pattern and plant species diversity over a five year period following the initial restoration of experimental wetland ecosystems. In 2003, six identical and hydrologically-isolated 0.18 ha wetland "cells" were constructed in former farmland in northeast Ohio. The systems were subjected to planting treatments that resulted in different levels of vascular plant species diversity among cells. Plant species diversity was assessed through annual inventories. Plant spatial pattern was assessed by digitizing low-altitude aerial photographs taken at the same time as the inventories. Diversity metrics derived from the inventories were significantly related to certain spatial metrics derived from the photographs, including cover type diversity and contagion. We found that wetlands with high cover type diversity harbor higher plant species diversity than wetlands with fewer types of patches. We also found significant relationships between plant species diversity and spatial patterning of patch types, but the direction of the effect differed depending on the diversity metric used. Links between diversity and spatial pattern observed in this study suggest that high-resolution aerial imagery may provide wetland scientists with a useful tool for assessing plant diversity.

  12. Plant Sterols: Diversity, Biosynthesis, and Physiological Functions.

    PubMed

    Valitova, J N; Sulkarnayeva, A G; Minibayeva, F V

    2016-08-01

    Sterols, which are isoprenoid derivatives, are structural components of biological membranes. Special attention is now being given not only to their structure and function, but also to their regulatory roles in plants. Plant sterols have diverse composition; they exist as free sterols, sterol esters with higher fatty acids, sterol glycosides, and acylsterol glycosides, which are absent in animal cells. This diversity of types of phytosterols determines a wide spectrum of functions they play in plant life. Sterols are precursors of a group of plant hormones, the brassinosteroids, which regulate plant growth and development. Furthermore, sterols participate in transmembrane signal transduction by forming lipid microdomains. The predominant sterols in plants are β-sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol. These sterols differ in the presence of a methyl or an ethyl group in the side chain at the 24th carbon atom and are named methylsterols or ethylsterols, respectively. The balance between 24-methylsterols and 24-ethylsterols is specific for individual plant species. The present review focuses on the key stages of plant sterol biosynthesis that determine the ratios between the different types of sterols, and the crosstalk between the sterol and sphingolipid pathways. The main enzymes involved in plant sterol biosynthesis are 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase, C24-sterol methyltransferase, and C22-sterol desaturase. These enzymes are responsible for maintaining the optimal balance between sterols. Regulation of the ratios between the different types of sterols and sterols/sphingolipids can be of crucial importance in the responses of plants to stresses.

  13. A hierarchical perspective of plant diversity

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sarr, Daniel; Hibbs, D.E.; Huston, M.

    2005-01-01

    Predictive models of plant diversity have typically focused on either a landscapea??s capacity for richness (equilibrium models), or on the processes that regulate competitive exclusion, and thus allow species to coexist (nonequilibrium models). Here, we review the concepts and purposes of a hierarchical, multiscale model of the controls of plant diversity that incorporates the equilibrium model of climatic favorability at macroscales, nonequilibrium models of competition at microscales, and a mixed model emphasizing environmental heterogeneity at mesoscales. We evaluate the conceptual model using published data from three spatially nested datasets: (1) a macroscale analysis of ecoregions in the continental and western U.S.; (2) a mesoscale study in California; and (3) a microscale study in the Siskiyou Mountains of Oregon and California. At the macroscale (areas from 3889 km2 to 638,300 km2), climate (actual evaporation) was a strong predictor of tree diversity (R2 = 0.80), as predicted by the conceptual model, but area was a better predictor for vascular plant diversity overall (R2 = 0.38), which suggests different types of plants differ in their sensitivity to climatic controls. At mesoscales (areas from 1111 km2 to 15,833 km2 ), climate was still an important predictor of richness (R2 = 0.52), but, as expected, topographic heterogeneity explained an important share of the variance (R2 = 0.19), showed positive correlations with diversity of trees, shrubs, and annual and perennial herbs, and was the primary predictor of shrub and annual plant species richness. At microscales (0.1 ha plots), spatial patterns of diversity showed a clear unimodal pattern along a climatea??driven productivity gradient and a negative relationship with soil fertility. The strong decline in understory and total diversity at the most productive sites suggests that competitive controls, as predicted, can override climatic controls at this scale. We conclude that this hierarchical

  14. Diverse urban plantings managed with sufficient resource availability can increase plant productivity and arthropod diversity.

    PubMed

    Muller, Jonathon N; Loh, Susan; Braggion, Ligia; Cameron, Stephen; Firn, Jennifer L

    2014-01-01

    Buildings structures and surfaces are explicitly being used to grow plants, and these "urban plantings" are generally designed for aesthetic value. Urban plantings also have the potential to contribute significant "ecological values" by increasing urban habitat for animals such as arthropods and by increasing plant productivity. In this study, we evaluated how the provision of these additional ecological values is affected by plant species richness; the availability of essential resources for plants, such as water, light, space; and soil characteristics. We sampled 33 plantings located on the exterior of three buildings in the urban center of Brisbane, Australia (subtropical climatic region) over 2, 6 week sampling periods characterized by different temperature and rainfall conditions. Plant cover was estimated as a surrogate for productivity as destructive sampling of biomass was not possible. We measured weekly light levels (photosynthetically active radiation), plant CO2 assimilation, soil CO2 efflux, and arthropod diversity. Differences in plant cover were best explained by a three-way interaction of plant species richness, management water regime and sampling period. As the richness of plant species increased in a planter, productivity and total arthropod richness also increased significantly-likely due to greater habitat heterogeneity and quality. Overall we found urban plantings can provide additional ecological values if essential resources are maintained within a planter such as water, light and soil temperature. Diverse urban plantings that are managed with these principles in mind can contribute to the attraction of diverse arthropod communities, and lead to increased plant productivity within a dense urban context.

  15. Reconciling Harvest Intensity and Plant Diversity in Boreal Ecosystems: Does Intensification Influence Understory Plant Diversity?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kershaw, H. Maureen; Morris, Dave M.; Fleming, Robert L.; Luckai, Nancy J.

    2015-11-01

    Overall demand for forest products in the boreal forest is increasing to supply growing bio-energy demands in addition to traditional forest products. As a result, there is a need to refine current forest policies to reconcile production and ecosystem function within the context of ecologically sustainable management. This study assessed understory plants' richness, evenness, and diversity in six harvested boreal black spruce-dominated stands situated on loam, sand, and peat site types 15 years after the application of four harvest treatments of increasing biomass removals. Treatments included uncut, stem-only harvest, full-tree harvest, and full-tree harvest + blading of O horizon. Following canopy removal, species richness and diversity (Shannon's and Simpson's indices) increased on all soil types. The more than doubling of slash loading on the stem-only treatment plots compared to the full-tree plots led to significantly lower species diversity on loam sites; however, the reverse was observed on peat sites where the slash provided warmer, drier microsites facilitating the establishment of a broader array of species. Preexisting ericaceous shrub and sphagnum components continued to dominate on the peat sites. Compositional shifts were most evident for the full-tree + bladed treatment on all soil types, with increases in herbaceous cover including ruderal species. The results suggest that the intensification of harvesting on plant diversity varies with soil type, and these differential results should be considered in the refinement of forest biomass-harvesting guidelines to ensure ecological sustainability and biodiversity conservation over a broad suite of soil types.

  16. Reconciling Harvest Intensity and Plant Diversity in Boreal Ecosystems: Does Intensification Influence Understory Plant Diversity?

    PubMed

    Kershaw, H Maureen; Morris, Dave M; Fleming, Robert L; Luckai, Nancy J

    2015-11-01

    Overall demand for forest products in the boreal forest is increasing to supply growing bio-energy demands in addition to traditional forest products. As a result, there is a need to refine current forest policies to reconcile production and ecosystem function within the context of ecologically sustainable management. This study assessed understory plants' richness, evenness, and diversity in six harvested boreal black spruce-dominated stands situated on loam, sand, and peat site types 15 years after the application of four harvest treatments of increasing biomass removals. Treatments included uncut, stem-only harvest, full-tree harvest, and full-tree harvest + blading of O horizon. Following canopy removal, species richness and diversity (Shannon's and Simpson's indices) increased on all soil types. The more than doubling of slash loading on the stem-only treatment plots compared to the full-tree plots led to significantly lower species diversity on loam sites; however, the reverse was observed on peat sites where the slash provided warmer, drier microsites facilitating the establishment of a broader array of species. Preexisting ericaceous shrub and sphagnum components continued to dominate on the peat sites. Compositional shifts were most evident for the full-tree + bladed treatment on all soil types, with increases in herbaceous cover including ruderal species. The results suggest that the intensification of harvesting on plant diversity varies with soil type, and these differential results should be considered in the refinement of forest biomass-harvesting guidelines to ensure ecological sustainability and biodiversity conservation over a broad suite of soil types.

  17. Functional and phylogenetic diversity of woody plants drive herbivory in a highly diverse forest.

    PubMed

    Schuldt, Andreas; Assmann, Thorsten; Bruelheide, Helge; Durka, Walter; Eichenberg, David; Härdtle, Werner; Kröber, Wenzel; Michalski, Stefan G; Purschke, Oliver

    2014-05-01

    Biodiversity loss may alter ecosystem processes, such as herbivory, a key driver of ecological functions in species-rich (sub)tropical forests. However, the mechanisms underlying such biodiversity effects remain poorly explored, as mostly effects of species richness - a very basic biodiversity measure - have been studied. Here, we analyze to what extent the functional and phylogenetic diversity of woody plant communities affect herbivory along a diversity gradient in a subtropical forest. We assessed the relative effects of morphological and chemical leaf traits and of plant phylogenetic diversity on individual-level variation in herbivory of dominant woody plant species across 27 forest stands in south-east China. Individual-level variation in herbivory was best explained by multivariate, community-level diversity of leaf chemical traits, in combination with community-weighted means of single traits and species-specific phylodiversity measures. These findings deviate from those based solely on trait variation within individual species. Our results indicate a strong impact of generalist herbivores and highlight the need to assess food-web specialization to determine the direction of biodiversity effects. With increasing plant species loss, but particularly with the concomitant loss of functional and phylogenetic diversity in these forests, the impact of herbivores will probably decrease - with consequences for the herbivore-mediated regulation of ecosystem functions.

  18. Functional and phylogenetic diversity of woody plants drive herbivory in a highly diverse forest

    PubMed Central

    Schuldt, Andreas; Assmann, Thorsten; Bruelheide, Helge; Durka, Walter; Eichenberg, David; Härdtle, Werner; Kröber, Wenzel; Michalski, Stefan G; Purschke, Oliver

    2014-01-01

    Biodiversity loss may alter ecosystem processes, such as herbivory, a key driver of ecological functions in species-rich (sub)tropical forests. However, the mechanisms underlying such biodiversity effects remain poorly explored, as mostly effects of species richness – a very basic biodiversity measure – have been studied. Here, we analyze to what extent the functional and phylogenetic diversity of woody plant communities affect herbivory along a diversity gradient in a subtropical forest.We assessed the relative effects of morphological and chemical leaf traits and of plant phylogenetic diversity on individual-level variation in herbivory of dominant woody plant species across 27 forest stands in south-east China.Individual-level variation in herbivory was best explained by multivariate, community-level diversity of leaf chemical traits, in combination with community-weighted means of single traits and species-specific phylodiversity measures. These findings deviate from those based solely on trait variation within individual species.Our results indicate a strong impact of generalist herbivores and highlight the need to assess food-web specialization to determine the direction of biodiversity effects. With increasing plant species loss, but particularly with the concomitant loss of functional and phylogenetic diversity in these forests, the impact of herbivores will probably decrease – with consequences for the herbivore-mediated regulation of ecosystem functions. PMID:24460549

  19. DNA from soil mirrors plant taxonomic and growth form diversity.

    PubMed

    Yoccoz, N G; Bråthen, K A; Gielly, L; Haile, J; Edwards, M E; Goslar, T; Von Stedingk, H; Brysting, A K; Coissac, E; Pompanon, F; Sønstebø, J H; Miquel, C; Valentini, A; De Bello, F; Chave, J; Thuiller, W; Wincker, P; Cruaud, C; Gavory, F; Rasmussen, M; Gilbert, M T P; Orlando, L; Brochmann, C; Willerslev, E; Taberlet, P

    2012-08-01

    Ecosystems across the globe are threatened by climate change and human activities. New rapid survey approaches for monitoring biodiversity would greatly advance assessment and understanding of these threats. Taking advantage of next-generation DNA sequencing, we tested an approach we call metabarcoding: high-throughput and simultaneous taxa identification based on a very short (usually <100 base pairs) but informative DNA fragment. Short DNA fragments allow the use of degraded DNA from environmental samples. All analyses included amplification using plant-specific versatile primers, sequencing and estimation of taxonomic diversity. We tested in three steps whether degraded DNA from dead material in soil has the potential of efficiently assessing biodiversity in different biomes. First, soil DNA from eight boreal plant communities located in two different vegetation types (meadow and heath) was amplified. Plant diversity detected from boreal soil was highly consistent with plant taxonomic and growth form diversity estimated from conventional above-ground surveys. Second, we assessed DNA persistence using samples from formerly cultivated soils in temperate environments. We found that the number of crop DNA sequences retrieved strongly varied with years since last cultivation, and crop sequences were absent from nearby, uncultivated plots. Third, we assessed the universal applicability of DNA metabarcoding using soil samples from tropical environments: a large proportion of species and families from the study site were efficiently recovered. The results open unprecedented opportunities for large-scale DNA-based biodiversity studies across a range of taxonomic groups using standardized metabarcoding approaches.

  20. Diverse roles of strigolactones in plant development.

    PubMed

    Brewer, Philip B; Koltai, Hinanit; Beveridge, Christine A

    2013-01-01

    With the discovery of strigolactones as root exudate signals that trigger parasitic weed seed germination, and then as a branching inhibitor and plant hormone, the next phase of strigolactone research has quickly revealed this hormone class as a major player in optimizing plant growth and development. From the early stages of plant evolution, it seems that strigolactones were involved in enabling plants to modify growth in order to gain advantage in competition with neighboring organisms for limited resources. For example, a moss plant can alter its growth in response to strigolactones emanating from a neighbor. Within a higher plant, strigolactones appear to be involved in controlling the balance of resource distribution via strategic modification of growth and development. Most notably, higher plants that encounter phosphate deficiency increase strigolactone production, which changes root growth and promotes fungal symbiosis to enhance phosphate intake. The shoot also changes by channeling resources away from unessential leaves and branches and into the main stem and root system. This hormonal response is a key adaption that radically alters whole-plant architecture in order to optimize growth and development under diverse environmental conditions.

  1. Plant diversity controls arthropod biomass and temporal stability.

    PubMed

    Borer, Elizabeth T; Seabloom, Eric W; Tilman, David; Novotny, Vojtech

    2012-12-01

    Understanding the linkages among species diversity, biomass production and stability underlies effective predictions for conservation, agriculture and fisheries. Although these relationships have been well studied for plants and, to a lesser extent, consumers, relationships among plant and consumer diversity, productivity, and temporal stability remain relatively unexplored. We used structural equation models to examine these relationships in a long-term experiment manipulating plant diversity and enumerating the arthropod community response. We found remarkably similar strength and direction of interrelationships among diversity, productivity and temporal stability of consumers and plants. Further, our results suggest that the frequently observed relationships between plant and consumer diversity occur primarily via changes in plant production leading to changed consumer production rather than via plant diversity directly controlling consumer diversity. Our results demonstrate that extinction or invasion of plant species can resonate via biomass and energy flux to control diversity, production and stability of both plant and consumer communities.

  2. Plant Functional Diversity and Species Diversity in the Mongolian Steppe

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Guofang; Xie, Xiufang; Ye, Duo; Ye, Xuehua; Tuvshintogtokh, Indree; Mandakh, Bayart; Huang, Zhenying; Dong, Ming

    2013-01-01

    Background The Mongolian steppe is one of the most important grasslands in the world but suffers from aridization and damage from anthropogenic activities. Understanding structure and function of this community is important for the ecological conservation, but has seldom been investigated. Methodology/Principal Findings In this study, a total of 324 quadrats located on the three main types of Mongolian steppes were surveyed. Early-season perennial forbs (37% of total importance value), late-season annual forbs (33%) and late-season perennial forbs (44%) were dominant in meadow, typical and desert steppes, respectively. Species richness, diversity and plant functional type (PFT) richness decreased from the meadow, via typical to desert steppes, but evenness increased; PFT diversity in the desert and meadow steppes was higher than that in typical steppe. However, above-ground net primary productivity (ANPP) was far lower in desert steppe than in the other two steppes. In addition, the slope of the relationship between species richness and PFT richness increased from the meadow, via typical to desert steppes. Similarly, with an increase in species diversity, PFT diversity increased more quickly in both the desert and typical steppes than that in meadow steppe. Random resampling suggested that this coordination was partly due to a sampling effect of diversity. Conclusions/Significance These results indicate that desert steppe should be strictly protected because of its limited functional redundancy, which its ecological functioning is sensitive to species loss. In contrast, despite high potential forage production shared by the meadow and typical steppes, management of these two types of steppes should be different: meadow steppe should be preserved due to its higher conservation value characterized by more species redundancy and higher spatial heterogeneity, while typical steppe could be utilized moderately because its dominant grass genus Stipa is resistant to

  3. Local Plant Diversity Across Multiple Habitats Supports a Diverse Wild Bee Community in Pennsylvania Apple Orchards.

    PubMed

    Kammerer, Melanie A; Biddinger, David J; Rajotte, Edwin G; Mortensen, David A

    2016-02-01

    Wild pollinators supply essential, historically undervalued pollination services to crops and other flowering plant communities with great potential to ensure agricultural production against the loss of heavily relied upon managed pollinators. Local plant communities provision wild bees with crucial floral and nesting resources, but the distribution of floristic diversity among habitat types in North American agricultural landscapes and its effect on pollinators are diverse and poorly understood, especially in orchard systems. We documented floristic diversity in typical mid-Atlantic commercial apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) orchards including the forest and orchard-forest edge ("edge") habitats surrounding orchards in a heterogeneous landscape in south-central Pennsylvania, USA. We also assessed the correlation between plant richness and orchard pollinator communities. In this apple production region, edge habitats are the most species rich, supporting 146 out of 202 plant species recorded in our survey. Plant species richness in the orchard and edge habitats were significant predictors of bee species richness and abundance in the orchard, as well as landscape area of the forest and edge habitats. Both the quantity and quality of forest and edges close to orchards play a significant role in provisioning a diverse wild bee community in this agroecosystem.

  4. Assessment of genetic diversity and distribution of endophytic fungal communities of Alternaria solani isolates associated with the dominant Karanja plants in Sanganer Region of Rajasthan.

    PubMed

    Tiwari, Kartikeya; Chittora, Manish

    2013-12-01

    Higher plants are ubiquitously colonized with fungal endophytes that often lack readily detectable structures. Current study examines the distribution of endophytic fungal communities within Karanja plants and diversity of novel fungal endophyte Alternaria solani isolates collected from different locations of Sanganer region of Rajasthan. Results confirmed that A. solani is a major fungal endophyte consortium associated with Karanja plants. PCR Amplified fragments using random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) primers were subjected to unweighted pair group method analysis (UPGMA), which clearly distinguished twelve ecologically diverse A. solani isolates. A total of 58 RAPD loci were amplified, out of which 35 (60.34%) were polymorphic and 23 were monomorphic (39.66%) in nature. These polymorphic loci were identified with an average of 2.92 bands per primer. The efficacy of RAPD markers proved as an efficient marker system with respect to detection of polymorphism and number of loci scored and can be used for the identification of a particular isolates, thereby defining core collections and strengthening their exploitation in acquiring novel products produced by them.

  5. Diverse urban plantings managed with sufficient resource availability can increase plant productivity and arthropod diversity

    PubMed Central

    Muller, Jonathon N.; Loh, Susan; Braggion, Ligia; Cameron, Stephen; Firn, Jennifer L.

    2014-01-01

    Buildings structures and surfaces are explicitly being used to grow plants, and these “urban plantings” are generally designed for aesthetic value. Urban plantings also have the potential to contribute significant “ecological values” by increasing urban habitat for animals such as arthropods and by increasing plant productivity. In this study, we evaluated how the provision of these additional ecological values is affected by plant species richness; the availability of essential resources for plants, such as water, light, space; and soil characteristics. We sampled 33 plantings located on the exterior of three buildings in the urban center of Brisbane, Australia (subtropical climatic region) over 2, 6 week sampling periods characterized by different temperature and rainfall conditions. Plant cover was estimated as a surrogate for productivity as destructive sampling of biomass was not possible. We measured weekly light levels (photosynthetically active radiation), plant CO2 assimilation, soil CO2 efflux, and arthropod diversity. Differences in plant cover were best explained by a three-way interaction of plant species richness, management water regime and sampling period. As the richness of plant species increased in a planter, productivity and total arthropod richness also increased significantly—likely due to greater habitat heterogeneity and quality. Overall we found urban plantings can provide additional ecological values if essential resources are maintained within a planter such as water, light and soil temperature. Diverse urban plantings that are managed with these principles in mind can contribute to the attraction of diverse arthropod communities, and lead to increased plant productivity within a dense urban context. PMID:25400642

  6. Pasture Condition Score Indicators: Controls on Plant and Forage Diversity

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The USDA-NRCS Pasture Condition Score (PCS) system was developed for evaluating pastures and making management recommendations. Four of the ten rating criteria relate to plant species diversity and composition: percent desirable plants, plant cover, plant diversity, and percent legume. Baseline data...

  7. Assessing bacterial diversity in a seawater-processing wastewater treatment plant by 454-pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA and amoA genes.

    PubMed

    Sánchez, Olga; Ferrera, Isabel; González, Jose M; Mas, Jordi

    2013-07-01

    The bacterial community composition of activated sludge from a wastewater treatment plant (Almería, Spain) with the particularity of using seawater was investigated by applying 454-pyrosequencing. The results showed that Deinococcus-Thermus, Proteobacteria, Chloroflexi and Bacteroidetes were the most abundant retrieved sequences, while other groups, such as Actinobacteria, Chlorobi, Deferribacteres, Firmicutes, Planctomycetes, Spirochaetes and Verrumicrobia were reported at lower proportions. Rarefaction analysis showed that very likely the diversity is higher than what could be described despite most of the unknown microorganisms probably correspond to rare diversity. Furthermore, the majority of taxa could not be classified at the genus level and likely represent novel members of these groups. Additionally, the nitrifiers in the sludge were characterized by pyrosequencing the amoA gene. In contrast, the nitrifying bacterial community, dominated by the genera Nitrosomonas, showed a low diversity and rarefaction curves exhibited saturation. These results suggest that only a few populations of low abundant but specialized bacteria are responsible for removal of ammonia in these saline wastewater systems.

  8. Plant diversity predicts beta but not alpha diversity of soil microbes across grasslands worldwide

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Prober, Suzanne M.; Leff, Jonathan W.; Bates, Scott T.; Borer, Elizabeth T.; Firn, Jennifer; Harpole, W. Stanley; Lind, Eric M.; Seabloom, Eric W.; Adler, Peter B.; Bakker, Jonathan D.; Cleland, Elsa E.; DeCrappeo, Nicole; DeLorenze, Elizabeth; Hagenah, Nicole; Hautier, Yann; Hofmockel, Kirsten S.; Kirkman, Kevin P.; Knops, Johannes M. H.; La Pierre, Kimberly J.; MacDougall, Andrew S.; McCulley, Rebecca L.; Mitchell, Charles E.; Risch, Anita C.; Schuetz, Martin; Stevens, Carly J.; Williams, Ryan J.; Fierer, Noah

    2015-01-01

    Aboveground–belowground interactions exert critical controls on the composition and function of terrestrial ecosystems, yet the fundamental relationships between plant diversity and soil microbial diversity remain elusive. Theory predicts predominantly positive associations but tests within single sites have shown variable relationships, and associations between plant and microbial diversity across broad spatial scales remain largely unexplored. We compared the diversity of plant, bacterial, archaeal and fungal communities in one hundred and forty-five 1 m2 plots across 25 temperate grassland sites from four continents. Across sites, the plant alpha diversity patterns were poorly related to those observed for any soil microbial group. However, plant beta diversity (compositional dissimilarity between sites) was significantly correlated with the beta diversity of bacterial and fungal communities, even after controlling for environmental factors. Thus, across a global range of temperate grasslands, plant diversity can predict patterns in the composition of soil microbial communities, but not patterns in alpha diversity.

  9. Plant diversity predicts beta but not alpha diversity of soil microbes across grasslands worldwide.

    PubMed

    Prober, Suzanne M; Leff, Jonathan W; Bates, Scott T; Borer, Elizabeth T; Firn, Jennifer; Harpole, W Stanley; Lind, Eric M; Seabloom, Eric W; Adler, Peter B; Bakker, Jonathan D; Cleland, Elsa E; DeCrappeo, Nicole M; DeLorenze, Elizabeth; Hagenah, Nicole; Hautier, Yann; Hofmockel, Kirsten S; Kirkman, Kevin P; Knops, Johannes M H; La Pierre, Kimberly J; MacDougall, Andrew S; McCulley, Rebecca L; Mitchell, Charles E; Risch, Anita C; Schuetz, Martin; Stevens, Carly J; Williams, Ryan J; Fierer, Noah

    2015-01-01

    Aboveground-belowground interactions exert critical controls on the composition and function of terrestrial ecosystems, yet the fundamental relationships between plant diversity and soil microbial diversity remain elusive. Theory predicts predominantly positive associations but tests within single sites have shown variable relationships, and associations between plant and microbial diversity across broad spatial scales remain largely unexplored. We compared the diversity of plant, bacterial, archaeal and fungal communities in one hundred and forty-five 1 m(2) plots across 25 temperate grassland sites from four continents. Across sites, the plant alpha diversity patterns were poorly related to those observed for any soil microbial group. However, plant beta diversity (compositional dissimilarity between sites) was significantly correlated with the beta diversity of bacterial and fungal communities, even after controlling for environmental factors. Thus, across a global range of temperate grasslands, plant diversity can predict patterns in the composition of soil microbial communities, but not patterns in alpha diversity.

  10. Exotic plant species invade hot spots of native plant diversity

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stohlgren, T.J.; Binkley, D.; Chong, G.W.; Kalkhan, M.A.; Schell, L.D.; Bull, K.A.; Otsuki, Y.; Newman, G.; Bashkin, M.; Yowhan, S.

    1999-01-01

    Some theories and experimental studies suggest that areas of low plant species richness may be invaded more easily than areas of high plant species richness. We gathered nested-scale vegetation data on plant species richness, foliar cover, and frequency from 200 1-m2 subplots (20 1000-m2 modified-Whittaker plots) in the Colorado Rockies (USA), and 160 1-m2 subplots (16 1000-m2 plots) in the Central Grasslands in Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Minnesota (USA) to test the generality of this paradigm. At the 1-m2 scale, the paradigm was supported in four prairie types in the Central Grasslands, where exotic species richness declined with increasing plant species richness and cover. At the 1-m2 scale, five forest and meadow vegetation types in the Colorado Rockies contradicted the paradigm; exotic species richness increased with native-plant species richness and foliar cover. At the 1000-m2 plot scale (among vegetation types), 83% of the variance in exotic species richness in the Central Grasslands was explained by the total percentage of nitrogen in the soil and the cover of native plant species. In the Colorado Rockies, 69% of the variance in exotic species richness in 1000-m2 plots was explained by the number of native plant species and the total percentage of soil carbon. At landscape and biome scales, exotic species primarily invaded areas of high species richness in the four Central Grasslands sites and in the five Colorado Rockies vegetation types. For the nine vegetation types in both biomes, exotic species cover was positively correlated with mean foliar cover, mean soil percentage N, and the total number of exotic species. These patterns of invasibility depend on spatial scale, biome and vegetation type, spatial autocorrelation effects, availability of resources, and species-specific responses to grazing and other disturbances. We conclude that: (1) sites high in herbaceous foliar cover and soil fertility, and hot spots of plant diversity (and

  11. PLANT DIVERSITY OF WESTERN CHITWAN FLORISTIC APPROACH

    PubMed Central

    Dangol, D. R.; Shivakoti, G. P.

    2012-01-01

    This paper identifies and documents the plant biodiversity of western Chitwan, Nepal. Specifically, our attention was focussed on the plants of forests, grasslands and common lands based on our “Reciprocal Relation of Population and Environment Study Project” conducted during January-April 1996. This species-diversity of trees, shrubs and herbaceous flora was recorded from 117, 117, and 1049 sampling quadrats of 10×10, 3×3 and 1×1 m2, respectively. The flora of our study plots contains 236 species that belong to 191 genera and 66 families. Of 236 species of plants, 119, 113, 59, 35 and 119 species were recorded from Tikauli forest, National Park forest, forests along the Narayani river, grasslands of National Park and common lands of the western Chitwan, respectively. Dicotyledons represent 184 (77.97%) species of the total flora species followed by monocotyledons (46 spp., 19.49%) and ferns (6 spp., 2.54%), respectively. The five largest families are Leguminosae (38 spp.), Poaceae (27 spp.), Asteraceae (22 spp.), Rubiaceae (10 spp.), and Scrophulariaceae (9 spp.). Hedyotis, Grewia and Lindernia, each with 4 spp., are the most speciose genera in the flora. PMID:22899874

  12. Mechanisms Controlling the Plant Diversity Effect on Soil Microbial Community Composition and Soil Microbial Diversity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mellado Vázquez, P. G.; Lange, M.; Griffiths, R.; Malik, A.; Ravenek, J.; Strecker, T.; Eisenhauer, N.; Gleixner, G.

    2015-12-01

    Soil microorganisms are the main drivers of soil organic matter cycling. Organic matter input by living plants is the major energy and matter source for soil microorganisms, higher organic matter inputs are found in highly diverse plant communities. It is therefore relevant to understand how plant diversity alters the soil microbial community and soil organic matter. In a general sense, microbial biomass and microbial diversity increase with increasing plant diversity, however the mechanisms driving these interactions are not fully explored. Working with soils from a long-term biodiversity experiment (The Jena Experiment), we investigated how changes in the soil microbial dynamics related to plant diversity were explained by biotic and abiotic factors. Microbial biomass quantification and differentiation of bacterial and fungal groups was done by phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) analysis; terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphism was used to determine the bacterial diversity. Gram negative (G-) bacteria predominated in high plant diversity; Gram positive (G+) bacteria were more abundant in low plant diversity and saprotrophic fungi were independent from plant diversity. The separation between G- and G+ bacteria in relation to plant diversity was governed by a difference in carbon-input related factors (e.g. root biomass and soil moisture) between plant diversity levels. Moreover, the bacterial diversity increased with plant diversity and the evenness of the PLFA markers decreased. Our results showed that higher plant diversity favors carbon-input related factors and this in turn favors the development of microbial communities specialized in utilizing new carbon inputs (i.e. G- bacteria), which are contributing to the export of new C from plants to soils.

  13. Species interaction mechanisms maintain grassland plant species diversity

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Theory has outpaced empirical research in pursuit of identifying mechanisms maintaining species diversity. Here we demonstrate how data from diversity-ecosystem functioning experiments can be used to test maintenance of diversity theory. We predict that grassland plant diversity can be maintained by...

  14. Effect of plant diversity on the diversity of soil organic compounds.

    PubMed

    El Moujahid, Lamiae; Le Roux, Xavier; Michalet, Serge; Bellvert, Florian; Weigelt, Alexandra; Poly, Franck

    2017-01-01

    The effect of plant diversity on aboveground organisms and processes was largely studied but there is still a lack of knowledge regarding the link between plant diversity and soil characteristics. Here, we analyzed the effect of plant identity and diversity on the diversity of extractible soil organic compounds (ESOC) using 87 experimental grassland plots with different levels of plant diversity and based on a pool of over 50 plant species. Two pools of low molecular weight organic compounds, LMW1 and LMW2, were characterized by GC-MS and HPLC-DAD, respectively. These pools include specific organic acids, fatty acids and phenolics, with more organic acids in LMW1 and more phenolics in LMW2. Plant effect on the diversity of LMW1 and LMW2 compounds was strong and weak, respectively. LMW1 richness observed for bare soil was lower than that observed for all planted soils; and the richness of these soil compounds increased twofold when dominant plant species richness increased from 1 to 6. Comparing the richness of LMW1 compounds observed for a range of plant mixtures and for plant monocultures of species present in these mixtures, we showed that plant species richness increases the richness of these ESOC mainly through complementarity effects among plant species associated with contrasted spectra of soil compounds. This could explain previously reported effects of plant diversity on the diversity of soil heterotrophic microorganisms.

  15. Effect of plant diversity on the diversity of soil organic compounds

    PubMed Central

    El Moujahid, Lamiae; Michalet, Serge; Bellvert, Florian; Weigelt, Alexandra; Poly, Franck

    2017-01-01

    The effect of plant diversity on aboveground organisms and processes was largely studied but there is still a lack of knowledge regarding the link between plant diversity and soil characteristics. Here, we analyzed the effect of plant identity and diversity on the diversity of extractible soil organic compounds (ESOC) using 87 experimental grassland plots with different levels of plant diversity and based on a pool of over 50 plant species. Two pools of low molecular weight organic compounds, LMW1 and LMW2, were characterized by GC-MS and HPLC-DAD, respectively. These pools include specific organic acids, fatty acids and phenolics, with more organic acids in LMW1 and more phenolics in LMW2. Plant effect on the diversity of LMW1 and LMW2 compounds was strong and weak, respectively. LMW1 richness observed for bare soil was lower than that observed for all planted soils; and the richness of these soil compounds increased twofold when dominant plant species richness increased from 1 to 6. Comparing the richness of LMW1 compounds observed for a range of plant mixtures and for plant monocultures of species present in these mixtures, we showed that plant species richness increases the richness of these ESOC mainly through complementarity effects among plant species associated with contrasted spectra of soil compounds. This could explain previously reported effects of plant diversity on the diversity of soil heterotrophic microorganisms. PMID:28166250

  16. Environmental correlates of plant diversity in Korean temperate forests

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Černý, Tomáš; Doležal, Jiří; Janeček, Štěpán; Šrůtek, Miroslav; Valachovič, Milan; Petřík, Petr; Altman, Jan; Bartoš, Michael; Song, Jong-Suk

    2013-02-01

    Mountainous areas of the Korean Peninsula are among the biodiversity hotspots of the world's temperate forests. Understanding patterns in spatial distribution of their species richness requires explicit consideration of different environmental drivers and their effects on functionally differing components. In this study, we assess the impact of both geographical and soil variables on the fine-scale (400 m2) pattern of plant diversity using field data from six national parks, spanning a 1300 m altitudinal gradient. Species richness and the slopes of species-area curves were calculated separately for the tree, shrub and herb layer and used as response variables in regression tree analyses. A cluster analysis distinguished three dominant forest communities with specific patterns in the diversity-environment relationship. The most widespread middle-altitude oak forests had the highest tree richness but the lowest richness of herbaceous plants due to a dense bamboo understory. Total richness was positively associated with soil reaction and negatively associated with soluble phosphorus and solar radiation (site dryness). Tree richness was associated mainly with soil factors, although trees are frequently assumed to be controlled mainly by factors with large-scale impact. A U-shaped relationship was found between herbaceous plant richness and altitude, caused by a distribution pattern of dwarf bamboo in understory. No correlation between the degree of canopy openness and herb layer richness was detected. Slopes of the species-area curves indicated the various origins of forest communities. Variable diversity-environment responses in different layers and communities reinforce the necessity of context-dependent differentiation for the assessment of impacts of climate and land-use changes in these diverse but intensively exploited regions.

  17. Decomposer diversity and identity influence plant diversity effects on ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

    Eisenhauer, Nico; Reich, Peter B; Isbell, Forest

    2012-10-01

    Plant productivity and other ecosystem functions often increase with plant diversity at a local scale. Alongside various plant-centered explanations for this pattern, there is accumulating evidence that multi-trophic interactions shape this relationship. Here, we investigated for the first time if plant diversity effects on ecosystem functioning are mediated or driven by decomposer animal diversity and identity using a double-diversity microcosm experiment. We show that many ecosystem processes and ecosystem multifunctionality (herbaceous shoot biomass production, litter removal, and N uptake) were affected by both plant and decomposer diversity, with ecosystem process rates often being maximal at intermediate to high plant and decomposer diversity and minimal at both low plant and decomposer diversity. Decomposers relaxed interspecific plant competition by enlarging chemical (increased N uptake and surface-litter decomposition) and spatial (increasing deep-root biomass) habitat space and by promoting plant complementarity. Anecic earthworms and isopods functioned as key decomposers; although decomposer diversity effects did not solely rely on these two decomposer species, positive plant net biodiversity and complementarity effects only occurred in the absence of isopods and the presence of anecic earthworms. Using a structural equation model, we explained 76% of the variance in plant complementarity, identified direct and indirect effect paths, and showed that the presence of key decomposers accounted for approximately three-quarters of the explained variance. We conclude that decomposer animals have been underappreciated as contributing agents of plant diversity-ecosystem functioning relationships. Elevated decomposer performance at high plant diversity found in previous experiments likely positively feeds back to plant performance, thus contributing to the positive relationship between plant diversity and ecosystem functioning.

  18. Plant diversity increases soil microbial activity and soil carbon storage.

    PubMed

    Lange, Markus; Eisenhauer, Nico; Sierra, Carlos A; Bessler, Holger; Engels, Christoph; Griffiths, Robert I; Mellado-Vázquez, Perla G; Malik, Ashish A; Roy, Jacques; Scheu, Stefan; Steinbeiss, Sibylle; Thomson, Bruce C; Trumbore, Susan E; Gleixner, Gerd

    2015-04-07

    Plant diversity strongly influences ecosystem functions and services, such as soil carbon storage. However, the mechanisms underlying the positive plant diversity effects on soil carbon storage are poorly understood. We explored this relationship using long-term data from a grassland biodiversity experiment (The Jena Experiment) and radiocarbon ((14)C) modelling. Here we show that higher plant diversity increases rhizosphere carbon inputs into the microbial community resulting in both increased microbial activity and carbon storage. Increases in soil carbon were related to the enhanced accumulation of recently fixed carbon in high-diversity plots, while plant diversity had less pronounced effects on the decomposition rate of existing carbon. The present study shows that elevated carbon storage at high plant diversity is a direct function of the soil microbial community, indicating that the increase in carbon storage is mainly limited by the integration of new carbon into soil and less by the decomposition of existing soil carbon.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-02-24

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

  1. [Research progress on plant diversity conservation in sand dune areas].

    PubMed

    Liu, Zhi-min; Ma, Jun-ling

    2008-01-01

    The landscape in sand dune areas is characterized by the alternate distribution of sand dune and interdune lowland, and the unique floras in these areas are some endemic or rare plant species. In recent years, the decrease in plant species richness and the disappearance of some endemic or rare plant species in these areas have been received special attention, which were listed in the Program of International Biodiversity Conservation, and studied in many countries and districts. In this paper, the research progress in these fields was summarized from the aspects of significance of plant diversity conservation, formation mechanisms of plant diversity, ways of plant diversity conservation, roles of plant diversity research in the development of ecological theories, and important issues in operating plant diversity conservation project. To conserve plant diversity in sand dune areas, attentions should be paid to the differences in conservation goals (to maintain high species richness or to conserve endemic or rare species) among different regions, and the balances between the stabilization of active sand and the conservation of endemic or rare species, and the maintenance of high species richness and the conservation of endemic or rare species. It needed also to consider the sand dune and the interdune lowland as a unified landscape unit to explore the impacts of disturbances and habitat fragment on plant diversity.

  2. Drivers of carabid functional diversity: abiotic environment, plant functional traits, or plant functional diversity?

    PubMed

    Pakeman, Robin J; Stockan, Jenni A

    2014-05-01

    Understanding how community assembly is controlled by the balance of abiotic drivers (environment or management) and biotic drivers (community composition of other groups) is important in predicting the response of ecosystems to environmental change. If there are strong links between plant assemblage structure and carabid beetle functional traits and functional diversity, then it is possible to predict the impact of environmental change propagating through different functional and trophic groups. Vegetation and pitfall trap beetle surveys were carried out across twenty four sites contrasting in land use, and hence productivity and disturbance regime. Plant functional traits were very successful at explaining the distribution of carabid functional traits across the habitats studied. Key carabid response traits appeared to be body length and wing type. Carabid functional richness was significantly smaller than expected, indicating strong environmental filtering, modulated by management, soil characteristics, and by plant response traits. Carabid functional divergence was negatively related to plant functional evenness, while carabid functional evenness was positively correlated to plant functional evenness and richness. The study shows that there are clear trait linkages between the plant and the carabid assemblage that act not only through the mean traits displayed, but also via their distribution in trait space; powerful evidence that both the mean and variance of traits in one trophic group structure the assemblage of another.

  3. Resilience of Amazon forests emerges from plant trait diversity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sakschewski, Boris; von Bloh, Werner; Boit, Alice; Poorter, Lourens; Peña-Claros, Marielos; Heinke, Jens; Joshi, Jasmin; Thonicke, Kirsten

    2016-11-01

    Climate change threatens ecosystems worldwide, yet their potential future resilience remains largely unquantified. In recent years many studies have shown that biodiversity, and in particular functional diversity, can enhance ecosystem resilience by providing a higher response diversity. So far these insights have been mostly neglected in large-scale projections of ecosystem responses to climate change. Here we show that plant trait diversity, as a key component of functional diversity, can have a strikingly positive effect on the Amazon forests' biomass under future climate change. Using a terrestrial biogeochemical model that simulates diverse forest communities on the basis of individual tree growth, we show that plant trait diversity may enable the Amazon forests to adjust to new climate conditions via a process of ecological sorting, protecting the Amazon's carbon sink function. Therefore, plant trait diversity, and biodiversity in general, should be considered in large-scale ecosystem projections and be included as an integral part of climate change research and policy.

  4. Microbes on mountainsides: Contrasting elevational patterns of bacterial and plant diversity

    PubMed Central

    Bryant, Jessica A.; Lamanna, Christine; Morlon, Hélène; Kerkhoff, Andrew J.; Enquist, Brian J.; Green, Jessica L.

    2008-01-01

    The study of elevational diversity gradients dates back to the foundation of biogeography. Although elevational patterns of plant and animal diversity have been studied for centuries, such patterns have not been reported for microorganisms and remain poorly understood. Here, in an effort to assess the generality of elevational diversity patterns, we examined soil bacterial and plant diversity along an elevation gradient. To gain insight into the forces that structure these patterns, we adopted a multifaceted approach to incorporate information about the structure, diversity, and spatial turnover of montane communities in a phylogenetic context. We found that observed patterns of plant and bacterial diversity were fundamentally different. While bacterial taxon richness and phylogenetic diversity decreased monotonically from the lowest to highest elevations, plants followed a unimodal pattern, with a peak in richness and phylogenetic diversity at mid-elevations. At all elevations bacterial communities had a tendency to be phylogenetically clustered, containing closely related taxa. In contrast, plant communities did not exhibit a uniform phylogenetic structure across the gradient: they became more overdispersed with increasing elevation, containing distantly related taxa. Finally, a metric of phylogenetic beta-diversity showed that bacterial lineages were not randomly distributed, but rather exhibited significant spatial structure across the gradient, whereas plant lineages did not exhibit a significant phylogenetic signal. Quantifying the influence of sample scale in intertaxonomic comparisons remains a challenge. Nevertheless, our findings suggest that the forces structuring microorganism and macroorganism communities along elevational gradients differ. PMID:18695215

  5. Power Plant Water Intake Assessment.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Zeitoun, Ibrahim H.; And Others

    1980-01-01

    In order to adequately assess the impact of power plant cooling water intake on an aquatic ecosystem, total ecosystem effects must be considered, rather than merely numbers of impinged or entrained organisms. (Author/RE)

  6. B Plant hazards assessment

    SciTech Connect

    Broz, R.E.

    1994-09-23

    This document establishes the technical basis in support of Emergency Planning Activities for B Plant on the Hanford Site. The document represents an acceptable interpretation of the implementing guidance document for DOE Order 5500.3A. Through this document, the technical basis for the development of facility specific , Emergency Action Levels and the Emergency Planning Zone is demonstrated.

  7. T Plant hazards assessment

    SciTech Connect

    Broz, R.E.

    1994-09-27

    This document establishes the technical basis in support of Emergency Planning activities for the T Plant on the Hanford Site. The document represents an acceptable interpretation of the implementing guidance document for DOE ORDER 5500.3A. Through this document, the technical basis for the development of facility specific Emergency Action Levels and the Emergency Planning Zone is demonstrated.

  8. Plant species richness drives the density and diversity of Collembola in temperate grassland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sabais, Alexander C. W.; Scheu, Stefan; Eisenhauer, Nico

    2011-05-01

    Declining biodiversity is one of the most important aspects of anthropogenic global change phenomena, but the implications of plant species loss for soil decomposers are little understood. We used the experimental grassland community of the Jena Experiment to assess the response of density and diversity of Collembola to varying plant species richness, plant functional group richness and plant functional group identity. We sampled the experimental plots in spring and autumn four years after establishment of the experimental plant communities. Collembola density and diversity significantly increased with plant species and plant functional group richness highlighting the importance of the singular hypothesis for soil invertebrates. Generally, grasses and legumes beneficially affected Collembola density and diversity, whereas effects of small herbs usually were detrimental. These impacts were largely consistent in spring and autumn. By contrast, in the presence of small herbs the density of hemiedaphic Collembola and the diversity of Isotomidae increased in spring whereas they decreased in autumn. Beneficial impacts of plant diversity as well as those of grasses and legumes were likely due to increased root and microbial biomass, and elevated quantity and quality of plant residues serving as food resources for Collembola. By contrast, beneficial impacts of small herbs in spring probably reflect differences in microclimatic conditions, and detrimental effects in autumn likely were due to low quantity and quality of resources. The results point to an intimate relationship between plants and the diversity of belowground biota, even at small spatial scales, contrasting the findings of previous studies. The pronounced response of soil animals in the present study was presumably due to the fact that plant communities had established over several years. As decomposer invertebrates significantly impact plant performance, changes in soil biota density and diversity are likely

  9. Plant-pollinator coextinctions and the loss of plant functional and phylogenetic diversity.

    PubMed

    Vieira, Marcos Costa; Cianciaruso, Marcus Vinicius; Almeida-Neto, Mário

    2013-01-01

    Plant-pollinator coextinctions are likely to become more frequent as habitat alteration and climate change continue to threaten pollinators. The consequences of the resulting collapse of plant communities will depend partly on how quickly plant functional and phylogenetic diversity decline following pollinator extinctions. We investigated the functional and phylogenetic consequences of pollinator extinctions by simulating coextinctions in seven plant-pollinator networks coupled with independent data on plant phylogeny and functional traits. Declines in plant functional diversity were slower than expected under a scenario of random extinctions, while phylogenetic diversity often decreased faster than expected by chance. Our results show that plant functional diversity was relatively robust to plant-pollinator coextinctions, despite the underlying rapid loss of evolutionary history. Thus, our study suggests the possibility of uncoupled responses of functional and phylogenetic diversity to species coextinctions, highlighting the importance of considering both dimensions of biodiversity explicitly in ecological studies and when planning for the conservation of species and interactions.

  10. Language, Diversity, and Assessment in Mathematics Learning.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Berenson, Sarah B.

    1997-01-01

    Examines the theoretical framework of psychologist Lev Vygotsky with regard to communication tools, cognition, and socio-cultural effects on these tools. Reports the results of several studies of students' word meanings of division by adapting Luria's instruments for alternative assessments. Discusses the implications of socio-cultural diversity,…

  11. Endophytic actinobacteria of medicinal plants: diversity and bioactivity.

    PubMed

    Golinska, Patrycja; Wypij, Magdalena; Agarkar, Gauravi; Rathod, Dnyaneshwar; Dahm, Hanna; Rai, Mahendra

    2015-08-01

    Endophytes are the microorganisms that exist inside the plant tissues without having any negative impact on the host plant. Medicinal plants constitute the huge diversity of endophytic actinobacteria of economical importance. These microbes have huge potential to synthesis of numerous novel compounds that can be exploited in pharmaceutical, agricultural and other industries. It is of prime importance to focus the present research on practical utilization of this microbial group in order to find out the solutions to the problems related to health, environment and agriculture. An extensive characterization of diverse population of endophytic actinobacteria associated with medicinal plants can provide a greater insight into the plant-endophyte interactions and evolution of mutualism. In the present review, we have discussed the diversity of endophytic actinobacteria of from medicinal plants their multiple bioactivities.

  12. Plant species loss decreases arthropod diversity and shifts trophic structure.

    PubMed

    Haddad, Nick M; Crutsinger, Gregory M; Gross, Kevin; Haarstad, John; Knops, Johannes M H; Tilman, David

    2009-10-01

    Plant diversity is predicted to be positively linked to the diversity of herbivores and predators in a foodweb. Yet, the relationship between plant and animal diversity is explained by a variety of competing hypotheses, with mixed empirical results for each hypothesis. We sampled arthropods for over a decade in an experiment that manipulated the number of grassland plant species. We found that herbivore and predator species richness were strongly, positively related to plant species richness, and that these relationships were caused by different mechanisms at herbivore and predator trophic levels. Even more dramatic was the threefold increase, from low- to high-plant species richness, in abundances of predatory and parasitoid arthropods relative to their herbivorous prey. Our results demonstrate that, over the long term, the loss of plant species propagates through food webs, greatly decreasing arthropod species richness, shifting a predator-dominated trophic structure to being herbivore dominated, and likely impacting ecosystem functioning and services.

  13. Positive interactions between herbivores and plant diversity shape forest regeneration

    PubMed Central

    Cook-Patton, Susan C.; LaForgia, Marina; Parker, John D.

    2014-01-01

    The effects of herbivores and diversity on plant communities have been studied separately but rarely in combination. We conducted two concurrent experiments over 3 years to examine how tree seedling diversity, density and herbivory affected forest regeneration. One experiment factorially manipulated plant diversity (one versus 15 species) and the presence/absence of deer (Odocoileus virginianus). We found that mixtures outperformed monocultures only in the presence of deer. Selective browsing on competitive dominants and associational protection from less palatable species appear responsible for this herbivore-driven diversity effect. The other experiment manipulated monospecific plant density and found little evidence for negative density dependence. Combined, these experiments suggest that the higher performance in mixture was owing to the acquisition of positive interspecific interactions rather than the loss of negative intraspecific interactions. Overall, we emphasize that realistic predictions about the consequences of changing biodiversity will require a deeper understanding of the interaction between plant diversity and higher trophic levels. If we had manipulated only plant diversity, we would have missed an important positive interaction across trophic levels: diverse seedling communities better resist herbivores, and herbivores help to maintain seedling diversity. PMID:24718763

  14. Pathogens and insect herbivores drive rainforest plant diversity and composition.

    PubMed

    Bagchi, Robert; Gallery, Rachel E; Gripenberg, Sofia; Gurr, Sarah J; Narayan, Lakshmi; Addis, Claire E; Freckleton, Robert P; Lewis, Owen T

    2014-02-06

    Tropical forests are important reservoirs of biodiversity, but the processes that maintain this diversity remain poorly understood. The Janzen-Connell hypothesis suggests that specialized natural enemies such as insect herbivores and fungal pathogens maintain high diversity by elevating mortality when plant species occur at high density (negative density dependence; NDD). NDD has been detected widely in tropical forests, but the prediction that NDD caused by insects and pathogens has a community-wide role in maintaining tropical plant diversity remains untested. We show experimentally that changes in plant diversity and species composition are caused by fungal pathogens and insect herbivores. Effective plant species richness increased across the seed-to-seedling transition, corresponding to large changes in species composition. Treating seeds and young seedlings with fungicides significantly reduced the diversity of the seedling assemblage, consistent with the Janzen-Connell hypothesis. Although suppressing insect herbivores using insecticides did not alter species diversity, it greatly increased seedling recruitment and caused a marked shift in seedling species composition. Overall, seedling recruitment was significantly reduced at high conspecific seed densities and this NDD was greatest for the species that were most abundant as seeds. Suppressing fungi reduced the negative effects of density on recruitment, confirming that the diversity-enhancing effect of fungi is mediated by NDD. Our study provides an overall test of the Janzen-Connell hypothesis and demonstrates the crucial role that insects and pathogens have both in structuring tropical plant communities and in maintaining their remarkable diversity.

  15. Mutualistic fungus promotes plant invasion into diverse communities.

    PubMed

    Rudgers, Jennifer A; Mattingly, W Brett; Koslow, Jennifer M

    2005-07-01

    Reducing the biological diversity of a community may decrease its resistance to invasion by exotic species. Manipulative experiments typically support this hypothesis but have focused mainly on one trophic level (i.e., primary producers). To date, we know little about how positive interactions among species may influence the relationship between diversity and invasibility, which suggests a need for research that addresses the question: under what conditions does diversity affect resistance to invasion? We used experimental manipulations of both plant diversity and the presence of an endophytic fungus to test whether a fungal mutualist of an invasive grass species (Lolium arundinaceum) switches the relationship between plant community diversity and resistance to invasion. Association with the fungal endophyte (Neotyphodium coenophialum) increased the ability of L. arundinaceum to invade communities with greater species diversity. In the absence of the endophyte, the initial diversity of the community significantly reduced the establishment of L. arundinaceum. However, establishment was independent of initial diversity in the presence of the endophyte. Fungal symbionts, like other key species, are often overlooked in studies of plant diversity, yet their presence may explain variation among studies in the effect of diversity on resistance to invasion.

  16. Probiotic Diversity Enhances Rhizosphere Microbiome Function and Plant Disease Suppression

    PubMed Central

    Hu, Jie; Friman, Ville-Petri; Gu, Shao-hua; Wang, Xiao-fang; Eisenhauer, Nico; Yang, Tian-jie; Ma, Jing; Shen, Qi-rong; Jousset, Alexandre

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT Bacterial communities associated with plant roots play an important role in the suppression of soil-borne pathogens, and multispecies probiotic consortia may enhance disease suppression efficacy. Here we introduced defined Pseudomonas species consortia into naturally complex microbial communities and measured the importance of Pseudomonas community diversity for their survival and the suppression of the bacterial plant pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum in the tomato rhizosphere microbiome. The survival of introduced Pseudomonas consortia increased with increasing diversity. Further, high Pseudomonas diversity reduced pathogen density in the rhizosphere and decreased the disease incidence due to both intensified resource competition and interference with the pathogen. These results provide novel mechanistic insights into elevated pathogen suppression by diverse probiotic consortia in naturally diverse plant rhizospheres. Ecologically based community assembly rules could thus play a key role in engineering functionally reliable microbiome applications. PMID:27965449

  17. Benefits of increasing plant diversity in sustainable agroecosystems

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Recent studies have revealed many potential benefits of increasing plant diversity in agroecosystems and production forests, including enhancing yields of crops, forage, and wood; stabilizing yields across time and space; enhancing pollinators and pollination; suppressing weeds and other pests; and ...

  18. Technology-Enhanced Formative Assessment of Plant Identification

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Conejo, Ricardo; Garcia-Viñas, Juan Ignacio; Gastón, Aitor; Barros, Beatriz

    2016-01-01

    Developing plant identification skills is an important part of the curriculum of any botany course in higher education. Frequent practice with dried and fresh plants is necessary to recognize the diversity of forms, states, and details that a species can present. We have developed a web-based assessment system for mobile devices that is able to…

  19. Polyamine biosynthetic diversity in plants and algae.

    PubMed

    Fuell, Christine; Elliott, Katherine A; Hanfrey, Colin C; Franceschetti, Marina; Michael, Anthony J

    2010-07-01

    Polyamine biosynthesis in plants differs from other eukaryotes because of the contribution of genes from the cyanobacterial ancestor of the chloroplast. Plants possess an additional biosynthetic route for putrescine formation from arginine, consisting of the enzymes arginine decarboxylase, agmatine iminohydrolase and N-carbamoylputrescine amidohydrolase, derived from the cyanobacterial ancestor. They also synthesize an unusual tetraamine, thermospermine, that has important developmental roles and which is evolutionarily more ancient than spermine in plants and algae. Single-celled green algae have lost the arginine route and are dependent, like other eukaryotes, on putrescine biosynthesis from the ornithine. Some plants like Arabidopsis thaliana and the moss Physcomitrella patens have lost ornithine decarboxylase and are thus dependent on the arginine route. With its dependence on the arginine route, and the pivotal role of thermospermine in growth and development, Arabidopsis represents the most specifically plant mode of polyamine biosynthesis amongst eukaryotes. A number of plants and algae are also able to synthesize unusual polyamines such as norspermidine, norspermine and longer polyamines, and biosynthesis of these amines likely depends on novel aminopropyltransferases similar to thermospermine synthase, with relaxed substrate specificity. Plants have a rich repertoire of polyamine-based secondary metabolites, including alkaloids and hydroxycinnamic amides, and a number of polyamine-acylating enzymes have been recently characterised. With the genetic tools available for Arabidopsis and other model plants and algae, and the increasing capabilities of comparative genomics, the biological roles of polyamines can now be addressed across the plant evolutionary lineage.

  20. Dosimetry for animals and plants: contending with biota diversity.

    PubMed

    Ulanovsky, A

    2016-06-01

    Diversity of living organisms and their environmental radiation exposure conditions represents a special challenge for non-human dosimetry. In order to contend with such diversity, the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) has: (a) set up points of reference by providing dose conversion coefficients (DCCs) for reference entities known as 'Reference Animals and Plants' (RAPs); and (b) used dosimetric models that pragmatically assume simple body shapes with uniform composition and density, homogeneous internal contamination, a limited set of idealised external radiation sources, and truncation of the radioactive decay chains. This pragmatic methodology has been further developed and extended systematically. Significant methodological changes include: a new extended approach for assessing doses of external exposure for terrestrial animals, transition to the contemporary ICRP radionuclide database, assessment-specific consideration of the contribution of radioactive progeny to dose coefficients of parent nuclides, and the use of generalised allometric relationships in the estimation of biokinetic or metabolic parameters. The new methodological developments resulted in a revision of the DCCs for RAPs. Tables of the dose coefficients have now been complemented by a web-based software tool, which can be used to calculate a user-specific DCC for an organism of arbitrary mass and shape, located at user-defined height above the ground, and for an arbitrary radionuclide and its radioactive progeny.

  1. Does herbivore diversity depend on plant diversity? The case of California butterflies.

    PubMed

    Hawkins, Bradford A; Porter, Eric E

    2003-01-01

    It is widely believed that the diversity of plants influences the diversity of animals, and this should be particularly true of herbivores. We examine this supposition at a moderate spatial extent by comparing the richness patterns of the 217 butterfly species resident in California to those of plants, including all 5,902 vascular plant species and the 552 species known to be fed on by caterpillars. We also examine the relationships between plant/butterfly richness and 20 environmental variables. We found that although plant and butterfly diversities are positively correlated, multiple regression, path models, and spatial analysis indicate that once primary productivity (estimated by a water-energy variable, actual evapotranspiration) and topographical variability are incorporated into models, neither measure of plant richness has any relationship with butterfly richness. To examine whether butterflies with the most specialized diets follow the pattern found across all butterflies, we repeated the analyses for 37 species of strict monophages and their food plants and found that plant and butterfly richness were similarly weakly associated after incorporating the environmental variables. We condude that plant diversity does not directly influence butterfly diversity but that both are probably responding to similar environmental factors.

  2. In the footsteps of Vavilov: plant diversity then and now

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    N. I. Vavilov’s theories direct present day global activities in plant science, breeding, and conservation. His expeditions around the world located centers of diversity of crop evolution. Vavilov was one of the earliest scientists to realize that wild genetic diversity could be lost, through geneti...

  3. Management intensity and topography determined plant diversity in vineyards.

    PubMed

    Nascimbene, Juri; Marini, Lorenzo; Ivan, Diego; Zottini, Michela

    2013-01-01

    Vineyards are amongst the most intensive forms of agriculture often resulting in simplified landscapes where semi-natural vegetation is restricted to small scattered patches. However, a tendency toward a more sustainable management is stimulating research on biodiversity in these poorly investigated agro-ecosystems. The main aim of this study was to test the effect on plant diversity of management intensity and topography in vineyards located in a homogenous intensive hilly landscape. Specifically, this study evaluated the role of slope, mowing and herbicide treatments frequency, and nitrogen supply in shaping plant diversity and composition of life-history traits. The study was carried out in 25 vineyards located in the area of the Conegliano-Valdobbiadene DOCG (Veneto, NE Italy). In each vineyard, 10 plots were placed and the abundance of all vascular plants was recorded in each plot. Linear multiple regression was used to test the effect of management and topography on plant diversity. Management intensity and topography were both relevant drivers of plant species diversity patterns in our vineyards. The two most important factors were slope and mowing frequency that respectively yielded positive and negative effects on plant diversity. A significant interaction between these two factors was also demonstrated, warning against the detrimental effects of increasing mowing intensity on steep slope where plant communities are more diverse. The response of plant communities to mowing frequency is mediated by a process of selection of resistant growth forms, such in the case of rosulate and reptant species. The other two management-related factors tested in this study, number of herbicide treatments and N fertilization, were less influential. In general, our study corroborates the idea that some simple changes in farming activities, which are compatible with grape production, should be encouraged for improving the natural and cultural value of the landscape by

  4. Coevolution can explain defensive secondary metabolite diversity in plants.

    PubMed

    Speed, Michael P; Fenton, Andy; Jones, Meriel G; Ruxton, Graeme D; Brockhurst, Michael A

    2015-12-01

    Many plant species produce defensive compounds that are often highly diverse within and between populations. The genetic and cellular mechanisms by which metabolite diversity is produced are increasingly understood, but the evolutionary explanations for persistent diversification in plant secondary metabolites have received less attention. Here we consider the role of plant-herbivore coevolution in the maintenance and characteristics of diversity in plant secondary metabolites. We present a simple model in which plants can evolve to invest in a range of defensive toxins, and herbivores can evolve resistance to these toxins. We allow either single-species evolution or reciprocal coevolution. Our model shows that coevolution maintains toxin diversity within populations. Furthermore, there is a fundamental coevolutionary asymmetry between plants and their herbivores, because herbivores must resist all plant toxins, whereas plants need to challenge and nullify only one resistance trait. As a consequence, average plant fitness increases and insect fitness decreases as number of toxins increases. When costs apply, the model showed both arms race escalation and strong coevolutionary fluctuation in toxin concentrations across time. We discuss the results in the context of other evolutionary explanations for secondary metabolite diversification.

  5. Detection and Diversity Assessment of Xylella fastidiosa in Field-Collected Plant and Insect Samples by Using 16S rRNA and gyrB Sequences

    PubMed Central

    Rodrigues, Jorge L. M.; Silva-Stenico, M. E.; Gomes, J. E.; Lopes, J. R. S.; Tsai, S. M.

    2003-01-01

    The causal agent of diseases in many economically important plants is attributed to the xylem-limited bacterium Xylella fastidiosa. The detection of this plant pathogen has been hampered due to its difficult isolation and slow growth on plates. Nearly complete nucleotide sequences of the 16S rRNA gene and partial sequences of the gyrB gene were determined for 18 strains of X. fastidiosa isolated from different plant hosts. A phylogenetic analysis, based on gyrB, grouped strains in three clusters; grape-isolated strains formed one cluster, citrus-coffee strains formed another cluster, and a third cluster resulted from all other strains. Primer pairs designed for the 16S rRNA and gyrB genes were extensively searched in databases to verify their in silico specificity. Primer pairs were certified with 30 target and 36 nontarget pure cultures of microorganisms, confirming 100% specificity. A multiplex PCR protocol was developed and its sensitivity tested. Sequencing of PCR products confirmed the validity of the multiplex PCR. Xylella fastidiosa was detected in field-collected plants, disease vector insects, and nonsymptomatic but infected plants. Specific detection of X. fastidiosa may facilitate the understanding of its ecological significance and prevention of spread of the disease. PMID:12839807

  6. Severe plant invasions can increase mycorrhizal fungal abundance and diversity.

    PubMed

    Lekberg, Ylva; Gibbons, Sean M; Rosendahl, Søren; Ramsey, Philip W

    2013-07-01

    Invasions by non-native plants can alter ecosystem functions and reduce native plant diversity, but relatively little is known about their effect on belowground microbial communities. We show that invasions by knapweed (Centaurea stoebe) and leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula, hereafter spurge)--but not cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum)--support a higher abundance and diversity of symbiotic arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) than multi-species native plant communities. The higher AMF richness associated with knapweed and spurge is unlikely due to a co-invasion by AMF, because a separate sampling showed that individual native forbs hosted a similar AMF abundance and richness as exotic forbs. Native grasses associated with fewer AMF taxa, which could explain the reduced AMF richness in native, grass-dominated communities. The three invasive plant species harbored distinct AMF communities, and analyses of co-occurring native and invasive plants indicate that differences were partly driven by the invasive plants and were not the result of pre-invasion conditions. Our results suggest that invasions by mycotrophic plants that replace poorer hosts can increase AMF abundance and richness. The high AMF richness in monodominant plant invasions also indicates that the proposed positive relationship between above and belowground diversity is not always strong. Finally, the disparate responses among exotic plants and consistent results between grasses and forbs suggest that AMF respond more to plant functional group than plant provenance.

  7. Severe plant invasions can increase mycorrhizal fungal abundance and diversity

    PubMed Central

    Lekberg, Ylva; Gibbons, Sean M; Rosendahl, Søren; Ramsey, Philip W

    2013-01-01

    Invasions by non-native plants can alter ecosystem functions and reduce native plant diversity, but relatively little is known about their effect on belowground microbial communities. We show that invasions by knapweed (Centaurea stoebe) and leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula, hereafter spurge)—but not cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum)—support a higher abundance and diversity of symbiotic arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) than multi-species native plant communities. The higher AMF richness associated with knapweed and spurge is unlikely due to a co-invasion by AMF, because a separate sampling showed that individual native forbs hosted a similar AMF abundance and richness as exotic forbs. Native grasses associated with fewer AMF taxa, which could explain the reduced AMF richness in native, grass-dominated communities. The three invasive plant species harbored distinct AMF communities, and analyses of co-occurring native and invasive plants indicate that differences were partly driven by the invasive plants and were not the result of pre-invasion conditions. Our results suggest that invasions by mycotrophic plants that replace poorer hosts can increase AMF abundance and richness. The high AMF richness in monodominant plant invasions also indicates that the proposed positive relationship between above and belowground diversity is not always strong. Finally, the disparate responses among exotic plants and consistent results between grasses and forbs suggest that AMF respond more to plant functional group than plant provenance. PMID:23486251

  8. Is plant temporal beta diversity of field margins related to changes in management practices?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alignier, Audrey; Baudry, Jacques

    2016-08-01

    Field margins have considerable ecological significance in agriculture-dominated landscapes by supporting biodiversity and associated services. However, agricultural changes during mid-20th century led to their drastic loss with a serious threat for biodiversity. Using time-series data, we aimed to get better insights into processes underlying plant patterns of field margins through time by i) quantifying plant temporal beta diversity components, ii) assessing whether the observed changes in plant communities can be related to changes in management practices applied to field margins. During the springs of 1994, 1998 and 2001, we surveyed plant communities and management practices of the same 116 field margins in three contrasted landscapes. We estimated temporal beta diversity in plant communities and partitioned it into its two dissimilarity resultant components, accounting for replacement of species (i.e. turnover) and for the nested gain or loss of species (i.e. nestedness). We then tested whether the observed changes in plant communities between 1994 and 1998 and, between 1998 and 2001 were related to changes in management practices using linear models. Plant communities of field margins exhibited strong temporal beta diversity dominated by turnover. Temporal turnover in plant communities was partly related to changes in management practices, i.e., a decrease of grazing concomitant to an increase of herbicide spraying. However, relationships were not consistent between all landscape contexts nor time period, suggesting that other unmeasured deterministic or stochastic processes could be driving the observed plant patterns. Taken together, our results suggest that maintaining a wide diversity of field margins with contrasted management contribute to maintaining plant diversity at a landscape scale. They underline the value of investigating plant temporal diversity patterns using time-series data and thus, the need to develop long-term studies making it possible

  9. Combined use of a new SNP-based assay and multilocus SSR markers to assess genetic diversity of Xylella fastidiosa subsp. pauca infecting citrus and coffee plants.

    PubMed

    Montes-Borrego, Miguel; Lopes, Joao R S; Jiménez-Díaz, Rafael M; Landa, Blanca B

    2015-03-01

    Two haplotypes of Xylella fastidiosa subsp. pauca (Xfp) that correlated with their host of origin were identified in a collection of 90 isolates infecting citrus and coffee plants in Brazil, based on a single-nucleotide polymorphism in the gyrB sequence. A new single-nucleotide primer extension (SNuPE) protocol was designed for rapid identification of Xfp according to the host source. The protocol proved to be robust for the prediction of the Xfp host source in blind tests using DNA from cultures of the bacterium, infected plants, and insect vectors allowed to feed on Xfp-infected citrus plants. AMOVA and STRUCTURE analyses of microsatellite data separated most Xfp populations on the basis of their host source, indicating that they were genetically distinct. The combined use of the SNaPshot protocol and three previously developed multilocus SSR markers showed that two haplotypes and distinct isolates of Xfp infect citrus and coffee in Brazil and that multiple, genetically different isolates can be present in a single orchard or infect a single tree. This combined approach will be very useful in studies of the epidemiology of Xfp-induced diseases, host specificity of bacterial genotypes, the occurrence of Xfp host jumping, vector feeding habits, etc., in economically important cultivated plants or weed host reservoirs of Xfp in Brazil and elsewhere.

  10. Synthesis and assessment of date palm genetic diversity studies

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    A thorough assessment of genetic diversity and population differentiation of Phoenix dactylifera are critical for its dynamic conservation and sustainable utilization of its genetic diversity. Estimates of genetic diversity based on phenotypic, biochemical and molecular markers; and fruit quality tr...

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-01

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

  12. Phytochrome diversity in green plants and the origin of canonical plant phytochromes.

    PubMed

    Li, Fay-Wei; Melkonian, Michael; Rothfels, Carl J; Villarreal, Juan Carlos; Stevenson, Dennis W; Graham, Sean W; Wong, Gane Ka-Shu; Pryer, Kathleen M; Mathews, Sarah

    2015-07-28

    Phytochromes are red/far-red photoreceptors that play essential roles in diverse plant morphogenetic and physiological responses to light. Despite their functional significance, phytochrome diversity and evolution across photosynthetic eukaryotes remain poorly understood. Using newly available transcriptomic and genomic data we show that canonical plant phytochromes originated in a common ancestor of streptophytes (charophyte algae and land plants). Phytochromes in charophyte algae are structurally diverse, including canonical and non-canonical forms, whereas in land plants, phytochrome structure is highly conserved. Liverworts, hornworts and Selaginella apparently possess a single phytochrome, whereas independent gene duplications occurred within mosses, lycopods, ferns and seed plants, leading to diverse phytochrome families in these clades. Surprisingly, the phytochrome portions of algal and land plant neochromes, a chimera of phytochrome and phototropin, appear to share a common origin. Our results reveal novel phytochrome clades and establish the basis for understanding phytochrome functional evolution in land plants and their algal relatives.

  13. Phytochrome diversity in green plants and the origin of canonical plant phytochromes

    PubMed Central

    Li, Fay-Wei; Melkonian, Michael; Rothfels, Carl J.; Villarreal, Juan Carlos; Stevenson, Dennis W.; Graham, Sean W.; Wong, Gane Ka-Shu; Pryer, Kathleen M.; Mathews, Sarah

    2015-01-01

    Phytochromes are red/far-red photoreceptors that play essential roles in diverse plant morphogenetic and physiological responses to light. Despite their functional significance, phytochrome diversity and evolution across photosynthetic eukaryotes remain poorly understood. Using newly available transcriptomic and genomic data we show that canonical plant phytochromes originated in a common ancestor of streptophytes (charophyte algae and land plants). Phytochromes in charophyte algae are structurally diverse, including canonical and non-canonical forms, whereas in land plants, phytochrome structure is highly conserved. Liverworts, hornworts and Selaginella apparently possess a single phytochrome, whereas independent gene duplications occurred within mosses, lycopods, ferns and seed plants, leading to diverse phytochrome families in these clades. Surprisingly, the phytochrome portions of algal and land plant neochromes, a chimera of phytochrome and phototropin, appear to share a common origin. Our results reveal novel phytochrome clades and establish the basis for understanding phytochrome functional evolution in land plants and their algal relatives. PMID:26215968

  14. Diversity and bioprospecting of actinomycete endophytes from the medicinal plants.

    PubMed

    Nalini, M S; Prakash, H S

    2017-04-01

    The endophytic actinomycetes constitute one of the fascinating group of microorganisms associated with a wide range of plant species. The diversity of actinomycetes in plants and their tissue parts is a matter of debate as no consensus are derived between individual studies. Nevertheless, their diversity correlates with the occurrence in plant species harboured in unique regions of biologically diverse areas called "hot spots." Recent advances in the isolation techniques have facilitated the isolation of rare taxa from these environments. The biosynthetic ability of the endophytic actinomycetes has proven beyond doubt that these organisms have the potential to synthesize an array of compounds with novelty in structure and bioactivity and as a result are preferred in the natural product screening programs. In the years to come, the scientific world may await to discover many more novel actinomycete taxa with metabolic diversity and applications in therapeutics.

  15. Experimental Manipulation of Grassland Plant Diversity Induces Complex Shifts in Aboveground Arthropod Diversity

    PubMed Central

    Hertzog, Lionel R.; Meyer, Sebastian T.; Weisser, Wolfgang W.; Ebeling, Anne

    2016-01-01

    Changes in producer diversity cause multiple changes in consumer communities through various mechanisms. However, past analyses investigating the relationship between plant diversity and arthropod consumers focused only on few aspects of arthropod diversity, e.g. species richness and abundance. Yet, shifts in understudied facets of arthropod diversity like relative abundances or species dominance may have strong effects on arthropod-mediated ecosystem functions. Here we analyze the relationship between plant species richness and arthropod diversity using four complementary diversity indices, namely: abundance, species richness, evenness (equitability of the abundance distribution) and dominance (relative abundance of the dominant species). Along an experimental gradient of plant species richness (1, 2, 4, 8, 16 and 60 plant species), we sampled herbivorous and carnivorous arthropods using pitfall traps and suction sampling during a whole vegetation period. We tested whether plant species richness affects consumer diversity directly (i), or indirectly through increased productivity (ii). Further, we tested the impact of plant community composition on arthropod diversity by testing for the effects of plant functional groups (iii). Abundance and species richness of both herbivores and carnivores increased with increasing plant species richness, but the underlying mechanisms differed between the two trophic groups. While higher species richness in herbivores was caused by an increase in resource diversity, carnivore richness was driven by plant productivity. Evenness of herbivore communities did not change along the gradient in plant species richness, whereas evenness of carnivores declined. The abundance of dominant herbivore species showed no response to changes in plant species richness, but the dominant carnivores were more abundant in species-rich plant communities. The functional composition of plant communities had small impacts on herbivore communities, whereas

  16. Experimental Manipulation of Grassland Plant Diversity Induces Complex Shifts in Aboveground Arthropod Diversity.

    PubMed

    Hertzog, Lionel R; Meyer, Sebastian T; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Ebeling, Anne

    2016-01-01

    Changes in producer diversity cause multiple changes in consumer communities through various mechanisms. However, past analyses investigating the relationship between plant diversity and arthropod consumers focused only on few aspects of arthropod diversity, e.g. species richness and abundance. Yet, shifts in understudied facets of arthropod diversity like relative abundances or species dominance may have strong effects on arthropod-mediated ecosystem functions. Here we analyze the relationship between plant species richness and arthropod diversity using four complementary diversity indices, namely: abundance, species richness, evenness (equitability of the abundance distribution) and dominance (relative abundance of the dominant species). Along an experimental gradient of plant species richness (1, 2, 4, 8, 16 and 60 plant species), we sampled herbivorous and carnivorous arthropods using pitfall traps and suction sampling during a whole vegetation period. We tested whether plant species richness affects consumer diversity directly (i), or indirectly through increased productivity (ii). Further, we tested the impact of plant community composition on arthropod diversity by testing for the effects of plant functional groups (iii). Abundance and species richness of both herbivores and carnivores increased with increasing plant species richness, but the underlying mechanisms differed between the two trophic groups. While higher species richness in herbivores was caused by an increase in resource diversity, carnivore richness was driven by plant productivity. Evenness of herbivore communities did not change along the gradient in plant species richness, whereas evenness of carnivores declined. The abundance of dominant herbivore species showed no response to changes in plant species richness, but the dominant carnivores were more abundant in species-rich plant communities. The functional composition of plant communities had small impacts on herbivore communities, whereas

  17. High plant diversity in Eocene South America: evidence from Patagonia.

    PubMed

    Wilf, Peter; Cúneo, N Rubén; Johnson, Kirk R; Hicks, Jason F; Wing, Scott L; Obradovich, John D

    2003-04-04

    Tropical South America has the highest plant diversity of any region today, but this richness is usually characterized as a geologically recent development (Neogene or Pleistocene). From caldera-lake beds exposed at Laguna del Hunco in Patagonia, Argentina, paleolatitude approximately 47 degrees S, we report 102 leaf species. Radioisotopic and paleomagnetic analyses indicate that the flora was deposited 52 million years ago, the time of the early Eocene climatic optimum, when tropical plant taxa and warm, equable climates reached middle latitudes of both hemispheres. Adjusted for sample size, observed richness exceeds that of any other Eocene leaf flora, supporting an ancient history of high plant diversity in warm areas of South America.

  18. High plant diversity in Eocene South America: Evidence from Patagonia

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wilf, P.; Cuneo, N.R.; Johnson, K.R.; Hicks, J.F.; Wing, S.L.; Obradovich, J.D.

    2003-01-01

    Tropical South America has the highest plant diversity of any region today, but this richness is usually characterized as a geologically recent development (Neogene or Pleistocene). From caldera-lake beds exposed at Laguna del Hunco in Patagonia, Argentina, paleolatitude ~47oS, we report 102 leaf species. Radioisotopic and paleomagnetic analyses indicate that the flora was deposited 52 million years ago, the time of the early Eocene climatic optimum, when tropical plant taxa and warm, equable climates reached middle latitudes of both hemispheres. Adjusted for sample size, observed richness exceeds that of any other Eocene leaf flora, supporting an ancient history of high plant diversity in warm areas of South America.

  19. Plant diversity impacts decomposition and herbivory via changes in aboveground arthropods.

    PubMed

    Ebeling, Anne; Meyer, Sebastian T; Abbas, Maike; Eisenhauer, Nico; Hillebrand, Helmut; Lange, Markus; Scherber, Christoph; Vogel, Anja; Weigelt, Alexandra; Weisser, Wolfgang W

    2014-01-01

    Loss of plant diversity influences essential ecosystem processes as aboveground productivity, and can have cascading effects on the arthropod communities in adjacent trophic levels. However, few studies have examined how those changes in arthropod communities can have additional impacts on ecosystem processes caused by them (e.g. pollination, bioturbation, predation, decomposition, herbivory). Therefore, including arthropod effects in predictions of the impact of plant diversity loss on such ecosystem processes is an important but little studied piece of information. In a grassland biodiversity experiment, we addressed this gap by assessing aboveground decomposer and herbivore communities and linking their abundance and diversity to rates of decomposition and herbivory. Path analyses showed that increasing plant diversity led to higher abundance and diversity of decomposing arthropods through higher plant biomass. Higher species richness of decomposers, in turn, enhanced decomposition. Similarly, species-rich plant communities hosted a higher abundance and diversity of herbivores through elevated plant biomass and C:N ratio, leading to higher herbivory rates. Integrating trophic interactions into the study of biodiversity effects is required to understand the multiple pathways by which biodiversity affects ecosystem functioning.

  20. Accelerating global access to plant diversity information.

    PubMed

    Lughadha, Eimear Nic; Miller, Chuck

    2009-11-01

    Botanic gardens play key roles in the development and dissemination of plant information resources. Drivers for change have included progress in information technology, growing public expectations of electronic access and international conservation policy. Great advances have been made in the quantity, quality and accessibility of plant information in digital form and the extent to which information from multiple providers can be accessed through a single portal. However, significant challenges remain to be addressed in making botanic gardens resources maximally accessible and impactful, not least the overwhelming volume of material which still awaits digitisation. The year 2010 represents an opportunity for botanic gardens to showcase their collaborative achievements in delivery of electronic plant information and reinforce their relevance to pressing environmental issues.

  1. Native plant diversity increases herbivory to non-natives.

    PubMed

    Pearse, Ian S; Hipp, Andrew L

    2014-11-07

    There is often an inverse relationship between the diversity of a plant community and the invasibility of that community by non-native plants. Native herbivores that colonize novel plants may contribute to diversity-invasibility relationships by limiting the relative success of non-native plants. Here, we show that, in large collections of non-native oak trees at sites across the USA, non-native oaks introduced to regions with greater oak species richness accumulated greater leaf damage than in regions with low oak richness. Underlying this trend was the ability of herbivores to exploit non-native plants that were close relatives to their native host. In diverse oak communities, non-native trees were on average more closely related to native trees and received greater leaf damage than those in depauperate oak communities. Because insect herbivores colonize non-native plants that are similar to their native hosts, in communities with greater native plant diversity, non-natives experience greater herbivory.

  2. Genetic diversity assessment of summer squash landraces using molecular markers.

    PubMed

    Mady, Emad A; Helaly, Alaa Al-Din; Abu El-Hamd, Abdel Naem; Abdou, Arafa; Shanan, Shamel A; Craker, Lyle E

    2013-07-01

    Plant identification, classification, and genotyping within a germplasm collection are essential elements for establishing a breeding program that enhances the probability of plants with desirable characteristics in the market place. In this study, random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) was used as a molecular tool to assess the diversity and relationship among 20 summer squash (Curcubita pepo L.) landraces traditionally used to treat hypertension and prostate hyperplasia. A total of 10 RAPD primers produced 65 reproducible bands of which 46 (70.77 %) were polymorphic, indicating a large number of genotypes within the summer squash lines. Cluster analysis divided the summer squash germplasm into two groups, one including one landrace and a second containing 19 landraces that could be divided into five sub-groups. Results of this study indicate the potential of RAPD markers for the identification and assessment of genetic variations among squash landraces and provide a number of choices for developing a successful breeding program to improve summer squash.

  3. Population density of North American elk: effects on plant diversity.

    PubMed

    Stewart, Kelley M; Bowyer, R Terry; Kie, John G; Dick, Brian L; Ruess, Roger W

    2009-08-01

    Large, herbivorous mammals have profound effects on ecosystem structure and function and often act as keystone species in ecosystems they inhabit. Density-dependent processes associated with population structure of large mammals may interact with ecosystem functioning to increase or decrease biodiversity, depending on the relationship of herbivore populations relative to the carrying capacity (K) of the ecosystem. We tested for indirect effects of population density of large herbivores on plant species richness and diversity in a montane ecosystem, where increased net aboveground primary productivity (NAPP) in response to low levels of herbivory has been reported. We documented a positive, linear relationship between plant-species diversity and richness with NAPP. Structural equation modeling revealed significant indirect relationships between population density of herbivores, NAPP, and species diversity. We observed an indirect effect of density-dependent processes in large, herbivorous mammals and species diversity of plants through changes in NAPP in this montane ecosystem. Changes in species diversity of plants in response to herbivory may be more indirect in ecosystems with long histories of herbivory. Those subtle or indirect effects of herbivory may have strong effects on ecosystem functioning, but may be overlooked in plant communities that are relatively resilient to herbivory.

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-10-01

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

  5. Plant Diversity Surpasses Plant Functional Groups and Plant Productivity as Driver of Soil Biota in the Long Term

    PubMed Central

    Eisenhauer, Nico; Milcu, Alexandru; Sabais, Alexander C. W.; Bessler, Holger; Brenner, Johanna; Engels, Christof; Klarner, Bernhard; Maraun, Mark; Partsch, Stephan; Roscher, Christiane; Schonert, Felix; Temperton, Vicky M.; Thomisch, Karolin; Weigelt, Alexandra; Weisser, Wolfgang W.; Scheu, Stefan

    2011-01-01

    Background One of the most significant consequences of contemporary global change is the rapid decline of biodiversity in many ecosystems. Knowledge of the consequences of biodiversity loss in terrestrial ecosystems is largely restricted to single ecosystem functions. Impacts of key plant functional groups on soil biota are considered to be more important than those of plant diversity; however, current knowledge mainly relies on short-term experiments. Methodology/Principal Findings We studied changes in the impacts of plant diversity and presence of key functional groups on soil biota by investigating the performance of soil microorganisms and soil fauna two, four and six years after the establishment of model grasslands. The results indicate that temporal changes of plant community effects depend on the trophic affiliation of soil animals: plant diversity effects on decomposers only occurred after six years, changed little in herbivores, but occurred in predators after two years. The results suggest that plant diversity, in terms of species and functional group richness, is the most important plant community property affecting soil biota, exceeding the relevance of plant above- and belowground productivity and the presence of key plant functional groups, i.e. grasses and legumes, with the relevance of the latter decreasing in time. Conclusions/Significance Plant diversity effects on biota are not only due to the presence of key plant functional groups or plant productivity highlighting the importance of diverse and high-quality plant derived resources, and supporting the validity of the singular hypothesis for soil biota. Our results demonstrate that in the long term plant diversity essentially drives the performance of soil biota questioning the paradigm that belowground communities are not affected by plant diversity and reinforcing the importance of biodiversity for ecosystem functioning. PMID:21249208

  6. Evolution and diversity of green plant cell walls.

    PubMed

    Popper, Zoë A

    2008-06-01

    Plant cells are surrounded by a dynamic cell wall that performs many essential biological roles, including regulation of cell expansion, the control of tissue cohesion, ion-exchange and defence against microbes. Recent evidence shows that the suite of polysaccharides and wall proteins from which the plant cell wall is composed shows variation between monophyletic plant taxa. This is likely to have been generated during the evolution of plant groups in response to environmental stress. Understanding the natural variation and diversity that exists between cell walls from different taxa is key to facilitating their future exploitation and manipulation, for example by increasing lignocellulosic content or reducing its recalcitrance for use in biofuel generation.

  7. Herbivores and nutrients control grassland plant diversity via light limitation.

    PubMed

    Borer, Elizabeth T; Seabloom, Eric W; Gruner, Daniel S; Harpole, W Stanley; Hillebrand, Helmut; Lind, Eric M; Adler, Peter B; Alberti, Juan; Anderson, T Michael; Bakker, Jonathan D; Biederman, Lori; Blumenthal, Dana; Brown, Cynthia S; Brudvig, Lars A; Buckley, Yvonne M; Cadotte, Marc; Chu, Chengjin; Cleland, Elsa E; Crawley, Michael J; Daleo, Pedro; Damschen, Ellen I; Davies, Kendi F; DeCrappeo, Nicole M; Du, Guozhen; Firn, Jennifer; Hautier, Yann; Heckman, Robert W; Hector, Andy; HilleRisLambers, Janneke; Iribarne, Oscar; Klein, Julia A; Knops, Johannes M H; La Pierre, Kimberly J; Leakey, Andrew D B; Li, Wei; MacDougall, Andrew S; McCulley, Rebecca L; Melbourne, Brett A; Mitchell, Charles E; Moore, Joslin L; Mortensen, Brent; O'Halloran, Lydia R; Orrock, John L; Pascual, Jesús; Prober, Suzanne M; Pyke, David A; Risch, Anita C; Schuetz, Martin; Smith, Melinda D; Stevens, Carly J; Sullivan, Lauren L; Williams, Ryan J; Wragg, Peter D; Wright, Justin P; Yang, Louie H

    2014-04-24

    Human alterations to nutrient cycles and herbivore communities are affecting global biodiversity dramatically. Ecological theory predicts these changes should be strongly counteractive: nutrient addition drives plant species loss through intensified competition for light, whereas herbivores prevent competitive exclusion by increasing ground-level light, particularly in productive systems. Here we use experimental data spanning a globally relevant range of conditions to test the hypothesis that herbaceous plant species losses caused by eutrophication may be offset by increased light availability due to herbivory. This experiment, replicated in 40 grasslands on 6 continents, demonstrates that nutrients and herbivores can serve as counteracting forces to control local plant diversity through light limitation, independent of site productivity, soil nitrogen, herbivore type and climate. Nutrient addition consistently reduced local diversity through light limitation, and herbivory rescued diversity at sites where it alleviated light limitation. Thus, species loss from anthropogenic eutrophication can be ameliorated in grasslands where herbivory increases ground-level light.

  8. Herbivores and nutrients control grassland plant diversity via light limitation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Borer, Elizabeth T.; Seabloom, Eric W.; Gruner, Daniel S.; Harpole, W. Stanley; Hillebrand, Helmut; Lind, Eric M.; Alder, Peter B.; Alberti, Juan; Anderson, T. Michael; Bakker, Jonathan D.; Biederman, Lori; Blumenthal, Dana; Brown, Cynthia S.; Brudvig, Lars A.; Buckley, Yvonne M.; Cadotte, Marc; Chu, Cheng-Jin; Cleland, Elsa E.; Crawley, Michael J.; Daleo, Pedro; Damschen, Ellen Ingman; Davies, Kendi F.; DeCrappeo, Nicole M.; Du, Guozhen; Firn, Jennifer; Hautier, Yann; Heckman, Robert W.; Hector, Andy; HilleRisLambers, Janneke; Iribarne, Oscar; Klein, Julia A.; Knops, Johannes M.H.; La Pierre, Kimberly J.; Leakey, Andrew D.B.; Li, Wei; MacDougall, Andrew S.; McCulley, Rebecca L.; Melbourne, Brett A.; Mitchell, Charles E.; Moore, Joslin L.; Mortensen, Brent; O'Halloran, Lydia R.; Orrock, John L.; Pascual, Jesús; Prober, Suzanne M.; Pyke, David A.; Risch, Anita C.; Schuetz, Martin; Smith, Melinda D.; Stevens, Carly J.; Sullivan, Lauren L.; Williams, Ryan J.; Wragg, Peter D.; Wright, Justin P.; Yang, Louie H.

    2014-01-01

    Human alterations to nutrient cycles and herbivore communities are affecting global biodiversity dramatically. Ecological theory predicts these changes should be strongly counteractive: nutrient addition drives plant species loss through intensified competition for light, whereas herbivores prevent competitive exclusion by increasing ground-level light, particularly in productive systems. Here we use experimental data spanning a globally relevant range of conditions to test the hypothesis that herbaceous plant species losses caused by eutrophication may be offset by increased light availability due to herbivory. This experiment, replicated in 40 grasslands on 6 continents, demonstrates that nutrients and herbivores can serve as counteracting forces to control local plant diversity through light limitation, independent of site productivity, soil nitrogen, herbivore type and climate. Nutrient addition consistently reduced local diversity through light limitation, and herbivory rescued diversity at sites where it alleviated light limitation. Thus, species loss from anthropogenic eutrophication can be ameliorated in grasslands where herbivory increases ground-level light.

  9. Assessment of Genetic Diversity of Sweet Potato in Puerto Rico

    PubMed Central

    Rodriguez-Bonilla, Lorraine; Cuevas, Hugo E.; Montero-Rojas, Milly; Bird-Pico, Fernando; Luciano-Rosario, Dianiris; Siritunga, Dimuth

    2014-01-01

    Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.) is the seventh most important food crop due to its distinct advantages, such as adaptability to different environmental conditions and high nutritional value. Assessing the genetic diversity of this important crop is necessary due to the constant increase of demand for food and the need for conservation of agricultural and genetic resources. In Puerto Rico (PR), the genetic diversity of sweet potato has been poorly understood, although it has been part of the diet since Pre-Columbus time. Thus, 137 landraces from different localities around PR were collected and subjected to a genetic diversity analysis using 23 SSR-markers. In addition, 8 accessions from a collection grown in Gurabo, PR at the Agricultural Experimental Station (GAES), 10 US commercial cultivars and 12 Puerto Rican accessions from the USDA repository collection were included in this assessment. The results of the analysis of the 23 loci showed 255 alleles in the 167 samples. Observed heterozygosity was high across populations (0.71) while measurements of total heterozygosity revealed a large genetic diversity throughout the population and within populations. UPGMA clustering method revealed two main clusters. Cluster 1 contained 12 PR accessions from the USDA repository collection, while cluster 2 consisted of PR landraces, US commercial cultivars and the PR accessions from GAES. Population structure analysis grouped PR landraces in five groups including four US commercial cultivars. Our study shows the presence of a high level of genetic diversity of sweet potato across PR which can be related to the genetic makeup of sweet potato, human intervention and out-crossing nature of the plant. The history of domestication and dispersal of sweet potato in the Caribbean and the high levels of genetic diversity found through this study makes sweet potato an invaluable resource that needs to be protected and further studied. PMID:25551388

  10. Effects of plant identity and diversity on the dietary choice of a soil-living insect herbivore.

    PubMed

    Schallhart, Nikolaus; Tusch, Manuel Josef; Wallinger, Corinna; Staudacher, Karin; Traugott, Michael

    2012-12-01

    Plant identity and diversity influence herbivore communities in many different ways. While it is well known how they affect the feeding preferences of aboveground herbivores, this information is lacking for soil ecosystems, where examining plant-herbivore trophic interactions is difficult. We performed a mesocosm experiment assessing how plant identity and diversity affect the food choice of Agriotes larvae, which are soil-living generalist herbivores. We offered four plant species, (maize, a grass, a legume, and a forb) at varying combinations and diversity levels to these larvae, and analyzed their feeding behavior using stable isotopes. We hypothesized that (1) their food choice is driven by preference for certain plant species rather than by root abundance and that (2) the preference for specific plants changes with increasing plant diversity. We found that larvae preferred the grass and legume but avoided maize and the forb. Whether a plant was preferred or avoided was independent of diversity, but the extent of avoidance or preference changed with increasing plant diversity. Our findings reveal that the dietary choice of soil-living generalist herbivores is determined by plant-specific traits rather than root abundance. Our data also suggest that soil herbivore feeding preferences are modulated by plant diversity.

  11. Modeling Forest Structure and Vascular Plant Diversity in Piedmont Forests

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hakkenberg, C.

    2014-12-01

    When the interacting stressors of climate change and land cover/land use change (LCLUC) overwhelm ecosystem resilience to environmental and climatic variability, forest ecosystems are at increased risk of regime shifts and hyperdynamism in process rates. To meet the growing range of novel biotic and environmental stressors on human-impacted ecosystems, the maintenance of taxonomic diversity and functional redundancy in metacommunities has been proposed as a risk spreading measure ensuring that species critical to landscape ecosystem functioning are available for recruitment as local systems respond to novel conditions. This research is the first in a multi-part study to establish a dynamic, predictive model of the spatio-temporal dynamics of vascular plant diversity in North Carolina Piedmont mixed forests using remotely sensed data inputs. While remote sensing technologies are optimally suited to monitor LCLUC over large areas, direct approaches to the remote measurement of plant diversity remain a challenge. This study tests the efficacy of predicting indices of vascular plant diversity using remotely derived measures of forest structural heterogeneity from aerial LiDAR and high spatial resolution broadband optical imagery in addition to derived topo-environmental variables. Diversity distribution modelling of this sort is predicated upon the idea that environmental filtering of dispersing species help define fine-scale (permeable) environmental envelopes within which biotic structural and compositional factors drive competitive interactions that, in addition to background stochasticity, determine fine-scale alpha diversity. Results reveal that over a range of Piedmont forest communities, increasing structural complexity is positively correlated with measures of plant diversity, though the nature of this relationship varies by environmental conditions and community type. The diversity distribution model is parameterized and cross-validated using three high

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

    PubMed Central

    Soliveres, Santiago; Maestre, Fernando T.

    2015-01-01

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

  13. Phosphorus source alters host plant response to ectomycorrhizal diversity.

    PubMed

    Baxter, James W; Dighton, John

    2005-11-01

    We examined the influence of phosphorus source and availability on host plant (Pinus rigida) response to ectomycorrhizal diversity under contrasting P conditions. An ectomycorrhizal richness gradient was established with equimolar P supplied as either inorganic phosphate or organic inositol hexaphosphate. We measured growth and N and P uptake of individual P. rigida seedlings inoculated with one, two, or four species of ectomycorrhizal fungi simultaneously and without mycorrhizas in axenic culture. Whereas colonization of P. rigida by individual species of ectomycorrhizal fungi decreased with increasing fungal richness, colonization of all species combined increased. Plant biomass and N content increased across the ectomycorrhizal richness gradient in the organic but not the inorganic P treatment. Plants grown under organic P conditions had higher N concentration than those grown under inorganic P conditions, but there was no effect of richness. Phosphorus content of plants grown in the organic P treatment increased with increasing ectomycorrhizal richness, but there was no response in the inorganic P treatment. Phosphorus concentration was higher in plants grown at the four-species richness level in the organic P treatment, but there was no effect of diversity under inorganic P conditions. Overall, few ectomycorrhizal composition effects were found on plant growth or nutrient status. Phosphatase activities of individual ectomycorrhizal fungi differed under organic P conditions, but there was no difference in total root system phosphatase expression between the inorganic or organic P treatments or across richness levels. Our results provide evidence that plant response to ectomycorrhizal diversity is dependent on the source and availability of P.

  14. Functional diversity of tocochromanols in plants.

    PubMed

    Dörmann, Peter

    2007-01-01

    Tocochromanols encompass a group of compounds with vitamin E activity essential for human nutrition. They accumulate in photooxidative organisms, e.g. in some algae and in plants, where they localize to thylakoid membranes and plastoglobules of chloroplasts. Tocochromanols contain a polar chromanol head group with a long isoprenoid side chain. Depending on the nature of the isoprenoid chain, tocopherols (containing a phytyl chain) or tocotrienols (geranylgeranyl chain) can be distinguished in plants. The tocochromanol biosynthetic pathway has been studied in Arabidopsis and Synechocystis in recent years, and the respective mutants and genes were isolated. Mutant characterization revealed that tocopherol protects lipids in photosynthetic membranes and in seeds against oxidative stress. In addition to its antioxidant characteristics, tocopherol was shown be involved in non-antioxidant functions such as primary carbohydrate metabolism. A considerable proportion of tocopherol is synthesized from free phytol suggesting that excess amounts of phytol released from chlorophyll breakdown during stress or senescence might be deposited in the form of tocopherol in chloroplasts.

  15. Does plant species co-occurrence influence soil mite diversity?

    PubMed

    St John, Mark G; Wall, Diana H; Behan-Pelletier, Valerie M

    2006-03-01

    Few studies have considered whether plant taxa can be used as predictors of belowground faunal diversity in natural ecosystems. We examined soil mite (Acari) diversity beneath six grass species at the Konza Prairie Biological Station, Kansas, USA. We tested the hypotheses that soil mite species richness, abundance, and taxonomic diversity are greater (1) beneath grasses in dicultures (different species) compared to monocultures (same species), (2) beneath grasses of higher resource quality (lower C:N) compared to lower resource quality, and (3) beneath heterogeneous mixes of grasses (C3 and C4 grasses growing together) compared to homogeneous mixes (C3 or C4 grasses) using natural occurrences of plant species as treatments. This study is the first to examine the interaction between above- and belowground diversity in a natural setting with species-level resolution of a hyper-diverse taxon. Our results indicate that grasses in diculture supported a more species and phylogenetically rich soil mite fauna than was observed for monocultures and that this relationship was significant at depth but not in the upper soil horizon. We noted that mite species richness was not linearly related to grass species richness, which suggests that simple extrapolations of soil faunal diversity based on plant species inventories may underestimate the richness of associated soil mite communities. The distribution of mite size classes in dicultures was considerably different than those for monocultures. There was no difference in soil mite richness between grass combinations of differing resource quality, or resource heterogeneity.

  16. Nematicide impacts on nematodes and feedbacks on plant productivity in a plant diversity gradient

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eisenhauer, Nico; Ackermann, Michael; Gass, Svenja; Klier, Matthias; Migunova, Varvara; Nitschke, Norma; Ruess, Liliane; Sabais, Alexander C. W.; Weisser, Wolfgang W.; Scheu, Stefan

    2010-09-01

    A major issue in current ecological research is the effect of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning. Although several studies reported a positive diversity - productivity relationship, the role of soil animals has been largely neglected. Nematodes are among the most widespread and important herbivores causing substantial yield losses in agriculture; however, impacts of nematodes on the diversity - productivity relationship in semi-natural plant communities have not been investigated until today. In the framework of the Jena Experiment (Thuringia, Germany) we established control and nematicide treated subplots to manipulate nematode densities on plots varying in plant species (1-16) and functional group richness (1-4). We explored the interacting effects of nematicide application and plant diversity on the main trophic groups of nematodes and on aboveground plant productivity. Nematicide application reduced the number of nematodes significantly, particularly that of plant feeders and predators. The negative impact of nematicide application on plant and bacterial feeders depended however on the diversity of the plant community. Total plant shoot biomass tended to decrease in the presence of ambient nematode densities. In detail, nematode effects varied however with plant functional group identity by reducing only the shoot biomass of herbs significantly but not that of legumes. Furthermore, the shoot biomass of grasses tended to decrease in the presence of ambient nematode densities. In contrast to total shoot biomass, nematodes decreased grass shoot biomass only in high diverse but not in low diverse plant communities. Thus, the present study for the first time highlights that nematodes likely modify the community structure und functions of semi-natural plant communities by altering the competition between plant functional groups and by attenuating the diversity - productivity relationship.

  17. Assessment of molecular diversity and population structure of the Ethiopian sorghum [Sorghum bicolor L. (Moench)] germplasm collection maintained by the USDA-ARS National Plant Germplasm System using SSR markers

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The genetic diversity and population structure present in the Ethiopian sorghum collection maintained at the USDA-ARS National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) has not been studied. In addition, 83% of the accessions in the Ethiopian collection lack passport information which has constrained their eval...

  18. The relative importance of host-plant genetic diversity in structuring the associated herbivore community.

    PubMed

    Tack, Ayco J M; Roslin, Tomas

    2011-08-01

    Recent studies suggest that intraspecific genetic diversity in one species may leave a substantial imprint on the surrounding community and ecosystem. Here, we test the hypothesis that genetic diversity within host-plant patches translates into consistent and ecologically important changes in the associated herbivore community. More specifically, we use potted, grafted oak saplings to construct 41 patches of four saplings each, with one, two, or four tree genotypes represented among the host plants. These patches were divided among two common gardens. Focusing first at the level of individual trees, we assess how tree-specific genotypic identity, patch-level genetic diversity, garden-level environmental variation, and their interactions affect the structure of the herbivore community. At the level of host-plant patches, we analyze whether the joint responses of herbivore species to environmental variation and genetic diversity result in differences in species diversity among tree quartets. Strikingly, both species-specific abundances and species diversity varied substantially among host-tree genotypes, among common gardens, and among specific locations within individual gardens. In contrast, the genetic diversity of the patch left a detectable imprint on local abundances of only two herbivore taxa. In both cases, the effect of genetic diversity was inconsistent among gardens and among host-plant genotypes. While the insect community differed significantly among individual host-plant genotypes, there were no interactive effects of the number of different genotypes within the patch. Overall, additive effects of intraspecific genetic diversity of the host plant explained a similar or lower proportion (7-10%) of variation in herbivore species diversity than did variation among common gardens. Combined with the few previous studies published to date, our study suggests that the impact of host-plant genetic diversity on the herbivore community can range from none to

  19. Plant diversity effects on ecosystem evapotranspiration and carbon uptake: a controlled environment (Ecotron) and modeling approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Milcu, Alexandru; Roy, Jacques

    2016-04-01

    Effects of species and functional diversity of plants on ecosystem evapotranspiration and carbon fluxes have been rarely assessed simultaneously. Here we present the results from an experiment that combined a lysimeter setup in a controlled environment facility (Ecotron) with large ecosystem samples/ monoliths originating from a long-term biodiversity experiment ("The Jena Experiment") and a modelling approach. We aimed at (1) quantifying the impact of plant species richness (4 vs. 16 species) on day- and night-time ecosystem water vapor fluxes and carbon uptake, (2) partitioning ecosystem evapotranspiration into evaporation and plant transpiration using the Shuttleworth and Wallace (SW) energy partitioning model, and (3) identifying the most parsimonious predictors of water vapor vapor and CO2 fluxes using plant functional trait-based metrics such as functional diversity and community weighted means. The SW model indicated that at low plant species richness, a higher proportion of the available energy was diverted to evaporation (a non-productive flux), while at higher species richness the proportion of ecosystem transpiration (a production-related water flux) increased. This led to an increased carbon gain per amount of water vapor loss (i.e. increased water use efficiency). While the LAI controlled the carbon and water fluxes, we also found that the diversity of plant functional traits, and in particular of leaf nitrogen concentration are potential important predictors of ecosystem transpiration and carbon uptake and consequently significantly contributed to increase in water use efficiency in communities with higher plant diversity.

  20. Diversity Strategies for Nuclear Power Plant Instrumentation and Control Systems

    SciTech Connect

    Wood, Richard Thomas; Belles, Randy; Cetiner, Mustafa Sacit; Holcomb, David Eugene; Korsah, Kofi; Loebl, Andy; Mays, Gary T; Muhlheim, Michael David; Mullens, James Allen; Poore III, Willis P; Qualls, A L; Wilson, Thomas L; Waterman, Michael E.

    2010-02-01

    This report presents the technical basis for establishing acceptable mitigating strategies that resolve diversity and defense-in-depth (D3) assessment findings and conform to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) requirements. The research approach employed to establish appropriate diversity strategies involves investigation of available documentation on D3 methods and experience from nuclear power and nonnuclear industries, capture of expert knowledge and lessons learned, determination of best practices, and assessment of the nature of common-cause failures (CCFs) and compensating diversity attributes. The research described in this report does not provide guidance on how to determine the need for diversity in a safety system to mitigate the consequences of potential CCFs. Rather, the scope of this report provides guidance to the staff and nuclear industry after a licensee or applicant has performed a D3 assessment per NUREG/CR-6303 and determined that diversity in a safety system is needed for mitigating the consequences of potential CCFs identified in the evaluation of the safety system design features. Succinctly, the purpose of the research described in this report was to answer the question, 'If diversity is required in a safety system to mitigate the consequences of potential CCFs, how much diversity is enough?' The principal results of this research effort have identified and developed diversity strategies, which consist of combinations of diversity attributes and their associated criteria. Technology, which corresponds to design diversity, is chosen as the principal system characteristic by which diversity criteria are grouped to form strategies. The rationale for this classification framework involves consideration of the profound impact that technology-focused design diversity provides. Consequently, the diversity usage classification scheme involves three families of strategies: (1) different technologies, (2) different approaches within the same

  1. Intraspecific chemical diversity among neighbouring plants correlates positively with plant size and herbivore load but negatively with herbivore damage.

    PubMed

    Bustos-Segura, Carlos; Poelman, Erik H; Reichelt, Michael; Gershenzon, Jonathan; Gols, Rieta

    2017-01-01

    Intraspecific plant diversity can modify the properties of associated arthropod communities and plant fitness. However, it is not well understood which plant traits determine these ecological effects. We explored the effect of intraspecific chemical diversity among neighbouring plants on the associated invertebrate community and plant traits. In a common garden experiment, intraspecific diversity among neighbouring plants was manipulated using three plant populations of wild cabbage that differ in foliar glucosinolates. Plants were larger, harboured more herbivores, but were less damaged when plant diversity was increased. Glucosinolate concentration differentially correlated with generalist and specialist herbivore abundance. Glucosinolate composition correlated with plant damage, while in polycultures, variation in glucosinolate concentrations among neighbouring plants correlated positively with herbivore diversity and negatively with plant damage levels. The results suggest that intraspecific variation in secondary chemistry among neighbouring plants is important in determining the structure of the associated insect community and positively affects plant performance.

  2. Plant Sterol Diversity in Pollen from Angiosperms.

    PubMed

    Villette, Claire; Berna, Anne; Compagnon, Vincent; Schaller, Hubert

    2015-08-01

    Here we have examined the composition of free sterols and steryl esters of pollen from selected angiosperm species, as a first step towards a comprehensive analysis of sterol biogenesis in the male gametophyte. We detected four major sterol structural groups: cycloartenol derivatives bearing a 9β,19-cyclopropyl group, sterols with a double bond at C-7(8), sterols with a double bond at C-5(6), and stanols. All these groups were unequally distributed among species. However, the distribution of sterols as free sterols or as steryl esters in pollen grains indicated that free sterols were mostly Δ(5)-sterols and that steryl esters were predominantly 9β,19-cyclopropyl sterols. In order to link the sterol composition of a pollen grain at anthesis with the requirement for membrane lipid constituents of the pollen tube, we germinated pollen grains from Nicotiana tabacum, a model plant in reproductive biology. In the presence of radiolabelled mevalonic acid and in a time course series of measurements, we showed that cycloeucalenol was identified as the major neosynthesized sterol. Furthermore, the inhibition of cycloeucalenol neosynthesis by squalestatin was in full agreement with a de novo biogenesis and an apparent truncated pathway in the pollen tube.

  3. Plant expansins: diversity and interactions with plant cell walls

    PubMed Central

    Cosgrove, Daniel J.

    2015-01-01

    Expansins were discovered two decades ago as cell wall proteins that mediate acid-induced growth by catalyzing loosening of plant cell walls without lysis of wall polymers. In the interim our understanding of expansins has gotten more complex through bioinformatic analysis of expansin distribution and evolution, as well as through expression analysis, dissection of the upstream transcription factors regulating expression, and identification of additional classes of expansin by sequence and structural similarities. Molecular analyses of expansins from bacteria have identified residues essential for wall loosening activity and clarified the bifunctional nature of expansin binding to complex cell walls. Transgenic modulation of expansin expression modifies growth and stress physiology of plants, but not always in predictable and even understandable ways. PMID:26057089

  4. Plant expansins: diversity and interactions with plant cell walls.

    PubMed

    Cosgrove, Daniel J

    2015-06-01

    Expansins were discovered two decades ago as cell wall proteins that mediate acid-induced growth by catalyzing loosening of plant cell walls without lysis of wall polymers. In the interim our understanding of expansins has gotten more complex through bioinformatic analysis of expansin distribution and evolution, as well as through expression analysis, dissection of the upstream transcription factors regulating expression, and identification of additional classes of expansin by sequence and structural similarities. Molecular analyses of expansins from bacteria have identified residues essential for wall loosening activity and clarified the bifunctional nature of expansin binding to complex cell walls. Transgenic modulation of expansin expression modifies growth and stress physiology of plants, but not always in predictable or even understandable ways.

  5. Facilitation contributes to Mediterranean woody plant diversity but does not shape the diversity-productivity relationship along aridity gradients.

    PubMed

    Rey, Pedro J; Alcántara, Julio M; Manzaneda, Antonio J; Sánchez-Lafuente, Alfonso M

    2016-07-01

    The diversity-productivity relationship (humped-back model (HBM)) and the stress-gradient (SGH) hypotheses may be connected when productivity is limited primarily by aridity. We analytically connect both hypotheses and assess the contribution of facilitation to woody plant richness along the aridity gradient of the Western Mediterranean floristic region. We monitored regeneration niches of woody plants, obtaining rarefied species richness and plant relative interaction indices in 54 forests and scrublands in a 1750-km geographical range across Spain, Morocco and the Canary Islands. We verified the monotonic increase in facilitation with aridity postulated by SGH and the humped-shape pattern of species richness expected from HBM, which became manifest after expanding the aridity gradient or crossing vegetation types. Along the gradient, interaction balance turned into facilitation earlier in forest than in scrublands. The effects of aridity and interaction balance on species diversity were additive rather than interdependent. Facilitation is an important driver of woody species richness at macroecological scales because it added up to diversity in most sites, with enhanced contribution with increased stress. The HBM was not shaped by species interactions. Results suggest that facilitation may act in Mediterranean vegetation buffering against critical transitions between states allowing woody plant communities to cope with the rise in aridity expected with global warming.

  6. Additive and interactive effects of plant genotypic diversity on arthropod communities and plant fitness.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Marc T J; Lajeunesse, Marc J; Agrawal, Anurag A

    2006-01-01

    Recent research suggests that genetic diversity in plant populations can shape the diversity and abundance of consumer communities. We tested this hypothesis in a field experiment by manipulating patches of Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) to contain one, four or eight plant genotypes. We then surveyed 92 species of naturally colonizing arthropods. Genetically diverse plant patches had 18% more arthropod species, and a greater abundance of omnivorous and predacious arthropods, but not herbivores, compared with monocultures. The effects of genotypic diversity on arthropod communities were due to a combination of interactive and additive effects among genotypes within genetically diverse patches. Greater genetic diversity also led to a selective feedback, as mean genotype fitness was 27% higher in diverse patches than in monocultures. A comparison between our results and the literature reveals that genetic diversity and species diversity can have similar qualitative and quantitative effects on arthropod communities. Our findings also illustrate the benefit of preserving genetic variation to conserve species diversity and interactions within multitrophic communities.

  7. Plant evolution: pulses of extinction and speciation in gymnosperm diversity.

    PubMed

    Davis, Charles C; Schaefer, Hanno

    2011-12-20

    Living gymnosperms represent the survivors of ancient seed plant lineages whose fossil record reaches back 270 million years. Two recent studies find that recent pulses of extinction and speciation have shaped today's gymnosperm diversity, contradicting the widespread assumption that gymnosperms have remained largely unchanged for tens of millions of years.

  8. Running up the scale: From plant traits to beta diversity

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Landscape ecologists often consider a hierarchy of scales, from individual species to communities to landscapes. Beta diversity can anchor a conceptual framework linking major concepts in ecology, building from plant physiological and structural traits that determine the fundamental niche, through c...

  9. Grazing Intensity Does Not Affect Plant Diversity in Shortgrass Steppe

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Responses of livestock gain and forage production to grazing intensity in shortgrass steppe are well-established, but effects on basal cover and plant diversity are less so. A long-term grazing intensity study was initiated on shortgrass steppe at the Central Plains Experimental Range (USDA-Agricult...

  10. THE EFFECTIVENESS OF QUADRATS FOR MEASURING VASCULAR PLANT DIVERSITY

    EPA Science Inventory

    Quadrats are widely used for measuring characteristics of vascular plant communities. It is well recognized that quadrat size affects measurements of frequency and cover. The ability of quadrats of varying sizes to adequately measure diversity has not been established. An exha...

  11. Coupling of soil prokaryotic diversity and plant diversity across latitudinal forest ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Jun-Tao; Zheng, Yuan-Ming; Hu, Hang-Wei; Li, Jing; Zhang, Li-Mei; Chen, Bao-Dong; Chen, Wei-Ping; He, Ji-Zheng

    2016-01-01

    The belowground soil prokaryotic community plays a cardinal role in sustaining the stability and functions of forest ecosystems. Yet, the nature of how soil prokaryotic diversity co-varies with aboveground plant diversity along a latitudinal gradient remains elusive. By establishing three hundred 400-m2 quadrats from tropical rainforest to boreal forest in a large-scale parallel study on both belowground soil prokaryote and aboveground tree and herb communities, we found that soil prokaryotic diversity couples with the diversity of herbs rather than trees. The diversity of prokaryotes and herbs responds similarly to environmental factors along the latitudinal gradient. These findings revealed that herbs provide a good predictor of belowground biodiversity in forest ecosystems, and provide new perspective on the aboveground and belowground interactions in forest ecosystems.

  12. Coupling of soil prokaryotic diversity and plant diversity across latitudinal forest ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Wang, Jun-Tao; Zheng, Yuan-Ming; Hu, Hang-Wei; Li, Jing; Zhang, Li-Mei; Chen, Bao-Dong; Chen, Wei-Ping; He, Ji-Zheng

    2016-01-19

    The belowground soil prokaryotic community plays a cardinal role in sustaining the stability and functions of forest ecosystems. Yet, the nature of how soil prokaryotic diversity co-varies with aboveground plant diversity along a latitudinal gradient remains elusive. By establishing three hundred 400-m(2) quadrats from tropical rainforest to boreal forest in a large-scale parallel study on both belowground soil prokaryote and aboveground tree and herb communities, we found that soil prokaryotic diversity couples with the diversity of herbs rather than trees. The diversity of prokaryotes and herbs responds similarly to environmental factors along the latitudinal gradient. These findings revealed that herbs provide a good predictor of belowground biodiversity in forest ecosystems, and provide new perspective on the aboveground and belowground interactions in forest ecosystems.

  13. Coupling of soil prokaryotic diversity and plant diversity across latitudinal forest ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Jun-Tao; Zheng, Yuan-Ming; Hu, Hang-Wei; Li, Jing; Zhang, Li-Mei; Chen, Bao-Dong; Chen, Wei-Ping; He, Ji-Zheng

    2016-01-01

    The belowground soil prokaryotic community plays a cardinal role in sustaining the stability and functions of forest ecosystems. Yet, the nature of how soil prokaryotic diversity co-varies with aboveground plant diversity along a latitudinal gradient remains elusive. By establishing three hundred 400-m2 quadrats from tropical rainforest to boreal forest in a large-scale parallel study on both belowground soil prokaryote and aboveground tree and herb communities, we found that soil prokaryotic diversity couples with the diversity of herbs rather than trees. The diversity of prokaryotes and herbs responds similarly to environmental factors along the latitudinal gradient. These findings revealed that herbs provide a good predictor of belowground biodiversity in forest ecosystems, and provide new perspective on the aboveground and belowground interactions in forest ecosystems. PMID:26781165

  14. Genotypic and phenotypic diversity in populations of plant-probiotic Pseudomonas spp. colonizing roots.

    PubMed

    Picard, Christine; Bosco, Marco

    2008-01-01

    Several soil microorganisms colonizing roots are known to naturally promote the health of plants by controlling a range of plant pathogens, including bacteria, fungi, and nematodes. The use of theses antagonistic microorganisms, recently named plant-probiotics, to control plant-pathogenic fungi is receiving increasing attention, as they may represent a sustainable alternative to chemical pesticides. Many years of research on plant-probiotic microorganisms (PPM) have indicated that fluorescent pseudomonads producing antimicrobial compounds are largely involved in the suppression of the most widespread soilborne pathogens. Phenotype and genotype analysis of plant-probiotic fluorescent pseudomonads (PFP) have shown considerable genetic variation among these types of strains. Such variability plays an important role in the rhizosphere competence and the biocontrol ability of PFP strains. Understanding the mechanisms by which genotypic and phenotypic diversity occurs in natural populations of PFP could be exploited to choose those agricultural practices which best exploit the indigenous PFP populations, or to isolate new plant-probiotic strains for using them as inoculants. A number of different methods have been used to study diversity within PFP populations. Because different resolutions of the existing microbial diversity can be revealed depending on the approach used, this review first describes the most important methods used for the assessment of fluorescent Pseudomonas diversity. Then, we focus on recent data relating how differences in genotypic and phenotypic diversity within PFP communities can be attributed to geographic location, climate, soil type, soil management regime, and interactions with other soil microorganisms and host plants. It becomes evident that plant-related parameters exert the strongest influence on the genotypic and phenotypic variations in PFP populations.

  15. Genotypic and phenotypic diversity in populations of plant-probiotic Pseudomonas spp. colonizing roots

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Picard, Christine; Bosco, Marco

    2008-01-01

    Several soil microorganisms colonizing roots are known to naturally promote the health of plants by controlling a range of plant pathogens, including bacteria, fungi, and nematodes. The use of theses antagonistic microorganisms, recently named plant-probiotics, to control plant-pathogenic fungi is receiving increasing attention, as they may represent a sustainable alternative to chemical pesticides. Many years of research on plant-probiotic microorganisms (PPM) have indicated that fluorescent pseudomonads producing antimicrobial compounds are largely involved in the suppression of the most widespread soilborne pathogens. Phenotype and genotype analysis of plant-probiotic fluorescent pseudomonads (PFP) have shown considerable genetic variation among these types of strains. Such variability plays an important role in the rhizosphere competence and the biocontrol ability of PFP strains. Understanding the mechanisms by which genotypic and phenotypic diversity occurs in natural populations of PFP could be exploited to choose those agricultural practices which best exploit the indigenous PFP populations, or to isolate new plant-probiotic strains for using them as inoculants. A number of different methods have been used to study diversity within PFP populations. Because different resolutions of the existing microbial diversity can be revealed depending on the approach used, this review first describes the most important methods used for the assessment of fluorescent Pseudomonas diversity. Then, we focus on recent data relating how differences in genotypic and phenotypic diversity within PFP communities can be attributed to geographic location, climate, soil type, soil management regime, and interactions with other soil microorganisms and host plants. It becomes evident that plant-related parameters exert the strongest influence on the genotypic and phenotypic variations in PFP populations.

  16. Arctic plant diversity in the Early Eocene greenhouse

    PubMed Central

    Harrington, Guy J.; Eberle, Jaelyn; Le-Page, Ben A.; Dawson, Mary; Hutchison, J. Howard

    2012-01-01

    For the majority of the Early Caenozoic, a remarkable expanse of humid, mesothermal to temperate forests spread across Northern Polar regions that now contain specialized plant and animal communities adapted to life in extreme environments. Little is known on the taxonomic diversity of Arctic floras during greenhouse periods of the Caenozoic. We show for the first time that plant richness in the globally warm Early Eocene (approx. 55–52 Myr) in the Canadian High Arctic (76° N) is comparable with that approximately 3500 km further south at mid-latitudes in the US western interior (44–47° N). Arctic Eocene pollen floras are most comparable in richness with today's forests in the southeastern United States, some 5000 km further south of the Arctic. Nearly half of the Eocene, Arctic plant taxa are endemic and the richness of pollen floras implies significant patchiness to the vegetation type and clear regional richness of angiosperms. The reduced latitudinal diversity gradient in Early Eocene North American plant species demonstrates that extreme photoperiod in the Arctic did not limit taxonomic diversity of plants. PMID:22072610

  17. Arctic plant diversity in the Early Eocene greenhouse.

    PubMed

    Harrington, Guy J; Eberle, Jaelyn; Le-Page, Ben A; Dawson, Mary; Hutchison, J Howard

    2012-04-22

    For the majority of the Early Caenozoic, a remarkable expanse of humid, mesothermal to temperate forests spread across Northern Polar regions that now contain specialized plant and animal communities adapted to life in extreme environments. Little is known on the taxonomic diversity of Arctic floras during greenhouse periods of the Caenozoic. We show for the first time that plant richness in the globally warm Early Eocene (approx. 55-52 Myr) in the Canadian High Arctic (76° N) is comparable with that approximately 3500 km further south at mid-latitudes in the US western interior (44-47° N). Arctic Eocene pollen floras are most comparable in richness with today's forests in the southeastern United States, some 5000 km further south of the Arctic. Nearly half of the Eocene, Arctic plant taxa are endemic and the richness of pollen floras implies significant patchiness to the vegetation type and clear regional richness of angiosperms. The reduced latitudinal diversity gradient in Early Eocene North American plant species demonstrates that extreme photoperiod in the Arctic did not limit taxonomic diversity of plants.

  18. The microbiome of medicinal plants: diversity and importance for plant growth, quality and health.

    PubMed

    Köberl, Martina; Schmidt, Ruth; Ramadan, Elshahat M; Bauer, Rudolf; Berg, Gabriele

    2013-12-20

    Past medicinal plant research primarily focused on bioactive phytochemicals, however, the focus is currently shifting due to the recognition that a significant number of phytotherapeutic compounds are actually produced by associated microbes or through interaction with their host. Medicinal plants provide an enormous bioresource of potential use in modern medicine and agriculture, yet their microbiome is largely unknown. The objective of this review is (i) to introduce novel insights into the plant microbiome with a focus on medicinal plants, (ii) to provide details about plant- and microbe-derived ingredients of medicinal plants, and (iii) to discuss possibilities for plant growth promotion and plant protection for commercial cultivation of medicinal plants. In addition, we also present a case study performed both to analyse the microbiome of three medicinal plants (Matricaria chamomilla L., Calendula officinalis L., and Solanum distichum Schumach. and Thonn.) cultivated on organically managed Egyptian desert farm and to develop biological control strategies. The soil microbiome of the desert ecosystem was comprised of a high abundance of Gram-positive bacteria of prime importance for pathogen suppression under arid soil conditions. For all three plants, we observed a clearly plant-specific selection of the microbes as well as highly specific diazotrophic communities that overall identify plant species as important drivers in structural and functional diversity. Lastly, native Bacillus spec. div. strains were able to promote plant growth and elevate the plants' flavonoid production. These results underline the numerous links between the plant-associated microbiome and the plant metabolome.

  19. The microbiome of medicinal plants: diversity and importance for plant growth, quality and health

    PubMed Central

    Köberl, Martina; Schmidt, Ruth; Ramadan, Elshahat M.; Bauer, Rudolf; Berg, Gabriele

    2013-01-01

    Past medicinal plant research primarily focused on bioactive phytochemicals, however, the focus is currently shifting due to the recognition that a significant number of phytotherapeutic compounds are actually produced by associated microbes or through interaction with their host. Medicinal plants provide an enormous bioresource of potential use in modern medicine and agriculture, yet their microbiome is largely unknown. The objective of this review is (i) to introduce novel insights into the plant microbiome with a focus on medicinal plants, (ii) to provide details about plant- and microbe-derived ingredients of medicinal plants, and (iii) to discuss possibilities for plant growth promotion and plant protection for commercial cultivation of medicinal plants. In addition, we also present a case study performed both to analyse the microbiome of three medicinal plants (Matricaria chamomilla L., Calendula officinalis L., and Solanum distichum Schumach. and Thonn.) cultivated on organically managed Egyptian desert farm and to develop biological control strategies. The soil microbiome of the desert ecosystem was comprised of a high abundance of Gram-positive bacteria of prime importance for pathogen suppression under arid soil conditions. For all three plants, we observed a clearly plant-specific selection of the microbes as well as highly specific diazotrophic communities that overall identify plant species as important drivers in structural and functional diversity. Lastly, native Bacillus spec. div. strains were able to promote plant growth and elevate the plants’ flavonoid production. These results underline the numerous links between the plant-associated microbiome and the plant metabolome. PMID:24391634

  20. Conserved Gene Expression Programs in Developing Roots from Diverse Plants

    PubMed Central

    Huang, Ling; Schiefelbein, John

    2015-01-01

    The molecular basis for the origin and diversification of morphological adaptations is a central issue in evolutionary developmental biology. Here, we defined temporal transcript accumulation in developing roots from seven vascular plants, permitting a genome-wide comparative analysis of the molecular programs used by a single organ across diverse species. The resulting gene expression maps uncover significant similarity in the genes employed in roots and their developmental expression profiles. The detailed analysis of a subset of 133 genes known to be associated with root development in Arabidopsis thaliana indicates that most of these are used in all plant species. Strikingly, this was also true for root development in a lycophyte (Selaginella moellendorffii), which forms morphologically different roots and is thought to have evolved roots independently. Thus, despite vast differences in size and anatomy of roots from diverse plants, the basic molecular mechanisms employed during root formation appear to be conserved. This suggests that roots evolved in the two major vascular plant lineages either by parallel recruitment of largely the same developmental program or by elaboration of an existing root program in the common ancestor of vascular plants. PMID:26265761

  1. Conserved Gene Expression Programs in Developing Roots from Diverse Plants.

    PubMed

    Huang, Ling; Schiefelbein, John

    2015-08-01

    The molecular basis for the origin and diversification of morphological adaptations is a central issue in evolutionary developmental biology. Here, we defined temporal transcript accumulation in developing roots from seven vascular plants, permitting a genome-wide comparative analysis of the molecular programs used by a single organ across diverse species. The resulting gene expression maps uncover significant similarity in the genes employed in roots and their developmental expression profiles. The detailed analysis of a subset of 133 genes known to be associated with root development in Arabidopsis thaliana indicates that most of these are used in all plant species. Strikingly, this was also true for root development in a lycophyte (Selaginella moellendorffii), which forms morphologically different roots and is thought to have evolved roots independently. Thus, despite vast differences in size and anatomy of roots from diverse plants, the basic molecular mechanisms employed during root formation appear to be conserved. This suggests that roots evolved in the two major vascular plant lineages either by parallel recruitment of largely the same developmental program or by elaboration of an existing root program in the common ancestor of vascular plants.

  2. Herbivores and nutrients control grassland plant diversity via light limitation.

    SciTech Connect

    Borer, Elizabeth T.; et al, et al

    2014-01-01

    Human alterations to nutrient cycles1,2 and herbivore communities3–7 are affecting global biodiversity dramatically2. Ecological theory predicts these changes should be strongly counteractive: nutrient addition drives plant species loss through intensified competition for light, whereas herbivores prevent competitive exclusion by increasing ground-level light, particularly in productive systems8,9. Here we use experimental data spanning a globally relevant range of conditions to test the hypothesis that herbaceous plant species losses caused by eutrophication may be offset by increased light availability due to herbivory. This experiment, replicated in 40 grasslands on 6 continents, demonstrates that nutrients and herbivores can serve as counteracting forces to control local plant diversity through light limitation, independent of site productivity, soil nitrogen, herbivore type and climate. Nutrient addition consistently reduced local diversity through light limitation, and herbivory rescued diversity at sites where it alleviated light limitation. Thus, species loss from anthropogenic eutrophication can be ameliorated in grasslands where herbivory increases ground-level light.

  3. Climate-driven diversity dynamics in plants and plant-feeding insects.

    PubMed

    Nyman, Tommi; Linder, Hans Peter; Peña, Carlos; Malm, Tobias; Wahlberg, Niklas

    2012-08-01

    The origin of species-rich insect-plant food webs has traditionally been explained by diversifying antagonistic coevolution between plant defences and herbivore counter-defences. However, recent studies combining paleoclimatic reconstructions with time-calibrated phylogenies suggest that variation in global climate determines the distribution, abundance and diversity of plant clades and, hence, indirectly influences the balance between speciation and extinction in associated herbivore groups. Extant insect communities tend to be richest on common plant species that have many close relatives. This could be explained either by climate-driven diffuse cospeciation between plants and insects, or by elevated speciation and reduced extinction in herbivore lineages associated with expanding host taxa (resources). Progress in paleovegetation reconstructions in combination with the rapidly increasing availability of fossil-calibrated phylogenies provide means to discern between these alternative hypotheses. In particular, the 'Diffuse cospeciation' scenario predicts closely matching main diversification periods in plants and in the insects that feed upon them, while the 'Resource abundance-dependent diversification' hypothesis predicts that both positive and negative responses of insect diversity are lagged in relation to host-plant availability. The dramatic Cenozoic changes in global climate provide multiple possibilities for studying the mechanisms by which climatic shifts may drive diversity dynamics in plants and insect herbivores.

  4. Assessing foliar ascorbate content in the rice diversity panel 1

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Early spring plantings of rice can have poor stands due to cold temperatures. Our previous studies have shown that high vitamin C (ascorbate AsA) Arabidopsis lines are tolerant to cold stress. The rice diversity panel 1 (RDP1) represents the genetic diversity of Oryza sativa and has been extensively...

  5. Plant functional diversity enhances associations of soil fungal diversity with vegetation and soil in the restoration of semiarid sandy grassland.

    PubMed

    Zuo, Xiaoan; Wang, Shaokun; Lv, Peng; Zhou, Xin; Zhao, Xueyong; Zhang, Tonghui; Zhang, Jing

    2016-01-01

    The trait-based approach shows that plant functional diversity strongly affects ecosystem properties. However, few empirical studies show the relationship between soil fungal diversity and plant functional diversity in natural ecosystems. We investigated soil fungal diversity along a restoration gradient of sandy grassland (mobile dune, semifixed dune, fixed dune, and grassland) in Horqin Sand Land, northern China, using the denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of 18S rRNA and gene sequencing. We also examined associations of soil fungal diversity with plant functional diversity reflected by the dominant species' traits in community (community-weighted mean, CWM) and the dispersion of functional trait values (FD is). We further used the structure equation model (SEM) to evaluate how plant richness, biomass, functional diversity, and soil properties affect soil fungal diversity in sandy grassland restoration. Soil fungal richness in mobile dune and semifixed dune was markedly lower than those of fixed dune and grassland (P < 0.05). Soil fungal richness was positively associated with plant richness, biomass, CWM plant height, and soil gradient aggregated from the principal component analysis, but SEM results showed that plant richness and CWM plant height determined by soil properties were the main factors exerting direct effects. Soil gradient increased fungal richness through indirect effect on vegetation rather than direct effect. The negative indirect effect of FDis on soil fungal richness was through its effect on plant biomass. Our final SEM model based on plant functional diversity explained nearly 70% variances of soil fungal richness. Strong association of soil fungal richness with the dominant species in the community supported the mass ratio hypothesis. Our results clearly highlight the role of plant functional diversity in enhancing associations of soil fungal diversity with community structure and soil properties in sandy grassland ecosystems.

  6. United in diversity: mechanosensitive ion channels in plants.

    PubMed

    Hamilton, Eric S; Schlegel, Angela M; Haswell, Elizabeth S

    2015-01-01

    Mechanosensitive (MS) ion channels are a common mechanism for perceiving and responding to mechanical force. This class of mechanoreceptors is capable of transducing membrane tension directly into ion flux. In plant systems, MS ion channels have been proposed to play a wide array of roles, from the perception of touch and gravity to the osmotic homeostasis of intracellular organelles. Three families of plant MS ion channels have been identified: the MscS-like (MSL), Mid1-complementing activity (MCA), and two-pore potassium (TPK) families. Channels from these families vary widely in structure and function, localize to multiple cellular compartments, and conduct chloride, calcium, and/or potassium ions. However, they are still likely to represent only a fraction of the MS ion channel diversity in plant systems.

  7. United in Diversity: Mechanosensitive Ion Channels in Plants

    PubMed Central

    Hamilton, Eric S.; Schlegel, Angela M.; Haswell, Elizabeth S.

    2015-01-01

    Mechanosensitive (MS) ion channels are a common mechanism for perceiving and responding to mechanical force. This class of mechanoreceptors is capable of transducing membrane tension directly into ion flux. In plant systems, MS ion channels have been proposed to play a wide array of roles, from the perception of touch and gravity to the osmotic homeostasis of intracellular organelles. Three families of plant MS ion channels have been identified: the MscS-like (MSL), Mid1-complementing activity (MCA), and two-pore potassium (TPK) families. Channels from these families vary widely in structure and function, localize to multiple cellular compartments, and conduct chloride, calcium, and/or potassium ions. However, they are still likely to represent only a fraction of the MS ion channel diversity in plant systems. PMID:25494462

  8. Endophytic Fungal Communities Associated with Vascular Plants in the High Arctic Zone Are Highly Diverse and Host-Plant Specific

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Tao; Yao, Yi-Feng

    2015-01-01

    This study assessed the diversity and distribution of endophytic fungal communities associated with the leaves and stems of four vascular plant species in the High Arctic using 454 pyrosequencing with fungal-specific primers targeting the ITS region. Endophytic fungal communities showed high diversity. The 76,691 sequences obtained belonged to 250 operational taxonomic units (OTUs). Of these OTUs, 190 belonged to Ascomycota, 50 to Basidiomycota, 1 to Chytridiomycota, and 9 to unknown fungi. The dominant orders were Helotiales, Pleosporales, Capnodiales, and Tremellales, whereas the common known fungal genera were Cryptococcus, Rhizosphaera, Mycopappus, Melampsora, Tetracladium, Phaeosphaeria, Mrakia, Venturia, and Leptosphaeria. Both the climate and host-related factors might shape the fungal communities associated with the four Arctic plant species in this region. These results suggested the presence of an interesting endophytic fungal community and could improve our understanding of fungal evolution and ecology in the Arctic terrestrial ecosystems. PMID:26067836

  9. Endophytic Fungal Communities Associated with Vascular Plants in the High Arctic Zone Are Highly Diverse and Host-Plant Specific.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Tao; Yao, Yi-Feng

    2015-01-01

    This study assessed the diversity and distribution of endophytic fungal communities associated with the leaves and stems of four vascular plant species in the High Arctic using 454 pyrosequencing with fungal-specific primers targeting the ITS region. Endophytic fungal communities showed high diversity. The 76,691 sequences obtained belonged to 250 operational taxonomic units (OTUs). Of these OTUs, 190 belonged to Ascomycota, 50 to Basidiomycota, 1 to Chytridiomycota, and 9 to unknown fungi. The dominant orders were Helotiales, Pleosporales, Capnodiales, and Tremellales, whereas the common known fungal genera were Cryptococcus, Rhizosphaera, Mycopappus, Melampsora, Tetracladium, Phaeosphaeria, Mrakia, Venturia, and Leptosphaeria. Both the climate and host-related factors might shape the fungal communities associated with the four Arctic plant species in this region. These results suggested the presence of an interesting endophytic fungal community and could improve our understanding of fungal evolution and ecology in the Arctic terrestrial ecosystems.

  10. Expanding Kenya's protected areas under the Convention on Biological Diversity to maximize coverage of plant diversity.

    PubMed

    Scherer, Laura; Curran, Michael; Alvarez, Miguel

    2017-04-01

    Biodiversity is highly valuable and critically threatened by anthropogenic degradation of the natural environment. In response, governments have pledged enhanced protected-area coverage, which requires scarce biological data to identify conservation priorities. To assist this effort, we mapped conservation priorities in Kenya based on maximizing alpha (species richness) and beta diversity (species turnover) of plant communities while minimizing economic costs. We used plant-cover percentages from vegetation surveys of over 2000 plots to build separate models for each type of diversity. Opportunity and management costs were based on literature data and interviews with conservation organizations. Species richness was predicted to be highest in a belt from Lake Turkana through Mount Kenya and in a belt parallel to the coast, and species turnover was predicted to be highest in western Kenya and along the coast. Our results suggest the expanding reserve network should focus on the coast and northeastern provinces of Kenya, where new biological surveys would also fill biological data gaps. Meeting the Convention on Biological Diversity target of 17% terrestrial coverage by 2020 would increase representation of Kenya's plant communities by 75%. However, this would require about 50 times more funds than Kenya has received thus far from the Global Environment Facility.

  11. Effects of riparian plant diversity loss on aquatic microbial decomposers become more pronounced with increasing time.

    PubMed

    Fernandes, Isabel; Duarte, Sofia; Cássio, Fernanda; Pascoal, Cláudia

    2013-11-01

    We examined the potential long-term impacts of riparian plant diversity loss on diversity and activity of aquatic microbial decomposers. Microbial assemblages were obtained in a mixed-forest stream by immersion of mesh bags containing three leaf species (alder, oak and eucalyptus), commonly found in riparian corridors of Iberian streams. Simulation of species loss was done in microcosms by including a set of all leaf species, retrieved from the stream, and non-colonized leaves of three, two or one leaf species. Leaves were renewed every month throughout six months, and microbial inoculum was ensured by a set of colonized leaves from the previous month. Microbial diversity, leaf mass loss and fungal biomass were assessed at the second and sixth months after plant species loss. Molecular diversity of fungi and bacteria, as the total number of operational taxonomic units per leaf diversity treatment, decreased with leaf diversity loss. Fungal biomass tended to decrease linearly with leaf species loss on oak and eucalyptus, suggesting more pronounced effects of leaf diversity on lower quality leaves. Decomposition of alder and eucalyptus leaves was affected by leaf species identity, mainly after longer times following diversity loss. Leaf decomposition of alder decreased when mixed with eucalyptus, while decomposition of eucalyptus decreased in mixtures with oak. Results suggest that the effects of leaf diversity on microbial decomposers depended on leaf species number and also on which species were lost from the system, especially after longer times. This may have implications for the management of riparian forests to maintain stream ecosystem functioning.

  12. Diverse and bioactive endophytic Aspergilli inhabit Cupressaceae plant family.

    PubMed

    Soltani, Jalal; Moghaddam, Mahdieh S Hosseyni

    2014-09-01

    Aspergilli are filamentous, cosmopolitan and ubiquitous fungi which have significant impact on human, animal and plant welfare worldwide. Due to their extraordinary metabolic diversity, Aspergillus species are used in biotechnology for the production of a vast array of biomolecules. However, little is known about Aspergillus species that are able to adapt an endophytic lifestyle in Cupressaceae plant family and are capable of producing cytotoxic, antifungal and antibacterial metabolites. In this work, we report a possible ecological niche for pathogenic fungi such as Aspergillus fumigatus and Aspergillus flavus. Indeed, our findings indicate that A. fumigatus, A. flavus, Aspergillus niger var. niger and A. niger var. awamori adapt an endophytic lifestyle inside the Cupressaceous plants including Cupressus arizonica, Cupressus sempervirens var. fastigiata, Cupressus semipervirens var. cereiformis, and Thuja orientalis. In addition, we found that extracts of endophytic Aspergilli showed significant growth inhibition and cytotoxicity against the model fungus Pyricularia oryzae and bacteria such as Bacillus sp., Erwinia amylovora and Pseudomonas syringae. These endophytic Aspergilli also showed in vitro antifungal effects on the cypress fungal phytopathogens including Diplodia seriata, Phaeobotryon cupressi and Spencermartinsia viticola. In conclusion, our findings clearly support the endophytic association of Aspergilli with Cupressaceae plants and their possible role in protection of host plants against biotic stresses. Observed bioactivities of such endophytic Aspergilli may represent a significant potential for bioindustry and biocontrol applications.

  13. Plant diversity increases spatio-temporal niche complementarity in plant-pollinator interactions.

    PubMed

    Venjakob, Christine; Klein, Alexandra-Maria; Ebeling, Anne; Tscharntke, Teja; Scherber, Christoph

    2016-04-01

    Ongoing biodiversity decline impairs ecosystem processes, including pollination. Flower visitation, an important indicator of pollination services, is influenced by plant species richness. However, the spatio-temporal responses of different pollinator groups to plant species richness have not yet been analyzed experimentally. Here, we used an experimental plant species richness gradient to analyze plant-pollinator interactions with an unprecedented spatio-temporal resolution. We observed four pollinator functional groups (honeybees, bumblebees, solitary bees, and hoverflies) in experimental plots at three different vegetation strata between sunrise and sunset. Visits were modified by plant species richness interacting with time and space. Furthermore, the complementarity of pollinator functional groups in space and time was stronger in species-rich mixtures. We conclude that high plant diversity should ensure stable pollination services, mediated via spatio-temporal niche complementarity in flower visitation.

  14. Development and Initial Psychometric Assessment of the Plant Attitude Questionnaire

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fančovičová, Jana; Prokop, Pavol

    2010-10-01

    Plants are integral parts of ecosystems which determine life on Earth. People's attitudes toward them are however, largely overlooked. Here we present initial psychometric assessment of self-constructed Plant Attitude Scale (PAS) that was administered to a sample of 310 Slovakian students living in rural areas aged 10-15 years. The final version of PAS consists from 29 Likert-scale items that were loaded to four distinct dimensions (Interest, Importance, Urban trees and Utilization). Mean scores revealed that Slovakian students lack positive attitudes toward plants and that gender had no effect on their mean attitude scores. Living in a family with a garden was associated with a more positive attitude toward plants. Further correlative research on diverse samples containing urban children and experimental research examining the impact of gardening in schools on student attitudes toward plants is required.

  15. Food webs obscure the strength of plant diversity effects on primary productivity.

    PubMed

    Seabloom, Eric W; Kinkel, Linda; Borer, Elizabeth T; Hautier, Yann; Montgomery, Rebecca A; Tilman, David

    2017-04-01

    Plant diversity experiments generally find that increased diversity causes increased productivity; however, primary productivity is typically measured in the presence of a diverse food web, including pathogens, mutualists and herbivores. If food web impacts on productivity vary with plant diversity, as predicted by both theoretical and empirical studies, estimates of the effect of plant diversity on productivity may be biased. We experimentally removed arthropods, foliar fungi and soil fungi from the longest-running plant diversity experiment. We found that fungi and arthropods removed a constant, large proportion of biomass leading to a greater reduction of total biomass in high diversity plots. As a result, the effect of diversity on measured plant productivity was much higher in the absence of fungi and arthropods. Thus, diversity increases productivity more than reported in previous studies that did not control for the effects of heterotrophic consumption.

  16. Earthworms and legumes control litter decomposition in a plant diversity gradient.

    PubMed

    Milcu, Alexandru; Partsch, Stephan; Scherber, Christoph; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Scheu, Stefan

    2008-07-01

    The role of species and functional group diversity of primary producers for decomposers and decomposition processes is little understood. We made use of the "Jena Biodiversity Experiment" and tested the hypothesis that increasing plant species (1, 4, and 16 species) and functional group diversity (1, 2, 3, and 4 groups) beneficially affects decomposer density and activity and therefore the decomposition of plant litter material. Furthermore, by manipulating the densities of decomposers (earthworms and springtails) within the plant diversity gradient we investigated how the interactions between plant diversity and decomposer densities affect the decomposition of litter belonging to different plant functional groups (grasses, herbs, and legumes). Positive effects of increasing plant species or functional group diversity on earthworms (biomass and density) and microbial biomass were mainly due to the increased incidence of legumes with increasing diversity. Neither plant species diversity nor functional group diversity affected litter decomposition, However, litter decomposition varied with decomposer and plant functional group identity (of both living plants and plant litter). While springtail removal generally had little effect on decomposition, increased earthworm density accelerated the decomposition of nitrogen-rich legume litter, and this was more pronounced at higher plant diversity. The results suggest that earthworms (Lumbricus terrestris L.) and legumes function as keystone organisms for grassland decomposition processes and presumably contribute to the recorded increase in primary productivity with increasing plant diversity.

  17. Plant diterpene synthases: exploring modularity and metabolic diversity for bioengineering.

    PubMed

    Zerbe, Philipp; Bohlmann, Jörg

    2015-07-01

    Plants produce thousands of diterpenoid natural products; some of which are of significant industrial value as biobased pharmaceuticals (taxol), fragrances (sclareol), food additives (steviosides), and commodity chemicals (diterpene resin acids). In nature, diterpene synthase (diTPS) enzymes are essential for generating diverse diterpene hydrocarbon scaffolds. While some diTPSs also form oxygenated compounds, more commonly, oxygenation is achieved by cytochrome P450-dependent mono-oxygenases. Recent genome-, transcriptome-, and metabolome-guided gene discovery and enzyme characterization identified novel diTPS functions that form the core of complex modular pathway systems. Insights into diterpene metabolism may translate into the development of new bioengineered microbial and plant-based production systems.

  18. Tiger Team assessment of the Pinellas Plant

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1990-05-01

    This Document contains findings identified during the Tiger Team Compliance Assessment of the Department of Energy's (DOE's) Pinellas Plant, Pinellas County, Florida. The assessment wa directed by the Department's Office of Environment, Safety, and Health (ES H) from January 15 to February 2, 1990. The Pinellas Tiger Team Compliance Assessment is comprehensive in scope. It covers the Environment Safety and Health, and Management areas and determines the plant's compliance with applicable Federal (including DOE), State, and local regulations and requirements.

  19. Plant diversity moderates drought stress in grasslands: Implications from a large real-world study on (13)C natural abundances.

    PubMed

    Klaus, Valentin H; Hölzel, Norbert; Prati, Daniel; Schmitt, Barbara; Schöning, Ingo; Schrumpf, Marion; Solly, Emily F; Hänsel, Falk; Fischer, Markus; Kleinebecker, Till

    2016-10-01

    Land-use change and intensification play a key role in the current biodiversity crisis. The resulting species loss can have severe effects on ecosystem functions and services, thereby increasing ecosystem vulnerability to climate change. We explored whether land-use intensification (i.e. fertilization intensity), plant diversity and other potentially confounding environmental factors may be significantly related to water use (i.e. drought stress) of grassland plants. Drought stress was assessed using δ(13)C abundances in aboveground plant biomass of 150 grassland plots across a gradient of land-use intensity. Under water shortage, plants are forced to increasingly take up the heavier (13)C due to closing stomata leading to an enrichment of (13)C in biomass. Plants were sampled at the community level and for single species, which belong to three different functional groups (one grass, one herb, two legumes). Results show that plant diversity was significantly related to the δ(13)C signal in community, grass and legume biomass indicating that drought stress was lower under higher diversity, although this relation was not significant for the herb species under study. Fertilization, in turn, mostly increased drought stress as indicated by more positive δ(13)C values. This effect was mostly indirect by decreasing plant diversity. In line with these results, we found similar patterns in the δ(13)C signal of the organic matter in the topsoil, indicating a long history of these processes. Our study provided strong indication for a positive biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationship with reduced drought stress at higher plant diversity. However, it also underlined a negative reinforcing situation: as land-use intensification decreases plant diversity in grasslands, this might subsequently increases drought sensitivity. Vice-versa, enhancing plant diversity in species-poor agricultural grasslands may moderate negative effects of future climate change.

  20. Diversity: Challenges and Implications for Assessment.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Cheng, Li-Rong Lilly

    1997-01-01

    Discusses the inappropriate referral of culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) students for speech-language therapy. Preassessment considerations that should be considered and the interrelatedness of culture, language, and communication as they impact on an individual learner's behavior are explained. Culturally appropriate assessment…

  1. Deforestation and plant diversity of Madagascar's littoral forests.

    PubMed

    Consiglio, Trisha; Schatz, George E; McPherson, Gordon; Lowry, Porter P; Rabenantoandro, Johny; Rogers, Zachary S; Rabevohitra, Raymond; Rabehevitra, David

    2006-12-01

    Few studies have attempted to quantify the reduction or document the floristic composition of forests in Madagascar. Thus, we focused specifically on deforestation and plant diversity in Madagascar's eastern littoral community. We used a data set of approximately 13,500 specimen records compiled from both historical and contemporary collections resulting from recent intensive inventory efforts to enumerate total plant species richness and to analyze the degree of endemism within littoral forests. Change in littoral forest cover from original to current extent was estimated using geographical information systems tools, remote sensing data (satellite imagery and low-elevation digital photography), and environmental data layers. Of the original littoral forest only 10.3% remains in the form of small forest parcels, and only 1.5% of these remaining fragments are included within the existing protected-areas network. Additionally, approximately 13% of Madagascar's total native flora has been recorded from these forests that originally occupied <1% of its total land surface, and over 25% of the 1535 plant species known from littoral forests are endemic to this community. Given the ongoing pressure from human settlement along Madagascar's eastern coast, protection of the remaining forest fragments is critical for their survival. Fifteen of the largest intact littoral forest fragments we identified, collectively representing 41.5% of remaining littoral forest, are among priority sites recommended to the government of Madagascar for plant conservation and incorporation into the protected-areas network.

  2. Assessing Students' Ideas about Plants.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Barman, Charles R.; Stein, Mary; Barman, Natalie S.; McNair, Shannan

    2002-01-01

    Presents an interview protocol used to identify and evaluate students' conceptions of plants which is an invitation to participate in the third national study exploring elementary students' science conceptions. (YDS)

  3. Antimicrobial plant metabolites: structural diversity and mechanism of action.

    PubMed

    Radulović, N S; Blagojević, P D; Stojanović-Radić, Z Z; Stojanović, N M

    2013-01-01

    Microbial infectious diseases continue to be one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality. It has been estimated that microbial species comprise about 60% of the Earth's biomass. This, together with the fact that their genetic, metabolic and physiological diversity is extraordinary, makes them a major threat to the health and development of populations across the world. Widespread antibiotic resistance, the emergence of new pathogens in addition to the resurgence of old ones, and the lack of effective new therapeutics exacerbate the problems. Thus, the need to discover and develop new antimicrobial agents is critical to improve mankind's future health. Plant secondary metabolites (PSMs) offer particular promise in this sense. Plant Kingdom could be considered a rich source of the most diverse structures (e.g. there are more than 12,000 known alkaloids, more than 8,000 phenolic compounds and over 25,000 different terpenoids), many of which were proven to possess strong antimicrobial properties (e.g. thymol, eurabienol, etc.). In many instances, PSMs can be easily isolated from the plant matrix, either in pure state or in the form of mixtures of chemically related compounds. What is also important is that the development of bacterial resistance toward natural plant products (that are generally regarded as eco-friendly) has been thus far documented in a very limited number of cases (e.g. for reserpine). Having all of the mentioned advantages of PSMs as potential antimicrobials in mind, a major question arises: why is it that there are still no commercially available or commonly used antibiotics of plant origin? This review tries to give a critical answer to this question by considering potential mechanisms of antimicrobial action of PSMs (inhibition of cell wall or protein synthesis, inducing leakage from the cells by tampering with the function of the membranes, interfering with intermediary metabolisms or DNA/RNA synthesis/function), as well as their

  4. Functional Diversity of Boreal Bog Plant Species Decreases Seasonal Variation of Ecosystem Carbon Sink Function

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Korrensalo, A.

    2015-12-01

    Species diversity has been found to decrease the temporal variance of productivity of a plant community, and diversity in species responses to environmental factors seems to make a plant community more stable in changing conditions. Boreal bogs are nutrient poor peatland ecosystems where the number of plant species is low but the species differ greatly in their growth form. In here we aim to assess the role of the variation in photosynthesis between species for the temporal variation in ecosystem carbon sink function. To quantify the photosynthetic properties and their seasonal variation for different bog plant species we measured photosynthetic parameters and stress-inducing chlorophyll fluorescence of vascular plant and Sphagnum moss species in a boreal bog over a growing season. We estimated monthly gross photosynthesis (PG) of the whole study site based on species level light response curves and leaf area development. The estimated PG was further compared with a gross primary production (GPP) estimate measured by eddy covariance (EC) technique. The sum of upscaled PG estimates agreed well with the GPP estimate measured by the EC technique. The contributions of the species and species groups to the ecosystem level PG changed over the growing season. The sharp mid-summer peak in sedge PG was balanced by more stable PG of evergreen shrubs and Sphagna. Species abundance rather than differences in photosynthetic properties between species and growth forms determined the most productive plants on the ecosystem scale. Sphagna had lower photosynthesis and clorophyll fluorescence than vascular plants but were more productive on the ecosystem scale throughout the growing season due to their high areal coverage. These results show that the diversity of growth forms stabilizes the seasonal variation of the ecosystem level PG in an ombrotrophic bog ecosystem. This may increase the resilience of the ecosystem to changing environmental conditions.

  5. Enhanced interannual precipitation variability increases plant functional diversity that in turn ameliorates negative impact on productivity.

    PubMed

    Gherardi, Laureano A; Sala, Osvaldo E

    2015-12-01

    Although precipitation interannual variability is projected to increase due to climate change, effects of changes in precipitation variance have received considerable less attention than effects of changes in the mean state of climate. Interannual precipitation variability effects on functional diversity and its consequences for ecosystem functioning are assessed here using a 6-year rainfall manipulation experiment. Five precipitation treatments were switched annually resulting in increased levels of precipitation variability while maintaining average precipitation constant. Functional diversity showed a positive response to increased variability due to increased evenness. Dominant grasses decreased and rare plant functional types increased in abundance because grasses showed a hump-shaped response to precipitation with a maximum around modal precipitation, whereas rare species peaked at high precipitation values. Increased functional diversity ameliorated negative effects of precipitation variability on primary production. Rare species buffered the effect of precipitation variability on the variability in total productivity because their variance decreases with increasing precipitation variance.

  6. Plant and bird diversity in natural forests and in native and exotic plantations in NW Portugal

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Proença, Vânia M.; Pereira, Henrique M.; Guilherme, João; Vicente, Luís

    2010-03-01

    Forest ecosystems have been subjected to continuous dynamics between deforestation and forestation. Assessing the effects of these processes on biodiversity could be essential for conservation planning. We analyzed patterns of species richness, diversity and evenness of plants and birds in patches of natural forest of Quercus spp. and in stands of native Pinus pinaster and exotic Eucalyptus globulus in NW Portugal. We analyzed data of forest and non-forest species separately, at the intra-patch, patch and inter-patch scales. Forest plant richness, diversity and evenness were higher in oak forest than in pine and eucalypt plantations. In total, 52 species of forest plants were observed in oak forest, 33 in pine plantation and 28 in eucalypt plantation. Some forest species, such as Euphorbia dulcis, Omphalodes nitida and Eryngium juresianum, were exclusively or mostly observed in oak forest. Forest bird richness and diversity were higher in both oak and pine forests than in eucalypt forest; evenness did not differ among forests. In total, 16 species of forest birds were observed in oak forest, 18 in pine forest and 11 in eucalypt forest. Species such as Certhia brachydactyla, Sitta europaea and Dendrocopos major were common in oak and/or pine patches but were absent from eucalypt stands. Species-area relationships of forest plants and forest birds in oak patches had consistently a higher slope, at both the intra and inter-patch scales, than species-area relationships of forest species in plantations and non-forest species in oak forest. These findings demonstrate the importance of oak forest for the conservation of forest species diversity, pointing the need to conserve large areas of oak forest due to the apparent vulnerability of forest species to area loss. Additionally, diversity patterns in pine forest were intermediate between oak forest and eucalypt forest, suggesting that forest species patterns may be affected by forest naturalness.

  7. Plant diversity drives soil microbial biomass carbon in grasslands irrespective of global environmental change factors.

    PubMed

    Thakur, Madhav Prakash; Milcu, Alexandru; Manning, Pete; Niklaus, Pascal A; Roscher, Christiane; Power, Sally; Reich, Peter B; Scheu, Stefan; Tilman, David; Ai, Fuxun; Guo, Hongyan; Ji, Rong; Pierce, Sarah; Ramirez, Nathaly Guerrero; Richter, Annabell Nicola; Steinauer, Katja; Strecker, Tanja; Vogel, Anja; Eisenhauer, Nico

    2015-11-01

    Soil microbial biomass is a key determinant of carbon dynamics in the soil. Several studies have shown that soil microbial biomass significantly increases with plant species diversity, but it remains unclear whether plant species diversity can also stabilize soil microbial biomass in a changing environment. This question is particularly relevant as many global environmental change (GEC) factors, such as drought and nutrient enrichment, have been shown to reduce soil microbial biomass. Experiments with orthogonal manipulations of plant diversity and GEC factors can provide insights whether plant diversity can attenuate such detrimental effects on soil microbial biomass. Here, we present the analysis of 12 different studies with 14 unique orthogonal plant diversity × GEC manipulations in grasslands, where plant diversity and at least one GEC factor (elevated CO2 , nutrient enrichment, drought, earthworm presence, or warming) were manipulated. Our results show that higher plant diversity significantly enhances soil microbial biomass with the strongest effects in long-term field experiments. In contrast, GEC factors had inconsistent effects with only drought having a significant negative effect. Importantly, we report consistent non-significant effects for all 14 interactions between plant diversity and GEC factors, which indicates a limited potential of plant diversity to attenuate the effects of GEC factors on soil microbial biomass. We highlight that plant diversity is a major determinant of soil microbial biomass in experimental grasslands that can influence soil carbon dynamics irrespective of GEC.

  8. Diversity cascades in alfalfa fields: from plant quality to agroecosystem diversity.

    PubMed

    Pearson, Clark V; Massad, Tara J; Dyer, Lee A

    2008-08-01

    To examine top-down and bottom-up influences on managed terrestrial communities, we manipulated plant resources and arthropod abundance in alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) fields. We modified arthropod communities using three nonfactorial manipulations: pitfall traps to remove selected arthropods, wooden crates to create habitat heterogeneity, and an arthropod removal treatment using a reversible leaf blower. These manipulations were crossed with fertilizer additions, which were applied to half of the plots. We found strong effects of fertilizer on plant quality and biomass, and these effects cascaded up to increase herbivore abundance and diversity. The predator community also exhibited a consistent positive effect on the maintenance of herbivore species richness and abundance. These top-down changes in arthropods did not cascade down to affect plant biomass; however, plant quality (saponin content) increased with higher herbivore densities. These results corroborate previous studies in alfalfa that show complex indirect effects, such as trophic cascades, can operate in agricultural systems, but the specifics of the interactions depend on the assemblages of arthropods involved.

  9. Gene regulation networks generate diverse pigmentation patterns in plants.

    PubMed

    Albert, Nick W; Davies, Kevin M; Schwinn, Kathy E

    2014-01-01

    The diversity of pigmentation patterns observed in plants occurs due to the spatial distribution and accumulation of colored compounds, which may also be associated with structural changes to the tissue. Anthocyanins are flavonoids that provide red/purple/blue coloration to plants, often forming complex patterns such as spots, stripes, and vein-associated pigmentation, particularly in flowers. These patterns are determined by the activity of MYB-bHLH-WDR (MBW) transcription factor complexes, which activate the anthocyanin biosynthesis genes, resulting in anthocyanin pigment accumulation. Recently, we established that the MBW complex controlling anthocyanin synthesis acts within a gene regulation network that is conserved within at least the Eudicots. This network involves hierarchy, reinforcement, and feedback mechanisms that allow for stringent and responsive regulation of the anthocyanin biosynthesis genes. The gene network and mobile nature of the WDR and R3-MYB proteins provide exciting new opportunities to explore the basis of pigmentation patterning, and to investigate the evolutionary history of the MBW components in land plants.

  10. Plant-soil feedback and the maintenance of diversity in Mediterranean-climate shrublands.

    PubMed

    Teste, François P; Kardol, Paul; Turner, Benjamin L; Wardle, David A; Zemunik, Graham; Renton, Michael; Laliberté, Etienne

    2017-01-13

    Soil biota influence plant performance through plant-soil feedback, but it is unclear whether the strength of such feedback depends on plant traits and whether plant-soil feedback drives local plant diversity. We grew 16 co-occurring plant species with contrasting nutrient-acquisition strategies from hyperdiverse Australian shrublands and exposed them to soil biota from under their own or other plant species. Plant responses to soil biota varied according to their nutrient-acquisition strategy, including positive feedback for ectomycorrhizal plants and negative feedback for nitrogen-fixing and nonmycorrhizal plants. Simulations revealed that such strategy-dependent feedback is sufficient to maintain the high taxonomic and functional diversity characterizing these Mediterranean-climate shrublands. Our study identifies nutrient-acquisition strategy as a key trait explaining how different plant responses to soil biota promote local plant diversity.

  11. Green Plants in the Red: A Baseline Global Assessment for the IUCN Sampled Red List Index for Plants.

    PubMed

    Brummitt, Neil A; Bachman, Steven P; Griffiths-Lee, Janine; Lutz, Maiko; Moat, Justin F; Farjon, Aljos; Donaldson, John S; Hilton-Taylor, Craig; Meagher, Thomas R; Albuquerque, Sara; Aletrari, Elina; Andrews, A Kei; Atchison, Guy; Baloch, Elisabeth; Barlozzini, Barbara; Brunazzi, Alice; Carretero, Julia; Celesti, Marco; Chadburn, Helen; Cianfoni, Eduardo; Cockel, Chris; Coldwell, Vanessa; Concetti, Benedetta; Contu, Sara; Crook, Vicki; Dyson, Philippa; Gardiner, Lauren; Ghanim, Nadia; Greene, Hannah; Groom, Alice; Harker, Ruth; Hopkins, Della; Khela, Sonia; Lakeman-Fraser, Poppy; Lindon, Heather; Lockwood, Helen; Loftus, Christine; Lombrici, Debora; Lopez-Poveda, Lucia; Lyon, James; Malcolm-Tompkins, Patricia; McGregor, Kirsty; Moreno, Laura; Murray, Linda; Nazar, Keara; Power, Emily; Quiton Tuijtelaars, Mireya; Salter, Ruth; Segrott, Robert; Thacker, Hannah; Thomas, Leighton J; Tingvoll, Sarah; Watkinson, Gemma; Wojtaszekova, Katerina; Nic Lughadha, Eimear M

    2015-01-01

    Plants provide fundamental support systems for life on Earth and are the basis for all terrestrial ecosystems; a decline in plant diversity will be detrimental to all other groups of organisms including humans. Decline in plant diversity has been hard to quantify, due to the huge numbers of known and yet to be discovered species and the lack of an adequate baseline assessment of extinction risk against which to track changes. The biodiversity of many remote parts of the world remains poorly known, and the rate of new assessments of extinction risk for individual plant species approximates the rate at which new plant species are described. Thus the question 'How threatened are plants?' is still very difficult to answer accurately. While completing assessments for each species of plant remains a distant prospect, by assessing a randomly selected sample of species the Sampled Red List Index for Plants gives, for the first time, an accurate view of how threatened plants are across the world. It represents the first key phase of ongoing efforts to monitor the status of the world's plants. More than 20% of plant species assessed are threatened with extinction, and the habitat with the most threatened species is overwhelmingly tropical rain forest, where the greatest threat to plants is anthropogenic habitat conversion, for arable and livestock agriculture, and harvesting of natural resources. Gymnosperms (e.g. conifers and cycads) are the most threatened group, while a third of plant species included in this study have yet to receive an assessment or are so poorly known that we cannot yet ascertain whether they are threatened or not. This study provides a baseline assessment from which trends in the status of plant biodiversity can be measured and periodically reassessed.

  12. Green Plants in the Red: A Baseline Global Assessment for the IUCN Sampled Red List Index for Plants

    PubMed Central

    Griffiths-Lee, Janine; Lutz, Maiko; Moat, Justin F.; Farjon, Aljos; Donaldson, John S.; Hilton-Taylor, Craig; Meagher, Thomas R.; Albuquerque, Sara; Aletrari, Elina; Andrews, A. Kei; Atchison, Guy; Baloch, Elisabeth; Barlozzini, Barbara; Brunazzi, Alice; Carretero, Julia; Celesti, Marco; Chadburn, Helen; Cianfoni, Eduardo; Cockel, Chris; Coldwell, Vanessa; Concetti, Benedetta; Contu, Sara; Crook, Vicki; Dyson, Philippa; Gardiner, Lauren; Ghanim, Nadia; Greene, Hannah; Groom, Alice; Harker, Ruth; Hopkins, Della; Khela, Sonia; Lakeman-Fraser, Poppy; Lindon, Heather; Lockwood, Helen; Loftus, Christine; Lombrici, Debora; Lopez-Poveda, Lucia; Lyon, James; Malcolm-Tompkins, Patricia; McGregor, Kirsty; Moreno, Laura; Murray, Linda; Nazar, Keara; Power, Emily; Quiton Tuijtelaars, Mireya; Salter, Ruth; Segrott, Robert; Thacker, Hannah; Thomas, Leighton J.; Tingvoll, Sarah; Watkinson, Gemma; Wojtaszekova, Katerina; Nic Lughadha, Eimear M.

    2015-01-01

    Plants provide fundamental support systems for life on Earth and are the basis for all terrestrial ecosystems; a decline in plant diversity will be detrimental to all other groups of organisms including humans. Decline in plant diversity has been hard to quantify, due to the huge numbers of known and yet to be discovered species and the lack of an adequate baseline assessment of extinction risk against which to track changes. The biodiversity of many remote parts of the world remains poorly known, and the rate of new assessments of extinction risk for individual plant species approximates the rate at which new plant species are described. Thus the question ‘How threatened are plants?’ is still very difficult to answer accurately. While completing assessments for each species of plant remains a distant prospect, by assessing a randomly selected sample of species the Sampled Red List Index for Plants gives, for the first time, an accurate view of how threatened plants are across the world. It represents the first key phase of ongoing efforts to monitor the status of the world’s plants. More than 20% of plant species assessed are threatened with extinction, and the habitat with the most threatened species is overwhelmingly tropical rain forest, where the greatest threat to plants is anthropogenic habitat conversion, for arable and livestock agriculture, and harvesting of natural resources. Gymnosperms (e.g. conifers and cycads) are the most threatened group, while a third of plant species included in this study have yet to receive an assessment or are so poorly known that we cannot yet ascertain whether they are threatened or not. This study provides a baseline assessment from which trends in the status of plant biodiversity can be measured and periodically reassessed. PMID:26252495

  13. Quality assessment of recombinant proteins produced in plants.

    PubMed

    Medrano, Giuliana; Dolan, Maureen C; Condori, Jose; Radin, David N; Cramer, Carole L

    2012-01-01

    Plant-based expression technologies for recombinant proteins have begun to receive acceptance for pharmaceuticals and other commercial markets. Protein products derived from plants offer safer, more cost-effective, and less capital-intensive alternatives to traditional manufacturing systems using microbial fermentation or animal cell culture bioreactors. Moreover, plants are now known to be capable of expressing bioactive proteins from a diverse array of species including animals and humans. Methods development to assess the quality and performance of proteins manufactured in plants are essential to support the QA/QC demands as plant-produced protein products transition to the commercial marketplace. Within the pharmaceutical arena, process validation and acceptance criteria for biological products must comply with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and ICH Q6B guidelines in order to initiate the regulatory approval process. Detailed product specifications will also need to be developed and validated for plant-made proteins for the bioenergy, food, chemical synthesis, or research reagent markets.We have, therefore, developed assessment methods for important qualitative and quantitative parameters of the products and the manufacturing methods utilized in plant-based production systems. In this chapter, we describe a number of procedures to validate product identity and characteristics including mass analyses, antibody cross-reactivity, N-terminal sequencing, and bioactivity. We also address methods for routine assessment of yield, recovery, and purity. The methods presented are those developed for the synthesis and recovery of the avian cytokine, chicken interleukin-12 (ChIL-12), produced in the leaves of Nicotiana benthamiana. The ChIL-12 protein used as a model for this chapter includes a C-terminal histidine epitope (HIS-tag) and, thus, these methods may be directly applicable to other HIS-tagged proteins produced in plants. However, the overall strategy

  14. Impacts of weather on long-term patterns of plant richness and diversity vary with location and management.

    PubMed

    Jonas, Jayne L; Buhl, Deborah A; Symstad, Amy J

    2015-09-01

    Better understanding the influence of precipitation and temperature on plant assemblages is needed to predict the effects of climate change. Many studies have examined the relationship between plant productivity and weather (primarily precipitation), but few have directly assessed the relationship between plant richness or diversity and weather despite their increased use as metrics of ecosystem condition. We focus on the grasslands of central North America, which are characterized by high temporal climatic variability. Over the next 100 years, these grasslands are predicted to experience further increased variability in growing season precipitation, as well as increased temperatures, due to global climate change. We assess the portion of interannual variability of richness and diversity explained by weather, how relationships between these metrics and weather vary among plant assemblages, and which aspects of weather best explain temporal variability. We used an information-theoretic approach to assess relationships between long-term plant richness and diversity patterns and a priori weather covariates using six data sets from four grasslands. Weather explained up to 49% and 63% of interannual variability in total plant species richness and diversity, respectively. However, richness and diversity responses to specific weather variables varied both among sites and among experimental treatments within sites. In general, we found many instances in which temperature was of equal or greater importance as precipitation, as well as evidence of the importance of lagged effects and precipitation or temperature variability. Although precipitation has been shown to be a key driver of productivity in grasslands, our results indicate that increasing temperatures alone, without substantial changes in precipitation patterns, could have measurable effects on Great Plains grassland plant assemblages and biodiversity metrics. Our results also suggest that richness and diversity

  15. Impacts of weather on long-term patterns of plant richness and diversity vary with location and management

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jonas, Jayne L.; Buhl, Deborah A.; Symstad, Amy J.

    2015-01-01

    Better understanding the influence of precipitation and temperature on plant assemblages is needed to predict the effects of climate change. Many studies have examined the relationship between plant productivity and weather (primarily precipitation), but few have directly assessed the relationship between plant richness or diversity and weather despite their increased use as metrics of ecosystem condition. We focus on the grasslands of central North America, which are characterized by high temporal climatic variability. Over the next 100 years, these grasslands are predicted to experience further increased variability in growing season precipitation, as well as increased temperatures, due to global climate change. We assess 1) the portion of interannual variability of richness and diversity explained by weather, 2) how relationships between these metrics and weather vary among plant assemblages, and 3) which aspects of weather best explain temporal variability. We used an information-theoretic approach to assess relationships between long-term plant richness and diversity patterns and a priori weather covariates using six datasets from four grasslands. Weather explained up to 49% and 63% of interannual variability in total plant species richness and diversity, respectively. However, richness and diversity responses to specific weather variables varied both among sites and among experimental treatments within sites. In general, we found many instances in which temperature was of equal or greater importance as precipitation, as well as evidence of the importance of lagged effects and precipitation or temperature variability. Although precipitation has been shown to be a key driver of productivity in grasslands, our results indicate that increasing temperatures alone, without substantial changes in precipitation patterns, could have measurable effects on Great Plains grassland plant assemblages and biodiversity metrics. Our results also suggest that richness and

  16. Assessment of the genetic diversity of Frankia microsymbionts of Elaeagnus angustifolia L. plants growing in a Tunisian date-palm oasis by analysis of PCR amplified nifD-K intergenic spacer.

    PubMed

    Gtari, Maher; Daffonchio, Daniele; Boudabous, Abdellatif

    2007-03-01

    Diversity of Frankia microsymbionts of non-native Elaeagnus angustifolia L. plants spontaneously growing in a Tunisian desertic retreat area, the date-palm oasis of Tozeur, was investigated by polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) and PCR-sequencing techniques targeting the nifD-K intergenic spacer. Three PCR-RFLP haplotypes (I, II, and III) were detected among collected nodules. Haplotype I was detected at all five sampling sites and dominated the other haplotypes present at these sites. This haplotype was also exhibited by strain BMG5.10, which was isolated by a plant-capturing assay in 1998 from soil collected in the same locality, qualifying it to be the most competitive haplotype in the edapho-climatic condition of the studied desertic date-palm oasis. nifD-K sequences of the three haplotypes formed a closely related phylogenetic subgroup. These results suggest that Frankia variability is constrained by severe edapho-climatic conditions of retreated desert in Tunisian area.

  17. Technology-Enhanced Formative Assessment of Plant Identification

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Conejo, Ricardo; Garcia-Viñas, Juan Ignacio; Gastón, Aitor; Barros, Beatriz

    2016-04-01

    Developing plant identification skills is an important part of the curriculum of any botany course in higher education. Frequent practice with dried and fresh plants is necessary to recognize the diversity of forms, states, and details that a species can present. We have developed a web-based assessment system for mobile devices that is able to pose appropriate questions according to the location of the student. A student's location can be obtained using the device position or by scanning a QR code attached to a dried plant sheet in a herbarium or to a fresh plant in an arboretum. The assessment questions are complemented with elaborated feedback that, according to the students' responses, provides indications of possible mistakes and correct answers. Three experiments were designed to measure the effectiveness of the formative assessment using dried and fresh plants. Three questionnaires were used to evaluate the system performance from the students' perspective. The results clearly indicate that formative assessment is objectively effective compared to traditional methods and that the students' attitudes towards the system were very positive.

  18. Turnover of plant lineages shapes herbivore phylogenetic beta diversity along ecological gradients.

    PubMed

    Pellissier, Loïc; Ndiribe, Charlotte; Dubuis, Anne; Pradervand, Jean-Nicolas; Salamin, Nicolas; Guisan, Antoine; Rasmann, Sergio

    2013-05-01

    Understanding drivers of biodiversity patterns is of prime importance in this era of severe environmental crisis. More diverse plant communities have been postulated to represent a larger functional trait-space, more likely to sustain a diverse assembly of herbivore species. Here, we expand this hypothesis to integrate environmental, functional and phylogenetic variation of plant communities as factors explaining the diversity of lepidopteran assemblages along elevation gradients in the Swiss Western Alps. According to expectations, we found that the association between butterflies and their host plants is highly phylogenetically structured. Multiple regression analyses showed the combined effect of climate, functional traits and phylogenetic diversity in structuring butterfly communities. Furthermore, we provide the first evidence that plant phylogenetic beta diversity is the major driver explaining butterfly phylogenetic beta diversity. Along ecological gradients, the bottom up control of herbivore diversity is thus driven by phylogenetically structured turnover of plant traits as well as environmental variables.

  19. Floral colour diversity in plant communities, bee colour space and a null model

    PubMed Central

    Gumbert, A.; Kunze, J.; Chittka, L.

    1999-01-01

    Evolutionary biologists have long hypothesized that the diversity of flower colours we see is in part a strategy to promote memorization by pollinators, pollinator constancy, and therefore, a directed and efficient pollen transfer between plants. However, this hypothesis has never been tested against a biologically realistic null model, nor were colours assessed in the way pollinators see them. Our intent here is to fill these gaps. Throughout one year, we sampled floral species compositions at five ecologically distinct sites near Berlin, Germany. Bee-subjective colours were quantified for all 168 species. A model of colour vision was used to predict how similar the colours of sympatric and simultaneously blooming flowers were for bees. We then compared flower colour differences in the real habitats with those of random plant communities. We did not find pronounced deviations from chance when we considered common plants. When we examined rare plants, however, we found significant divergence in two of the five plant communities. At one site, similarly coloured species were found to be more frequent than expected, and at the other two locations, flower colours were indistinguishable from a random distribution. These results fit theoretical considerations that rare plants are under stronger selective pressure to secure pollination than common plants. Our study illustrates the power of linking such distinct biological traditions as community ecology and the neuroethology of bee vision.

  20. Diversity and use of ethno-medicinal plants in the region of Swat, North Pakistan

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Due to its diverse geographical and habitat conditions, northern Pakistan harbors a wealth of medicinal plants. The plants and their traditional use are part of the natural and cultural heritage of the region. This study was carried out to document which medicinal plant species and which plant parts are used in the region of Swat, which syndrome categories are particularly concerned, and which habitat spectrum is frequented by collectors. Finally, we assessed to which extent medicinal plants are vulnerable due to collection and habitat destruction. Methods An ethnobotanical survey was undertaken in the Miandam area of Swat, North Pakistan. Data were collected through field assessment as well as from traditional healers and locals by means of personal interviews and semi-structured questionnaires. Results A total of 106 ethno-medicinal plant species belonging to 54 plant families were recorded. The most common growth forms were perennial (43%) and short-lived herbs (23%), shrubs (16%), and trees (15%). Most frequently used plant parts were leaves (24%), fruits (18%) and subterranean parts (15%). A considerable proportion of the ethno-medicinal plant species and remedies concerns gastro-intestinal disorders. The remedies were mostly prepared in the form of decoction or powder and were mainly taken orally. Eighty out of 106 ethno-medicinal plants were indigenous. Almost 50% of the plants occurred in synanthropic vegetation while slightly more than 50% were found in semi-natural, though extensively grazed, woodland and grassland vegetation. Three species (Aconitum violaceum, Colchicum luteum, Jasminum humile) must be considered vulnerable due to excessive collection. Woodlands are the main source for non-synanthropic indigenous medicinal plants. The latter include many range-restricted taxa and plants of which rhizomes and other subterranean parts are dug out for further processing as medicine. Conclusion Medicinal plants are still widely used for treatment

  1. Bacterial diversity and composition in the fluid of pitcher plants of the genus Nepenthes.

    PubMed

    Takeuchi, Yayoi; Chaffron, Samuel; Salcher, Michaela M; Shimizu-Inatsugi, Rie; Kobayashi, Masaki J; Diway, Bibian; von Mering, Christian; Pernthaler, Jakob; Shimizu, Kentaro K

    2015-07-01

    Pitchers are modified leaves used by carnivorous plants for trapping prey. Their fluids contain digestive enzymes from the plant and they harbor abundant microbes. In this study, the diversity of bacterial communities was assessed in Nepenthes pitcher fluids and the composition of the bacterial community was compared to that in other environments, including the phyllosphere of Arabidopsis, animal guts and another pitcher plant, Sarracenia. Diversity was measured by 454 pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons. A total of 232,823 sequences were obtained after chimera and singleton removal that clustered into 3260 distinct operational taxonomic units (OTUs) (3% dissimilarity), which were taxonomically distributed over 17 phyla, 25 classes, 45 orders, 100 families, and 195 genera. Pyrosequencing and fluorescence in situ hybridization yielded similar estimates of community composition. Most pitchers contained high proportions of unique OTUs, and only 22 OTUs (<0.6%) were shared by ≥14/16 samples, suggesting a unique bacterial assemblage in each pitcher at the OTU level. Diversity analysis at the class level revealed that the bacterial communities of both opened and unopened pitchers were most similar to that of Sarracenia and to that in the phyllosphere. Therefore, the bacterial community in pitchers may be formed by environmental filtering and/or by phyllosphere bacteria.

  2. Plant diversity effects on grassland productivity are robust to both nutrient enrichment and drought

    PubMed Central

    Isbell, Forest; Manning, Pete; Connolly, John; Bruelheide, Helge; Ebeling, Anne; Roscher, Christiane; van Ruijven, Jasper; Weigelt, Alexandra; Wilsey, Brian; Beierkuhnlein, Carl; de Luca, Enrica; Griffin, John N.; Hautier, Yann; Hector, Andy; Jentsch, Anke; Kreyling, Jürgen; Lanta, Vojtech; Loreau, Michel; Meyer, Sebastian T.; Mori, Akira S.; Naeem, Shahid; Palmborg, Cecilia; Polley, H. Wayne; Reich, Peter B.; Schmid, Bernhard; Siebenkäs, Alrun; Seabloom, Eric; Thakur, Madhav P.; Tilman, David; Vogel, Anja; Eisenhauer, Nico

    2016-01-01

    Global change drivers are rapidly altering resource availability and biodiversity. While there is consensus that greater biodiversity increases the functioning of ecosystems, the extent to which biodiversity buffers ecosystem productivity in response to changes in resource availability remains unclear. We use data from 16 grassland experiments across North America and Europe that manipulated plant species richness and one of two essential resources—soil nutrients or water—to assess the direction and strength of the interaction between plant diversity and resource alteration on above-ground productivity and net biodiversity, complementarity, and selection effects. Despite strong increases in productivity with nutrient addition and decreases in productivity with drought, we found that resource alterations did not alter biodiversity–ecosystem functioning relationships. Our results suggest that these relationships are largely determined by increases in complementarity effects along plant species richness gradients. Although nutrient addition reduced complementarity effects at high diversity, this appears to be due to high biomass in monocultures under nutrient enrichment. Our results indicate that diversity and the complementarity of species are important regulators of grassland ecosystem productivity, regardless of changes in other drivers of ecosystem function. PMID:27114579

  3. Ex situ cultivation affects genetic structure and diversity in arable plants.

    PubMed

    Brütting, C; Hensen, I; Wesche, K

    2013-05-01

    Worldwide, botanical gardens cultivate around 80,000 taxa, corresponding to approximately one-quarter of all vascular plants. Most cultivated taxa are, however, held in a small number of collections, and mostly only in small populations. Lack of genetic exchange and stochastic processes in small populations make them susceptible to detrimental genetic effects, which should be most severe in annual species, as sowing cycles are often short. In order to assess whether ex situ cultivation affects genetic diversity of annuals, five annual arable species with similar breeding systems were assessed with 42 in situ populations being compared to 20 ex situ populations using a random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis approach. Population sizes tended to be lower under ex situ cultivation and levels of genetic diversity also tended to be lower in four of the five species, with differences being significant in only two. Ex situ populations showed incomplete representation of alleles found in the wild. The duration of cultivation did not indicate any effect on genetic diversity. This implies that cultivation strategies resulted in different genetic structures in the garden populations. Although not unequivocally pronounced, differences nonetheless imply that conservation strategies in the involved gardens may need improvement. One option is cold storage of seeds, a practice that is not currently followed in the studied ex situ collections. This may reflect that the respective gardens focus on displaying living plant populations.

  4. Root biomass and exudates link plant diversity with soil bacterial and fungal biomass.

    PubMed

    Eisenhauer, Nico; Lanoue, Arnaud; Strecker, Tanja; Scheu, Stefan; Steinauer, Katja; Thakur, Madhav P; Mommer, Liesje

    2017-04-04

    Plant diversity has been shown to determine the composition and functioning of soil biota. Although root-derived organic inputs are discussed as the main drivers of soil communities, experimental evidence is scarce. While there is some evidence that higher root biomass at high plant diversity increases substrate availability for soil biota, several studies have speculated that the quantity and diversity of root inputs into the soil, i.e. though root exudates, drive plant diversity effects on soil biota. Here we used a microcosm experiment to study the role of plant species richness on the biomass of soil bacteria and fungi as well as fungal-to-bacterial ratio via root biomass and root exudates. Plant diversity significantly increased shoot biomass, root biomass, the amount of root exudates, bacterial biomass, and fungal biomass. Fungal biomass increased most with increasing plant diversity resulting in a significant shift in the fungal-to-bacterial biomass ratio at high plant diversity. Fungal biomass increased significantly with plant diversity-induced increases in root biomass and the amount of root exudates. These results suggest that plant diversity enhances soil microbial biomass, particularly soil fungi, by increasing root-derived organic inputs.

  5. Root biomass and exudates link plant diversity with soil bacterial and fungal biomass

    PubMed Central

    Eisenhauer, Nico; Lanoue, Arnaud; Strecker, Tanja; Scheu, Stefan; Steinauer, Katja; Thakur, Madhav P.; Mommer, Liesje

    2017-01-01

    Plant diversity has been shown to determine the composition and functioning of soil biota. Although root-derived organic inputs are discussed as the main drivers of soil communities, experimental evidence is scarce. While there is some evidence that higher root biomass at high plant diversity increases substrate availability for soil biota, several studies have speculated that the quantity and diversity of root inputs into the soil, i.e. though root exudates, drive plant diversity effects on soil biota. Here we used a microcosm experiment to study the role of plant species richness on the biomass of soil bacteria and fungi as well as fungal-to-bacterial ratio via root biomass and root exudates. Plant diversity significantly increased shoot biomass, root biomass, the amount of root exudates, bacterial biomass, and fungal biomass. Fungal biomass increased most with increasing plant diversity resulting in a significant shift in the fungal-to-bacterial biomass ratio at high plant diversity. Fungal biomass increased significantly with plant diversity-induced increases in root biomass and the amount of root exudates. These results suggest that plant diversity enhances soil microbial biomass, particularly soil fungi, by increasing root-derived organic inputs. PMID:28374800

  6. An invasive plant-fungal mutualism reduces arthropod diversity.

    PubMed

    Rudgers, Jennifer A; Clay, Keith

    2008-08-01

    Ecological theory holds that competition and predation are the most important biotic forces affecting the composition of communities. Here, we expand this framework by demonstrating that mutualism can fundamentally alter community and food web structure. In large, replicated field plots, we manipulated the mutualism between a dominant plant (Lolium arundinaceum) and symbiotic fungal endophyte (Neotyphodium coenophialum). The presence of the mutualism reduced arthropod abundance up to 70%, reduced arthropod diversity nearly 20%, shifted arthropod species composition relative to endophyte-free plots and suppressed the biomass and richness of other plant species in the community. Herbivorous arthropods were more strongly affected than carnivores, and for both herbivores and carnivores, effects of the mutualism appeared to propagate indirectly via organisms occurring more basally in the food web. The influence of the mutualism was as great or greater than previously documented effects of competition and predation on arthropod communities. Our work demonstrates that a keystone mutualism can significantly reduce arthropod biodiversity at a broad community scale.

  7. Multitrophic effects of experimental changes in plant diversity on cavity-nesting bees, wasps, and their parasitoids.

    PubMed

    Ebeling, Anne; Klein, Alexandra-Maria; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Tscharntke, Teja

    2012-06-01

    Plant diversity changes can impact the abundance, diversity, and functioning of species at higher trophic levels. We used an experimental gradient in grassland plant diversity ranging from 1 to 16 plant species to study multitrophic interactions among plants, cavity-nesting bees and wasps, and their natural enemies, and analysed brood cell density, insect diversity (species richness), and bee and wasp community similarity over two consecutive years. The bee and wasp communities were more similar among the high (16 species) diversity plots than among plots of the lower diversity levels (up to 8 species), and a more similar community of bees and wasps resulted in a more similar community of their parasitoids. Plant diversity, which was closely related to flower diversity, positively and indirectly affected bee diversity and the diversity of their parasitoids via increasing brood cell density of bees. Increasing plant diversity directly led to higher wasp diversity. Parasitism rates of bees and wasps (hosts) were not affected by plant diversity, but increased with the diversity of their respective parasitoids. Decreases in parasitism rates of bees arose from increasing brood cell density of bees (hosts), whereas decreasing parasitism rates of wasps arose from increasing wasp diversity (hosts). In conclusion, decreases in plant diversity propagated through different trophic levels: from plants to insect hosts to their parasitoids, decreasing density and diversity. The positive relationship between plant diversity and the community similarity of higher trophic levels indicates a community-stabilising effect of high plant diversity.

  8. Higher effect of plant species diversity on productivity in natural than artificial ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Flombaum, Pedro; Sala, Osvaldo E.

    2008-01-01

    Current and expected changes in biodiversity have motivated major experiments, which reported a positive relationship between plant species diversity and primary production. As a first step in addressing this relationship, these manipulative experiments controlled as many potential confounding covariables as possible and assembled artificial ecosystems for the purpose of the experiments. As a new step in this endeavor, we asked how plant species richness relates to productivity in a natural ecosystem. Here, we report on an experiment conducted in a natural ecosystem in the Patagonian steppe, in which we assessed the biodiversity effect on primary production. Using a plant species diversity gradient generated by removing species while maintaining constant biomass, we found that aboveground net primary production increased with the number of plant species. We also found that the biodiversity effect was larger in natural than in artificial ecosystems. This result supports previous findings and also suggests that the effect of biodiversity in natural ecosystems may be much larger than currently thought. PMID:18427124

  9. Functional trait diversity across trophic levels determines herbivore impact on plant community biomass.

    PubMed

    Deraison, Hélène; Badenhausser, Isabelle; Loeuille, Nicolas; Scherber, Christoph; Gross, Nicolas

    2015-12-01

    Understanding the consequences of trophic interactions for ecosystem functioning is challenging, as contrasting effects of species and functional diversity can be expected across trophic levels. We experimentally manipulated functional identity and diversity of grassland insect herbivores and tested their impact on plant community biomass. Herbivore resource acquisition traits, i.e. mandible strength and the diversity of mandibular traits, had more important effects on plant biomass than body size. Higher herbivore functional diversity increased overall impact on plant biomass due to feeding niche complementarity. Higher plant functional diversity limited biomass pre-emption by herbivores. The functional diversity within and across trophic levels therefore regulates the impact of functionally contrasting consumers on primary producers. By experimentally manipulating the functional diversity across trophic levels, our study illustrates how trait-based approaches constitute a promising way to tackle existing links between trophic interactions and ecosystem functioning.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  12. Plant and Soil Responses to High and Low Diversity Grassland Restoration Practices

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bach, Elizabeth M.; Baer, Sara G.; Six, Johan

    2012-02-01

    The USDA's Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) has predominantly used only a few species of dominant prairie grasses (CP2 practice) to reduce soil erosion, but recently has offered a higher diversity planting practice (CP25) to increase grassland habitat quality. We quantified plant community composition in CP25 and CP2 plantings restored for 4 or 8 years and compared belowground properties and processes among restorations and continuously cultivated soils in southeastern Nebraska, USA. Relative to cultivated soils, restoration increased soil microbial biomass ( P = 0.033), specifically fungi ( P < 0.001), and restored soils exhibited higher rates of carbon (C) mineralization ( P = 0.010). High and low diversity plantings had equally diverse plant communities; however, CP25 plantings had greater frequency of cool-season (C3) grasses ( P = 0.007). Older (8 year) high diversity restorations contained lower microbial biomass ( P = 0.026), arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) biomass ( P = 0.003), and C mineralization rates ( P = 0.028) relative to 8 year low diversity restorations; older plantings had greater root biomass than 4 year plantings in all restorations ( P = 0.001). Low diversity 8 year plantings contained wider root C:N ratios, and higher soil microbial biomass, microbial community richness, AMF biomass, and C mineralization rate relative to 4 year restorations ( P < 0.050). Net N mineralization and nitrification rates were lower in 8 year than 4 year high diversity plantings ( P = 0.005). We attributed changes in soil C and N pools and fluxes to increased AMF associated with C4 grasses in low diversity plantings. Thus, reduced recovery of AMF in high diversity plantings restricted restoration of belowground microbial diversity and microbially-mediated soil processes over time.

  13. Effects of time since fire on birds in a plant diversity hotspot

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chalmandrier, Loïc; Midgley, Guy F.; Barnard, Phoebe; Sirami, Clélia

    2013-05-01

    Global changes are influencing fire regimes in many parts of the world. In the Fynbos plant diversity hotspot (Cape Floristic Region, South Africa), fire frequency has increased in protected areas where the mean fire interval went from 12-19 to 6-9 years between 1970 and 2000. Fire is one of the main drivers of plant diversity in the Cape Floristic Region. Too frequent fires threaten the persistence of slow-maturing plant species, and such insights have led to the adoption of fire management principles based on plant responses. The effects of fire on Fynbos fauna are much more poorly understood, and have not generally been considered in depth in Fynbos conservation policies, planning or management. We assessed the response of bird communities to long-term fire-induced vegetation changes using space-for-time substitution. We studied bird communities, vegetation structure and plant functional composition in 84 Fynbos plots burnt between two and 18 years before. Ten of the 14 bird species analysed showed a significant change in their abundance with time since fire. We observed a significant species turnover along the post-fire succession due to changes both in vegetation structure and plant functional composition, with a characteristic shift from non-Fynbos specialists and granivorous species to Fynbos specialists and nectarivorous species. If current trends of increasing fire frequency continue, Fynbos endemic birds such as nectarivores may become vulnerable. Conservation management should thus aim more carefully to maintain mosaics of Fynbos patches of different ages. Future research needs to estimate the proportion of vegetation of different ages and patch sizes needed to support dependent fauna, particularly endemics.

  14. Plant diversity and identity effects on predatory nematodes and their prey

    PubMed Central

    Kostenko, Olga; Duyts, Henk; Grootemaat, Saskia; De Deyn, Gerlinde B; Bezemer, T Martijn

    2015-01-01

    There is considerable evidence that both plant diversity and plant identity can influence the level of predation and predator abundance aboveground. However, how the level of predation in the soil and the abundance of predatory soil fauna are related to plant diversity and identity remains largely unknown. In a biodiversity field experiment, we examined the effects of plant diversity and identity on the infectivity of entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs, Heterorhabditis and Steinernema spp.), which prey on soil arthropods, and abundance of carnivorous non-EPNs, which are predators of other nematode groups. To obtain a comprehensive view of the potential prey/food availability, we also quantified the abundance of soil insects and nonpredatory nematodes and the root biomass in the experimental plots. We used structural equation modeling (SEM) to investigate possible pathways by which plant diversity and identity may affect EPN infectivity and the abundance of carnivorous non-EPNs. Heterorhabditis spp. infectivity and the abundance of carnivorous non-EPNs were not directly related to plant diversity or the proportion of legumes, grasses and forbs in the plant community. However, Steinernema spp. infectivity was higher in monocultures of Festuca rubra and Trifolium pratense than in monocultures of the other six plant species. SEM revealed that legumes positively affected Steinernema infectivity, whereas plant diversity indirectly affected the infectivity of HeterorhabditisEPNs via effects on the abundance of soil insects. The abundance of prey (soil insects and root-feeding, bacterivorous, and fungivorous nematodes) increased with higher plant diversity. The abundance of prey nematodes was also positively affected by legumes. These plant community effects could not be explained by changes in root biomass. Our results show that plant diversity and identity effects on belowground biota (particularly soil nematode community) can differ between organisms that belong to the

  15. Plant diversity and identity effects on predatory nematodes and their prey.

    PubMed

    Kostenko, Olga; Duyts, Henk; Grootemaat, Saskia; De Deyn, Gerlinde B; Bezemer, T Martijn

    2015-02-01

    There is considerable evidence that both plant diversity and plant identity can influence the level of predation and predator abundance aboveground. However, how the level of predation in the soil and the abundance of predatory soil fauna are related to plant diversity and identity remains largely unknown. In a biodiversity field experiment, we examined the effects of plant diversity and identity on the infectivity of entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs, Heterorhabditis and Steinernema spp.), which prey on soil arthropods, and abundance of carnivorous non-EPNs, which are predators of other nematode groups. To obtain a comprehensive view of the potential prey/food availability, we also quantified the abundance of soil insects and nonpredatory nematodes and the root biomass in the experimental plots. We used structural equation modeling (SEM) to investigate possible pathways by which plant diversity and identity may affect EPN infectivity and the abundance of carnivorous non-EPNs. Heterorhabditis spp. infectivity and the abundance of carnivorous non-EPNs were not directly related to plant diversity or the proportion of legumes, grasses and forbs in the plant community. However, Steinernema spp. infectivity was higher in monocultures of Festuca rubra and Trifolium pratense than in monocultures of the other six plant species. SEM revealed that legumes positively affected Steinernema infectivity, whereas plant diversity indirectly affected the infectivity of HeterorhabditisEPNs via effects on the abundance of soil insects. The abundance of prey (soil insects and root-feeding, bacterivorous, and fungivorous nematodes) increased with higher plant diversity. The abundance of prey nematodes was also positively affected by legumes. These plant community effects could not be explained by changes in root biomass. Our results show that plant diversity and identity effects on belowground biota (particularly soil nematode community) can differ between organisms that belong to the

  16. Decreases in ammonia volatilization in response to greater plant diversity in microcosms of constructed wetlands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Luo, Bin; Ge, Ying; Han, Wenjuan; Fan, Xing; Ren, Yuan; Du, Yuanyuan; Shi, Mengmeng; Chang, Jie

    2016-10-01

    Ammonia volatilization from wastewaters with a high concentration of ammonium is a serious environmental and health problem. Constructed wetlands (CWs) are widely used for treating wastewater, and plant diversity clearly improves some functions of ecosystem such as nitrogen removal. However, whether plant diversity can affect ammonia volatilization from wastewater is still unknown. In this study, we conducted a microcosm experiment with different plant diversity treatments using four plant species. Results showed that, (1) ammonia volatilization decreased with increasing plant species richness; (2) ammonia volatilization from systems containing Rumex japonicus was lower than other systems; and (3) ammonia volatilization was affected more by species composition than species richness. This paper is the first to report that ammonia volatilization is reduced by plant diversity, and that some plant species combinations are important to reduce ammonia volatilization from CWs when treating wastewater.

  17. Invasive plant erodes local song diversity in a migratory passerine.

    PubMed

    Ortega, Yvette K; Benson, Aubree; Greene, Erick

    2014-02-01

    Exotic plant invasions threaten ecosystems globally, but we still know little about the specific consequences for animals. Invasive plants can alter the quality of breeding habitat for songbirds, thereby impacting important demographic traits such as dispersal, philopatry, and age structure. These demographic effects may in turn alter song-learning conditions to affect song structure and diversity. We studied Chipping Sparrows (Spizella passerina) breeding in six savannas that were either dominated by native vegetation or invaded by spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe), an exotic forb known to diminish food resources and reproductive success. Here, we report that the prevalence of older birds was relatively low in knapweed-invaded habitat, where recruitment of yearlings compensated for diminished site fidelity to sustain territory abundance. In both habitat types, yearling males tended to adopt songs similar to their neighbors and match the songs of older birds rather than introducing new song types, a pattern seen in many songbird species. As a consequence, in invaded habitat where age structure was skewed away from older birds serving as potential song models, yearlings converged on fewer song types. Similarity of songs among individuals was significantly higher and the overall number of song types averaged nearly 20% lower in invaded relative to native habitat. Degradation of habitat quality generally impacts site fidelity and age ratios in migratory songbirds and hence may commonly alter song-learning conditions. Associated shifts in song attributes known to influence reproductive success could in turn enforce demographic declines driven by habitat degradation. Local song structure may serve as an important indicator of habitat quality and population status for songbirds.

  18. Overstory structure and soil nutrients effect on plant diversity in unmanaged moist tropical forest

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gautam, Mukesh Kumar; Manhas, Rajesh Kumar; Tripathi, Ashutosh Kumar

    2016-08-01

    Forests with intensive management past are kept unmanaged to restore diversity and ecosystem functioning. Before perpetuating abandonment after protracted restitution, understanding its effect on forest vegetation is desirable. We studied plant diversity and its relation with environmental variables and stand structure in northern Indian unmanaged tropical moist deciduous forest. We hypothesized that post-abandonment species richness would have increased, and the structure of contemporary forest would be heterogeneous. Vegetation structure, composition, and diversity were recorded, in forty 0.1 ha plots selected randomly in four forest ranges. Three soil samples per 0.1 ha were assessed for physicochemistry, fine sand, and clay mineralogy. Contemporary forest had less species richness than pre-abandonment reference period. Fourteen species were recorded as either seedling or sapling, suggesting reappearance or immigration. For most species, regeneration was either absent or impaired. Ordination and multiple regression results showed that exchangeable base cations and phosphorous affected maximum tree diversity and structure variables. Significant correlations between soil moisture and temperature, and shrub layer was observed, besides tree layer correspondence with shrub richness, suggesting that dense overstory resulting from abandonment through its effect on soil conditions, is responsible for dense shrub layer. Herb layer diversity was negatively associated with tree layer and shrub overgrowth (i.e. Mallotus spp.). Protracted abandonment may not reinforce species richness and heterogeneity; perhaps result in high tree and shrub density in moist deciduous forests, which can impede immigrating or reappearing plant species establishment. This can be overcome by density/basal area reduction strategies, albeit for both tree and shrub layer.

  19. GLK gene pairs regulate chloroplast development in diverse plant species.

    PubMed

    Fitter, David W; Martin, David J; Copley, Martin J; Scotland, Robert W; Langdale, Jane A

    2002-09-01

    Chloroplast biogenesis is a complex process that requires close co-ordination between two genomes. Many of the proteins that accumulate in the chloroplast are encoded by the nuclear genome, and the developmental transition from proplastid to chloroplast is regulated by nuclear genes. Here we show that a pair of Golden 2-like (GLK) genes regulates chloroplast development in Arabidopsis. The GLK proteins are members of the GARP superfamily of transcription factors, and phylogenetic analysis demonstrates that the maize, rice and Arabidopsis GLK gene pairs comprise a distinct group within the GARP superfamily. Further phylogenetic analysis suggests that the gene pairs arose through separate duplication events in the monocot and dicot lineages. As in rice, AtGLK1 and AtGLK2 are expressed in partially overlapping domains in photosynthetic tissue. Insertion mutants demonstrate that this expression pattern reflects a degree of functional redundancy as single mutants display normal phenotypes in most photosynthetic tissues. However, double mutants are pale green in all photosynthetic tissues and chloroplasts exhibit a reduction in granal thylakoids. Products of several genes involved in light harvesting also accumulate at reduced levels in double mutant chloroplasts. GLK genes therefore regulate chloroplast development in diverse plant species.

  20. Invertebrate herbivory increases along an experimental gradient of grassland plant diversity.

    PubMed

    Loranger, Hannah; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Ebeling, Anne; Eggers, Till; De Luca, Enrica; Loranger, Jessy; Roscher, Christiane; Meyer, Sebastian T

    2014-01-01

    Plant diversity is a key driver of ecosystem functioning best documented for its influence on plant productivity. The strength and direction of plant diversity effects on species interactions across trophic levels are less clear. For example, with respect to the interactions between herbivorous invertebrates and plants, a number of competing hypotheses have been proposed that predict either increasing or decreasing community herbivory with increasing plant species richness. We investigated foliar herbivory rates and consumed leaf biomass along an experimental grassland plant diversity gradient in year eight after establishment. The gradient ranged from one to 60 plant species and manipulated also functional group richness (from one to four functional groups-legumes, grasses, small herbs, and tall herbs) and plant community composition. Measurements in monocultures of each plant species showed that functional groups differed in the quantity and quality of herbivory damage they experienced, with legumes being more damaged than grasses or non-legume herbs. In mixed plant communities, herbivory increased with plant diversity and the presence of two key plant functional groups in mixtures had a positive (legumes) and a negative (grasses) effect on levels of herbivory. Further, plant community biomass had a strong positive impact on consumed leaf biomass, but little effect on herbivory rates. Our results contribute detailed data from a well-established biodiversity experiment to a growing body of evidence suggesting that an increase of herbivory with increasing plant diversity is the rule rather than an exception. Considering documented effects of herbivory on other ecosystem functions and the increase of herbivory with plant diversity, levels of herbivory damage might not only be a result, but also a trigger within the diversity-productivity relationship.

  1. Rainfall variability, carbon cycling, and plant species diversity in a mesic grassland.

    PubMed

    Knapp, Alan K; Fay, Philip A; Blair, John M; Collins, Scott L; Smith, Melinda D; Carlisle, Jonathan D; Harper, Christopher W; Danner, Brett T; Lett, Michelle S; McCarron, James K

    2002-12-13

    Ecosystem responses to increased variability in rainfall, a prediction of general circulation models, were assessed in native grassland by reducing storm frequency and increasing rainfall quantity per storm during a 4-year experiment. More extreme rainfall patterns, without concurrent changes in total rainfall quantity, increased temporal variability in soil moisture and plant species diversity. However, carbon cycling processes such as soil CO2 flux, CO2 uptake by the dominant grasses, and aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) were reduced, and ANPP was more responsive to soil moisture variability than to mean soil water content. Our results show that projected increases in rainfall variability can rapidly alter key carbon cycling processes and plant community composition, independent of changes in total precipitation.

  2. Responses of global plant diversity capacity to changes in carbon dioxide concentration and climate.

    PubMed

    Woodward, F I; Kelly, C K

    2008-11-01

    We model plant species diversity globally by country to show that future plant diversity capacity has a strong dependence on changing climate and carbon dioxide concentration. CO2 increase, through its impact on net primary production and warming is predicted to increase regional diversity capacity, while warming with constant CO2 leads to decreases in diversity capacity. Increased CO2 concentrations are unlikely to counter projected extinctions of endemic species, shown in earlier studies to be more strongly dependent on changing land use patterns than climate per se. Model predictions were tested against (1) contemporary observations of tree species diversity in different biomes, (2) an independent global map of contemporary species diversity and (3) time sequences of plant naturalisation for different locations. Good agreements between model, observations and naturalisation patterns support the suggestion that future diversity capacity increases are likely to be filled from a 'cosmopolitan weed pool' for which migration appears to be an insignificant barrier.

  3. Diversity of nodular bacteria of Scorpiurus muricatus in western Algeria and their impact on plant growth.

    PubMed

    Bouchiba, Zoulikha; Boukhatem, Zineb Faiza; Ighilhariz, Zohra; Derkaoui, Nouria; Kerdouh, Benaissa; Abdelmoumen, Hanaa; Abbas, Younes; Missbah El Idrissi, Mustapha; Bekki, Abdelkader

    2017-02-24

    A total of 51 bacterial strains were isolated from root nodules of Scorpiurus muricatus sampled from six regions of western Algeria. Strains diversity was assessed by rep-PCR amplification fingerprinting which had allowed grouping the isolates into 28 different clusters. Partial Nucleotide sequencing of 16SrRNA gene and BLAST analysis revealed that root nodules of Scorpiurus muricatus were colonized by different species close to Rhizobium vignae, Rhizobium radiobacter, Rhizobium leguminosarum, Phyllobacterium ifriquiensis, Phyllobacterium endophyticum, Starkeya sp. and Pseudomonas sp. However none of these strains was able to form nodule on its host plant even nod C was present in a single strain (SMT8a). The inoculation test showed a great improvement in inoculated plants growth compared to non-inoculated control. A significant amount of Indole Acetic Acid was produced by some strains but only two strains could solubilize phosphate. In this report we described for the first time, the diversity of bacteria isolated from root nodules of S. muricatus growing in different regions in west of Algeria and demonstrated their potential use in plant growth promotion.

  4. Island phytophagy: explaining the remarkable diversity of plant-feeding insects.

    PubMed

    Joy, Jeffrey B; Crespi, Bernard J

    2012-08-22

    Plant-feeding insects have undergone unparalleled diversification among different plant taxa, yet explanations for variation in their diversity lack a quantitative, predictive framework. Island biogeographic theory has been applied to spatially discrete habitats but not to habitats, such as host plants, separated by genetic distance. We show that relationships between the diversity of gall-inducing flies and their host plants meet several fundamental predictions from island biogeographic theory. First, plant-taxon genetic distinctiveness, an integrator for long-term evolutionary history of plant lineages, is a significant predictor of variance in the diversity of gall-inducing flies among host-plant taxa. Second, range size and structural complexity also explain significant proportions of the variance in diversity of gall-inducing flies among different host-plant taxa. Third, as with other island systems, plant-lineage age does not predict species diversity. Island biogeographic theory, applied to habitats defined by genetic distance, provides a novel, comprehensive framework for analysing and explaining the diversity of plant-feeding insects and other host-specific taxa.

  5. Assessment of a Diversity Assignment in a PR Principles Course

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gallicano, Tiffany Derville; Stansberry, Kathleen

    2012-01-01

    This study assesses an assignment for incorporating diversity into the principles of public relations course. The assignment is tailored to the challenges of using an active learning approach in a large lecture class. For the assignment, students write a goal, objectives, strategies, an identification of tactics, and evaluation plans for either…

  6. Psychometric Evaluation of Lexical Diversity Indices: Assessing Length Effects

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Fergadiotis, Gerasimos; Wright, Heather Harris; Green, Samuel B.

    2015-01-01

    Purpose: Several novel techniques have been developed recently to assess the breadth of a speaker's vocabulary exhibited in a language sample. The specific aim of this study was to increase our understanding of the validity of the scores generated by different lexical diversity (LD) estimation techniques. Four techniques were explored: D, Maas,…

  7. Assessing genetic diversity in Valencia peanut germplasm using SSR markers

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Valencia peanuts (Arachis hypogaea L.ssp. fastigiata var. fastigiata) are well known for their in-shell market value. Assessment of genetic diversity of the available Valencia germplasm is key to the success of developing improved cultivars with desirable agronomic and quality traits. In the pres...

  8. Assessment of genetic diversity of sweet potato in Puerto Rico

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.) is the seventh most important food crop due to its distinct advantages, such as adaptability to different environmental conditions and high nutritional value. Assessing the genetic diversity of this important crop is necessary due to the constant increase of demand ...

  9. Plant Wide Assessment for SIFCO Industries, Inc.

    SciTech Connect

    Kelly Kissock, Arvind Thekdi et. al.

    2005-07-06

    Sifco Industries carreid out a plant wide energy assessment under a collaborative program with the U.S. Department of Energy during October 2004 to September 2005. During the year, personnel from EIS, E3M, DPS, BuyCastings.Com, and Sifco plant facilities and maintenance personnel, as a team collected energy use, construction, process, equipment and operational information about the plant. Based on this information, the team identified 13 energy savings opportunities. Near term savings opportunities have a total potential savings of about $1,329,000 per year and a combined simple payback of about 11 months. Implementation of these recommendations would reduce CO2 emissions by about 16,000,000 pounds per year, which would reduce overall plant CO2 emissions by about 45%. These totals do not include another $830,000 per year in potential savings with an estimated 9-month payback, from converting the forging hammers from steam to compressed air.

  10. Diversity in plant hydraulic traits explains seasonal and inter-annual variations of vegetation dynamics in seasonally dry tropical forests.

    PubMed

    Xu, Xiangtao; Medvigy, David; Powers, Jennifer S; Becknell, Justin M; Guan, Kaiyu

    2016-10-01

    We assessed whether diversity in plant hydraulic traits can explain the observed diversity in plant responses to water stress in seasonally dry tropical forests (SDTFs). The Ecosystem Demography model 2 (ED2) was updated with a trait-driven mechanistic plant hydraulic module, as well as novel drought-phenology and plant water stress schemes. Four plant functional types were parameterized on the basis of meta-analysis of plant hydraulic traits. Simulations from both the original and the updated ED2 were evaluated against 5 yr of field data from a Costa Rican SDTF site and remote-sensing data over Central America. The updated model generated realistic plant hydraulic dynamics, such as leaf water potential and stem sap flow. Compared with the original ED2, predictions from our novel trait-driven model matched better with observed growth, phenology and their variations among functional groups. Most notably, the original ED2 produced unrealistically small leaf area index (LAI) and underestimated cumulative leaf litter. Both of these biases were corrected by the updated model. The updated model was also better able to simulate spatial patterns of LAI dynamics in Central America. Plant hydraulic traits are intercorrelated in SDTFs. Mechanistic incorporation of plant hydraulic traits is necessary for the simulation of spatiotemporal patterns of vegetation dynamics in SDTFs in vegetation models.

  11. Climate-suitable planting as a strategy for maintaining forest productivity and functional diversity.

    PubMed

    Duveneck, Matthew J; Scheller, Robert M

    2015-09-01

    Within the time frame of the longevity of tree species, climate change will change faster than the ability of natural tree migration. Migration lags may result in reduced productivity and reduced diversity in forests under current management and climate change. We evaluated the efficacy of planting climate-suitable tree species (CSP), those tree species with current or historic distributions immediately south of a focal landscape, to maintain or increase aboveground biomass productivity, and species and functional diversity. We modeled forest change with the LANDIS-II forest simulation model for 100 years (2000-2100) at a 2-ha cell resolution and five-year time steps within two landscapes in the Great Lakes region (northeastern Minnesota and northern lower Michigan, USA). We compared current climate to low- and high-emission futures. We simulated a low-emission climate future with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007 B1 emission scenario and the Parallel Climate Model Global Circulation Model (GCM). We simulated a high-emission climate future with the IPCC A1FI emission scenario and the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) GCM. We compared current forest management practices (business-as-usual) to CSP management. In the CSP scenario, we simulated a target planting of 5.28% and 4.97% of forested area per five-year time step in the Minnesota and Michigan landscapes, respectively. We found that simulated CSP species successfully established in both landscapes under all climate scenarios. The presence of CSP species generally increased simulated aboveground biomass. Species diversity increased due to CSP; however, the effect on functional diversity was variable. Because the planted species were functionally similar to many native species, CSP did not result in a consistent increase nor decrease in functional diversity. These results provide an assessment of the potential efficacy and limitations of CSP management. These results have

  12. Interactive effects of mycorrhizae and a root hemiparasite on plant community productivity and diversity.

    PubMed

    Stein, Claudia; Rissmann, Cornelia; Hempel, Stefan; Renker, Carsten; Buscot, François; Prati, Daniel; Auge, Harald

    2009-02-01

    Plant communities can be affected both by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and hemiparasitic plants. However, little is known about the interactive effects of these two biotic factors on the productivity and diversity of plant communities. To address this question, we set up a greenhouse study in which different AMF inocula and a hemiparasitic plant (Rhinanthus minor) were added to experimental grassland communities in a fully factorial design. In addition, single plants of each species in the grassland community were grown with the same treatments to distinguish direct AMF effects from indirect effects via plant competition. We found that AMF changed plant community structure by influencing the plant species differently. At the community level, AMF decreased the productivity by 15-24%, depending on the particular AMF treatment, mainly because two dominant species, Holcus lanatus and Plantago lanceolata, showed a negative mycorrhizal dependency. Concomitantly, plant diversity increased due to AMF inoculation and was highest in the treatment with a combination of two commercial AM strains. AMF had a positive effect on growth of the hemiparasite, and thereby induced a negative impact of the hemiparasite on host plant biomass which was not found in non-inoculated communities. However, the hemiparasite did not increase plant diversity. Our results highlight the importance of interactions with soil microbes for plant community structure and that these indirect effects can vary among AMF treatments. We conclude that mutualistic interactions with AMF, but not antagonistic interactions with a root hemiparasite, promote plant diversity in this grassland community.

  13. Nuclear power plant security assessment technical manual.

    SciTech Connect

    O'Connor, Sharon L.; Whitehead, Donnie Wayne; Potter, Claude S., III

    2007-09-01

    This report (Nuclear Power Plant Security Assessment Technical Manual) is a revision to NUREG/CR-1345 (Nuclear Power Plant Design Concepts for Sabotage Protection) that was published in January 1981. It provides conceptual and specific technical guidance for U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission nuclear power plant design certification and combined operating license applicants as they: (1) develop the layout of a facility (i.e., how buildings are arranged on the site property and how they are arranged internally) to enhance protection against sabotage and facilitate the use of physical security features; (2) design the physical protection system to be used at the facility; and (3) analyze the effectiveness of the PPS against the design basis threat. It should be used as a technical manual in conjunction with the 'Nuclear Power Plant Security Assessment Format and Content Guide'. The opportunity to optimize physical protection in the design of a nuclear power plant is obtained when an applicant utilizes both documents when performing a security assessment. This document provides a set of best practices that incorporates knowledge gained from more than 30 years of physical protection system design and evaluation activities at Sandia National Laboratories and insights derived from U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission technical staff into a manual that describes a development and analysis process of physical protection systems suitable for future nuclear power plants. In addition, selected security system technologies that may be used in a physical protection system are discussed. The scope of this document is limited to the identification of a set of best practices associated with the design and evaluation of physical security at future nuclear power plants in general. As such, it does not provide specific recommendations for the design and evaluation of physical security for any specific reactor design. These best practices should be applicable to the design and

  14. Differential effects of plant diversity on functional trait variation of grass species

    PubMed Central

    Gubsch, Marlén; Buchmann, Nina; Schmid, Bernhard; Schulze, Ernst-Detlef; Lipowsky, Annett; Roscher, Christiane

    2011-01-01

    Background and Aims Functional trait differences and trait adjustment in response to influences of the biotic environment could reflect niche partitioning among species. In this study, we tested how variation in above-ground plant traits, chosen as indicators for light and nitrogen acquisition and use, differs among taxonomically closely related species (Poaceae) to assess their potential for niche segregation at increasing plant diversity. Methods Traits of 12 grass species were measured in experimental grasslands (Jena Experiment) of varying species richness (from 1 to 60) and presence of particular functional groups (grasses, legumes, tall herbs and small herbs). Key Results Grass species increased shoot and leaf length, investment into supporting tissue (stem mass fraction) and specific leaf area as well as reduced foliar δ13C values with increasing species richness, indicating higher efforts for light acquisition. These species-richness effects could in part be explained by a higher probability of legume presence in more diverse communities. Leaf nitrogen concentrations increased and biomas s : N ratios in shoots decreased when grasses grew with legumes, indicating an improved nitrogen nutrition. Foliar δ15N values of grasses decreased when growing with legumes suggesting the use of depleted legume-derived N, while decreasing δ15N values with increasing species richness indicated a shift in the uptake of different N sources. However, efforts to optimize light and nitrogen acquisition by plastic adjustment of traits in response to species richness and legume presence, varied significantly among grass species. It was possible to show further that trait adjustment of grass species increased niche segregation in more diverse plant communities but that complementarity through niche separation may differ between light and nutrient acquisition. Conclusions The results suggest that even among closely related species such as grasses different strategies are used to

  15. Disparate effects of plant genotypic diversity on foliage and litter arthropod communities

    SciTech Connect

    Crutsinger, Greg; Reynolds, Nicholas; Classen, Aimee T; Sanders, Dr. Nathan James

    2008-01-01

    Intraspecific diversity within plant species is increasingly recognized as an important influence on the structure of associated arthropod communities, though whether there are congruent responses of above- and belowground communities to intraspecific diversity remains unclear. In this study, we compare the effects of host-plant genotype and genotypic diversity of the perennial plant, Solidago altissima, on the arthropod community associated with living plant tissue (foliage-based community) and microarthropods associated with leaf litter (litter-based community). We found that variation among host-plant genotypes had strong effects on the diversity and composition of foliage-based arthropods, but only weak influence on litter-based microarthropods. Furthermore, host-plant genotypic diversity was positively related to the abundance and diversity of foliage-based arthropods, including herbivore and predator trophic levels. In contrast, there were minimal effects of genotypic diversity in litter on microarthropods. Our study illustrates that incorporating both above- and belowground perspective into community genetics studies leads to very different conclusions about the importance of intraspecific diversity, than when considering aboveground responses in isolation.

  16. Disparate effects of plant genotypic diversity on foliage and litter arthropod communities.

    PubMed

    Crutsinger, Gregory M; Reynolds, W Nicholas; Classen, Aimée T; Sanders, Nathan J

    2008-11-01

    Intraspecific diversity can influence the structure of associated communities, though whether litter-based and foliage-based arthropod communities respond to intraspecific diversity in similar ways remains unclear. In this study, we compared the effects of host-plant genotype and genotypic diversity of the perennial plant, Solidago altissima, on the arthropod community associated with living plant tissue (foliage-based community) and microarthropods associated with leaf litter (litter-based community). We found that variation among host-plant genotypes had strong effects on the diversity and composition of foliage-based arthropods, but only weak effects on litter-based microarthropods. Furthermore, host-plant genotypic diversity was positively related to the abundance and diversity of foliage-based arthropods, and within the herbivore and predator trophic levels. In contrast, there were minimal effects of plant genotypic diversity on litter-based microarthropods in any trophic level. Our study illustrates that incorporating communities associated with living foliage and senesced litter into studies of community genetics can lead to very different conclusions about the importance of intraspecific diversity than when only foliage-based community responses are considered in isolation.

  17. Plant diversity and conservation in China: planning a strategic bioresource for a sustainable future.

    PubMed

    Huang, Hongwen

    2011-01-01

    China is one of the richest countries for plant diversity with approximately 33 000 vascular plant species, ranking second in the world. However, the plant diversity in China is increasingly threatened, with an estimated 4000–5000 plant species being threatened or on the verge of extinction, making China, proportionally, one of the highest priorities for global plant biodiversity conservation. Coming in the face of the current ecological crisis, it is timely that China has launched China's Strategy for Plant Conservation (CSPC). China has increasingly recognized the importance of plant diversity in efforts to conserve and sustainably use its plant diversity. More than 3000 nature reserves have been established, covering approximately 16% of the land surface of China. These natural reserves play important roles in plant conservation, covering more than 85% of types of terrestrial natural ecosystems, 40% of types of natural wetlands, 20% of native forests and 65% of natural communities of vascular plants. Meanwhile, the flora conserved in botanical gardens is also extensive. A recent survey shows that the 10 largest botanical gardens have living collections of 43 502 taxa, with a total of 24 667 species in ex situ conservation. These provide an important reserve of plant resources for sustainable economic and social development in China. Plant diversity is the basis for bioresources and sustainable utilization. The 21st century is predicted to be an era of bio-economy driven by advances of bioscience and biotechnology. Bio-economy may become the fourth economy form after agricultural, industrial, and information and information technology economies, having far-reaching impacts on sustainable development in agriculture, forestry, environmental protection, light industry, food supply and health care and other micro-economy aspects. Thus, a strategic and forward vision for conservation of plant diversity and sustainable use of plant resources in the 21st century is of

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  19. Ground Layer Plant Species Turnover and Beta Diversity in Southern-European Old-Growth Forests

    PubMed Central

    Sabatini, Francesco Maria; Burrascano, Sabina; Tuomisto, Hanna; Blasi, Carlo

    2014-01-01

    Different assembly processes may simultaneously affect local-scale variation of species composition in temperate old-growth forests. Ground layer species diversity reflects chance colonization and persistence of low-dispersal species, as well as fine-scale environmental heterogeneity. The latter depends on both purely abiotic factors, such as soil properties and topography, and factors primarily determined by overstorey structure, such as light availability. Understanding the degree to which plant diversity in old-growth forests is associated with structural heterogeneity and/or to dispersal limitation will help assessing the effectiveness of silvicultural practices that recreate old-growth patterns and structures for the conservation or restoration of plant diversity. We used a nested sampling design to assess fine-scale species turnover, i.e. the proportion of species composition that changes among sampling units, across 11 beech-dominated old-growth forests in Southern Europe. For each stand, we also measured a wide range of environmental and structural variables that might explain ground layer species turnover. Our aim was to quantify the relative importance of dispersal limitation in comparison to that of stand structural heterogeneity while controlling for other sources of environmental heterogeneity. For this purpose, we used multiple regression on distance matrices at the within-stand extent, and mixed effect models at the extent of the whole dataset. Species turnover was best predicted by structural and environmental heterogeneity, especially by differences in light availability and in topsoil nutrient concentration and texture. Spatial distances were significant only in four out of eleven stands with a relatively low explanatory power. This suggests that structural heterogeneity is a more important driver of local-scale ground layer species turnover than dispersal limitation in southern European old-growth beech forests. PMID:24748155

  20. Ground layer plant species turnover and beta diversity in southern-European old-growth forests.

    PubMed

    Sabatini, Francesco Maria; Burrascano, Sabina; Tuomisto, Hanna; Blasi, Carlo

    2014-01-01

    Different assembly processes may simultaneously affect local-scale variation of species composition in temperate old-growth forests. Ground layer species diversity reflects chance colonization and persistence of low-dispersal species, as well as fine-scale environmental heterogeneity. The latter depends on both purely abiotic factors, such as soil properties and topography, and factors primarily determined by overstorey structure, such as light availability. Understanding the degree to which plant diversity in old-growth forests is associated with structural heterogeneity and/or to dispersal limitation will help assessing the effectiveness of silvicultural practices that recreate old-growth patterns and structures for the conservation or restoration of plant diversity. We used a nested sampling design to assess fine-scale species turnover, i.e. the proportion of species composition that changes among sampling units, across 11 beech-dominated old-growth forests in Southern Europe. For each stand, we also measured a wide range of environmental and structural variables that might explain ground layer species turnover. Our aim was to quantify the relative importance of dispersal limitation in comparison to that of stand structural heterogeneity while controlling for other sources of environmental heterogeneity. For this purpose, we used multiple regression on distance matrices at the within-stand extent, and mixed effect models at the extent of the whole dataset. Species turnover was best predicted by structural and environmental heterogeneity, especially by differences in light availability and in topsoil nutrient concentration and texture. Spatial distances were significant only in four out of eleven stands with a relatively low explanatory power. This suggests that structural heterogeneity is a more important driver of local-scale ground layer species turnover than dispersal limitation in southern European old-growth beech forests.

  1. [Maintenance capacity of plant community diversity of wetlands in patch scale].

    PubMed

    Sun, Xian-bin; Liu, Hong-yu; Zhang, Xiao-hong; Hu, Jun-na

    2009-03-01

    Based on GIS and principal component analysis method, this paper analyzed the relationships between the patch characteristics and the plant community diversity in the patches of wetlands in Naoli River Watershed in 1950, 1967, 1983 and 2000. The results showed that in 1950-2000, the average patch size of the wetlands and the number of the patches that had the capacity of maintaining more than two types of wetland plant community decreased dramatically, and the minimum patch size was 10.1 km2. Both the plant community diversity index and the number of plant community types had significant positive correlations with the patch size of the wetlands. The larger the patch size, the higher maintenance capacity of plant community diversity. With the decrease of patch size, the patch fragmentation index and patch fragmental dimension increased, while the patch shape index and the plant community diversity index in the patches decreased. With the increase of patch spatial separation, the plant community diversity index in the patches decreased. Principal component analysis indicated that patch size was the most important factor affecting the plant community diversity of wetlands, followed by patch fragmentation and separation.

  2. Plant pathogens as a source of diverse enzymes for lignocellulose digestion.

    PubMed

    Gibson, Donna M; King, Brian C; Hayes, Marshall L; Bergstrom, Gary C

    2011-06-01

    The plant cell wall is a major barrier that many plant pathogens must surmount for successful invasion of their plant hosts. Full genome sequencing of a number of plant pathogens has revealed often large, complex, and redundant enzyme systems for degradation of plant cell walls. Recent surveys have noted that plant pathogenic fungi are highly competent producers of lignocellulolytic enzymes, and their enzyme activity patterns reflect host specificity. We propose that plant pathogens may contribute to biofuel production as diverse sources of accessory enzymes for more efficient conversion of lignocellulose into fermentable sugars.

  3. Monotropa uniflora plants of eastern Massachusetts form mycorrhizae with a diversity of russulacean fungi.

    PubMed

    Yang, S; Pfister, D H

    2006-01-01

    Plant species in the subfamily Monotropoideae are mycoheterotrophs; they obtain fixed carbon from photosynthetic plants via a shared mycorrhizal network. Previous findings show mycoheterotrophic plants exhibit a high level of specificity to their mycorrhizal fungi. In this study we explore the association of mycorrhizal fungi and Monotropa uniflora (Monotropoideae: Ericaceae) in eastern North America. We collected M. uniflora roots and nearby basidiomycete sporocarps from four sites within a 100 km2 area in eastern Massachusetts. We analyzed DNA sequences of the internal transcribed spacer region (ITS) from the fungal nuclear ribosomal gene to assess the genetic diversity of fungi associating with M. uniflora roots. In this analysis we included 20 ITS sequences from Russula sporocarps collected nearby, 44 sequences of Russula or Lactarius species from GenBank and 12 GenBank sequences of fungi isolated from M. uniflora roots in previous studies. We found that all 56 sampled M. uniflora mycorrhizal fungi were members of the Russulaceae, confirming previous research. The analysis showed that most of the diversity of mycorrhizal fungi spreads across the genus Russula. ITS sequences of the mycorrhizal fungi consisted of 20 different phylotypes: 18 of the genus Russula and two of Lactarius, based on GenBank searches. Of the sampled plants, 57% associated with only three of the 20 mycorrhizal fungi detected in roots, and of the 25 sporocarp phylotypes collected three, were associated with M. uniflora. Furthermore the results indicate that the number of different fungal phylotypes associating with M. uniflora of eastern North America is higher than that of western North America but patterns of fungal species abundance might be similar between mycorrhizae from the two locations.

  4. ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT FOR OTEC PILOT PLANTS

    SciTech Connect

    Wilde, P.

    1980-06-01

    Logical and orderly progression of the OTEC program from conceptual designs through component testing to the goal of commercially viable OTEC plants require that the socio-legal requirements be met and the proper operating permits be obtained and maintained. This function is accomplished in a series of activities including: (1) Development and annual revision of a published OTEC Environmental Development Plan (EDP); (2) Compliance with NEPA/EPA and other regulatory requirements; and (3) Studies and research in support of the above. The Environmental Development Plan (EDP) lists the concerns, outlines the program to consider the effects and validity of such concerns on the OTEC program, and gives the time-table to meet the schedule, integrated with that of the engineering and design programs. The schedules of compliance activities and, to a lesser degree, research also are governed by the development progress of the technology. However, because of the lead time necessary to insure proper review the appropriate regulatory agencies, the environmental assessment program for the OTEC pilot plants (initially starting with the 10/40 MWe unit) is founded on the strategy of progressive improvement of previously accepted documentation. Based on experience with OTEC-1, the procedure for pilot plants will be: (1) Produce generic Environmental Assessment (EA) at the appropriate level of technology in advance of hardware contract; (2) Produce generic Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) at approximately the same time as the hardware procurement; (3) Monitor production of site specific supplement to the generic EIS prepared by the hardware contractor; (4) Assist pilot plant operator in applying and obtaining permits by providing current research and modeling data; (5) Monitor environmental program as required by regulatory agency; and (6) Use new site data for refining models for future pilot plant. assessments.

  5. Environmental assessment of HYGAS Pilot Plant streams

    SciTech Connect

    Anastasia, L. J.; Evans, R. J.; Bossart, S. J.; Karst, R. H.; Biljetina, R.

    1980-01-01

    The US Department of Energy has commissioned an environmental assessment program to obtain experimental data from the HYGAS Pilot Plant. An important objective of this program is the development of predictive methods to extend the environmental data base to larger-scale demonstration and commercial HYGAS coal gasification plants. This report discusses the systems which have been specifically established for sampling, analysis, and data evaluation to define the fate of compounds of environmental interest generated during pilot plant operation. The pilot plant units of interest include the pretreater and gasifier reactors which are considered scalable to larger plants. Sampling methods used in the program include scheduled, routine grab samples, composited grab samples, on-line composited liquids and solid samples, and on-line gas analysis for selected sulfur species. This paper also discusses the development and use of a high-pressure, high-temperature, sampling system to collect organic and inorganic species from the HYGAS gasifier. Even though the reactor sampling system adopted is very man-power intensive, it greatly reduces the number of samples required and results in a higher overall sampling efficiency. In addition, the on-line sampling train provides immediate capture and stabilization of reactive and volatile species, eliminates process unit lag times, avoids quench tower inefficiencies for many species, and allows rapid monitoring of differences in pollutant production with changing process conditions.

  6. Metabolic activity and genetic diversity of microbial communities inhabiting the rhizosphere of halophyton plants.

    PubMed

    Bárány, Agnes; Szili-Kovács, Tibor; Krett, Gergely; Füzy, Anna; Márialigeti, Károly; Borsodi, Andrea K

    2014-09-01

    A preliminary study was conducted to compare the community level physiological profile (CLPP) and genetic diversity of rhizosphere microbial communities of four plant species growing nearby Kiskunság soda ponds, namely Böddi-szék, Kelemen-szék and Zab-szék. CLPP was assessed by MicroResp method using 15 different substrates while Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis (DGGE) was used to analyse genetic diversity of bacterial communities. The soil physical and chemical properties were quite different at the three sampling sites. Multivariate statistics (PCA and UPGMA) revealed that Zab-szék samples could be separated according to their genetic profile from the two others which might be attributed to the geographical location and perhaps the differences in soil physical properties. Böddi-szék samples could be separated from the two others considering the metabolic activity which could be explained by their high salt and low humus contents. The number of bands in DGGE gels was related to the metabolic activity, and positively correlated with soil humus content, but negatively with soil salt content. The main finding was that geographical location, soil physical and chemical properties and the type of vegetation were all important factors influencing the metabolic activity and genetic diversity of rhizosphere microbial communities.

  7. Habitat Heterogeneity Affects Plant and Arthropod Species Diversity and Turnover in Traditional Cornfields.

    PubMed

    Martínez, Eliana; Rös, Matthias; Bonilla, María Argenis; Dirzo, Rodolfo

    2015-01-01

    The expansion of the agricultural frontier by the clearing of remnant forests has led to human-dominated landscape mosaics. Previous studies have evaluated the effect of these landscape mosaics on arthropod diversity at local spatial scales in temperate and tropical regions, but little is known about fragmentation effects in crop systems, such as the complex tropical traditional crop systems that maintain a high diversity of weeds and arthropods in low-Andean regions. To understand the factors that influence patterns of diversity in human-dominated landscapes, we investigate the effect of land use types on plant and arthropod diversity in traditionally managed cornfields, via surveys of plants and arthropods in twelve traditional cornfields in the Colombian Andes. We estimated alpha and beta diversity to analyze changes in diversity related to land uses within a radius of 100 m to 1 km around each cornfield. We observed that forests influenced alpha diversity of plants, but not of arthropods. Agricultural lands had a positive relationship with plants and herbivores, but a negative relationship with predators. Pastures positively influenced the diversity of plants and arthropods. In addition, forest cover seemed to influence changes in plant species composition and species turnover of herbivore communities among cornfields. The dominant plant species varied among fields, resulting in high differentiation of plant communities. Predator communities also exhibited high turnover among cornfields, but differences in composition arose mainly among rare species. The crop system evaluated in this study represents a widespread situation in the tropics, therefore, our results can be of broad significance. Our findings suggest that traditional agriculture may not homogenize biological communities, but instead could maintain the regional pool of species through high beta diversity.

  8. Habitat Heterogeneity Affects Plant and Arthropod Species Diversity and Turnover in Traditional Cornfields

    PubMed Central

    Martínez, Eliana; Rös, Matthias; Bonilla, María Argenis; Dirzo, Rodolfo

    2015-01-01

    The expansion of the agricultural frontier by the clearing of remnant forests has led to human-dominated landscape mosaics. Previous studies have evaluated the effect of these landscape mosaics on arthropod diversity at local spatial scales in temperate and tropical regions, but little is known about fragmentation effects in crop systems, such as the complex tropical traditional crop systems that maintain a high diversity of weeds and arthropods in low-Andean regions. To understand the factors that influence patterns of diversity in human-dominated landscapes, we investigate the effect of land use types on plant and arthropod diversity in traditionally managed cornfields, via surveys of plants and arthropods in twelve traditional cornfields in the Colombian Andes. We estimated alpha and beta diversity to analyze changes in diversity related to land uses within a radius of 100 m to 1 km around each cornfield. We observed that forests influenced alpha diversity of plants, but not of arthropods. Agricultural lands had a positive relationship with plants and herbivores, but a negative relationship with predators. Pastures positively influenced the diversity of plants and arthropods. In addition, forest cover seemed to influence changes in plant species composition and species turnover of herbivore communities among cornfields. The dominant plant species varied among fields, resulting in high differentiation of plant communities. Predator communities also exhibited high turnover among cornfields, but differences in composition arose mainly among rare species. The crop system evaluated in this study represents a widespread situation in the tropics, therefore, our results can be of broad significance. Our findings suggest that traditional agriculture may not homogenize biological communities, but instead could maintain the regional pool of species through high beta diversity. PMID:26197473

  9. Use of an airborne lidar system to model plant species composition and diversity of Mediterranean oak forests.

    PubMed

    Simonson, William D; Allen, Harriet D; Coomes, David A

    2012-10-01

    Airborne lidar is a remote-sensing tool of increasing importance in ecological and conservation research due to its ability to characterize three-dimensional vegetation structure. If different aspects of plant species diversity and composition can be related to vegetation structure, landscape-level assessments of plant communities may be possible. We examined this possibility for Mediterranean oak forests in southern Portugal, which are rich in biological diversity but also threatened. We compared data from a discrete, first-and-last return lidar data set collected for 31 plots of cork oak (Quercus suber) and Algerian oak (Quercus canariensis) forest with field data to test whether lidar can be used to predict the vertical structure of vegetation, diversity of plant species, and community type. Lidar- and field-measured structural data were significantly correlated (up to r= 0.85). Diversity of forest species was significantly associated with lidar-measured vegetation height (R(2) = 0.50, p < 0.001). Clustering and ordination of the species data pointed to the presence of 2 main forest classes that could be discriminated with an accuracy of 89% on the basis of lidar data. Lidar can be applied widely for mapping of habitat and assessments of habitat condition (e.g., in support of the European Species and Habitats Directive [92/43/EEC]). However, particular attention needs to be paid to issues of survey design: density of lidar points and geospatial accuracy of ground-truthing and its timing relative to acquisition of lidar data.

  10. Positive Effects of Plant Genotypic and Species Diversity on Anti-Herbivore Defenses in a Tropical Tree Species

    PubMed Central

    Moreira, Xoaquín; Abdala-Roberts, Luis; Parra-Tabla, Víctor; Mooney, Kailen A.

    2014-01-01

    Despite increasing evidence that plant intra- and inter-specific diversity increases primary productivity, and that such effect may in turn cascade up to influence herbivores, there is little information about plant diversity effects on plant anti-herbivore defenses, the relative importance of different sources of plant diversity, and the mechanisms for such effects. For example, increased plant growth at high diversity may lead to reduced investment in defenses via growth-defense trade-offs. Alternatively, positive effects of plant diversity on plant growth may lead to increased herbivore abundance which in turn leads to a greater investment in plant defenses. The magnitude of trait variation underlying diversity effects is usually greater among species than among genotypes within a given species, so plant species diversity effects on resource use by producers as well as on higher trophic levels should be stronger than genotypic diversity effects. Here we compared the relative importance of plant genotypic and species diversity on anti-herbivore defenses and whether such effects are mediated indirectly via diversity effects on plant growth and/or herbivore damage. To this end, we performed a large-scale field experiment where we manipulated genotypic diversity of big-leaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) and tree species diversity, and measured effects on mahogany growth, damage by the stem-boring specialist caterpillar Hypsipyla grandella, and defensive traits (polyphenolics and condensed tannins in stem and leaves). We found that both forms of plant diversity had positive effects on stem (but not leaf) defenses. However, neither source of diversity influenced mahogany growth, and diversity effects on defenses were not mediated by either growth-defense trade-offs or changes in stem-borer damage. Although the mechanism(s) of diversity effects on plant defenses are yet to be determined, our study is one of the few to test for and show producer diversity effects on

  11. Positive effects of plant genotypic and species diversity on anti-herbivore defenses in a tropical tree species.

    PubMed

    Moreira, Xoaquín; Abdala-Roberts, Luis; Parra-Tabla, Víctor; Mooney, Kailen A

    2014-01-01

    Despite increasing evidence that plant intra- and inter-specific diversity increases primary productivity, and that such effect may in turn cascade up to influence herbivores, there is little information about plant diversity effects on plant anti-herbivore defenses, the relative importance of different sources of plant diversity, and the mechanisms for such effects. For example, increased plant growth at high diversity may lead to reduced investment in defenses via growth-defense trade-offs. Alternatively, positive effects of plant diversity on plant growth may lead to increased herbivore abundance which in turn leads to a greater investment in plant defenses. The magnitude of trait variation underlying diversity effects is usually greater among species than among genotypes within a given species, so plant species diversity effects on resource use by producers as well as on higher trophic levels should be stronger than genotypic diversity effects. Here we compared the relative importance of plant genotypic and species diversity on anti-herbivore defenses and whether such effects are mediated indirectly via diversity effects on plant growth and/or herbivore damage. To this end, we performed a large-scale field experiment where we manipulated genotypic diversity of big-leaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) and tree species diversity, and measured effects on mahogany growth, damage by the stem-boring specialist caterpillar Hypsipyla grandella, and defensive traits (polyphenolics and condensed tannins in stem and leaves). We found that both forms of plant diversity had positive effects on stem (but not leaf) defenses. However, neither source of diversity influenced mahogany growth, and diversity effects on defenses were not mediated by either growth-defense trade-offs or changes in stem-borer damage. Although the mechanism(s) of diversity effects on plant defenses are yet to be determined, our study is one of the few to test for and show producer diversity effects on

  12. Native plant diversity resists invasion at both low and high resource levels.

    PubMed

    Maron, John; Marler, Marilyn

    2007-10-01

    Human modification of the environment is causing both loss of species and changes in resource availability. While studies have examined how species loss at the local level can influence invasion resistance, interactions between species loss and other components of environmental change remain poorly studied. In particular, the manner in which native diversity interacts with resource availability to influence invasion resistance is not well understood. We created experimental plant assemblages that varied in native species (1-16 species) and/or functional richness (defined by rooting morphology and phenology; one to five functional groups). We crossed these diversity treatments with resource (water) addition to determine their interactive effects on invasion resistance to spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa), a potent exotic invader in the intermountain West of the United States. We also determined how native diversity and resource addition influenced plant-available soil nitrogen, soil moisture, and light. Assemblages with lower species and functional diversity were more heavily invaded than assemblages with greater species and functional diversity. In uninvaded assemblages, experimental addition of water increased soil moisture and plant-available nitrogen and decreased light availability. The availability of these resources generally declined with increasing native plant diversity. Although water addition increased susceptibility to invasion, it did not fundamentally change the negative relationship between diversity and invasibility. Thus, native diversity provided strong invasion resistance even under high resource availability. These results suggest that the effects of local diversity can remain robust despite enhanced resource levels that are predicted under scenarios of global change.

  13. Plant diversity partitioning in Mediterranean croplands: effects of farming intensity, field edge, and landscape context.

    PubMed

    Concepción, Elena D; Fernández-González, Federico; Díaz, Mario

    2012-04-01

    Farmland biodiversity is affected by factors acting at various spatial scales. However, most studies to date have focused on the field or farm scales that only account for local (alpha) diversity, and these may underestimate the contribution of other diversity components (beta diversity) to total (gamma) farmland diversity. In this work, we aimed to identify the most suitable management options and the scale at which they should be implemented to maximize benefits for diversity. We used a multi-scale additive partitioning approach, with data on plant diversity from 640 plots in 32 cereal crop fields from three agricultural regions of central Spain that differed in landscape configuration. We analyzed the relative contribution to overall plant diversity of different diversity components at various spatial scales and how these diversity components responded to a set of local (application of agri-environment schemes [AES] and position within the field) and landscape (field size and landscape connectivity and composition) factors. Differences in species composition among regions and then among fields within regions contributed most to overall plant diversity. Positive edge effects were found on all diversity components at both the field- and regional scales, whereas application of AES benefited all diversity components only at the field scale. Landscape factors had strong influences on plant diversity, especially length of seminatural boundaries, which increased species richness at both the field and the regional scales. In addition, positive effects of percentage of nonproductive land-uses in the landscape were found on all diversity components at the regional scale. Results showed that components that contributed most to overall plant diversity were not benefited by current AES. We conclude that agri-environmental policies should incorporate and prioritize measures aimed at the maintenance of seminatural boundaries and patches of nonproductive habitats within

  14. Ecological Effects of Roads on the Plant Diversity of Coastal Wetland in the Yellow River Delta

    PubMed Central

    Li, Yunzhao; Du, Siyao; Han, Guangxuan; Qu, Fanzhu; Wang, Guangmei; Fu, Yuqin; Zhan, Chao

    2014-01-01

    The 26 sample sites in 7 study plots adjacent to asphalt road and earth road in coastal wetland in the Yellow River Delta were selected to quantify plant diversity using quadrat sampling method in plant bloom phase of July and August 2012. The indice of βT and Jaccard's coefficient were applied to evaluate the species diversity. The results showed that the plant diversities and alien plants were high in the range of 0–20 m to the road verge. There were more exotics and halophytes in plots of asphalt roadside than that of earth roadside. However, proportion of halophytes in habitats of asphalt roadsides was lower than that of earth roadside. By comparing β-diversity, there were more common species in the asphalt roadsides than that in the earth roadsides. The similarity of plant communities in studied plots of asphalt roadsides and earth roadsides increased with increasing the distance to road verge. The effect range of roads for plant diversity in study region was about 20 m to road verge. Our results indicate that the construction and maintenance of roads in wetland could increase the plant species diversities of communities and risk of alien species invasion. PMID:25147872

  15. Ecological effects of roads on the plant diversity of coastal wetland in the Yellow River Delta.

    PubMed

    Li, Yunzhao; Yu, Junbao; Ning, Kai; Du, Siyao; Han, Guangxuan; Qu, Fanzhu; Wang, Guangmei; Fu, Yuqin; Zhan, Chao

    2014-01-01

    The 26 sample sites in 7 study plots adjacent to asphalt road and earth road in coastal wetland in the Yellow River Delta were selected to quantify plant diversity using quadrat sampling method in plant bloom phase of July and August 2012. The indice of β T and Jaccard's coefficient were applied to evaluate the species diversity. The results showed that the plant diversities and alien plants were high in the range of 0-20 m to the road verge. There were more exotics and halophytes in plots of asphalt roadside than that of earth roadside. However, proportion of halophytes in habitats of asphalt roadsides was lower than that of earth roadside. By comparing β-diversity, there were more common species in the asphalt roadsides than that in the earth roadsides. The similarity of plant communities in studied plots of asphalt roadsides and earth roadsides increased with increasing the distance to road verge. The effect range of roads for plant diversity in study region was about 20 m to road verge. Our results indicate that the construction and maintenance of roads in wetland could increase the plant species diversities of communities and risk of alien species invasion.

  16. Microbiome interplay: plants alter microbial abundance and diversity within the built environment.

    PubMed

    Mahnert, Alexander; Moissl-Eichinger, Christine; Berg, Gabriele

    2015-01-01

    The built indoor microbiome has importance for human health. Residents leave their microbial fingerprint but nothing is known about the transfer from plants. Our hypothesis that indoor plants contribute substantially to the microbial abundance and diversity in the built environment was experimentally confirmed as proof of principle by analyzing the microbiome of the spider plant Chlorophytum comosum in relation to their surroundings. The abundance of Archaea, Bacteria, and Eukaryota (fungi) increased on surrounding floor and wall surfaces within 6 months of plant isolation in a cleaned indoor environment, whereas the microbial abundance on plant leaves and indoor air remained stable. We observed a microbiome shift: the bacterial diversity on surfaces increased significantly but fungal diversity decreased. The majority of cells were intact at the time of samplings and thus most probably alive including diverse Archaea as yet unknown phyllosphere inhabitants. LEfSe and network analysis showed that most microbes were dispersed from plant leaves to the surrounding surfaces. This led to an increase of specific taxa including spore-forming fungi with potential allergic potential but also beneficial plant-associated bacteria, e.g., Paenibacillus. This study demonstrates for the first time that plants can alter the microbiome of a built environment, which supports the significance of plants and provides insights into the complex interplay of plants, microbiomes and human beings.

  17. Forest species diversity reduces disease risk in a generalist plant pathogen invasion

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Haas, Sarah E.; Hooten, Mevin B.; Rizzo, David M.; Meentemeyer, Ross K.

    2011-01-01

    Empirical evidence suggests that biodiversity loss can increase disease transmission, yet our understanding of the 'diversity-disease hypothesis' for generalist pathogens in natural ecosystems is limited. We used a landscape epidemiological approach to examine two scenarios regarding diversity effects on the emerging plant pathogen Phytophthora ramorum across a broad, heterogeneous ecoregion: (1) an amplification effect exists where disease risk is greater in areas with higher plant diversity due to the pathogen's wide host range, or (2) a dilution effect where risk is reduced with increasing diversity due to lower competency of alternative hosts. We found evidence for pathogen dilution, whereby disease risk was lower in sites with higher species diversity, after accounting for potentially confounding effects of host density and landscape heterogeneity. Our results suggest that although nearly all plants in the ecosystem are hosts, alternative hosts may dilute disease transmission by competent hosts, thereby buffering forest health from infectious disease.

  18. Exploring Genetic Diversity in Plants Using High-Throughput Sequencing Techniques

    PubMed Central

    Onda, Yoshihiko; Mochida, Keiichi

    2016-01-01

    Food security has emerged as an urgent concern because of the rising world population. To meet the food demands of the near future, it is required to improve the productivity of various crops, not just of staple food crops. The genetic diversity among plant populations in a given species allows the plants to adapt to various environmental conditions. Such diversity could therefore yield valuable traits that could overcome the food-security challenges. To explore genetic diversity comprehensively and to rapidly identify useful genes and/or allele, advanced high-throughput sequencing techniques, also called next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies, have been developed. These provide practical solutions to the challenges in crop genomics. Here, we review various sources of genetic diversity in plants, newly developed genetic diversity-mining tools synergized with NGS techniques, and related genetic approaches such as quantitative trait locus analysis and genome-wide association study. PMID:27499684

  19. Exploring Genetic Diversity in Plants Using High-Throughput Sequencing Techniques.

    PubMed

    Onda, Yoshihiko; Mochida, Keiichi

    2016-08-01

    Food security has emerged as an urgent concern because of the rising world population. To meet the food demands of the near future, it is required to improve the productivity of various crops, not just of staple food crops. The genetic diversity among plant populations in a given species allows the plants to adapt to various environmental conditions. Such diversity could therefore yield valuable traits that could overcome the food-security challenges. To explore genetic diversity comprehensively and to rapidly identify useful genes and/or allele, advanced high-throughput sequencing techniques, also called next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies, have been developed. These provide practical solutions to the challenges in crop genomics. Here, we review various sources of genetic diversity in plants, newly developed genetic diversity-mining tools synergized with NGS techniques, and related genetic approaches such as quantitative trait locus analysis and genome-wide association study.

  20. Modeling terrestrial carbon and water dynamics across climatic gradients: does plant trait diversity matter?

    PubMed

    Pappas, Christoforos; Fatichi, Simone; Burlando, Paolo

    2016-01-01

    Plant trait diversity in many vegetation models is crudely represented using a discrete classification of a handful of 'plant types' (named plant functional types; PFTs). The parameterization of PFTs reflects mean properties of observed plant traits over broad categories ignoring most of the inter- and intraspecific plant trait variability. Taking advantage of a multivariate leaf-trait distribution (leaf economics spectrum), as well as documented plant drought strategies, we generate an ensemble of hypothetical species with coordinated attributes, rather than using few PFTs. The behavior of these proxy species is tested using a mechanistic ecohydrological model that translates plant traits into plant performance. Simulations are carried out for a range of climates representative of different elevations and wetness conditions in the European Alps. Using this framework we investigate the sensitivity of ecosystem response to plant trait diversity and compare it with the sensitivity to climate variability. Plant trait diversity leads to highly divergent vegetation carbon dynamics (fluxes and pools) and to a lesser extent water fluxes (transpiration). Abiotic variables, such as soil water content and evaporation, are only marginally affected. These results highlight the need for revising the representation of plant attributes in vegetation models. Probabilistic approaches, based on observed multivariate whole-plant trait distributions, provide a viable alternative.

  1. Measuring the fate of plant diversity: towards a foundation for future monitoring and opportunities for urgent action

    PubMed Central

    Nic Lughadha, E; Baillie, J; Barthlott, W; Brummitt, N.A; Cheek, M.R; Farjon, A; Govaerts, R; Hardwick, K.A; Hilton-Taylor, C; Meagher, T.R; Moat, J; Mutke, J; Paton, A.J; Pleasants, L.J; Savolainen, V; Schatz, G.E; Smith, P; Turner, I; Wyse-Jackson, P; Crane, P.R

    2005-01-01

    Vascular plants are often considered to be among the better known large groups of organisms, but gaps in the available baseline data are extensive, and recent estimates of total known (described) seed plant species range from 200 000 to 422 000. Of these, global assessments of conservation status using International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) categories and criteria are available for only approximately 10 000 species. In response to recommendations from the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity to develop biodiversity indicators based on changes in the status of threatened species, and trends in the abundance and distribution of selected species, we examine how existing data, in combination with limited new data collection, can be used to maximum effect. We argue that future work should produce Red List Indices based on a representative subset of plant species so that the limited resources currently available are directed towards redressing taxonomic and geographical biases apparent in existing datasets. Sampling the data held in the world's major herbaria, in combination with Geographical Information Systems techniques, can produce preliminary conservation assessments and help to direct selective survey work using existing field networks to verify distributions and gather population data. Such data can also be used to backcast threats and potential distributions through time. We outline an approach that could result in: (i) preliminary assessments of the conservation status of tens of thousands of species not previously assessed, (ii) significant enhancements in the coverage and representation of plant species on the IUCN Red List, and (iii) repeat and/or retrospective assessments for a significant proportion of these. This would result in more robust Sampled Red List Indices that can be defended as more representative of plant diversity as a whole; and eventually, comprehensive assessments at species level for

  2. Generalist birds promote tropical forest regeneration and increase plant diversity via rare-biased seed dispersal.

    PubMed

    Carlo, Tomás A; Morales, Juan M

    2016-07-01

    Regenerated forests now compose over half of the world's tropical forest cover and are increasingly important as providers of ecosystem services, freshwater, and biodiversity conservation. Much of the value and functionality of regenerating forests depends on the plant diversity they contain. Tropical forest diversity is strongly shaped by mutualistic interactions between plants and fruit-eating animals (frugivores) that disperse seeds. Here we show how seed dispersal by birds can influence the speed and diversity of early successional forests in Puerto Rico. For two years, we monitored the monthly fruit production of bird-dispersed plants on a fragmented landscape, and measured seed dispersal activity of birds and plant establishment in experimental plots located in deforested areas. Two predominantly omnivorous bird species, the Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) and the Gray Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis), proved critical for speeding up the establishment of woody plants and increasing the species richness and diversity of the seed rain in deforested areas. Seed dispersal by these generalists increased the odds for rare plant species to disperse and establish in experimental forest-regeneration plots. Results indicate that birds that mix fruit and insects in their diets and actively forage across open and forested habitats can play keystone roles in the regeneration of mutualistic plant-animal communities. Furthermore, our analyses reveal that rare-biased (antiapostatic) frugivory and seed dispersal is the mechanism responsible for increasing plant diversity in the early-regenerating community.

  3. High plant diversity in Oregon tidal wetlands and multiple threats to its persistence

    EPA Science Inventory

    Tidal wetlands in the Pacific Northwest occur in coastal estuaries differing widely in size, relative freshwater inputs, and degree of watershed development. To better understand patterns of plant diversity in tidal wetlands across the region and potential climate change effects ...

  4. Decline in exotic tree density facilitates increased plant diversity: the experience from Melaleuca quinquenervia invaded wetlands

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The Australian tree Melaleuca quinquenervia (melaleuca) formed dense monocultural forests several decades after invading Florida and the Caribbean islands. These dominant forests have displaced native vegetation in sensitive wetland systems. We hypothesized that native plant diversity would increa...

  5. Protein change in plant evolution: tracing one thread connecting molecular and phenotypic diversity.

    PubMed

    Bartlett, Madelaine E; Whipple, Clinton J

    2013-10-10

    Proteins change over the course of evolutionary time. New protein-coding genes and gene families emerge and diversify, ultimately affecting an organism's phenotype and interactions with its environment. Here we survey the range of structural protein change observed in plants and review the role these changes have had in the evolution of plant form and function. Verified examples tying evolutionary change in protein structure to phenotypic change remain scarce. We will review the existing examples, as well as draw from investigations into domestication, and quantitative trait locus (QTL) cloning studies searching for the molecular underpinnings of natural variation. The evolutionary significance of many cloned QTL has not been assessed, but all the examples identified so far have begun to reveal the extent of protein structural diversity tolerated in natural systems. This molecular (and phenotypic) diversity could come to represent part of natural selection's source material in the adaptive evolution of novel traits. Protein structure and function can change in many distinct ways, but the changes we identified in studies of natural diversity and protein evolution were predicted to fall primarily into one of six categories: altered active and binding sites; altered protein-protein interactions; altered domain content; altered activity as an activator or repressor; altered protein stability; and hypomorphic and hypermorphic alleles. There was also variability in the evolutionary scale at which particular changes were observed. Some changes were detected at both micro- and macroevolutionary timescales, while others were observed primarily at deep or shallow phylogenetic levels. This variation might be used to determine the trajectory of future investigations in structural molecular evolution.

  6. Protein change in plant evolution: tracing one thread connecting molecular and phenotypic diversity

    PubMed Central

    Bartlett, Madelaine E.; Whipple, Clinton J.

    2013-01-01

    Proteins change over the course of evolutionary time. New protein-coding genes and gene families emerge and diversify, ultimately affecting an organism’s phenotype and interactions with its environment. Here we survey the range of structural protein change observed in plants and review the role these changes have had in the evolution of plant form and function. Verified examples tying evolutionary change in protein structure to phenotypic change remain scarce. We will review the existing examples, as well as draw from investigations into domestication, and quantitative trait locus (QTL) cloning studies searching for the molecular underpinnings of natural variation. The evolutionary significance of many cloned QTL has not been assessed, but all the examples identified so far have begun to reveal the extent of protein structural diversity tolerated in natural systems. This molecular (and phenotypic) diversity could come to represent part of natural selection’s source material in the adaptive evolution of novel traits. Protein structure and function can change in many distinct ways, but the changes we identified in studies of natural diversity and protein evolution were predicted to fall primarily into one of six categories: altered active and binding sites; altered protein–protein interactions; altered domain content; altered activity as an activator or repressor; altered protein stability; and hypomorphic and hypermorphic alleles. There was also variability in the evolutionary scale at which particular changes were observed. Some changes were detected at both micro- and macroevolutionary timescales, while others were observed primarily at deep or shallow phylogenetic levels. This variation might be used to determine the trajectory of future investigations in structural molecular evolution. PMID:24124420

  7. Relationships between plant diversity and grasshopper diversity and abundance in the Little Missouri National Grassland

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    A continuing challenge in Orthoptera ecology is to understand what determines grasshopper species diversity at a given site. In this study, the objective was to determine if variation in grasshopper abundance and diversity between 23 sites in western North Dakota (USA) could be explained by variatio...

  8. Pathways of nutrient loading and impacts on plant diversity in a New York peatland

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Drexler, J.Z.; Bedford, B.L.

    2002-01-01

    Nutrient loading is a subtle, yet serious threat to the preservation of high diversity wetlands such as peatlands. Pathways of nutrient loading and impacts on plant diversity in a small peatland in New York State, USA were determined by collecting and analyzing a suite of hydrogeological, hydro-chemical, soil, and vegetation data. Piezometer clusters within an intensive network constituted hydro-chemical sampling points and focal points for randomly selected vegetation quadrats and soil-coring locations. Hydrogeological data and nutrient analyses showed that P and K loading occurred chiefly by means of overland flow from an adjacent farm field, whereas N loading occurred predominantly through ground-water flow from the farm field. Redundancy analysis and polynomial regression showed that nutrients, particularly total P in peat, total K in peat, extractable NH4-N, and NO3-N flux in ground water, were strongly negatively correlated with plant diversity measures at the site. No other environmental variables except vegetation measures associated with eutrophication demonstrated such a strong relationship with plant diversity. Nitrate loading over 4 mg m -2 day-1 was associated with low plant diversity, and Ca fluxes between 80 and 130 mg m-2 day-1 were associated with high plant diversity. Areas in the site with particularly low vascular plant and bryophyte species richness and Shannon-Wiener diversity (H') occurred adjacent to the farm field and near a hillside spring. High H' and species richness of vascular plants and bryophytes occurred in areas that were further removed from agriculture, contained no highly dominant vegetation, and were situated directly along the ground-water flow paths of springs. These areas were characterized by relatively constant water levels and consistent, yet moderate fluxes of base cations and nutrients. Overall, this study demonstrates that knowledge of site hydrogeology is crucial for determining potential pathways of nutrient loading

  9. Diverse Lifestyles and Strategies of Plant Pathogenesis Encoded in the Genomes of Eighteen Dothideomycetes

    SciTech Connect

    Ohm, Robin A.; Feau, Nicolas; Henrissat, Bernard; Schoch, Conrad L.; Horwitz, Benjamin A.; Barry, Kerrie W.; Condon, Bradford J.; Copeland, Alex C.; Dhillon, Braham; Glaser, Fabian; Hesse, Cedar N.; Kosti, Idit; LaButti, Kurt; Lindquist, Erika A.; Lucas, Susan; Salamov, Asaf A.; Bradshaw, Rosie E.; Ciuffetti, Lynda; Hamelin, Richard C.; Kema, Gert H. J.; Lawrence, Christopher; Scott, James A.; Spatafora, Joseph W.; Turgeon, B. Gillian; de Wit, Pierre J. G. M.; Zhong, Shaobin; Goodwin, Stephen B.; Grigoriev, Igor V.

    2013-03-05

    The class of Dothideomycetes is one of the largest and most diverse groups of fungi. Many are plant pathogens and pose a serious threat to agricultural crops that are grown for biofuel, food or feed. Most Dothideomycetes have only a single host plant, and related species can have very diverse hosts. Eighteen genomes of Dothideomycetes have currently been sequenced by the Joint Genome Institute and other sequencing centers. Here we describe the results of comparative analyses of the fungi in this group.

  10. Diverse Lifestyles and Strategies of Plant Pathogenesis Encoded in the Genomes of Eighteen Doethideomycetes Fungi

    SciTech Connect

    Ohm, Robin A.; Feau, Nicolas; Henrissat, Bernard; Schoch, Conrad L.; Horwitz, Benjamin A.; Barry, Kerrie W.; Condon, Bradford J.; Copeland, Alex C.; Dhillon, Braham; Glaser, Fabien; Hesse, Cedar N.; Kosti, Idit; LaButti, Kurt; Lindquist, Erika A.; Lucas, Susan; Salamov, Asaf A.; Bradshaw, Rosie E.; Ciuffetti, Lynda; Hamelin, Richard C.; Kema, Gert H. J.; Lawrence, Christopher; Scott, James A.; Spatafora, Joseph W.; Turgeon, B. Gillian; de Wit, Pierre J. G. M.; Zhong, Shaobin; Goodwin, Stephen B.; Grigoriev, Igor V.

    2012-03-13

    The class of Dothideomycetes is one of the largest and most diverse groups of fungi. Many are plant pathogens and pose a serious threat to agricultural crops grown for biofuel, food or feed. Most Dothideomycetes have only a single host and related species can have very diverse host plants. Eighteen genomes of Dothideomycetes have currently been sequenced by the Joint Genome Institute and other sequencing centers. Here we describe the results of comparative analyses of the fungi in this group.

  11. Restoration and management for plant diversity enhances the rate of belowground ecosystem recovery.

    PubMed

    Klopf, Ryan P; Baer, Sara G; Bach, Elizabeth M; Six, Johan

    2017-03-01

    The positive relationship between plant diversity and ecosystem functioning has been criticized for its applicability at large scales and in less controlled environments that are relevant to land management. To inform this gap between ecological theory and application, we compared recovery rates of belowground properties using two chronosequences consisting of continuously cultivated and independently restored fields with contrasting diversity management strategies: grasslands restored with high plant richness and managed for diversity with frequent burning (n = 20) and grasslands restored with fewer species that were infrequently burned (n = 15). Restoration and management for plant diversity resulted in 250% higher plant richness. Greater recovery of roots and more predictable recovery of the active microbial biomass across the high diversity management strategy chronosequence corresponded with faster recovery of soil structure. The high diversity grasslands also had greater nutrient conservation indicated by lower available inorganic nitrogen. Thus, mesic grasslands restored with more species and managed for high plant diversity with frequent burning enhances the rate of belowground ecosystem recovery from long-term disturbance at a scale relevant to conservation practices on the landscape.

  12. Decomposers (Lumbricidae, Collembola) affect plant performance in model grasslands of different diversity.

    PubMed

    Partsch, Stephan; Milcu, Alexandru; Scheu, Stefan

    2006-10-01

    Decomposer invertebrates influence soil structure and nutrient mineralization as well as the activity and composition of the microbial community in soil and therefore likely affect plant performance and plant competition. We established model grassland communities in a greenhouse to study the interrelationship between two different functional groups of decomposer invertebrates, Lumbricidae and Collembola, and their effect on plant performance and plant nitrogen uptake in a plant diversity gradient. Common plant species of Central European Arrhenatherion grasslands were transplanted into microcosms with numbers of plant species varying from one to eight and plant functional groups varying from one to four. Separate and combined treatments with earthworms and collembolans were set up. Microcosms contained 15N labeled litter to track N fluxes into plant shoots. Presence of decomposers strongly increased total plant and plant shoot biomass. Root biomass decreased in the presence of collembolans and even more in the presence of earthworms. However, it increased when both animal groups were present. Also, presence of decomposers increased total N concentration and 15N enrichment of grasses, legumes, and small herbs. Small herbs were at a maximum in the combined treatment with earthworms and collembolans. The impact of earthworms and collembolans on plant performance strongly varied with plant functional group identity and plant species diversity and was modified when both decomposers were present. Both decomposer groups generally increased aboveground plant productivity through effects on litter decomposition and nutrient mineralization leading to an increased plant nutrient acquisition. The non-uniform effects of earthworms and collembolans suggest that functional diversity of soil decomposer animals matters and that the interactions between soil animal functional groups affect the structure of plant communities.

  13. Genomic Diversity of Biocontrol Strains of Pseudomonas spp. Isolated from Aerial or Root Surfaces of Plants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The striking ecological, metabolic, and biochemical diversity of Pseudomonas has intrigued microbiologists for many decades. To explore the genomic diversity of biocontrol strains of Pseudomonas spp., we derived high quality draft sequences of seven strains known to suppress plant disease. The str...

  14. On the factors that promote the diversity of herbivorous insects and plants in tropical forests.

    PubMed

    Becerra, Judith X

    2015-05-12

    Some of the most fascinating and challenging questions in ecology are why biodiversity is highest in tropical forests and whether the factors involved are unique to these habitats. I did a worldwide test of the hypotheses that plant community divergence in antiherbivore traits results in higher insect herbivore diversity, and that predominant attack by specialized herbivores promotes plant richness. I found strong correlative support for both ideas. Butterfly diversity was greatest in regions where the community average species-pairwise dissimilarity in antiherbivore traits among plant species was highest. There was also a strong positive relationship between specialized (insect) vs. generalized (mammal) herbivores and plant richness. Regions where herbivory impact by mammals was higher than that of insects tended to have lower plant diversities. In contrast, regions in which insects are the main consumers, particularly in the Central and South American tropics, had the highest plant richness. Latitude did not explain any residual variance in insect or plant richness. The strong connections found between insect specialization, plant defense divergence, and plant and insect diversities suggest that increasing our understanding of the ecology of biological communities can aid in considerations of how to preserve biodiversity in the future.

  15. On the factors that promote the diversity of herbivorous insects and plants in tropical forests

    PubMed Central

    Becerra, Judith X.

    2015-01-01

    Some of the most fascinating and challenging questions in ecology are why biodiversity is highest in tropical forests and whether the factors involved are unique to these habitats. I did a worldwide test of the hypotheses that plant community divergence in antiherbivore traits results in higher insect herbivore diversity, and that predominant attack by specialized herbivores promotes plant richness. I found strong correlative support for both ideas. Butterfly diversity was greatest in regions where the community average species-pairwise dissimilarity in antiherbivore traits among plant species was highest. There was also a strong positive relationship between specialized (insect) vs. generalized (mammal) herbivores and plant richness. Regions where herbivory impact by mammals was higher than that of insects tended to have lower plant diversities. In contrast, regions in which insects are the main consumers, particularly in the Central and South American tropics, had the highest plant richness. Latitude did not explain any residual variance in insect or plant richness. The strong connections found between insect specialization, plant defense divergence, and plant and insect diversities suggest that increasing our understanding of the ecology of biological communities can aid in considerations of how to preserve biodiversity in the future. PMID:25902509

  16. Seasonal changes in plant diversity and abundance in Northeastern pastures

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The number and identity of plant species varies by season and location. We sampled pastures on five grazing farms (four dairy, one beef): two in New York, two in Pennsylvania, and one in Maryland. Pasture plant composition was measured on five to seven pastures in the spring (April-May), summer (Jul...

  17. Pollinator diversity affects plant reproduction and recruitment: the tradeoffs of generalization.

    PubMed

    Gómez, José M; Bosch, Jordi; Perfectti, Francisco; Fernández, Juande; Abdelaziz, Mohamed

    2007-09-01

    One outstanding and unsolved challenge in ecology and conservation biology is to understand how pollinator diversity affects plant performance. Here, we provide evidence of the functional role of pollination diversity in a plant species, Erysimum mediohispanicum (Brassicaceae). Pollinator abundance, richness and diversity as well as plant reproduction and recruitment were determined in eight plant populations. We found that E. mediohispanicum was generalized both at the regional and local (population) scale, since its flowers were visited by more than 100 species of insects with very different morphology, size and behaviour. However, populations differed in the degree of generalization. Generalization correlated with pollinator abundance and plant population size, but not with habitat, ungulate damage intensity, altitude or spatial location. More importantly, the degree of generalization had significant consequences for plant reproduction and recruitment. Plants from populations with intermediate generalization produced more seeds than plants from populations with low or high degrees of generalization. These differences were not the result of differences in number of flowers produced per plant. In addition, seedling emergence in a common garden was highest in plants from populations with intermediate degree of generalization. This outcome suggests the existence of an optimal level of generalizations even for generalized plant species.

  18. Generic and functional diversity in endophytic actinomycetes from wild Compositae plant species at South Sinai - Egypt.

    PubMed

    El-Shatoury, Sahar A; El-Kraly, Omnia A; Trujillo, Martha E; El-Kazzaz, Waleed M; El-Din, El-Sayeda Gamal; Dewedar, Ahmed

    2013-09-01

    The diversity of culturable endophytic actinomycetes associated with wild Compositae plants is scantily explored. In this study, one hundred and thirty one endophytic actinobacteria were isolated from ten Compositae plant species collected from South Sinai in Egypt. Microscopic and chemotaxonomic investigation of the isolates indicated fourteen genera. Rare genera, such as Microtetraspora, and Intrasporangium, which have never been previously reported to be endophytic, were identified. Each plant species accommodated between three to eight genera of actinobacteria and unidentified strains were recovered from seven plant species. The generic diversity analysis of endophytic assemblages grouped the plant species into three main clusters, representing high, moderate and low endophytic diversity. The endophytes showed high functional diversity, based on forty four catabolic and plant growth promotion traits; providing some evidence that such traits could represent key criteria for successful residence of endophytes in the endosphere. Stress-tolerance traits were more predictive measure of functional diversity differences between the endophyte assemblages (Shannon's index, p = 0.01). The results indicate a potential prominent role of endophytes for their hosts and emphasize the potency of plant endosphere as a habitat for actinobacteria with promising future applications.

  19. Photosynthetic diversity meets biodiversity: the C4 plant example.

    PubMed

    Sage, Rowan F; Stata, Matt

    2015-01-01

    Physiological diversification reflects adaptation for specific environmental challenges. As the major physiological process that provides plants with carbon and energy, photosynthesis is under strong evolutionary selection that gives rise to variability in nearly all parts of the photosynthetic apparatus. Here, we discuss how plants, notably those using C4 photosynthesis, diversified in response to environmental challenges imposed by declining atmospheric CO2 content in recent geological time. This reduction in atmospheric CO2 increases the rate of photorespiration and reduces photosynthetic efficiency. While plants have evolved numerous mechanisms to compensate for low CO2, the most effective are the carbon concentration mechanisms of C4, C2, and CAM photosynthesis; and the pumping of dissolved inorganic carbon, mainly by algae. C4 photosynthesis enables plants to dominate warm, dry and often salinized habitats, and to colonize areas that are too stressful for most plant groups. Because C4 lineages generally lack arborescence, they cannot form forests. Hence, where they predominate, C4 plants create a different landscape than would occur if C3 plants were to predominate. These landscapes (mostly grasslands and savannahs) present unique selection environments that promoted the diversification of animal guilds able to graze upon the C4 vegetation. Thus, the rise of C4 photosynthesis has made a significant contribution to the origin of numerous biomes in the modern biosphere.

  20. β-Diversity of functional groups of woody plants in a tropical dry forest in Yucatan.

    PubMed

    López-Martínez, Jorge Omar; Sanaphre-Villanueva, Lucía; Dupuy, Juan Manuel; Hernández-Stefanoni, José Luis; Meave, Jorge Arturo; Gallardo-Cruz, José Alberto

    2013-01-01

    Two main theories have attempted to explain variation in plant species composition (β-diversity). Niche theory proposes that most of the variation is related to environment (environmental filtering), whereas neutral theory posits that dispersal limitation is the main driver of β-diversity. In this study, we first explored how α- and β-diversity of plant functional groups defined by growth form (trees, shrubs and lianas, which represent different strategies of resource partitioning), and dispersal syndrome (autochory, anemochory and zoochory, which represent differences in dispersal limitation) vary with successional age and topographic position in a tropical dry forest. Second, we examined the effects of environmental, spatial, and spatially-structured environmental factors on β-diversity of functional groups; we used the spatial structure of sampling sites as a proxy for dispersal limitation, and elevation, soil properties and forest stand age as indicators of environmental filtering. We recorded 200 species and 22,245 individuals in 276 plots; 120 species were trees, 41 shrubs and 39 lianas. We found that β-diversity was highest for shrubs, intermediate for lianas and lowest for trees, and was slightly higher for zoochorous than for autochorous and anemochorous species. All three dispersal syndromes, trees and shrubs varied in composition among vegetation classes (successional age and topographic position), whilst lianas did not. β-diversity was influenced mostly by proxies of environmental filtering, except for shrubs, for which the influence of dispersal limitation was more important. Stand age and topography significantly influenced α-diversity across functional groups, but showed a low influence on β-diversity -possibly due to the counterbalancing effect of resprouting on plant distribution and composition. Our results show that considering different plant functional groups reveals important differences in both α- and β-diversity patterns and

  1. β-Diversity of Functional Groups of Woody Plants in a Tropical Dry Forest in Yucatan

    PubMed Central

    López-Martínez, Jorge Omar; Sanaphre-Villanueva, Lucía; Dupuy, Juan Manuel; Hernández-Stefanoni, José Luis; Meave, Jorge Arturo; Gallardo-Cruz, José Alberto

    2013-01-01

    Two main theories have attempted to explain variation in plant species composition (β-diversity). Niche theory proposes that most of the variation is related to environment (environmental filtering), whereas neutral theory posits that dispersal limitation is the main driver of β-diversity. In this study, we first explored how α- and β-diversity of plant functional groups defined by growth form (trees, shrubs and lianas, which represent different strategies of resource partitioning), and dispersal syndrome (autochory, anemochory and zoochory, which represent differences in dispersal limitation) vary with successional age and topographic position in a tropical dry forest. Second, we examined the effects of environmental, spatial, and spatially-structured environmental factors on β-diversity of functional groups; we used the spatial structure of sampling sites as a proxy for dispersal limitation, and elevation, soil properties and forest stand age as indicators of environmental filtering. We recorded 200 species and 22,245 individuals in 276 plots; 120 species were trees, 41 shrubs and 39 lianas. We found that β-diversity was highest for shrubs, intermediate for lianas and lowest for trees, and was slightly higher for zoochorous than for autochorous and anemochorous species. All three dispersal syndromes, trees and shrubs varied in composition among vegetation classes (successional age and topographic position), whilst lianas did not. β-diversity was influenced mostly by proxies of environmental filtering, except for shrubs, for which the influence of dispersal limitation was more important. Stand age and topography significantly influenced α-diversity across functional groups, but showed a low influence on β-diversity –possibly due to the counterbalancing effect of resprouting on plant distribution and composition. Our results show that considering different plant functional groups reveals important differences in both α- and β-diversity patterns and

  2. Assessment of bacterial diversity during composting of agricultural byproducts

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Composting is microbial decomposition of biodegradable materials and it is governed by physicochemical, physiological and microbiological factors. The importance of microbial communities (bacteria, actinomycetes and fungi) during composting is well established. However, the microbial diversity during composting may vary with the variety of composting materials and nutrient supplements. Therefore, it is necessary to study the diversity of microorganisms during composting of different agricultural byproducts like wheat bran, rice bran, rice husk, along with grass clippings and bulking agents. Here it has been attempted to assess the diversity of culturable bacteria during composting of agricultural byproducts. Results The culturable bacterial diversity was assessed during the process by isolating the most prominent bacteria. Bacterial population was found to be maximum during the mesophilic phase, but decreased during the thermophilic phase and declined further in the cooling and maturation phase of composting. The bacterial population ranged from 105 to 109 cfu g-1 compost. The predominant bacteria were characterized biochemically, followed by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. The isolated strains, both Gram-positive and Gram-negative groups belonged to the order Burkholderiales, Enterobacteriales, Actinobacteriales and Bacillales, which includes genera e.g. Staphylococcus, Serratia, Klebsiella, Enterobacter, Terribacillus, Lysinibacillus Kocuria, Microbacterium, Acidovorax and Comamonas. Genera like Kocuria, Microbacterium, Acidovorax, Comamonas and some new species of Bacillus were also identified for the first time from the compost made from agricultural byproducts. Conclusion The use of appropriate nitrogen amendments and bulking agents in composting resulted in good quality compost. The culture based strategy enabled us to isolate some novel bacterial isolates like Kocuria, Microbacterium, Acidovorax and Comamonas first time from agro-byproducts compost

  3. Fatty Acid Diversity is Not Associated with Neutral Genetic Diversity in Native Populations of the Biodiesel Plant Jatropha curcas L.

    PubMed

    Martínez-Díaz, Yesenia; González-Rodríguez, Antonio; Rico-Ponce, Héctor Rómulo; Rocha-Ramírez, Víctor; Ovando-Medina, Isidro; Espinosa-García, Francisco J

    2017-01-01

    Jatropha curcas L. (Euphorbiaceae) is a shrub native to Mexico and Central America, which produces seeds with a high oil content that can be converted to biodiesel. The genetic diversity of this plant has been widely studied, but it is not known whether the diversity of the seed oil chemical composition correlates with neutral genetic diversity. The total seed oil content, the diversity of profiles of fatty acids and phorbol esters were quantified, also, the genetic diversity obtained from simple sequence repeats was analyzed in native populations of J. curcas in Mexico. Using the fatty acids profiles, a discriminant analysis recognized three groups of individuals according to geographical origin. Bayesian assignment analysis revealed two genetic groups, while the genetic structure of the populations could not be explained by isolation-by-distance. Genetic and fatty acid profile data were not correlated based on Mantel test. Also, phorbol ester content and genetic diversity were not associated. Multiple linear regression analysis showed that total oil content was associated with altitude and seasonality of temperature. The content of unsaturated fatty acids was associated with altitude. Therefore, the cultivation planning of J. curcas should take into account chemical variation related to environmental factors.

  4. Herbivores and nutrients control grassland plant diversity via light limitation

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Human alterations to nutrient cycles and herbivore communities are dramatically altering global biodiversity. Theory predicts these changes to be strongly counteractive: nutrient addition drives plant species loss through intensified competition for light, whereas herbivores prevent competitive excl...

  5. Diversity dynamics of silurian-early carboniferous land plants in South china.

    PubMed

    Xiong, Conghui; Wang, Deming; Wang, Qi; Benton, Michael J; Xue, Jinzhuang; Meng, Meicen; Zhao, Qi; Zhang, Jing

    2013-01-01

    New megafossil and microfossil data indicate four episodes in the diversification of Silurian-Early Carboniferous land plants of South China, a relatively continuous regional record. Plant diversity increased throughout, but the rising curve was punctuated by three major falls. There were peaks of origination in the Ludlow-Pragian, Givetian, late Famennian and Visean and peaks of extinction in the Pragian-Emsian, Givetian and early Tournaisian. Speciation and extinction rates were highest in the Lochkovian-Pragian and became progressively lower in subsequent stages. High correlation coefficients indicate that these events are associated with the availability of land habitat contingent on eustatic variations and increasing numbers of cosmopolitan genera. Meanwhile, proportions of endemic genera declined gradually. Due to less endemism and more migrations, both speciation and species extinction rates reduced. The changes of diversity and the timing of the three extinctions of land plants in South China are similar to those known already from Laurussia. However, the largest events in the Lochkovian-Pragian and subsequent smaller ones have not been seen in the global pattern of plant evolution. These land plant events do not correspond well temporally with those affecting land vertebrates or marine invertebrates. In South China, the diversity curve of land plants is generally opposite to that of marine faunas, showing a strong effect of eustatic variations. The increasing diversity of both land vertebrates and plants was punctuated above the Devonian-Carboniferous boundary, known as Romer's Gap, implying common underlying constraints on macroevolution of land animals and plants.

  6. Plant Species Diversity and Distribution in Pastures of the Northeastern USA

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Grazed pastures in the northeastern United contain far more than planted forage species. These species may contribute to forage production, but they may also detract from forage production or palatability. As the first step toward identifying the role of plant diversity in forage systems, we collect...

  7. Spectral diversity area relationships for assessing biodiversity in a wildland-agriculture matrix.

    PubMed

    Dahlin, Kyla Marie

    2016-12-01

    Species-area relationships have long been used to assess patterns of species diversity across scales. Here, this concept is extended to spectral diversity using hyperspectral data collected by NASA's Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS) over western Michigan. This mixture of mesic forest and agricultural lands offers two end-points on the local-scale diversity continuum; one set of well-mixed forest patches and one set of highly homogeneous agricultural patches. Using the sum of the first three principal component values and the principal components' convex hull volume, spectral diversity was compared within and among these plots and to null expectations for perfectly random and perfectly patchy landscapes. Overall, the spectral diversity-area relationship confirms the patterns that would be expected for this landscape, but this application suggests that this approach could be extended to less well-understood landscapes and could reveal key insights about the relative importance of different drivers of community assembly, even in the absence of additional data about plant functional traits or species' identities.

  8. Plant Growth Promotion Potential Is Equally Represented in Diverse Grapevine Root-Associated Bacterial Communities from Different Biopedoclimatic Environments

    PubMed Central

    Fusi, Marco; Cherif, Ameur; Abou-Hadid, Ayman; El-Bahairy, Usama; Sorlini, Claudia; Daffonchio, Daniele

    2013-01-01

    Plant-associated bacteria provide important services to host plants. Environmental factors such as cultivar type and pedoclimatic conditions contribute to shape their diversity. However, whether these environmental factors may influence the plant growth promoting (PGP) potential of the root-associated bacteria is not widely understood. To address this issue, the diversity and PGP potential of the bacterial assemblage associated with the grapevine root system of different cultivars in three Mediterranean environments along a macrotransect identifying an aridity gradient were assessed by culture-dependent and independent approaches. According to 16S rRNA gene PCR-DGGE, the structure of endosphere and rhizosphere bacterial communities was highly diverse (P = 0.03) and was associated with a cultivar/latitudinal/climatic effect. Despite being diverse, the bacterial communities associated with Egyptian grapevines shared a higher similarity with the Tunisian grapevines than those cultivated in North Italy. A similar distribution, according to the cultivar/latitude/aridity gradients, was observed for the cultivable bacteria. Many isolates (23%) presented in vitro multiple stress resistance capabilities and PGP activities, the most frequent being auxin synthesis (82%), insoluble phosphate solubilisation (61%), and ammonia production (70%). The comparable numbers and types of potential PGP traits among the three different environmental settings indicate a strong functional homeostasis of beneficial bacteria associated with grape root. PMID:23878810

  9. [Agrobacterium rubi strains from blueberry plants are highly diverse].

    PubMed

    Abrahamovich, Eliana; López, Ana C; Alippi, Adriana M

    2014-01-01

    The diversity of a collection of Agrobacterium rubi strains isolated from blueberries from different regions of Argentina was studied by conventional microbiological tests and molecular techniques. Results from biochemical and physiological reactions, as well as from rep-PCR and RFLP analysis of PCR-amplified 23S rDNA showed high phenotypic and genotypic intraspecific variation.

  10. Plant Diversity and Multifunctional Management of Grassland Agriculture

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Managing for multiple ecosystem functions and services requires greater ecosystem diversity and complexity. Complex ecosystems, such as forage and grazing lands, may provide multiple benefits and require multiple species. In this paper, I provide a brief perspective from our research conducted in th...

  11. Genetic diversity and domestication origin of tea plant Camellia taliensis (Theaceae) as revealed by microsatellite markers

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Tea is one of the most popular beverages in the world. Many species in the Thea section of the Camellia genus can be processed for drinking and have been domesticated. However, few investigations have focused on the genetic consequence of domestication and geographic origin of landraces on tea plants using credible wild and planted populations of a single species. Here, C. taliensis provides us with a unique opportunity to explore these issues. Results Fourteen nuclear microsatellite loci were employed to determine the genetic diversity and domestication origin of C. taliensis, which were represented by 587 individuals from 25 wild, planted and recently domesticated populations. C. taliensis showed a moderate high level of overall genetic diversity. The greater reduction of genetic diversity and stronger genetic drift were detected in the wild group than in the recently domesticated group, indicating the loss of genetic diversity of wild populations due to overexploitation and habitat fragmentation. Instead of the endangered wild trees, recently domesticated individuals were used to compare with the planted trees for detecting the genetic consequence of domestication. A little and non-significant reduction in genetic diversity was found during domestication. The long life cycle, selection for leaf traits and gene flow between populations will delay the emergence of bottleneck in planted trees. Both phylogenetic and assignment analyses suggested that planted trees may have been domesticated from the adjacent central forest of western Yunnan and dispersed artificially to distant places. Conclusions This study contributes to the knowledge about levels and distribution of genetic diversity of C. taliensis and provides new insights into genetic consequence of domestication and geographic origin of planted trees of this species. As an endemic tea source plant, wild, planted and recently domesticated C. taliensis trees should all be protected for their unique

  12. Potential benefits of plant diversity on vegetated roofs: a literature review.

    PubMed

    Cook-Patton, Susan C; Bauerle, Taryn L

    2012-09-15

    Although vegetated green roofs can be difficult to establish and maintain, they are an increasingly popular method for mitigating the negative environmental impacts of urbanization. Most green roof development has focused on maximizing green roof performance by planting one or a few drought-tolerant species. We present an alternative approach, which recognizes green roofs as dynamic ecosystems and employs a diversity of species. We draw links between the ecological and green roof literature to generate testable predictions about how increasing plant diversity could improve short- and long-term green roof functioning. Although we found few papers that experimentally manipulated diversity on green roofs, those that did revealed ecological dynamics similar to those in more natural systems. However, there are many unresolved issues. To improve overall green roof performance, we should (1) elucidate the links among plant diversity, structural complexity, and green roof performance, (2) describe feedback mechanisms between plant and animal diversity on green roofs, (3) identify species with complementary traits, and (4) determine whether diverse green roof communities are more resilient to disturbance and environmental change than less diverse green roofs.

  13. Diversity of use and local knowledge of wild edible plant resources in Nepal

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background Wild edible plants (WEP) provide staple and supplement foods, as well as cash income to local communities, thus favouring food security. However, WEP are largely ignored in land use planning and implementation, economic development, and biodiversity conservation. Moreover, WEP-related traditional knowledge is rapidly eroding. Therefore, we designed this study to fulfill a part of the knowledge gap by providing data on diversity, traditional knowledge, economic potential, and conservation value of WEP from Nepal. Methods The information was collected through focus group discussions and key informant interviews. Percentage of general utility of the plants among the study communities was evaluated using the Chi-square (χ2) test of homogeneity. High priority species were identified after consultation with the local stakeholders followed by scoring based on defined criteria. Pairwise ranking was used to assess ethnoecological knowledge to identify the threats to WEP. Results We documented 81 species belonging to Angiosperms (74), Pteridophytes (5), and Fungi (2). Most of the species were used as fruits (44 species) followed by vegetables (36). Almost half of the species (47%) were also used for purposes other than food. From the species with market value (37% of the total), 10 were identified as high priority species. Pairwise ranking revealed that WEP are threatened mostly by habitat destruction, land-use change and over-harvesting. Some of these plants are crop wild relatives and could thus be used for crop improvement. Interestingly, our study also revealed that young people who spend most of the time in the forest as herdsmen are particularly knowledgeable of wild fruit plants. Conclusion We provide empirical evidence from a relatively large area of Nepal about diversity and status of WEP, as well as methodological insights about the proper knowledge holders to consult. Regarding the unique and important knowledge they have on WEP, young people should be

  14. Invasive stink bug favors naïve plants: Testing the role of plant geographic origin in diverse, managed environments.

    PubMed

    Martinson, Holly M; Bergmann, Erik J; Venugopal, P Dilip; Riley, Christopher B; Shrewsbury, Paula M; Raupp, Michael J

    2016-09-01

    With the introduction and establishment of exotic species, most ecosystems now contain both native and exotic plants and herbivores. Recent research identifies several factors that govern how specialist herbivores switch host plants upon introduction. Predicting the feeding ecology and impacts of introduced generalist species, however, remains difficult. Here, we examine how plant geographic origin, an indicator of shared co-evolutionary history, influences patterns of host use by a generalist, invasive herbivore, while accounting for variation in plant availability. The brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys, is a highly polyphagous Asian herbivore and an economically important invasive pest in North America and Europe. In visual surveys of 220 plant taxa in commercial nurseries in Maryland, USA, H. halys was more abundant on non-Asian plants and selected these over Asian plants. The relationship between the relative use of plants and their availability was strongly positive but depended also on plant origin at two of our three sites, where the higher relative use of non-Asian plants was greatest for highly abundant taxa. These results highlight the importance of considering both plant origin and relative abundance in understanding the selection of host plants by invasive generalist herbivores in diverse, natural and urban forests.

  15. Invasive stink bug favors naïve plants: Testing the role of plant geographic origin in diverse, managed environments

    PubMed Central

    Martinson, Holly M.; Bergmann, Erik J.; Venugopal, P. Dilip; Riley, Christopher B.; Shrewsbury, Paula M.; Raupp, Michael J.

    2016-01-01

    With the introduction and establishment of exotic species, most ecosystems now contain both native and exotic plants and herbivores. Recent research identifies several factors that govern how specialist herbivores switch host plants upon introduction. Predicting the feeding ecology and impacts of introduced generalist species, however, remains difficult. Here, we examine how plant geographic origin, an indicator of shared co-evolutionary history, influences patterns of host use by a generalist, invasive herbivore, while accounting for variation in plant availability. The brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys, is a highly polyphagous Asian herbivore and an economically important invasive pest in North America and Europe. In visual surveys of 220 plant taxa in commercial nurseries in Maryland, USA, H. halys was more abundant on non-Asian plants and selected these over Asian plants. The relationship between the relative use of plants and their availability was strongly positive but depended also on plant origin at two of our three sites, where the higher relative use of non-Asian plants was greatest for highly abundant taxa. These results highlight the importance of considering both plant origin and relative abundance in understanding the selection of host plants by invasive generalist herbivores in diverse, natural and urban forests. PMID:27581756

  16. [Diversity and tissue distribution of fungal endophytes in Alpinia officinarum: an important south-China medicinal plant].

    PubMed

    Zhou, Ren-Chao; Huang, Juan; Li, Ze-En; Li, Shu-Bin

    2014-08-01

    In the present study, terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) technique was applied to assess the diversity and tissue distribution of the fungal endophyte communities of Alpinia officinarum collected from Longtang town in Xuwen county, Guangdong province, China, at which the pharmacological effect of the medicine plant is traditional considered to be the significantly higher than that in any other growth areas in China. A total of 28 distinct Terminal-Restriction Fragment (T-RFs) were detected with HhaI Mono-digestion targeted amplified fungal nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer region sequences (rDNA ITS) from the root, rhizome, stem, and leaf internal tissues of A. officinarum plant, indicating that at least 28 distinct fungal species were able to colonize the internal tissue of the host plant. The rDNA ITS-T-RFLP profiles obtained from different tissues of the host plant were obvious distinct. And the numbers of total T-RFs, and the dominant T-RFs detected from various tissues were significantly different. Based on the obtained T-RFLP profiles, Shannon's diversity index and the Shannon's evenness index were calculated, which were significantly different among tissues (P < 0.05). Furthermore, two types of active chemicals, total volatile oils by water vapor distillation method and galangin by methanol extraction-HPLC method, were examined in the each tissue of the tested plant. Both of tested components were detected in all of the four tissues of the medicine plant with varying contents. And the highest was in rhizome tissue. Correlation analysis revealed there were significant negative correlations between both of the tested active components contents and calculated Shannon's diversity index, as well as the Shannon's evenness index of the fungal endophyte communities of the host plant (P = 0, Pearson correlation coefficient ≤ -0.962), and significant positive correlations between both of the tested active components contents and

  17. The diversity of nitric oxide function in plant responses to metal stress.

    PubMed

    He, Huyi; He, Longfei; Gu, Minghua

    2014-04-01

    Nitric oxide (NO) emerges as signalling molecule, which is involved in diverse physiological processes in plants. High mobility metal interferes with NO signaling. The exogenous NO alleviates metal stress, whereas endogenous NO contributes to metal toxicity in plants. Owing to different cellular localization and concentration, NO may act as multifunctional regulator in plant responses to metal stress. It not only plays a crucial role in the regulation of gene expression, but serves as a long-distance signal. Through tight modulation of redox signaling, the integration among NO, reactive oxygen species and stress-related hormones in plants determines whether plants stimulate death pathway or activate survival signaling.

  18. Environmental Quality and Fertility: The Effects of Plant Density, Species Richness, and Plant Diversity on Fertility Limitation *

    PubMed Central

    Brauner-Otto, Sarah R.

    2013-01-01

    The relationship between the environment and population has been of concern for centuries and climate change is making this an even more pressing area of study. In poor rural areas declining environmental conditions may elicit changes in family related behaviors. This paper explores this relationship in rural Nepal looking specifically at how plant density, species richness, and plant diversity are related to women’s fertility limitation behavior. Taking advantage of a unique data set with detailed micro-level environmental measures and individual fertility behavior I link geographically weighted measures of flora at one point in time to women’s later contraceptive use as a way to examine this complex relationship. I find a significant, positive relationship between plant density, species richness, and plant diversity and the timing of contraceptive use. Women in poor environmental conditions are less likely to terminate childbearing, or do so later, and therefore more likely to have larger families. PMID:25593378

  19. Non-native plants add to the British flora without negative consequences for native diversity.

    PubMed

    Thomas, Chris D; Palmer, G

    2015-04-07

    Plants are commonly listed as invasive species, presuming that they cause harm at both global and regional scales. Approximately 40% of all species listed as invasive within Britain are plants. However, invasive plants are rarely linked to the national or global extinction of native plant species. The possible explanation is that competitive exclusion takes place slowly and that invasive plants will eventually eliminate native species (the "time-to-exclusion hypothesis"). Using the extensive British Countryside Survey Data, we find that changes to plant occurrence and cover between 1990 and 2007 at 479 British sites do not differ between native and non-native plant species. More than 80% of the plant species that are widespread enough to be sampled are native species; hence, total cover changes have been dominated by native species (total cover increases by native species are more than nine times greater than those by non-native species). This implies that factors other than plant "invasions" are the key drivers of vegetation change. We also find that the diversity of native species is increasing in locations where the diversity of non-native species is increasing, suggesting that high diversities of native and non-native plant species are compatible with one another. We reject the time-to-exclusion hypothesis as the reason why extinctions have not been observed and suggest that non-native plant species are not a threat to floral diversity in Britain. Further research is needed in island-like environments, but we question whether it is appropriate that more than three-quarters of taxa listed globally as invasive species are plants.

  20. Non-native plants add to the British flora without negative consequences for native diversity

    PubMed Central

    Thomas, Chris D.; Palmer, G.

    2015-01-01

    Plants are commonly listed as invasive species, presuming that they cause harm at both global and regional scales. Approximately 40% of all species listed as invasive within Britain are plants. However, invasive plants are rarely linked to the national or global extinction of native plant species. The possible explanation is that competitive exclusion takes place slowly and that invasive plants will eventually eliminate native species (the “time-to-exclusion hypothesis”). Using the extensive British Countryside Survey Data, we find that changes to plant occurrence and cover between 1990 and 2007 at 479 British sites do not differ between native and non-native plant species. More than 80% of the plant species that are widespread enough to be sampled are native species; hence, total cover changes have been dominated by native species (total cover increases by native species are more than nine times greater than those by non-native species). This implies that factors other than plant “invasions” are the key drivers of vegetation change. We also find that the diversity of native species is increasing in locations where the diversity of non-native species is increasing, suggesting that high diversities of native and non-native plant species are compatible with one another. We reject the time-to-exclusion hypothesis as the reason why extinctions have not been observed and suggest that non-native plant species are not a threat to floral diversity in Britain. Further research is needed in island-like environments, but we question whether it is appropriate that more than three-quarters of taxa listed globally as invasive species are plants. PMID:25831537

  1. Woody plant richness does not influence invertebrate community reassembly trajectories in a tree diversity experiment.

    PubMed

    Yeeles, Peter; Lach, Lori; Hobbs, Richard J; van Wees, Mary; Didham, Raphael K

    2017-02-01

    Understanding the relationship between plant diversity and diversity at higher trophic levels is important from both conservation and restoration perspectives. Although there is strong evidence for bottom-up maintenance of biodiversity, this is based largely on studies of simplified grassland systems. Recently, studies in the TreeDivNet global network of tree diversity experiments have begun to test whether these findings are generalizable to more complex ecosystems, such as woodlands. We monitored invertebrate community reassembly over 5 yr of experimental woodland restoration at the TreeDivNet Ridgefield site in southwest Australia, testing the effects of woody plant species richness and herb-layer manipulation on invertebrate community structure and ant species composition. From 2010 to 2014, we sampled ground-dwelling invertebrates using pitfall traps in herbicide vs. no-herbicide subplots nested within each of 10 woody plant treatments varying in richness from zero (bare controls) to eight species, which produced a total of 211, 235 invertebrates, including 98, 979 ants belonging to 74 species. In mixed model analyses, the presence of woody plants was an important driver of faunal community reassembly (relative to bare control plots), but faunal responses to woody plant treatment combinations were idiosyncratic and unrelated to woody plant richness across treatments. We also found that a herbicide-induced reduction in herbaceous plant cover and richness had a positive effect on ant richness and caused more rapid convergence of invertebrate community composition toward the composition of a woodland reference site. These findings show that woody plant richness did not have direct positive effects on the diversity and community reassembly trajectories of higher trophic levels in our woodland system. From a management perspective, this suggests that even low-diversity restoration or carbon sequestration plantings can potentially lead to faunal reassembly outcomes

  2. Effects of young poplar plantations on understory plant diversity in the Dongting Lake wetlands, China

    PubMed Central

    Li, Youzhi; Chen, Xinsheng; Xie, Yonghong; Li, Xu; Li, Feng; Hou, Zhiyong

    2014-01-01

    This study evaluated the effects of young poplar plantations on understory plant diversity in the Dongting Lake wetlands, China. Poplar plantations resulted in a higher species number and Shannon's diversity. Species compositions were different between areas with poplar and reed populations: a lower ratio of hygrophytes but a higher ratio of mesophytes, and a higher ratio of heliophytes but a lower ratio of neutrophilous or shade plants in poplar areas compared to reed areas. Poplar plantations supported a higher ratio of ligneous plants in the entire Dongting Lake area, but there was no difference in the monitored plots. Unlike reedy areas, poplar plantations had higher light availability but lower soil water content during the growing seasons. These data suggest that young poplar plantations generally increased species richness and plant diversity, but significantly changed species composition due to the reduced soil water and increased light availability. PMID:25208975

  3. Soil fertility increases with plant species diversity in a long-term biodiversity experiment.

    PubMed

    Dybzinski, Ray; Fargione, Joseph E; Zak, Donald R; Fornara, Dario; Tilman, David

    2008-11-01

    Most explanations for the positive effect of plant species diversity on productivity have focused on the efficiency of resource use, implicitly assuming that resource supply is constant. To test this assumption, we grew seedlings of Echinacea purpurea in soil collected beneath 10-year-old, experimental plant communities containing one, two, four, eight, or 16 native grassland species. The results of this greenhouse bioassay challenge the assumption of constant resource supply; we found that bioassay seedlings grown in soil collected from experimental communities containing 16 plant species produced 70% more biomass than seedlings grown in soil collected beneath monocultures. This increase was likely attributable to greater soil N availability, which had increased in higher diversity communities over the 10-year-duration of the experiment. In a distinction akin to the selection/complementarity partition commonly made in studies of diversity and productivity, we further determined whether the additive effects of functional groups or the interactive effects of functional groups explained the increase in fertility with diversity. The increase in bioassay seedling biomass with diversity was largely explained by a concomitant increase in N-fixer, C4 grass, forb, and C3 grass biomass with diversity, suggesting that the additive effects of these four functional groups at higher diversity contributed to enhance N availability and retention. Nevertheless, diversity still explained a significant amount of the residual variation in bioassay seedling biomass after functional group biomass was included in a multiple regression, suggesting that interactions also increased fertility in diverse communities. Our results suggest a mechanism, the fertility effect, by which increased plant species diversity may increase community productivity over time by increasing the supply of nutrients via both greater inputs and greater retention.

  4. Mapping Viral Functional Domains for Genetic Diversity in Plants

    PubMed Central

    Pita, Justin S.

    2013-01-01

    Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) comprises numerous isolates with various levels of in-host diversity. Subgroup-distinctive features of the Fny and LS strains provided us with a platform to genetically map the viral control elements for genetic variation in planta. We found that both RNAs 1 and 2 controlled levels of genetic diversity, and further fine mapping revealed that the control elements of mutation frequency reside within the first 596 amino acids (aa) of RNA 1. The 2a/2b overlapping region of the 2a protein also contributed to control of viral genetic variation. Furthermore, the 3′ nontranslated region (NTR) of RNA 3 constituted a hot spot of polymorphism, where the majority of fixed mutations found in the population were clustered. The 2b gene of CMV, a viral suppressor of gene silencing, controls the abundance of the fixed mutants in the viral population via a host-dependent mechanism. PMID:23115283

  5. Revealing the structural and functional diversity of plant cell walls.

    PubMed

    Knox, J Paul

    2008-06-01

    The extensive knowledge of the chemistry of isolated cell wall polymers, and that relating to the identification and partial annotation of gene families involved in their synthesis and modification, is not yet matched by a sophisticated understanding of the occurrence of the polymers within cell walls of the diverse cell types within a growing organ. Currently, the main sets of tools that are used to determine cell-type-specific configurations of cell wall polymers and aspects of cell wall microstructures are antibodies, carbohydrate-binding modules (CBMs) and microspectroscopies. As these tools are applied we see that cell wall polymers are extensively developmentally regulated and that there is a range of structurally distinct primary and secondary cell walls within organs and across species. The challenge now is to document cell wall structures in relation to diverse cell biological events and to integrate this knowledge with the emerging understanding of polymer functions.

  6. Commercial Plant Production and Consumption Still Follow the Latitudinal Gradient in Species Diversity despite Economic Globalization.

    PubMed

    Nelson, Erik J; Helmus, Matthew R; Cavender-Bares, Jeannine; Polasky, Stephen; Lasky, Jesse R; Zanne, Amy E; Pearse, William D; Kraft, Nathan J B; Miteva, Daniela A; Fagan, William F

    2016-01-01

    Increasing trade between countries and gains in income have given consumers around the world access to a richer and more diverse set of commercial plant products (i.e., foods and fibers produced by farmers). According to the economic theory of comparative advantage, countries open to trade will be able to consume more-in terms of volume and diversity-if they concentrate production on commodities that they can most cost-effectively produce, while importing goods that are expensive to produce, relative to other countries. Here, we perform a global analysis of traded commercial plant products and find little evidence that increasing globalization has incentivized agricultural specialization. Instead, a country's plant production and consumption patterns are still largely determined by local evolutionary legacies of plant diversification. Because tropical countries harbor a greater diversity of lineages across the tree of life than temperate countries, tropical countries produce and consume a greater diversity of plant products than do temperate countries. In contrast, the richer and more economically advanced temperate countries have the capacity to produce and consume more plant species than the generally poorer tropical countries, yet this collection of plant species is drawn from fewer branches on the tree of life. Why have countries not increasingly specialized in plant production despite the theoretical financial incentive to do so? Potential explanations include the persistence of domestic agricultural subsidies that distort production decisions, cultural preferences for diverse local food production, and that diverse food production protects rural households in developing countries from food price shocks. Less specialized production patterns will make crop systems more resilient to zonal climatic and social perturbations, but this may come at the expense of global crop production efficiency, an important step in making the transition to a hotter and more

  7. Fire and grazing impacts on plant diversity and alien plant invasions in the southern Sierra Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Keeley, Jon E.; Lubin, Daniel; Fotheringham, C.J.

    2003-01-01

    Patterns of native and alien plant diversity in response to disturbance were examined along an elevational gradient in blue oak savanna, chaparral, and coniferous forests. Total species richness, alien species richness, and alien cover declined with elevation, at scales from 1 to 1000 m2. We found no support for the hypothesis that community diversity inhibits alien invasion. At the 1-m2 point scale, where we would expect competitive interactions between the largely herbaceous flora to be most intense, alien species richness as well as alien cover increased with increasing native species richness in all communities. This suggests that aliens are limited not by the number of native competitors, but by resources that affect establishment of both natives and aliens.Blue oak savannas were heavily dominated by alien species and consistently had more alien than native species at the 1-m2 scale. All of these aliens are annuals, and it is widely thought that they have displaced native bunchgrasses. If true, this means that aliens have greatly increased species richness. Alternatively, there is a rich regional flora of native annual forbs that could have dominated these grasslands prior to displacement by alien grasses. On our sites, livestock grazing increased the number of alien species and alien cover only slightly over that of sites free of livestock grazing for more than a century, indicating some level of permanency to this invasion.In chaparral, both diversity and aliens increased markedly several years after fire. Invasive species are rare in undisturbed shrublands, and alien propagules fail to survive the natural crown fires in these ecosystems. Thus, aliens necessarily must colonize after fire and, as a consequence, time since fire is an important determinant of invasive presence. Blue oak savannas are an important propagule source for alien species because they maintain permanent populations of all alien species encountered in postfire chaparral, and because the

  8. INCREASING NATIVE PLANT DIVERSITY IN CRESTED WHEATGRASS STANDS

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Crested wheatgrass was introduced to North America to improve degraded rangelands and has proven to be a successful revegetation species due to its ease of establishment, strong competitive ability, and grazing tolerance. However, crested wheatgrass may form monotypic stands with low plant diversit...

  9. Assessing natural resource use by forest-reliant communities in Madagascar using functional diversity and functional redundancy metrics.

    PubMed

    Brown, Kerry A; Flynn, Dan F B; Abram, Nicola K; Ingram, J Carter; Johnson, Steig E; Wright, Patricia

    2011-01-01

    Biodiversity plays an integral role in the livelihoods of subsistence-based forest-dwelling communities and as a consequence it is increasingly important to develop quantitative approaches that capture not only changes in taxonomic diversity, but also variation in natural resources and provisioning services. We apply a functional diversity metric originally developed for addressing questions in community ecology to assess utilitarian diversity of 56 forest plots in Madagascar. The use categories for utilitarian plants were determined using expert knowledge and household questionnaires. We used a null model approach to examine the utilitarian (functional) diversity and utilitarian redundancy present within ecological communities. Additionally, variables that might influence fluctuations in utilitarian diversity and redundancy--specifically number of felled trees, number of trails, basal area, canopy height, elevation, distance from village--were analyzed using Generalized Linear Models (GLMs). Eighteen of the 56 plots showed utilitarian diversity values significantly higher than expected. This result indicates that these habitats exhibited a low degree of utilitarian redundancy and were therefore comprised of plants with relatively distinct utilitarian properties. One implication of this finding is that minor losses in species richness may result in reductions in utilitarian diversity and redundancy, which may limit local residents' ability to switch between alternative choices. The GLM analysis showed that the most predictive model included basal area, canopy height and distance from village, which suggests that variation in utilitarian redundancy may be a result of local residents harvesting resources from the protected area. Our approach permits an assessment of the diversity of provisioning services available to local communities, offering unique insights that would not be possible using traditional taxonomic diversity measures. These analyses introduce another

  10. Assessing Natural Resource Use by Forest-Reliant Communities in Madagascar Using Functional Diversity and Functional Redundancy Metrics

    PubMed Central

    Brown, Kerry A.; Flynn, Dan F. B.; Abram, Nicola K.; Ingram, J. Carter; Johnson, Steig E.; Wright, Patricia

    2011-01-01

    Biodiversity plays an integral role in the livelihoods of subsistence-based forest-dwelling communities and as a consequence it is increasingly important to develop quantitative approaches that capture not only changes in taxonomic diversity, but also variation in natural resources and provisioning services. We apply a functional diversity metric originally developed for addressing questions in community ecology to assess utilitarian diversity of 56 forest plots in Madagascar. The use categories for utilitarian plants were determined using expert knowledge and household questionnaires. We used a null model approach to examine the utilitarian (functional) diversity and utilitarian redundancy present within ecological communities. Additionally, variables that might influence fluctuations in utilitarian diversity and redundancy—specifically number of felled trees, number of trails, basal area, canopy height, elevation, distance from village—were analyzed using Generalized Linear Models (GLMs). Eighteen of the 56 plots showed utilitarian diversity values significantly higher than expected. This result indicates that these habitats exhibited a low degree of utilitarian redundancy and were therefore comprised of plants with relatively distinct utilitarian properties. One implication of this finding is that minor losses in species richness may result in reductions in utilitarian diversity and redundancy, which may limit local residents' ability to switch between alternative choices. The GLM analysis showed that the most predictive model included basal area, canopy height and distance from village, which suggests that variation in utilitarian redundancy may be a result of local residents harvesting resources from the protected area. Our approach permits an assessment of the diversity of provisioning services available to local communities, offering unique insights that would not be possible using traditional taxonomic diversity measures. These analyses introduce

  11. Single nucleotide polymorphisms for assessing genetic diversity in castor bean (Ricinus communis)

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Castor bean (Ricinus communis) is an agricultural crop and garden ornamental that is widely cultivated and has been introduced worldwide. Understanding population structure and the distribution of castor bean cultivars has been challenging because of limited genetic variability. We analyzed the population genetics of R. communis in a worldwide collection of plants from germplasm and from naturalized populations in Florida, U.S. To assess genetic diversity we conducted survey sequencing of the genomes of seven diverse cultivars and compared the data to a reference genome assembly of a widespread cultivar (Hale). We determined the population genetic structure of 676 samples using single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at 48 loci. Results Bayesian clustering indicated five main groups worldwide and a repeated pattern of mixed genotypes in most countries. High levels of population differentiation occurred between most populations but this structure was not geographically based. Most molecular variance occurred within populations (74%) followed by 22% among populations, and 4% among continents. Samples from naturalized populations in Florida indicated significant population structuring consistent with local demes. There was significant population differentiation for 56 of 78 comparisons in Florida (pairwise population ϕPT values, p < 0.01). Conclusion Low levels of genetic diversity and mixing of genotypes have led to minimal geographic structuring of castor bean populations worldwide. Relatively few lineages occur and these are widely distributed. Our approach of determining population genetic structure using SNPs from genome-wide comparisons constitutes a framework for high-throughput analyses of genetic diversity in plants, particularly in species with limited genetic diversity. PMID:20082707

  12. Phylogenetic diversity of plants alters the effect of species richness on invertebrate herbivory.

    PubMed

    Dinnage, Russell

    2013-01-01

    Long-standing ecological theory proposes that diverse communities of plants should experience a decrease in herbivory. Yet previous empirical examinations of this hypothesis have revealed that plant species richness increases herbivory in just as many systems as it decreases it. In this study, I ask whether more insight into the role of plant diversity in promoting or suppressing herbivory can be gained by incorporating information about the evolutionary history of species in a community. In an old field system in southern Ontario, I surveyed communities of plants and measured levels of leaf damage on 27 species in 38 plots. I calculated a measure of phylogenetic diversity (PSE) that encapsulates information about the amount of evolutionary history represented in each of the plots and looked for a relationship between levels of herbivory and both species richness and phylogenetic diversity using a generalized linear mixed model (GLMM) that could account for variation in herbivory levels between species. I found that species richness was positively associated with herbivore damage at the plot-level, in keeping with the results from several other recent studies on this question. On the other hand, phylogenetic diversity was associated with decreased herbivory. Importantly, there was also an interaction between species richness and phylogenetic diversity, such that plots with the highest levels of herbivory were plots which had many species but only if those species tended to be closely related to one another. I propose that these results are the consequence of interactions with herbivores whose diets are phylogenetically specialized (for which I introduce the term cladophage), and how phylogenetic diversity may alter their realized host ranges. These results suggest that incorporating a phylogenetic perspective can add valuable additional insight into the role of plant diversity in explaining or predicting levels of herbivory at a whole-community scale.

  13. Consistent role of Quaternary climate change in shaping current plant functional diversity patterns across European plant orders.

    PubMed

    Ordonez, Alejandro; Svenning, Jens-Christian

    2017-02-23

    Current and historical environmental conditions are known to determine jointly contemporary species distributions and richness patterns. However, whether historical dynamics in species distributions and richness translate to functional diversity patterns remains, for the most part, unknown. The geographic patterns of plant functional space size (richness) and packing (dispersion) for six widely distributed orders of European angiosperms were estimated using atlas distribution data and trait information. Then the relative importance of late-Quaternary glacial-interglacial climate change and contemporary environmental factors (climate, productivity, and topography) as determinants of functional diversity of evaluated orders was assesed. Functional diversity patterns of all evaluated orders exhibited prominent glacial-interglacial climate change imprints, complementing the influence of contemporary environmental conditions. The importance of Quaternary glacial-interglacial climate change factors was comparable to that of contemporary environmental factors across evaluated orders. Therefore, high long-term paleoclimate variability has imposed consistent supplementary constraints on functional diversity of multiple plant groups, a legacy that may permeate to ecosystem functioning and resilience. These findings suggest that strong near-future anthropogenic climate change may elicit long-term functional disequilibria in plant functional diversity.

  14. Consistent role of Quaternary climate change in shaping current plant functional diversity patterns across European plant orders

    PubMed Central

    Ordonez, Alejandro; Svenning, Jens-Christian

    2017-01-01

    Current and historical environmental conditions are known to determine jointly contemporary species distributions and richness patterns. However, whether historical dynamics in species distributions and richness translate to functional diversity patterns remains, for the most part, unknown. The geographic patterns of plant functional space size (richness) and packing (dispersion) for six widely distributed orders of European angiosperms were estimated using atlas distribution data and trait information. Then the relative importance of late-Quaternary glacial-interglacial climate change and contemporary environmental factors (climate, productivity, and topography) as determinants of functional diversity of evaluated orders was assesed. Functional diversity patterns of all evaluated orders exhibited prominent glacial-interglacial climate change imprints, complementing the influence of contemporary environmental conditions. The importance of Quaternary glacial-interglacial climate change factors was comparable to that of contemporary environmental factors across evaluated orders. Therefore, high long-term paleoclimate variability has imposed consistent supplementary constraints on functional diversity of multiple plant groups, a legacy that may permeate to ecosystem functioning and resilience. These findings suggest that strong near-future anthropogenic climate change may elicit long-term functional disequilibria in plant functional diversity. PMID:28230069

  15. Consistent role of Quaternary climate change in shaping current plant functional diversity patterns across European plant orders

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ordonez, Alejandro; Svenning, Jens-Christian

    2017-02-01

    Current and historical environmental conditions are known to determine jointly contemporary species distributions and richness patterns. However, whether historical dynamics in species distributions and richness translate to functional diversity patterns remains, for the most part, unknown. The geographic patterns of plant functional space size (richness) and packing (dispersion) for six widely distributed orders of European angiosperms were estimated using atlas distribution data and trait information. Then the relative importance of late-Quaternary glacial-interglacial climate change and contemporary environmental factors (climate, productivity, and topography) as determinants of functional diversity of evaluated orders was assesed. Functional diversity patterns of all evaluated orders exhibited prominent glacial-interglacial climate change imprints, complementing the influence of contemporary environmental conditions. The importance of Quaternary glacial-interglacial climate change factors was comparable to that of contemporary environmental factors across evaluated orders. Therefore, high long-term paleoclimate variability has imposed consistent supplementary constraints on functional diversity of multiple plant groups, a legacy that may permeate to ecosystem functioning and resilience. These findings suggest that strong near-future anthropogenic climate change may elicit long-term functional disequilibria in plant functional diversity.

  16. Diazotrophic diversity in the rhizosphere of two exotic weed plants, Prosopis juliflora and Parthenium hysterophorus.

    PubMed

    Cibichakravarthy, B; Preetha, R; Sundaram, S P; Kumar, K; Balachandar, D

    2012-02-01

    This study is aimed at assessing culturable diazotrophic bacterial diversity in the rhizosphere of Prosopis juliflora and Parthenium hysterophorus, which grow profusely in nutritionally-poor soils and environmentally-stress conditions so as to identify some novel strains for bioinoculant technology. Diazotrophic isolates from Prosopis and Parthenium rhizosphere were characterized for nitrogenase activity by Acetylene Reduction Assay (ARA) and 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Further, the culture-independent quantitative PCR (qPCR) was performed to compare the abundance of diazotrophs in rhizosphere with bulk soils. The proportion of diazotrophs in total heterotrophs was higher in rhizosphere than bulk soils and 32 putative diazotrophs from rhizosphere of two plants were identified by nifH gene amplification. The ARA activity of the isolates ranged from 40 to 95 nmol ethylene h(-1) mg protein(-1). The 16S rRNA gene analysis identified the isolates to be members of alpha, beta and gamma Proteobacteria and firmicutes. The qPCR assay also confirmed that abundance of nif gene in rhizosphere of these two plants was 10-fold higher than bulk soil.

  17. Biomass and diversity of dry alpine plant communities along altitudinal gradients in the Himalayas

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Namgail, T.; Rawat, G.S.; Mishra, C.; van Wieren, S.E.; Prins, H.H.T.

    2012-01-01

    A non-linear relationship between phytodiversity and altitude has widely been reported, but the relationship between phytomass and altitude remains little understood. We examined the phytomass and diversity of vascular plants along altitudinal gradients on the dry alpine rangelands of Ladakh, western Himalaya. We used generalized linear and generalized additive models to assess the relationship between these vegetation parameters and altitude. We found a hump-shaped relationship between aboveground phytomass and altitude. We suspect that this is engendered by low rainfall and trampling/excessive grazing at lower slopes by domestic livestock, and low temperature and low nutrient levels at higher slopes. We also found a unimodal relationship between plant species-richness and altitude at a single mountain as well as at the scale of entire Ladakh. The species-richness at the single mountain peaked between 5,000 and 5,200 m, while it peaked between 3,500 and 4,000 m at entire Ladakh level. Perhaps biotic factors such as grazing and precipitation are, respectively, important in generating this pattern at the single mountain and entire Ladakh. ?? 2011 The Author(s).

  18. Biomass and diversity of dry alpine plant communities along altitudinal gradients in the Himalayas.

    PubMed

    Namgail, Tsewang; Rawat, Gopal S; Mishra, Charudutt; van Wieren, Sipke E; Prins, Herbert H T

    2012-01-01

    A non-linear relationship between phytodiversity and altitude has widely been reported, but the relationship between phytomass and altitude remains little understood. We examined the phytomass and diversity of vascular plants along altitudinal gradients on the dry alpine rangelands of Ladakh, western Himalaya. We used generalized linear and generalized additive models to assess the relationship between these vegetation parameters and altitude. We found a hump-shaped relationship between aboveground phytomass and altitude. We suspect that this is engendered by low rainfall and trampling/excessive grazing at lower slopes by domestic livestock, and low temperature and low nutrient levels at higher slopes. We also found a unimodal relationship between plant species-richness and altitude at a single mountain as well as at the scale of entire Ladakh. The species-richness at the single mountain peaked between 5,000 and 5,200 m, while it peaked between 3,500 and 4,000 m at entire Ladakh level. Perhaps biotic factors such as grazing and precipitation are, respectively, important in generating this pattern at the single mountain and entire Ladakh.

  19. Effects of plant biomass, plant diversity, and water content on bacterial communities in soil lysimeters: implications for the determinants of bacterial diversity.

    PubMed

    Zul, Delita; Denzel, Sabine; Kotz, Andrea; Overmann, Jörg

    2007-11-01

    Soils may comprise tens of thousands to millions of bacterial species. It is still unclear whether this high level of diversity is governed by functional redundancy or by a multitude of ecological niches. In order to address this question, we analyzed the reproducibility of bacterial community composition after different experimental manipulations. Soil lysimeters were planted with four different types of plant communities, and the water content was adjusted. Group-specific phylogenetic fingerprinting by PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis revealed clear differences in the composition of Alphaproteobacteria, Betaproteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Chloroflexi, Planctomycetes, and Verrucomicrobia populations in soils without plants compared to that of populations in planted soils, whereas no influence of plant species composition on bacterial diversity could be discerned. These results indicate that the presence of higher plant species affects the species composition of bacterial groups in a reproducible manner and even outside of the rhizosphere. In contrast, the environmental factors tested did not affect the composition of Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Archaea, and Firmicutes populations. One-third (52 out of 160) of the sequence types were found to be specifically and reproducibly associated with the absence or presence of plants. Unexpectedly, this was also true for numerous minor constituents of the soil bacterial assemblage. Subsequently, one of the low-abundance phylotypes (beta10) was selected for studying the interdependence under particular experimental conditions and the underlying causes in more detail. This so-far-uncultured phylotype of the Betaproteobacteria species represented up to 0.18% of all bacterial cells in planted lysimeters compared to 0.017% in unplanted systems. A cultured representative of this phylotype exhibited high physiological flexibility and was capable of utilizing major constituents of root exudates. Our results suggest that

  20. Decoupling factors affecting plant diversity and cover on extensive green roofs.

    PubMed

    MacIvor, J Scott; Margolis, Liat; Puncher, Curtis L; Carver Matthews, Benjamin J

    2013-11-30

    Supplemental irrigation systems are often specified on green roofs to ensure plant cover and growth, both important components of green roof performance and aesthetics. Properties of the growing media environment too can alter the assemblage of plant species able to thrive. In this study we determine how plant cover, above ground biomass and species diversity are influenced by irrigation and growing media. Grass and forb vegetative cover and biomass were significantly greater in organic based growing media but there was no effect of supplemental irrigation, with two warm season grasses dominating in those treatments receiving no supplemental irrigation. On the other hand, plant diversity declined without irrigation in organic media, and having no irrigation in inorganic growing media resulted in almost a complete loss of cover. Sedum biomass was less in inorganic growing media treatments and species dominance shifted when growing media organic content increased. Our results demonstrate that supplemental irrigation is required to maintain plant diversity on an extensive green roof, but not necessarily plant cover or biomass. These results provide evidence that planting extensive green roofs with a mix of plant species can ensure the survival of some species; maintaining cover and biomass when supplemental irrigation is turned off to conserve water, or during extreme drought.

  1. Plant functional diversity increases grassland productivity-related water vapor fluxes: an Ecotron and modeling approach.

    PubMed

    Milcu, Alexandru; Eugster, Werner; Bachmann, Dörte; Guderle, Marcus; Roscher, Christiane; Gockele, Annette; Landais, Damien; Ravel, Olivier; Gessler, Arthur; Lange, Markus; Ebeling, Anne; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Roy, Jacques; Hildebrandt, Anke; Buchmann, Nina

    2016-08-01

    The impact of species richness and functional diversity of plants on ecosystem water vapor fluxes has been little investigated. To address this knowledge gap, we combined a lysimeter setup in a controlled environment facility (Ecotron) with large ecosystem samples/monoliths originating from a long-term biodiversity experiment (The Jena Experiment) and a modeling approach. Our goals were (1) quantifying the impact of plant species richness (four vs. 16 species) on day- and nighttime ecosystem water vapor fluxes; (2) partitioning ecosystem evapotranspiration into evaporation and plant transpiration using the Shuttleworth and Wallace (SW) energy partitioning model; and (3) identifying the most parsimonious predictors of water vapor fluxes using plant functional-trait-based metrics such as functional diversity and community weighted means. Daytime measured and modeled evapotranspiration were significantly higher in the higher plant diversity treatment, suggesting increased water acquisition. The SW model suggests that, at low plant species richness, a higher proportion of the available energy was diverted to evaporation (a non-productive flux), while, at higher species richness, the proportion of ecosystem transpiration (a productivity-related water flux) increased. While it is well established that LAI controls ecosystem transpiration, here we also identified that the diversity of leaf nitrogen concentration among species in a community is a consistent predictor of ecosystem water vapor fluxes during daytime. The results provide evidence that, at the peak of the growing season, higher leaf area index (LAI) and lower percentage of bare ground at high plant diversity diverts more of the available water to transpiration, a flux closely coupled with photosynthesis and productivity. Higher rates of transpiration presumably contribute to the positive effect of diversity on productivity.

  2. Response of pest control by generalist predators to local-scale plant diversity: a meta-analysis.

    PubMed

    Dassou, Anicet Gbèblonoudo; Tixier, Philippe

    2016-02-01

    Disentangling the effects of plant diversity on the control of herbivores is important for understanding agricultural sustainability. Recent studies have investigated the relationships between plant diversity and arthropod communities at the landscape scale, but few have done so at the local scale. We conducted a meta-analysis of 32 papers containing 175 independent measures of the relationship between plant diversity and arthropod communities. We found that generalist predators had a strong positive response to plant diversity, that is, their abundance increased as plant diversity increased. Herbivores, in contrast, had an overall weak and negative response to plant diversity. However, specialist and generalist herbivores differed in their response to plant diversity, that is, the response was negative for specialists and not significant for generalists. While the effects of scale remain unclear, the response to plant diversity tended to increase for specialist herbivores, but decrease for generalist herbivores as the scale increased. There was no clear effect of scale on the response of generalist predators to plant diversity. Our results suggest that the response of herbivores to plant diversity at the local scale is a balance between habitat and trophic effects that vary according to arthropod specialization and habitat type. Synthesis and applications. Positive effects of plant diversity on generalist predators confirm that, at the local scale, plant diversification of agroecosystems is a credible and promising option for increasing pest regulation. Results from our meta-analysis suggest that natural control in plant-diversified systems is more likely to occur for specialist than for generalist herbivores. In terms of pest management, our results indicate that small-scale plant diversification (via the planting of cover crops or intercrops and reduced weed management) is likely to increase the control of specialist herbivores by generalist predators.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  4. Climate change threats to plant diversity in Europe

    PubMed Central

    Thuiller, Wilfried; Lavorel, Sandra; Araújo, Miguel B.; Sykes, Martin T.; Prentice, I. Colin

    2005-01-01

    Climate change has already triggered species distribution shifts in many parts of the world. Increasing impacts are expected for the future, yet few studies have aimed for a general understanding of the regional basis for species vulnerability. We projected late 21st century distributions for 1,350 European plants species under seven climate change scenarios. Application of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources Red List criteria to our projections shows that many European plant species could become severely threatened. More than half of the species we studied could be vulnerable or threatened by 2080. Expected species loss and turnover per pixel proved to be highly variable across scenarios (27-42% and 45-63% respectively, averaged over Europe) and across regions (2.5-86% and 17-86%, averaged over scenarios). Modeled species loss and turnover were found to depend strongly on the degree of change in just two climate variables describing temperature and moisture conditions. Despite the coarse scale of the analysis, species from mountains could be seen to be disproportionably sensitive to climate change (≈60% species loss). The boreal region was projected to lose few species, although gaining many others from immigration. The greatest changes are expected in the transition between the Mediterranean and Euro-Siberian regions. We found that risks of extinction for European plants may be large, even in moderate scenarios of climate change and despite inter-model variability. PMID:15919825

  5. Evolutionary history determines how plant productivity responds to phylogenetic diversity and species richness.

    PubMed

    Genung, Mark A; Schweitzer, Jennifer A; Bailey, Joseph K

    2014-01-01

    The relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function has received a great deal of attention in ecological research and recent results, from re-analyses, suggest that ecosystem function improves with increases in phylogenetic diversity. However, many of these results have been generalized across a range of different species and clades, and plants with different evolutionary histories could display different relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem function. To experimentally test this hypothesis, we manipulated species richness and phylogenetic diversity using 26 species from two subgenera of the genus Eucalyptus (subgenus Eucalyptus and subgenus Symphyomyrtus). We found that plant biomass (a measurement of ecosystem function) sometimes, but not always, responded to increases in species richness and phylogenetic diversity. Specifically, Symphyomyrtus plants showed a positive response while no comparable effect was observed for Eucalyptus plants, showing that responses to biodiversity can vary across different phylogenetic groups. Our results show that the impacts of evolutionary history may complicate the relationship between the diversity of plant communities and plant biomass.

  6. Higher β-diversity observed for herbs over woody plants is driven by stronger habitat filtering in a tropical understory.

    PubMed

    Murphy, Stephen J; Salpeter, Kara; Comita, Liza S

    2016-08-01

    Herbaceous plants are a key component of tropical forests. Previous work indicates that herbs contribute substantially to the species richness of tropical plant communities. However, the processes structuring tropical herb diversity, and how they contrast with woody communities, have been underexplored. Within the understory of a 50-ha forest dynamics plot in central Panama, we compared the diversity, distribution, and abundance of vascular herbaceous plants with woody seedlings (i.e., tree and lianas <1 cm DBH and ≥20 cm tall). Beta-diversity was calculated for each community using a null model approach. We then assessed the similarity in alpha and beta-diversity among herbs, tree seedlings, and liana seedlings. Strengths of habitat associations were measured using permutational ANOVA among topographic habitat-types. Variance partitioning was then used to quantify the amount of variation in species richness and composition explained by spatial and environmental variables (i.e., topography, soils, and shade) for each growth form. Species richness and diversity were highest for tree seedlings, followed by liana seedlings and then herbs. In contrast, beta-diversity was 16-127% higher for herbs compared to woody seedlings, indicating higher spatial variation in this stratum. We observed no correlation between local richness or compositional uniqueness of herbs and woody seedlings across sites, indicating that different processes control the spatial patterns of woody and herbaceous diversity and composition. Habitat associations were strongest for herbs, as indicated by greater compositional dissimilarity among habitat types. Likewise, environmental variables explained a larger proportion of the variation in species richness and composition for herbs than for woody seedlings (richness = 25%, 14%, 12%; composition = 25%, 9%, 6%, for herbs, trees, and lianas, respectively). These differences between strata did not appear to be due to differences in lifespan alone

  7. Commercial Plant Production and Consumption Still Follow the Latitudinal Gradient in Species Diversity despite Economic Globalization

    PubMed Central

    Nelson, Erik J.; Helmus, Matthew R.; Cavender-Bares, Jeannine; Polasky, Stephen; Lasky, Jesse R.; Zanne, Amy E.; Pearse, William D.; Kraft, Nathan J. B.; Miteva, Daniela A.; Fagan, William F.

    2016-01-01

    Increasing trade between countries and gains in income have given consumers around the world access to a richer and more diverse set of commercial plant products (i.e., foods and fibers produced by farmers). According to the economic theory of comparative advantage, countries open to trade will be able to consume more–in terms of volume and diversity–if they concentrate production on commodities that they can most cost-effectively produce, while importing goods that are expensive to produce, relative to other countries. Here, we perform a global analysis of traded commercial plant products and find little evidence that increasing globalization has incentivized agricultural specialization. Instead, a country’s plant production and consumption patterns are still largely determined by local evolutionary legacies of plant diversification. Because tropical countries harbor a greater diversity of lineages across the tree of life than temperate countries, tropical countries produce and consume a greater diversity of plant products than do temperate countries. In contrast, the richer and more economically advanced temperate countries have the capacity to produce and consume more plant species than the generally poorer tropical countries, yet this collection of plant species is drawn from fewer branches on the tree of life. Why have countries not increasingly specialized in plant production despite the theoretical financial incentive to do so? Potential explanations include the persistence of domestic agricultural subsidies that distort production decisions, cultural preferences for diverse local food production, and that diverse food production protects rural households in developing countries from food price shocks. Less specialized production patterns will make crop systems more resilient to zonal climatic and social perturbations, but this may come at the expense of global crop production efficiency, an important step in making the transition to a hotter and more

  8. Historical and ecological controls on phylogenetic diversity in Californian plant communities.

    PubMed

    Anacker, Brian L; Harrison, Susan P

    2012-08-01

    We addressed the classic question of whether community diversity is determined from the bottom up by the breadth and partitioning of niche space or from the top down by historical and evolutionary forces. Specifically, we contrasted local and regional explanations for the diversity of Californian plant communities using phylogenetic and functional analyses. Our communities were sets of four field plots that sampled alpha (within-plot) and beta (among-plot) sources of variation in diversity. We sampled 93 such communities nested within 78 larger regions for which regional species pools could be independently estimated, spanning the California Floristic Province. We measured phylogenetic and functional diversity within plots and between plots on neighboring soils and slopes. We also measured the phylogenetic diversity of regional species pools and analyzed them in terms of biogeographic groups. We found no evidence linking the phylogenetic diversity of communities to within-plot functional diversity or among-plot beta diversity. Instead, we found that the phylogenetic diversity of communities depends on that of regional species pools. In turn, phylogenetically diverse pools were those with high proportions of species of northern biogeographic affinity, which have relatively mesic distributions and traits. This supports what we call the climatic refuge hypothesis rather than the biogeographic crossroads hypothesis.

  9. Assessing functional diversity in the soybean β-substituted alanine synthase enzyme family.

    PubMed

    Yi, Hankuil; Jez, Joseph M

    2012-11-01

    In plants, proteins of the β-substituted alanine synthase (BSAS) enzyme family perform a diverse range of reactions, including formation of cysteine from O-acetylserine and sulfide, detoxification of cyanide by its addition to cysteine, the breakdown of cysteine into pyruvate, ammonia, and sulfide, and the synthesis of S-sulfocysteine. With the completed genome sequence of soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr. cv. Williams 82), the functional diversity of the BSAS in this highly duplicated plant species was examined to determine whether soybean BSAS enzymes catalyze the various reactions connected to cysteine metabolism. The 16 soybean BSAS can be grouped into clades that are similar to those observed in Arabidopsis. Biochemical analysis of soybean BSAS proteins demonstrate that enzymes of clades I and III function as O-acetylserine sulfhydrylases for cysteine synthesis, clade II encodes cysteine desulfhydrase activity, and that clade V proteins function as β-cyanoalanine synthase for cyanide detoxification. Although clade IV is similar to Arabidopsis S-sulfocysteine synthase, this activity was not detected in the soybean homolog. Overall, our results show that bioinformatics approach provides a useful method to assess the biochemical properties of BSAS enzymes in plant species.

  10. Experimental warming causes rapid loss of plant diversity in New England salt marshes.

    PubMed

    Gedan, Keryn B; Bertness, Mark D

    2009-08-01

    Anthropogenic climate change is predicted to cause widespread biodiversity loss due to shifts in species' distributions, but these predictions rarely incorporate ecological associations such as zonation. Here, we predict the decline of a diverse assemblage of mid-latitude salt marsh plants, based on an ecosystem warming experiment. In New England salt marshes, a guild of halophytic forbs occupies stressful, waterlogged pannes. At three sites, experimental warming of < 4 degrees C led to diversity declines in pannes and rapid takeover by a competitive dominant, Spartina patens. In Rhode Island, near their southern range limit, pannes were more sensitive to warming than farther north, and panne area also declined in control plots over the three-season experiment. These results suggest that warming will rapidly reduce plant diversity in New England salt marshes by eliminating a high diversity zone. Biodiversity in zoned ecosystems may be more affected by climate-driven shifts in zonation than by individual species' distribution shifts.

  11. Diversity of lepidopteran stem borers on monocotyledonous plants in eastern Africa and the islands of Madagascar and Zanzibar revisited.

    PubMed

    Le Ru, B P; Ong'amo, G O; Moyal, P; Ngala, L; Musyoka, B; Abdullah, Z; Cugala, D; Defabachew, B; Haile, T A; Matama, T Kauma; Lada, V Y; Negassi, B; Pallangyo, K; Ravolonandrianina, J; Sidumo, A; Omwega, C O; Schulthess, F; Calatayud, P A; Silvain, J F

    2006-12-01

    Surveys were completed in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Zanzibar to assess the lepidopteran stem borer species diversity on wild host plants. A total of 24,674 larvae belonging to 135 species were collected from 75 species of wild host plants belonging to the Poaceae, Cyperaceae and Typhaceae. Amongst them were 44 noctuid species belonging to at least nine genera, 33 crambids, 15 pyralids, 16 Pyraloidea species not yet identified, 25 tortricids and three cossids. The noctuid larvae represented 73.6% of the total number of larvae collected, with 66.3, 3.5 and 3.8% found on Poaceae, Cyperaceae and Typhaceae, respectively. The Crambidae, Pyralidae, Tortricidae and Cossidae represented 19.8, 1.9, 2.5 and 0.1% of the total larvae collected, respectively, with 90.4% of the Crambidae and Pyralidae collected from Poaceae, and 99.7% of the Tortricidae collected from Cyperaceae. The lepidopteran stem borer species diversity in the wild host plants was far more diverse than previously reported.

  12. Effects of inter-row management intensity on wild bee, plant and soil biota diversity in vineyards

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kratschmer, Sophie; Pachinger, Bärbel; Winter, Silvia; Zaller, Johann G.; Buchholz, Jacob; Querner, Pascal; Strauß, Peter; Bauer, Thomas; Stiper, Katrin

    2016-04-01

    Vineyards may provide a range of essential ecosystem services, which interact with a diverse community of above- and belowground organisms. Intensive soil management like frequent tilling has resulted in the degradation of habitat quality with consequences on biodiversity and ecosystem services. This study is part of the European BiodivERsA project "VineDivers - Biodiversity-based ecosystem services in vineyards". We study the effects of different soil management intensities on above- and below-ground biodiversity (plants, insect pollinators, and soil biota), their interactions and the consequences for ecosystem services. We investigated 16 vineyards in Austria assessing the diversity of (1) wild bees using a semi-quantitative transect method, (2) earthworms by hand sorting, (3) Collembola (springtails) via pitfall trapping and soil coring, (4) plants by relevés and (5) litter decomposition (tea bag method). Management intensity differed in tillage frequency from intermediate intensity resulting in temporary vegetation cover to no tillage in permanent vegetation cover systems. First results show opposed relationships between the biodiversity of selected species groups and management intensity. We will discuss possible explanations and evaluate ecological interactions between wild bee, plant and soil biota diversity.

  13. Assessing invasive plant infestation in freshwater wetlands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Torbick, Nathan M.

    Recent shifts in wetland ecosystem management goals have directed efforts toward measuring ecological integrity, rather than only using physical and chemical measures of ecosystems as health indicators. Invasive species pose one of the largest threats to wetlands integrity. Resource managers can benefit from improved methods for identifying invasive plant species, assessing infestation, and monitoring control measures. The utilization of advanced remote sensing tools for species-level mapping has been increasing and techniques need to be explored for identifying species of interest and characterizing infestation. The overarching goal of this research was to develop monitoring technologies to map invasive plants and quantify wetland infestation. The first field-level objective was to characterize absorption and reflectance features and assess processing techniques for separating wetland species. The second field-level objective was to evaluate the abilities of a shape filter to identify wetland invasive plant species. The first landscape-level objective was to classify hyperspectral imagery in order to identify invasives of interest. The second landscape-level objective was to quantify infestation within the study area. Field-level hyperspectral data (350-2500nm) were collected for twenty-two wetland plant species in a wetland located in the lower Muskegon River watershed in Michigan, USA. The Jeffries-Matusita distance measure, continuum removal, and a shape-filter were applied to hyperspectral species reflectance data to characterize spectral features. Generally, continuum removal decreased separation distance for the invasive species of interest. Using the shape-filter, Lythrum salicaria, Phragmites australis, and Typha latifolia possessed maximum separation (distinguished from other species) at the near-infrared edge (700nm) and water absorption region (1350nm), the near-infrared down slope (1000 and 1100nm), and the visible/chlorophyll absorption region (500nm

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-06-01

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

  15. Plant-wide assessment summary: $1.6 million in savings identified in Augusta Newsprint assessment

    SciTech Connect

    None, None

    2003-08-01

    Augusta Newsprint and its partners conducted a systematic plant-wide assessment (PWA) to identify energy- and cost-saving opportunities at the company's plant in Augusta, Georgia. The assessment team identified $1.6 million in potential annual savings.

  16. Microbes do not follow the elevational diversity patterns of plants and animals.

    PubMed

    Fierer, Noah; McCain, Christy M; Meir, Patrick; Zimmermann, Michael; Rapp, Joshua M; Silman, Miles R; Knight, Rob

    2011-04-01

    The elevational gradient in plant and animal diversity is one of the most widely documented patterns in ecology and, although no consensus explanation exists, many hypotheses have been proposed over the past century to explain these patterns. Historically, research on elevational diversity gradients has focused almost exclusively on plant and animal taxa. As a result, we do not know whether microbes exhibit elevational gradients in diversity that parallel those observed for macroscopic taxa. This represents a key knowledge gap in ecology, especially given the ubiquity, abundance, and functional importance of microbes. Here we show that, across a montane elevational gradient in eastern Peru, bacteria living in three distinct habitats (organic soil, mineral soil, and leaf surfaces) exhibit no significant elevational gradient in diversity (r2<0.17, P>0.1 in all cases), in direct contrast to the significant diversity changes observed for plant and animal taxa across the same montane gradient (r2>0.75, P<0.001 in all cases). This finding suggests that the biogeographical patterns exhibited by bacteria are fundamentally different from those of plants and animals, highlighting the need for the development of more inclusive concepts and theories in biogeography to explain these disparities.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  19. Initial assessment of natural diversity in Mexican fig landraces.

    PubMed

    García-Ruiz, M T; Mendoza-Castillo, V M; Valadez-Moctezuma, E; Muratalla-Lúa, A

    2013-09-23

    The common fig (Ficus carica L.) was introduced into Mexico by Spanish Franciscan missionaries in the 16th century. It is widely assumed that Mexican figs are the Spanish cultivar Black Mission. We collected and propagated 12 fig plants from six landraces from different states in Central Mexico that represent different climate. All of them were grown in a greenhouse at Universidad Autónoma Chapingo, in the State of Mexico. During the experimental period, the greenhouse had an average temperature and relative humidity of 29.2° ± 5.4°C (SEM) and 78.1 ± 6.7% (SEM), respectively. Morphological characterization was done following a selected set of quantitative and qualitative descriptors established by the IPGRI. DNA analysis was based on a combination of ISSR and RFLP markers. We observed great diversity mainly in fruit weight (28.1-96.2 g), fruit shape (ovoid, pyriform), and neck length (0.97-3.80 cm), which could not be explained by environmental conditions such as temperature and relative humidity. The Nei and Li/Dice similarity coefficient between landraces was determined by cluster analysis using the UPGMA method. Based on the morphological characterization and DNA fingerprinting data presented in this study, our results showed that after hundreds of years, black figs have adapted to local environmental condition in Central Mexico, yielding at least six clearly distinct landraces that represent valuable and previously undescribed genetic diversity. We also suggested names for those landraces according to their location and established a basis for further agronomic and molecular characterization of fig landraces.

  20. Vascular plant abundance and diversity in an alpine heath under observed and simulated global change.

    PubMed

    Alatalo, Juha M; Little, Chelsea J; Jägerbrand, Annika K; Molau, Ulf

    2015-05-07

    Global change is predicted to cause shifts in species distributions and biodiversity in arctic tundra. We applied factorial warming and nutrient manipulation to a nutrient and species poor alpine/arctic heath community for seven years. Vascular plant abundance in control plots increased by 31%. There were also notable changes in cover in the nutrient and combined nutrient and warming treatments, with deciduous and evergreen shrubs declining, grasses overgrowing these plots. Sedge abundance initially increased significantly with nutrient amendment and then declined, going below initial values in the combined nutrient and warming treatment. Nutrient addition resulted in a change in dominance hierarchy from deciduous shrubs to grasses. We found significant declines in vascular plant diversity and evenness in the warming treatment and a decline in diversity in the combined warming and nutrient addition treatment, while nutrient addition caused a decline in species richness. The results give some experimental support that species poor plant communities with low diversity may be more vulnerable to loss of species diversity than communities with higher initial diversity. The projected increase in nutrient deposition and warming may therefore have negative impacts on ecosystem processes, functioning and services due to loss of species diversity in an already impoverished environment.

  1. Assessment of phytoplankton diversity as an indicator of water quality

    SciTech Connect

    Yergeau, S.E.; Lang, A.; Teeters, R.

    1997-08-01

    For the measurement of water quality in freshwater systems, there are established indices using macroinvertebrate larvae. There is no such comparable measure for marine and estuarine environments. A phytoplankton diversity index (PDI), whose basic form was conceived by Dr. Ruth Gyure of Save the Sound, Inc., is being investigated as a possible candidate to rectify this situation. Phytoplankton were chosen as the indicators of water quality since algae have short generation times and respond quickly to changing water quality conditions. The methodologies involved in this initial assessment of the PDI are incorporated into the Adopt-a-Harbor water quality monitoring program and its associated laboratory. The virtues of the procedures are that they are simple and quick to use, suitable for trained volunteers to carry out, easily reproducible, and amenable to quality assurance checks.

  2. Relationships between arthropod richness, evenness, and diversity are altered by complementarity among plant genotypes.

    PubMed

    McArt, Scott H; Cook-Patton, Susan C; Thaler, Jennifer S

    2012-04-01

    Biodiversity is quantified via richness (e.g., the number of species), evenness (the relative abundance distribution of those species), or proportional diversity (a combination of richness and evenness, such as the Shannon index, H'). While empirical studies show no consistent relationship between these aspects of biodiversity within communities, the mechanisms leading to inconsistent relationships have received little attention. Here, using common evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) and its associated arthropod community, we show that relationships between arthropod richness, evenness, and proportional diversity are altered by plant genotypic richness. Arthropod richness increased with O. biennis genotypic richness due to an abundance-driven accumulation of species in response to greater plant biomass. Arthropod evenness and proportional diversity decreased with plant genotypic richness due to a nonadditive increase in abundance of a dominant arthropod, the generalist florivore/omnivore Plagiognathas politus (Miridae). The greater quantity of flowers and buds produced in polycultures-which resulted from positive complementarity among O. biennis genotypes-increased the abundance of this dominant insect. Using choice bioassays, we show that floral quality did not change in plant genotypic mixtures. These results elucidate mechanisms for how plant genotypic richness can modify relationships between arthropod richness, evenness, and proportional diversity. More broadly, our results suggest that trophic interactions may be a previously underappreciated factor controlling relationships between these different aspects of biodiversity.

  3. Biodiversity assessment among two Nebraska prairies: a comparison between traditional and phylogenetic diversity indices

    PubMed Central

    Aust, Shelly K.; Ahrendsen, Dakota L.

    2015-01-01

    Abstract Background Conservation of the evolutionary diversity among organisms should be included in the selection of priority regions for preservation of Earth’s biodiversity. Traditionally, biodiversity has been determined from an assessment of species richness (S), abundance, evenness, rarity, etc. of organisms but not from variation in species’ evolutionary histories. Phylogenetic diversity (PD) measures evolutionary differences between taxa in a community and is gaining acceptance as a biodiversity assessment tool. However, with the increase in the number of ways to calculate PD, end-users and decision-makers are left wondering how metrics compare and what data are needed to calculate various metrics. New information In this study, we used massively parallel sequencing to generate over 65,000 DNA characters from three cellular compartments for over 60 species in the asterid clade of flowering plants. We estimated asterid phylogenies from character datasets of varying nucleotide quantities, and then assessed the effect of varying character datasets on resulting PD metric values. We also compared multiple PD metrics with traditional diversity indices (including S) among two endangered grassland prairies in Nebraska (U.S.A.). Our results revealed that PD metrics varied based on the quantity of genes used to infer the phylogenies; therefore, when comparing PD metrics between sites, it is vital to use comparable datasets. Additionally, various PD metrics and traditional diversity indices characterize biodiversity differently and should be chosen depending on the research question. Our study provides empirical results that reveal the value of measuring PD when considering sites for conservation, and it highlights the usefulness of using PD metrics in combination with other diversity indices when studying community assembly and ecosystem functioning. Ours is just one example of the types of investigations that need to be conducted across the tree of life and

  4. Diversity of the endophytic fungi associated with the ancient and narrowly endemic neotropical plant Vellozia gigantea from the endangered Brazilian rupestrian grasslands.

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The diversity of cultivable endophytic fungal community associated with the rare, ancient and narrowly endemic Neotropical plant Vellozia gigantea present in the Brazilian Rupestrian Grasslands was assessed. Two hundred and eighty-five fungal isolates obtained were identified into 27 genera and 87 t...

  5. Diverse functional roles of monosaccharide transporters and their homologs in vascular plants: a physiological perspective.

    PubMed

    Slewinski, Thomas L

    2011-07-01

    Vascular plants contain two gene families that encode monosaccharide transporter proteins. The classical monosaccharide transporter(-like) gene superfamily is large and functionally diverse, while the recently identified SWEET transporter family is smaller and, thus far, only found to transport glucose. These transporters play essential roles at many levels, ranging from organelles to the whole plant. Many family members are essential for cellular homeostasis and reproductive success. Although most transporters do not directly participate in long-distance transport, their indirect roles greatly impact carbon allocation and transport flux to the heterotrophic tissues of the plant. Functional characterization of some members from both gene families has revealed their diverse roles in carbohydrate partitioning, phloem function, resource allocation, plant defense, and sugar signaling. This review highlights the broad impacts and implications of monosaccharide transport by describing some of the functional roles of the monosaccharide transporter(-like) superfamily and the SWEET transporter family.

  6. A molecular method to assess Phytophthora diversity in environmental samples.

    PubMed

    Scibetta, Silvia; Schena, Leonardo; Chimento, Antonio; Cacciola, Santa O; Cooke, David E L

    2012-03-01

    Current molecular detection methods for the genus Phytophthora are specific to a few key species rather than the whole genus and this is a recognized weakness of protocols for ecological studies and international plant health legislation. In the present study a molecular approach was developed to detect Phytophthora species in soil and water samples using novel sets of genus-specific primers designed against the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions. Two different rDNA primer sets were tested: one assay amplified a long product including the ITS1, 5.8S and ITS2 regions (LP) and the other a shorter product including the ITS1 only (SP). Both assays specifically amplified products from Phytophthora species without cross-reaction with the related Pythium s. lato, however the SP assay proved the more sensitive and reliable. The method was validated using woodland soil and stream water from Invergowrie, Scotland. On-site use of a knapsack sprayer and in-line water filters proved more rapid and effective than centrifugation at sampling Phytophthora propagules. A total of 15 different Phytophthora phylotypes were identified which clustered within the reported ITS-clades 1, 2, 3, 6, 7 and 8. The range and type of the sequences detected varied from sample to sample and up to three and five different Phytophthora phylotypes were detected within a single sample of soil or water, respectively. The most frequently detected sequences were related to members of ITS-clade 6 (i.e. P. gonapodyides-like). The new method proved very effective at discriminating multiple species in a given sample and can also detect as yet unknown species. The reported primers and methods will prove valuable for ecological studies, biosecurity and commercial plant, soil or water (e.g. irrigation water) testing as well as the wider metagenomic sampling of this fascinating component of microbial pathogen diversity.

  7. Dominant species, rather than diversity, regulates temporal stability of plant communities.

    PubMed

    Sasaki, Takehiro; Lauenroth, William K

    2011-07-01

    A growing body of empirical evidence suggests that the temporal stability of communities typically increases with diversity. The counterview to this is that dominant species, rather than diversity itself, might regulate temporal stability. However, empirical studies that have explicitly examined the relative importance of diversity and dominant species in maintaining community stability have yielded few clear-cut patterns. Here, using a long-term data set, we examined the relative importance of changes in diversity components and dominance hierarchy following the removal of a dominant C4 grass, Bouteloua gracilis, in stabilizing plant communities. We also examined the relationships between the variables of diversity and dominance hierarchy and the statistical components of temporal stability. We found a significant negative relationship between temporal stability and species richness, number of rare species, and relative abundance of rare species, whereas a significant positive relationship existed between temporal stability and relative abundance of the dominant species. Variances and covariances summed over all species significantly increased with increasing species richness, whereas they significantly decreased with increasing relative abundance of dominant species. We showed that temporal stability in a shortgrass steppe plant community was controlled by dominant species rather than by diversity itself. The generality of diversity-stability relationships might be restricted by the dynamics of dominant species, especially when they have characteristics that contribute to stability in highly stochastic systems. A clear implication is that dominance hierarchies and their changes might be among the most important ecological components to consider in managing communities to maintain ecosystem functioning.

  8. Plant community diversity and native plant abundance decline with increasing abundance of an exotic annual grass

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Exotic plants are generally considered a serious problem in wildlands around the globe. However, some argue that the impacts of exotic plants have been exaggerated and that biodiversity and other important plant community characteristics are commonly improved with invasion. Thus, disagreement exis...

  9. Functional diversity supports the physiological tolerance hypothesis for plant species richness along climatic gradients

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Spasojevic, Marko J.; Grace, James B.; Harrison, Susan; Damschen, Ellen Ingman

    2013-01-01

    1. The physiological tolerance hypothesis proposes that plant species richness is highest in warm and/or wet climates because a wider range of functional strategies can persist under such conditions. Functional diversity metrics, combined with statistical modeling, offer new ways to test whether diversity-environment relationships are consistent with this hypothesis. 2. In a classic study by R. H. Whittaker (1960), herb species richness declined from mesic (cool, moist, northerly) slopes to xeric (hot, dry, southerly) slopes. Building on this dataset, we measured four plant functional traits (plant height, specific leaf area, leaf water content and foliar C:N) and used them to calculate three functional diversity metrics (functional richness, evenness, and dispersion). We then used a structural equation model to ask if ‘functional diversity’ (modeled as the joint responses of richness, evenness, and dispersion) could explain the observed relationship of topographic climate gradients to species richness. We then repeated our model examining the functional diversity of each of the four traits individually. 3. Consistent with the physiological tolerance hypothesis, we found that functional diversity was higher in more favorable climatic conditions (mesic slopes), and that multivariate functional diversity mediated the relationship of the topographic climate gradient to plant species richness. We found similar patterns for models focusing on individual trait functional diversity of leaf water content and foliar C:N. 4. Synthesis. Our results provide trait-based support for the physiological tolerance hypothesis, suggesting that benign climates support more species because they allow for a wider range of functional strategies.

  10. Trade-offs between savanna woody plant diversity and carbon storage in the Brazilian Cerrado.

    PubMed

    Pellegrini, Adam F A; Socolar, Jacob B; Elsen, Paul R; Giam, Xingli

    2016-10-01

    Incentivizing carbon storage can be a win-win pathway to conserving biodiversity and mitigating climate change. In savannas, however, the situation is more complex. Promoting carbon storage through woody encroachment may reduce plant diversity of savanna endemics, even as the diversity of encroaching forest species increases. This trade-off has important implications for the management of biodiversity and carbon in savanna habitats, but has rarely been evaluated empirically. We quantified the nature of carbon-diversity relationships in the Brazilian Cerrado by analyzing how woody plant species richness changed with carbon storage in 206 sites across the 2.2 million km(2) region at two spatial scales. We show that total woody plant species diversity increases with carbon storage, as expected, but that the richness of endemic savanna woody plant species declines with carbon storage both at the local scale, as woody biomass accumulates within plots, and at the landscape scale, as forest replaces savanna. The sharpest trade-offs between carbon storage and savanna diversity occurred at the early stages of carbon accumulation at the local scale but the final stages of forest encroachment at the landscape scale. Furthermore, the loss of savanna species quickens in the final stages of forest encroachment, and beyond a point, savanna species losses outpace forest species gains with increasing carbon accumulation. Our results suggest that although woody encroachment in savanna ecosystems may provide substantial carbon benefits, it comes at the rapidly accruing cost of woody plant species adapted to the open savanna environment. Moreover, the dependence of carbon-diversity trade-offs on the amount of savanna area remaining requires land managers to carefully consider local conditions. Widespread woody encroachment in both Australian and African savannas and grasslands may present similar threats to biodiversity.

  11. Analysis of genetic diversity of a native population of Myrcia lundiana Kiaersk. plants using ISSR markers.

    PubMed

    Alves, M F; Nizio, D A C; Brito, F A; Sampaio, T S; Silva, A V C; Arrigoni-Blank, M F; Carvalho, S V A; Blank, A F

    2016-12-02

    Myrcia lundiana Kiaersk. is a tree of the family Myrtaceae found in tropical and subtropical areas of the southern hemisphere that produces essential oil. The aim of this study was to characterize the genetic diversity of M. lundiana plants from a native population of Parque Nacional de Itabaiana, using inter-simple sequence repeat molecular markers. Thirty-five primers were tested, 20 of which were polymorphic, resulting in 135 polymorphic and informative bands. Results of the cluster analysis, obtained using the unweighted pair group method with arithmetic mean, grouped plants into three clusters: Cluster I - MLU001, MLU002, MLU003, MLU004, MLU005, MLU006, MLU018, MLU019, MLU020, MLU021, MLU022; MLU008, MLU011, MLU012, MLU014, MLU015, MLU017, MLU026, and MLU028; Cluster II - MLU007, MLU009, MLU010, MLU013, and MLU016; and Cluster III - MLU023, MLU024, MLU025, and MLU027. Jaccard similarity coefficients for pair-wise comparisons of plants ranged between 0.15 and 0.87. MLU014 and MLU015 presented low genetic diversity, with a similarity index of 0.87. Conversely, MLU007 and MLU019 presented high diversity, with a similarity index of 0.15. According to the structure analysis, three distinct clusters were formed. Genetic diversity of M. lundiana plants was intermediate, and expansion of its genetic diversity is necessary. MLU026 and MLU028 are the most suitable for selection in breeding programs, since they clearly represent all of the diversity present in these plants. Moreover, these results provide important information on the existing genetic variability, highlighting the importance of Parque Nacional de Itabaiana for the conservation of this species.

  12. The carnivorous pale pitcher plant harbors diverse, distinct, and time-dependent bacterial communities.

    PubMed

    Koopman, Margaret M; Fuselier, Danielle M; Hird, Sarah; Carstens, Bryan C

    2010-03-01

    The ability of American carnivorous pitcher plants (Sarracenia) to digest insect prey is facilitated by microbial associations. Knowledge of the details surrounding this interaction has been limited by our capability to characterize bacterial diversity in this system. To describe microbial diversity within and between pitchers of one species, Sarracenia alata, and to explore how these communities change over time as pitchers accumulate and digest insect prey, we collected and analyzed environmental sequence tag (454 pyrosequencing) and genomic fingerprint (automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis and terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism) data. Microbial richness associated with pitcher plant fluid is high; more than 1,000 unique phylogroups were identified across at least seven phyla and 50 families. We documented an increase in bacterial diversity and abundance with time and observed repeated changes in bacterial community composition. Pitchers from different plants harbored significantly more similar bacterial communities at a given time point than communities coming from the same genetic host over time. The microbial communities in pitcher plant fluid also differ significantly from those present in the surrounding soil. These findings indicate that the bacteria associated with pitcher plant leaves are far from random assemblages and represent an important step toward understanding this unique plant-microbe interaction.

  13. Plant diversity and conservation status of Himalayan Region Poonch Valley Azad Kashmir (Pakistan).

    PubMed

    Khan, Muhammad Azam; Khan, Mir Ajab; Hussain, Mazhar; Mujtaba, Ghulam

    2014-09-01

    The plant diversity of Himalayan region has been reduced to greater extent due to environmental degradation and human exploitation. Anthropogenic disturbance was the major factor responsible for fragmentation of forest vegetation into small patches. Little research has been conducted in the Himalayan region of Poonch Valley of North eastern Pakistan with reference to plants biodiversity and its conservation. The present research was carried out to provide a checklist of vegetation for biodiversity conservation. A total of 430 vascular and 5 nonvascular plant species with 5 species of Bryophytes (5 families), 13 species of Pteridophytes (6 families), 4 species of Gymnosperms (1 family) and 413 species of angiosperms (95 families) were enumerated from the Poonch valley Azad Kashmir. The genera were classified into three categories according to the number of species. 25 plant communities with phytosociological parameters and diversity indices were reported. Present study revealed that there were 145 threatened, 30 endangered, 68 vulnerable and 47 rare species. It is recorded that extensive grazing, uprooting of plants and soil slope erosion intensify the environmental problems. Since there is maximum exploitation of vegetation, the valley showed a decline in plant diversity. The study was also indicated that the main threats to the biodiversity are expansion of settlement and army installations in the forest area of the valley. For sustainable use In-situ and Ex-situ conservation, controlled harvesting and afforestation may be the solution. Moreover, forest area should be declared prohibited for settlements and army installations.

  14. Highly Diverse Endophytic and Soil Fusarium oxysporum Populations Associated with Field-Grown Tomato Plants

    PubMed Central

    Demers, Jill E.; Gugino, Beth K.

    2014-01-01

    The diversity and genetic differentiation of populations of Fusarium oxysporum associated with tomato fields, both endophytes obtained from tomato plants and isolates obtained from soil surrounding the sampled plants, were investigated. A total of 609 isolates of F. oxysporum were obtained, 295 isolates from a total of 32 asymptomatic tomato plants in two fields and 314 isolates from eight soil cores sampled from the area surrounding the plants. Included in this total were 112 isolates from the stems of all 32 plants, a niche that has not been previously included in F. oxysporum population genetics studies. Isolates were characterized using the DNA sequence of the translation elongation factor 1α gene. A diverse population of 26 sequence types was found, although two sequence types represented nearly two-thirds of the isolates studied. The sequence types were placed in different phylogenetic clades within F. oxysporum, and endophytic isolates were not monophyletic. Multiple sequence types were found in all plants, with an average of 4.2 per plant. The population compositions differed between the two fields but not between soil samples within each field. A certain degree of differentiation was observed between populations associated with different tomato cultivars, suggesting that the host genotype may affect the composition of plant-associated F. oxysporum populations. No clear patterns of genetic differentiation were observed between endophyte populations and soil populations, suggesting a lack of specialization of endophytic isolates. PMID:25304514

  15. Realistic diversity loss and variation in soil depth independently affect community-level plant nitrogen use.

    PubMed

    Selmants, Paul C; Zavaleta, Erika S; Wolf, Amelia A

    2014-01-01

    Numerous experiments have demonstrated that diverse plant communities use nitrogen (N) more completely and efficiently, with implications for how species conservation efforts might influence N cycling and retention in terrestrial ecosystems. However, most such experiments have randomly manipulated species richness and minimized environmental heterogeneity, two design aspects that may reduce applicability to real ecosystems. Here we present results from an experiment directly comparing how realistic and randomized plant species losses affect plant N use across a gradient of soil depth in a native-dominated serpentine grassland in California. We found that the strength of the species richness effect on plant N use did not increase with soil depth in either the realistic or randomized species loss scenarios, indicating that the increased vertical heterogeneity conferred by deeper soils did not lead to greater complementarity among species in this ecosystem. Realistic species losses significantly reduced plant N uptake and altered N-use efficiency, while randomized species losses had no effect on plant N use. Increasing soil depth positively affected plant N uptake in both loss order scenarios but had a weaker effect on plant N use than did realistic species losses. Our results illustrate that realistic species losses can have functional consequences that differ distinctly from randomized losses, and that species diversity effects can be independent of and outweigh those of environmental heterogeneity on ecosystem functioning. Our findings also support the value of conservation efforts aimed at maintaining biodiversity to help buffer ecosystems against increasing anthropogenic N loading.

  16. Plant powder teabags: a novel and practical approach to resolve culturability and diversity of rhizobacteria.

    PubMed

    Sarhan, Mohamed S; Mourad, Elhussein F; Hamza, Mervat A; Youssef, Hanan H; Scherwinski, Ann-Christin; El-Tahan, Mahmoud; Fayez, Mohamed; Ruppel, Silke; Hegazi, Nabil A

    2016-08-01

    We have developed teabags packed with dehydrated plant powders, without any supplements, for preparation of plant infusions necessary to develop media for culturing rhizobacteria. These bacteria are efficiently cultivated on such plant teabag culture media, with better progressive in situ recoverability compared to standard chemically synthetic culture media. Combining various plant-based culture media and incubation conditions enabled us to resolve unique denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) bands that were not resolved by tested standard culture media. Based on polymerase chain reaction PCR-DGGE of 16S rDNA fingerprints and sequencing, the plant teabag culture media supported higher diversity and significant increases in the richness of endo-rhizobacteria, namely Gammaproteobacteria (Enterobacteriaceae) and predominantly Alphaproteobacteria (Rhizobiaceae). This culminated in greater retrieval of the rhizobacteria taxa associated with the plant roots. We conclude that the plant teabag culture medium by itself, without any nutritional supplements, is sufficient and efficient for recovering and mirroring the complex and diverse communities of rhizobacteria. Our message to fellow microbial ecologists is: simply dehydrate your plant canopy, teabag it and soak it to prepare your culture media, with no need for any additional supplementary nutrients.

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

    PubMed Central

    Jackrel, Sara L.; Wootton, J. Timothy

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Jackrel, Sara L; Wootton, J Timothy

    2015-01-01

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

  19. Moderate land use changes plant functional composition without loss of functional diversity in India's Western Ghats.

    PubMed

    Mandle, Lisa; Ticktin, Tamara

    2015-09-01

    The fields of ecology and conservation science increasingly recognize the importance of managing for functional composition and functional diversity to maintain critical ecosystem processes and services. However, little is known about the degree to which widespread but moderate forms of land use that maintain overall vegetation structure are compatible with the conservation of functional diversity. We assessed differences in plani functional composition and functional diversity across savanna woodlands in the Western Ghats, India, managed with varying degrees of biomass extraction, livestock grazing, and ground fire. Across the gradient of moderate land uses, we found shifts in functional composition but no overall decline in functional diversity with land, use intensification. Biomass extraction was associated with changes in dispersal mode, reduced seed mass, and lower overstory functional diversity. Livestock grazing was associated with shorter overstory species, reduced seed mass, and increased understory functional diversity. Nonnative invasive species contributed to shifts in understory functional composition with livestock grazing and increased functional diversity with more intensive land use. Our study highlights both the utility and some limitations of assessing conservation value with functional diversity. These results suggest that moderate-intensity local land use can be compatible with maintenance of functional diversity in savanna woodlands of the Western Ghats, and further efforts to maximize this compatibility would benefit conservation in South India's extensive human-managed landscapes. However, using functional diversity as the sole metric by which to gauge conservation value can mask threats from invasive species and loss of diversity within categories of biotic dispersal. Therefore, functional diversity metrics are likely to provide a valuable complement to, but not replacement for, other management targets such as species composition.

  20. Plant Diversity in Live Fences and Pastures, Two Examples from the Mexican Humid Tropics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ruiz-Guerra, Betsabé; Rosas, Noé Velázquez; López-Acosta, Juan Carlos

    2014-09-01

    This study analyzes the potential uses of live fences and pastures as reservoirs of plant diversity for two regions with different management histories, Los Tuxtlas (LT) and Uxpanapa (UX), Veracruz, México. We studied two habitats, live fences and pastures, analyzed their species richness, diversity, structure and plant composition and classified species according to plant regeneration modes (light-demanding and shade tolerant), seed dispersal syndrome and their local uses. We recorded 62 species of trees at LT and 48 at UX. Live fences were more diverse than pastures in both regions. The LT site showed to analyze the relationship a higher diversity of plants in regeneration stages than the one at UX. However, UX had higher diversity of adult plants in the pastures than LT. Composition and structure of live fences were different between regions, as well as within live fences and pastures, 53 % of species were light-demanding and 40 % were shade tolerant; 70 % of the species were dispersed by birds. Differences between sites are associated with the modifications in live fences structure, which changed according to managerial practices and the use of local species; this may influence plant regeneration modes as well as the visits of avian dispersal agents. In LT, all species found in live fences were useful to humans, whereas in UX, less than half were used by the local population. Our results underline the importance of live fences and isolated trees in pasture habitats as potential sites to host native and useful species from tropical rain forests in livestock landscapes.

  1. Plant diversity in live fences and pastures, two examples from the Mexican humid tropics.

    PubMed

    Ruiz-Guerra, Betsabé; Rosas, Noé Velázquez; López-Acosta, Juan Carlos

    2014-09-01

    This study analyzes the potential uses of live fences and pastures as reservoirs of plant diversity for two regions with different management histories, Los Tuxtlas (LT) and Uxpanapa (UX), Veracruz, México. We studied two habitats, live fences and pastures, analyzed their species richness, diversity, structure and plant composition and classified species according to plant regeneration modes (light-demanding and shade tolerant), seed dispersal syndrome and their local uses. We recorded 62 species of trees at LT and 48 at UX. Live fences were more diverse than pastures in both regions. The LT site showed to analyze the relationship a higher diversity of plants in regeneration stages than the one at UX. However, UX had higher diversity of adult plants in the pastures than LT. Composition and structure of live fences were different between regions, as well as within live fences and pastures, 53 % of species were light-demanding and 40 % were shade tolerant; 70 % of the species were dispersed by birds. Differences between sites are associated with the modifications in live fences structure, which changed according to managerial practices and the use of local species; this may influence plant regeneration modes as well as the visits of avian dispersal agents. In LT, all species found in live fences were useful to humans, whereas in UX, less than half were used by the local population. Our results underline the importance of live fences and isolated trees in pasture habitats as potential sites to host native and useful species from tropical rain forests in livestock landscapes.

  2. Assessing the Effects of Woody Plant Traits on Understory Herbaceous Cover in a Semiarid Rangeland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Belay, Tamrat A.; Moe, Stein R.

    2015-07-01

    The ecological impact of woody plant encroachment in rangeland ecosystems has traditionally been evaluated based on correlation studies between densities of dissimilar woody plants and various ecosystem properties. However, ecosystem properties respond differently to woody plant encroachment because of variations in adaptation of co-occurring woody plants. The objective of this study is to predict the impact of woody plant encroachment on understory herbaceous cover based on analysis of key traits of woody plants. We conducted a vegetation survey in 4 savanna sites in southwestern Ethiopia and compared 9 different key traits of 19 co-occurring woody plants with understory herbaceous cover. Our results show that low understory herbaceous cover is associated with evergreen leaf phenology, shrubby growth form, smaller relative crown-base height and larger relative crown diameter. However, the N2-fixing ability and density of woody plants did not influence the understory herbaceous cover. This shows that traits of individual woody plants can predict the impact of woody plant encroachment on understory herbaceous cover better than density does. The finding improves our ability to accurately predict the impact of woody plant encroachment on various ecosystem properties in highly diverse savanna systems. This plant trait-based approach could be also used as an important management exercise to assess and predict the impact of encroaching woody species in several rangeland ecosystems.

  3. Effects of vegetation type on soil microbial community structure and catabolic diversity assessed by polyphasic methods in North China.

    PubMed

    Han, Xue-mei; Wang, Ren-qing; Liu, Jian; Wang, Meng-cheng; Zhou, Juan; Guo, Wei-hua

    2007-01-01

    Soil microbes play a major role in ecological processes and are closely associated with the aboveground plant community. In order to understand the effects of vegetation type on the characteristics of soil microbial communities, the soil microbial communities were assessed by plate counts, phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) and Biolog microplate techniques in five plant communities, i.e., soybean field (SF), artificial turf (AT), artificial shrub (AS), natural shrub (NS), and maize field (MF) in Jinan, Shandong Province, North China. The results showed that plant diversity had little discernible effect on microbial biomass but a positive impact on the evenness of utilized substrates in Biolog microplate. Legumes could significantly enhance the number of cultural microorganisms, microbial biomass, and community catabolic diversity. Except for SF dominated by legumes, the biomass of fungi and the catabolic diversity of microbial community were higher in less disturbed soil beneath NS than in frequently disturbed soils beneath the other vegetation types. These results confirmed that high number of plant species, legumes, and natural vegetation types tend to support soil microbial communities with higher function. The present study also found a significant correlation between the number of cultured bacteria and catabolic diversity of the bacterial community. Different research methods led to varied results in this study. The combination of several approaches is recommended for accurately describing the characteristics of microbial communities in many respects.

  4. Diversity and Plant Growth Promoting Capacity of Endophytic Fungi Associated with Halophytic Plants from the West Coast of Korea.

    PubMed

    Khalmuratova, Irina; Kim, Hyun; Nam, Yoon-Jong; Oh, Yoosun; Jeong, Min-Ji; Choi, Hye-Rim; You, Young-Hyun; Choo, Yeon-Sik; Lee, In-Jung; Shin, Jae-Ho; Yoon, Hyeokjun; Kim, Jong-Guk

    2015-12-01

    Five halophytic plant species, Suaeda maritima, Limonium tetragonum, Suaeda australis, Phragmites australis, and Suaeda glauca Bunge, which are native to the Muan salt marsh of South Korea, were examined for fungal endophytes by sequencing the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region containing ITS1, 5.8S rRNA, and ITS2. In total, 160 endophytic fungal strains were isolated and identified from the roots of the 5 plant species. Taxonomically, all 160 strains belonged to the phyla Ascomycota, Basidiomycota, and Zygomycota. The most dominant genus was Fusarium, followed by the genera Penicillium and Alternaria. Subsequently, using 5 statistical methods, the diversity indices of the endophytes were determined at genus level. Among these halophytic plants, P. australis was found to host the greatest diversity of endophytic fungi. Culture filtrates of endophytic fungi were treated to Waito-C rice seedlings for plant growth-promoting effects. The fungal strain Su-3-4-3 isolated from S. glauca Bunge provide the maximum plant length (20.1 cm) in comparison with wild-type Gibberella fujikuroi (19.6 cm). Consequently, chromatographic analysis of the culture filtrate of Su-3-4-3 showed the presence of physiologically active gibberellins, GA1 (0.465 ng/mL), GA3 (1.808 ng/mL) along with other physiologically inactive GA9 (0.054 ng/mL) and GA24 (0.044 ng/mL). The fungal isolate Su-3-4-3 was identified as Talaromyces pinophilus.

  5. Grazing maintains native plant diversity and promotes community stability in an annual grassland.

    PubMed

    Beck, Jared J; Hernández, Daniel L; Pasari, Jae R; Zavaleta, Erika S

    2015-07-01

    Maintaining native biodiversity in grasslands requires management and mitigation of anthropogenic changes that have altered resource availability, grazing regimes, and community composition. In California (USA), high levels of atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition have facilitated the invasion of exotic grasses, posing a threat to the diverse plant and insect communities endemic to serpentine grasslands. Cattle grazing has been employed to mitigate the consequences of exotic grass invasion, but the ecological effects of grazing in this system are not fully understood. To characterize the effects of realistic N deposition on serpentine plant communities and to evaluate the efficacy of grazing as a management tool, we performed a factorial experiment adding N and excluding large herbivores in California's largest serpentine grassland. Although we observed significant interannual variation in community composition related to climate in our six-year study, exotic cover was consistently and negatively correlated with native plant richness. Sustained low-level N addition did not influence plant community composition, but grazing reduced grass abundance while maintaining greater native forb cover, native plant diversity, and species richness in comparison to plots excluding large herbivores. Furthermore, grazing increased the temporal stability of plant communities by decreasing year-to-year variation in native forb cover, native plant diversity, and native species richness. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that moderate-intensity cattle grazing can be used to restrict the invasive potential of exotic grasses and maintain native plant communities in serpentine grasslands. We hypothesize that the reduced temporal variability in serpentine plant communities managed by grazing may directly benefit populations of the threatened Edith's Bay checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas editha bayensis).

  6. Effects of Plant Diversity, Functional Group Composition, and Fertilization on Soil Microbial Properties in Experimental Grassland

    PubMed Central

    Strecker, Tanja; Barnard, Romain L.; Niklaus, Pascal A.; Scherer-Lorenzen, Michael; Weigelt, Alexandra; Scheu, Stefan; Eisenhauer, Nico

    2015-01-01

    Background Loss of biodiversity and increased nutrient inputs are two of the most crucial anthropogenic factors driving ecosystem change. Although both received considerable attention in previous studies, information on their interactive effects on ecosystem functioning is scarce. In particular, little is known on how soil biota and their functions are affected by combined changes in plant diversity and fertilization. Methodology/Principal Findings We investigated the effects of plant diversity, functional community composition, and fertilization on the biomass and respiration of soil microbial communities in a long-term biodiversity experiment in semi-natural grassland (Jena Experiment). Plant species richness enhanced microbial basal respiration and microbial biomass, but did not significantly affect microbial specific respiration. In contrast, the presence of legumes and fertilization significantly decreased microbial specific respiration, without altering microbial biomass. The effect of legumes was superimposed by fertilization as indicated by a significant interaction between the presence of legumes and fertilization. Further, changes in microbial stoichiometry (C-to-N ratio) and specific respiration suggest the presence of legumes to reduce N limitation of soil microorganisms and to modify microbial C use efficiency. Conclusions/Significance Our study highlights the role of plant species and functional group diversity as well as interactions between plant community composition and fertilizer application for soil microbial functions. Our results suggest soil microbial stoichiometry to be a powerful indicator of microbial functioning under N limited conditions. Although our results support the notion that plant diversity and fertilizer application independently affect microbial functioning, legume effects on microbial N limitation were superimposed by fertilization, indicating significant interactions between the functional composition of plant communities and

  7. Irrigation and Maize Cultivation Erode Plant Diversity Within Crops in Mediterranean Dry Cereal Agro-Ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Fagúndez, Jaime; Olea, Pedro P; Tejedo, Pablo; Mateo-Tomás, Patricia; Gómez, David

    2016-07-01

    The intensification of agriculture has increased production at the cost of environment and biodiversity worldwide. To increase crop yield in dry cereal systems, vast farmland areas of high conservation value are being converted into irrigation, especially in Mediterranean countries. We analyze the effect of irrigation-driven changes on the farm biota by comparing species diversity, community composition, and species traits of arable plants within crop fields from two contrasting farming systems (dry and irrigated) in Spain. We sampled plant species within 80 fields of dry wheat, irrigated wheat, and maize (only cultivated under irrigation). Wheat crops held higher landscape and per field species richness, and beta diversity than maize. Within the same type of crop, irrigated wheat hosted lower plant diversity than dry wheat at both field and landscape scales. Floristic composition differed between crop types, with higher frequencies of perennials, cosmopolitan, exotic, wind-pollinated and C4 species in maize. Our results suggest that irrigation projects, that transform large areas of dry cereal agro-ecosystems into irrigated crop systems dominated by maize, erode plant diversity. An adequate planning on the type and proportion of crops used in the irrigated agro-ecosystems is needed in order to balance agriculture production and biodiversity conservation.

  8. Diverse lifestyles and strategies of plant pathogenesis encoded in the genomes of eighteen Dothideomycetes fungi

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The class Dothideomycetes is one of the largest groups of fungi with a high level of ecological diversity including many plant pathogens infecting a broad range of hosts. Here for the first time we compare the sequenced genomes of 18 Dothideomycetes to analyze their evolution, genome organization, a...

  9. Burning reveals cryptic plant diversity and promotes coexistence in a California prairie restoration experiment

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Grassland and prairie restoration projects in California often result in long-term establishment of only a few native plant species, even when they begin with a diverse seed palette. A likely explanation for the disappearance of certain native species over time is that they are excluded through comp...

  10. Exotic plant traits lead to functional diversity decline in novel ecosystems

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Exotic species have become common and even dominant in some grasslands forming novel ecosystems because the species in them have no common evolutionary history. Recent work on these novel ecosystems suggest that exotic species contribute to diversity declines. In order to identify the plant traits...

  11. Diversity and biological activities of endophytic fungi associated with micropropagated medicinal plant Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Echinacea is one of the top ten selling medicinal herbs in Europe and United States. Commercially available formulations may contain different plant parts of three species (Echinacea purpurea, E. pallida, and E. angustifolia). Our study evaluates the diversity of microbial community associated with ...

  12. Diversity of Marine Plants. Man and the Gulf of Mexico Series.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Irby, Bobby N., Comp.; And Others

    "Man and the Gulf of Mexico" (MGM) is a marine science curriculum series developed to meet the needs of 10th through 12th grade students in Mississippi and Alabama schools. This MGM unit on the diversity of marine plants is divided into 12 sections. The first section introduces the unit by providing objectives and activities on why…

  13. Can phylogeny predict chemical diversity and potential medicinal activity of plants? A case study of Amaryllidaceae

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    During evolution, plants and other organisms have developed a diversity of chemical defences, leading to the evolution of various groups of specialized metabolites selected for their endogenous biological function. A correlation between phylogeny and biosynthetic pathways could offer a predictive ap...

  14. Diverse functions of KNOX transcription factors in the diploid body plan of plants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    KNOX genes were initially found as shoot meristem regulators in angiosperms. Recent studies in diverse plant lineages however, have revealed the divergence of KNOX gene function during the evolution of diploid body plans. Using genomic approaches, class I KNOX transcription factors have been shown t...

  15. Irrigation and Maize Cultivation Erode Plant Diversity Within Crops in Mediterranean Dry Cereal Agro-Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fagúndez, Jaime; Olea, Pedro P.; Tejedo, Pablo; Mateo-Tomás, Patricia; Gómez, David

    2016-07-01

    The intensification of agriculture has increased production at the cost of environment and biodiversity worldwide. To increase crop yield in dry cereal systems, vast farmland areas of high conservation value are being converted into irrigation, especially in Mediterranean countries. We analyze the effect of irrigation-driven changes on the farm biota by comparing species diversity, community composition, and species traits of arable plants within crop fields from two contrasting farming systems (dry and irrigated) in Spain. We sampled plant species within 80 fields of dry wheat, irrigated wheat, and maize (only cultivated under irrigation). Wheat crops held higher landscape and per field species richness, and beta diversity than maize. Within the same type of crop, irrigated wheat hosted lower plant diversity than dry wheat at both field and landscape scales. Floristic composition differed between crop types, with higher frequencies of perennials, cosmopolitan, exotic, wind-pollinated and C4 species in maize. Our results suggest that irrigation projects, that transform large areas of dry cereal agro-ecosystems into irrigated crop systems dominated by maize, erode plant diversity. An adequate planning on the type and proportion of crops used in the irrigated agro-ecosystems is needed in order to balance agriculture production and biodiversity conservation.

  16. Natural enemies thin melaleuca-canopy and help increase plant diversity in the melaleuca stands.

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The Australian tree Melaleuca quinquenervia (Cav.) S.T. Blake (melaleuca) formed dense monocultural forests several decades after invading Florida and the Caribbean islands. These dominant forests have displaced native vegetation in sensitive wetland systems. We assumed that native plant diversity...

  17. Plant Diversity: Effects of Grazing System and Stocking Rate in Northern Mixed-Grass Prairie

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Effects of grazing system, stocking rate, and grazing system X stocking rate interactions, on plant diversity are poorly understood in rangelands. A grazing system (season-long and short-duration rotational grazing) X stocking rate (light: 16 steers•80 ha-1, moderate: 4 steers•12 ha-1 and heavy: 4 s...

  18. Pollinating flies (Diptera): A major contribution to plant diversity and agricultural production

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Diptera are one of the three largest and most diverse animal groups of the world. As an often neglected, but important group of pollinators, they play a significant role in agrobiodiversity and biodiversity of plants everywhere. Flies are present in almost all habitats and biomes and for many food p...

  19. PATTERNS OF ALLOZYME DIVERSITY IN THE THREATENED PLANT ERIGERON PARISHII (ASTERACEAE). (R826102)

    EPA Science Inventory

    Thirty-one occurrences of Erigeron parishii, a narrowly endemic plant threatened by mining, were sampled for allozyme diversity. This taxon held considerable genetic variation at the [4 allozyme loci surveyed. Species (e.g., alleles per locus [A] = 4.3 and proportion of polymorph...

  20. Size, age and composition: characteristics of plant taxa as diversity predictors of gall-midges (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae).

    PubMed

    Araújo, Walter S

    2011-12-01

    Many hypotheses have been proposed to explain the diversity of gall-midge insects (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae), some of them taking into account plant diversity. This study aims to test the importance of size, age and composition of host plant taxa in the diversity of Cecidomyiidae. For this we used inventories data on the diversity of galling and host plants in Brazil. We found that Asterales, Myrtales and Malpighiales, were the most important orders, with 34, 33 and 25, gall morphotypes, respectively. The most representative host families were Asteraceae (34 morphotypes), Myrtaceae (23) and Fabaceae (22). In general, the order size and the plant family were good predictors of the galling diversity, but not the taxon age. The most diverse host genera for gall-midges were Mikania, Eugenia and Styrax, with 15, 13 and nine galler species, respectively. The size of plant genera showed no significant relationship with the richness of Cecidomyiidae, contrary to the prediction of the plant taxon size hypothesis. The plant genera with the greatest diversity of galling insects are not necessarily those with the greatest number of species. These results indicate that some plant taxa have a high intrinsic richness of galling insects, suggesting that the plant species composition may be equally or more important for the diversity of gall-midges than the size or age of the host taxon.

  1. Plant diversity effects on soil microbial functions and enzymes are stronger than warming in a grassland experiment.

    PubMed

    Steinauer, Katja; Tilman, David; Wragg, Peter D; Cesarz, Simone; Cowles, Jane M; Pritsch, Karin; Reich, Peter B; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Eisenhauer, Nico

    2015-01-01

    Anthropogenic changes in biodiversity and atmospheric temperature significantly influence ecosystem processes. However, little is known about potential interactive effects of plant diversity and warming on essential ecosystem properties, such as soil microbial functions and element cycling. We studied the effects of orthogonal manipulations of plant diversity (one, four, and 16 species) and warming (ambient, +1.5 degrees C, and +3 degrees C) on soil microbial biomass, respiration, growth after nutrient additions, and activities of extracellular enzymes in 2011 and 2012 in the BAC (biodiversity and climate) perennial grassland experiment site at Cedar Creek, Minnesota, USA. Focal enzymes are involved in essential biogeochemical processes of the carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus cycles. Soil microbial biomass and some enzyme activities involved in the C and N cycle increased significantly with increasing plant diversity in both years. In addition, 16-species mixtures buffered warming induced reductions in topsoil water content. We found no interactive effects of plant diversity and warming on soil microbial biomass and growth rates. However, the activity of several enzymes (1,4-beta-glucosidase, 1,4-beta-N-acetylglucosaminidase, phosphatase, peroxidase) depended on interactions between plant diversity and warming with elevated activities of enzymes involved in the C, N, and P cycles at both high plant diversity and high warming levels. Increasing plant diversity consistently decreased microbial biomass-specific enzyme activities and altered soil microbial growth responses to nutrient additions, indicating that plant diversity changed nutrient limitations and/or microbial community composition. In contrast to our expectations, higher plant diversity only buffered temperature effects on soil water content, but not on microbial functions. Temperature effects on some soil enzymes were greatest at high plant diversity. In total, our results suggest that the fundamental

  2. A PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis approach to assess Fusarium diversity in asparagus.

    PubMed

    Yergeau, E; Filion, M; Vujanovic, V; St-Arnaud, M

    2005-02-01

    In North America, asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) production suffers from a crown and root rot disease mainly caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. asparagi and F. proliferatum. Many other Fusarium species are also found in asparagus fields, whereas accurate detection and identification of these organisms, especially when processing numerous samples, is usually difficult and time consuming. In this study, a PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) method was developed to assess Fusarium species diversity in asparagus plant samples. Fusarium-specific PCR primers targeting a partial region of the translation elongation factor-1 alpha (EF-1 alpha) gene were designed, and their specificity was tested against genomic DNA extracted from a large collection of closely and distantly related organisms isolated from multiple environments. Amplicons of 450 bp were obtained from all Fusarium isolates, while no PCR product was obtained from non-Fusarium organisms. The ability of DGGE to discriminate between Fusarium taxa was tested over 19 different Fusarium species represented by 39 isolates, including most species previously reported from asparagus fields worldwide. The technique was effective to visually discriminate between the majority of Fusarium species and/or isolates tested in pure culture, while a further sequencing step permitted to distinguish between the few species showing similar migration patterns. Total genomic DNA was extracted from field-grown asparagus plants naturally infested with different Fusarium species, submitted to PCR amplification, DGGE analysis and sequencing. The two to four bands observed for each plant sample were all affiliated with F. oxysporum, F. proliferatum or F. solani, clearly supporting the reliability, sensitivity and specificity of this approach for the study of Fusarium diversity from asparagus plants samples.

  3. Relationships between plant diversity and the abundance and α-diversity of predatory ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in a mature Asian temperate forest ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Zou, Yi; Sang, Weiguo; Bai, Fan; Axmacher, Jan Christoph

    2013-01-01

    A positive relationship between plant diversity and both abundance and diversity of predatory arthropods is postulated by the Enemies Hypothesis, a central ecological top-down control hypothesis. It has been supported by experimental studies and investigations of agricultural and grassland ecosystems, while evidence from more complex mature forest ecosystems is limited. Our study was conducted on Changbai Mountain in one of the last remaining large pristine temperate forest environments in China. We used predatory ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) as target taxon to establish the relationship between phytodiversity and their activity abundance and diversity. Results showed that elevation was the only variable included in both models predicting carabid activity abundance and α-diversity. Shrub diversity was negatively and herb diversity positively correlated with beetle abundance, while shrub diversity was positively correlated with beetle α-diversity. Within the different forest types, a negative relationship between plant diversity and carabid activity abundance was observed, which stands in direct contrast to the Enemies Hypothesis. Furthermore, plant species density did not predict carabid α-diversity. In addition, the density of herbs, which is commonly believed to influence carabid movement, had little impact on the beetle activity abundance recorded on Changbai Mountain. Our study indicates that in a relatively large and heterogeneous mature forest area, relationships between plant and carabid diversity are driven by variations in environmental factors linked with altitudinal change. In addition, traditional top-down control theories that are suitable in explaining diversity patterns in ecosystems of low diversity appear to play a much less pronounced role in highly complex forest ecosystems.

  4. Relationships between Plant Diversity and the Abundance and α-Diversity of Predatory Ground Beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in a Mature Asian Temperate Forest Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Zou, Yi; Sang, Weiguo; Bai, Fan; Axmacher, Jan Christoph

    2013-01-01

    A positive relationship between plant diversity and both abundance and diversity of predatory arthropods is postulated by the Enemies Hypothesis, a central ecological top-down control hypothesis. It has been supported by experimental studies and investigations of agricultural and grassland ecosystems, while evidence from more complex mature forest ecosystems is limited. Our study was conducted on Changbai Mountain in one of the last remaining large pristine temperate forest environments in China. We used predatory ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) as target taxon to establish the relationship between phytodiversity and their activity abundance and diversity. Results showed that elevation was the only variable included in both models predicting carabid activity abundance and α-diversity. Shrub diversity was negatively and herb diversity positively correlated with beetle abundance, while shrub diversity was positively correlated with beetle α-diversity. Within the different forest types, a negative relationship between plant diversity and carabid activity abundance was observed, which stands in direct contrast to the Enemies Hypothesis. Furthermore, plant species density did not predict carabid α-diversity. In addition, the density of herbs, which is commonly believed to influence carabid movement, had little impact on the beetle activity abundance recorded on Changbai Mountain. Our study indicates that in a relatively large and heterogeneous mature forest area, relationships between plant and carabid diversity are driven by variations in environmental factors linked with altitudinal change. In addition, traditional top-down control theories that are suitable in explaining diversity patterns in ecosystems of low diversity appear to play a much less pronounced role in highly complex forest ecosystems. PMID:24376582

  5. The contrasting roles of growth traits and architectural traits in diversity maintenance in clonal plant communities.

    PubMed

    Wildová, Radka; Goldberg, Deborah E; Herben, Tomáš

    2012-12-01

    Plant communities often exhibit high diversity, even though pairwise experiments usually result in competitive hierarchies that should result in competitive exclusion. Such experiments, however, do not typically allow expression of spatial traits, despite theoretical studies showing the potential importance of spatial mechanisms of diversity maintenance. Here we ask whether, in a clonal plant model system, spatial trait variation is more likely than growth trait variation to maintain diversity. We used a field-calibrated, spatially explicit model to simulate communities comprising sets of four simulated species differing in only one of a suite of architectural or growth traits at a time, examining their dynamics and long-term diversity. To compare trait manipulation effects across traits measured in different units, we scaled traits to have identical effects on initial productivity. We found that in communities of species differing only in an architectural trait, all species usually persist, whereas communities of species differing only in a growth trait experienced rapid competitive exclusion. To examine the roles of equalizing and stabilizing mechanisms in maintaining diversity, we conducted reciprocal invasion experiments for species pairs differing only in single traits. The results suggest that stabilizing mechanisms cannot account for the observed long-term co-occurrence. Strong positive correlations between diversity and similarity both in monoculture carrying capacity and reciprocal invasion ability suggesting equalizing mechanisms may instead be responsible.

  6. Plot shape effects on plant species diversity measurements

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2005-01-01

    Abstract. Question: Do rectangular sample plots record more plant species than square plots as suggested by both empirical and theoretical studies?Location: Grasslands, shrublands and forests in the Mediterranean-climate region of California, USA.Methods: We compared three 0.1-ha sampling designs that differed in the shape and dispersion of 1-m2 and 100-m2 nested subplots. We duplicated an earlier study that compared the Whittaker sample design, which had square clustered subplots, with the modified Whittaker design, which had dispersed rectangular subplots. To sort out effects of dispersion from shape we used a third design that overlaid square subplots on the modified Whittaker design. Also, using data from published studies we extracted species richness values for 400-m2 subplots that were either square or 1:4 rectangles partially overlaid on each other from desert scrub in high and low rainfall years, chaparral, sage scrub, oak savanna and coniferous forests with and without fire.Results: We found that earlier empirical reports of more than 30% greater richness with rectangles were due to the confusion of shape effects with spatial effects, coupled with the use of cumulative number of species as the metric for comparison. Average species richness was not significantly different between square and 1:4 rectangular sample plots at either 1- or 100-m2. Pairwise comparisons showed no significant difference between square and rectangular samples in all but one vegetation type, and that one exhibited significantly greater richness with squares. Our three intensive study sites appear to exhibit some level of self-similarity at the scale of 400 m2, but, contrary to theoretical expectations, we could not detect plot shape effects on species richness at this scale.Conclusions: At the 0.1-ha scale or lower there is no evidence that plot shape has predictable effects on number of species recorded from sample plots. We hypothesize that for the mediterranean

  7. How grazing and soil quality affect native and exotic plant diversity in Rocky Mountain grasslands

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stohlgren, T.J.; Schell, L.D.; Vanden, Heuvel B.

    1999-01-01

    We used multiscale plots to sample vascular plant diversity and soil characteristics in and adjacent to 26 long-term grazing exclosure sites in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and South Dakota, USA. The exclosures were 7-60 yr old (31.2 ?? 2.5 yr, mean ?? 1 SE). Plots were also randomly placed in the broader landscape in open rangeland in the same vegetation type at each site to assess spatial variation in grazed landscapes. Consistent sampling in the nine National Parks, Wildlife Refuges, and other management units yielded data from 78 1000-m2 plots and 780 1-m2 subplots. We hypothesized that native species richness would be lower in the exclosures than in grazed sites, due to competitive exclusion in the absence of grazing. We also hypothesized that grazed sites would have higher native and exotic species richness compared to ungrazed areas, due to disturbance (i.e., the intermediate-disturbance hypothesis) and the conventional wisdom that grazing may accelerate weed invasion. Both hypotheses were soundly rejected. Although native species richness in 1-m2 subplots was significantly higher (P < 0.05) in grazed sites, we found nearly identical native or exotic species richness in 1000-m2 plots in exclosures (31.5 ?? 2.5 native and 3.1 ?? 0.5 exotic species), adjacent grazed plots (32.6 ?? 2.8 native and 3.2 ?? 0.6 exotic species), and randomly selected grazed plots (31.6 ?? 2.9 native and 3.2 ?? 0.6 exotic species). We found no significant differences in species diversity (Hill's diversity indices, N1 and N2), evenness (Hill's ratio of evenness, E5), cover of various life-forms (grasses, forbs, and shrubs), soil texture, or soil percentage of N and C between grazed and ungrazed sites at the 1000-m2 plot scale. The species lists of the long-ungrazed and adjacent grazed plots overlapped just 57.9 ?? 2.8%. This difference in species composition is commonly attributed solely to the difference in grazing regimes. However, the species lists between pairs of grazed plots

  8. A comparative study of AMF diversity in annual and perennial plant species from semiarid gypsum soils.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alguacil, M. M.; Torrecillas, E.; Roldán, A.; Díaz, G.; Torres, P.

    2012-04-01

    The arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) communities composition regulate plant interactions and determine the structure of plant communities. In this study we analysed the diversity of AMF in the roots of two perennial gypsophyte plant species, Herniaria fruticosa and Senecio auricula, and an annual herbaceous species, Bromus rubens, growing in a gypsum soil from a semiarid area. The objective was to determine whether perennial and annual host plants support different AMF communities in their roots and whether there are AMF species that might be indicators of specific functional plant roles in these ecosystems. The roots were analysed by nested PCR, cloning, sequencing of the ribosomal DNA small subunit region and phylogenetic analysis. Twenty AMF sequence types, belonging to the Glomus group A, Glomus group B, Diversisporaceae, Acaulosporaceae, Archaeosporaceae and Paraglomeraceae, were identified. Both gypsophyte perennial species had differing compositions of the AMF community and higher diversity when compared with the annual species, showing preferential selection by specific AMF sequences types. B. rubens did not show host specificity, sharing the full composition of its AMF community with both perennial plant species. Seasonal variations in the competitiveness of AM fungi could explain the observed differences in AMF community composition, but this is still a working hypothesis that requires the analysis of further data obtained from a higher number of both annual and perennial plant species in order to be fully tested.

  9. Historical agriculture alters the effects of fire on understory plant beta diversity.

    PubMed

    Mattingly, W Brett; Orrock, John L; Collins, Cathy D; Brudvig, Lars A; Damschen, Ellen I; Veldman, Joseph W; Walker, Joan L

    2015-02-01

    Land-use legacies are known to shape the diversity and distribution of plant communities, but we lack an understanding of whether historical land use influences community responses to contemporary disturbances. Because human-modified landscapes often bear a history of multiple land-use activities, this contingency can challenge our understanding of land-use impacts on plant diversity. We address this contingency by evaluating how beta diversity (the spatial variability of species composition), an important component of regional biodiversity, is shaped by interactions between historical agriculture and prescribed fire, two prominent disturbances that are often coincident in terrestrial ecosystems. At three study locations spanning 450 km in the southeastern United States, we surveyed longleaf pine woodland understory plant communities across 232 remnant and post-agricultural sites with differing prescribed fire regimes. Our results demonstrate that agricultural legacies are a strong predictor of beta diversity, but the direction of this land-use effect differed among the three study locations. Further, although beta diversity increased with prescribed fire frequency at each study location, this effect was influenced by agricultural land-use history, such that positive fire effects were only documented among sites that lacked a history of agriculture at two of our three study locations. Our study not only highlights the role of historical agriculture in shaping beta diversity in a fire-maintained ecosystem but also illustrates how this effect can be contingent upon fire regime and geographic location. We suggest that interactions among historical and contemporary land-use activities may help to explain dissimilarities in plant communities among sites in human-dominated landscapes.

  10. Rapid compositional change and significant loss of plant species diversity among Triassic-Jurassic palynofloras in East Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mander, Luke; Kürschner, Wolfram; McElwain, Jennifer

    2010-05-01

    The Triassic-Jurassic (Tr-J; 200Ma) transition coincides with the eruption of massive flood basalts associated with the opening of the Atlantic Ocean. This is thought to have lead to a fourfold increase in palaeoatmospheric carbon dioxide, a consequent rise in global temperatures of between 3 and 6 degrees Celsius, and a rise in atmospheric pollutants such as sulphur dioxide. Recent work has employed either plant macrofossils (mostly leaves) or sporomorphs (pollen and spores) to reconstruct the response of terrestrial vegetation to this episode of major environmental change. Investigations of the macrofossil record at Astartekloft in East Greenland indicate a rapid loss of plant diversity in the Late Rhaetian, culminating in an 80% species turnover at the Tr-J boundary interval. However, evidence for such catastrophic diversity loss is conspicuously absent from the sporomorph record. This fossil group indicates that the Tr-J boundary interval in central and northwest Europe is characterized by compositional change and a transient shift from gymnosperm forests to fern-dominated vegetation. In order to address this uncertainty regarding Tr-J vegetation change according to macrofossils versus sporomorphs, we present an analysis of sporomorph diversity and compositional change across the Tr-J at Astartekloft, East Greenland. Sporomorph diversity was estimated using individual and sample-based rarefaction techniques, and compositional differences between sporomorph samples were assessed using non-metric multidimensional scaling. These analyses reveal that sporomorph assemblages from the Tr-J boundary interval at Astartekloft are between 23 and 27% less taxonomically diverse than other Triassic assemblages, and that this interval is characterized by a dramatic shift in the composition of the standing vegetation. These results are statistically significant and are also unrelated to changes in the environment of deposition. These results indicate that the magnitude of

  11. Diversity distribution patterns of Chinese endemic seed plant species and their implications for conservation planning.

    PubMed

    Huang, Jihong; Huang, Jianhua; Lu, Xinghui; Ma, Keping

    2016-09-23

    Endemism is an important concept in biogeography and biodiversity conservation. China is one of the richest countries in biodiversity, with very high levels of plant endemism. In this study, we analysed the distribution patterns of diversity, the degree of differentiation, and the endemicity of Chinese endemic seed plants using the floristic unit as a basic spatial analysis unit and 11 indices. The analysis was based on distribution data of 24,951 native seed plant species (excluding subspecies and varieties) and 12,980 Chinese endemic seed plant species, which were sourced from both specimen records and published references. The distribution patterns of Chinese endemic flora were generally consistent but disproportionate across China for diversity, degree of differentiation and endemicity. The South Hengduan Mountains Subregion had the highest values for all indices. At the regional level, both the Hengduan Mountains and the Central China regions were highest in diversity and degrees of differentiation. However, both the rate of local endemic to native species and the rate of local to Chinese endemic species were highest in the Taiwan Region and the South Taiwan Region. The Hengduan Mountains Region and the Central China Region are two key conservation priority areas for Chinese endemic seed plants.

  12. Resource heterogeneity, soil fertility, and species diversity: effects of clonal species on plant communities.

    PubMed

    Eilts, J Alexander; Mittelbach, Gary G; Reynolds, Heather L; Gross, Katherine L

    2011-05-01

    Spatial heterogeneity in soil resources is widely thought to promote plant species coexistence, and this mechanism figures prominently in resource-ratio models of competition. However, most experimental studies have found that nutrient enhancements depress diversity regardless of whether nutrients are uniformly or heterogeneously applied. This mismatch between theory and empirical pattern is potentially due to an interaction between plant size and the scale of resource heterogeneity. Clonal plants that spread vegetatively via rhizomes or stolons can grow large and may integrate across resource patches, thus reducing the positive effect of small-scale resource heterogeneity on plant species richness. Many rhizomatous clonal species respond strongly to increased soil fertility, and they have been hypothesized to drive the descending arm of the hump-shaped productivity-diversity relationship in grasslands. We tested whether clonals reduce species richness in a grassland community by manipulating nutrient heterogeneity, soil fertility, and the presence of rhizomatous clonal species in a 6-year field experiment. We found strong and consistent negative effects of clonals on species richness. These effects were greatest at high fertility and when soil resources were applied at a scale at which rhizomatous clonals could integrate across resource patches. Thus, we find support for the hypothesis that plant size and resource heterogeneity interact to determine species diversity.

  13. Sampling and Complementarity Effects of Plant Diversity on Resource Use Increases the Invasion Resistance of Communities

    PubMed Central

    Zhu, Dan H.; Wang, Ping; Zhang, Wei Z.; Yuan, Yue; Li, Bin; Wang, Jiang

    2015-01-01

    Background Although plant diversity is postulated to resist invasion, studies have not provided consistent results, most of which were ascribed to the influences of other covariate environmental factors. Methodology/Principal Findings To explore the mechanisms by which plant diversity influences community invasibility, an experiment was conducted involving grassland sites varying in their species richness (one, two, four, eight, and sixteen species). Light interception efficiency and soil resources (total N, total P, and water content) were measured. The number of species, biomass, and the number of seedlings of the invading species decreased significantly with species richness. The presence of Patrinia scabiosaefolia Fisch. ex Trev. and Mosla dianthera (Buch.-Ham. ex Roxburgh) Maxim. significantly increased the resistance of the communities to invasion. A structural equation model showed that the richness of planted species had no direct and significant effect on invasion. Light interception efficiency had a negative effect on the invasion whereas soil water content had a positive effect. In monocultures, Antenoron filiforme (Thunb.) Rob. et Vaut. showed the highest light interception efficiency and P. scabiosaefolia recorded the lowest soil water content. With increased planted-species richness, a greater percentage of pots showed light use efficiency higher than that of A. filiforme and a lower soil water content than that in P. scabiosaefolia. Conclusions/Significance The results of this study suggest that plant diversity confers resistance to invasion, which is mainly ascribed to the sampling effect of particular species and the complementarity effect among species on resources use. PMID:26556713

  14. Diversity distribution patterns of Chinese endemic seed plant species and their implications for conservation planning

    PubMed Central

    Huang, Jihong; Huang, Jianhua; Lu, Xinghui; Ma, Keping

    2016-01-01

    Endemism is an important concept in biogeography and biodiversity conservation. China is one of the richest countries in biodiversity, with very high levels of plant endemism. In this study, we analysed the distribution patterns of diversity, the degree of differentiation, and the endemicity of Chinese endemic seed plants using the floristic unit as a basic spatial analysis unit and 11 indices. The analysis was based on distribution data of 24,951 native seed plant species (excluding subspecies and varieties) and 12,980 Chinese endemic seed plant species, which were sourced from both specimen records and published references. The distribution patterns of Chinese endemic flora were generally consistent but disproportionate across China for diversity, degree of differentiation and endemicity. The South Hengduan Mountains Subregion had the highest values for all indices. At the regional level, both the Hengduan Mountains and the Central China regions were highest in diversity and degrees of differentiation. However, both the rate of local endemic to native species and the rate of local to Chinese endemic species were highest in the Taiwan Region and the South Taiwan Region. The Hengduan Mountains Region and the Central China Region are two key conservation priority areas for Chinese endemic seed plants. PMID:27658845

  15. Patterns of genetic diversity in three plant lineages endemic to the Cape Verde Islands

    PubMed Central

    Romeiras, Maria M.; Monteiro, Filipa; Duarte, M. Cristina; Schaefer, Hanno; Carine, Mark

    2015-01-01

    Conservation of plant diversity on islands relies on a good knowledge of the taxonomy, distribution and genetic diversity of species. In recent decades, a combination of morphology- and DNA-based approaches has become the standard for investigating island plant lineages and this has led, in some cases, to the discovery of previously overlooked diversity, including ‘cryptic species’. The flora of the Cape Verde archipelago in the North Atlantic is currently thought to comprise ∼740 vascular plant species, 92 of them endemics. Despite the fact that it is considered relatively well known, there has been a 12 % increase in the number of endemics in the last two decades. Relatively few of the Cape Verde plant lineages have been included in genetic studies so far and little is known about the patterns of diversification in the archipelago. Here we present an updated list for the endemic Cape Verde flora and analyse diversity patterns for three endemic plant lineages (Cynanchum, Globularia and Umbilicus) based on one nuclear (ITS) and four plastid DNA regions. In all three lineages, we find genetic variation. In Cynanchum, we find two distinct haplotypes with no clear geographical pattern, possibly reflecting different ploidy levels. In Globularia and Umbilicus, differentiation is evident between populations from northern and southern islands. Isolation and drift resulting from the small and fragmented distributions, coupled with the significant distances separating the northern and southern islands, could explain this pattern. Overall, our study suggests that the diversity in the endemic vascular flora of Cape Verde is higher than previously thought and further work is necessary to characterize the flora. PMID:25979965

  16. Patterns of genetic diversity in three plant lineages endemic to the Cape Verde Islands.

    PubMed

    Romeiras, Maria M; Monteiro, Filipa; Duarte, M Cristina; Schaefer, Hanno; Carine, Mark

    2015-05-15

    Conservation of plant diversity on islands relies on a good knowledge of the taxonomy, distribution and genetic diversity of species. In recent decades, a combination of morphology- and DNA-based approaches has become the standard for investigating island plant lineages and this has led, in some cases, to the discovery of previously overlooked diversity, including 'cryptic species'. The flora of the Cape Verde archipelago in the North Atlantic is currently thought to comprise ∼740 vascular plant species, 92 of them endemics. Despite the fact that it is considered relatively well known, there has been a 12 % increase in the number of endemics in the last two decades. Relatively few of the Cape Verde plant lineages have been included in genetic studies so far and little is known about the patterns of diversification in the archipelago. Here we present an updated list for the endemic Cape Verde flora and analyse diversity patterns for three endemic plant lineages (Cynanchum, Globularia and Umbilicus) based on one nuclear (ITS) and four plastid DNA regions. In all three lineages, we find genetic variation. In Cynanchum, we find two distinct haplotypes with no clear geographical pattern, possibly reflecting different ploidy levels. In Globularia and Umbilicus, differentiation is evident between populations from northern and southern islands. Isolation and drift resulting from the small and fragmented distributions, coupled with the significant distances separating the northern and southern islands, could explain this pattern. Overall, our study suggests that the diversity in the endemic vascular flora of Cape Verde is higher than previously thought and further work is necessary to characterize the flora.

  17. Radiation, diversity, and host-plant interactions among island and continental legume-feeding psyllids.

    PubMed

    Percy, Diana M

    2003-11-01

    Island archipelagos and insect-plant associations have both independently provided many useful systems for evolutionary study. The arytainine psyllid (Sternorrhyncha: Hemiptera) radiation on broom (Fabaceae: Genisteae) in the Canary Island archipelago provides a discrete system for examining the speciation of highly host-specific phytophagous insects in an island context. Phylogenetic reconstructions based on three datasets (adult and nymph morphological characters, and two mitochondrial DNA regions: part of the small subunit rRNA, and part of cytochrome oxidase I, cytochrome oxidase II and the intervening tRNA leucine) are generally consistent. The combined molecular tree provides a well-supported estimate of psyllid relationships and shows that there have been several colonizations of the Macaronesian islands but that only one has resulted in a significant radiation. Psyllid diversification has apparently been constrained by the presence of suitable host groups within the genistoid legumes, and the diversity, distribution, and abundance of those groups. The phylogeny, by indicating pairs of sister species, allows putative mechanisms of speciation to be assessed. The most common conditions associated with psyllid speciation are geographical allopatry with a host switch to closely related hosts (six examples), or geographical allopatry on the same host (four examples). Where allopatric speciation involves a host switch, these have all been to related hosts. There is some evidence that switches between unrelated host plants may be more likely in sympatry. Only one sister pair (Aryrtainilla cytisi and A. telonicola) and the putative host races of Arytinnis modica are sympatric but on unrelated hosts, which may be a necessary condition for sympatric speciation in these insects. Where several psyllids share the same host, resources appear to be partitioned by ecological specialization and differing psyllid phenology.

  18. Functional microbial diversity dynamics in common effluent treatment plants of South Gujarat and hydrocarbon degradation.

    PubMed

    Zaveri, Purvi; Munshi, Nasreen; Vaidya, Alok; Jha, Sanjay; Kumar, G Naresh

    2015-06-01

    Common effluent treatment plants (CETPs) of South Gujarat region, India, process wastewater generated by more than 2500 industries because of the nonfeasibility of processing at the individual industrial unit. This study assessed functional microbial diversity in wastewater samples of CETPs over a geological belt using Ecoplate®, isolation of the most abundant bacteria, and screening for hydrocarbon degradation. The high evenness (EPielou) values (0.9) in almost all samples indicated a highly even community structure. Principal component analysis of carbon source utilization showed a cluster of all inlet samples except E1 and another cluster of all outlet samples; aeration tank community samples were dispersed. In spite of the high richness found in microbial communities, 60 morphologically similar organisms were observed and isolated; 46 out of them were subjected to amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis with MboI, HaeIII, and TaqI enzyme, followed by UPGMA clustering. In screening the most abundant bacteria from each cluster, one of the cultures showed a high potential for hydrocarbon degradation and was identified as Pseudomonas citronellolis by 16S rDNA sequencing. Because of its highly adapted inherent nature, this bacterium may help augment the conventional procedure in wastewater treatment and efficiently decrease the organic load.

  19. Invasive plants have scale-dependent effects on diversity by altering species-area relationships.

    PubMed

    Powell, Kristin I; Chase, Jonathan M; Knight, Tiffany M

    2013-01-18

    Although invasive plant species often reduce diversity, they rarely cause plant extinctions. We surveyed paired invaded and uninvaded plant communities from three biomes. We reconcile the discrepancy in diversity loss from invaders by showing that invaded communities have lower local richness but steeper species accumulation with area than that of uninvaded communities, leading to proportionately fewer species loss at broader spatial scales. We show that invaders drive scale-dependent biodiversity loss through strong neutral sampling effects on the number of individuals in a community. We also show that nonneutral species extirpations are due to a proportionately larger effect of invaders on common species, suggesting that rare species are buffered against extinction. Our study provides a synthetic perspective on the threat of invasions to biodiversity loss across spatial scales.

  20. Paramagnetic cellulose DNA isolation improves DNA yield and quality among diverse plant taxa1

    PubMed Central

    Moeller, Jackson R.; Moehn, Nicholas R.; Waller, Donald M.; Givnish, Thomas J.

    2014-01-01

    • Premise of the study: The chemical diversity of land plants ensures that no single DNA isolation method results in high yield and purity with little effort for all species. Here we evaluate a new technique originally developed for forensic science, based on MagnaCel paramagnetic cellulose particles (PMC), to determine its efficacy in extracting DNA from 25 plant species representing 21 families and 15 orders. • Methods and Results: Yield and purity of DNA isolated by PMC, DNeasy Plant Mini Kit (silica column), and cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) methods were compared among four individuals for each of 25 plant species. PMC gave a twofold advantage in average yield, and the relative advantage of the PMC method was greatest for samples with the lowest DNA yields. PMC also produced more consistent sample purity based on absorbance ratios at 260:280 and 260:230 nm. • Conclusions: PMC technology is a promising alternative for plant DNA isolation. PMID:25309836

  1. Vegetation types, dominant compositions, woody plant diversity and stand structure in Trishna Wildlife Sanctuary of Northeast India.

    PubMed

    Majumdar, Koushik; Datta, B K

    2015-03-01

    Present study was carried out to assess the vegetation types, diversity and phytosociological status of woody plants in Trishna Wildlife Sanctuary of Tripura, Northeast India. Vegetation data was derived by 25 line transects (10 m wide and 500 m length, each 0.5 ha size). All woody species at >10 cm gbh (Girth at Breast Height) within each plots were measured and counted. A total of six forest types were classified by cluster analysis using Importance Value Index (IVI) of 289 woody species. Species diversity, forest structure and woody community associations were evaluated and discussed. One way ANOVA revealed significant differences in all species diversity measures and stand structure along the forest types. Distribution of stem density at ten different gbh classes showed reverse J-shaped curves. Population status of woody plants was also examined through grouping of all individuals into four population age stages viz. sapling (<30 cm gbh), adult (> or = 30 - <120 cm gbh), mature (>120 - 210 cm gbh) and old (> or =210 cm). To observe dominant composition and species population trend, IVI of top ten dominant species from all forest types were tabulated. The present study suggested that Trishna Wildlife Sanctuary is an important habitat in Tripura from floristic point of view and it should be conserved on priority basis for remaining wildlife endurances and monitor for forest livelihoods products for sustainable biodiversity conservation in this region.

  2. Quality assessment of plant transpiration water

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Macler, Bruce A.; Janik, Daniel S.; Benson, Brian L.

    1990-01-01

    It has been proposed to use plants as elements of biologically-based life support systems for long-term space missions. Three roles have been brought forth for plants in this application: recycling of water, regeneration of air and production of food. This report discusses recycling of water and presents data from investigations of plant transpiration water quality. Aqueous nutrient solution was applied to several plant species and transpired water collected. The findings indicated that this water typically contained 0.3-6 ppm of total organic carbon, which meets hygiene water standards for NASA's space applications. It suggests that this method could be developed to achieve potable water standards.

  3. Loss of functional diversity and network modularity in introduced plant-fungal symbioses.

    PubMed

    Dickie, Ian A; Cooper, Jerry A; Bufford, Jennifer L; Hulme, Philip E; Bates, Scott T

    2016-12-30

    The introduction of alien plants into a new range can result in the loss of co-evolved symbiotic organisms, such as mycorrhizal fungi, that are essential for normal plant physiological functions. Prior studies of mycorrhizal associations in alien plants have tended to focus on individual plant species on a case-by-case basis. This approach limits broad scale understanding of functional shifts and changes in interaction network structure that may occur following introduction. Here we use two extensive datasets of plant-fungal interactions derived from fungal sporocarp observations and recorded plant hosts in two island archipelago nations: New Zealand (NZ) and the United Kingdom (UK). We found that the NZ dataset shows a lower functional diversity of fungal hyphal foraging strategies in mycorrhiza of alien as compared with native trees. Across species this resulted in fungal foraging strategies associated with alien trees being much more variable in functional composition compared with native trees, which had a strikingly similar functional composition. The UK data showed no functional difference in fungal associates of alien and native plant genera. Notwithstanding this, both the NZ and UK data showed a substantial difference in interaction network structure of alien trees compared with native trees. In both cases, fungal associates of native trees showed strong modularity, while fungal associates of alien trees generally integrated into a single large module. The results suggest a lower functional diversity (in one dataset) and a simplification of network structure (in both) as a result of introduction, potentially driven by either limited symbiont co-introductions or disruption of habitat as a driver of specificity due to nursery conditions, planting, or plant edaphic-niche expansion. Recognizing these shifts in function and network structure has important implications for plant invasions and facilitation of secondary invasions via shared mutualist populations.

  4. RESTORING SPECIES RICHNESS AND DIVERSITY IN A RUSSIAN KNAPWEED (ACROPTILON REPENS)-INFESTED RIPARIAN PLANT COMMUNITY USING HERBICIDES

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Species richness and diversity are important indicators of ecosystem function and may be related to plant community resistance to invasion by non-indigenous species. Knowledge about the influence of various strategies on species richness and diversity is central to making wise invasive plant manage...

  5. Woody plant phylogenetic diversity mediates bottom-up control of arthropod biomass in species-rich forests.

    PubMed

    Schuldt, Andreas; Baruffol, Martin; Bruelheide, Helge; Chen, Simon; Chi, Xiulian; Wall, Marcus; Assmann, Thorsten

    2014-09-01

    Global change is predicted to cause non-random species loss in plant communities, with consequences for ecosystem functioning. However, beyond the simple effects of plant species richness, little is known about how plant diversity and its loss influence higher trophic levels, which are crucial to the functioning of many species-rich ecosystems. We analyzed to what extent woody plant phylogenetic diversity and species richness contribute to explaining the biomass and abundance of herbivorous and predatory arthropods in a species-rich forest in subtropical China. The biomass and abundance of leaf-chewing herbivores, and the biomass dispersion of herbivores within plots, increased with woody plant phylogenetic diversity. Woody plant species richness had much weaker effects on arthropods, but interacted with plant phylogenetic diversity to negatively affect the ratio of predator to herbivore biomass. Overall, our results point to a strong bottom-up control of functionally important herbivores mediated particularly by plant phylogenetic diversity, but do not support the general expectation that top-down predator effects increase with plant diversity. The observed effects appear to be driven primarily by increasing resource diversity rather than diversity-dependent primary productivity, as the latter did not affect arthropods. The strong effects of plant phylogenetic diversity and the overall weaker effects of plant species richness show that the diversity-dependence of ecosystem processes and interactions across trophic levels can depend fundamentally on non-random species associations. This has important implications for the regulation of ecosystem functions via trophic interaction pathways and for the way species loss may impact these pathways in species-rich forests.

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

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Zhengjun; Gong, Huili; Zhang, Jing

    2015-01-01

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

  7. Plant protein phosphatases 2C: from genomic diversity to functional multiplicity and importance in stress management.

    PubMed

    Singh, Amarjeet; Pandey, Amita; Srivastava, Ashish K; Tran, Lam-Son Phan; Pandey, Girdhar K

    2016-12-01

    Protein phosphatases (PPs) counteract kinases in reversible phosphorylation events during numerous signal transduction pathways in eukaryotes. Type 2C PPs (PP2Cs) represent the major group of PPs in plants, and recent discovery of novel abscisic acid (ABA) receptors (ABARs) has placed the PP2Cs at the center stage of the major signaling pathway regulating plant responses to stresses and plant development. Several studies have provided deep insight into vital roles of the PP2Cs in various plant processes. Global analyses of the PP2C gene family in model plants have contributed to our understanding of their genomic diversity and conservation, across plant species. In this review, we discuss the genomic and structural accounts of PP2Cs in plants. Recent advancements in their interaction paradigm with ABARs and sucrose nonfermenting related kinases 2 (SnRK2s) in ABA signaling are also highlighted. In addition, expression analyses and important roles of PP2Cs in the regulation of biotic and abiotic stress responses, potassium (K(+)) deficiency signaling, plant immunity and development are elaborated. Knowledge of functional roles of specific PP2Cs could be exploited for the genetic manipulation of crop plants. Genetic engineering using PP2C genes could provide great impetus in the agricultural biotechnology sector in terms of imparting desired traits, including a higher degree of stress tolerance and productivity without a yield penalty.

  8. In silico identification of conserved microRNAs in large number of diverse plant species

    PubMed Central

    Sunkar, Ramanjulu; Jagadeeswaran, Guru

    2008-01-01

    Background MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are recently discovered small non-coding RNAs that play pivotal roles in gene expression, specifically at the post-transcriptional level in plants and animals. Identification of miRNAs in large number of diverse plant species is important to understand the evolution of miRNAs and miRNA-targeted gene regulations. Now-a-days, publicly available databases play a central role in the in-silico biology. Because, at least ~21 miRNA families are conserved in higher plants, a homology based search using these databases can help identify orthologs or paralogs in plants. Results We searched all publicly available nucleotide databases of genome survey sequences (GSS), high-throughput genomics sequences (HTGS), expressed sequenced tags (ESTs) and nonredundant (NR) nucleotides and identified 682 miRNAs in 155 diverse plant species. We found more than 15 conserved miRNA families in 11 plant species, 10 to14 families in 10 plant species and 5 to 9 families in 29 plant species. Nineteen conserved miRNA families were identified in important model legumes such as Medicago, Lotus and soybean. Five miRNA families – miR319, miR156/157, miR169, miR165/166 and miR394 – were found in 51, 45, 41, 40 and 40 diverse plant species, respectively. miR403 homologs were found in 16 dicots, whereas miR437 and miR444 homologs, as well as the miR396d/e variant of the miR396 family, were found only in monocots, thus providing large-scale authenticity for the dicot- and monocot-specific miRNAs. Furthermore, we provide computational and/or experimental evidence for the conservation of 6 newly found Arabidopsis miRNA homologs (miR158, miR391, miR824, miR825, miR827 and miR840) and 2 small RNAs (small-85 and small-87) in Brassica spp. Conclusion Using all publicly available nucleotide databases, 682 miRNAs were identified in 155 diverse plant species. By combining the expression analysis with the computational approach, we found that 6 miRNAs and 2 small RNAs that have

  9. Bottom-up effects of host-plant species diversity and top-down effects of ants interactively increase plant performance.

    PubMed

    Moreira, Xoaquín; Mooney, Kailen A; Zas, Rafael; Sampedro, Luis

    2012-11-07

    While plant diversity is well known to increase primary productivity, whether these bottom-up effects are enhanced by reciprocal top-down effects from the third trophic level is unknown. We studied whether pine tree species diversity, aphid-tending ants and their interaction determined plant performance and arthropod community structure. Plant diversity had a positive effect on aphids, but only in the presence of mutualistic ants, leading to a threefold greater number of both groups in the tri-specific cultures than in monocultures. Plant diversity increased ant abundance not only by increasing aphid number, but also by increasing ant recruitment per aphid. The positive effect of diversity on ants in turn cascaded down to increase plant performance; diversity increased plant growth (but not biomass), and this effect was stronger in the presence of ants. Consequently, bottom-up effects of diversity within the same genus and guild of plants, and top-down effects from the third trophic level (predatory ants), interactively increased plant performance.

  10. Water treatment plants assessment at Talkha power plant.

    PubMed

    El-Sebaie, Olfat D; Abd El-Kerim, Ghazy E; Ramadan, Mohamed H; Abd El-Atey, Magda M; Taha, Sahr Ahmed

    2002-01-01

    Talkha power plant is the only power plant located in El-Mansoura. It generates electricity using two different methods by steam turbine and gas turbine. Both plants drew water from River Nile (208 m3 /h). The Nile raw water passes through different treatment processes to be suitable for drinking and operational uses. At Talkha power plant, there are two purification plants used for drinking water supply (100 m3/h) and for water demineralization supply (108 m3/h). This study aimed at studying the efficiency of the water purification plants. For drinking water purification plant, the annual River Nile water characterized by slightly alkaline pH (7.4-8), high annual mean values of turbidity (10.06 NTU), Standard Plate Count (SPC) (313.3 CFU/1 ml), total coliform (2717/100 ml), fecal coliform (0-2400/100 ml), and total algae (3 x 10(4) org/I). The dominant group of algae all over the study period was green algae. The blue green algae was abundant in Summer and Autumn seasons. The pH range, and the annual mean values of turbidity, TDS, total hardness, sulfates, chlorides, nitrates, nitrites, fluoride, and residual chlorine for purified water were in compliance with Egyptian drinking water standards. All the SPC recorded values with an annual mean value of 10.13 CFU/1 ml indicated that chlorine dose and contact time were not enough to kill the bacteria. However, they were in compliance with Egyptian decree (should not exceed 50 CFU/1 ml). Although the removal efficiency of the plant for total coliform and blue green algae was high (98.5% and 99.2%, respectively), the limits of the obtained results with an annual mean values of 40/100 ml and 15.6 org/l were not in compliance with the Egyptian decree (should be free from total coliform, fecal coliform and blue green algae). For water demineralization treatment plant, the raw water was characterized by slightly alkaline pH. The annual mean values of conductivity, turbidity, and TDS were 354.6 microS/cm, 10.84 NTU, and 214

  11. The effects of plant diversity on nitrous oxide emissions in hydroponic microcosms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sun, Hongying; Zhang, Chongbang; Song, Changchun; Chang, Scott X.; Gu, Baojing; Chen, Zhengxin; Peng, Changhui; Chang, Jie; Ge, Ying

    2013-10-01

    Previous studies have shown that plant diversity can improve the wastewater purification efficiency of constructed wetlands (CWs), but its effect on the nitrous oxide (N2O) emission in CWs has been unknown. To investigate the effect of plant diversity on the N2O emission, we established four plant species richness levels (each level containing 1, 2, 3 and 4 species, respectively) by using 96 hydroponic microcosms. Results showed that plant species richness enhanced the N2O emission, ranging from 27.1 to 115.4 μg N2O m-2 d-1, and improved nitrate removal (P < 0.001). The presence of Phalaris arundinacea within a given plant community increased the N2O emission (P < 0.001). The presence of Rumex japonicas had no influence on the N2O emissions (P > 0.05), but improved nitrogen removal (P < 0.001). Hence, our study highlights the importance of both plant species richness and species identity in mediating the N2O emission and nitrogen removal in CWs.

  12. Nitrogen deposition and multi-dimensional plant diversity at the landscape scale

    PubMed Central

    Roth, Tobias; Kohli, Lukas; Rihm, Beat; Amrhein, Valentin; Achermann, Beat

    2015-01-01

    Estimating effects of nitrogen (N) deposition is essential for understanding human impacts on biodiversity. However, studies relating atmospheric N deposition to plant diversity are usually restricted to small plots of high conservation value. Here, we used data on 381 randomly selected 1 km2 plots covering most habitat types of Central Europe and an elevational range of 2900 m. We found that high atmospheric N deposition was associated with low values of six measures of plant diversity. The weakest negative relation to N deposition was found in the traditionally measured total species richness. The strongest relation to N deposition was in phylogenetic diversity, with an estimated loss of 19% due to atmospheric N deposition as compared with a homogeneously distributed historic N deposition without human influence, or of 11% as compared with a spatially varying N deposition for the year 1880, during industrialization in Europe. Because phylogenetic plant diversity is often related to ecosystem functioning, we suggest that atmospheric N deposition threatens functioning of ecosystems at the landscape scale. PMID:26064640

  13. Reproductive consequences of mate quantity versus mate diversity in a wind-pollinated plant

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vandepitte, K.; Roldán-Ruiz, I.; Honnay, O.

    2009-07-01

    Since most pollen travels limited distances in wind-pollinated plants, both the local quantity and diversity of mates may limit female reproductive success. Yet little evidence exists on their relative contribution, despite the importance of viable seed production to population dynamics. To study how variation in female reproductive success is affected by the quantity versus the diversity of surrounding mates contributing pollen, we integrated pollination experiments, data on natural seed set and seed viability, and AFLP genetic marker data in the wind-pollinated dioecious clonal forest herb Mercurialis perennis. Pollination experiments indicated weak quantitative pollen limitation effects on seed set. Among-population crosses showed reduced seed viability, suggesting outbreeding depression due to genetic divergence. Pollination with pollen from a single source did not negatively affect reproductive success. These findings were consistent with results of the survey of natural female reproductive success. Seed set decreased with the distance to males in a female plants' local neighborhood, suggesting a shortage of pollen in isolated female plants, and increased with the degree of local genetic diversity. Spatial isolation to other populations and population size did not affect seed set. None of these variables were related to seed viability. We conclude that pollen movement in M. perennis is likely very limited. Both male proximity and the local degree of genetic diversity influenced female reproductive success.

  14. Assessment of genetic diversity among faba bean genotypes using agro-morphological and molecular markers

    PubMed Central

    Ammar, Megahed H.; Alghamdi, Salem S.; Migdadi, Hussein M.; Khan, Muhammad A.; El-Harty, Ehab H.; Al-Faifi, Sulieman A.

    2015-01-01

    Forty faba bean (Vicia faba L.) genotypes were evaluated for their agro-morphological performance and molecular diversity under Central Region of Saudi Arabia conditions during 2010–11 and 2011–12 seasons. Field performance results showed that faba genotypes exhibited a significant amount of variation for their agro-morphological studied parameters. Giza40 recorded the tallest genotype (139.5 cm), highest number of seeds per plants (100.8), and the highest seed yield per plant (70.8 g). The best performing genotypes were Giza40, FLIP03-014FB, Gazira1 and Goff1. Genetic variability among genotypes was determined using Sequence Related Amplified Polymorphism (SRAP) and Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP) markers. A total of 183 amplified fragments (alleles) and 1758 polymorphic fragments (bands) in SRAP and 202 alleles and 716 bands in AFLP were obtained using six SRAP and four AFLP primer combinations respectively. Polymorphism information content (PIC) values for AFLP and SRAP markers were higher than 0.8, indicating the existence of a considerable amount of genetic diversity among faba tested genotypes. The UPGMA based clustering of faba genotypes was largely based on origin and/or genetic background. Result of cluster analysis based on SRAP showed weak and not significant correlation while, it was highly significant based on AFLP analysis with agro-morphological characters (r = 0.01, p > 0.54 and r = 0.26, p < 0.004 respectively). Combined SRAP and AFLP markers proved to be significantly useful for genetic diversity assessment at molecular level. They exhibited high discrimination power, and were able to distinguish the faba bean genotypes with high efficiency and accuracy levels. PMID:25972757

  15. Shifting grassland plant community structure drives positive interactive effects of warming and diversity on aboveground net primary productivity.

    PubMed

    Cowles, Jane M; Wragg, Peter D; Wright, Alexandra J; Powers, Jennifer S; Tilman, David

    2016-02-01

    Ecosystems worldwide are increasingly impacted by multiple drivers of environmental change, including climate warming and loss of biodiversity. We show, using a long-term factorial experiment, that plant diversity loss alters the effects of warming on productivity. Aboveground primary productivity was increased by both high plant diversity and warming, and, in concert, warming (≈1.5 °C average above and belowground warming over the growing season) and diversity caused a greater than additive increase in aboveground productivity. The aboveground warming effects increased over time, particularly at higher levels of diversity, perhaps because of warming-induced increases in legume and C4 bunch grass abundances, and facilitative feedbacks of these species on productivity. Moreover, higher plant diversity was associated with the amelioration of warming-induced environmental conditions. This led to cooler temperatures, decreased vapor pressure deficit, and increased surface soil moisture in higher diversity communities. Root biomass (0-30 cm) was likewise consistently greater at higher plant diversity and was greater with warming in monocultures and at intermediate diversity, but at high diversity warming had no detectable effect. This may be because warming increased the abundance of legumes, which have lower root : shoot ratios than the other types of plants. In addition, legumes increase soil nitrogen (N) supply, which could make N less limiting to other species and potentially decrease their investment in roots. The negative warming × diversity interaction on root mass led to an overall negative interactive effect of these two global change factors on the sum of above and belowground biomass, and thus likely on total plant carbon stores. In total, plant diversity increased the effect of warming on aboveground net productivity and moderated the effect on root mass. These divergent effects suggest that warming and changes in plant diversity are likely to have both

  16. A latitudinal gradient in large-scale beta diversity for vascular plants in North America.

    PubMed

    Qian, Hong; Ricklefs, Robert E

    2007-08-01

    Species turnover, or beta diversity, has been predicted to decrease with increasing latitude, but few studies have tested this relationship. Here, we examined the beta diversity-latitude relationship for vascular plants at a continental scale, based on complete species lists of native vascular plants for entire states or provinces in North America (north of Mexico). We calculated beta diversity as the slope of the relationship between the natural logarithm of the Jaccard index (lnJ ) for families, genera or species, and both geographic distance and climate difference within five latitude zones. We found that beta diversity decreased from south to north; within latitude zones, it decreased from species to genera and families. Geographic and climatic distance explained about the same proportion of the variance in lnJ in zones south of c. 50 degrees N. North of this latitude, nearly all the explained variance in lnJ was attributable to geographic distance. Therefore, decreasing beta diversity from south to north reflects decreasing climate differentiation within more northerly latitude zones, and primarily post-glacial dispersal limitation north of 50 degrees N.

  17. Flood-Induced Changes in Soil Microbial Functions as Modified by Plant Diversity

    PubMed Central

    González Macé, Odette; Steinauer, Katja; Jousset, Alexandre; Eisenhauer, Nico; Scheu, Stefan

    2016-01-01

    Flooding frequency is predicted to increase during the next decades, calling for a better understanding of impacts on terrestrial ecosystems and for developing strategies to mitigate potential damage. Plant diversity is expected to buffer flooding effects by providing a broad range of species’ responses. Here we report on the response of soil processes to a severe summer flood in 2013, which affected major parts of central Europe. We compared soil microbial respiration, biomass, nutrient limitation and enzyme activity in a grassland biodiversity experiment in Germany before flooding, one week and three months after the flood. Microbial biomass was reduced in the severely flooded plots at high, but not at low plant functional group richness. Flooding alleviated microbial nitrogen limitation, presumably due the input of nutrient-rich sediments. Further, the activity of soil enzymes including 1,4-β-N-acetylglucosaminidase, phenol oxidase and peroxidase increased with flooding severity, suggesting increased chitin and lignin degradation as a consequence of the input of detritus in sediments. Flooding effects were enhanced at higher plant diversity, indicating that plant diversity temporarily reduces stability of soil processes during flooding. The long-term impacts, however, remain unknown and deserve further investigation. PMID:27870864

  18. Progress Towards an Interdisciplinary Science of Plant Phenology: Building Predictions Across Space, Time and Species Diversity

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wolkovich, Elizabeth M.; Cook, Benjamin I.; Davies, T. Jonathan

    2013-01-01

    Climate change has brought renewed interest in the study of plant phenology - the timing of life history events. Data on shifting phenologies with warming have accumulated rapidly, yet research has been comparatively slow to explain the diversity of phenological responses observed across latitudes, growing seasons and species. Here, we outline recent efforts to synthesize perspectives on plant phenology across the fields of ecology, climate science and evolution. We highlight three major axes that vary among these disciplines: relative focus on abiotic versus biotic drivers of phenology, on plastic versus genetic drivers of intraspecific variation, and on cross-species versus autecological approaches. Recent interdisciplinary efforts, building on data covering diverse species and climate space, have found a greater role of temperature in controlling phenology at higher latitudes and for early-flowering species in temperate systems. These efforts have also made progress in understanding the tremendous diversity of responses across species by incorporating evolutionary relatedness, and linking phenological flexibility to invasions and plant performance. Future research with a focus on data collection in areas outside the temperate mid-latitudes and across species' ranges, alongside better integration of how risk and investment shape plant phenology, offers promise for further progress.

  19. Progress towards an interdisciplinary science of plant phenology: building predictions across space, time and species diversity.

    PubMed

    Wolkovich, Elizabeth M; Cook, Benjamin I; Davies, T Jonathan

    2014-03-01

    Climate change has brought renewed interest in the study of plant phenology - the timing of life history events. Data on shifting phenologies with warming have accumulated rapidly, yet research has been comparatively slow to explain the diversity of phenological responses observed across latitudes, growing seasons and species. Here, we outline recent efforts to synthesize perspectives on plant phenology across the fields of ecology, climate science and evolution. We highlight three major axes that vary among these disciplines: relative focus on abiotic versus biotic drivers of phenology, on plastic versus genetic drivers of intraspecific variation, and on cross-species versus autecological approaches. Recent interdisciplinary efforts, building on data covering diverse species and climate space, have found a greater role of temperature in controlling phenology at higher latitudes and for early-flowering species in temperate systems. These efforts have also made progress in understanding the tremendous diversity of responses across species by incorporating evolutionary relatedness, and linking phenological flexibility to invasions and plant performance. Future research with a focus on data collection in areas outside the temperate mid-latitudes and across species' ranges, alongside better integration of how risk and investment shape plant phenology, offers promise for further progress.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-04-01

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

  1. Biogeographical Interpretation of Elevational Patterns of Genus Diversity of Seed Plants in Nepal.

    PubMed

    Li, Miao; Feng, Jianmeng

    2015-01-01

    This study tests if the biogeographical affinities of genera are relevant for explaining elevational plant diversity patterns in Nepal. We used simultaneous autoregressive (SAR) models to investigate the explanatory power of several predictors in explaining the diversity-elevation relationships shown in genera with different biogeographical affinities. Delta akaike information criterion (ΔAIC) was used for multi-model inferences and selections. Our results showed that both the total and tropical genus diversity peaked below the mid-point of the elevational gradient, whereas that of temperate genera had a nearly symmetrical, unimodal relationship with elevation. The proportion of temperate genera increased markedly with elevation, while that of tropical genera declined. Compared to tropical genera, temperate genera had wider elevational ranges and were observed at higher elevations. Water-related variables, rather than mid-domain effects (MDE), were the most significant predictors of elevational patterns of tropical genus diversity. The temperate genus diversity was influenced by energy availability, but only in quadratic terms of the models. Though climatic factors and mid-domain effects jointly explained most of the variation in the diversity of temperate genera with elevation, the former played stronger roles. Total genus diversity was most strongly influenced by climate and the floristic overlap of tropical and temperate floras, while the influences of mid-domain effects were relatively weak. The influences of water-related and energy-related variables may vary with biogeographical affinities. The elevational patterns may be most closely related to climatic factors, while MDE may somewhat modify the patterns. Caution is needed when investigating the causal factors underlying diversity patterns for large taxonomic groups composed of taxa of different biogeographical affinities. Right-skewed diversity-elevation patterns may be produced by the differential

  2. Biogeographical Interpretation of Elevational Patterns of Genus Diversity of Seed Plants in Nepal

    PubMed Central

    Li, Miao; Feng, Jianmeng

    2015-01-01

    This study tests if the biogeographical affinities of genera are relevant for explaining elevational plant diversity patterns in Nepal. We used simultaneous autoregressive (SAR) models to investigate the explanatory power of several predictors in explaining the diversity-elevation relationships shown in genera with different biogeographical affinities. Delta akaike information criterion (ΔAIC) was used for multi-model inferences and selections. Our results showed that both the total and tropical genus diversity peaked below the mid-point of the elevational gradient, whereas that of temperate genera had a nearly symmetrical, unimodal relationship with elevation. The proportion of temperate genera increased markedly with elevation, while that of tropical genera declined. Compared to tropical genera, temperate genera had wider elevational ranges and were observed at higher elevations. Water-related variables, rather than mid-domain effects (MDE), were the most significant predictors of elevational patterns of tropical genus diversity. The temperate genus diversity was influenced by energy availability, but only in quadratic terms of the models. Though climatic factors and mid-domain effects jointly explained most of the variation in the diversity of temperate genera with elevation, the former played stronger roles. Total genus diversity was most strongly influenced by climate and the floristic overlap of tropical and temperate floras, while the influences of mid-domain effects were relatively weak. The influences of water-related and energy-related variables may vary with biogeographical affinities. The elevational patterns may be most closely related to climatic factors, while MDE may somewhat modify the patterns. Caution is needed when investigating the causal factors underlying diversity patterns for large taxonomic groups composed of taxa of different biogeographical affinities. Right-skewed diversity-elevation patterns may be produced by the differential

  3. Lead exposure and blood pressure among workers in diverse industrial plants in Kenya.

    PubMed

    Were, Faridah H; Moturi, M Charles; Gottesfeld, P; Wafula, Godfrey A; Kamau, Geoffrey N; Shiundu, Paul M

    2014-01-01

    The study evaluated airborne exposures and blood lead (BPb) levels in 233 production workers at six diverse industrial plants in Kenya. Blood and personal breathing zone air samples were collected and analyzed for lead (Pb) using atomic absorption spectroscopy. Blood pressure (BP) levels were measured using a standard mercury sphygmomanometer. The results indicated mean airborne Pb levels ± standard deviation (SD) as follows: 183.2 ± 53.6 μg/m(3) in battery recycling, 133.5 ± 39.6 μg/m(3) in battery manufacturing, 126.2 ± 39.9 μg/m(3) in scrap metal welding, 76.3 ± 33.2 μg/m(3) in paint manufacturing, 27.3 ± 12.1 μg/m(3) in a leather manufacturing, and 5.5 ± 3.6 μg/m(3) in a pharmaceutical plant. The mean airborne Pb levels exceeded the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 8-hr time-weighted average (TWA) permissible exposure limit (PEL) for Pb of 50 μg/m(3) in the battery manufacturing, battery recycling, welding, and paint manufacturing plants. Similarly, mean BPb concentrations exceeded the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH®) biological exposure index (BEI) for Pb of 30 μg/dl. A significant positive association was observed between BPb and breathing zone air Pb (R(2) = 0.73, P < 0.001). Approximately 30% of the production workers (N = 233) were in the hypertensive range with an average systolic and diastolic blood pressure (BP) of 134.7 ± 12.7 mmHg and 86.4 ± 8.9 mmHg, respectively. In the multivariate regression analysis, age, duration of work, airborne Pb and BPb levels were significantly associated (P < 0.05) with a change in BP. We recommend improved engineering controls, work practices, and personal hygiene to reduce Pb exposures. In addition, workers should undergo comprehensive medical surveillance to include BPb and BP testing, and airborne Pb assessments in all industries with significant lead exposures.

  4. Assessing Your Center to Create a Diverse Staff

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kolozak, Katherine S.

    2004-01-01

    In order for children to succeed in a diverse society, it is necessary to educate the world's teachers to embrace, value, and create multi-culturally friendly classrooms. Valuing diversity is simply defined as embracing and incorporating the unique experiences, culture, and life practices of others to create a more cohesive view of the world.…

  5. Development of SSR Markers and Assessment of Genetic Diversity in Medicinal Chrysanthemum morifolium Cultivars

    PubMed Central

    Feng, Shangguo; He, Renfeng; Lu, Jiangjie; Jiang, Mengying; Shen, Xiaoxia; Jiang, Yan; Wang, Zhi'an; Wang, Huizhong

    2016-01-01

    Chrysanthemum morifolium, is a well-known flowering plant worldwide, and has a high commercial, floricultural, and medicinal value. In this study, simple-sequence repeat (SSR) markers were generated from EST datasets and were applied to assess the genetic diversity among 32 cultivars. A total of 218 in silico SSR loci were identified from 7300 C. morifolium ESTs retrieved from GenBank. Of all SSR loci, 61.47% of them (134) were hexa-nucleotide repeats, followed by tri-nucleotide repeats (17.89%), di-nucleotide repeats (12.39%), tetra-nucleotide repeats (4.13%), and penta-nucleotide repeats (4.13%). In this study, 17 novel EST-SSR markers were verified. Along with 38 SSR markers reported previously, 55 C. morifolium SSR markers were selected for further genetic diversity analysis. PCR amplification of these EST-SSRs produced 1319 fragments, 1306 of which showed polymorphism. The average polymorphism information content of the SSR primer pairs was 0.972 (0.938–0.993), which showed high genetic diversity among C. morifolium cultivars. Based on SSR markers, 32 C. morifolium cultivars were separated into two main groups by partitioning of the clusters using the unweighted pair group method with arithmetic mean dendrogram, which was further supported by a principal coordinate analysis plot. Phylogenetic relationship among C. morifolium cultivars as revealed by SSR markers was highly consistent with the classification of medicinal C. morifolium populations according to their origin and ecological distribution. Our results demonstrated that SSR markers were highly reproducible and informative, and could be used to evaluate genetic diversity and relationships among medicinal C. morifolium cultivars. PMID:27379163

  6. Mechanisms for increased soil C storage with increasing temporal and spatial plant diversity in Agroecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tiemann, L. K.; Grandy, S.; Marin-Spiotta, E.; Atkinson, E. E.

    2012-12-01

    Generally, there are positive relationships between plant species diversity and net primary production and other key ecosystem functions. However, the effects of aboveground diversity on soil microbial communities and ecosystem processes they mediate, such as soil C sequestration, remain unclear. In this study, we used an 11-y cropping diversity study where increases in diversity have increased crop yields. At the experimental site, temporal diversity is altered using combinations of annual crop rotations, while spatial diversity is altered using cover crop species. We used five treatments ranging in diversity from one to five species consisting of continuous corn with no cover crop or one cover crop and corn-soy-wheat rotations with no cover, one cover or two cover crop species. We collected soils from four replicate plots of each treatment and measured the distribution of mega- (>2 mm), macro- (0.25-2 mm), and micro- (0.053-0.25 mm) aggregates. Within each aggregate size class, we also measured total soil C and N, permanganate oxidizable C (POXC), extracellular enzyme activities (EEA), and microbial community structure with phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) analysis. We use these data to address the impacts of both rotational and cover crop diversity on soil physical structure, associated microbial community structure and activity and soil C storage. As spatial diversity increased, we found concurrent increases in mega-aggregate abundance as well as increasing soil C in the mega- and micro-aggregates but not macro-aggregates. The proportion of total soil C in each aggregate size class that is relatively labile (POXC) was highest in the micro-aggregates, as was enzyme activity associated with labile C acquisition across all levels of diversity. Enzyme activity associated with more recalcitrant forms of soil C was highest in the mega-aggregate class, also across all diversity levels; however, the ratio of labile to recalcitrant EEA increased with increasing diversity

  7. Coastal plants : chemical sensitivities and risk assessments

    EPA Science Inventory

    The ability of plant-dominated ecosystems to improve water quality and provide habitat for biodiversity are important ecological services. These services are impacted by natural and anthropogenic stressors which includes contaminant toxicity. Scientific information describing the...

  8. Genetic Structure and Molecular Diversity of Cacao Plants Established as Local Varieties for More than Two Centuries: The Genetic History of Cacao Plantations in Bahia, Brazil.

    PubMed

    Santos, Elisa S L; Cerqueira-Silva, Carlos Bernard M; Mori, Gustavo M; Ahnert, Dário; Mello, Durval L N; Pires, José Luis; Corrêa, Ronan X; de Souza, Anete P

    2015-01-01

    Bahia is the most important cacao-producing state in Brazil, which is currently the sixth-largest country worldwide to produce cacao seeds. In the eighteenth century, the Comum, Pará and Maranhão varieties of cacao were introduced into southern Bahia, and their descendants, which are called 'Bahian cacao' or local Bahian varieties, have been cultivated for over 200 years. Comum plants have been used to start plantations in African countries and extended as far as countries in South Asia and Oceania. In Brazil, two sets of clones selected from Bahian varieties and their mutants, the Agronomic Institute of East (SIAL) and Bahian Cacao Institute (SIC) series, represent the diversity of Bahian cacao in germplasm banks. Because the genetic diversity of Bahian varieties, which is essential for breeding programs, remains unknown, the objective of this work was to assess the genetic structure and diversity of local Bahian varieties collected from farms and germplasm banks. To this end, 30 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers were used to genotype 279 cacao plants from germplasm and local farms. The results facilitated the identification of 219 cacao plants of Bahian origin, and 51 of these were SIAL or SIC clones. Bahian cacao showed low genetic diversity. It could be verified that SIC and SIAL clones do not represent the true diversity of Bahian cacao, with the greatest amount of diversity found in cacao trees on the farms. Thus, a core collection to aid in prioritizing the plants to be sampled for Bahian cacao diversity is suggested. These results provide information that can be used to conserve Bahian cacao plants and applied in breeding programs to obtain more productive Bahian cacao with superior quality and tolerance to major diseases in tropical cacao plantations worldwide.

  9. Genetic Structure and Molecular Diversity of Cacao Plants Established as Local Varieties for More than Two Centuries: The Genetic History of Cacao Plantations in Bahia, Brazil

    PubMed Central

    Santos, Elisa S. L.; Cerqueira-Silva, Carlos Bernard M.; Mori, Gustavo M.; Ahnert, Dário; Mello, Durval L. N.; Pires, José Luis; Corrêa, Ronan X.; de Souza, Anete P.

    2015-01-01

    Bahia is the most important cacao-producing state in Brazil, which is currently the sixth-largest country worldwide to produce cacao seeds. In the eighteenth century, the Comum, Pará and Maranhão varieties of cacao were introduced into southern Bahia, and their descendants, which are called ‘Bahian cacao’ or local Bahian varieties, have been cultivated for over 200 years. Comum plants have been used to start plantations in African countries and extended as far as countries in South Asia and Oceania. In Brazil, two sets of clones selected from Bahian varieties and their mutants, the Agronomic Institute of East (SIAL) and Bahian Cacao Institute (SIC) series, represent the diversity of Bahian cacao in germplasm banks. Because the genetic diversity of Bahian varieties, which is essential for breeding programs, remains unknown, the objective of this work was to assess the genetic structure and diversity of local Bahian varieties collected from farms and germplasm banks. To this end, 30 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers were used to genotype 279 cacao plants from germplasm and local farms. The results facilitated the identification of 219 cacao plants of Bahian origin, and 51 of these were SIAL or SIC clones. Bahian cacao showed low genetic diversity. It could be verified that SIC and SIAL clones do not represent the true diversity of Bahian cacao, with the greatest amount of diversity found in cacao trees on the farms. Thus, a core collection to aid in prioritizing the plants to be sampled for Bahian cacao diversity is suggested. These results provide information that can be used to conserve Bahian cacao plants and applied in breeding programs to obtain more productive Bahian cacao with superior quality and tolerance to major diseases in tropical cacao plantations worldwide. PMID:26675449

  10. Effects of plant species identity, diversity and soil fertility on biodegradation of phenanthrene in soil.

    PubMed

    Oyelami, Ayodeji O; Okere, Uchechukwu V; Orwin, Kate H; De Deyn, Gerlinde B; Jones, Kevin C; Semple, Kirk T

    2013-02-01

    The work presented in this paper investigated the effects of plant species composition, species diversity and soil fertility on biodegradation of (14)C-phenanthrene in soil. The two soils used were of contrasting fertility, taken from long term unfertilised and fertilised grassland, showing differences in total nitrogen content (%N). Plant communities consisted of six different plant species: two grasses, two forbs, and two legume species, and ranged in species richness from 1 to 6. The degradation of (14)C-phenanthrene was evaluated by measuring indigenous catabolic activity following the addition of the contaminant to soil using respirometry. Soil fertility was a driving factor in all aspects of (14)C-phenanthrene degradation; lag phase, maximum rates and total extents of (14)C-phenanthrene mineralisation were higher in improved soils compared to unimproved soils. Plant identity had a significant effect on the lag phase and extents of mineralisation. Soil fertility was the major influence also on abundance of microbial communities.

  11. Assessing Business and Marketing Teachers' Attitudes toward Cultural Pluralism and Diversity.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Adams, Elaine; Hall, Helen C.

    2002-01-01

    The Pluralism and Diversity Attitude Assessment was used to assess business and marketing teachers' attitudes toward issues related to multicultural education (315 of 1,400 responded). Although they had positive attitudes about the issues, they were resistant toward implementation of cultural pluralism and diversity. (Contains 21 references.) (JOW)

  12. Assessment Matters in Higher Education: Choosing and Using Diverse Approaches.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Brown, Sally, Ed.; Glasner, Angela, Ed.

    This book presents 16 papers on assessment in higher education grouped into four sections on: first, systems approaches to assessment; second, the effectiveness of innovative assessment; third, assessing practice; and fourth, autonomous assessment. The included papers are: (1) "Institutional Strategies for Assessment" (Sally Brown); (2)…

  13. Soil fertility and plant diversity enhance microbial performance in metal-polluted soils.

    PubMed

    Stefanowicz, Anna M; Kapusta, Paweł; Szarek-Łukaszewska, Grażyna; Grodzińska, Krystyna; Niklińska, Maria; Vogt, Rolf D

    2012-11-15

    This study examined the effects of soil physicochemical properties (including heavy metal pollution) and vegetation parameters on soil basal respiration, microbial biomass, and the activity and functional richness of culturable soil bacteria and fungi. In a zinc and lead mining area (S Poland), 49 sites were selected to represent all common plant communities and comprise the area's diverse soil types. Numerous variables describing habitat properties were reduced by PCA to 7 independent factors, mainly representing subsoil type (metal-rich mining waste vs. sand), soil fertility (exchangeable Ca, Mg and K, total C and N, organic C), plant species richness, phosphorus content, water-soluble heavy metals (Zn, Cd and Pb), clay content and plant functional diversity (based on graminoids, legumes and non-leguminous forbs). Multiple regression analysis including these factors explained much of the variation in most microbial parameters; in the case of microbial respiration and biomass, it was 86% and 71%, respectively. The activity of soil microbes was positively affected mainly by soil fertility and, apparently, by the presence of mining waste in the subsoil. The mining waste contained vast amounts of trace metals (total Zn, Cd and Pb), but it promoted microbial performance due to its inherently high content of macronutrients (total Ca, Mg, K and C). Plant species richness had a relatively strong positive effect on all microbial parameters, except for the fungal component. In contrast, plant functional diversity was practically negligible in its effect on microbes. Other explanatory variables had only a minor positive effect (clay content) or no significant influence (phosphorus content) on microbial communities. The main conclusion from this study is that high nutrient availability and plant species richness positively affected the soil microbes and that this apparently counteracted the toxic effects of metal contamination.

  14. Functional diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizas extends to the expression of plant genes involved in P nutrition.

    PubMed

    Burleigh, Stephen H; Cavagnaro, Tim; Jakobsen, Iver

    2002-07-01

    This study of functional diversity considers symbiotic associations between two plant species, Medicago truncatula and Lycopersicon esculentum, and seven species of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). The objective was to integrate physiological analyses with molecular techniques to test whether functional diversity between AMF species is not only apparent at the level of mycorrhiza formation, plant nutrient uptake and plant growth, but also at the molecular level as observed by variation in the root expression of plant genes involved in the plant's P-starvation response. The seven species of AMF varied widely in their influence on the root expression of MtPT2 and Mt4 from M. truncatula and LePT1 and TPSI1 from L. esculentum. At one extreme was Glomus mosseae, whereby its colonization of M. truncatula resulted in the greatest reduction in MtPT2 and Mt4 gene expression and the highest level of P uptake and growth, while at the other extreme was Gigaspora rosea, whereby colonization resulted in the highest levels of MtPT2 and Mt4 gene expression and the lowest P uptake and growth. The expression of LePT1 and TPSI1 within the roots of L. esculentum was low and relatively uniform across the seven mycorrhizas, reflecting the ability of this cultivar to maintain low and constant shoot P levels despite root colonization by a broad selection of AMF. This study extends current understanding of functional diversity and shows that plants can respond differently to AMF, not only at the level of colonization, nutrient uptake and growth, but also at the level of gene expression.

  15. Does Land-Use Intensification Decrease Plant Phylogenetic Diversity in Local Grasslands?

    PubMed Central

    Egorov, Eugen; Prati, Daniel; Durka, Walter; Michalski, Stefan; Fischer, Markus; Schmitt, Barbara; Blaser, Stefan; Brändle, Martin

    2014-01-01

    Phylogenetic diversity (PD) has been successfully used as a complement to classical measures of biological diversity such as species richness or functional diversity. By considering the phylogenetic history of species, PD broadly summarizes the trait space within a community. This covers amongst others complex physiological or biochemical traits that are often not considered in estimates of functional diversity, but may be important for the understanding of community assembly and the relationship between diversity and ecosystem functions. In this study we analyzed the relationship between PD of plant communities and land-use intensification in 150 local grassland plots in three regions in Germany. Specifically we asked whether PD decreases with land-use intensification and if so, whether the relationship is robust across different regions. Overall, we found that species richness decreased along land-use gradients the results however differed for common and rare species assemblages. PD only weakly decreased with increasing land-use intensity. The strength of the relationship thereby varied among regions and PD metrics used. From our results we suggest that there is no general relationship between PD and land-use intensification probably due to lack of phylogenetic conservatism in land-use sensitive traits. Nevertheless, we suggest that depending on specific regional idiosyncrasies the consideration of PD as a complement to other measures of diversity can be useful. PMID:25061934

  16. Does land-use intensification decrease plant phylogenetic diversity in local grasslands?

    PubMed

    Egorov, Eugen; Prati, Daniel; Durka, Walter; Michalski, Stefan; Fischer, Markus; Schmitt, Barbara; Blaser, Stefan; Brändle, Martin

    2014-01-01

    Phylogenetic diversity (PD) has been successfully used as a complement to classical measures of biological diversity such as species richness or functional diversity. By considering the phylogenetic history of species, PD broadly summarizes the trait space within a community. This covers amongst others complex physiological or biochemical traits that are often not considered in estimates of functional diversity, but may be important for the understanding of community assembly and the relationship between diversity and ecosystem functions. In this study we analyzed the relationship between PD of plant communities and land-use intensification in 150 local grassland plots in three regions in Germany. Specifically we asked whether PD decreases with land-use intensification and if so, whether the relationship is robust across different regions. Overall, we found that species richness decreased along land-use gradients the results however differed for common and rare species assemblages. PD only weakly decreased with increasing land-use intensity. The strength of the relationship thereby varied among regions and PD metrics used. From our results we suggest that there is no general relationship between PD and land-use intensification probably due to lack of phylogenetic conservatism in land-use sensitive traits. Nevertheless, we suggest that depending on specific regional idiosyncrasies the consideration of PD as a complement to other measures of diversity can be useful.

  17. Diversity and Plant Growth Promoting Capacity of Endophytic Fungi Associated with Halophytic Plants from the West Coast of Korea

    PubMed Central

    Khalmuratova, Irina; Kim, Hyun; Nam, Yoon-Jong; Oh, Yoosun; Jeong, Min-Ji; Choi, Hye-Rim; You, Young-Hyun; Choo, Yeon-Sik; Lee, In-Jung; Shin, Jae-Ho

    2015-01-01

    Five halophytic plant species, Suaeda maritima, Limonium tetragonum, Suaeda australis, Phragmites australis, and Suaeda glauca Bunge, which are native to the Muan salt marsh of South Korea, were examined for fungal endophytes by sequencing the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region containing ITS1, 5.8S rRNA, and ITS2. In total, 160 endophytic fungal strains were isolated and identified from the roots of the 5 plant species. Taxonomically, all 160 strains belonged to the phyla Ascomycota, Basidiomycota, and Zygomycota. The most dominant genus was Fusarium, followed by the genera Penicillium and Alternaria. Subsequently, using 5 statistical methods, the diversity indices of the endophytes were determined at genus level. Among these halophytic plants, P. australis was found to host the greatest diversity of endophytic fungi. Culture filtrates of endophytic fungi were treated to Waito-C rice seedlings for plant growth-promoting effects. The fungal strain Su-3-4-3 isolated from S. glauca Bunge provide the maximum plant length (20.1 cm) in comparison with wild-type Gibberella fujikuroi (19.6 cm). Consequently, chromatographic analysis of the culture filtrate of Su-3-4-3 showed the presence of physiologically active gibberellins, GA1 (0.465 ng/mL), GA3 (1.808 ng/mL) along with other physiologically inactive GA9 (0.054 ng/mL) and GA24 (0.044 ng/mL). The fungal isolate Su-3-4-3 was identified as Talaromyces pinophilus. PMID:26839496

  18. Evolution and diversity of plant cell walls: from algae to flowering plants.

    PubMed

    Popper, Zoë A; Michel, Gurvan; Hervé, Cécile; Domozych, David S; Willats, William G T; Tuohy, Maria G; Kloareg, Bernard; Stengel, Dagmar B

    2011-01-01

    All photosynthetic multicellular Eukaryotes, including land plants and algae, have cells that are surrounded by a dynamic, complex, carbohydrate-rich cell wall. The cell wall exerts considerable biological and biomechanical control over individual cells and organisms, thus playing a key role in their environmental interactions. This has resulted in compositional variation that is dependent on developmental stage, cell type, and season. Further variation is evident that has a phylogenetic basis. Plants and algae have a complex phylogenetic history, including acquisition of genes responsible for carbohydrate synthesis and modification through a series of primary (leading to red algae, green algae, and land plants) and secondary (generating brown algae, diatoms, and dinoflagellates) endosymbiotic events. Therefore, organisms that have the shared features of photosynthesis and possession of a cell wall do not form a monophyletic group. Yet they contain some common wall components that can be explained increasingly by genetic and biochemical evidence.

  19. The identity of belowground herbivores, not herbivore diversity, mediates impacts on plant productivity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Milosavljević, Ivan; Esser, Aaron D.; Bosque-Pérez, Nilsa A.; Crowder, David W.

    2016-12-01

    Across many ecosystems, increases in species biodiversity generally results in greater resource acquisition by consumers. Few studies examining the impacts of consumer diversity on resource capture have focused on terrestrial herbivores, however, especially taxa that feed belowground. Here we conducted field mesocosm experiments to examine the effects of variation in species richness and composition within a community of wireworm herbivores on wheat plant productivity. Our experiments involved wireworm communities consisting of between one and three species, with all possible combinations of species represented. We found that the presence of wireworms reduced plant biomass and seed viability, but wireworm species richness did not impact these plant metrics. Species identity effects were strong, as two species, Limonius californicus and Selatosomus pruininus, had significantly stronger impacts on plants compared to L. infuscatus. Communities with either of the two most impactful species consistently had the greatest impact on wheat plants. The effects of wireworms were thus strongly dependent on the particular species present rather than the overall diversity of the wireworm community. More broadly, our study supports the general finding that the identity of particular consumer species within communities often has greater impacts on ecosystem functioning than species richness.

  20. The identity of belowground herbivores, not herbivore diversity, mediates impacts on plant productivity

    PubMed Central

    Milosavljević, Ivan; Esser, Aaron D.; Bosque-Pérez, Nilsa A.; Crowder, David W.

    2016-01-01

    Across many ecosystems, increases in species biodiversity generally results in greater resource acquisition by consumers. Few studies examining the impacts of consumer diversity on resource capture have focused on terrestrial herbivores, however, especially taxa that feed belowground. Here we conducted field mesocosm experiments to examine the effects of variation in species richness and composition within a community of wireworm herbivores on wheat plant productivity. Our experiments involved wireworm communities consisting of between one and three species, with all possible combinations of species represented. We found that the presence of wireworms reduced plant biomass and seed viability, but wireworm species richness did not impact these plant metrics. Species identity effects were strong, as two species, Limonius californicus and Selatosomus pruininus, had significantly stronger impacts on plants compared to L. infuscatus. Communities with either of the two most impactful species consistently had the greatest impact on wheat plants. The effects of wireworms were thus strongly dependent on the particular species present rather than the overall diversity of the wireworm community. More broadly, our study supports the general finding that the identity of particular consumer species within communities often has greater impacts on ecosystem functioning than species richness. PMID:28004758