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Sample records for ecological niche modeling

  1. Modelling the ecological niche from functional traits

    PubMed Central

    Kearney, Michael; Simpson, Stephen J.; Raubenheimer, David; Helmuth, Brian

    2010-01-01

    The niche concept is central to ecology but is often depicted descriptively through observing associations between organisms and habitats. Here, we argue for the importance of mechanistically modelling niches based on functional traits of organisms and explore the possibilities for achieving this through the integration of three theoretical frameworks: biophysical ecology (BE), the geometric framework for nutrition (GF) and dynamic energy budget (DEB) models. These three frameworks are fundamentally based on the conservation laws of thermodynamics, describing energy and mass balance at the level of the individual and capturing the prodigious predictive power of the concepts of ‘homeostasis’ and ‘evolutionary fitness’. BE and the GF provide mechanistic multi-dimensional depictions of climatic and nutritional niches, respectively, providing a foundation for linking organismal traits (morphology, physiology, behaviour) with habitat characteristics. In turn, they provide driving inputs and cost functions for mass/energy allocation within the individual as determined by DEB models. We show how integration of the three frameworks permits calculation of activity constraints, vital rates (survival, development, growth, reproduction) and ultimately population growth rates and species distributions. When integrated with contemporary niche theory, functional trait niche models hold great promise for tackling major questions in ecology and evolutionary biology. PMID:20921046

  2. Ecological niche

    SciTech Connect

    Shugart, H.H.

    1980-01-01

    The ecological niche of an organism is the set of environmental conditions under which the particular functions of the organism could be expected to assure its survival. It comprises both the set of conditions where the organism lives (often termed the habitat of the organism) and the functional role of the organism in the ecosystem. Recent works in niche theory have enabled ecologists to develop predictions and actual applications. The history of the niche concept, applications of niche theory, and ecological differences between similar species are discussed.

  3. INVASIVE SPECIES: PREDICTING GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTIONS USING ECOLOGICAL NICHE MODELING

    EPA Science Inventory

    Present approaches to species invasions are reactive in nature. This scenario results in management that perpetually lags behind the most recent invasion and makes control much more difficult. In contrast, spatially explicit ecological niche modeling provides an effective solut...

  4. Advances and Limitations of Disease Biogeography Using Ecological Niche Modeling.

    PubMed

    Escobar, Luis E; Craft, Meggan E

    2016-01-01

    Mapping disease transmission risk is crucial in public and animal health for evidence based decision-making. Ecology and epidemiology are highly related disciplines that may contribute to improvements in mapping disease, which can be used to answer health related questions. Ecological niche modeling is increasingly used for understanding the biogeography of diseases in plants, animals, and humans. However, epidemiological applications of niche modeling approaches for disease mapping can fail to generate robust study designs, producing incomplete or incorrect inferences. This manuscript is an overview of the history and conceptual bases behind ecological niche modeling, specifically as applied to epidemiology and public health; it does not pretend to be an exhaustive and detailed description of ecological niche modeling literature and methods. Instead, this review includes selected state-of-the-science approaches and tools, providing a short guide to designing studies incorporating information on the type and quality of the input data (i.e., occurrences and environmental variables), identification and justification of the extent of the study area, and encourages users to explore and test diverse algorithms for more informed conclusions. We provide a friendly introduction to the field of disease biogeography presenting an updated guide for researchers looking to use ecological niche modeling for disease mapping. We anticipate that ecological niche modeling will soon be a critical tool for epidemiologists aiming to map disease transmission risk, forecast disease distribution under climate change scenarios, and identify landscape factors triggering outbreaks. PMID:27547199

  5. Advances and Limitations of Disease Biogeography Using Ecological Niche Modeling

    PubMed Central

    Escobar, Luis E.; Craft, Meggan E.

    2016-01-01

    Mapping disease transmission risk is crucial in public and animal health for evidence based decision-making. Ecology and epidemiology are highly related disciplines that may contribute to improvements in mapping disease, which can be used to answer health related questions. Ecological niche modeling is increasingly used for understanding the biogeography of diseases in plants, animals, and humans. However, epidemiological applications of niche modeling approaches for disease mapping can fail to generate robust study designs, producing incomplete or incorrect inferences. This manuscript is an overview of the history and conceptual bases behind ecological niche modeling, specifically as applied to epidemiology and public health; it does not pretend to be an exhaustive and detailed description of ecological niche modeling literature and methods. Instead, this review includes selected state-of-the-science approaches and tools, providing a short guide to designing studies incorporating information on the type and quality of the input data (i.e., occurrences and environmental variables), identification and justification of the extent of the study area, and encourages users to explore and test diverse algorithms for more informed conclusions. We provide a friendly introduction to the field of disease biogeography presenting an updated guide for researchers looking to use ecological niche modeling for disease mapping. We anticipate that ecological niche modeling will soon be a critical tool for epidemiologists aiming to map disease transmission risk, forecast disease distribution under climate change scenarios, and identify landscape factors triggering outbreaks. PMID:27547199

  6. Advances and Limitations of Disease Biogeography Using Ecological Niche Modeling.

    PubMed

    Escobar, Luis E; Craft, Meggan E

    2016-01-01

    Mapping disease transmission risk is crucial in public and animal health for evidence based decision-making. Ecology and epidemiology are highly related disciplines that may contribute to improvements in mapping disease, which can be used to answer health related questions. Ecological niche modeling is increasingly used for understanding the biogeography of diseases in plants, animals, and humans. However, epidemiological applications of niche modeling approaches for disease mapping can fail to generate robust study designs, producing incomplete or incorrect inferences. This manuscript is an overview of the history and conceptual bases behind ecological niche modeling, specifically as applied to epidemiology and public health; it does not pretend to be an exhaustive and detailed description of ecological niche modeling literature and methods. Instead, this review includes selected state-of-the-science approaches and tools, providing a short guide to designing studies incorporating information on the type and quality of the input data (i.e., occurrences and environmental variables), identification and justification of the extent of the study area, and encourages users to explore and test diverse algorithms for more informed conclusions. We provide a friendly introduction to the field of disease biogeography presenting an updated guide for researchers looking to use ecological niche modeling for disease mapping. We anticipate that ecological niche modeling will soon be a critical tool for epidemiologists aiming to map disease transmission risk, forecast disease distribution under climate change scenarios, and identify landscape factors triggering outbreaks.

  7. Ecological niche modeling of lyme disease in British Columbia, Canada.

    PubMed

    Mak, Sunny; Morshed, Muhammad; Henry, Bonnie

    2010-01-01

    The purpose of this study was to describe the geographic distribution and model the ecological niche for Borrelia burgdorferi (Johnson, Schmidt, Hyde, Steigerwaldt & Brenner), Ixodes pacificus (Cooley & Kohls), and Ixodes angustus (Neumann), the bacterium and primary tick vectors for Lyme disease, in British Columbia (BC), Canada. We employed a landscape epidemiology approach using geographic information systems mapping and ecological niche modeling (Genetic Algorithm for Rule-set Prediction) to identify geographical areas of disease transmission risk. Forecasted optimal ecological niche areas for B. burgdorferi are focused along the coast of Vancouver Island, the southwestern coast of the BC mainland, and in valley systems of interior BC roughly along and below the N51 degree line of latitude. These findings have been used to increase public and physician awareness of Lyme disease risk, and prioritize future field sampling for ticks in BC. PMID:20180315

  8. Introducing BioSARN - an ecological niche model refinement tool.

    PubMed

    Heap, Marshall J

    2016-08-01

    Environmental niche modeling outputs a biological species' potential distribution. Further work is needed to arrive at a species' realized distribution. The Biological Species Approximate Realized Niche (BioSARN) application provides the ecological modeler with a toolset to refine Environmental niche models (ENMs). These tools include soil and land class filtering, niche area quantification and novelties like enhanced temporal corridor definition, and output to a high spatial resolution land class model. BioSARN is exemplified with a study on Fraser fir, a tree species with strong land class and edaphic correlations. Soil and land class filtering caused the potential distribution area to decline 17%. Enhanced temporal corridor definition permitted distinction of current, continuing, and future niches, and thus niche change and movement. Tile quantification analysis provided further corroboration of these trends. BioSARN does not substitute other established ENM methods. Rather, it allows the experimenter to work with their preferred ENM, refining it using their knowledge and experience. Output from lower spatial resolution ENMs to a high spatial resolution land class model is a pseudo high-resolution result. Still, it maybe the best that can be achieved until wide range high spatial resolution environmental data and accurate high precision species occurrence data become generally available. PMID:27547356

  9. Introducing BioSARN - an ecological niche model refinement tool.

    PubMed

    Heap, Marshall J

    2016-08-01

    Environmental niche modeling outputs a biological species' potential distribution. Further work is needed to arrive at a species' realized distribution. The Biological Species Approximate Realized Niche (BioSARN) application provides the ecological modeler with a toolset to refine Environmental niche models (ENMs). These tools include soil and land class filtering, niche area quantification and novelties like enhanced temporal corridor definition, and output to a high spatial resolution land class model. BioSARN is exemplified with a study on Fraser fir, a tree species with strong land class and edaphic correlations. Soil and land class filtering caused the potential distribution area to decline 17%. Enhanced temporal corridor definition permitted distinction of current, continuing, and future niches, and thus niche change and movement. Tile quantification analysis provided further corroboration of these trends. BioSARN does not substitute other established ENM methods. Rather, it allows the experimenter to work with their preferred ENM, refining it using their knowledge and experience. Output from lower spatial resolution ENMs to a high spatial resolution land class model is a pseudo high-resolution result. Still, it maybe the best that can be achieved until wide range high spatial resolution environmental data and accurate high precision species occurrence data become generally available.

  10. Introducing MERGANSER: A Flexible Framework for Ecological Niche Modeling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Klawonn, M.; Dow, E. M.

    2015-12-01

    Ecological Niche Modeling (ENM) is a collection of techniques to find a "fundamental niche", the range of environmental conditions suitable for a species' survival in the absence of inter-species interactions, given a set of environmental parameters. Traditional approaches to ENM face a number of obstacles including limited data accessibility, data management problems, computational costs, interface usability, and model validation. The MERGANSER system, which stands for Modeling Ecological Residency Given A Normalized Set of Environmental Records, addresses these issues through powerful data persistence and flexible data access, coupled with a clear presentation of results and fine-tuned control over model parameters. MERGANSER leverages data measuring 72 weather related phenomena, land cover, soil type, population, species occurrence, general species information, and elevation, totaling over 1.5 TB of data. To the best of the authors' knowledge, MERGANSER uses higher-resolution spatial data sets than previously published models. Since MERGANSER stores data in an instance of Apache SOLR, layers generated in support of niche models are accessible to users via simplified Apache Lucene queries. This is made even simpler via an HTTP front end that generates Lucene queries automatically. Specifically, a user need only enter the name of a place and a species to run a model. Using this approach to synthesizing model layers, the MERGANSER system has successfully reproduced previously published niche model results with a simplified user experience. Input layers for the model are generated dynamically using OpenStreetMap and SOLR's spatial search functionality. Models are then run using either user-specified or automatically determined parameters after normalizing them into a common grid. Finally, results are visualized in the web interface, which allows for quick validation. Model results and all surrounding metadata are also accessible to the user for further study.

  11. Framework for analyzing ecological trait-based models in multidimensional niche spaces

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Biancalani, Tommaso; DeVille, Lee; Goldenfeld, Nigel

    2015-05-01

    We develop a theoretical framework for analyzing ecological models with a multidimensional niche space. Our approach relies on the fact that ecological niches are described by sequences of symbols, which allows us to include multiple phenotypic traits. Ecological drivers, such as competitive exclusion, are modeled by introducing the Hamming distance between two sequences. We show that a suitable transform diagonalizes the community interaction matrix of these models, making it possible to predict the conditions for niche differentiation and, close to the instability onset, the asymptotically long time population distributions of niches. We exemplify our method using the Lotka-Volterra equations with an exponential competition kernel.

  12. Framework for analyzing ecological trait-based models in multidimensional niche spaces.

    PubMed

    Biancalani, Tommaso; DeVille, Lee; Goldenfeld, Nigel

    2015-05-01

    We develop a theoretical framework for analyzing ecological models with a multidimensional niche space. Our approach relies on the fact that ecological niches are described by sequences of symbols, which allows us to include multiple phenotypic traits. Ecological drivers, such as competitive exclusion, are modeled by introducing the Hamming distance between two sequences. We show that a suitable transform diagonalizes the community interaction matrix of these models, making it possible to predict the conditions for niche differentiation and, close to the instability onset, the asymptotically long time population distributions of niches. We exemplify our method using the Lotka-Volterra equations with an exponential competition kernel. PMID:26066119

  13. Using Ecological Niche Models and Niche Analyses to Understand Speciation Patterns: The Case of Sister Neotropical Orchid Bees

    PubMed Central

    Silva, Daniel P.; Vilela, Bruno; De Marco, Paulo; Nemésio, André

    2014-01-01

    The role of past connections between the two major South American forested biomes on current species distribution has been recognized a long time ago. Climatic oscillations that further separated these biomes have promoted parapatric speciation, in which many species had their continuous distribution split, giving rise to different but related species (i.e., different potential distributions and realized niche features). The distribution of many sister species of orchid bees follow this pattern. Here, using ecological niche models and niche analyses, we (1) tested the role of ecological niche differentiation on the divergence between sister orchid-bees (genera Eulaema and Eufriesea) from the Amazon and Atlantic forests, and (2) highlighted interesting areas for new surveys. Amazonian species occupied different realized niches than their Atlantic sister species. Conversely, species of sympatric but distantly related Eulaema bees occupied similar realized niches. Amazonian species had a wide potential distribution in South America, whereas Atlantic Forest species were more limited to the eastern coast of the continent. Additionally, we identified several areas in need of future surveys. Our results show that the realized niche of Atlantic-Amazonian sister species of orchid bees, which have been previously treated as allopatric populations of three species, had limited niche overlap and similarity. These findings agree with their current taxonomy, which treats each of those populations as distinct valid species. PMID:25422941

  14. Locating Pleistocene Refugia: Comparing Phylogeographic and Ecological Niche Model Predictions

    PubMed Central

    Waltari, Eric; Hijmans, Robert J.; Peterson, A. Townsend; Nyári, Árpád S.; Perkins, Susan L.; Guralnick, Robert P.

    2007-01-01

    Ecological niche models (ENMs) provide a means of characterizing the spatial distribution of suitable conditions for species, and have recently been applied to the challenge of locating potential distributional areas at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) when unfavorable climate conditions led to range contractions and fragmentation. Here, we compare and contrast ENM-based reconstructions of LGM refugial locations with those resulting from the more traditional molecular genetic and phylogeographic predictions. We examined 20 North American terrestrial vertebrate species from different regions and with different range sizes for which refugia have been identified based on phylogeographic analyses, using ENM tools to make parallel predictions. We then assessed the correspondence between the two approaches based on spatial overlap and areal extent of the predicted refugia. In 14 of the 20 species, the predictions from ENM and predictions based on phylogeographic studies were significantly spatially correlated, suggesting that the two approaches to development of refugial maps are converging on a similar result. Our results confirm that ENM scenario exploration can provide a useful complement to molecular studies, offering a less subjective, spatially explicit hypothesis of past geographic patterns of distribution. PMID:17622339

  15. A synthesis of transplant experiments and ecological niche models suggests that range limits are often niche limits.

    PubMed

    Lee-Yaw, Julie A; Kharouba, Heather M; Bontrager, Megan; Mahony, Colin; Csergő, Anna Mária; Noreen, Annika M E; Li, Qin; Schuster, Richard; Angert, Amy L

    2016-06-01

    Global change has made it important to understand the factors that shape species' distributions. Central to this area of research is the question of whether species' range limits primarily reflect the distribution of suitable habitat (i.e. niche limits) or arise as a result of dispersal limitation. Over-the-edge transplant experiments and ecological niche models are commonly used to address this question, yet few studies have taken advantage of a combined approach for inferring the causes of range limits. Here, we synthesise results from existing transplant experiments with new information on the predicted suitability of sites based on niche models. We found that individual performance and habitat suitability independently decline beyond range limits across multiple species. Furthermore, inferences from transplant experiments and niche models were generally concordant within species, with 31 out of 40 cases fully supporting the hypothesis that range limits are niche limits. These results suggest that range limits are often niche limits and that the factors constraining species' ranges operate at scales detectable by both transplant experiments and niche models. In light of these findings, we outline an integrative framework for addressing the causes of range limits in individual species. PMID:27111656

  16. Range bagging: a new method for ecological niche modelling from presence-only data

    PubMed Central

    Drake, John M.

    2015-01-01

    The ecological niche is the set of environments in which a population of a species can persist without introduction of individuals from other locations. A good mathematical or computational representation of the niche is a prerequisite to addressing many questions in ecology, biogeography, evolutionary biology and conservation. A particularly challenging question for ecological niche modelling is the problem of presence-only modelling. That is, can an ecological niche be identified from records drawn only from the set of niche environments without records from non-niche environments for comparison? Here, I introduce a new method for ecological niche modelling from presence-only data called range bagging. Range bagging draws on the concept of a species' environmental range, but was inspired by the empirical performance of ensemble learning algorithms in other areas of ecological research. This paper extends the concept of environmental range to multiple dimensions and shows that range bagging is computationally feasible even when the number of environmental dimensions is large. The target of the range bagging base learner is an environmental tolerance of the species in a projection of its niche and is therefore an ecologically interpretable property of a species' biological requirements. The computational complexity of range bagging is linear in the number of examples, which compares favourably with the main alternative, Qhull. In conclusion, range bagging appears to be a reasonable choice for niche modelling in applications in which a presence-only method is desired and may provide a solution to problems in other disciplines where one-class classification is required, such as outlier detection and concept learning. PMID:25948612

  17. Ecological niche modeling of sympatric krill predators around Marguerite Bay, Western Antarctic Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Friedlaender, Ari S.; Johnston, David W.; Fraser, William R.; Burns, Jennifer; Halpin, Patrick N.; Costa, Daniel P.

    2011-07-01

    Adélie penguins ( Pygoscelis adeliae), carabeater seals ( Lobodon carcinophagus), humpback ( Megaptera novaeangliae), and minke whales ( Balaenoptera bonaernsis) are found in the waters surrounding the Western Antarctic Peninsula. Each species relies primarily on Antarctic krill ( Euphausia superba) and has physiological constraints and foraging behaviors that dictate their ecological niches. Understanding the degree of ecological overlap between sympatric krill predators is critical to understanding and predicting the impacts on climate-driven changes to the Antarctic marine ecosystem. To explore ecological relationships amongst sympatric krill predators, we developed ecological niche models using a maximum entropy modeling approach (Maxent) that allows the integration of data collected by a variety of means (e.g. satellite-based locations and visual observations). We created spatially explicit probability distributions for the four krill predators in fall 2001 and 2002 in conjunction with a suite of environmental variables. We find areas within Marguerite Bay with high krill predator occurrence rates or biological hot spots. We find the modeled ecological niches for Adélie penguins and crabeater seals may be affected by their physiological needs to haul-out on substrate. Thus, their distributions may be less dictated by proximity to prey and more so by physical features that over time provide adequate access to prey. Humpback and minke whales, being fully marine and having greater energetic demands, occupy ecological niches more directly proximate to prey. We also find evidence to suggest that the amount of overlap between modeled niches is relatively low, even for species with similar energetic requirements. In a rapidly changing and variable environment, our modeling work shows little indication that krill predators maintain similar ecological niches across years around Marguerite Bay. Given the amount of variability in the marine environment around the

  18. Ecological Niche Model used to examine the distribution of an invasive, non-indigenous coral.

    PubMed

    Carlos-Júnior, L A; Barbosa, N P U; Moulton, T P; Creed, J C

    2015-02-01

    All organisms have a set of ecological conditions (or niche) which they depend on to survive and establish in a given habitat. The ecological niche of a species limits its geographical distribution. In the particular case of non-indigenous species (NIS), the ecological requirements of the species impose boundaries on the potential distribution of the organism in the new receptor regions. This is a theoretical assumption implicit when Ecological Niche Models (ENMs) are used to assess the potential distribution of NIS. This assumption has been questioned, given that in some cases niche shift may occur during the process of invasion. We used ENMs to investigate whether the model fit with data from the native range of the coral Tubastraea coccinea Lesson, 1829 successfully predicts its invasion in the Atlantic. We also identified which factors best explain the distribution of this NIS. The broad native distributional range of T. coccinea predicted the invaded sites well, especially along the Brazilian coast, the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. The occurrence of T. coccinea was positively related to calcite levels and negatively to eutrophy, but was rather unaffected to other variables that often limit other marine organisms, suggesting that this NIS has wide ecological limits, a trait typical of invasive species. PMID:25465286

  19. Niche and neutral models predict asymptotically equivalent species abundance distributions in high-diversity ecological communities

    PubMed Central

    Chisholm, Ryan A.; Pacala, Stephen W.

    2010-01-01

    A fundamental challenge in ecology is to understand the mechanisms that govern patterns of relative species abundance. Previous numerical simulations have suggested that complex niche-structured models produce species abundance distributions (SADs) that are qualitatively similar to those of very simple neutral models that ignore differences between species. However, in the absence of an analytical treatment of niche models, one cannot tell whether the two classes of model produce the same patterns via similar or different mechanisms. We present an analytical proof that, in the limit as diversity becomes large, a strong niche model give rises to exactly the same asymptotic form of SAD as the neutral model, and we verify the analytical predictions for a Panamanian tropical forest data set. Our results strongly suggest that neutral processes drive patterns of relative species abundance in high-diversity ecological communities, even when strong niche structure exists. However, neutral theory cannot explain what generates high diversity in the first place, and it may not be valid in low-diversity communities. Our results also confirm that neutral theory cannot be used to infer an absence of niche structure or to explain ecosystem function. PMID:20733073

  20. Do Ecological Niche Models Accurately Identify Climatic Determinants of Species Ranges?

    PubMed

    Searcy, Christopher A; Shaffer, H Bradley

    2016-04-01

    Defining species' niches is central to understanding their distributions and is thus fundamental to basic ecology and climate change projections. Ecological niche models (ENMs) are a key component of making accurate projections and include descriptions of the niche in terms of both response curves and rankings of variable importance. In this study, we evaluate Maxent's ranking of environmental variables based on their importance in delimiting species' range boundaries by asking whether these same variables also govern annual recruitment based on long-term demographic studies. We found that Maxent-based assessments of variable importance in setting range boundaries in the California tiger salamander (Ambystoma californiense; CTS) correlate very well with how important those variables are in governing ongoing recruitment of CTS at the population level. This strong correlation suggests that Maxent's ranking of variable importance captures biologically realistic assessments of factors governing population persistence. However, this result holds only when Maxent models are built using best-practice procedures and variables are ranked based on permutation importance. Our study highlights the need for building high-quality niche models and provides encouraging evidence that when such models are built, they can reflect important aspects of a species' ecology. PMID:27028071

  1. Ecological niche modeling of Coccidioides spp. in western North American deserts.

    PubMed

    Baptista-Rosas, Raúl C; Hinojosa, Alejandro; Riquelme, Meritxell

    2007-09-01

    Coccidioidomycosis is an endemic infectious disease in western North American deserts caused by the dimorphic ascomycete Coccidioides spp. Even though there has been an increase in the number of reported cases in the last years, few positive isolations have been obtained from soil samples in endemic areas for the disease. This low correlation between epidemiological and environmental data prompted us to better characterize the fundamental ecological niche of this important fungal pathogen. By using a combination of environmental variables and geospatially referenced points, where positive isolations had been obtained in southern California and Arizona (USA) and Sonora (Mexico), we have applied Genetic Algorithm for Rule Set Production (GARP) and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to characterize the most likely ecological conditions favorable for the presence of the fungus. This model, based on environmental variables, allowed us to identify hotspots for the presence of the fungus in areas of southern California, Arizona, Texas, Baja California, and northern Mexico, whereas an alternative model based on bioclimatic variables gave us much broader probable distribution areas. We have overlapped the hotspots obtained with the environmental model with the available epidemiological information and have found a high match. Our model suggests that the most probable fundamental ecological niche for Coccidioides spp. is found in the arid lands of the North American deserts and provides the methodological basis to further characterize the realized ecological niche of Coccidioides spp., which would ultimately contribute to design smart field-sampling strategies.

  2. Ecological niche of Legionella pneumophila

    SciTech Connect

    Fliermans, C.B.

    1983-01-01

    This paper discusses the ecological niches, relationships and controls of Legionella derived from environmental sources. Only as clinical cases and studies relate directly to the ecological understanding of the bacterium will they be discussed. This review seeks to separate the ecological parameters associated with Legionella that are often incorporated into the medical literature as well as to highlight specific ecological studies. A series of ecological studies demonstrates the niches of Legionella, the ecological parameters that allow the bacterium to survive, grow and to be disseminated. Relationships among given habitats are explored along with biological relationships within a given habitat.

  3. Cognitive Niches: An Ecological Model of Strategy Selection

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Marewski, Julian N.; Schooler, Lael J.

    2011-01-01

    How do people select among different strategies to accomplish a given task? Across disciplines, the strategy selection problem represents a major challenge. We propose a quantitative model that predicts how selection emerges through the interplay among strategies, cognitive capacities, and the environment. This interplay carves out for each…

  4. The fate of the Arctic seaweed Fucus distichus under climate change: an ecological niche modeling approach.

    PubMed

    Jueterbock, Alexander; Smolina, Irina; Coyer, James A; Hoarau, Galice

    2016-03-01

    Rising temperatures are predicted to melt all perennial ice cover in the Arctic by the end of this century, thus opening up suitable habitat for temperate and subarctic species. Canopy-forming seaweeds provide an ideal system to predict the potential impact of climate-change on rocky-shore ecosystems, given their direct dependence on temperature and their key role in the ecological system. Our primary objective was to predict the climate-change induced range-shift of Fucus distichus, the dominant canopy-forming macroalga in the Arctic and subarctic rocky intertidal. More specifically, we asked: which Arctic/subarctic and cold-temperate shores of the northern hemisphere will display the greatest distributional change of F. distichus and how will this affect niche overlap with seaweeds from temperate regions? We used the program MAXENT to develop correlative ecological niche models with dominant range-limiting factors and 169 occurrence records. Using three climate-change scenarios, we projected habitat suitability of F. distichus - and its niche overlap with three dominant temperate macroalgae - until year 2200. Maximum sea surface temperature was identified as the most important factor in limiting the fundamental niche of F. distichus. Rising temperatures were predicted to have low impact on the species' southern distribution limits, but to shift its northern distribution limits poleward into the high Arctic. In cold-temperate to subarctic regions, new areas of niche overlap were predicted between F. distichus and intertidal macroalgae immigrating from the south. While climate-change threatens intertidal seaweeds in warm-temperate regions, seaweed meadows will likely flourish in the Arctic intertidal. Although this enriches biodiversity and opens up new seaweed-harvesting grounds, it will also trigger unpredictable changes in the structure and functioning of the Arctic intertidal ecosystem. PMID:27087933

  5. Ecological Niche Modeling to Estimate the Distribution of Japanese Encephalitis Virus in Asia

    PubMed Central

    Miller, Robin H.; Masuoka, Penny; Klein, Terry A.; Kim, Heung-Chul; Somer, Todd; Grieco, John

    2012-01-01

    Background Culex tritaeniorhynchus is the primary vector of Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), a leading cause of encephalitis in Asia. JEV is transmitted in an enzootic cycle involving large wading birds as the reservoirs and swine as amplifying hosts. The development of a JEV vaccine reduced the number of JE cases in regions with comprehensive childhood vaccination programs, such as in Japan and the Republic of Korea. However, the lack of vaccine programs or insufficient coverage of populations in other endemic countries leaves many people susceptible to JEV. The aim of this study was to predict the distribution of Culex tritaeniorhynchus using ecological niche modeling. Methods/Principal Findings An ecological niche model was constructed using the Maxent program to map the areas with suitable environmental conditions for the Cx. tritaeniorhynchus vector. Program input consisted of environmental data (temperature, elevation, rainfall) and known locations of vector presence resulting from an extensive literature search and records from MosquitoMap. The statistically significant Maxent model of the estimated probability of Cx. tritaeniorhynchus presence showed that the mean temperatures of the wettest quarter had the greatest impact on the model. Further, the majority of human Japanese encephalitis (JE) cases were located in regions with higher estimated probability of Cx. tritaeniorhynchus presence. Conclusions/Significance Our ecological niche model of the estimated probability of Cx. tritaeniorhynchus presence provides a framework for better allocation of vector control resources, particularly in locations where JEV vaccinations are unavailable. Furthermore, this model provides estimates of vector probability that could improve vector surveillance programs and JE control efforts. PMID:22724030

  6. Ecological niche models reveal the importance of climate variability for the biogeography of protosteloid amoebae.

    PubMed

    Aguilar, María; Lado, Carlos

    2012-08-01

    Habitat availability and environmental preferences of species are among the most important factors in determining the success of dispersal processes and therefore in shaping the distribution of protists. We explored the differences in fundamental niches and potential distributions of an ecological guild of slime moulds-protosteloid amoebae-in the Iberian Peninsula. A large set of samples collected in a north-east to south-west transect of approximately 1000 km along the peninsula was used to test the hypothesis that, together with the existence of suitable microhabitats, climate conditions may determine the probability of survival of species. Although protosteloid amoebae share similar morphologies and life history strategies, canonical correspondence analyses showed that they have varied ecological optima, and that climate conditions have an important effect in niche differentiation. Maxent environmental niche models provided consistent predictions of the probability of presence of the species based on climate data, and they were used to generate maps of potential distribution in an 'everything is everywhere' scenario. The most important climatic factors were, in both analyses, variables that measure changes in conditions throughout the year, confirming that the alternation of fruiting bodies, cysts and amoeboid stages in the life cycles of protosteloid amoebae constitutes an advantage for surviving in a changing environment. Microhabitat affinity seems to be influenced by climatic conditions, which suggests that the micro-environment may vary at a local scale and change together with the external climate at a larger scale.

  7. Ecological Niche Modeling for the Prediction of the Geographic Distribution of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in Tunisia

    PubMed Central

    Chalghaf, Bilel; Chlif, Sadok; Mayala, Benjamin; Ghawar, Wissem; Bettaieb, Jihène; Harrabi, Myriam; Benie, Goze Bertin; Michael, Edwin; Salah, Afif Ben

    2016-01-01

    Cutaneous leishmaniasis is a very complex disease involving multiple factors that limit its emergence and spatial distribution. Prediction of cutaneous leishmaniasis epidemics in Tunisia remains difficult because most of the epidemiological tools used so far are descriptive in nature and mainly focus on a time dimension. The purpose of this work is to predict the potential geographic distribution of Phlebotomus papatasi and zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania major in Tunisia using Grinnellian ecological niche modeling. We attempted to assess the importance of environmental factors influencing the potential distribution of P. papatasi and cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by L. major. Vectors were trapped in central Tunisia during the transmission season using CDC light traps (John W. Hock Co., Gainesville, FL). A global positioning system was used to record the geographical coordinates of vector occurrence points and households tested positive for cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by L. major. Nine environmental layers were used as predictor variables to model the P. papatasi geographical distribution and five variables were used to model the L. major potential distribution. Ecological niche modeling was used to relate known species' occurrence points to values of environmental factors for these same points to predict the presence of the species in unsampled regions based on the value of the predictor variables. Rainfall and temperature contributed the most as predictors for sand flies and human case distributions. Ecological niche modeling anticipated the current distribution of P. papatasi with the highest suitability for species occurrence in the central and southeastern part of Tunisian. Furthermore, our study demonstrated that governorates of Gafsa, Sidi Bouzid, and Kairouan are at highest epidemic risk. PMID:26856914

  8. Ecological Niche Modeling for the Prediction of the Geographic Distribution of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in Tunisia.

    PubMed

    Chalghaf, Bilel; Chlif, Sadok; Mayala, Benjamin; Ghawar, Wissem; Bettaieb, Jihène; Harrabi, Myriam; Benie, Goze Bertin; Michael, Edwin; Salah, Afif Ben

    2016-04-01

    Cutaneous leishmaniasis is a very complex disease involving multiple factors that limit its emergence and spatial distribution. Prediction of cutaneous leishmaniasis epidemics in Tunisia remains difficult because most of the epidemiological tools used so far are descriptive in nature and mainly focus on a time dimension. The purpose of this work is to predict the potential geographic distribution of Phlebotomus papatasi and zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania major in Tunisia using Grinnellian ecological niche modeling. We attempted to assess the importance of environmental factors influencing the potential distribution of P. papatasi and cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by L. major. Vectors were trapped in central Tunisia during the transmission season using CDC light traps (John W. Hock Co., Gainesville, FL). A global positioning system was used to record the geographical coordinates of vector occurrence points and households tested positive for cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by L. major. Nine environmental layers were used as predictor variables to model the P. papatasi geographical distribution and five variables were used to model the L. major potential distribution. Ecological niche modeling was used to relate known species' occurrence points to values of environmental factors for these same points to predict the presence of the species in unsampled regions based on the value of the predictor variables. Rainfall and temperature contributed the most as predictors for sand flies and human case distributions. Ecological niche modeling anticipated the current distribution of P. papatasi with the highest suitability for species occurrence in the central and southeastern part of Tunisian. Furthermore, our study demonstrated that governorates of Gafsa, Sidi Bouzid, and Kairouan are at highest epidemic risk. PMID:26856914

  9. Ecological Niche Modeling for the Prediction of the Geographic Distribution of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in Tunisia.

    PubMed

    Chalghaf, Bilel; Chlif, Sadok; Mayala, Benjamin; Ghawar, Wissem; Bettaieb, Jihène; Harrabi, Myriam; Benie, Goze Bertin; Michael, Edwin; Salah, Afif Ben

    2016-04-01

    Cutaneous leishmaniasis is a very complex disease involving multiple factors that limit its emergence and spatial distribution. Prediction of cutaneous leishmaniasis epidemics in Tunisia remains difficult because most of the epidemiological tools used so far are descriptive in nature and mainly focus on a time dimension. The purpose of this work is to predict the potential geographic distribution of Phlebotomus papatasi and zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania major in Tunisia using Grinnellian ecological niche modeling. We attempted to assess the importance of environmental factors influencing the potential distribution of P. papatasi and cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by L. major. Vectors were trapped in central Tunisia during the transmission season using CDC light traps (John W. Hock Co., Gainesville, FL). A global positioning system was used to record the geographical coordinates of vector occurrence points and households tested positive for cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by L. major. Nine environmental layers were used as predictor variables to model the P. papatasi geographical distribution and five variables were used to model the L. major potential distribution. Ecological niche modeling was used to relate known species' occurrence points to values of environmental factors for these same points to predict the presence of the species in unsampled regions based on the value of the predictor variables. Rainfall and temperature contributed the most as predictors for sand flies and human case distributions. Ecological niche modeling anticipated the current distribution of P. papatasi with the highest suitability for species occurrence in the central and southeastern part of Tunisian. Furthermore, our study demonstrated that governorates of Gafsa, Sidi Bouzid, and Kairouan are at highest epidemic risk.

  10. In defense of 'niche modeling'.

    PubMed

    Warren, Dan L

    2012-09-01

    There is a growing awareness of problems with the estimation of the ecological tolerances of species through correlative modeling approaches. These problems have led some investigators to argue for abandoning terms such as 'ecological niche model' and 'environmental niche model' in favor of the ostensibly more value-neutral 'species distribution model', as the models are thought to frequently be poor estimators of the niche. Here, I argue that most applications to which these models are put require the assumption that they do estimate the niche, however imperfectly, and that obscuring this inescapable and potentially flawed assumption in the terminology may only serve to hinder the development of the field.

  11. A NICHE FOR ISOTOPIC ECOLOGY

    EPA Science Inventory

    Fifty years ago, GE Hutchinson defined the ecological niche as a hypervolume in n-dimensional space with environmental variables as axes. Ecologists have recently developed renewed interest in the concept, and technological advances now allow us to use stable isotope analyses to ...

  12. Species diversity of sand flies and ecological niche model of Phlebotomus papatasi in central Iran.

    PubMed

    Abedi-Astaneh, Fatemeh; Akhavan, Amir Ahmad; Shirzadi, Mohammd Reza; Rassi, Yavar; Yaghoobi-Ershadi, Mohammad Reza; Hanafi-Bojd, Ahmad Ali; Akbarzadeh, Kamran; Nafar-Shalamzari, Reza; Parsi, Sohbat; Abbasi, Ali; Raufi, Hedayatollah

    2015-09-01

    Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is the most important vector-borne disease in Iran. Qom Province is a very important area in the case of CL transmission, because of high traffic population from other parts of the country, or even other countries, as well as existence of confirmed foci of the disease. The aim of this study was to determine the ecology of sand flies in two different climates of this province and model the distribution of the main vector. Sand flies were collected monthly during April 2013-April 2014, at 22 urban/rural collection sites. Site selection was constrained by the geographical distribution of CL cases in recent years. Shannon-Weiner and Evenness indices were used to compare diversity in two studied climates. ArcGIS and MaxEnt were used to map and predict the appropriate ecological niches for sand flies. Totally, 5389 sand flies were collected and 12 species were identified. The most abundant species were Sergentomyia sintoni, P. papatasi, P. sergenti s.l. and Phlebotomus alexandri. Two peaks of activity were found in May and August in lowlands; while in mountainous areas they were observed in June and September. Species diversity in mountainous areas was found to be higher than in lowlands. The environmental variable with the highest gain in MaxEnt model was the monthly mean of (max temp-min temp). A big part of the lowland areas provides good ecological niches for P. papatasi and therefore higher transmission potential. These findings can be used in stratification of potential for CL transmission in Qom province.

  13. Species diversity of sand flies and ecological niche model of Phlebotomus papatasi in central Iran.

    PubMed

    Abedi-Astaneh, Fatemeh; Akhavan, Amir Ahmad; Shirzadi, Mohammd Reza; Rassi, Yavar; Yaghoobi-Ershadi, Mohammad Reza; Hanafi-Bojd, Ahmad Ali; Akbarzadeh, Kamran; Nafar-Shalamzari, Reza; Parsi, Sohbat; Abbasi, Ali; Raufi, Hedayatollah

    2015-09-01

    Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is the most important vector-borne disease in Iran. Qom Province is a very important area in the case of CL transmission, because of high traffic population from other parts of the country, or even other countries, as well as existence of confirmed foci of the disease. The aim of this study was to determine the ecology of sand flies in two different climates of this province and model the distribution of the main vector. Sand flies were collected monthly during April 2013-April 2014, at 22 urban/rural collection sites. Site selection was constrained by the geographical distribution of CL cases in recent years. Shannon-Weiner and Evenness indices were used to compare diversity in two studied climates. ArcGIS and MaxEnt were used to map and predict the appropriate ecological niches for sand flies. Totally, 5389 sand flies were collected and 12 species were identified. The most abundant species were Sergentomyia sintoni, P. papatasi, P. sergenti s.l. and Phlebotomus alexandri. Two peaks of activity were found in May and August in lowlands; while in mountainous areas they were observed in June and September. Species diversity in mountainous areas was found to be higher than in lowlands. The environmental variable with the highest gain in MaxEnt model was the monthly mean of (max temp-min temp). A big part of the lowland areas provides good ecological niches for P. papatasi and therefore higher transmission potential. These findings can be used in stratification of potential for CL transmission in Qom province. PMID:26071647

  14. Ecological Niche Modeling of Risk Factors for H7N9 Human Infection in China.

    PubMed

    Xu, Min; Cao, Chunxiang; Li, Qun; Jia, Peng; Zhao, Jian

    2016-01-01

    China was attacked by a serious influenza A (H7N9) virus in 2013. The first human infection case was confirmed in Shanghai City and soon spread across most of eastern China. Using the methods of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and ecological niche modeling (ENM), this research quantitatively analyzed the relationships between the H7N9 occurrence and the main environmental factors, including meteorological variables, human population density, bird migratory routes, wetland distribution, and live poultry farms, markets, and processing factories. Based on these relationships the probability of the presence of H7N9 was predicted. Results indicated that the distribution of live poultry processing factories, farms, and human population density were the top three most important determinants of the H7N9 human infection. The relative contributions to the model of live poultry processing factories, farms and human population density were 39.9%, 17.7% and 17.7%, respectively, while the maximum temperature of the warmest month and mean relative humidity had nearly no contribution to the model. The paper has developed an ecological niche model (ENM) that predicts the spatial distribution of H7N9 cases in China using environmental variables. The area under the curve (AUC) values of the model were greater than 0.9 (0.992 for the training samples and 0.961 for the test data). The findings indicated that most of the high risk areas were distributed in the Yangtze River Delta. These findings have important significance for the Chinese government to enhance the environmental surveillance at multiple human poultry interfaces in the high risk area.

  15. Ecological Niche Modeling of Risk Factors for H7N9 Human Infection in China

    PubMed Central

    Xu, Min; Cao, Chunxiang; Li, Qun; Jia, Peng; Zhao, Jian

    2016-01-01

    China was attacked by a serious influenza A (H7N9) virus in 2013. The first human infection case was confirmed in Shanghai City and soon spread across most of eastern China. Using the methods of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and ecological niche modeling (ENM), this research quantitatively analyzed the relationships between the H7N9 occurrence and the main environmental factors, including meteorological variables, human population density, bird migratory routes, wetland distribution, and live poultry farms, markets, and processing factories. Based on these relationships the probability of the presence of H7N9 was predicted. Results indicated that the distribution of live poultry processing factories, farms, and human population density were the top three most important determinants of the H7N9 human infection. The relative contributions to the model of live poultry processing factories, farms and human population density were 39.9%, 17.7% and 17.7%, respectively, while the maximum temperature of the warmest month and mean relative humidity had nearly no contribution to the model. The paper has developed an ecological niche model (ENM) that predicts the spatial distribution of H7N9 cases in China using environmental variables. The area under the curve (AUC) values of the model were greater than 0.9 (0.992 for the training samples and 0.961 for the test data). The findings indicated that most of the high risk areas were distributed in the Yangtze River Delta. These findings have important significance for the Chinese government to enhance the environmental surveillance at multiple human poultry interfaces in the high risk area. PMID:27322296

  16. Ecological Niche Modeling of Risk Factors for H7N9 Human Infection in China.

    PubMed

    Xu, Min; Cao, Chunxiang; Li, Qun; Jia, Peng; Zhao, Jian

    2016-01-01

    China was attacked by a serious influenza A (H7N9) virus in 2013. The first human infection case was confirmed in Shanghai City and soon spread across most of eastern China. Using the methods of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and ecological niche modeling (ENM), this research quantitatively analyzed the relationships between the H7N9 occurrence and the main environmental factors, including meteorological variables, human population density, bird migratory routes, wetland distribution, and live poultry farms, markets, and processing factories. Based on these relationships the probability of the presence of H7N9 was predicted. Results indicated that the distribution of live poultry processing factories, farms, and human population density were the top three most important determinants of the H7N9 human infection. The relative contributions to the model of live poultry processing factories, farms and human population density were 39.9%, 17.7% and 17.7%, respectively, while the maximum temperature of the warmest month and mean relative humidity had nearly no contribution to the model. The paper has developed an ecological niche model (ENM) that predicts the spatial distribution of H7N9 cases in China using environmental variables. The area under the curve (AUC) values of the model were greater than 0.9 (0.992 for the training samples and 0.961 for the test data). The findings indicated that most of the high risk areas were distributed in the Yangtze River Delta. These findings have important significance for the Chinese government to enhance the environmental surveillance at multiple human poultry interfaces in the high risk area. PMID:27322296

  17. Mapping the potential risk of mycetoma infection in Sudan and South Sudan using ecological niche modeling.

    PubMed

    Samy, Abdallah M; van de Sande, Wendy W J; Fahal, Ahmed Hassan; Peterson, A Townsend

    2014-10-01

    In 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized mycetoma as one of the neglected tropical conditions due to the efforts of the mycetoma consortium. This same consortium formulated knowledge gaps that require further research. One of these gaps was that very few data are available on the epidemiology and transmission cycle of the causative agents. Previous work suggested a soil-borne or Acacia thorn-prick-mediated origin of mycetoma infections, but no studies have investigated effects of soil type and Acacia geographic distribution on mycetoma case distributions. Here, we map risk of mycetoma infection across Sudan and South Sudan using ecological niche modeling (ENM). For this study, records of mycetoma cases were obtained from the scientific literature and GIDEON; Acacia records were obtained from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. We developed ENMs based on digital GIS data layers summarizing soil characteristics, land-surface temperature, and greenness indices to provide a rich picture of environmental variation across Sudan and South Sudan. ENMs were calibrated in known endemic districts and transferred countrywide; model results suggested that risk is greatest in an east-west belt across central Sudan. Visualizing ENMs in environmental dimensions, mycetoma occurs under diverse environmental conditions. We compared niches of mycetoma and Acacia trees, and could not reject the null hypothesis of niche similarity. This study revealed contributions of different environmental factors to mycetoma infection risk, identified suitable environments and regions for transmission, signaled a potential mycetoma-Acacia association, and provided steps towards a robust risk map for the disease. PMID:25330098

  18. Trends and biases in global scientific literature about ecological niche models.

    PubMed

    Vaz, U L; Cunha, H F; Nabout, J C

    2015-11-01

    Recently, ecological niche models have been employed to investigate the potential geographical distribution of species. However, it is necessary to analyze the vast number of publications on this topic to understand the trends and biases of research using ecological niche models (ENMs). Therefore, this study aims to investigate trends in the scientific literature regarding studies on ENMs. For the quantitative analysis of the literature on ENMs, we performed a search in the Thomson ISI (Web of Science) database between 1991 and 2013. The search identified 3042 papers containing preselected keywords in either the title or abstract. The results showed that the number of papers has increased over the years (r=0.77, P<0.001), with a sharp increase in recent years, highlighting the widespread use of the ENMs. There was an increase in the diversity of journals that published papers about ENMs (r=0.97, P<0.001). The research was conducted in different countries, predominantly the United States of America (550 papers), and the most commonly used method was the Maximum Entropy method (312 papers). Regarding the taxonomic group, most research has been conducted on plants (402 papers, or 28.36% of the total). There was no relationship between the modeling method used and the taxonomic group studied (χ2=4.8, P=0.15). Finally, the wide availability of biological, environmental and computational resources has elicited the broad use of tools for ENMs. Despite the conceptual discussions of the ENMs, this method is currently the most effective way to evaluate the potential geographical distribution of species, and to predict the distribution under different environmental conditions (i.e., future or past scenarios).

  19. Ecological Niche Modeling of main reservoir hosts of zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis in Iran.

    PubMed

    Gholamrezaei, Mostafa; Mohebali, Mehdi; Hanafi-Bojd, Ahmad Ali; Sedaghat, Mohammad Mehdi; Shirzadi, Mohammad Reza

    2016-08-01

    Zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis (ZCL), caused by Leishmania major, is a common zoonotic vector-borne disease in Iran. Close contact with infected reservoir hosts increases the probability of transmission of Leishmania parasite infections to susceptible humans. Four gerbil species (Rodentia: Gerbillidae) serve as the main reservoir hosts for ZCL in different endemic foci of Iran. These species include Rhombomys opimus, Meriones libycus, Meriones hurrianae and Tatera indica; while notable infection has been reported in Nesokia indica as well. The purpose of this study is to model the distribution of these reservoirs to identify the risk areas of ZCL. A data bank was developed including all published data during the period of 1970-2015. Maximum entropy model was used to find the most appropriate ecological niches for each species. The areas under curve obtained were 0.961, 0.927, 0.922, 0.997 and 0.899, instead of 1, for training test in R. opimus, M. libycus, T. indica, M. hurrianae and N. indica, respectively. The environmental variable with the highest gain when used in isolation was slope for R. opimus and N. indica, annual mean temperature for M. libycus, and seasonal precipitation for T. indica and M. hurrianae. Summation of presence probabilities for three main species, i.e., R. opimus, M. libycus and T. indica revealed favorable ecological niches in wide areas of 16 provinces. This is the first study to predict the distribution of ZCL reservoir hosts in Iran. Climatology and topography variables had high contributions toward the prediction of potential distribution of the main reservoir species; therefore, as climate changes, the models should be updated periodically with novel data, and the results should be used in disease-monitoring programs.

  20. Interpreting the Process behind Endemism in China by Integrating the Phylogeography and Ecological Niche Models of the Stachyridopsis ruficeps

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Huatao; Wang, Wenjuan; Song, Gang; Qu, Yanhua; Li, Shou-Hsien; Fjeldså, Jon; Lei, Fumin

    2012-01-01

    An area of endemism (AOE) is a complex expression of the ecological and evolutionary history of a species. Here we aim to address the principal drivers of avian diversification in shaping patterns of endemism in China by integrating genetic, ecological, and distributional data on the Red-headed Tree Babbler (Stachyridopsis ruficeps), which is distributed across the eastern Himalayas and south China. We sequenced two mtDNA markers from 182 individuals representing all three of the primary AOEs in China. Phylogenetic inferences were used to reconstruct intraspecific phylogenetic relationships. Divergence time and population demography were estimated to gain insight into the evolutionary history of the species. We used Ecological niche modeling to predict species’ distributions during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and in the present. Finally, we also used two quantitative tests, an identity test and background test to assess the similarity of ecological niche preferences between adjacent lineages. We found five primary reciprocally monophyletic clades, typically separated approximately 0.2–2.27 MYA, of which three were deeply isolated endemic lineages located in the three AOEs. All phylogroups were detected to have undergone population expansion during the past 0.3 MY. Niche models showed discontinuous habitats, and there were three barriers of less suitable habitat during the LGM and in modern times. Ecoclimatic niches may diverge significantly even over recent timescales, as each phylogroup had a unique distribution, and unique niche characteristics. Vicariant events associated with geographical and ecological barriers, glacial refuges and ecological differentiation may be the main drivers forming the pattern of endemism in China. PMID:23056441

  1. Geographic Distribution of Chagas Disease Vectors in Brazil Based on Ecological Niche Modeling

    PubMed Central

    Gurgel-Gonçalves, Rodrigo; Galvão, Cléber; Costa, Jane; Peterson, A. Townsend

    2012-01-01

    Although Brazil was declared free from Chagas disease transmission by the domestic vector Triatoma infestans, human acute cases are still being registered based on transmission by native triatomine species. For a better understanding of transmission risk, the geographic distribution of Brazilian triatomines was analyzed. Sixteen out of 62 Brazilian species that both occur in >20 municipalities and present synanthropic tendencies were modeled based on their ecological niches. Panstrongylus geniculatus and P. megistus showed broad ecological ranges, but most of the species sort out by the biome in which they are distributed: Rhodnius pictipes and R. robustus in the Amazon; R. neglectus, Triatoma sordida, and T. costalimai in the Cerrado; R. nasutus, P. lutzi, T. brasiliensis, T. pseudomaculata, T. melanocephala, and T. petrocchiae in the Caatinga; T. rubrovaria in the southern pampas; T. tibiamaculata and T. vitticeps in the Atlantic Forest. Although most occurrences were recorded in open areas (Cerrado and Caatinga), our results show that all environmental conditions in the country are favorable to one or more of the species analyzed, such that almost nowhere is Chagas transmission risk negligible. PMID:22523500

  2. The Use of Ecological Niche Modeling to Infer Potential Risk Areas of Snakebite in the Mexican State of Veracruz

    PubMed Central

    Yañez-Arenas, Carlos; Peterson, A. Townsend; Mokondoko, Pierre; Rojas-Soto, Octavio; Martínez-Meyer, Enrique

    2014-01-01

    Background Many authors have claimed that snakebite risk is associated with human population density, human activities, and snake behavior. Here we analyzed whether environmental suitability of vipers can be used as an indicator of snakebite risk. We tested several hypotheses to explain snakebite incidence, through the construction of models incorporating both environmental suitability and socioeconomic variables in Veracruz, Mexico. Methodology/Principal Findings Ecological niche modeling (ENM) was used to estimate potential geographic and ecological distributions of nine viper species' in Veracruz. We calculated the distance to the species' niche centroid (DNC); this distance may be associated with a prediction of abundance. We found significant inverse relationships between snakebites and DNCs of common vipers (Crotalus simus and Bothrops asper), explaining respectively 15% and almost 35% of variation in snakebite incidence. Additionally, DNCs for these two vipers, in combination with marginalization of human populations, accounted for 76% of variation in incidence. Conclusions/Significance Our results suggest that niche modeling and niche-centroid distance approaches can be used to mapping distributions of environmental suitability for venomous snakes; combining this ecological information with socioeconomic factors may help with inferring potential risk areas for snakebites, since hospital data are often biased (especially when incidences are low). PMID:24963989

  3. Quercus suber range dynamics by ecological niche modelling: from the Last Interglacial to present time

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vessella, Federico; Simeone, Marco Cosimo; Schirone, Bartolomeo

    2015-07-01

    Ecological Niche Modelling (ENM) is widely used to depict species potential occurrence according to environmental variables under different climatic scenarios. We tested the ENM approach to infer past range dynamics of cork oak, a keystone species of the Mediterranean Biome, from 130 ka to the present time. Hindcasting implications would deal with a better species risk assessment and conservation management for the future. We modelled present and past occurrence of cork oak using seven ENM algorithms, starting from 63,733 spatially unique presence points at 30 arc-second resolution. Fourteen environmental variables were used and four time slices were considered (Last Interglacial, Last Glacial Maximum, mid-Holocene and present time). A threshold-independent evaluation of the goodness-of-fit of the models was evaluated by means of ROC curve and fossil or historical evidences were used to validate the results. Four weighted average maps depicted the dynamics of area suitability for cork oak in the last 130 ka. The derived species autoecology allowed its long-term occurrence in the Mediterranean without striking range reduction or shifting. Fossil and historical post-processing validation support the modelled past spatial extension and a neglected species presence at Levantine until the recent time. Despite the severe climatic oscillation since the Last Glacial Maximum, cork oak potential distribution area experienced limited range changes, confirming its strong link with the Mediterranean Basin. The ecological amplitude of Quercus suber could be therefore adopted as a reference to trace the Mediterranean bioclimate area. A better knowledge of the past events of Mediterranean vegetation, a wider range of study species and environmental determinants are essential to inform us about its current state, its sensitivity to human impact and the potential responses to future changes.

  4. Potential distribution of Mexican primates: modeling the ecological niche with the maximum entropy algorithm.

    PubMed

    Vidal-García, Francisca; Serio-Silva, Juan Carlos

    2011-07-01

    We developed a potential distribution model for the tropical rain forest species of primates of southern Mexico: the black howler monkey (Alouatta pigra), the mantled howler monkey (Alouatta palliata), and the spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi). To do so, we applied the maximum entropy algorithm from the ecological niche modeling program MaxEnt. For each species, we used occurrence records from scientific collections, and published and unpublished sources, and we also used the 19 environmental coverage variables related to precipitation and temperature from WorldClim to develop the models. The predicted distribution of A. pigra was strongly associated with the mean temperature of the warmest quarter (23.6%), whereas the potential distributions of A. palliata and A. geoffroyi were strongly associated with precipitation during the coldest quarter (52.2 and 34.3% respectively). The potential distribution of A. geoffroyi is broader than that of the Alouatta spp. The areas with the greatest probability of presence of A. pigra and A. palliata are strongly associated with riparian vegetation, whereas the presence of A. geoffroyi is more strongly associated with the presence of rain forest. Our most significant contribution is the identification of areas with a high probability of the presence of these primate species, which is information that can be applied to planning future studies and then establishing criteria for the creation of areas to primate conservation in Mexico.

  5. Tracking a medically important spider: climate change, ecological niche modeling, and the brown recluse (Loxosceles reclusa).

    PubMed

    Saupe, Erin E; Papes, Monica; Selden, Paul A; Vetter, Richard S

    2011-01-01

    Most spiders use venom to paralyze their prey and are commonly feared for their potential to cause injury to humans. In North America, one species in particular, Loxosceles reclusa (brown recluse spider, Sicariidae), causes the majority of necrotic wounds induced by the Araneae. However, its distributional limitations are poorly understood and, as a result, medical professionals routinely misdiagnose brown recluse bites outside endemic areas, confusing putative spider bites for other serious conditions. To address the issue of brown recluse distribution, we employ ecological niche modeling to investigate the present and future distributional potential of this species. We delineate range boundaries and demonstrate that under future climate change scenarios, the spider's distribution may expand northward, invading previously unaffected regions of the USA. At present, the spider's range is centered in the USA, from Kansas east to Kentucky and from southern Iowa south to Louisiana. Newly influenced areas may include parts of Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, South Dakota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. These results illustrate a potential negative consequence of climate change on humans and will aid medical professionals in proper bite identification/treatment, potentially reducing bite misdiagnoses. PMID:21464985

  6. Tracking a Medically Important Spider: Climate Change, Ecological Niche Modeling, and the Brown Recluse (Loxosceles reclusa)

    PubMed Central

    Saupe, Erin E.; Papes, Monica; Selden, Paul A.; Vetter, Richard S.

    2011-01-01

    Most spiders use venom to paralyze their prey and are commonly feared for their potential to cause injury to humans. In North America, one species in particular, Loxosceles reclusa (brown recluse spider, Sicariidae), causes the majority of necrotic wounds induced by the Araneae. However, its distributional limitations are poorly understood and, as a result, medical professionals routinely misdiagnose brown recluse bites outside endemic areas, confusing putative spider bites for other serious conditions. To address the issue of brown recluse distribution, we employ ecological niche modeling to investigate the present and future distributional potential of this species. We delineate range boundaries and demonstrate that under future climate change scenarios, the spider's distribution may expand northward, invading previously unaffected regions of the USA. At present, the spider's range is centered in the USA, from Kansas east to Kentucky and from southern Iowa south to Louisiana. Newly influenced areas may include parts of Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, South Dakota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. These results illustrate a potential negative consequence of climate change on humans and will aid medical professionals in proper bite identification/treatment, potentially reducing bite misdiagnoses. PMID:21464985

  7. Using remote sensing, ecological niche modeling, and Geographic Information Systems for Rift Valley fever risk assessment in the United States

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tedrow, Christine Atkins

    The primary goal in this study was to explore remote sensing, ecological niche modeling, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as aids in predicting candidate Rift Valley fever (RVF) competent vector abundance and distribution in Virginia, and as means of estimating where risk of establishment in mosquitoes and risk of transmission to human populations would be greatest in Virginia. A second goal in this study was to determine whether the remotely-sensed Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) can be used as a proxy variable of local conditions for the development of mosquitoes to predict mosquito species distribution and abundance in Virginia. As part of this study, a mosquito surveillance database was compiled to archive the historical patterns of mosquito species abundance in Virginia. In addition, linkages between mosquito density and local environmental and climatic patterns were spatially and temporally examined. The present study affirms the potential role of remote sensing imagery for species distribution prediction, and it demonstrates that ecological niche modeling is a valuable predictive tool to analyze the distributions of populations. The MaxEnt ecological niche modeling program was used to model predicted ranges for potential RVF competent vectors in Virginia. The MaxEnt model was shown to be robust, and the candidate RVF competent vector predicted distribution map is presented. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) was found to be the most useful environmental-climatic variable to predict mosquito species distribution and abundance in Virginia. However, these results indicate that a more robust prediction is obtained by including other environmental-climatic factors correlated to mosquito densities (e.g., temperature, precipitation, elevation) with NDVI. The present study demonstrates that remote sensing and GIS can be used with ecological niche and risk modeling methods to estimate risk of virus establishment in mosquitoes and

  8. Predicting the Current and Future Potential Distributions of Lymphatic Filariasis in Africa Using Maximum Entropy Ecological Niche Modelling

    PubMed Central

    Slater, Hannah; Michael, Edwin

    2012-01-01

    Modelling the spatial distributions of human parasite species is crucial to understanding the environmental determinants of infection as well as for guiding the planning of control programmes. Here, we use ecological niche modelling to map the current potential distribution of the macroparasitic disease, lymphatic filariasis (LF), in Africa, and to estimate how future changes in climate and population could affect its spread and burden across the continent. We used 508 community-specific infection presence data collated from the published literature in conjunction with five predictive environmental/climatic and demographic variables, and a maximum entropy niche modelling method to construct the first ecological niche maps describing potential distribution and burden of LF in Africa. We also ran the best-fit model against climate projections made by the HADCM3 and CCCMA models for 2050 under A2a and B2a scenarios to simulate the likely distribution of LF under future climate and population changes. We predict a broad geographic distribution of LF in Africa extending from the west to the east across the middle region of the continent, with high probabilities of occurrence in the Western Africa compared to large areas of medium probability interspersed with smaller areas of high probability in Central and Eastern Africa and in Madagascar. We uncovered complex relationships between predictor ecological niche variables and the probability of LF occurrence. We show for the first time that predicted climate change and population growth will expand both the range and risk of LF infection (and ultimately disease) in an endemic region. We estimate that populations at risk to LF may range from 543 and 804 million currently, and that this could rise to between 1.65 to 1.86 billion in the future depending on the climate scenario used and thresholds applied to signify infection presence. PMID:22359670

  9. Ecological and evolutionary consequences of niche construction for its agent.

    PubMed

    Kylafis, Grigoris; Loreau, Michel

    2008-10-01

    Niche construction can generate ecological and evolutionary feedbacks that have been underinvestigated so far. We present an eco-evolutionary model that incorporates the process of niche construction to reveal its effects on the ecology and evolution of the niche-constructing agent. We consider a simple plant-soil nutrient ecosystem in which plants have the ability to increase the input of inorganic nutrient as an example of positive niche construction. On an ecological time scale, the model shows that niche construction allows the persistence of plants under infertile soil conditions that would otherwise lead to their extinction. This expansion of plants' niche, however, requires a high enough rate of niche construction and a high enough initial plant biomass to fuel the positive ecological feedback between plants and their soil environment. On an evolutionary time scale, we consider that the rates of niche construction and nutrient uptake coevolve in plants while a trade-off constrains their values. Different evolutionary outcomes are possible depending on the shape of the trade-off. We show that niche construction results in an evolutionary feedback between plants and their soil environment such that plants partially regulate soil nutrient content. The direct benefit accruing to plants, however, plays a crucial role in the evolutionary advantage of niche construction.

  10. Redefining the Australian Anthrax Belt: Modeling the Ecological Niche and Predicting the Geographic Distribution of Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Barro, Alassane S; Fegan, Mark; Moloney, Barbara; Porter, Kelly; Muller, Janine; Warner, Simone; Blackburn, Jason K

    2016-06-01

    The ecology and distribution of B. anthracis in Australia is not well understood, despite the continued occurrence of anthrax outbreaks in the eastern states of the country. Efforts to estimate the spatial extent of the risk of disease have been limited to a qualitative definition of an anthrax belt extending from southeast Queensland through the centre of New South Wales and into northern Victoria. This definition of the anthrax belt does not consider the role of environmental conditions in the distribution of B. anthracis. Here, we used the genetic algorithm for rule-set prediction model system (GARP), historical anthrax outbreaks and environmental data to model the ecological niche of B. anthracis and predict its potential geographic distribution in Australia. Our models reveal the niche of B. anthracis in Australia is characterized by a narrow range of ecological conditions concentrated in two disjunct corridors. The most dominant corridor, used to redefine a new anthrax belt, parallels the Eastern Highlands and runs from north Victoria to central east Queensland through the centre of New South Wales. This study has redefined the anthrax belt in eastern Australia and provides insights about the ecological factors that limit the distribution of B. anthracis at the continental scale for Australia. The geographic distributions identified can help inform anthrax surveillance strategies by public and veterinary health agencies. PMID:27280981

  11. Redefining the Australian Anthrax Belt: Modeling the Ecological Niche and Predicting the Geographic Distribution of Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Barro, Alassane S.; Fegan, Mark; Moloney, Barbara; Porter, Kelly; Muller, Janine; Warner, Simone; Blackburn, Jason K.

    2016-01-01

    The ecology and distribution of B. anthracis in Australia is not well understood, despite the continued occurrence of anthrax outbreaks in the eastern states of the country. Efforts to estimate the spatial extent of the risk of disease have been limited to a qualitative definition of an anthrax belt extending from southeast Queensland through the centre of New South Wales and into northern Victoria. This definition of the anthrax belt does not consider the role of environmental conditions in the distribution of B. anthracis. Here, we used the genetic algorithm for rule-set prediction model system (GARP), historical anthrax outbreaks and environmental data to model the ecological niche of B. anthracis and predict its potential geographic distribution in Australia. Our models reveal the niche of B. anthracis in Australia is characterized by a narrow range of ecological conditions concentrated in two disjunct corridors. The most dominant corridor, used to redefine a new anthrax belt, parallels the Eastern Highlands and runs from north Victoria to central east Queensland through the centre of New South Wales. This study has redefined the anthrax belt in eastern Australia and provides insights about the ecological factors that limit the distribution of B. anthracis at the continental scale for Australia. The geographic distributions identified can help inform anthrax surveillance strategies by public and veterinary health agencies. PMID:27280981

  12. Ecological Niche Modelling and nDNA Sequencing Support a New, Morphologically Cryptic Beetle Species Unveiled by DNA Barcoding

    PubMed Central

    Hawlitschek, Oliver; Porch, Nick; Hendrich, Lars; Balke, Michael

    2011-01-01

    Background DNA sequencing techniques used to estimate biodiversity, such as DNA barcoding, may reveal cryptic species. However, disagreements between barcoding and morphological data have already led to controversy. Species delimitation should therefore not be based on mtDNA alone. Here, we explore the use of nDNA and bioclimatic modelling in a new species of aquatic beetle revealed by mtDNA sequence data. Methodology/Principal Findings The aquatic beetle fauna of Australia is characterised by high degrees of endemism, including local radiations such as the genus Antiporus. Antiporus femoralis was previously considered to exist in two disjunct, but morphologically indistinguishable populations in south-western and south-eastern Australia. We constructed a phylogeny of Antiporus and detected a deep split between these populations. Diagnostic characters from the highly variable nuclear protein encoding arginine kinase gene confirmed the presence of two isolated populations. We then used ecological niche modelling to examine the climatic niche characteristics of the two populations. All results support the status of the two populations as distinct species. We describe the south-western species as Antiporus occidentalis sp.n. Conclusion/Significance In addition to nDNA sequence data and extended use of mitochondrial sequences, ecological niche modelling has great potential for delineating morphologically cryptic species. PMID:21347370

  13. Local-scale models reveal ecological niche variability in amphibian and reptile communities from two contrasting biogeographic regions

    PubMed Central

    Santos, Xavier; Felicísimo, Ángel M.

    2016-01-01

    Ecological Niche Models (ENMs) are widely used to describe how environmental factors influence species distribution. Modelling at a local scale, compared to a large scale within a high environmental gradient, can improve our understanding of ecological species niches. The main goal of this study is to assess and compare the contribution of environmental variables to amphibian and reptile ENMs in two Spanish national parks located in contrasting biogeographic regions, i.e., the Mediterranean and the Atlantic area. The ENMs were built with maximum entropy modelling using 11 environmental variables in each territory. The contributions of these variables to the models were analysed and classified using various statistical procedures (Mann–Whitney U tests, Principal Components Analysis and General Linear Models). Distance to the hydrological network was consistently the most relevant variable for both parks and taxonomic classes. Topographic variables (i.e., slope and altitude) were the second most predictive variables, followed by climatic variables. Differences in variable contribution were observed between parks and taxonomic classes. Variables related to water availability had the larger contribution to the models in the Mediterranean park, while topography variables were decisive in the Atlantic park. Specific response curves to environmental variables were in accordance with the biogeographic affinity of species (Mediterranean and non-Mediterranean species) and taxonomy (amphibians and reptiles). Interestingly, these results were observed for species located in both parks, particularly those situated at their range limits. Our findings show that ecological niche models built at local scale reveal differences in habitat preferences within a wide environmental gradient. Therefore, modelling at local scales rather than assuming large-scale models could be preferable for the establishment of conservation strategies for herptile species in natural parks. PMID

  14. Using ecological-niche modeling as a conservation tool for freshwater species: live-bearing fishes in central Mexico.

    PubMed

    Domínguez-Domínguez, Omar; Martínez-Meyer, Enrique; Zambrano, Luis; De León, Gerardo Pérez-Ponce

    2006-12-01

    Ecological-niche modeling is an important tool for conservation assessment of terrestrial species; however, its applicability has been poorly explored in the aquatic realm. Goodeines are a monophyletic group of viviparous freshwater fishes that are well known in central Mexico, with 41 species in 19 genera. Given the number of threats to biodiversity in the region, goodeines represent an excellent model with which to test novel conservation approaches. We assessed the conservation status of the goodeines (37 species), based on their potential distributions predicted by ecological-niche models generated with the genetic algorithm for rule-set prediction (GARP). Predictions of species' distributions performed well in six out of eight species for which sufficient information was available to perform estimations of the area under the curve (AUC) in receiver operating characteristic plots. Extensive field surveys conducted in recent years in most cases confirm the models' predictions. Species richness exhibited a nested pattern, in which the number of species increased toward the center of the distribution of the group. At the basin level, the Río Ameca Basin had the highest number of species (11), chiefly because of the high number of microendemic species (6). Human activities within water bodies (e.g., extensive aquaculture) and drainages (e.g., agriculture, ranching, industrial activities) have affected most goodeines severely, given the deleterious effects of pollution and introductions of exotic species, such as carp (Cyprinus carpio, Ctenopharingodon idella) and tilapia (Oreochromis spp.). Our results paint a pessimistic picture for the long-term survival of many goodeines in their natural environment, and realistic conservation measures are complex and would require immediate protection of specific areas that we have identified. Ecological-niche modeling is a suitable tool for conservation assessment of freshwater species, but availability of environmental

  15. Ecological niche transferability using invasive species as a case study.

    PubMed

    Fernández, Miguel; Hamilton, Healy

    2015-01-01

    Species distribution modeling is widely applied to predict invasive species distributions and species range shifts under climate change. Accurate predictions depend upon meeting the assumption that ecological niches are conserved, i.e., spatially or temporally transferable. Here we present a multi-taxon comparative analysis of niche conservatism using biological invasion events well documented in natural history museum collections. Our goal is to assess spatial transferability of the climatic niche of a range of noxious terrestrial invasive species using two complementary approaches. First we compare species' native versus invasive ranges in environmental space using two distinct methods, Principal Components Analysis and Mahalanobis distance. Second we compare species' native versus invaded ranges in geographic space as estimated using the species distribution modeling technique Maxent and the comparative index Hellinger's I. We find that species exhibit a range of responses, from almost complete transferability, in which the invaded niches completely overlap with the native niches, to a complete dissociation between native and invaded ranges. Intermediate responses included expansion of dimension attributable to either temperature or precipitation derived variables, as well as niche expansion in multiple dimensions. We conclude that the ecological niche in the native range is generally a poor predictor of invaded range and, by analogy, the ecological niche may be a poor predictor of range shifts under climate change. We suggest that assessing dimensions of niche transferability prior to standard species distribution modeling may improve the understanding of species' dynamics in the invaded range.

  16. Ecological Niche Transferability Using Invasive Species as a Case Study

    PubMed Central

    Fernández, Miguel; Hamilton, Healy

    2015-01-01

    Species distribution modeling is widely applied to predict invasive species distributions and species range shifts under climate change. Accurate predictions depend upon meeting the assumption that ecological niches are conserved, i.e., spatially or temporally transferable. Here we present a multi-taxon comparative analysis of niche conservatism using biological invasion events well documented in natural history museum collections. Our goal is to assess spatial transferability of the climatic niche of a range of noxious terrestrial invasive species using two complementary approaches. First we compare species’ native versus invasive ranges in environmental space using two distinct methods, Principal Components Analysis and Mahalanobis distance. Second we compare species’ native versus invaded ranges in geographic space as estimated using the species distribution modeling technique Maxent and the comparative index Hellinger’s I. We find that species exhibit a range of responses, from almost complete transferability, in which the invaded niches completely overlap with the native niches, to a complete dissociation between native and invaded ranges. Intermediate responses included expansion of dimension attributable to either temperature or precipitation derived variables, as well as niche expansion in multiple dimensions. We conclude that the ecological niche in the native range is generally a poor predictor of invaded range and, by analogy, the ecological niche may be a poor predictor of range shifts under climate change. We suggest that assessing dimensions of niche transferability prior to standard species distribution modeling may improve the understanding of species’ dynamics in the invaded range. PMID:25785858

  17. Claims of Potential Expansion throughout the U.S. by Invasive Python Species Are Contradicted by Ecological Niche Models

    PubMed Central

    Pyron, R. Alexander; Burbrink, Frank T.; Guiher, Timothy J.

    2008-01-01

    Background Recent reports from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) suggested that invasive Burmese pythons in the Everglades may quickly spread into many parts of the U.S. due to putative climatic suitability. Additionally, projected trends of global warming were predicted to significantly increase suitable habitat and promote range expansion by these snakes. However, the ecological limitations of the Burmese python are not known and the possible effects of global warming on the potential expansion of the species are also unclear. Methodology/Principal Findings Here we show that a predicted continental expansion is unlikely based on the ecology of the organism and the climate of the U.S. Our ecological niche models, which include variables representing climatic extremes as well as averages, indicate that the only suitable habitat in the U.S. for Burmese pythons presently occurs in southern Florida and in extreme southern Texas. Models based on the current distribution of the snake predict suitable habitat in essentially the only region in which the snakes are found in the U.S. Future climate models based on global warming forecasts actually indicate a significant contraction in suitable habitat for Burmese pythons in the U.S. as well as in their native range. Conclusions/Significance The Burmese python is strongly limited to the small area of suitable environmental conditions in the United States it currently inhabits due to the ecological niche preferences of the snake. The ability of the Burmese python to expand further into the U.S. is severely limited by ecological constraints. Global warming is predicted to significantly reduce the area of suitable habitat worldwide, underscoring the potential negative effects of climate change for many species. PMID:18698351

  18. Using kernels and ecological niche modeling to delineate conservation areas in an endangered patch-breeding phenotype.

    PubMed

    Denoël, Mathieu; Ficetola, Gentile Francesco

    2015-10-01

    Efficient delineation of conservation areas is a great challenge in maintaining biodiversity. Kernel density estimators (KDEs) are a powerful tool in this perspective, but they have not been applied at the population level on patch-distributed organisms. This would be particularly worthy for species that need broad habitats beyond those where they can be sampled; such as terrestrial lands for pond-breeding amphibians. The aim of this study was to compare different approaches for the identification of suitable areas for conservation: KDE, ecological niche modelling, and a combination of KDE and niche models. Paedomorphosis was chosen as a model system because this is an important form of intraspecific variation that is present in numerous taxa, but geographically localized within species and globally endangered. 277 ponds were sampled in one of the hotspots of paedomorphosis to determine the abundance and distribution of paedomorphs (i.e., individuals retaining gills at the adult stage) of the palmate newt (Lissotriton helveticus), with emphasis on the connections between the most valuable populations. KDEs gave insights into the surface areas required to balance the maintenance of certain number of connected ponds and the respective number of disjoint areas in which the whole population is divided. The inclusion of barriers in the models helped in accurately designing the limits of the areas to protect. Alone, habitat models were not able to successfully delineate the area to protect, but the integration between terrestrial suitable areas or barriers and KDE allowed an objective identification of areas required for conservation. Overall, the best performance was observed by the KDE integrating ecological barriers, and by the combination between KDE and niche modelling. In a broader perspective, KDEs are thus a pertinent tool in providing quantitative spatial measurements to delineate conservation areas based on patch-abundance data with a specific focus to

  19. Molecular data and ecological niche modelling reveal the phylogeographic pattern of Cotinus coggygria (Anacardiaceae) in China's warm-temperate zone.

    PubMed

    Wang, W; Tian, C Y; Li, Y H; Li, Y

    2014-11-01

    The phylogeography of common and widespread species helps to elucidate the history of local flora and vegetation. In this study, we selected Cotinus coggygria, a species widely distributed in China's warm-temperate zone. One chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) region and ecological niche modelling were used to examine the phylogeographic pattern of C. coggygria. The cpDNA data revealed two phylogeographic groups (Southern and Northern) corresponding to the geographic regions. Divergence time analyses revealed that divergence of the two groups occurred at approximately 147,000 years before the present (BP), which coincided with the formation of the downstream area of the Yellow River, indicating that the Yellow River was a weak phylogeographic divide for C. coggygria. The molecular data and ecological niche modelling also indicated that C. coggyria did not experience population expansion after glaciations. This study thus supports the fact that Pleistocene glacial cycles only slightly affected C. coggygria, which survived in situ and occupied multiple localised glacial refugia during glaciations. This finding is contrary to the hypothesis of large-scale range habitat contraction and retreat into a few main refugia.

  20. Southward Pleistocene migration of Douglas-fir into Mexico: phylogeography, ecological niche modeling, and conservation of 'rear edge' populations.

    PubMed

    Gugger, Paul F; González-Rodríguez, Antonio; Rodríguez-Correa, Hernando; Sugita, Shinya; Cavender-Bares, Jeannine

    2011-03-01

    • Poleward Pleistocene plant migration has been an important process structuring modern temperate and boreal plant communities, but the contribution of equatorward migration remains poorly understood. Paleobotanical evidence suggests Miocene or Pleistocene origin for temperate 'sky island' plant taxa in Mexico. These 'rear edge' populations situated in a biodiversity hotspot may be an important reserve of genetic diversity in changing climates. • We used mtDNA sequences, cpDNA sequences and chloroplast microsatellites to test hypotheses of Miocene vs Pleistocene colonization of temperate Douglas-fir in Mexico, explore geographic patterns of molecular variation in relation to Pleistocene climate history using ecological niche models, and assess the taxonomic and conservation implications. • We found strong evidence for Pleistocene divergence of Douglas-fir in Mexico (958 thousand yr before present (ka) with the 90% highest posterior density interval ranging from 1.6 million yr before present (Ma) to 491 ka), consistent with the southward Pleistocene migration hypothesis. Genetic diversity was high and strongly partitioned among populations. Spatial patterns of molecular variation and ecological niche models suggest a complex late Pleistocene history involving periods of isolation and expansion along mountain corridors. • These results highlight the importance of southward Pleistocene migration in establishing modern high-diversity plant communities and provide critical insights into proposals to conserve the unique biodiversity of Mexican Douglas-fir and associated taxa. PMID:21118265

  1. Assessing the potential for establishment of western cherry fruit fly using ecological niche modeling.

    PubMed

    Kumar, Sunil; Neven, Lisa G; Yee, Wee L

    2014-06-01

    Sweet cherries, Prunus avium (L.) L., grown in the western United States are exported to many countries around the world. Some of these countries have enforced strict quarantine rules and trade restrictions owing to concerns about the potential establishment and subsequent spread of western cherry fruit fly, Rhagoletis indifferens Curran (Diptera: Tephritidae), a major quarantine pest of sweet cherry. We used 1) niche models (CLIMEX and MaxEnt) to map the climatic suitability, 2) North Carolina State University-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Plant Pest Forecasting System to examine chilling requirement, and 3) host distribution and availability to assess the potential for establishment of R. indifferens in areas of western North America where it currently does not exist and eight current or potential fresh sweet cherry markets: Colombia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Venezuela, and Vietnam. Results from niche models conformed well to the current distribution of R. indifferens in western North America. MaxEnt and CLIMEX models had high performance and predicted climatic suitability in some of the countries (e.g., Andean range in Colombia and Venezuela, northern and northeastern India, central Taiwan, and parts of Vietnam). However, our results showed no potential for establishment of R. indifferens in Colombia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Venezuela, and Vietnam when the optimal chilling requirement to break diapause (minimum temperature < or = 3 degree C for at least 15 wk) was used as the criterion for whether establishment can occur. Furthermore, these countries have no host plant species available for R. indifferens. Our results can be used to make scientifically informed international trade decisions and negotiations by policy makers.

  2. Evolutionary consequences of niche construction and their implications for ecology.

    PubMed

    Laland, K N; Odling-Smee, F J; Feldman, M W

    1999-08-31

    Organisms regularly modify local resource distributions, influencing both their ecosystems and the evolution of traits whose fitness depends on such alterable sources of natural selection in environments. We call these processes niche construction. We explore the evolutionary consequences of niche construction using a two-locus population genetic model, which extends earlier analyses by allowing resource distributions to be influenced both by niche construction and by independent processes of renewal and depletion. The analysis confirms that niche construction can be a potent evolutionary agent by generating selection that leads to the fixation of otherwise deleterious alleles, supporting stable polymorphisms where none are expected, eliminating what would otherwise be stable polymorphisms, and generating unusual evolutionary dynamics. Even small amounts of niche construction, or niche construction that only weakly affects resource dynamics, can significantly alter both ecological and evolutionary patterns.

  3. Using Geographic Information System-based Ecologic Niche Models to Forecast the Risk of Hantavirus Infection in Shandong Province, China

    PubMed Central

    Wei, Lan; Qian, Quan; Wang, Zhi-Qiang; Glass, Gregory E.; Song, Shao-Xia; Zhang, Wen-Yi; Li, Xiu-Jun; Yang, Hong; Wang, Xian-Jun; Fang, Li-Qun; Cao, Wu-Chun

    2011-01-01

    Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) is an important public health problem in Shandong Province, China. In this study, we combined ecologic niche modeling with geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing techniques to identify the risk factors and affected areas of hantavirus infections in rodent hosts. Land cover and elevation were found to be closely associated with the presence of hantavirus-infected rodent hosts. The averaged area under the receiver operating characteristic curve was 0.864, implying good performance. The predicted risk maps based on the model were validated both by the hantavirus-infected rodents' distribution and HFRS human case localities with a good fit. These findings have the applications for targeting control and prevention efforts. PMID:21363991

  4. [Relation between fundamental and realized ecological niche].

    PubMed

    Severtsov, A S

    2012-01-01

    Since species are formed in course of evolutionary process, their ecological niches are formed in the evolutionary process, too. Species exist in a state of evolutionary stasis diring hundreds of thousands and millions years. Stasis in sustained mainly by counterbalance of vectors of directional selection. Niche can be viewed as a multidimensional structure. Multitude of environmental factors acts upon every population, which cause elimination and, by that, selection for adaptation to each eliminating factor. Different directions of these vectors of selection lead to their counteractions; selection in one direction is interfered by selection in an opposite direction. The counterbalance of vectors of selection interferes with progressive evolution thus supporting stasis. During species existence in a stasis condition it endures a whole set of various deterioration of environment. Such deteriorations lead to imbalance of selective processes. Unbalanced vectors of selection form adaptations to extreme conditions of existence. Such adaptations are superfluous as for usual conditions; but they define fitness borders and, by that, borders of a fundamental niche. Realized niche, as well as fundamental one, is a multidimensional structure. Each population occupies a subniche of the specific realized niche. Thus, it occupies habitats where conditions are as close to an ecological optimum as can be admitted by the conditions in the given part of the areal. The sum of all subniches of populations--the specific realized niche--coincides with a part of fundamental niche because only the part of adaptive possibilities of a species sufficient for existence in the given environment is used. Interspecific competition, even when it is capable to restrict consumption of limiting resources, is not the reason of the realized niche limitation. Restriction of one or two of niche parameters does not influece all others parameters of its multidimensional space.

  5. Ecological-niche modeling and prioritization of conservation-area networks for Mexican herpetofauna.

    PubMed

    Urbina-Cardona, J Nicolás; Flores-Villela, Oscar

    2010-08-01

    One of the most important tools in conservation biology is information on the geographic distribution of species and the variables determining those patterns. We used maximum-entropy niche modeling to run distribution models for 222 amphibian and 371 reptile species (49% endemics and 27% threatened) for which we had 34,619 single geographic records. The planning region is in southeastern Mexico, is 20% of the country's area, includes 80% of the country's herpetofauna, and lacks an adequate protected-area system. We used probabilistic data to build distribution models of herpetofauna for use in prioritizing conservation areas for three target groups (all species and threatened and endemic species). The accuracy of species-distribution models was better for endemic and threatened species than it was for all species. Forty-seven percent of the region has been deforested and additional conservation areas with 13.7% to 88.6% more native vegetation (76% to 96% of the areas are outside the current protected-area system) are needed. There was overlap in 26 of the main selected areas in the conservation-area network prioritized to preserve the target groups, and for all three target groups the proportion of vegetation types needed for their conservation was constant: 30% pine and oak forests, 22% tropical evergreen forest, 17% low deciduous forest, and 8% montane cloud forests. The fact that different groups of species require the same proportion of habitat types suggests that the pine and oak forests support the highest proportion of endemic and threatened species and should therefore be given priority over other types of vegetation for inclusion in the protected areas of southeastern Mexico.

  6. Evaluating the potential of ecological niche modelling as a component in marine non-indigenous species risk assessments.

    PubMed

    Leidenberger, Sonja; Obst, Matthias; Kulawik, Robert; Stelzer, Kerstin; Heyer, Karin; Hardisty, Alex; Bourlat, Sarah J

    2015-08-15

    Marine biological invasions have increased with the development of global trading, causing the homogenization of communities and the decline of biodiversity. A main vector is ballast water exchange from shipping. This study evaluates the use of ecological niche modelling (ENM) to predict the spread of 18 non-indigenous species (NIS) along shipping routes and their potential habitat suitability (hot/cold spots) in the Baltic Sea and Northeast Atlantic. Results show that, contrary to current risk assessment methods, temperature and sea ice concentration determine habitat suitability for 61% of species, rather than salinity (11%). We show high habitat suitability for NIS in the Skagerrak and Kattegat, a transitional area for NIS entering or leaving the Baltic Sea. As many cases of NIS introduction in the marine environment are associated with shipping pathways, we explore how ENM can be used to provide valuable information on the potential spread of NIS for ballast water risk assessment. PMID:26066862

  7. Selecting a Conservation Surrogate Species for Small Fragmented Habitats Using Ecological Niche Modelling

    PubMed Central

    Nekaris, K. Anne-Isola; Arnell, Andrew P.; Svensson, Magdalena S.

    2015-01-01

    Simple Summary Large “charismatic” animals (with widespread popular appeal) are often used as flagship species to raise awareness for conservation. Deforestation and forest fragmentation are among the main threats to biodiversity, and in many places such species are disappearing. In this paper we aim to find a suitable species among the less charismatic animal species left in the fragmented forests of South-western Sri Lanka. We selected ten candidates, using a questionnaire survey along with computer modelling of their distributions. The red slender loris and the fishing cat came out as finalists as they were both appealing to local people, and fulfilled selected ecological criteria. Abstract Flagship species are traditionally large, charismatic animals used to rally conservation efforts. Accepted flagship definitions suggest they need only fulfil a strategic role, unlike umbrella species that are used to shelter cohabitant taxa. The criteria used to select both flagship and umbrella species may not stand up in the face of dramatic forest loss, where remaining fragments may only contain species that do not suit either set of criteria. The Cinderella species concept covers aesthetically pleasing and overlooked species that fulfil the criteria of flagships or umbrellas. Such species are also more likely to occur in fragmented habitats. We tested Cinderella criteria on mammals in the fragmented forests of the Sri Lankan Wet Zone. We selected taxa that fulfilled both strategic and ecological roles. We created a shortlist of ten species, and from a survey of local perceptions highlighted two finalists. We tested these for umbrella characteristics against the original shortlist, utilizing Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt) modelling, and analysed distribution overlap using ArcGIS. The criteria highlighted Loris tardigradus tardigradus and Prionailurus viverrinus as finalists, with the former having highest flagship potential. We suggest Cinderella species can be effective

  8. Selecting a Conservation Surrogate Species for Small Fragmented Habitats Using Ecological Niche Modelling.

    PubMed

    Nekaris, K Anne-Isola; Arnell, Andrew P; Svensson, Magdalena S

    2015-01-01

    Flagship species are traditionally large, charismatic animals used to rally conservation efforts. Accepted flagship definitions suggest they need only fulfil a strategic role, unlike umbrella species that are used to shelter cohabitant taxa. The criteria used to select both flagship and umbrella species may not stand up in the face of dramatic forest loss, where remaining fragments may only contain species that do not suit either set of criteria. The Cinderella species concept covers aesthetically pleasing and overlooked species that fulfil the criteria of flagships or umbrellas. Such species are also more likely to occur in fragmented habitats. We tested Cinderella criteria on mammals in the fragmented forests of the Sri Lankan Wet Zone. We selected taxa that fulfilled both strategic and ecological roles. We created a shortlist of ten species, and from a survey of local perceptions highlighted two finalists. We tested these for umbrella characteristics against the original shortlist, utilizing Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt) modelling, and analysed distribution overlap using ArcGIS. The criteria highlighted Loris tardigradus tardigradus and Prionailurus viverrinus as finalists, with the former having highest flagship potential. We suggest Cinderella species can be effective conservation surrogates especially in habitats where traditional flagship species have been extirpated. PMID:26479135

  9. Predicting the potential geographic distribution of cotton mealybug Phenacoccus solenopsis in India based on MAXENT ecological niche model.

    PubMed

    Fand, Babasaheb B; Kumar, Mahesh; Kamble, Ankush L

    2014-09-01

    Mealybug, Phenacoccus solenopsis Tinsley has recently emerged as a serious insect pest of cotton in India. This study demonstrates the use of Maxent algorithm for modeling the potential geographic distribution of P. solenopsis in India with presence-only data. Predictions were made based on the analysis of the relationship between 111 occurrence records for P. solenopsis and the corresponding current and future climate data defined on the study area. The climate data from worldclim database for current (1950-2000) and future (SRES A2 emission scenario for 2050) conditions were used. DIVA-GIS, an open source software for conducting spatial analysis was used for mapping the predictions from Maxent. The algorithm provided reasonable estimates of the species range indicating better discrimination of suitable and unsuitable areas for its occurrence in India under both present and future climatic conditions. The fit for the model as measured by AUC was high, with value of 0.930 for the training data and 0.895 for the test data, indicating the high level of discriminatory power for the Maxent. A Jackknife test for variable importance indicated that mean temperature of coldest quarter with highest gain value was the most important environmental variable determining the potential geographic distribution of P. solenopsis. The approaches used for delineating the ecological niche and prediction of potential geographic distribution are described briefly. Possible applications and limitations of the present modeling approach in future research and as a decision making tool in integrated pest management are discussed.

  10. Ecological niche model of Phlebotomus perniciosus, the main vector of canine leishmaniasis in north-eastern Italy.

    PubMed

    Signorini, Manuela; Cassini, Rudi; Drigo, Michele; Frangipane di Regalbono, Antonio; Pietrobelli, Mario; Montarsi, Fabrizio; Stensgaard, Anna-Sofie

    2014-11-01

    With respect to the epidemiology of leishmaniasis, it is crucial to take into account the ecoclimatic and environmental characteristics that influence the distribution patterns of the vector sand fly species. It is also important to consider the possible impact of on-going climate changes on the emergence of this disease. In order to map the potential distribution of Phlebotomus perniciosus, the main vector species of canine leishmaniasis in north-eastern Italy, geographical information systems tools, ecological niche models (ENM) and remotely sensed environmental data were applied for a retrospective analysis of an entomological survey conducted in north-eastern Italy over 12 years. Sand fly trapping was conducted from 2001 to 2012 in 175 sites in the provinces of Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Trentino-Alto Adige. We developed a predictive model of potential distribution of P. perniciosus using the maximum entropy algorithm software, based on seasonal normalized difference vegetation index, day and night land surface temperature, the Corine land cover 2006, a digital elevation model (GTOPO30) and climate layers obtained from the WorldClim database. The MaxEnt prediction found the more suitable habitat for P. perniciosus to be hilly areas (100-300 m above the mean sea level) characterised by temperate climate during the winter and summer seasons, high winter vegetation cover and moderate rainfall during the activity season of vector sand fly. ENM provided a greater understanding of the geographical distribution and ecological requirements of P. perniciosus in the study area, which can be applied for the development of future surveillance strategies. PMID:25545936

  11. Which Factors Determine Spatial Segregation in the South American Opossums (Didelphis aurita and D. albiventris)? An Ecological Niche Modelling and Geometric Morphometrics Approach.

    PubMed

    Cáceres, Nilton Carlos; de Moraes Weber, Marcelo; Melo, Geruza Leal; Meloro, Carlo; Sponchiado, Jonas; Carvalho, Renan Dos Santos; Bubadué, Jamile de Moura

    2016-01-01

    Didelphis albiventris and D. aurita are Neotropical marsupials that share a unique evolutionary history and both are largely distributed throughout South America, being primarily allopatric throughout their ranges. In the Araucaria moist forest of Southern Brazil these species are sympatric and they might potentially compete having similar ecology. For this reason, they are ideal biological models to address questions about ecological character displacement and how closely related species might share their geographic space. Little is known about how two morphologically similar species of marsupials may affect each other through competition, if by competitive exclusion and competitive release. We combined ecological niche modeling and geometric morphometrics to explore the possible effects of competition on their distributional ranges and skull morphology. Ecological niche modeling was used to predict their potential distribution and this method enabled us to identify a case of biotic exclusion where the habit generalist D. albiventris is excluded by the presence of the specialist D. aurita. The morphometric analyses show that a degree of shape discrimination occurs between the species, strengthened by allometric differences, which possibly allowed them to occupy marginally different feeding niches supplemented by behavioral shift in contact areas. Overlap in skull morphology is shown between sympatric and allopatric specimens and a significant, but weak, shift in shape occurs only in D. aurita in sympatric areas. This could be a residual evidence of a higher past competition between both species, when contact zones were possibly larger than today. Therefore, the specialist D. aurita acts a biotic barrier to D. albiventris when niche diversity is not available for coexistence. On the other hand, when there is niche diversification (e.g. habitat mosaic), both species are capable to coexist with a minimal competitive effect on the morphology of D. aurita. PMID

  12. Which Factors Determine Spatial Segregation in the South American Opossums (Didelphis aurita and D. albiventris)? An Ecological Niche Modelling and Geometric Morphometrics Approach.

    PubMed

    Cáceres, Nilton Carlos; de Moraes Weber, Marcelo; Melo, Geruza Leal; Meloro, Carlo; Sponchiado, Jonas; Carvalho, Renan Dos Santos; Bubadué, Jamile de Moura

    2016-01-01

    Didelphis albiventris and D. aurita are Neotropical marsupials that share a unique evolutionary history and both are largely distributed throughout South America, being primarily allopatric throughout their ranges. In the Araucaria moist forest of Southern Brazil these species are sympatric and they might potentially compete having similar ecology. For this reason, they are ideal biological models to address questions about ecological character displacement and how closely related species might share their geographic space. Little is known about how two morphologically similar species of marsupials may affect each other through competition, if by competitive exclusion and competitive release. We combined ecological niche modeling and geometric morphometrics to explore the possible effects of competition on their distributional ranges and skull morphology. Ecological niche modeling was used to predict their potential distribution and this method enabled us to identify a case of biotic exclusion where the habit generalist D. albiventris is excluded by the presence of the specialist D. aurita. The morphometric analyses show that a degree of shape discrimination occurs between the species, strengthened by allometric differences, which possibly allowed them to occupy marginally different feeding niches supplemented by behavioral shift in contact areas. Overlap in skull morphology is shown between sympatric and allopatric specimens and a significant, but weak, shift in shape occurs only in D. aurita in sympatric areas. This could be a residual evidence of a higher past competition between both species, when contact zones were possibly larger than today. Therefore, the specialist D. aurita acts a biotic barrier to D. albiventris when niche diversity is not available for coexistence. On the other hand, when there is niche diversification (e.g. habitat mosaic), both species are capable to coexist with a minimal competitive effect on the morphology of D. aurita.

  13. Which Factors Determine Spatial Segregation in the South American Opossums (Didelphis aurita and D. albiventris)? An Ecological Niche Modelling and Geometric Morphometrics Approach

    PubMed Central

    Cáceres, Nilton Carlos; de Moraes Weber, Marcelo; Melo, Geruza Leal; Meloro, Carlo; Sponchiado, Jonas; Carvalho, Renan dos Santos; Bubadué, Jamile de Moura

    2016-01-01

    Didelphis albiventris and D. aurita are Neotropical marsupials that share a unique evolutionary history and both are largely distributed throughout South America, being primarily allopatric throughout their ranges. In the Araucaria moist forest of Southern Brazil these species are sympatric and they might potentially compete having similar ecology. For this reason, they are ideal biological models to address questions about ecological character displacement and how closely related species might share their geographic space. Little is known about how two morphologically similar species of marsupials may affect each other through competition, if by competitive exclusion and competitive release. We combined ecological niche modeling and geometric morphometrics to explore the possible effects of competition on their distributional ranges and skull morphology. Ecological niche modeling was used to predict their potential distribution and this method enabled us to identify a case of biotic exclusion where the habit generalist D. albiventris is excluded by the presence of the specialist D. aurita. The morphometric analyses show that a degree of shape discrimination occurs between the species, strengthened by allometric differences, which possibly allowed them to occupy marginally different feeding niches supplemented by behavioral shift in contact areas. Overlap in skull morphology is shown between sympatric and allopatric specimens and a significant, but weak, shift in shape occurs only in D. aurita in sympatric areas. This could be a residual evidence of a higher past competition between both species, when contact zones were possibly larger than today. Therefore, the specialist D. aurita acts a biotic barrier to D. albiventris when niche diversity is not available for coexistence. On the other hand, when there is niche diversification (e.g. habitat mosaic), both species are capable to coexist with a minimal competitive effect on the morphology of D. aurita. PMID

  14. Using ecological niche models to predict the abundance and impact of invasive species: application to the common carp.

    PubMed

    Kulhanek, Stefanie A; Leung, Brian; Ricciardi, Anthony

    2011-01-01

    In order to efficiently manage nonindigenous species (NIS), predictive tools are needed to prioritize locations where they are likely to become established and where their impacts will be most severe. While predicting the impact of a NIS has generally proved challenging, forecasting its abundance patterns across potential recipient locations should serve as a useful surrogate method of estimating the relative severity of the impacts to be expected. Yet such approaches have rarely been applied in invasion biology. We used long-term monitoring data for lakes within the state of Minnesota and artificial neural networks to model both the occurrence as well as the abundance of a widespread aquatic NIS, common carp (Cyprinus carpio). We then tested the ability of the resulting models to (1) interpolate to new sites within our main study region, (2) extrapolate to lakes in the neighboring state of South Dakota, and (3) assessed the relative contribution of each variable to model predictions. Our models correctly identified over 83% of sites where carp are either present or absent and explained 73% of the variation in carp abundance for validation lakes in Minnesota (i.e., lakes not used to build the model). When extrapolated to South Dakota, our models correctly classified carp occurrence in 79% of lakes and explained 32% of the variation in carp abundance. Variables related to climate and water quality were found to be the most important predictors of carp distribution. These results demonstrate that ecological niche-based modeling techniques can be used to forecast both the occurrence and abundance patterns of invasive species at a regional scale. Models also yielded sensible predictions when extrapolated to neighboring regions. Such predictions, when combined, should provide more useful estimates of the overall risk posed by NIS on potential recipient systems.

  15. Molecular data and ecological niche modelling reveal a highly dynamic evolutionary history of the East Asian Tertiary relict Cercidiphyllum (Cercidiphyllaceae).

    PubMed

    Qi, Xin-Shuai; Chen, Chen; Comes, Hans Peter; Sakaguchi, Shota; Liu, Yi-Hui; Tanaka, Nobuyuki; Sakio, Hitoshi; Qiu, Ying-Xiong

    2012-10-01

    East Asia's temperate deciduous forests served as sanctuary for Tertiary relict trees, but their ages and response to past climate change remain largely unknown. To address this issue, we elucidated the evolutionary and population demographic history of Cercdiphyllum, comprising species in China/Japan (Cercdiphyllum japonicum) and central Japan (Cercdiphyllum magnificum). Fifty-three populations were genotyped using chloroplast and ribosomal DNA sequences and microsatellite loci to assess molecular structure and diversity in relation to past (Last Glacial Maximum) and present distributions based on ecological niche modelling. Late Tertiary climate cooling was reflected in a relatively recent speciation event, dated at the Mio-/Pliocene boundary. During glacials, the warm-temperate C. japonicum experienced massive habitat losses in some areas (north-central China/north Japan) but increases in others (southwest/-east China, East China Sea landbridge, south Japan). In China, the Sichuan Basin and/or the middle-Yangtze were source areas of postglacial northward recolonization; in Japan, this may have been facilitated through introgressive hybridization with the cool-temperate C. magnificum. Our findings challenge the notion of relative evolutionary and demographic stability of Tertiary relict trees, and may serve as a guideline for assessing the impact of Neogene climate change on the evolution and distribution of East Asian temperate plants. PMID:22845876

  16. Molecular data and ecological niche modelling reveal a highly dynamic evolutionary history of the East Asian Tertiary relict Cercidiphyllum (Cercidiphyllaceae).

    PubMed

    Qi, Xin-Shuai; Chen, Chen; Comes, Hans Peter; Sakaguchi, Shota; Liu, Yi-Hui; Tanaka, Nobuyuki; Sakio, Hitoshi; Qiu, Ying-Xiong

    2012-10-01

    East Asia's temperate deciduous forests served as sanctuary for Tertiary relict trees, but their ages and response to past climate change remain largely unknown. To address this issue, we elucidated the evolutionary and population demographic history of Cercdiphyllum, comprising species in China/Japan (Cercdiphyllum japonicum) and central Japan (Cercdiphyllum magnificum). Fifty-three populations were genotyped using chloroplast and ribosomal DNA sequences and microsatellite loci to assess molecular structure and diversity in relation to past (Last Glacial Maximum) and present distributions based on ecological niche modelling. Late Tertiary climate cooling was reflected in a relatively recent speciation event, dated at the Mio-/Pliocene boundary. During glacials, the warm-temperate C. japonicum experienced massive habitat losses in some areas (north-central China/north Japan) but increases in others (southwest/-east China, East China Sea landbridge, south Japan). In China, the Sichuan Basin and/or the middle-Yangtze were source areas of postglacial northward recolonization; in Japan, this may have been facilitated through introgressive hybridization with the cool-temperate C. magnificum. Our findings challenge the notion of relative evolutionary and demographic stability of Tertiary relict trees, and may serve as a guideline for assessing the impact of Neogene climate change on the evolution and distribution of East Asian temperate plants.

  17. Spatial Heterogeneity of Habitat Suitability for Rift Valley Fever Occurrence in Tanzania: An Ecological Niche Modelling Approach

    PubMed Central

    Sindato, Calvin; Stevens, Kim B.; Karimuribo, Esron D.; Mboera, Leonard E. G.; Paweska, Janusz T.; Pfeiffer, Dirk U.

    2016-01-01

    Background Despite the long history of Rift Valley fever (RVF) in Tanzania, extent of its suitable habitat in the country remains unclear. In this study we investigated potential effects of temperature, precipitation, elevation, soil type, livestock density, rainfall pattern, proximity to wild animals, protected areas and forest on the habitat suitability for RVF occurrence in Tanzania. Materials and Methods Presence-only records of 193 RVF outbreak locations from 1930 to 2007 together with potential predictor variables were used to model and map the suitable habitats for RVF occurrence using ecological niche modelling. Ground-truthing of the model outputs was conducted by comparing the levels of RVF virus specific antibodies in cattle, sheep and goats sampled from locations in Tanzania that presented different predicted habitat suitability values. Principal Findings Habitat suitability values for RVF occurrence were higher in the northern and central-eastern regions of Tanzania than the rest of the regions in the country. Soil type and precipitation of the wettest quarter contributed equally to habitat suitability (32.4% each), followed by livestock density (25.9%) and rainfall pattern (9.3%). Ground-truthing of model outputs revealed that the odds of an animal being seropositive for RVFV when sampled from areas predicted to be most suitable for RVF occurrence were twice the odds of an animal sampled from areas least suitable for RVF occurrence (95% CI: 1.43, 2.76, p < 0.001). Conclusion/Significance The regions in the northern and central-eastern Tanzania were more suitable for RVF occurrence than the rest of the regions in the country. The modelled suitable habitat is characterised by impermeable soils, moderate precipitation in the wettest quarter, high livestock density and a bimodal rainfall pattern. The findings of this study should provide guidance for the design of appropriate RVF surveillance, prevention and control strategies which target areas with

  18. Modelling suitable estuarine habitats for Zostera noltii , using Ecological Niche Factor Analysis and Bathymetric LiDAR

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Valle, Mireia; Borja, Ángel; Chust, Guillem; Galparsoro, Ibon; Garmendia, Joxe Mikel

    2011-08-01

    Predicting species distribution and habitat suitability is of considerable use in supporting the implementation of environmental legislation, protection and conservation of marine waters and ecosystem-based management. As other seagrasses, Zostera noltii has declined worldwide, mainly due to human pressures, such as eutrophication and habitat loss. In the case of the Basque Country (northern Spain), the species is present only in 3 out of 12 estuaries. From the literature, it is known that at least 6 of these estuaries were formerly vegetated by this seagrass. Consequently, efforts to monitor and restore (potential) habitats have been enhanced. Therefore, we aim: (i) to determine the main environmental variables explaining Zostera noltii distribution, within the Basque estuaries based upon the Oka estuary; (ii) to model habitat suitability for this species, as a wider applicable management-decision tool for seagrass restoration; and (iii) to assess the applicability and predicted accuracy of the model by using internal and external validation methods. For this purpose, Ecological Niche Factor Analysis (ENFA) has been used to model habitat suitability, based upon topographical variables, obtained from bathymetric Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR); sediment characteristics variables; and hydrodynamic variables. The results obtained from the ecological factors of the ENFA (Marginality: 1.00; Specialization: 2.59) indicate that the species habitat differs considerably from the mean environmental conditions over the study area; likewise, that the species is restrictive in the selection of the range of conditions within which it dwells. The main environmental variables relating to the species distribution, in order of importance, are: mean grain size; redox potential; intertidal height; sediment sorting; slope of intertidal flat; percentage of gravels; and percentage of organic matter content. The model has a high predicted accuracy (Boyce index: 0.92). Model

  19. Prevalence, Distribution, and Development of an Ecological Niche Model of Dermacentor variabilis Ticks Positive for Rickettsia montanensis.

    PubMed

    St John, Heidi K; Adams, Melissa L; Masuoka, Penny M; Flyer-Adams, Johanna G; Jiang, Ju; Rozmajzl, Patrick J; Stromdahl, Ellen Y; Richards, Allen L

    2016-04-01

    Rickettsia montanensis has long been considered a nonpathogenic member of the spotted fever group rickettsiae. However, the infection potential of R. montanensis is being revisited in light of its recent association with a case of human infection in the United States and the possibility that additional cases may have been misdiagnosed as Rocky Mountain spotted fever. To this end, DNA was extracted from American dog ticks (Dermacentor variabilis) removed from Department of Defense (DoD) personnel and their dependents at DoD medical treatment facilities (MTFs) during 2002-2012 (n = 4792). These 4792 samples were analyzed for the presence of R. montanensis (n =  36; 2.84%) and all vector DNA was confirmed to be of D. variabilis origin using a novel Dermacentor genus-specific quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction procedure, Derm, and a novel Dermacentor species multilocus sequence typing assay. To assess the risk of R. montanensis infection, the positive and negative samples were geographically mapped utilizing MTF site locations. Tick localities were imported into a geographical information systems (GIS) program, ArcGIS, for mapping and analysis. The ecological niche modeling (ENM) program, Maxent, was used to estimate the probability of tick presence in eastern United States using locations of both R. montanensis-positive and -negative ticks, climate, and elevation data. The ENM for R. montanensis-positive D. variabilis estimated high probabilities of the positive ticks occurring in two main areas, including the northern Midwest and mid-Atlantic portions of the northeastern regions of United States, whereas the R. montanensis-negative D. variabilis tick model showed a wider estimated range. The results suggest that R. montanensis-positive and -negative D. variabilis have different ranges where humans may be at risk and are influenced by similar and different factors. PMID:26900673

  20. Patterns of differential introgression in a salamander hybrid zone: inferences from genetic data and ecological niche modelling.

    PubMed

    Chatfield, M W H; Kozak, K H; Fitzpatrick, B M; Tucker, P K

    2010-10-01

    Hybrid zones have yielded considerable insight into many evolutionary processes, including speciation and the maintenance of species boundaries. Presented here are analyses from a hybrid zone that occurs among three salamanders -Plethodon jordani, Plethodon metcalfi and Plethodon teyahalee- from the southern Appalachian Mountains. Using a novel statistical approach for analysis of non-clinal, multispecies hybrid zones, we examined spatial patterns of variation at four markers: single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) located in the mtDNA ND2 gene and the nuclear DNA ILF3 gene, and the morphological markers of red cheek pigmentation and white flecks. Concordance of the ILF3 marker and both morphological markers across four transects is observed. In three of the four transects, however, the pattern of mtDNA is discordant from all other markers, with a higher representation of P. metcalfi mtDNA in the northern and lower elevation localities than is expected given the ILF3 marker and morphology. To explore whether climate plays a role in the position of the hybrid zone, we created ecological niche models for P. jordani and P. metcalfi. Modelling results suggest that hybrid zone position is not determined by steep gradients in climatic suitability for either species. Instead, the hybrid zone lies in a climatically homogenous region that is broadly suitable for both P. jordani and P. metcalfi. We discuss various selective (natural selection associated with climate) and behavioural processes (sex-biased dispersal, asymmetric reproductive isolation) that might explain the discordance in the extent to which mtDNA and nuclear DNA and colour-pattern traits have moved across this hybrid zone. PMID:20819165

  1. Prevalence, Distribution, and Development of an Ecological Niche Model of Dermacentor variabilis Ticks Positive for Rickettsia montanensis.

    PubMed

    St John, Heidi K; Adams, Melissa L; Masuoka, Penny M; Flyer-Adams, Johanna G; Jiang, Ju; Rozmajzl, Patrick J; Stromdahl, Ellen Y; Richards, Allen L

    2016-04-01

    Rickettsia montanensis has long been considered a nonpathogenic member of the spotted fever group rickettsiae. However, the infection potential of R. montanensis is being revisited in light of its recent association with a case of human infection in the United States and the possibility that additional cases may have been misdiagnosed as Rocky Mountain spotted fever. To this end, DNA was extracted from American dog ticks (Dermacentor variabilis) removed from Department of Defense (DoD) personnel and their dependents at DoD medical treatment facilities (MTFs) during 2002-2012 (n = 4792). These 4792 samples were analyzed for the presence of R. montanensis (n =  36; 2.84%) and all vector DNA was confirmed to be of D. variabilis origin using a novel Dermacentor genus-specific quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction procedure, Derm, and a novel Dermacentor species multilocus sequence typing assay. To assess the risk of R. montanensis infection, the positive and negative samples were geographically mapped utilizing MTF site locations. Tick localities were imported into a geographical information systems (GIS) program, ArcGIS, for mapping and analysis. The ecological niche modeling (ENM) program, Maxent, was used to estimate the probability of tick presence in eastern United States using locations of both R. montanensis-positive and -negative ticks, climate, and elevation data. The ENM for R. montanensis-positive D. variabilis estimated high probabilities of the positive ticks occurring in two main areas, including the northern Midwest and mid-Atlantic portions of the northeastern regions of United States, whereas the R. montanensis-negative D. variabilis tick model showed a wider estimated range. The results suggest that R. montanensis-positive and -negative D. variabilis have different ranges where humans may be at risk and are influenced by similar and different factors.

  2. Refugia, colonization and diversification of an arid-adapted bird: coincident patterns between genetic data and ecological niche modelling.

    PubMed

    Barrientos, Rafael; Kvist, Laura; Barbosa, Andrés; Valera, Francisco; Khoury, Fares; Varela, Sara; Moreno, Eulalia

    2014-02-01

    Phylogeographical studies are common in boreal and temperate species from the Palaearctic, but scarce in arid-adapted species. We used nuclear and mitochondrial markers to investigate phylogeography and to estimate chronology of colonization events of the trumpeter finch Bucanetes githagineus, an arid-adapted bird. We used 271 samples from 16 populations, most of which were fresh samples but including some museum specimens. Microsatellite data showed no clear grouping according to the sampling locations. Microsatellite and mitochondrial data showed the clearest differentiation between Maghreb and Canary Islands and between Maghreb and Western Sahara. Mitochondrial data suggest differentiation between different Maghreb populations and among Maghreb and Near East populations, between Iberian Peninsula and Canary Islands, as well as between Western Sahara and Maghreb. Our coalescence analyses indicate that the trumpeter finch colonized North Africa during the humid Marine Isotope Stage 5 (MIS5) period of the Sahara region 125 000 years ago. We constructed an ecological niche model (ENM) to estimate the geographical distribution of climatically suitable habitats for the trumpeter finch. We tested whether changes in the species range in relation to glacial-interglacial cycles could be responsible for observed patterns of genetic diversity and structure. Modelling results matched with those from genetic data as the species' potential range increases in interglacial scenarios (in the present climatic scenario and during MIS5) and decreases in glacial climates (during the last glacial maximum, LGM, 21 000 years ago). Our results suggest that the trumpeter finch responded to Pleistocene climatic changes by expanding and contracting its range.

  3. The potential distribution of Phlebotomus papatasi (Diptera: Psychodidae) in Libya based on ecological niche model.

    PubMed

    Abdel-Dayem, M S; Annajar, B B; Hanafi, H A; Obenauer, P J

    2012-05-01

    The increased cases of cutaneous leishmaniasis vectored by Phlebotomus papatasi (Scopoli) in Libya have driven considerable effort to develop a predictive model for the potential geographical distribution of this disease. We collected adult P. papatasi from 17 sites in Musrata and Yefern regions of Libya using four different attraction traps. Our trap results and literature records describing the distribution of P. papatasi were incorporated into a MaxEnt algorithm prediction model that used 22 environmental variables. The model showed a high performance (AUC = 0.992 and 0.990 for training and test data, respectively). High suitability for P. papatasi was predicted to be largely confined to the coast at altitudes <600 m. Regions south of 300 degrees N latitude were calculated as unsuitable for this species. Jackknife analysis identified precipitation as having the most significant predictive power, while temperature and elevation variables were less influential. The National Leishmaniasis Control Program in Libya may find this information useful in their efforts to control zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis. Existing records are strongly biased toward a few geographical regions, and therefore, further sand fly collections are warranted that should include documentation of such factors as soil texture and humidity, land cover, and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) data to increase the model's predictive power.

  4. Climate Change and Risk of Leishmaniasis in North America: Predictions from Ecological Niche Models of Vector and Reservoir Species

    PubMed Central

    González, Camila; Wang, Ophelia; Strutz, Stavana E.; González-Salazar, Constantino; Sánchez-Cordero, Víctor; Sarkar, Sahotra

    2010-01-01

    Background Climate change is increasingly being implicated in species' range shifts throughout the world, including those of important vector and reservoir species for infectious diseases. In North America (México, United States, and Canada), leishmaniasis is a vector-borne disease that is autochthonous in México and Texas and has begun to expand its range northward. Further expansion to the north may be facilitated by climate change as more habitat becomes suitable for vector and reservoir species for leishmaniasis. Methods and Findings The analysis began with the construction of ecological niche models using a maximum entropy algorithm for the distribution of two sand fly vector species (Lutzomyia anthophora and L. diabolica), three confirmed rodent reservoir species (Neotoma albigula, N. floridana, and N. micropus), and one potential rodent reservoir species (N. mexicana) for leishmaniasis in northern México and the United States. As input, these models used species' occurrence records with topographic and climatic parameters as explanatory variables. Models were tested for their ability to predict correctly both a specified fraction of occurrence points set aside for this purpose and occurrence points from an independently derived data set. These models were refined to obtain predicted species' geographical distributions under increasingly strict assumptions about the ability of a species to disperse to suitable habitat and to persist in it, as modulated by its ecological suitability. Models successful at predictions were fitted to the extreme A2 and relatively conservative B2 projected climate scenarios for 2020, 2050, and 2080 using publicly available interpolated climate data from the Third Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Report. Further analyses included estimation of the projected human population that could potentially be exposed to leishmaniasis in 2020, 2050, and 2080 under the A2 and B2 scenarios. All confirmed vector and

  5. Ecological Niche Modelling using satellite data for assessing distribution of threatened species Ceropegia bulbosa Roxb.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kumar, S.; Kulloli, R. N.; Tewari, J. C.; Singh, J. P.; Singh, A.

    2014-11-01

    Ceropegia bulbosa Roxb. is a narrow endemic, tuberous twiner of Asclepiadaceae family. It is medicinally important: tubers are nutritive and edible, leaves are digestive and a cure for dysentery and diarrhea. Exploitation for its tubers and poor regeneration of this species has shrunk its distribution. In order to know its present status, we report here the results of its appraisal in Rajasthan, using remote sensing and ground truthing in the past five years (2009-14). A base map of C. bulbosa was prepared using Geographical Information System (GIS), open source software Quantum GIS, SAGA. The Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper (ETM) +Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER), Global Digital Elevation Model (GDEM) Satellite Data were used in this study. ASTER and GDEM Data was clipped with district boundary and provided color range to get elevation information. A digital elevation model of Rajasthan physiography was developed from ASTER GDEM of 30-m resolution. GIS layers of Area of occurrences for C. bulbosa plant and elevation were created. This map along with topographic sheets of 1:50000 were used for field traversing and ground truthing as per GPS location inferred from map. Its geographic distribution was assessed using MaxEnt distribution modelling algorithm that employed 12 presence locality data, 19 bioclimatic variables, and elevation data. Results of this modelling predicted occurrence of C. bulbosa in the districts of Sirohi, Jalore, Barmer, Pali, Ajmer, Jhalawar, Dungarpur, Banswara, Baran, Kota, Bundi and Chittorgarh. Ground validation in these districts revealed its presence only at four places in three districts confirming its rarity. Analysis of dominance at their sites of occurrence revealed their poor populations and sub dominant status (RIV = 20-32) and very low density (2-12 plants per tenth ha).

  6. Modelling the ecological niche of hookworm in Brazil based on climate.

    PubMed

    Mudenda, Ntombi B; Malone, John B; Kearney, Michael T; Mischler, Paula D; Nieto, Prixia del Mar; McCarroll, Jennifer C; Vounatsou, Penelope

    2012-09-01

    The distribution of hookworm in schistosomiasis-endemic areas in Brazil was mapped based on climate suitability. Known biological requirements of hookworm were fitted to data in a monthly long-term normal climate grid (18 x 18 km) using geographical information systems. Hookworm risk models were produced using the growing degree day (GDD) water budget (WB) concept. A moisture-adjusted model (MA-GDD) was developed based on accumulation of monthly temperatures above a base temperature of 15 °C (below which there is no lifecycle progression of Necator americanus) conditional on concurrent monthly values (rain/potential, evapotranspiration) of over 0.4. A second model, designated the gradient index, was calculated based on the monthly accumulation of the product of GDD and monthly WB values (GDD x WB). Both parameters had a significant positive correlation to hookworm prevalence. In the northeastern part of Brazil (the Caatinga), low hookworm prevalence was due to low soil moisture content, while the low prevalence in southern Brazil was related to low mean monthly temperatures. Both environmental temperature and soil moisture content were found to be important parameters for predicting the prevalence of N. americanus.

  7. Supercooled water brines within permafrost-an unknown ecological niche for microorganisms: a model for astrobiology.

    PubMed

    Gilichinsky, D; Rivkina, E; Shcherbakova, V; Laurinavichuis, K; Tiedje, J

    2003-01-01

    This study describes brine lenses (cryopegs) found in Siberian permafrost derived from ancient marine sediment layers of the Arctic Ocean. The cryopegs were formed and isolated from sediment ~100,000-120,000 years ago. They remain liquid at the in situ temperature of -10 degrees C as a result of their high salt content (170-300 g/L). [(14)C] Glucose is taken up by the cryopeg biomass at -15 degrees C, indicating microbial metabolism at low temperatures in this habitat. Furthermore, aerobic, anaerobic heterotrophs, sulfate reducers, acetogens, and methanogens were detected by most probable number analysis. Two psychrophilic microbes were isolated from the cryopegs, a Clostridium and a Psychrobacter. The closest relatives of each were previously isolated from Antarctica. The cryopeg econiche might serve as a model for extraterrestrial life, and hence is of particular interest to astrobiology.

  8. Ecological niche modeling of coastal dune plants and future potential distribution in response to climate change and sea level rise.

    PubMed

    Mendoza-González, Gabriela; Martínez, M Luisa; Rojas-Soto, Octavio R; Vázquez, Gabriela; Gallego-Fernández, Juan B

    2013-08-01

    Climate change (CC) and sea level rise (SLR) are phenomena that could have severe impacts on the distribution of coastal dune vegetation. To explore this we modeled the climatic niches of six coastal dunes plant species that grow along the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula, and projected climatic niches to future potential distributions based on two CC scenarios and SLR projections. Our analyses suggest that distribution of coastal plants will be severely limited, and more so in the case of local endemics (Chamaecrista chamaecristoides, Palafoxia lindenii, Cakile edentula). The possibilities of inland migration to the potential 'new shoreline' will be limited by human infrastructure and ecosystem alteration that will lead to a 'coastal squeeze' of the coastal habitats. Finally, we identified areas as future potential refuges for the six species in central Gulf of Mexico, and northern Yucatán Peninsula especially under CC and SLR scenarios. PMID:23625760

  9. Ecological niche modeling of coastal dune plants and future potential distribution in response to climate change and sea level rise.

    PubMed

    Mendoza-González, Gabriela; Martínez, M Luisa; Rojas-Soto, Octavio R; Vázquez, Gabriela; Gallego-Fernández, Juan B

    2013-08-01

    Climate change (CC) and sea level rise (SLR) are phenomena that could have severe impacts on the distribution of coastal dune vegetation. To explore this we modeled the climatic niches of six coastal dunes plant species that grow along the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula, and projected climatic niches to future potential distributions based on two CC scenarios and SLR projections. Our analyses suggest that distribution of coastal plants will be severely limited, and more so in the case of local endemics (Chamaecrista chamaecristoides, Palafoxia lindenii, Cakile edentula). The possibilities of inland migration to the potential 'new shoreline' will be limited by human infrastructure and ecosystem alteration that will lead to a 'coastal squeeze' of the coastal habitats. Finally, we identified areas as future potential refuges for the six species in central Gulf of Mexico, and northern Yucatán Peninsula especially under CC and SLR scenarios.

  10. Korarchaeota Diversity, Biogeography, and Abundance in Yellowstone and Great Basin Hot Springs and Ecological Niche Modeling Based on Machine Learning

    PubMed Central

    Miller-Coleman, Robin L.; Dodsworth, Jeremy A.; Ross, Christian A.; Shock, Everett L.; Williams, Amanda J.; Hartnett, Hilairy E.; McDonald, Austin I.; Havig, Jeff R.; Hedlund, Brian P.

    2012-01-01

    Over 100 hot spring sediment samples were collected from 28 sites in 12 areas/regions, while recording as many coincident geochemical properties as feasible (>60 analytes). PCR was used to screen samples for Korarchaeota 16S rRNA genes. Over 500 Korarchaeota 16S rRNA genes were screened by RFLP analysis and 90 were sequenced, resulting in identification of novel Korarchaeota phylotypes and exclusive geographical variants. Korarchaeota diversity was low, as in other terrestrial geothermal systems, suggesting a marine origin for Korarchaeota with subsequent niche-invasion into terrestrial systems. Korarchaeota endemism is consistent with endemism of other terrestrial thermophiles and supports the existence of dispersal barriers. Korarchaeota were found predominantly in >55°C springs at pH 4.7–8.5 at concentrations up to 6.6×106 16S rRNA gene copies g−1 wet sediment. In Yellowstone National Park (YNP), Korarchaeota were most abundant in springs with a pH range of 5.7 to 7.0. High sulfate concentrations suggest these fluids are influenced by contributions from hydrothermal vapors that may be neutralized to some extent by mixing with water from deep geothermal sources or meteoric water. In the Great Basin (GB), Korarchaeota were most abundant at spring sources of pH<7.2 with high particulate C content and high alkalinity, which are likely to be buffered by the carbonic acid system. It is therefore likely that at least two different geological mechanisms in YNP and GB springs create the neutral to mildly acidic pH that is optimal for Korarchaeota. A classification support vector machine (C-SVM) trained on single analytes, two analyte combinations, or vectors from non-metric multidimensional scaling models was able to predict springs as Korarchaeota-optimal or sub-optimal habitats with accuracies up to 95%. To our knowledge, this is the most extensive analysis of the geochemical habitat of any high-level microbial taxon and the first application of a C-SVM to

  11. Korarchaeota diversity, biogeography, and abundance in Yellowstone and Great Basin hot springs and ecological niche modeling based on machine learning.

    PubMed

    Miller-Coleman, Robin L; Dodsworth, Jeremy A; Ross, Christian A; Shock, Everett L; Williams, Amanda J; Hartnett, Hilairy E; McDonald, Austin I; Havig, Jeff R; Hedlund, Brian P

    2012-01-01

    Over 100 hot spring sediment samples were collected from 28 sites in 12 areas/regions, while recording as many coincident geochemical properties as feasible (>60 analytes). PCR was used to screen samples for Korarchaeota 16S rRNA genes. Over 500 Korarchaeota 16S rRNA genes were screened by RFLP analysis and 90 were sequenced, resulting in identification of novel Korarchaeota phylotypes and exclusive geographical variants. Korarchaeota diversity was low, as in other terrestrial geothermal systems, suggesting a marine origin for Korarchaeota with subsequent niche-invasion into terrestrial systems. Korarchaeota endemism is consistent with endemism of other terrestrial thermophiles and supports the existence of dispersal barriers. Korarchaeota were found predominantly in >55°C springs at pH 4.7-8.5 at concentrations up to 6.6×10(6) 16S rRNA gene copies g(-1) wet sediment. In Yellowstone National Park (YNP), Korarchaeota were most abundant in springs with a pH range of 5.7 to 7.0. High sulfate concentrations suggest these fluids are influenced by contributions from hydrothermal vapors that may be neutralized to some extent by mixing with water from deep geothermal sources or meteoric water. In the Great Basin (GB), Korarchaeota were most abundant at spring sources of pH<7.2 with high particulate C content and high alkalinity, which are likely to be buffered by the carbonic acid system. It is therefore likely that at least two different geological mechanisms in YNP and GB springs create the neutral to mildly acidic pH that is optimal for Korarchaeota. A classification support vector machine (C-SVM) trained on single analytes, two analyte combinations, or vectors from non-metric multidimensional scaling models was able to predict springs as Korarchaeota-optimal or sub-optimal habitats with accuracies up to 95%. To our knowledge, this is the most extensive analysis of the geochemical habitat of any high-level microbial taxon and the first application of a C-SVM to

  12. Modeling the ecologic niche of plague in sylvan and domestic animal hosts to delineate sources of human exposure in the western United States

    PubMed Central

    Haseeb, MA

    2015-01-01

    Plague has been established in the western United States (US) since 1900 following the West Coast introduction of commensal rodents infected with Yersinia pestis via early industrial shipping. Over the last century, plague ecology has transitioned through cycles of widespread human transmission, urban domestic transmission among commensal rodents, and ultimately settled into the predominantly sylvan foci that remain today where it is maintained alternatively by enzootic and epizootic transmission. While zoonotic transmission to humans is much less common in modern times, significant plague risk remains in parts of the western US. Moreover, risk to some threatened species that are part of the epizootic cycle can be quite substantive. This investigation attempted to predict the risk of plague across the western US by modeling the ecologic niche of plague in sylvan and domestic animals identified between 2000 and 2015. A Maxent machine learning algorithm was used to predict this niche based on climate, altitude, land cover, and the presence of an important enzootic species, Peromyscus maniculatus. This model demonstrated good predictive ability (AUC = 86%) and identified areas of high risk in central Colorado, north-central New Mexico, and southwestern and northeastern California. The presence of P. maniculatus, altitude, precipitation during the driest and wettest quarters, and distance to artificial surfaces, all contributed substantively to maximizing the gain function. These findings add to the known landscape epidemiology and infection ecology of plague in the western US and may suggest locations of particular risk to be targeted for wild and domestic animal intervention. PMID:26713244

  13. Modeling the ecologic niche of plague in sylvan and domestic animal hosts to delineate sources of human exposure in the western United States.

    PubMed

    Walsh, Michael; Haseeb, M A

    2015-01-01

    Plague has been established in the western United States (US) since 1900 following the West Coast introduction of commensal rodents infected with Yersinia pestis via early industrial shipping. Over the last century, plague ecology has transitioned through cycles of widespread human transmission, urban domestic transmission among commensal rodents, and ultimately settled into the predominantly sylvan foci that remain today where it is maintained alternatively by enzootic and epizootic transmission. While zoonotic transmission to humans is much less common in modern times, significant plague risk remains in parts of the western US. Moreover, risk to some threatened species that are part of the epizootic cycle can be quite substantive. This investigation attempted to predict the risk of plague across the western US by modeling the ecologic niche of plague in sylvan and domestic animals identified between 2000 and 2015. A Maxent machine learning algorithm was used to predict this niche based on climate, altitude, land cover, and the presence of an important enzootic species, Peromyscus maniculatus. This model demonstrated good predictive ability (AUC = 86%) and identified areas of high risk in central Colorado, north-central New Mexico, and southwestern and northeastern California. The presence of P. maniculatus, altitude, precipitation during the driest and wettest quarters, and distance to artificial surfaces, all contributed substantively to maximizing the gain function. These findings add to the known landscape epidemiology and infection ecology of plague in the western US and may suggest locations of particular risk to be targeted for wild and domestic animal intervention.

  14. Reconstructing ecological niches and geographic distributions of caribou ( Rangifer tarandus) and red deer ( Cervus elaphus) during the Last Glacial Maximum

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Banks, William E.; d'Errico, Francesco; Peterson, A. Townsend; Kageyama, Masa; Colombeau, Guillaume

    2008-12-01

    A variety of approaches have been used to reconstruct glacial distributions of species, identify their environmental characteristics, and understand their influence on subsequent population expansions. Traditional methods, however, provide only rough estimates of past distributions, and are often unable to identify the ecological and geographic processes that shaped them. Recently, ecological niche modeling (ENM) methodologies have been applied to these questions in an effort to overcome such limitations. We apply ENM to the European faunal record of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) to reconstruct ecological niches and potential ranges for caribou ( Rangifer tarandus) and red deer ( Cervus elaphus), and evaluate whether their LGM distributions resulted from tracking the geographic footprint of their ecological niches (niche conservatism) or if ecological niche shifts between the LGM and present might be implicated. Results indicate that the LGM geographic ranges of both species represent distributions characterized by niche conservatism, expressed through geographic contraction of the geographic footprints of their respective ecological niches.

  15. The probabilistic niche model reveals substantial variation in the niche structure of empirical food webs.

    PubMed

    Williams, Richard J; Purves, Drew W

    2011-09-01

    The structure of food webs, complex networks of interspecies feeding interactions, plays a crucial role in ecosystem resilience and function, and understanding food web structure remains a central problem in ecology. Previous studies have shown that key features of empirical food webs can be reproduced by low-dimensional "niche" models. Here we examine the form and variability of food web niche structure by fitting a probabilistic niche model to 37 empirical food webs, a much larger number of food webs than used in previous studies. The model relaxes previous assumptions about parameter distributions and hierarchy and returns parameter estimates for each species in each web. The model significantly outperforms previous niche model variants and also performs well for several webs where a body-size-based niche model performs poorly, implying that traits other than body size are important in structuring these webs' niche space. Parameter estimates frequently violate previous models' assumptions: in 19 of 37 webs, parameter values are not significantly hierarchical, 32 of 37 webs have nonuniform niche value distributions, and 15 of 37 webs lack a correlation between niche width and niche position. Extending the model to a two-dimensional niche space yields networks with a mixture of one- and two-dimensional niches and provides a significantly better fit for webs with a large number of species and links. These results confirm that food webs are strongly niche-structured but reveal substantial variation in the form of the niche structuring, a result with fundamental implications for ecosystem resilience and function.

  16. Pollen dispersal slows geographical range shift and accelerates ecological niche shift under climate change.

    PubMed

    Aguilée, Robin; Raoul, Gaël; Rousset, François; Ronce, Ophélie

    2016-09-27

    Species may survive climate change by migrating to track favorable climates and/or adapting to different climates. Several quantitative genetics models predict that species escaping extinction will change their geographical distribution while keeping the same ecological niche. We introduce pollen dispersal in these models, which affects gene flow but not directly colonization. We show that plant populations may escape extinction because of both spatial range and ecological niche shifts. Exact analytical formulas predict that increasing pollen dispersal distance slows the expected spatial range shift and accelerates the ecological niche shift. There is an optimal distance of pollen dispersal, which maximizes the sustainable rate of climate change. These conclusions hold in simulations relaxing several strong assumptions of our analytical model. Our results imply that, for plants with long distance of pollen dispersal, models assuming niche conservatism may not accurately predict their future distribution under climate change.

  17. Pollen dispersal slows geographical range shift and accelerates ecological niche shift under climate change.

    PubMed

    Aguilée, Robin; Raoul, Gaël; Rousset, François; Ronce, Ophélie

    2016-09-27

    Species may survive climate change by migrating to track favorable climates and/or adapting to different climates. Several quantitative genetics models predict that species escaping extinction will change their geographical distribution while keeping the same ecological niche. We introduce pollen dispersal in these models, which affects gene flow but not directly colonization. We show that plant populations may escape extinction because of both spatial range and ecological niche shifts. Exact analytical formulas predict that increasing pollen dispersal distance slows the expected spatial range shift and accelerates the ecological niche shift. There is an optimal distance of pollen dispersal, which maximizes the sustainable rate of climate change. These conclusions hold in simulations relaxing several strong assumptions of our analytical model. Our results imply that, for plants with long distance of pollen dispersal, models assuming niche conservatism may not accurately predict their future distribution under climate change. PMID:27621443

  18. Do Ecological Niche Model Predictions Reflect the Adaptive Landscape of Species?: A Test Using Myristica malabarica Lam., an Endemic Tree in the Western Ghats, India

    PubMed Central

    Nagaraju, Shivaprakash K.; Gudasalamani, Ravikanth; Barve, Narayani; Ghazoul, Jaboury; Narayanagowda, Ganeshaiah Kotiganahalli; Ramanan, Uma Shaanker

    2013-01-01

    Ecological niche models (ENM) have become a popular tool to define and predict the “ecological niche” of a species. An implicit assumption of the ENMs is that the predicted ecological niche of a species actually reflects the adaptive landscape of the species. Thus in sites predicted to be highly suitable, species would have maximum fitness compared to in sites predicted to be poorly suitable. As yet there are very few attempts to address this assumption. Here we evaluate this assumption. We used Bioclim (DIVA GIS version 7.3) and Maxent (version 3.3.2) to predict the habitat suitability of Myristica malabarica Lam., an economically important tree occurring in the Western Ghats, India. We located populations of the trees naturally occurring in different habitat suitability regimes (from highly suitable to poorly suitable) and evaluated them for their regeneration ability and genetic diversity. We also evaluated them for two plant functional traits, fluctuating asymmetry – an index of genetic homeostasis, and specific leaf weight – an index of primary productivity, often assumed to be good surrogates of fitness. We show a significant positive correlation between the predicted habitat quality and plant functional traits, regeneration index and genetic diversity of populations. Populations at sites predicted to be highly suitable had a higher regeneration and gene diversity compared to populations in sites predicted to be poor or unsuitable. Further, individuals in the highly suitable sites exhibited significantly less fluctuating asymmetry and significantly higher specific leaf weight compared to individuals in the poorly suitable habitats. These results for the first time provide an explicit test of the ENM with respect to the plant functional traits, regeneration ability and genetic diversity of populations along a habitat suitability gradient. We discuss the implication of these resultsfor designing viable species conservation and restoration programs. PMID

  19. Phylogeography of Arabidopsis halleri (Brassicaceae) in mountain regions of Central Europe inferred from cpDNA variation and ecological niche modelling.

    PubMed

    Wasowicz, Pawel; Pauwels, Maxime; Pasierbinski, Andrzej; Przedpelska-Wasowicz, Ewa M; Babst-Kostecka, Alicja A; Saumitou-Laprade, Pierre; Rostanski, Adam

    2016-01-01

    The present study aimed to investigate phylogeographical patterns present within A. halleri in Central Europe. 1,281 accessions sampled from 52 populations within the investigated area were used in the study of genetic variation based on chloroplast DNA. Over 500 high-quality species occurrence records were used in ecological niche modelling experiments. We evidenced the presence of a clear phylogeographic structure within A. halleri in Central Europe. Our results showed that two genetically different groups of populations are present in western and eastern part of the Carpathians. The hypothesis of the existence of a glacial refugium in the Western Carpathians adn the Bohemian Forest cannot be rejected from our data. It seems, however, that the evidence collected during the present study is not conclusive. The area of Sudetes was colonised after LGM probably by migrants from the Bohemian Forest. PMID:26835186

  20. Phylogeography of Arabidopsis halleri (Brassicaceae) in mountain regions of Central Europe inferred from cpDNA variation and ecological niche modelling

    PubMed Central

    Pauwels, Maxime; Pasierbinski, Andrzej; Przedpelska-Wasowicz, Ewa M.; Babst-Kostecka, Alicja A.; Saumitou-Laprade, Pierre; Rostanski, Adam

    2016-01-01

    The present study aimed to investigate phylogeographical patterns present within A. halleri in Central Europe. 1,281 accessions sampled from 52 populations within the investigated area were used in the study of genetic variation based on chloroplast DNA. Over 500 high-quality species occurrence records were used in ecological niche modelling experiments. We evidenced the presence of a clear phylogeographic structure within A. halleri in Central Europe. Our results showed that two genetically different groups of populations are present in western and eastern part of the Carpathians. The hypothesis of the existence of a glacial refugium in the Western Carpathians adn the Bohemian Forest cannot be rejected from our data. It seems, however, that the evidence collected during the present study is not conclusive. The area of Sudetes was colonised after LGM probably by migrants from the Bohemian Forest. PMID:26835186

  1. The transition between the niche and neutral regimes in ecology

    PubMed Central

    Fisher, Charles K.; Mehta, Pankaj

    2014-01-01

    An ongoing debate in ecology concerns the impacts of ecological drift and selection on community assembly. Here, we show that there is a transition in diverse ecological communities between a selection-dominated regime (the niche phase) and a drift-dominated regime (the neutral phase). Simulations and analytic arguments show that the niche phase is favored in communities with large population sizes and relatively constant environments, whereas the neutral phase is favored in communities with small population sizes and fluctuating environments. Our results demonstrate how apparently neutral populations may arise even in communities inhabited by species with varying traits. PMID:25157131

  2. Ecology and the ratchet of events: Climate variability, niche dimensions, and species distributions

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jackson, S.T.; Betancourt, J.L.; Booth, R.K.; Gray, S.T.

    2009-01-01

    Climate change in the coming centuries will be characterized by interannual, decadal, and multidecadal fluctuations superimposed on anthropogenic trends. Predicting ecological and biogeographic responses to these changes constitutes an immense challenge for ecologists. Perspectives from climatic and ecological history indicate that responses will be laden with contingencies, resulting from episodic climatic events interacting with demographic and colonization events. This effect is compounded by the dependency of environmental sensitivity upon life-stage for many species. Climate variables often used in empirical niche models may become decoupled from the proximal variables that directly influence individuals and populations. Greater predictive capacity, and morefundamental ecological and biogeographic understanding, will come from integration of correlational niche modeling with mechanistic niche modeling, dynamic ecological modeling, targeted experiments, and systematic observations of past and present patterns and dynamics.

  3. Ecology and the ratchet of events: climate variability, niche dimensions, and species distributions

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jackson, Stephen T.; Betancourt, Julio L.; Booth, Robert K.; Gray, Stephen T.

    2009-01-01

    Climate change in the coming centuries will be characterized by interannual, decadal, and multidecadal fluctuations superimposed on anthropogenic trends. Predicting ecological and biogeographic responses to these changes constitutes an immense challenge for ecologists. Perspectives from climatic and ecological history indicate that responses will be laden with contingencies, resulting from episodic climatic events interacting with demographic and colonization events. This effect is compounded by the dependency of environmental sensitivity upon life-stage for many species. Climate variables often used in empirical niche models may become decoupled from the proximal variables that directly influence individuals and populations. Greater predictive capacity, and more-fundamental ecological and biogeographic understanding, will come from integration of correlational niche modeling with mechanistic niche modeling, dynamic ecological modeling, targeted experiments, and systematic observations of past and present patterns and dynamics.

  4. Ecological niche partitioning between Anopheles gambiae molecular forms in Cameroon: the ecological side of speciation

    PubMed Central

    Simard, Frédéric; Ayala, Diego; Kamdem, Guy Colince; Pombi, Marco; Etouna, Joachim; Ose, Kenji; Fotsing, Jean-Marie; Fontenille, Didier; Besansky, Nora J; Costantini, Carlo

    2009-01-01

    Background Speciation among members of the Anopheles gambiae complex is thought to be promoted by disruptive selection and ecological divergence acting on sets of adaptation genes protected from recombination by polymorphic paracentric chromosomal inversions. However, shared chromosomal polymorphisms between the M and S molecular forms of An. gambiae and insufficient information about their relationship with ecological divergence challenge this view. We used Geographic Information Systems, Ecological Niche Factor Analysis, and Bayesian multilocus genetic clustering to explore the nature and extent of ecological and chromosomal differentiation of M and S across all the biogeographic domains of Cameroon in Central Africa, in order to understand the role of chromosomal arrangements in ecological specialisation within and among molecular forms. Results Species distribution modelling with presence-only data revealed differences in the ecological niche of both molecular forms and the sibling species, An. arabiensis. The fundamental environmental envelope of the two molecular forms, however, overlapped to a large extent in the rainforest, where they occurred in sympatry. The S form had the greatest niche breadth of all three taxa, whereas An. arabiensis and the M form had the smallest niche overlap. Correspondence analysis of M and S karyotypes confirmed that molecular forms shared similar combinations of chromosomal inversion arrangements in response to the eco-climatic gradient defining the main biogeographic domains occurring across Cameroon. Savanna karyotypes of M and S, however, segregated along the smaller-scale environmental gradient defined by the second ordination axis. Population structure analysis identified three chromosomal clusters, each containing a mixture of M and S specimens. In both M and S, alternative karyotypes were segregating in contrasted environments, in agreement with a strong ecological adaptive value of chromosomal inversions. Conclusion Our

  5. Relaxed random walk model coupled with ecological niche modeling unravel the dispersal dynamics of a Neotropical savanna tree species in the deeper Quaternary.

    PubMed

    Collevatti, Rosane G; Terribile, Levi C; Rabelo, Suelen G; Lima-Ribeiro, Matheus S

    2015-01-01

    Understanding the dispersal routes of Neotropical savanna tree species is an essential step to unravel the effects of past climate change on genetic patterns, species distribution and population demography. Here we reconstruct the demographic history and dispersal dynamics of the Neotropical savanna tree species Tabebuia aurea to understand the effects of Quaternary climate change on its current spatial patterns of genetic diversity. We sampled 285 individuals from 21 populations throughout Brazilian savannas and sequenced all individuals for three chloroplast intergenic spacers and ITS nrDNA. We analyzed data using a multi-model inference framework by coupling the relaxed random walk model (RRW), ecological niche modeling (ENM) and statistical phylogeography. The most recent common ancestor of T. aurea lineages dated from ~4.0 ± 2.5 Ma. T. aurea lineages cyclically dispersed from the West toward the Central-West Brazil, and from the Southeast toward the East and Northeast Brazil, following the paleodistribution dynamics shown by the ENMs through the last glacial cycle. A historical refugium through time may have allowed dispersal of lineages among populations of Central Brazil, overlapping with population expansion during interglacial periods and the diversification of new lineages. Range and population expansion through the Quaternary were, respectively, the most frequent prediction from ENMs and the most likely demographic scenario from coalescent simulations. Consistent phylogeographic patterns among multiple modeling inferences indicate a promising approach, allowing us to understand how cyclical climate changes through the Quaternary drove complex population dynamics and the current patterns of species distribution and genetic diversity. PMID:26379681

  6. Ecological Niche Modelling Predicts Southward Expansion of Lutzomyia (Nyssomyia) flaviscutellata (Diptera: Psychodidae: Phlebotominae), Vector of Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis in South America, under Climate Change.

    PubMed

    Carvalho, Bruno M; Rangel, Elizabeth F; Ready, Paul D; Vale, Mariana M

    2015-01-01

    Vector borne diseases are susceptible to climate change because distributions and densities of many vectors are climate driven. The Amazon region is endemic for cutaneous leishmaniasis and is predicted to be severely impacted by climate change. Recent records suggest that the distributions of Lutzomyia (Nyssomyia) flaviscutellata and the parasite it transmits, Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis, are expanding southward, possibly due to climate change, and sometimes associated with new human infection cases. We define the vector's climatic niche and explore future projections under climate change scenarios. Vector occurrence records were compiled from the literature, museum collections and Brazilian Health Departments. Six bioclimatic variables were used as predictors in six ecological niche model algorithms (BIOCLIM, DOMAIN, MaxEnt, GARP, logistic regression and Random Forest). Projections for 2050 used 17 general circulation models in two greenhouse gas representative concentration pathways: "stabilization" and "high increase". Ensemble models and consensus maps were produced by overlapping binary predictions. Final model outputs showed good performance and significance. The use of species absence data substantially improved model performance. Currently, L. flaviscutellata is widely distributed in the Amazon region, with records in the Atlantic Forest and savannah regions of Central Brazil. Future projections indicate expansion of the climatically suitable area for the vector in both scenarios, towards higher latitudes and elevations. L. flaviscutellata is likely to find increasingly suitable conditions for its expansion into areas where human population size and density are much larger than they are in its current locations. If environmental conditions change as predicted, the range of the vector is likely to expand to southeastern and central-southern Brazil, eastern Paraguay and further into the Amazonian areas of Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela

  7. Ecological Niche Modelling Predicts Southward Expansion of Lutzomyia (Nyssomyia) flaviscutellata (Diptera: Psychodidae: Phlebotominae), Vector of Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis in South America, under Climate Change.

    PubMed

    Carvalho, Bruno M; Rangel, Elizabeth F; Ready, Paul D; Vale, Mariana M

    2015-01-01

    Vector borne diseases are susceptible to climate change because distributions and densities of many vectors are climate driven. The Amazon region is endemic for cutaneous leishmaniasis and is predicted to be severely impacted by climate change. Recent records suggest that the distributions of Lutzomyia (Nyssomyia) flaviscutellata and the parasite it transmits, Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis, are expanding southward, possibly due to climate change, and sometimes associated with new human infection cases. We define the vector's climatic niche and explore future projections under climate change scenarios. Vector occurrence records were compiled from the literature, museum collections and Brazilian Health Departments. Six bioclimatic variables were used as predictors in six ecological niche model algorithms (BIOCLIM, DOMAIN, MaxEnt, GARP, logistic regression and Random Forest). Projections for 2050 used 17 general circulation models in two greenhouse gas representative concentration pathways: "stabilization" and "high increase". Ensemble models and consensus maps were produced by overlapping binary predictions. Final model outputs showed good performance and significance. The use of species absence data substantially improved model performance. Currently, L. flaviscutellata is widely distributed in the Amazon region, with records in the Atlantic Forest and savannah regions of Central Brazil. Future projections indicate expansion of the climatically suitable area for the vector in both scenarios, towards higher latitudes and elevations. L. flaviscutellata is likely to find increasingly suitable conditions for its expansion into areas where human population size and density are much larger than they are in its current locations. If environmental conditions change as predicted, the range of the vector is likely to expand to southeastern and central-southern Brazil, eastern Paraguay and further into the Amazonian areas of Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela

  8. Ecological Niche Modelling Predicts Southward Expansion of Lutzomyia (Nyssomyia) flaviscutellata (Diptera: Psychodidae: Phlebotominae), Vector of Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis in South America, under Climate Change

    PubMed Central

    Carvalho, Bruno M.; Ready, Paul D.

    2015-01-01

    Vector borne diseases are susceptible to climate change because distributions and densities of many vectors are climate driven. The Amazon region is endemic for cutaneous leishmaniasis and is predicted to be severely impacted by climate change. Recent records suggest that the distributions of Lutzomyia (Nyssomyia) flaviscutellata and the parasite it transmits, Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis, are expanding southward, possibly due to climate change, and sometimes associated with new human infection cases. We define the vector’s climatic niche and explore future projections under climate change scenarios. Vector occurrence records were compiled from the literature, museum collections and Brazilian Health Departments. Six bioclimatic variables were used as predictors in six ecological niche model algorithms (BIOCLIM, DOMAIN, MaxEnt, GARP, logistic regression and Random Forest). Projections for 2050 used 17 general circulation models in two greenhouse gas representative concentration pathways: “stabilization” and “high increase”. Ensemble models and consensus maps were produced by overlapping binary predictions. Final model outputs showed good performance and significance. The use of species absence data substantially improved model performance. Currently, L. flaviscutellata is widely distributed in the Amazon region, with records in the Atlantic Forest and savannah regions of Central Brazil. Future projections indicate expansion of the climatically suitable area for the vector in both scenarios, towards higher latitudes and elevations. L. flaviscutellata is likely to find increasingly suitable conditions for its expansion into areas where human population size and density are much larger than they are in its current locations. If environmental conditions change as predicted, the range of the vector is likely to expand to southeastern and central-southern Brazil, eastern Paraguay and further into the Amazonian areas of Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and

  9. Unveiling the factors shaping the distribution of widely distributed alpine vertebrates, using multi-scale ecological niche modelling of the bat Plecotus macrobullaris.

    PubMed

    Alberdi, Antton; Aizpurua, Ostaizka; Aihartza, Joxerra; Garin, Inazio

    2014-01-01

    Several alpine vertebrates share a distribution pattern that extends across the South-western Palearctic but is limited to the main mountain massifs. Although they are usually regarded as cold-adapted species, the range of many alpine vertebrates also includes relatively warm areas, suggesting that factors beyond climatic conditions may be driving their distribution. In this work we first recognize the species belonging to the mentioned biogeographic group and, based on the environmental niche analysis of Plecotus macrobullaris, we identify and characterize the environmental factors constraining their ranges. Distribution overlap analysis of 504 European vertebrates was done using the Sorensen Similarity Index, and we identified four birds and one mammal that share the distribution with P. macrobullaris. We generated 135 environmental niche models including different variable combinations and regularization values for P. macrobullaris at two different scales and resolutions. After selecting the best models, we observed that topographic variables outperformed climatic predictors, and the abruptness of the landscape showed better predictive ability than elevation. The best explanatory climatic variable was mean summer temperature, which showed that P. macrobullaris is able to cope with mean temperature ranges spanning up to 16°C. The models showed that the distribution of P. macrobullaris is mainly shaped by topographic factors that provide rock-abundant and open-space habitats rather than climatic determinants, and that the species is not a cold-adapted, but rather a cold-tolerant eurithermic organism. P. macrobullaris shares its distribution pattern as well as several ecological features with five other alpine vertebrates, suggesting that the conclusions obtained from this study might be extensible to them. We concluded that rock-dwelling and open-space foraging vertebrates with broad temperature tolerance are the best candidates to show wide alpine distribution

  10. Hybrid apomicts trapped in the ecological niches of their sexual ancestors

    PubMed Central

    Mau, Martin; Lovell, John T.; Corral, José M.; Kiefer, Christiane; Koch, Marcus A.; Aliyu, Olawale M.; Sharbel, Timothy F.

    2015-01-01

    Asexual reproduction is expected to reduce the adaptive potential to novel or changing environmental conditions, restricting or altering the ecological niche of asexual lineages. Asexual lineages of plants and animals are typically polyploid, an attribute that may influence their genetic variation, plasticity, adaptive potential, and niche breadth. The genus Boechera (Brassicaceae) represents an ideal model to test the relative ecological and biogeographic impacts of reproductive mode and ploidy because it is composed of diploid sexual and both diploid and polyploid asexual (i.e., apomictic) lineages. Here, we demonstrate a strong association between a transcriptionally conserved allele and apomictic seed formation. We then use this allele as a proxy apomixis marker in 1,649 accessions to demonstrate that apomixis is likely to be a common feature across the Boechera phylogeny. Phylogeographic analyses of these data demonstrate (i) species-specific niche differentiation in sexuals, (ii) extensive niche conservation between differing reproductive modes of the same species, (iii) ploidy-specific niche differentiation within and among species, and (iv) occasional niche drift between apomicts and their sexual ancestors. We conclude that ploidy is a substantially stronger and more common driver of niche divergence within and across Boechera species although variation in both traits may not necessarily lead to niche evolution on the species scale. PMID:25902513

  11. Hybrid apomicts trapped in the ecological niches of their sexual ancestors.

    PubMed

    Mau, Martin; Lovell, John T; Corral, José M; Kiefer, Christiane; Koch, Marcus A; Aliyu, Olawale M; Sharbel, Timothy F

    2015-05-01

    Asexual reproduction is expected to reduce the adaptive potential to novel or changing environmental conditions, restricting or altering the ecological niche of asexual lineages. Asexual lineages of plants and animals are typically polyploid, an attribute that may influence their genetic variation, plasticity, adaptive potential, and niche breadth. The genus Boechera (Brassicaceae) represents an ideal model to test the relative ecological and biogeographic impacts of reproductive mode and ploidy because it is composed of diploid sexual and both diploid and polyploid asexual (i.e., apomictic) lineages. Here, we demonstrate a strong association between a transcriptionally conserved allele and apomictic seed formation. We then use this allele as a proxy apomixis marker in 1,649 accessions to demonstrate that apomixis is likely to be a common feature across the Boechera phylogeny. Phylogeographic analyses of these data demonstrate (i) species-specific niche differentiation in sexuals, (ii) extensive niche conservation between differing reproductive modes of the same species, (iii) ploidy-specific niche differentiation within and among species, and (iv) occasional niche drift between apomicts and their sexual ancestors. We conclude that ploidy is a substantially stronger and more common driver of niche divergence within and across Boechera species although variation in both traits may not necessarily lead to niche evolution on the species scale.

  12. Hybrid apomicts trapped in the ecological niches of their sexual ancestors.

    PubMed

    Mau, Martin; Lovell, John T; Corral, José M; Kiefer, Christiane; Koch, Marcus A; Aliyu, Olawale M; Sharbel, Timothy F

    2015-05-01

    Asexual reproduction is expected to reduce the adaptive potential to novel or changing environmental conditions, restricting or altering the ecological niche of asexual lineages. Asexual lineages of plants and animals are typically polyploid, an attribute that may influence their genetic variation, plasticity, adaptive potential, and niche breadth. The genus Boechera (Brassicaceae) represents an ideal model to test the relative ecological and biogeographic impacts of reproductive mode and ploidy because it is composed of diploid sexual and both diploid and polyploid asexual (i.e., apomictic) lineages. Here, we demonstrate a strong association between a transcriptionally conserved allele and apomictic seed formation. We then use this allele as a proxy apomixis marker in 1,649 accessions to demonstrate that apomixis is likely to be a common feature across the Boechera phylogeny. Phylogeographic analyses of these data demonstrate (i) species-specific niche differentiation in sexuals, (ii) extensive niche conservation between differing reproductive modes of the same species, (iii) ploidy-specific niche differentiation within and among species, and (iv) occasional niche drift between apomicts and their sexual ancestors. We conclude that ploidy is a substantially stronger and more common driver of niche divergence within and across Boechera species although variation in both traits may not necessarily lead to niche evolution on the species scale. PMID:25902513

  13. A successful avian invasion occupies a marginal ecological niche

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Batalha, Helena R.; Ramos, Jaime A.; Cardoso, Gonçalo C.

    2013-05-01

    Biological invasions often threaten biodiversity, yet their ecological effects are unpredictable and in some cases may be neutral. Assessing potential interactions between invasive and native species is thus important to understand community functioning and prioritize conservation efforts. With this purpose, we compared the ecological niche and occurrence of a successful avian invader in SW Europe, the common waxbill (Estrildidae: Estrilda astrild), with those of co-occurring native passerine species. We found that common waxbills occupy a marginal niche relative to the community of native passerines, with a larger average ecological distance to the remaining species in the community compared to the native species amongst themselves, and a nearest-neighbour ecological distance identical to those of native species. Furthermore, ecological similarity did not predict co-occurrence of waxbills with other bird species. This is consistent with the invasion using a vacant niche in unsaturated communities, which is likely related to invading waxbills occupying partly human-modified habitats. Similar explanations may apply to other biological invasions of human-modified environments. Results also suggest that detrimental ecological effects due to interspecific competition with native passerines are unlikely. Notwithstanding, the ecological nearest-neighbour of common waxbills was the reed bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus), whose SW European subspecies are endangered, and may justify conservation attention regarding possible interactions between these two species.

  14. The zoophilic fruitfly Phortica variegata: morphology, ecology and biological niche.

    PubMed

    Otranto, D; Brianti, E; Cantacessi, C; Lia, R P; Máca, J

    2006-12-01

    Flies belonging to the subfamily Steganinae (Drosophilidae) display unusual zoophilic feeding habits at the adult and/or larval stage. Phortica variegata (Fallén) feeds on tears or eye liquid around the eyes of humans and carnivores. When feeding it is a potential vector of Thelazia callipaeda (Railliet and Henry) eyeworms. Adult and larval stages of this fly may be easily confused with other species belonging to the same genus, and little is known on the biology and ecology of P. variegata. In April-November 2005, a total of 969 P. variegata were collected in an area with a high prevalence of canine thelaziosis. The number of flies collected weekly was then related to climatic and environmental parameters (e.g. temperature, relative humidity and total rainfall) recorded daily at the collection site. The highest number of Phortica were collected during July-August. The sex ratio (number of males : females) rose from approximately 0.5 during May-July, to approximately 3.0 in August and 181 during September-October. Distributional data, representing 242 sites at which P. variegata has been collected in Europe, were analysed using a desktop implementation of the genetic algorithm for rule-set prediction (GARP) to model ecological requirements across Europe, as well as in Italy. P. variegata is shown to be mainly active at 20-25 degrees C and 50-75% RH. The ecological niche model suggests with a high degree of confidence that large areas of Europe are likely to represent suitable habitat for this species, mostly concentrated in central Europe. The results reported here contribute basic knowledge on the ecology and geographical distribution of P. variegata flies, which will be fundamental to gaining a better understanding of their role as vectors of human and animal pathogens. PMID:17199746

  15. Genetic Diversity and Ecological Niche Modelling of Wild Barley: Refugia, Large-Scale Post-LGM Range Expansion and Limited Mid-Future Climate Threats?

    PubMed Central

    Russell, Joanne; van Zonneveld, Maarten; Dawson, Ian K.; Booth, Allan; Waugh, Robbie; Steffenson, Brian

    2014-01-01

    Describing genetic diversity in wild barley (Hordeum vulgare ssp. spontaneum) in geographic and environmental space in the context of current, past and potential future climates is important for conservation and for breeding the domesticated crop (Hordeum vulgare ssp. vulgare). Spatial genetic diversity in wild barley was revealed by both nuclear- (2,505 SNP, 24 nSSR) and chloroplast-derived (5 cpSSR) markers in 256 widely-sampled geo-referenced accessions. Results were compared with MaxEnt-modelled geographic distributions under current, past (Last Glacial Maximum, LGM) and mid-term future (anthropogenic scenario A2, the 2080s) climates. Comparisons suggest large-scale post-LGM range expansion in Central Asia and relatively small, but statistically significant, reductions in range-wide genetic diversity under future climate. Our analyses support the utility of ecological niche modelling for locating genetic diversity hotspots and determine priority geographic areas for wild barley conservation under anthropogenic climate change. Similar research on other cereal crop progenitors could play an important role in tailoring conservation and crop improvement strategies to support future human food security. PMID:24505252

  16. Genome-wide admixture and ecological niche modelling reveal the maintenance of species boundaries despite long history of interspecific gene flow

    PubMed Central

    De La Torre, Amanda R; Roberts, David R; Aitken, Sally N

    2014-01-01

    The maintenance of species boundaries despite interspecific gene flow has been a continuous source of interest in evolutionary biology. Many hybridizing species have porous genomes with regions impermeable to introgression, conferring reproductive barriers between species. We used ecological niche modelling to study the glacial and postglacial recolonization patterns between the widely hybridizing spruce species Picea glauca and P. engelmannii in western North America. Genome-wide estimates of admixture based on a panel of 311 candidate gene single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) from 290 genes were used to assess levels of admixture and introgression and to identify loci putatively involved in adaptive differences or reproductive barriers between species. Our palaeoclimatic modelling suggests that these two closely related species have a long history of hybridization and introgression, dating to at least 21 000 years ago, yet species integrity is maintained by a combination of strong environmental selection and reduced current interspecific gene flow. Twenty loci showed evidence of divergent selection, including six loci that were both Fst outliers and associated with climatic gradients, and fourteen loci that were either outliers or showed associations with climate. These included genes responsible for carbohydrate metabolism, signal transduction and transcription factors. PMID:24597663

  17. Niche divergence builds the case for ecological speciation in skinks of the Plestiodon skiltonianus species complex

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wogan, Guinevere O.U.; Richmond, Jonathan Q.

    2015-01-01

    Adaptation to different thermal environments has the potential to cause evolutionary changes that are sufficient to drive ecological speciation. Here, we examine whether climate-based niche divergence in lizards of the Plestiodon skiltonianus species complex is consistent with the outcomes of such a process. Previous work on this group shows that a mechanical sexual barrier has evolved between species that differ mainly in body size and that the barrier may be a by-product of selection for increased body size in lineages that have invaded xeric environments; however, baseline information on niche divergence among members of the group is lacking. We quantified the climatic niche using mechanistic physiological and correlative niche models and then estimated niche differences among species using ordination techniques and tests of niche overlap and equivalency. Our results show that the thermal niches of size-divergent, reproductively isolated morphospecies are significantly differentiated and that precipitation may have been as important as temperature in causing increased shifts in body size in xeric habitats. While these findings alone do not demonstrate thermal adaptation or identify the cause of speciation, their integration with earlier genetic and behavioral studies provides a useful test of phenotype–environment associations that further support the case for ecological speciation in these lizards.

  18. Ecological allometries and niche use dynamics across Komodo dragon ontogeny

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Purwandana, Deni; Ariefiandy, Achmad; Imansyah, M. Jeri; Seno, Aganto; Ciofi, Claudio; Letnic, Mike; Jessop, Tim S.

    2016-04-01

    Ontogenetic allometries in ecological habits and niche use are key responses by which individuals maximize lifetime fitness. Moreover, such allometries have significant implications for how individuals influence population and community dynamics. Here, we examined how body size variation in Komodo dragons ( Varanus komodoensis) influenced ecological allometries in their: (1) prey size preference, (2) daily movement rates, (3) home range area, and (4) subsequent niche use across ontogeny. With increased body mass, Komodo dragons increased prey size with a dramatic switch from small (≤10 kg) to large prey (≥50 kg) in lizards heavier than 20 kg. Rates of foraging movement were described by a non-linear concave down response with lizard increasing hourly movement rates up until ˜20 kg body mass before decreasing daily movement suggesting reduced foraging effort in larger lizards. In contrast, home range area exhibited a sigmoid response with increased body mass. Intrapopulation ecological niche use and overlap were also strongly structured by body size. Thus, ontogenetic allometries suggest Komodo dragon's transition from a highly active foraging mode exploiting small prey through to a less active sit and wait feeding strategy focused on killing large ungulates. Further, our results suggest that as body size increases across ontogeny, the Komodo dragon exhibited marked ontogenetic niche shifts that enabled it to function as an entire vertebrate predator guild by exploiting prey across multiple trophic levels.

  19. Ecological allometries and niche use dynamics across Komodo dragon ontogeny.

    PubMed

    Purwandana, Deni; Ariefiandy, Achmad; Imansyah, M Jeri; Seno, Aganto; Ciofi, Claudio; Letnic, Mike; Jessop, Tim S

    2016-04-01

    Ontogenetic allometries in ecological habits and niche use are key responses by which individuals maximize lifetime fitness. Moreover, such allometries have significant implications for how individuals influence population and community dynamics. Here, we examined how body size variation in Komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis) influenced ecological allometries in their: (1) prey size preference, (2) daily movement rates, (3) home range area, and (4) subsequent niche use across ontogeny. With increased body mass, Komodo dragons increased prey size with a dramatic switch from small (≤10 kg) to large prey (≥50 kg) in lizards heavier than 20 kg. Rates of foraging movement were described by a non-linear concave down response with lizard increasing hourly movement rates up until ∼20 kg body mass before decreasing daily movement suggesting reduced foraging effort in larger lizards. In contrast, home range area exhibited a sigmoid response with increased body mass. Intrapopulation ecological niche use and overlap were also strongly structured by body size. Thus, ontogenetic allometries suggest Komodo dragon's transition from a highly active foraging mode exploiting small prey through to a less active sit and wait feeding strategy focused on killing large ungulates. Further, our results suggest that as body size increases across ontogeny, the Komodo dragon exhibited marked ontogenetic niche shifts that enabled it to function as an entire vertebrate predator guild by exploiting prey across multiple trophic levels.

  20. Ecological allometries and niche use dynamics across Komodo dragon ontogeny.

    PubMed

    Purwandana, Deni; Ariefiandy, Achmad; Imansyah, M Jeri; Seno, Aganto; Ciofi, Claudio; Letnic, Mike; Jessop, Tim S

    2016-04-01

    Ontogenetic allometries in ecological habits and niche use are key responses by which individuals maximize lifetime fitness. Moreover, such allometries have significant implications for how individuals influence population and community dynamics. Here, we examined how body size variation in Komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis) influenced ecological allometries in their: (1) prey size preference, (2) daily movement rates, (3) home range area, and (4) subsequent niche use across ontogeny. With increased body mass, Komodo dragons increased prey size with a dramatic switch from small (≤10 kg) to large prey (≥50 kg) in lizards heavier than 20 kg. Rates of foraging movement were described by a non-linear concave down response with lizard increasing hourly movement rates up until ∼20 kg body mass before decreasing daily movement suggesting reduced foraging effort in larger lizards. In contrast, home range area exhibited a sigmoid response with increased body mass. Intrapopulation ecological niche use and overlap were also strongly structured by body size. Thus, ontogenetic allometries suggest Komodo dragon's transition from a highly active foraging mode exploiting small prey through to a less active sit and wait feeding strategy focused on killing large ungulates. Further, our results suggest that as body size increases across ontogeny, the Komodo dragon exhibited marked ontogenetic niche shifts that enabled it to function as an entire vertebrate predator guild by exploiting prey across multiple trophic levels. PMID:26936625

  1. Ecological niche of three teuthophageous odontocetes in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Praca, E.; Gannier, A.

    2007-10-01

    In the northwestern Mediterranean Sea, sperm whales, pilot whales and Risso's dolphins prey on cephalopods exclusively or preferentially. In order to evaluate their competition, we modelled their habitat suitability with the Ecological Niche Factor Analysis (ENFA) and compared their ecological niche using a discriminant analysis. We used a long term (1995-2005) small boat data set, with visual and acoustic (sperm whale) detections. Risso's dolphin had the shallowest and the more spatially restricted principal habitat, mainly located on the upper part of the continental slope (640 m mean depth). With a wider principal habitat, at 1750 m depth in average, the sperm whale used a deeper part of the slope as well as close offshore waters. Finally, the pilot whale has the most oceanic habitat (2500 m mean depth) mainly located in the central Ligurian Sea and Provençal basin. Therefore, potential competition for food between these species may be reduced by the differentiation of their ecological niches.

  2. Predicting the distribution and ecological niche of unexploited snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio) populations in Alaskan waters: a first open-access ensemble model.

    PubMed

    Hardy, Sarah M; Lindgren, Michael; Konakanchi, Hanumantharao; Huettmann, Falk

    2011-10-01

    Populations of the snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio) are widely distributed on high-latitude continental shelves of the North Pacific and North Atlantic, and represent a valuable resource in both the United States and Canada. In US waters, snow crabs are found throughout the Arctic and sub-Arctic seas surrounding Alaska, north of the Aleutian Islands, yet commercial harvest currently focuses on the more southerly population in the Bering Sea. Population dynamics are well-monitored in exploited areas, but few data exist for populations further north where climate trends in the Arctic appear to be affecting species' distributions and community structure on multiple trophic levels. Moreover, increased shipping traffic, as well as fisheries and petroleum resource development, may add additional pressures in northern portions of the range as seasonal ice cover continues to decline. In the face of these pressures, we examined the ecological niche and population distribution of snow crabs in Alaskan waters using a GIS-based spatial modeling approach. We present the first quantitative open-access model predictions of snow-crab distribution, abundance, and biomass in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. Multi-variate analysis of environmental drivers of species' distribution and community structure commonly rely on multiple linear regression methods. The spatial modeling approach employed here improves upon linear regression methods in allowing for exploration of nonlinear relationships and interactions between variables. Three machine-learning algorithms were used to evaluate relationships between snow-crab distribution and environmental parameters, including TreeNet, Random Forests, and MARS. An ensemble model was then generated by combining output from these three models to generate consensus predictions for presence-absence, abundance, and biomass of snow crabs. Each algorithm identified a suite of variables most important in predicting snow-crab distribution, including

  3. Predicting the distribution and ecological niche of unexploited snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio) populations in Alaskan waters: a first open-access ensemble model.

    PubMed

    Hardy, Sarah M; Lindgren, Michael; Konakanchi, Hanumantharao; Huettmann, Falk

    2011-10-01

    Populations of the snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio) are widely distributed on high-latitude continental shelves of the North Pacific and North Atlantic, and represent a valuable resource in both the United States and Canada. In US waters, snow crabs are found throughout the Arctic and sub-Arctic seas surrounding Alaska, north of the Aleutian Islands, yet commercial harvest currently focuses on the more southerly population in the Bering Sea. Population dynamics are well-monitored in exploited areas, but few data exist for populations further north where climate trends in the Arctic appear to be affecting species' distributions and community structure on multiple trophic levels. Moreover, increased shipping traffic, as well as fisheries and petroleum resource development, may add additional pressures in northern portions of the range as seasonal ice cover continues to decline. In the face of these pressures, we examined the ecological niche and population distribution of snow crabs in Alaskan waters using a GIS-based spatial modeling approach. We present the first quantitative open-access model predictions of snow-crab distribution, abundance, and biomass in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. Multi-variate analysis of environmental drivers of species' distribution and community structure commonly rely on multiple linear regression methods. The spatial modeling approach employed here improves upon linear regression methods in allowing for exploration of nonlinear relationships and interactions between variables. Three machine-learning algorithms were used to evaluate relationships between snow-crab distribution and environmental parameters, including TreeNet, Random Forests, and MARS. An ensemble model was then generated by combining output from these three models to generate consensus predictions for presence-absence, abundance, and biomass of snow crabs. Each algorithm identified a suite of variables most important in predicting snow-crab distribution, including

  4. Hierarchical traits distances explain grassland Fabaceae species' ecological niches distances

    PubMed Central

    Fort, Florian; Jouany, Claire; Cruz, Pablo

    2015-01-01

    Fabaceae species play a key role in ecosystem functioning through their capacity to fix atmospheric nitrogen via their symbiosis with Rhizobium bacteria. To increase benefits of using Fabaceae in agricultural systems, it is necessary to find ways to evaluate species or genotypes having potential adaptations to sub-optimal growth conditions. We evaluated the relevance of phylogenetic distance, absolute trait distance and hierarchical trait distance for comparing the adaptation of 13 grassland Fabaceae species to different habitats, i.e., ecological niches. We measured a wide range of functional traits (root traits, leaf traits, and whole plant traits) in these species. Species phylogenetic and ecological distances were assessed from a species-level phylogenetic tree and species' ecological indicator values, respectively. We demonstrated that differences in ecological niches between grassland Fabaceae species were related more to their hierarchical trait distances than to their phylogenetic distances. We showed that grassland Fabaceae functional traits tend to converge among species with the same ecological requirements. Species with acquisitive root strategies (thin roots, shallow root systems) are competitive species adapted to non-stressful meadows, while conservative ones (coarse roots, deep root systems) are able to tolerate stressful continental climates. In contrast, acquisitive species appeared to be able to tolerate low soil-P availability, while conservative ones need high P availability. Finally we highlight that traits converge along the ecological gradient, providing the assumption that species with similar root-trait values are better able to coexist, regardless of their phylogenetic distance. PMID:25741353

  5. Ecological niche structure and rangewide abundance patterns of species.

    PubMed

    Martínez-Meyer, Enrique; Díaz-Porras, Daniel; Peterson, A Townsend; Yáñez-Arenas, Carlos

    2013-02-23

    Spatial abundance patterns across species' ranges have attracted intense attention in macroecology and biogeography. One key hypothesis has been that abundance declines with geographical distance from the range centre, but tests of this idea have shown that the effect may occur indeed only in a minority of cases. We explore an alternative hypothesis: that species' abundances decline with distance from the centroid of the species' habitable conditions in environmental space (the ecological niche). We demonstrate consistent negative abundance-ecological distance relationships across all 11 species analysed (turtles to wolves), and that relationships in environmental space are consistently stronger than relationships in geographical space. PMID:23134784

  6. Ecological niche structure and rangewide abundance patterns of species

    PubMed Central

    Martínez-Meyer, Enrique; Díaz-Porras, Daniel; Peterson, A. Townsend; Yáñez-Arenas, Carlos

    2013-01-01

    Spatial abundance patterns across species' ranges have attracted intense attention in macroecology and biogeography. One key hypothesis has been that abundance declines with geographical distance from the range centre, but tests of this idea have shown that the effect may occur indeed only in a minority of cases. We explore an alternative hypothesis: that species' abundances decline with distance from the centroid of the species' habitable conditions in environmental space (the ecological niche). We demonstrate consistent negative abundance–ecological distance relationships across all 11 species analysed (turtles to wolves), and that relationships in environmental space are consistently stronger than relationships in geographical space. PMID:23134784

  7. Profound Climatic Effects on Two East Asian Black-Throated Tits (Ave: Aegithalidae), Revealed by Ecological Niche Models and Phylogeographic Analysis

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Wenjuan; Lin, Congtian; Gao, Bin; Yang, Xiaojun; Zhang, Zhengwang; Lei, Fumin

    2011-01-01

    Although a number of studies have assessed the effects of geological and climatic changes on species distributions in East Asian, we still have limited knowledge of how these changes have impacted avian species in south-western and southern China. Here, we aim to study paleo-climatic effects on an East Asian bird, two subspecies of black-throated tit (A. c. talifuensis–concinnus) with the combined analysis of phylogeography and Ecological Niche Models (ENMs). We sequenced three mitochondrial DNA markers from 32 populations (203 individuals) and used phylogenetic inferences to reconstruct the intra-specific relationships among haplotypes. Population genetic analyses were undertaken to gain insight into the demographic history of these populations. We used ENMs to predict the distribution of target species during three periods; last inter-glacial (LIG), last glacial maximum (LGM) and present. We found three highly supported, monophyletic MtDNA lineages and different historical demography among lineages in A. c. talifuensis–concinnus. These lineages formed a narrowly circumscribed intra-specific contact zone. The estimated times of lineage divergences were about 2.4 Ma and 0.32 Ma respectively. ENMs predictions were similar between present and LGM but substantially reduced during LIG. ENMs reconstructions and molecular dating suggest that Pleistocene climate changes had triggered and shaped the genetic structure of black-throated tit. Interestingly, in contrast to profound impacts of other glacial cycles, ENMs and phylogeographic analysis suggest that LGM had limited effect on these two subspecies. ENMs also suggest that Pleistocene climatic oscillations enabled the formation of the contact zone and thus support the refuge theory. PMID:22195047

  8. Microbial mats: an ecological niche for fungi

    PubMed Central

    Cantrell, Sharon A.; Duval-Pérez, Lisabeth

    2013-01-01

    Fungi were documented in tropical hypersaline microbial mats and their role in the degradation of complex carbohydrates (exopolymeric substance – EPS) was explored. Fungal diversity is higher during the wet season with Acremonium, Aspergillus, Cladosporium, and Penicillium among the more common genera. Diversity is also higher in the oxic layer and in young and transient mats. Enrichments with xanthan (a model EPS) show that without antibiotics (full community) degradation is faster than enrichments with antibacterial (fungal community) and antifungal (bacterial community) agents, suggesting that degradation is performed by a consortium of organisms (bacteria and fungi). The combined evidence from all experiments indicates that bacteria carried out approximately two-third of the xanthan degradation. The pattern of degradation is similar between seasons and layers but degradation is faster in enrichments from the wet season. The research suggests that fungi thrive in these hypersaline consortia and may participate in the carbon cycle through the degradation of complex carbohydrates. PMID:23577004

  9. Population genetics and ecological niche of invasive Aedes albopictus in Mexico.

    PubMed

    Pech-May, Angélica; Moo-Llanes, David A; Puerto-Avila, María Belem; Casas, Mauricio; Danis-Lozano, Rogelio; Ponce, Gustavo; Tun-Ku, Ezequiel; Pinto-Castillo, José Francisco; Villegas, Alejandro; Ibáñez-Piñon, Clemente R; González, Cassandra; Ramsey, Janine M

    2016-05-01

    The Asian tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus (Skuse), is one of the most invasive mosquito species worldwide. In Mexico it is now recorded in 12 states and represents a serious public health problem, given the recent introduction of Chikungunya on the southern border. The aim of this study was to analyze the population genetics of A. albopictus from all major recorded foci, and model its ecological niche. Niche similarity with that from its autochthonous distribution in Asia and other invaded countries were analyzed and its potential future expansion and potential human exposure in climate change scenarios measured. We analyzed 125 sequences of a 317 bp fragment of the cyt b gene from seven A. albopictus populations across Mexico. The samples belong to 25 haplotypes with moderate population structuring (Fst=0.081, p<0.02) and population expansion. The most prevalent haplotype, found in all principal sites, was shared with the USA, Brazil, France, Madagascar, and Reunion Island. The ecological niche model using Mexican occurrence records covers 79.7% of the country, and has an 83% overlap with the Asian niche projected to Mexico. Both Neotropical and Nearctic regions are included in the Mexican niche model. Currently in Mexico, 38.6 million inhabitants are exposed to A. albopictus, which is expected to increase to 45.6 million by 2070. Genetic evidence supports collection information that A. albopictus was introduced to Mexico principally by land from the USA and Central and South America. Prevalent haplotypes from Mexico are shared with most invasive regions across the world, just as there was high niche similarity with both natural and invaded regions. The important overlap with the Asian niche model suggests a high potential for the species to disperse to sylvatic regions in Mexico. PMID:26814619

  10. Population genetics and ecological niche of invasive Aedes albopictus in Mexico.

    PubMed

    Pech-May, Angélica; Moo-Llanes, David A; Puerto-Avila, María Belem; Casas, Mauricio; Danis-Lozano, Rogelio; Ponce, Gustavo; Tun-Ku, Ezequiel; Pinto-Castillo, José Francisco; Villegas, Alejandro; Ibáñez-Piñon, Clemente R; González, Cassandra; Ramsey, Janine M

    2016-05-01

    The Asian tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus (Skuse), is one of the most invasive mosquito species worldwide. In Mexico it is now recorded in 12 states and represents a serious public health problem, given the recent introduction of Chikungunya on the southern border. The aim of this study was to analyze the population genetics of A. albopictus from all major recorded foci, and model its ecological niche. Niche similarity with that from its autochthonous distribution in Asia and other invaded countries were analyzed and its potential future expansion and potential human exposure in climate change scenarios measured. We analyzed 125 sequences of a 317 bp fragment of the cyt b gene from seven A. albopictus populations across Mexico. The samples belong to 25 haplotypes with moderate population structuring (Fst=0.081, p<0.02) and population expansion. The most prevalent haplotype, found in all principal sites, was shared with the USA, Brazil, France, Madagascar, and Reunion Island. The ecological niche model using Mexican occurrence records covers 79.7% of the country, and has an 83% overlap with the Asian niche projected to Mexico. Both Neotropical and Nearctic regions are included in the Mexican niche model. Currently in Mexico, 38.6 million inhabitants are exposed to A. albopictus, which is expected to increase to 45.6 million by 2070. Genetic evidence supports collection information that A. albopictus was introduced to Mexico principally by land from the USA and Central and South America. Prevalent haplotypes from Mexico are shared with most invasive regions across the world, just as there was high niche similarity with both natural and invaded regions. The important overlap with the Asian niche model suggests a high potential for the species to disperse to sylvatic regions in Mexico.

  11. Ecological Niche Dimensionality and the Evolutionary Diversification of Stick Insects

    PubMed Central

    Nosil, Patrik; Sandoval, Cristina P.

    2008-01-01

    The degree of phenotypic divergence and reproductive isolation between taxon pairs can vary quantitatively, and often increases as evolutionary divergence proceeds through various stages, from polymorphism to population differentiation, ecotype and race formation, speciation, and post-speciational divergence. Although divergent natural selection promotes divergence, it does not always result in strong differentiation. For example, divergent selection can fail to complete speciation, and distinct species pairs sometimes collapse (‘speciation in reverse’). Widely-discussed explanations for this variability concern genetic architecture, and the geographic arrangement of populations. A less-explored possibility is that the degree of phenotypic and reproductive divergence between taxon pairs is positively related to the number of ecological niche dimensions (i.e., traits) subject to divergent selection. Some data supporting this idea stem from laboratory experimental evolution studies using Drosophila, but tests from nature are lacking. Here we report results from manipulative field experiments in natural populations of herbivorous Timema stick insects that are consistent with this ‘niche dimensionality’ hypothesis. In such insects, divergent selection between host plants might occur for cryptic colouration (camouflage to evade visual predation), physiology (to detoxify plant chemicals), or both of these niche dimensions. We show that divergent selection on the single niche dimension of cryptic colouration can result in ecotype formation and intermediate levels of phenotypic and reproductive divergence between populations feeding on different hosts. However, greater divergence between a species pair involved divergent selection on both niche dimensions. Although further replication of the trends reported here is required, the results suggest that dimensionality of selection may complement genetic and geographic explanations for the degree of diversification in

  12. Marble Algorithm: a solution to estimating ecological niches from presence-only records

    PubMed Central

    Qiao, Huijie; Lin, Congtian; Jiang, Zhigang; Ji, Liqiang

    2015-01-01

    We describe an algorithm that helps to predict potential distributional areas for species using presence-only records. The Marble Algorithm is a density-based clustering program based on Hutchinson’s concept of ecological niches as multidimensional hypervolumes in environmental space. The algorithm characterizes this niche space using the density-based spatial clustering of applications with noise (DBSCAN) algorithm. When MA is provided with a set of occurrence points in environmental space, the algorithm determines two parameters that allow the points to be grouped into several clusters. These clusters are used as reference sets describing the ecological niche, which can then be mapped onto geographic space and used as the potential distribution of the species. We used both virtual species and ten empirical datasets to compare MA with other distribution-modeling tools, including Bioclimate Analysis and Prediction System, Environmental Niche Factor Analysis, the Genetic Algorithm for Rule-set Production, Maximum Entropy Modeling, Artificial Neural Networks, Climate Space Models, Classification Tree Analysis, Generalised Additive Models, Generalised Boosted Models, Generalised Linear Models, Multivariate Adaptive Regression Splines and Random Forests. Results indicate that MA predicts potential distributional areas with high accuracy, moderate robustness, and above-average transferability on all datasets, particularly when dealing with small numbers of occurrences. PMID:26387771

  13. Global Habitat Suitability and Ecological Niche Separation in the Phylum Placozoa

    PubMed Central

    Paknia, Omid; Schierwater, Bernd

    2015-01-01

    The enigmatic placozoans, which hold a key position in the metazoan Tree of Life, have attracted substantial attention in many areas of biological and biomedical research. While placozoans have become an emerging model system, their ecology and particularly biogeography remain widely unknown. In this study, we use modelling approaches to explore habitat preferences, and distribution pattern of the placozoans phylum. We provide hypotheses for discrete ecological niche separation between genetic placozoan lineages, which may also help to understand biogeography patterns in other small marine invertebrates. We, here, used maximum entropy modelling to predict placozoan distribution using 20 environmental grids of 9.2 km2 resolution. In addition, we used recently developed metrics of niche overlap to compare habitat suitability models of three genetic clades. The predicted distributions range from 55°N to 44°S and are restricted to regions of intermediate to warm sea surface temperatures. High concentrations of salinity and low nutrient concentrations appear as secondary factors. Tests of niche equivalency reveal the largest differences between placozoan clades I and III. Interestingly, the genetically well-separated clades I and V appear to be ecologically very similar. Our habitat suitability models predict a wider latitudinal distribution for placozoans, than currently described, especially in the northern hemisphere. With respect to biogeography modelling, placozoans show patterns somewhere between higher metazoan taxa and marine microorganisms, with the first group usually showing complex biogeographies and the second usually showing “no biogeography.” PMID:26580806

  14. Global Habitat Suitability and Ecological Niche Separation in the Phylum Placozoa.

    PubMed

    Paknia, Omid; Schierwater, Bernd

    2015-01-01

    The enigmatic placozoans, which hold a key position in the metazoan Tree of Life, have attracted substantial attention in many areas of biological and biomedical research. While placozoans have become an emerging model system, their ecology and particularly biogeography remain widely unknown. In this study, we use modelling approaches to explore habitat preferences, and distribution pattern of the placozoans phylum. We provide hypotheses for discrete ecological niche separation between genetic placozoan lineages, which may also help to understand biogeography patterns in other small marine invertebrates. We, here, used maximum entropy modelling to predict placozoan distribution using 20 environmental grids of 9.2 km2 resolution. In addition, we used recently developed metrics of niche overlap to compare habitat suitability models of three genetic clades. The predicted distributions range from 55°N to 44°S and are restricted to regions of intermediate to warm sea surface temperatures. High concentrations of salinity and low nutrient concentrations appear as secondary factors. Tests of niche equivalency reveal the largest differences between placozoan clades I and III. Interestingly, the genetically well-separated clades I and V appear to be ecologically very similar. Our habitat suitability models predict a wider latitudinal distribution for placozoans, than currently described, especially in the northern hemisphere. With respect to biogeography modelling, placozoans show patterns somewhere between higher metazoan taxa and marine microorganisms, with the first group usually showing complex biogeographies and the second usually showing "no biogeography." PMID:26580806

  15. Disentangling the importance of ecological niches from stochastic processes across scales.

    PubMed

    Chase, Jonathan M; Myers, Jonathan A

    2011-08-27

    Deterministic theories in community ecology suggest that local, niche-based processes, such as environmental filtering, biotic interactions and interspecific trade-offs largely determine patterns of species diversity and composition. In contrast, more stochastic theories emphasize the importance of chance colonization, random extinction and ecological drift. The schisms between deterministic and stochastic perspectives, which date back to the earliest days of ecology, continue to fuel contemporary debates (e.g. niches versus neutrality). As illustrated by the pioneering studies of Robert H. MacArthur and co-workers, resolution to these debates requires consideration of how the importance of local processes changes across scales. Here, we develop a framework for disentangling the relative importance of deterministic and stochastic processes in generating site-to-site variation in species composition (β-diversity) along ecological gradients (disturbance, productivity and biotic interactions) and among biogeographic regions that differ in the size of the regional species pool. We illustrate how to discern the importance of deterministic processes using null-model approaches that explicitly account for local and regional factors that inherently create stochastic turnover. By embracing processes across scales, we can build a more synthetic framework for understanding how niches structure patterns of biodiversity in the face of stochastic processes that emerge from local and biogeographic factors.

  16. Ecological niches of three teuthophageous odontocetes in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Praca, E.; Gannier, A.

    2008-02-01

    In the northwestern Mediterranean Sea, sperm whales, pilot whales and Risso's dolphins prey exclusively or preferentially on cephalopods. In order to evaluate their competition, we modelled their habitat suitability with the Ecological Niche Factor Analysis (ENFA) and compared their ecological niches using a discriminant analysis. We used a long term (1995-2005) small boat data set, with visual and acoustic (sperm whale) detections. Risso's dolphin had the shallowest and the more spatially restricted principal habitat, mainly located on the upper part of the continental slope (640 m mean depth). With a wider principal habitat, at 1750 m depth in average, the sperm whale used a deeper part of the slope as well as the closest offshore waters. Finally, the pilot whale has the most oceanic habitat (2500 m mean depth) mainly located in the central Ligurian Sea and Provençal basin. Therefore, potential competition for food between these species may be reduced by the differentiation of their habitats.

  17. Evolution of seasonal ecological niches in the Passerina buntings (Aves: Cardinalidae).

    PubMed Central

    Martínez-Meyer, Enrique; Peterson, A. Townsend; Navarro-Sigüenza, Adolfo G.

    2004-01-01

    The evolution of migration has long been considered complex and recent work has demonstrated additional complexity: some species follow the same ecological conditions throughout the year, whereas others 'switch niches' between breeding and wintering ranges. Hypotheses regarding the evolution of migration would generally predict niche-following as primitive, and niche-switching as derived. However, no test has, to our knowledge, yet determined the directionality of evolution of these states within a lineage. We present an analysis of phylogenetic dimensions of seasonal niches in the Passerina buntings that indicates greater evolutionary change in the niches of breeding populations than among those of wintering populations. These results are consistent with hypotheses of (i) niche conservatism (in winter, at least) across a recently speciated lineage; and (ii) the derived state of the breeding (rather than winter) ecological niches of each species. PMID:15306365

  18. Habitat suitability and ecological niche profile of major malaria vectors in Cameroon

    PubMed Central

    2009-01-01

    Background Suitability of environmental conditions determines a species distribution in space and time. Understanding and modelling the ecological niche of mosquito disease vectors can, therefore, be a powerful predictor of the risk of exposure to the pathogens they transmit. In Africa, five anophelines are responsible for over 95% of total malaria transmission. However, detailed knowledge of the geographic distribution and ecological requirements of these species is to date still inadequate. Methods Indoor-resting mosquitoes were sampled from 386 villages covering the full range of ecological settings available in Cameroon, Central Africa. Using a predictive species distribution modeling approach based only on presence records, habitat suitability maps were constructed for the five major malaria vectors Anopheles gambiae, Anopheles funestus, Anopheles arabiensis, Anopheles nili and Anopheles moucheti. The influence of 17 climatic, topographic, and land use variables on mosquito geographic distribution was assessed by multivariate regression and ordination techniques. Results Twenty-four anopheline species were collected, of which 17 are known to transmit malaria in Africa. Ecological Niche Factor Analysis, Habitat Suitability modeling and Canonical Correspondence Analysis revealed marked differences among the five major malaria vector species, both in terms of ecological requirements and niche breadth. Eco-geographical variables (EGVs) related to human activity had the highest impact on habitat suitability for the five major malaria vectors, with areas of low population density being of marginal or unsuitable habitat quality. Sunlight exposure, rainfall, evapo-transpiration, relative humidity, and wind speed were among the most discriminative EGVs separating "forest" from "savanna" species. Conclusions The distribution of major malaria vectors in Cameroon is strongly affected by the impact of humans on the environment, with variables related to proximity to human

  19. Ecological niche and geographic distribution of the Chagas disease vector, Triatoma dimidiata (Reduviidae: Triatominae): Evidence for niche differentiation among cryptic species.

    PubMed

    Gómez-Palacio, Andrés; Arboleda, Sair; Dumonteil, Eric; Townsend Peterson, A

    2015-12-01

    The principal vector of Chagas disease in Central America, Triatoma dimidiata, shows considerable diversity of habitat, phenotype, and genotype across its geographic range (central Mexico to southern Ecuador), suggesting that it constitutes a complex of cryptic species. However, no consistent picture of the magnitude of ecological differentiation among populations of this complex has yet been developed. To assess ecological variation across the complex, we broadened the geographic coverage of phylogeographic data and analyses for the complex into Colombia and Mexico, with additional nuclear (ITS-2) and mitochondrial (ND4) DNA sequences. This information allowed us to describe distributions of previously documented clades in greater detail: Group I, from central Guatemala south to Ecuador; Group II, across Mexico south through the Yucatán Peninsula to Belize and northern Guatemala; and Group III, in northern Guatemala, Belize, and the Yucatán Peninsula. Using ecological niche modeling, we assessed ecological niche differentiation among the groups using four hypotheses of accessible areas (M) across the distribution of the complex. Results indicated clear niche divergence of Group I from Group II: the speciation process thus appears to have involved genetic and ecological changes, suggesting divergence in populations in response to environmental conditions.

  20. Ecology of Enterococcus faecalis and niche adapted or non-niche-adapted Enterococcus faecium in continuous-flow anaerobic cultures

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Objectives: To study the survivability of niche adapted Enterococcus faecium I.3rif (I.3rif) vs. non-niche adapted Enterococcus faecium (GRE47) in cultures that contain Enterococcus faecalis I.2. Methods: An anaerobic continuous-flow culture of chicken microflora (CCF) that models the chicken gastr...

  1. Spatial patterns, ecological niches, and interspecific competition of avian brood parasites: inferring from a case study of Korea.

    PubMed

    Lee, Jin-Won; Noh, Hee-Jin; Lee, Yunkyoung; Kwon, Young-Soo; Kim, Chang-Hoe; Yoo, Jeong-Chil

    2014-09-01

    Since obligate avian brood parasites depend completely on the effort of other host species for rearing their progeny, the availability of hosts will be a critical resource for their life history. Circumstantial evidence suggests that intense competition for host species may exist not only within but also between species. So far, however, few studies have demonstrated whether the interspecific competition really occurs in the system of avian brood parasitism and how the nature of brood parasitism is related to their niche evolution. Using the occurrence data of five avian brood parasites from two sources of nationwide bird surveys in South Korea and publically available environmental/climatic data, we identified their distribution patterns and ecological niches, and applied species distribution modeling to infer the effect of interspecific competition on their spatial distribution. We found that the distribution patterns of five avian brood parasites could be characterized by altitude and climatic conditions, but overall their spatial ranges and ecological niches extensively overlapped with each other. We also found that the predicted distribution areas of each species were generally comparable to the realized distribution areas, and the numbers of individuals in areas where multiple species were predicted to coexist showed positive relationships among species. In conclusion, despite following different coevolutionary trajectories to adapt to their respect host species, five species of avian brood parasites breeding in South Korea occupied broadly similar ecological niches, implying that they tend to conserve ancestral preferences for ecological conditions. Furthermore, our results indicated that contrary to expectation interspecific competition for host availability between avian brood parasites seemed to be trivial, and thus, play little role in shaping their spatial distributions and ecological niches. Future studies, including the complete ranges of avian brood

  2. Habitat suitability and ecological niches of different plankton functional types in the global ocean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vogt, Meike; Brun, Philipp; Payne, Mark R.; O'Brien, Colleen J.; Bednaršek, Nina; Buitenhuis, Erik T.; Doney, Scott C.; Leblanc, Karine; Le Quéré, Corinne; Luo, Yawei; Moriarty, Róisín; O'Brien, Todd D.; Schiebel, Ralf; Swan, Chantal

    2013-04-01

    Marine plankton play a central role in the biogeochemical cycling of important elements such as carbon, nitrogen, and sulphur. While our knowledge about marine ecosystem structure and functioning is still scarce and episodic, several recent observational studies confirm that marine ecosystems have been changing due to recent climate change, overfishing, and coastal eutrophication. In order to better understand marine ecosystem dynamics, the MAREDAT initiative has recently collected abundance and biomass data for 5 autotrophic (diatoms, Phaeocystis, coccolithophores, nitrogen fixers, picophytoplankton), and 6 heterotrophic plankton functional types (PFTs; bacteria, micro-, meso- and macrozooplankton, foraminifera and pteropods). Species distribution models (SDMs) are statistical tools that can be used to derive information about species habitats in space and time. They have been used extensively for a wide range of ecological applications in terrestrial ecosystems, but here we present the first global application in the marine realm, which was made possible by the MAREDAT data synthesis effort. We use a maximum entropy SDM to simulate global habitat suitability, habitat extent and ecological niches for different PFTs in the modern ocean. Present habitat suitability is derived from presence-only MAREDAT data and the observed annual and monthly mean levels of physiologically relevant variables such as SST, nutrient concentration or photosynthetic active radiation received in the mixed layer. This information can then be used to derive ecological niches for different species or taxa within each PFT, and to compare the ecological niches of different PFTs. While these results still need verification because data was not available for all ocean regions for all PFTs, they can give a first indication what present and future plankton habitats may look like, and what consequences we may have to expect for future marine ecosystem functioning and service provision in a warmer

  3. Modeling renal progenitors - defining the niche.

    PubMed

    Tanigawa, Shunsuke; Perantoni, Alan O

    2016-01-01

    Significant recent advances in methodologies for the differentiation of pluripotent stem cells to renal progenitors as well as the definition of niche conditions for sustaining those progenitors have dramatically enhanced our understanding of their biology and developmental programing, prerequisites for establishing viable approaches to renal regeneration. In this article, we review the evolution of culture techniques and models for the study of metanephric development, describe the signaling mechanisms likely to be driving progenitor self-renewal, and discuss current efforts to generate de novo functional tissues, providing in depth protocols and niche conditions for the stabilization of the nephronic Six2+progenitor. PMID:26856661

  4. Bringing the Hutchinsonian niche into the 21st century: ecological and evolutionary perspectives.

    PubMed

    Holt, Robert D

    2009-11-17

    G. Evelyn Hutchinson more than a half century ago proposed that one could characterize the ecological niche of a species as an abstract mapping of population dynamics onto an environmental space, the axes of which are abiotic and biotic factors that influence birth and death rates. If a habitat has conditions within a species' niche, a population should persist without immigration from external sources, whereas if conditions are outside the niche, it faces extinction. Analyses of species' niches are essential to understanding controls on species' geographical range limits and how these limits might shift in our rapidly changing world. Recent developments in ecology and evolutionary biology suggest it is time to revisit and refine Hutchinson's niche concept. After reviewing techniques for quantifying niches, I examine subtleties that arise because of impacts species have on their own environments, the density-dependent modulation of how individuals experience environments, and the interplay of dispersal and temporal heterogeneity in determining population persistence. Moreover, the evolutionary record over all time scales reveals a spectrum of rates of change in species' niches, from rapid niche evolution to profound niche conservatism. Substantial challenges revolving around the evolutionary dimension of the Hutchinsonian niche include quantifying the magnitude of evolved intraspecific and clade-level variation in niches and understanding the factors that govern where along the spectrum of potential evolutionary rates any given lineage lies. A growing body of theory provides elements of a conceptual framework for understanding niche conservatism and evolution, paving the way for an evolutionary theory of the niche. PMID:19903876

  5. Bioenergetics, Trophic Ecology, and Niche Separation of Tunas.

    PubMed

    Olson, R J; Young, J W; Ménard, F; Potier, M; Allain, V; Goñi, N; Logan, J M; Galván-Magaña, F

    2016-01-01

    Tunas are highly specialized predators that have evolved numerous adaptations for a lifestyle that requires large amounts of energy consumption. Here we review our understanding of the bioenergetics and feeding dynamics of tunas on a global scale, with an emphasis on yellowfin, bigeye, skipjack, albacore, and Atlantic bluefin tunas. Food consumption balances bioenergetics expenditures for respiration, growth (including gonad production), specific dynamic action, egestion, and excretion. Tunas feed across the micronekton and some large zooplankton. Some tunas appear to time their life history to take advantage of ephemeral aggregations of crustacean, fish, and molluscan prey. Ontogenetic and spatial diet differences are substantial, and significant interdecadal changes in prey composition have been observed. Diet shifts from larger to smaller prey taxa highlight ecosystem-wide changes in prey availability and diversity and provide implications for changing bioenergetics requirements into the future. Where tunas overlap, we show evidence of niche separation between them; resources are divided largely by differences in diet percentages and size ranges of prey taxa. The lack of long-term data limits the ability to predict impacts of climate change on tuna feeding behaviour. We note the need for systematic collection of feeding data as part of routine monitoring of these species, and we highlight the advantages of using biochemical techniques for broad-scale analyses of trophic relations. We support the continued development of ecosystem models, which all too often lack the regional-specific trophic data needed to adequately investigate climate and fishing impacts. PMID:27573052

  6. Remote Sensing-Based Detection and Spatial Pattern Analysis for Geo-Ecological Niche Modeling of Tillandsia SPP. In the Atacama, Chile

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wolf, N.; Siegmund, A.; del Río, C.; Osses, P.; García, J. L.

    2016-06-01

    In the coastal Atacama Desert in Northern Chile plant growth is constrained to so-called `fog oases' dominated by monospecific stands of the genus Tillandsia. Adapted to the hyperarid environmental conditions, these plants specialize on the foliar uptake of fog as main water and nutrient source. It is this characteristic that leads to distinctive macro- and micro-scale distribution patterns, reflecting complex geo-ecological gradients, mainly affected by the spatiotemporal occurrence of coastal fog respectively the South Pacific Stratocumulus clouds reaching inlands. The current work employs remote sensing, machine learning and spatial pattern/GIS analysis techniques to acquire detailed information on the presence and state of Tillandsia spp. in the Tarapacá region as a base to better understand the bioclimatic and topographic constraints determining the distribution patterns of Tillandsia spp. Spatial and spectral predictors extracted from WorldView-3 satellite data are used to map present Tillandsia vegetation in the Tarapaca region. Regression models on Vegetation Cover Fraction (VCF) are generated combining satellite-based as well as topographic variables and using aggregated high spatial resolution information on vegetation cover derived from UAV flight campaigns as a reference. The results are a first step towards mapping and modelling the topographic as well as bioclimatic factors explaining the spatial distribution patterns of Tillandsia fog oases in the Atacama, Chile.

  7. Niche construction through phenological plasticity: life history dynamics and ecological consequences.

    PubMed

    Donohue, Kathleen

    2005-04-01

    The ability of an organism to alter the environment that it experiences has been termed 'niche construction'. Plants have several ways whereby they can determine the environment to which they are exposed at different life stages. This paper discusses three of these: plasticity in dispersal, flowering timing and germination timing. It reviews pathways through which niche construction alters evolutionary and ecological trajectories by altering the selective environment to which organisms are exposed, the phenotypic expression of plastic characters, and the expression of genetic variation. It provides examples whereby niche construction creates positive or negative feedbacks between phenotypes and environments, which in turn cause novel evolutionary constraints and novel life-history expression.

  8. Evolutionary dynamics of ecological niche in three Rhinogobio fishes from the upper Yangtze River inferred from morphological traits

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Meirong; Liu, Fei; Lin, Pengcheng; Yang, Shaorong; Liu, Huanzhang

    2015-01-01

    In the past decades, it has been debated whether ecological niche should be conserved among closely related species (phylogenetic niche conservatism, PNC) or largely divergent (traditional ecological niche theory and ecological speciation) and whether niche specialist and generalist might remain in equilibrium or niche generalist could not appear. In this study, we employed morphological traits to describe ecological niche and test whether different niche dimensions exhibit disparate evolutionary patterns. We conducted our analysis on three Rhinogobio fish species (R. typus,R. cylindricus, and R. ventralis) from the upper Yangtze River, China. Among the 32 measured morphological traits except body length, PCA extracted the first four principal components with their loading scores >1.000. To find the PNC among species, Mantel tests were conducted with the Euclidean distances calculated from the four principal components (representing different niche dimensions) against the pairwise distances calculated from mitochondrial cytochrome b sequence variations. The results showed that the second and the third niche dimension, both related to swimming ability and behavior, exhibited phylogenetic conservatism. Further comparison on niche breadth among these three species revealed that the fourth dimension of R. typus showed the greatest width, indicating that this dimension exhibited niche generalism. In conclusion, our results suggested that different niche dimensions could show different evolutionary dynamic patterns: they may exhibit PNC or not, and some dimensions may evolve generalism. PMID:25691981

  9. Genotypic and phenotypic characterization of Lactobacillus casei strains isolated from different ecological niches suggests frequent recombination and niche specificity.

    PubMed

    Cai, Hui; Rodríguez, Beatriz T; Zhang, Wei; Broadbent, Jeff R; Steele, James L

    2007-08-01

    Lactobacillus casei strains are lactic acid bacteria (LAB) that colonize diverse ecological niches, and have broad commercial applications. To probe their evolution and phylogeny, 40 L. casei strains were characterized; the strains included isolates from plant materials (n=9), human gastrointestinal tracts (n=7), human blood (n=1), cheeses from different geographical locations (n=22), and one strain of unknown origin. API biochemical testing identified niche-specific carbohydrate fermentation profiles. A multilocus sequence typing (MLST) scheme was developed for L. casei. Partial sequencing of six housekeeping genes (ftsZ, metRS, mutL, nrdD, pgm and polA) revealed between 11 (nrdD) and 20 (mutL) allelic types, as well as 36 sequence types. Phylogenetic analysis of MLST data by Reticulate and split decomposition analysis indicated frequent intra-species recombination. Purifying selection was detected, and is likely to have contributed to the evolution of certain L. casei genes. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) using SfiI was able to discriminate all the isolates, even those not differentiated by MLST. Phylogenetic trees reconstructed based on the MLST data using minimum evolution algorithm, and the SfiI-PFGE restriction patterns using the unweighted-pair group method with arithmetic mean (UPGMA), revealed consensus clusters of strains specific to cheese and silage. Topological discrepancies between the MLST and PFGE trees were also observed, suggesting that intragenic point mutations have accumulated at a slower rate than indels and genome rearrangements in L. casei. The L. casei population analysed in this study demonstrated both a high level of phenotypic and genotypic diversity, as well as specificity to different ecological niches. PMID:17660430

  10. Baboon feeding ecology informs the dietary niche of Paranthropus boisei.

    PubMed

    Macho, Gabriele A

    2014-01-01

    Hominins are generally considered eclectic omnivores like baboons, but recent isotope studies call into question the generalist status of some hominins. Paranthropus boisei and Australopithecus bahrelghazali derived 75%-80% of their tissues' δ(13)C from C4 sources, i.e. mainly low-quality foods like grasses and sedges. Here I consider the energetics of P. boisei and the nutritional value of C4 foods, taking into account scaling issues between the volume of food consumed and body mass, and P. boisei's food preference as inferred from dento-cranial morphology. Underlying the models are empirical data for Papio cynocephalus dietary ecology. Paranthropus boisei only needed to spend some 37%-42% of its daily feeding time (conservative estimate) on C4 sources to meet 80% of its daily requirements of calories, and all its requirements for protein. The energetic requirements of 2-4 times the basal metabolic rate (BMR) common to mammals could therefore have been met within a 6-hour feeding/foraging day. The findings highlight the high nutritional yield of many C4 foods eaten by baboons (and presumably hominins), explain the evolutionary success of P. boisei, and indicate that P. boisei was probably a generalist like other hominins. The diet proposed is consistent with the species' derived morphology and unique microwear textures. Finally, the results highlight the importance of baboon/hominin hand in food acquisition and preparation. PMID:24416315

  11. Baboon Feeding Ecology Informs the Dietary Niche of Paranthropus boisei

    PubMed Central

    Macho, Gabriele A.

    2014-01-01

    Hominins are generally considered eclectic omnivores like baboons, but recent isotope studies call into question the generalist status of some hominins. Paranthropus boisei and Australopithecus bahrelghazali derived 75%–80% of their tissues’ δ13C from C4 sources, i.e. mainly low-quality foods like grasses and sedges. Here I consider the energetics of P. boisei and the nutritional value of C4 foods, taking into account scaling issues between the volume of food consumed and body mass, and P. boisei’s food preference as inferred from dento-cranial morphology. Underlying the models are empirical data for Papio cynocephalus dietary ecology. Paranthropus boisei only needed to spend some 37%–42% of its daily feeding time (conservative estimate) on C4 sources to meet 80% of its daily requirements of calories, and all its requirements for protein. The energetic requirements of 2–4 times the basal metabolic rate (BMR) common to mammals could therefore have been met within a 6-hour feeding/foraging day. The findings highlight the high nutritional yield of many C4 foods eaten by baboons (and presumably hominins), explain the evolutionary success of P. boisei, and indicate that P. boisei was probably a generalist like other hominins. The diet proposed is consistent with the species’ derived morphology and unique microwear textures. Finally, the results highlight the importance of baboon/hominin hand in food acquisition and preparation. PMID:24416315

  12. Baboon feeding ecology informs the dietary niche of Paranthropus boisei.

    PubMed

    Macho, Gabriele A

    2014-01-01

    Hominins are generally considered eclectic omnivores like baboons, but recent isotope studies call into question the generalist status of some hominins. Paranthropus boisei and Australopithecus bahrelghazali derived 75%-80% of their tissues' δ(13)C from C4 sources, i.e. mainly low-quality foods like grasses and sedges. Here I consider the energetics of P. boisei and the nutritional value of C4 foods, taking into account scaling issues between the volume of food consumed and body mass, and P. boisei's food preference as inferred from dento-cranial morphology. Underlying the models are empirical data for Papio cynocephalus dietary ecology. Paranthropus boisei only needed to spend some 37%-42% of its daily feeding time (conservative estimate) on C4 sources to meet 80% of its daily requirements of calories, and all its requirements for protein. The energetic requirements of 2-4 times the basal metabolic rate (BMR) common to mammals could therefore have been met within a 6-hour feeding/foraging day. The findings highlight the high nutritional yield of many C4 foods eaten by baboons (and presumably hominins), explain the evolutionary success of P. boisei, and indicate that P. boisei was probably a generalist like other hominins. The diet proposed is consistent with the species' derived morphology and unique microwear textures. Finally, the results highlight the importance of baboon/hominin hand in food acquisition and preparation.

  13. GIS-based niche modeling for mapping species' habitat.

    PubMed

    Rotenberry, John T; Preston, Kristine L; Knick, Steven T

    2006-06-01

    Ecological "niche modeling" using presence-only locality data and large-scale environmental variables provides a powerful tool for identifying and mapping suitable habitat for species over large spatial extents. We describe a niche modeling approach that identifies a minimum (rather than an optimum) set of basic habitat requirements for a species, based on the assumption that constant environmental relationships in a species' distribution (i.e., variables that maintain a consistent value where the species occurs) are most likely to be associated with limiting factors. Environmental variables that take on a wide range of values where a species occurs are less informative because they do not limit a species' distribution, at least over the range of variation sampled. This approach is operationalized by partitioning Mahalanobis D2 (standardized difference between values of a set of environmental variables for any point and mean values for those same variables calculated from all points at which a species was detected) into independent components. The smallest of these components represents the linear combination of variables with minimum variance; increasingly larger components represent larger variances and are increasingly less limiting. We illustrate this approach using the California Gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica Brewster) and provide SAS code to implement it.

  14. Modelling the climatic niche of turtles: a deep-time perspective.

    PubMed

    Waterson, Amy M; Schmidt, Daniela N; Valdes, Paul J; Holroyd, Patricia A; Nicholson, David B; Farnsworth, Alexander; Barrett, Paul M

    2016-09-28

    Ectotherms have close physiological ties with the thermal environment; consequently, the impact of future climate change on their biogeographic distributions is of major interest. Here, we use the modern and deep-time fossil record of testudines (turtles, tortoises, and terrapins) to provide the first test of climate on the niche limits of both extant and extinct (Late Cretaceous, Maastrichtian) taxa. Ecological niche models are used to assess niche overlap in model projections for key testudine ecotypes and families. An ordination framework is applied to quantify metrics of niche change (stability, expansion, and unfilling) between the Maastrichtian and present day. Results indicate that niche stability over evolutionary timescales varies between testudine clades. Groups that originated in the Early Cretaceous show climatic niche stability, whereas those diversifying towards the end of the Cretaceous display larger niche expansion towards the modern. Temperature is the dominant driver of modern and past distributions, whereas precipitation is important for freshwater turtle ranges. Our findings demonstrate that testudines were able to occupy warmer climates than present day in the geological record. However, the projected rate and magnitude of future environmental change, in concert with other conservation threats, presents challenges for acclimation or adaptation.

  15. Modelling the climatic niche of turtles: a deep-time perspective.

    PubMed

    Waterson, Amy M; Schmidt, Daniela N; Valdes, Paul J; Holroyd, Patricia A; Nicholson, David B; Farnsworth, Alexander; Barrett, Paul M

    2016-09-28

    Ectotherms have close physiological ties with the thermal environment; consequently, the impact of future climate change on their biogeographic distributions is of major interest. Here, we use the modern and deep-time fossil record of testudines (turtles, tortoises, and terrapins) to provide the first test of climate on the niche limits of both extant and extinct (Late Cretaceous, Maastrichtian) taxa. Ecological niche models are used to assess niche overlap in model projections for key testudine ecotypes and families. An ordination framework is applied to quantify metrics of niche change (stability, expansion, and unfilling) between the Maastrichtian and present day. Results indicate that niche stability over evolutionary timescales varies between testudine clades. Groups that originated in the Early Cretaceous show climatic niche stability, whereas those diversifying towards the end of the Cretaceous display larger niche expansion towards the modern. Temperature is the dominant driver of modern and past distributions, whereas precipitation is important for freshwater turtle ranges. Our findings demonstrate that testudines were able to occupy warmer climates than present day in the geological record. However, the projected rate and magnitude of future environmental change, in concert with other conservation threats, presents challenges for acclimation or adaptation. PMID:27655766

  16. Old health risks in new places? An ecological niche model for I. ricinus tick distribution in Europe under a changing climate.

    PubMed

    Boeckmann, Melanie; Joyner, T Andrew

    2014-11-01

    Climate change will likely have impacts on disease vector distribution. Posing a significant health threat in the 21st century, risk of tick-borne diseases may increase with higher annual mean temperatures and changes in precipitation. We modeled the current and future potential distribution of the Ixodes ricinus tick species in Europe. The Genetic Algorithm for Rule-set Prediction (GARP) was utilized to predict potential distributions of I. ricinus based on current (1990-2010 averages) and future (2040-2060 averages) environmental variables. A ten model best subset was created out of a possible 200 models based on omission and commission criteria. Our results show that under the A2 climate change scenario the potential habitat range for the I. ricinus tick in Europe will expand into higher elevations and latitudes (e.g., Scandinavia, the Baltics, and Belarus), while contracting in other areas (e.g., Alps, Pyrenees, interior Italy, and northwestern Poland). Overall, a potential habitat expansion of 3.8% in all of Europe is possible. Our results may be used to inform climate change adaptation efforts in Europe.

  17. GIS-based niche modeling for mapping species' habitats

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rotenberry, J.T.; Preston, K.L.; Knick, S.

    2006-01-01

    Ecological a??niche modelinga?? using presence-only locality data and large-scale environmental variables provides a powerful tool for identifying and mapping suitable habitat for species over large spatial extents. We describe a niche modeling approach that identifies a minimum (rather than an optimum) set of basic habitat requirements for a species, based on the assumption that constant environmental relationships in a species' distribution (i.e., variables that maintain a consistent value where the species occurs) are most likely to be associated with limiting factors. Environmental variables that take on a wide range of values where a species occurs are less informative because they do not limit a species' distribution, at least over the range of variation sampled. This approach is operationalized by partitioning Mahalanobis D2 (standardized difference between values of a set of environmental variables for any point and mean values for those same variables calculated from all points at which a species was detected) into independent components. The smallest of these components represents the linear combination of variables with minimum variance; increasingly larger components represent larger variances and are increasingly less limiting. We illustrate this approach using the California Gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica Brewster) and provide SAS code to implement it.

  18. Climatic niche conservatism and ecological opportunity in the explosive radiation of arvicoline rodents (Arvicolinae, Cricetidae).

    PubMed

    Lv, Xue; Xia, Lin; Ge, Deyan; Wu, Yongjie; Yang, Qisen

    2016-05-01

    Climatic niche conservatism shapes patterns of diversity in many taxonomic groups, while ecological opportunity (EO) can trigger rapid speciation that is less constrained by the amount of time a lineage has occupied a given habitat. These two processes are well studied, but limited research has considered their joint and relative roles in shaping diversity patterns. We characterized climatic and biogeographic variables for 102 species of arvicoline rodents (Arvicolinae, Cricetidae), testing the effects of climatic niche conservatism and EO on arvicoline diversification as lineages transitioned between biogeographic regions. We found that the amount of time a lineage has occupied a precipitation niche is positively correlated with diversity along a precipitation gradient, suggesting climatic niche conservatism. In contrast, shift in diversification rate explained diversity patterns along a temperature gradient. Our results suggest that an indirect relationship exists between temperature and diversification that is associated with EO as arvicoline rodents colonized warm Palearctic environments. Climatic niche conservatism alone did not fully explain diversity patterns under density-dependence, highlighting the additional importance of EO-related processes in promoting the explosive radiation in arvicoline rodents and shaping diversity pattern among biogeographic regions and along climatic gradients.

  19. Multi-omics analysis of niche specificity provides new insights into ecological adaptation in bacteria.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Bo; Ibrahim, Muhammad; Cui, Zhouqi; Xie, Guanlin; Jin, Gulei; Kube, Michael; Li, Bin; Zhou, Xueping

    2016-08-01

    Different lifestyles, ranging from a saprophyte to a pathogen, have been reported in bacteria of one species. Here, we performed genome-wide survey of the ecological adaptation in four Burkholderia seminalis strains, distinguished by their origin as part of the saprophytic microbial community of soil or water but also including human and plant pathogens. The results indicated that each strain is separated from the others by increased fitness in medium simulating its original niche corresponding to the difference between strains in metabolic capacities. Furthermore, strain-specific metabolism and niche survival was generally linked with genomic variants and niche-dependent differential expression of the corresponding genes. In particular, the importance of iron, trehalose and d-arabitol utilization was highlighted by the involvement of DNA-methylation and horizontal gene transfer in niche-adapted regulation of the corresponding operons based on the integrated analysis of our multi-omics data. Overall, our results provided insights of niche-specific adaptation in bacteria. PMID:26859773

  20. Climatic niche conservatism and ecological opportunity in the explosive radiation of arvicoline rodents (Arvicolinae, Cricetidae).

    PubMed

    Lv, Xue; Xia, Lin; Ge, Deyan; Wu, Yongjie; Yang, Qisen

    2016-05-01

    Climatic niche conservatism shapes patterns of diversity in many taxonomic groups, while ecological opportunity (EO) can trigger rapid speciation that is less constrained by the amount of time a lineage has occupied a given habitat. These two processes are well studied, but limited research has considered their joint and relative roles in shaping diversity patterns. We characterized climatic and biogeographic variables for 102 species of arvicoline rodents (Arvicolinae, Cricetidae), testing the effects of climatic niche conservatism and EO on arvicoline diversification as lineages transitioned between biogeographic regions. We found that the amount of time a lineage has occupied a precipitation niche is positively correlated with diversity along a precipitation gradient, suggesting climatic niche conservatism. In contrast, shift in diversification rate explained diversity patterns along a temperature gradient. Our results suggest that an indirect relationship exists between temperature and diversification that is associated with EO as arvicoline rodents colonized warm Palearctic environments. Climatic niche conservatism alone did not fully explain diversity patterns under density-dependence, highlighting the additional importance of EO-related processes in promoting the explosive radiation in arvicoline rodents and shaping diversity pattern among biogeographic regions and along climatic gradients. PMID:27061935

  1. The different ecological niches of enterotoxigenic E scherichia coli

    PubMed Central

    Gonzales‐Siles, Lucia

    2015-01-01

    Summary Enterotoxigenic E scherichia coli (ETEC) is a water and food‐borne pathogen that infects the small intestine of the human gut and causes diarrhoea. Enterotoxigenic E. coli adheres to the epithelium by means of colonization factors and secretes two enterotoxins, the heat labile toxin and/or the heat stable toxin that both deregulate ion channels and cause secretory diarrhoea. Enterotoxigenic E. coli as all E. coli, is a versatile organism able to survive and grow in different environments. During transmission and infection, ETEC is exposed to various environmental cues that have an impact on survivability and virulence. The ability to cope with exposure to different stressful habitats is probably shaping the pool of virulent ETEC strains that cause both endemic and epidemic infections. This review will focus on the ecology of ETEC in its different habitats and interactions with other organisms as well as abiotic factors. PMID:26522129

  2. The different ecological niches of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli.

    PubMed

    Gonzales-Siles, Lucia; Sjöling, Åsa

    2016-03-01

    Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) is a water and food-borne pathogen that infects the small intestine of the human gut and causes diarrhoea. Enterotoxigenic E. coli adheres to the epithelium by means of colonization factors and secretes two enterotoxins, the heat labile toxin and/or the heat stable toxin that both deregulate ion channels and cause secretory diarrhoea. Enterotoxigenic E. coli as all E. coli, is a versatile organism able to survive and grow in different environments. During transmission and infection, ETEC is exposed to various environmental cues that have an impact on survivability and virulence. The ability to cope with exposure to different stressful habitats is probably shaping the pool of virulent ETEC strains that cause both endemic and epidemic infections. This review will focus on the ecology of ETEC in its different habitats and interactions with other organisms as well as abiotic factors. PMID:26522129

  3. The different ecological niches of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli.

    PubMed

    Gonzales-Siles, Lucia; Sjöling, Åsa

    2016-03-01

    Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) is a water and food-borne pathogen that infects the small intestine of the human gut and causes diarrhoea. Enterotoxigenic E. coli adheres to the epithelium by means of colonization factors and secretes two enterotoxins, the heat labile toxin and/or the heat stable toxin that both deregulate ion channels and cause secretory diarrhoea. Enterotoxigenic E. coli as all E. coli, is a versatile organism able to survive and grow in different environments. During transmission and infection, ETEC is exposed to various environmental cues that have an impact on survivability and virulence. The ability to cope with exposure to different stressful habitats is probably shaping the pool of virulent ETEC strains that cause both endemic and epidemic infections. This review will focus on the ecology of ETEC in its different habitats and interactions with other organisms as well as abiotic factors.

  4. Anaerobic animals from an ancient, anoxic ecological niche

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Tiny marine animals that complete their life cycle in the total absence of light and oxygen are reported by Roberto Danovaro and colleagues in this issue of BMC Biology. These fascinating animals are new members of the phylum Loricifera and possess mitochondria that in electron micrographs look very much like hydrogenosomes, the H2-producing mitochondria found among several unicellular eukaryotic lineages. The discovery of metazoan life in a permanently anoxic and sulphidic environment provides a glimpse of what a good part of Earth's past ecology might have been like in 'Canfield oceans', before the rise of deep marine oxygen levels and the appearance of the first large animals in the fossil record roughly 550-600 million years ago. The findings underscore the evolutionary significance of anaerobic deep sea environments and the anaerobic lifestyle among mitochondrion-bearing cells. They also testify that a fuller understanding of eukaryotic and metazoan evolution will come from the study of modern anoxic and hypoxic habitats. PMID:20370917

  5. Physical disturbance to ecological niches created by soil structure alters community composition of methanotrophs.

    PubMed

    Kumaresan, Deepak; Stralis-Pavese, Nancy; Abell, Guy C J; Bodrossy, Levente; Murrell, J Colin

    2011-10-01

    Aggregates of different sizes and stability in soil create a composite of ecological niches differing in terms of physico-chemical and structural characteristics. The aim of this study was to identify, using DNA-SIP and mRNA-based microarray analysis, whether shifts in activity and community composition of methanotrophs occur when ecological niches created by soil structure are physically perturbed. Landfill cover soil was subject to three treatments termed: 'control' (minimal structural disruption), 'sieved' (sieved soil using 2 mm mesh) and 'ground' (grinding using mortar and pestle). 'Sieved' and 'ground' soil treatments exhibited higher methane oxidation potentials compared with the 'control' soil treatment. Analysis of the active community composition revealed an effect of physical disruption on active methanotrophs. Type I methanotrophs were the most active methanotrophs in 'sieved' and 'ground' soil treatments, whereas both Type I and Type II methanotrophs were active in the 'control' soil treatment. The result emphasize that changes to a particular ecological niche may not result in an immediate change to the active bacterial composition and change in composition will depend on the ability of the bacterial communities to respond to the perturbation. PMID:23761342

  6. Metabolic modelling reveals the specialization of secondary replicons for niche adaptation in Sinorhizobium meliloti.

    PubMed

    diCenzo, George C; Checcucci, Alice; Bazzicalupo, Marco; Mengoni, Alessio; Viti, Carlo; Dziewit, Lukasz; Finan, Turlough M; Galardini, Marco; Fondi, Marco

    2016-01-01

    The genome of about 10% of bacterial species is divided among two or more large chromosome-sized replicons. The contribution of each replicon to the microbial life cycle (for example, environmental adaptations and/or niche switching) remains unclear. Here we report a genome-scale metabolic model of the legume symbiont Sinorhizobium meliloti that is integrated with carbon utilization data for 1,500 genes with 192 carbon substrates. Growth of S. meliloti is modelled in three ecological niches (bulk soil, rhizosphere and nodule) with a focus on the role of each of its three replicons. We observe clear metabolic differences during growth in the tested ecological niches and an overall reprogramming following niche switching. In silico examination of the inferred fitness of gene deletion mutants suggests that secondary replicons evolved to fulfil a specialized function, particularly host-associated niche adaptation. Thus, genes on secondary replicons might potentially be manipulated to promote or suppress host interactions for biotechnological purposes. PMID:27447951

  7. Metabolic modelling reveals the specialization of secondary replicons for niche adaptation in Sinorhizobium meliloti

    PubMed Central

    diCenzo, George C.; Checcucci, Alice; Bazzicalupo, Marco; Mengoni, Alessio; Viti, Carlo; Dziewit, Lukasz; Finan, Turlough M.; Galardini, Marco; Fondi, Marco

    2016-01-01

    The genome of about 10% of bacterial species is divided among two or more large chromosome-sized replicons. The contribution of each replicon to the microbial life cycle (for example, environmental adaptations and/or niche switching) remains unclear. Here we report a genome-scale metabolic model of the legume symbiont Sinorhizobium meliloti that is integrated with carbon utilization data for 1,500 genes with 192 carbon substrates. Growth of S. meliloti is modelled in three ecological niches (bulk soil, rhizosphere and nodule) with a focus on the role of each of its three replicons. We observe clear metabolic differences during growth in the tested ecological niches and an overall reprogramming following niche switching. In silico examination of the inferred fitness of gene deletion mutants suggests that secondary replicons evolved to fulfil a specialized function, particularly host-associated niche adaptation. Thus, genes on secondary replicons might potentially be manipulated to promote or suppress host interactions for biotechnological purposes. PMID:27447951

  8. Impact of Mycobacterium ulcerans Biofilm on Transmissibility to Ecological Niches and Buruli Ulcer Pathogenesis

    PubMed Central

    Jackson, Mary; Korduláková, Jana; Tafelmeyer, Petra; Carbonnelle, Etienne; Aubry, Jacques; Milon, Geneviève; Legras, Pierre; André, Jean-Paul Saint; Leroy, Céline; Cottin, Jane; Guillou, Marie Laure Joly; Reysset, Gilles; Cole, Stewart T

    2007-01-01

    The role of biofilms in the pathogenesis of mycobacterial diseases remains largely unknown. Mycobacterium ulcerans, the etiological agent of Buruli ulcer, a disfiguring disease in humans, adopts a biofilm-like structure in vitro and in vivo, displaying an abundant extracellular matrix (ECM) that harbors vesicles. The composition and structure of the ECM differs from that of the classical matrix found in other bacterial biofilms. More than 80 proteins are present within this extracellular compartment and appear to be involved in stress responses, respiration, and intermediary metabolism. In addition to a large amount of carbohydrates and lipids, ECM is the reservoir of the polyketide toxin mycolactone, the sole virulence factor of M. ulcerans identified to date, and purified vesicles extracted from ECM are highly cytotoxic. ECM confers to the mycobacterium increased resistance to antimicrobial agents, and enhances colonization of insect vectors and mammalian hosts. The results of this study support a model whereby biofilm changes confer selective advantages to M. ulcerans in colonizing various ecological niches successfully, with repercussions for Buruli ulcer pathogenesis. PMID:17480118

  9. Mutualistic interactions drive ecological niche convergence in a diverse butterfly community.

    PubMed

    Elias, Marianne; Gompert, Zachariah; Jiggins, Chris; Willmott, Keith

    2008-12-01

    Ecological communities are structured in part by evolutionary interactions among their members. A number of recent studies incorporating phylogenetics into community ecology have upheld the paradigm that competition drives ecological divergence among species of the same guild. However, the role of other interspecific interactions, in particular positive interactions such as mutualism, remains poorly explored. We characterized the ecological niche and inferred phylogenetic relationships among members of a diverse community of neotropical Müllerian mimetic butterflies. Müllerian mimicry is one of the best studied examples of mutualism, in which unpalatable species converge in wing pattern locally to advertize their toxicity to predators. We provide evidence that mutualistic interactions can drive convergence along multiple ecological axes, outweighing both phylogeny and competition in shaping community structure. Our findings imply that ecological communities are adaptively assembled to a much greater degree than commonly suspected. In addition, our results show that phenotype and ecology are strongly linked and support the idea that mimicry can cause ecological speciation through multiple cascading effects on species' biology.

  10. Ecological segregation in space, time and trophic niche of sympatric planktivorous petrels.

    PubMed

    Navarro, Joan; Votier, Stephen C; Aguzzi, Jacopo; Chiesa, Juan J; Forero, Manuela G; Phillips, Richard A

    2013-01-01

    The principle of competitive exclusion postulates that ecologically-similar species are expected to partition their use of resources, leading to niche divergence. The most likely mechanisms allowing such coexistence are considered to be segregation in a horizontal, vertical or temporal dimension, or, where these overlap, a difference in trophic niche. Here, by combining information obtained from tracking devices (geolocator-immersion and time depth recorders), stable isotope analyses of blood, and conventional morphometry, we provide a detailed investigation of the ecological mechanisms that explain the coexistence of four species of abundant, zooplanktivorous seabirds in Southern Ocean ecosystems (blue petrel Halobaena caerulea, Antarctic prion Pachyptila desolata, common diving petrel Pelecanoides urinatrix and South Georgian diving petrel P. georgicus). The results revealed a combination of horizontal, vertical and temporal foraging segregation during the breeding season. The stable isotope and morphological analyses reinforced this conclusion, indicating that each species occupied a distinct trophic space, and that this appears to reflect adaptations in terms of flight performance. In conclusion, the present study indicated that although there was a degree of overlap in some measures of foraging behaviour, overall the four taxa operated in very different ecological space despite breeding in close proximity. We therefore provide important insight into the mechanisms allowing these very large populations of ecologically-similar predators to coexist. PMID:23646155

  11. Vacated niches, competitive release and the community ecology of pathogen eradication

    PubMed Central

    Lloyd-Smith, James O.

    2013-01-01

    A recurring theme in the epidemiological literature on disease eradication is that each pathogen occupies an ecological niche, and eradication of one pathogen leaves a vacant niche that favours the emergence of new pathogens to replace it. However, eminent figures have rejected this view unequivocally, stating that there is no basis to fear pathogen replacement and even that pathogen niches do not exist. After exploring the roots of this controversy, I propose resolutions to disputed issues by drawing on broader ecological theory, and advance a new consensus based on robust mechanistic principles. I argue that pathogen eradication (and cessation of vaccination) leads to a ‘vacated niche’, which could be re-invaded by the original pathogen if introduced. Consequences for other pathogens will vary, with the crucial mechanisms being competitive release, whereby the decline of one species allows its competitors to perform better, and evolutionary adaptation. Hence, eradication can cause a quantitative rise in the incidence of another infection, but whether this leads to emergence as an endemic pathogen depends on additional factors. I focus on the case study of human monkeypox and its rise following smallpox eradication, but also survey how these ideas apply to other pathogens and discuss implications for eradication policy. PMID:23798698

  12. A niche model to predict Microcystis bloom decline in Chaohu Lake, China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Zhicong; Li, Zhongjie; Li, Dunhai

    2012-07-01

    Cyanobacterial blooms occur frequently in lakes due to eutrophication. Although a number of models have been proposed to forecast algal blooms, a good and applicable method is still lacking. This study explored a simple and effective mathematical-ecological model to evaluate the growth status and predict the population dynamics of Microcystis blooms. In this study, phytoplankton were collected and identified from 8 sampling sites in Chaohu Lake every month from July to October, 2010. The niche breadth and niche overlap of common species were calculated using standard equations, and the potential relative growth rates of Microcystis were calculated as a weighted-value of niche overlap. In July, the potential relative growth rate was 2.79 (a.u., arbitrary units) but then rapidly declined in the following months to -3.99 a.u. in September. A significant correlation ( R =0.998, P <0.01) was found in the model between the net-increase in biomass of Microcystis in the field and the predicted values calculated by the niche model, we concluded that the niche model is suitable for forecasting the dynamics of Microcystis blooms. Redundancy analysis indicated that decreases in water temperature, dissolved oxygen and total dissolved phosphorus might be major factors underlying bloom decline. Based on the theory of community succession being caused by resource competition, the growth and decline of blooms can be predicted from a community structure. This may provide a basis for early warning and control of algal blooms.

  13. Predicted Distribution of Major Malaria Vectors Belonging to the Anopheles dirus Complex in Asia: Ecological Niche and Environmental Influences

    PubMed Central

    Obsomer, Valerie; Defourny, Pierre; Coosemans, Marc

    2012-01-01

    Methods derived from ecological niche modeling allow to define species distribution based on presence-only data. This is particularly useful to develop models from literature records such as available for the Anopheles dirus complex, a major group of malaria mosquito vectors in Asia. This research defines an innovative modeling design based on presence-only model and hierarchical framework to define the distribution of the complex and attempt to delineate sibling species distribution and environmental preferences. At coarse resolution, the potential distribution was defined using slow changing abiotic factors such as topography and climate representative for the timescale covered by literature records of the species. The distribution area was then refined in a second step using a mask of current suitable land cover. Distribution area and ecological niche were compared between species and environmental factors tested for relevance. Alternatively, extreme values at occurrence points were used to delimit environmental envelopes. The spatial distribution for the complex was broadly consistent with its known distribution and influencing factors included temperature and rainfall. If maps developed from environmental envelopes gave similar results to modeling when the number of sites was high, the results were less similar for species with low number of recorded presences. Using presence-only models and hierarchical framework this study not only predicts the distribution of a major malaria vector, but also improved ecological modeling analysis design and proposed final products better adapted to malaria control decision makers. The resulting maps can help prioritizing areas which need further investigation and help simulate distribution under changing conditions such as climate change or reforestation. The hierarchical framework results in two products one abiotic based model describes the potential maximal distribution and remains valid for decades and the other

  14. Distinct Ecological Niche of Anal, Oral, and Cervical Mucosal Microbiomes in Adolescent Women

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Benjamin C.; Zolnik, Christine P.; Usyk, Mykhaylo; Chen, Zigui; Kaiser, Katherine; Nucci-Sack, Anne; Peake, Ken; Diaz, Angela; Viswanathan, Shankar; Strickler, Howard D.; Schlecht, Nicolas F.; Burk, Robert D.

    2016-01-01

    Human body sites represent ecological niches for microorganisms, each providing variations in microbial exposure, nutrient availability, microbial competition, and host immunological responses. In this study, we investigated the oral, anal, and cervical microbiomes from the same 20 sexually active adolescent females, using culture-independent, next-generation sequencing. DNA from each sample was amplified for the bacterial 16S rRNA gene and sequenced on an Illumina platform using paired-end reads. Across the three anatomical niches, we found significant differences in bacterial community composition and diversity. Overall anal samples were dominated with Prevotella and Bacteriodes, oral samples with Streptococcus and Prevotella, and cervical samples with Lactobacillus. The microbiomes of a few cervical samples clustered with anal samples in weighted principal coordinate analyses, due in part to a higher proportion of Prevotella in those samples. Additionally, cervical samples had the lowest alpha diversity. Our results demonstrate the occurrence of distinct microbial communities across body sites within the same individual.

  15. [Analyzing spatial-temporal dynamics of the ecological niche: a marten (Martes martes) population case study].

    PubMed

    Puzachenko, Iu G; Zheltukhin, A S; Sandlerskiĭ, R B

    2010-01-01

    A potential of discriminant analysis is demonstrated in a case study of the common marten (Martes martes L., 1758) ecological niche within the Central Forest Reserve and its buffer zone. The analysis is aimed at identifying how the probability to encounter a marten's footprint along a walking route depends on the relief and other parameters of the environment discerned by remote sensing. The analyses that were done individually for each of the eleven months from a three-year observation period have revealed the pattern of the species spatial distribution and a measure of its association with the environment to be dependent, to a large extent, on the weather conditions. In general, associations with the environment do increase under unfavorable conditions. The methods are suggested that integrate outcomes of the monthly analyses into a general map of habitat types. The technique presented has wide application opportunities in studying the ecology of populations and solving problems of practical ecology.

  16. A unique ecological niche fosters hybridization of oak-tree and vineyard isolates of Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

    PubMed

    Clowers, Katie J; Will, Jessica L; Gasch, Audrey P

    2015-12-01

    Differential adaptation to distinct niches can restrict gene flow and promote population differentiation within a species. However, in some cases the distinction between niches can collapse, forming a hybrid niche with features of both environments. We previously reported that distinctions between vineyards and oak soil present an ecological barrier that restricts gene flow between lineages of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Vineyard isolates are tolerant to stresses associated with grapes while North American oak strains are particularly tolerant to freeze-thaw cycles. Here, we report the isolation of S. cerevisiae strains from Wisconsin cherry trees, which display features common to vineyards (e.g. high sugar concentrations) and frequent freeze-thaw cycles. Genome sequencing revealed that the isolated strains are highly heterozygous and represent recent hybrids of the oak × vineyard lineages. We found that the hybrid strains are phenotypically similar to vineyard strains for some traits, but are more similar to oak strains for other traits. The cherry strains were exceptionally good at growing in cherry juice, raising the possibility that they have adapted to this niche. We performed transcriptome profiling in cherry, oak and vineyard strains and show that the cherry-tree hybrids display vineyard-like or oak-like expression, depending on the gene sets, and in some cases, the expression patterns linked back to shared stress tolerances. Allele-specific expression in these natural hybrids suggested concerted cis-regulatory evolution at sets of functionally regulated genes. Our results raise the possibility that hybridization of the two lineages provides a genetic solution to the thriving in this unique niche. PMID:26518477

  17. Niche construction in the light of niche theory.

    PubMed

    Kylafis, Grigoris; Loreau, Michel

    2011-02-01

    Ecological niche construction, the process whereby an organism improves its environment to enhance its growth and persistence, is an important missing element of niche theory. Niche theory has mainly focused on niche-deteriorating processes, such as resource consumption, predation and competition, which have negative effects on population growth. Here, we integrate niche construction explicitly into modern niche theory. We use a graphical approach to analyse how a species' niche-improving impacts interplay with niche-deteriorating impacts to modify its response to the environment. In a model of two consumers that compete for one limiting resource and one predator, we show how niche construction modifies the traditional niche-deteriorating impacts of its agent or of competing species, and hence the potential for species coexistence. By altering the balance between intraspecific and interspecific competitive effects, niche construction can either generate net interspecific facilitation or strengthen interspecific competition. The adaptive benefit derived from niche construction also strongly affects the realized niche of a niche-constructing species.

  18. Habitat suitability of the Atlantic bluefin tuna by size class: An ecological niche approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Druon, Jean-Noël; Fromentin, Jean-Marc; Hanke, Alex R.; Arrizabalaga, Haritz; Damalas, Dimitrios; Tičina, Vjekoslav; Quílez-Badia, Gemma; Ramirez, Karina; Arregui, Igor; Tserpes, George; Reglero, Patricia; Deflorio, Michele; Oray, Isik; Saadet Karakulak, F.; Megalofonou, Persefoni; Ceyhan, Tevfik; Grubišić, Leon; MacKenzie, Brian R.; Lamkin, John; Afonso, Pedro; Addis, Piero

    2016-03-01

    An ecological niche modelling (ENM) approach was used to predict the potential feeding and spawning habitats of small (5-25 kg, only feeding) and large (>25 kg) Atlantic bluefin tuna (ABFT), Thunnus thynnus, in the Mediterranean Sea, the North Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. The ENM was built bridging knowledge on ecological traits of ABFT (e.g. temperature tolerance, mobility, feeding and spawning strategy) with patterns of selected environmental variables (chlorophyll-a fronts and concentration, sea surface current and temperature, sea surface height anomaly) that were identified using an extensive set of precisely geo-located presence data. The results highlight a wider temperature tolerance for larger fish allowing them to feed in the northern - high chlorophyll levels - latitudes up to the Norwegian Sea in the eastern Atlantic and to the Gulf of Saint Lawrence in the western basin. Permanent suitable feeding habitat for small ABFT was predicted to be mostly located in temperate latitudes in the North Atlantic and in the Mediterranean Sea, as well as in subtropical waters off north-west Africa, while summer potential habitat in the Gulf of Mexico was found to be unsuitable for both small and large ABFTs. Potential spawning grounds were found to occur in the Gulf of Mexico from March-April in the south-east to April-May in the north, while favourable conditions evolve in the Mediterranean Sea from mid-May in the eastern to mid-July in the western basin. Other secondary potential spawning grounds not supported by observations were predicted in the Azores area and off Morocco to Senegal during July and August when extrapolating the model settings from the Gulf of Mexico into the North Atlantic. The presence of large ABFT off Florida and the Bahamas in spring was not explained by the model as is, however the environmental variables other than the sea surface height anomaly appeared to be favourable for spawning in part of this area. Defining key spatial and

  19. Environmental Variables Shaping the Ecological Niche of Thaumarchaeota in Soil: Direct and Indirect Causal Effects

    PubMed Central

    Hong, Jin-Kyung; Cho, Jae-Chang

    2015-01-01

    To find environmental variables (EVs) shaping the ecological niche of the archaeal phylum Thaumarchaeota in terrestrial environments, we determined the abundance of Thaumarchaeota in various soil samples using real-time PCR targeting thaumarchaeotal 16S rRNA gene sequences. We employed our previously developed primer, THAUM-494, which had greater coverage for Thaumarchaeota and lower tolerance to nonthaumarchaeotal taxa than previous Thaumarchaeota-directed primers. The relative abundance estimates (RVs) of Thaumarchaeota (RTHAUM), Archaea (RARCH), and Bacteria (RBACT) were subjected to a series of statistical analyses. Redundancy analysis (RDA) showed a significant (p < 0.05) canonical relationship between RVs and EVs. Negative causal relationships between RTHAUM and nutrient level–related EVs were observed in an RDA biplot. These negative relationships were further confirmed by correlation and regression analyses. Total nitrogen content (TN) appeared to be the EV that affected RTHAUM most strongly, and total carbon content (TC), which reflected the content of organic matter (OM), appeared to be the EV that affected it least. However, in the path analysis, a path model indicated that TN might be a mediator EV that could be controlled directly by the OM. Additionally, another path model implied that water content (WC) might also indirectly affect RTHAUM by controlling ammonium nitrogen (NH4+-N) level through ammonification. Thus, although most directly affected by NH4+-N, RTHAUM could be ultimately determined by OM content, suggesting that Thaumarchaeota could prefer low-OM or low-WC conditions, because either of these EVs could subsequently result in low levels of NH4+-N in soil. PMID:26241328

  20. [Ecological distribution and spatial niche of pheasants in the Karst mountains of southwest Guangxi Province, China].

    PubMed

    Yu, Chen-Xing; Yang, Gang; Li, Dong; Zhou, Fang

    2011-10-01

    The Karst mountain area along the Sino-Vietnam border of southwest Guangxi has been designated a "Global Biodiversity Hotspot" since 2003. We conducted a survey of pheasant species in this area, with seven species recorded, namely Chinese Francolin (Francolinus pintadeanus), Bar-backed Partridge (Arborophila brunneopectus), Mountain Bamboo Partridge (Bambusicola fytchii), Chinese Bamboo Partridge (Bambusicola thoracica), Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus), Silver Pheasant (Lophura nycthemera) and Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus). Analysis and comparison of the distribution and spatial niche of these seven pheasant species revealed that Red Junglefowl had the widest spatial niche, while Chinese Francolin had the narrowest. The spatial niche overlap index was high between Chinese Francolin and the Common Pheasant, Chinese Bamboo Partridge, and Red Junglefowl. With narrow distribution range, small population, and lower ecological adaptability, it is likely that the Bar-backed Partridge is the most vulnerable pheasant species in this area. The results suggest more research and conservation measures are required for pheasant habitat protection in the Karst areas of southwest Guangxi. PMID:22006809

  1. Rates of climatic niche evolution are correlated with species richness in a large and ecologically diverse radiation of songbirds.

    PubMed

    Title, Pascal O; Burns, Kevin J

    2015-05-01

    By employing a recently inferred phylogeny and museum occurrence records, we examine the relationship of ecological niche evolution to diversification in the largest family of songbirds, the tanagers (Thraupidae). We test whether differences in species numbers in the major clades of tanagers can be explained by differences in rate of climatic niche evolution. We develop a methodological pipeline to process and filter occurrence records. We find that, of the ecological variables examined, clade richness is higher in clades with higher climatic niche rate, and that this rate is also greater for clades that occupy a greater extent of climatic space. Additionally, we find that more speciose clades contain species with narrower niche breadths, suggesting that clades in which species are more successful at diversifying across climatic gradients have greater potential for speciation or are more buffered from the risk of extinction.

  2. Different Ecological Niches for Ticks of Public Health Significance in Canada.

    PubMed

    Gabriele-Rivet, Vanessa; Arsenault, Julie; Badcock, Jacqueline; Cheng, Angela; Edsall, Jim; Goltz, Jim; Kennedy, Joe; Lindsay, L Robbin; Pelcat, Yann; Ogden, Nicholas H

    2015-01-01

    Tick-borne diseases are a growing public health concern as their incidence and range have increased in recent decades. Lyme disease is an emerging infectious disease in Canada due to northward expansion of the geographic range of Ixodes scapularis, the principal tick vector for the Lyme disease agent Borrelia burgdorferi, into central and eastern Canada. In this study the geographical distributions of Ixodid ticks, including I. scapularis, and environmental factors associated with their occurrence were investigated in New Brunswick, Canada, where few I. scapularis populations have been found to date. Density of host-seeking ticks was evaluated by drag sampling of woodland habitats in a total of 159 sites. Ixodes scapularis ticks (n = 5) were found on four sites, Ixodes muris (n = 1) on one site and Haemaphysalis leporispalustris (n = 243) on 41 sites. One of four adult I. scapularis ticks collected was PCR-positive for B. burgdorferi. No environmental variables were significantly associated with the presence of I. scapularis although comparisons with surveillance data in neighbouring provinces (Québec and Nova Scotia) suggested that temperature conditions may be too cold for I. scapularis (< 2800 annual degree days above 0°C [DD > 0°C]) across much of New Brunswick. In contrast, the presence of H. leporispalustris, which is a competent vector of tularaemia, was significantly (P < 0.05) associated with specific ranges of mean DD > 0°C, mean annual precipitation, percentage of clay in site soil, elevation and season in a multivariable logistic regression model. With the exception of some localized areas, temperature conditions and deer density may be too low for the establishment of I. scapularis and Lyme disease risk areas in New Brunswick, while environmental conditions were suitable for H. leporispalustris at many sites. These findings indicate differing ecological niches for two tick species of public health significance. PMID:26131550

  3. Different Ecological Niches for Ticks of Public Health Significance in Canada

    PubMed Central

    Gabriele-Rivet, Vanessa; Arsenault, Julie; Badcock, Jacqueline; Cheng, Angela; Edsall, Jim; Goltz, Jim; Kennedy, Joe; Lindsay, L. Robbin; Pelcat, Yann; Ogden, Nicholas H.

    2015-01-01

    Tick-borne diseases are a growing public health concern as their incidence and range have increased in recent decades. Lyme disease is an emerging infectious disease in Canada due to northward expansion of the geographic range of Ixodes scapularis, the principal tick vector for the Lyme disease agent Borrelia burgdorferi, into central and eastern Canada. In this study the geographical distributions of Ixodid ticks, including I. scapularis, and environmental factors associated with their occurrence were investigated in New Brunswick, Canada, where few I. scapularis populations have been found to date. Density of host-seeking ticks was evaluated by drag sampling of woodland habitats in a total of 159 sites. Ixodes scapularis ticks (n = 5) were found on four sites, Ixodes muris (n = 1) on one site and Haemaphysalis leporispalustris (n = 243) on 41 sites. One of four adult I. scapularis ticks collected was PCR-positive for B. burgdorferi. No environmental variables were significantly associated with the presence of I. scapularis although comparisons with surveillance data in neighbouring provinces (Québec and Nova Scotia) suggested that temperature conditions may be too cold for I. scapularis (< 2800 annual degree days above 0°C [DD > 0°C]) across much of New Brunswick. In contrast, the presence of H. leporispalustris, which is a competent vector of tularaemia, was significantly (P < 0.05) associated with specific ranges of mean DD > 0°C, mean annual precipitation, percentage of clay in site soil, elevation and season in a multivariable logistic regression model. With the exception of some localized areas, temperature conditions and deer density may be too low for the establishment of I. scapularis and Lyme disease risk areas in New Brunswick, while environmental conditions were suitable for H. leporispalustris at many sites. These findings indicate differing ecological niches for two tick species of public health significance. PMID:26131550

  4. Models of cultural niche construction with selection and assortative mating.

    PubMed

    Creanza, Nicole; Fogarty, Laurel; Feldman, Marcus W

    2012-01-01

    Niche construction is a process through which organisms modify their environment and, as a result, alter the selection pressures on themselves and other species. In cultural niche construction, one or more cultural traits can influence the evolution of other cultural or biological traits by affecting the social environment in which the latter traits may evolve. Cultural niche construction may include either gene-culture or culture-culture interactions. Here we develop a model of this process and suggest some applications of this model. We examine the interactions between cultural transmission, selection, and assorting, paying particular attention to the complexities that arise when selection and assorting are both present, in which case stable polymorphisms of all cultural phenotypes are possible. We compare our model to a recent model for the joint evolution of religion and fertility and discuss other potential applications of cultural niche construction theory, including the evolution and maintenance of large-scale human conflict and the relationship between sex ratio bias and marriage customs. The evolutionary framework we introduce begins to address complexities that arise in the quantitative analysis of multiple interacting cultural traits.

  5. Using environmental niche models to test the 'everything is everywhere' hypothesis for Badhamia.

    PubMed

    Aguilar, María; Fiore-Donno, Anna-Maria; Lado, Carlos; Cavalier-Smith, Thomas

    2014-04-01

    It is often discussed whether the biogeography of free-living protists is better explained by the 'everything is everywhere'(EiE) hypothesis, which postulates that only ecology drives their distribution, or by the alternative hypothesis of 'moderate endemicity' in which geographic barriers can limit their dispersal. To formally test this, it would be necessary not only to find organisms restricted to a geographical area but also to check for their presence in any other place with a similar ecology. We propose the use of environmental niche models to generate and test null EiE distributions. Here we have analysed the distribution of 18S rDNA variants (ribotypes) of the myxomycete Badhamia melanospora (belonging to the protozoan phylum Amoebozoa) using 125 specimens from 91 localities. Two geographically structured groups of ribotypes congruent with slight morphological differences in the spores can be distinguished. One group comprises all populations from Argentina and Chile, and the other is formed by populations from North America together with human-introduced populations from other parts of the world. Environmental climatic niche models constructed separately for the two groups have significant differences, but show several overlapping areas. However, only specimens from one group were found in an intensively surveyed area in South America where both niche models overlap. It can be concluded that everything is not everywhere for B. melanospora. This taxon constitutes a complex formed by at least two cryptic species that probably diverged allopatrically in North and South America.

  6. Using environmental niche models to test the ‘everything is everywhere' hypothesis for Badhamia

    PubMed Central

    Aguilar, María; Fiore-Donno, Anna-Maria; Lado, Carlos; Cavalier-Smith, Thomas

    2014-01-01

    It is often discussed whether the biogeography of free-living protists is better explained by the ‘everything is everywhere'(EiE) hypothesis, which postulates that only ecology drives their distribution, or by the alternative hypothesis of ‘moderate endemicity' in which geographic barriers can limit their dispersal. To formally test this, it would be necessary not only to find organisms restricted to a geographical area but also to check for their presence in any other place with a similar ecology. We propose the use of environmental niche models to generate and test null EiE distributions. Here we have analysed the distribution of 18S rDNA variants (ribotypes) of the myxomycete Badhamia melanospora (belonging to the protozoan phylum Amoebozoa) using 125 specimens from 91 localities. Two geographically structured groups of ribotypes congruent with slight morphological differences in the spores can be distinguished. One group comprises all populations from Argentina and Chile, and the other is formed by populations from North America together with human-introduced populations from other parts of the world. Environmental climatic niche models constructed separately for the two groups have significant differences, but show several overlapping areas. However, only specimens from one group were found in an intensively surveyed area in South America where both niche models overlap. It can be concluded that everything is not everywhere for B. melanospora. This taxon constitutes a complex formed by at least two cryptic species that probably diverged allopatrically in North and South America. PMID:24132078

  7. Doctoral Education in a Successful Ecological Niche: A Qualitative Exploratory Case Study of the Relationship between the Microclimate and Doctoral Students' Learning to Become a Researcher

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Christensen, Mette K.; Lund, Ole

    2014-01-01

    Scholarly communities are dependent on and often measured by their ability to attract and develop doctoral students. Recent literature suggests that most scholarly communities entail ecological niches in which the doctoral students learn the codes and practices of research. In this article, we explore the microclimate in an ecological niche of…

  8. Distinct Ecological Niche of Anal, Oral, and Cervical Mucosal Microbiomes in Adolescent Women

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Benjamin C.; Zolnik, Christine P.; Usyk, Mykhaylo; Chen, Zigui; Kaiser, Katherine; Nucci-Sack, Anne; Peake, Ken; Diaz, Angela; Viswanathan, Shankar; Strickler, Howard D.; Schlecht, Nicolas F.; Burk, Robert D.

    2016-01-01

    Human body sites represent ecological niches for microorganisms, each providing variations in microbial exposure, nutrient availability, microbial competition, and host immunological responses. In this study, we investigated the oral, anal, and cervical microbiomes from the same 20 sexually active adolescent females, using culture-independent, next-generation sequencing. DNA from each sample was amplified for the bacterial 16S rRNA gene and sequenced on an Illumina platform using paired-end reads. Across the three anatomical niches, we found significant differences in bacterial community composition and diversity. Overall anal samples were dominated with Prevotella and Bacteriodes, oral samples with Streptococcus and Prevotella, and cervical samples with Lactobacillus. The microbiomes of a few cervical samples clustered with anal samples in weighted principal coordinate analyses, due in part to a higher proportion of Prevotella in those samples. Additionally, cervical samples had the lowest alpha diversity. Our results demonstrate the occurrence of distinct microbial communities across body sites within the same individual. PMID:27698612

  9. Functional traits reveal the expansion and packing of ecological niche space underlying an elevational diversity gradient in passerine birds.

    PubMed

    Pigot, Alex L; Trisos, Christopher H; Tobias, Joseph A

    2016-01-13

    Variation in species richness across environmental gradients may be associated with an expanded volume or increased packing of ecological niche space. However, the relative importance of these alternative scenarios remains unknown, largely because standardized information on functional traits and their ecological relevance is lacking for major diversity gradients. Here, we combine data on morphological and ecological traits for 523 species of passerine birds distributed across an Andes-to-Amazon elevation gradient. We show that morphological traits capture substantial variation in species dietary (75%) and foraging niches (60%) when multiple independent trait dimensions are considered. Having established these relationships, we show that the 14-fold increase in species richness towards the lowlands is associated with both an increased volume and density of functional trait space. However, we find that increases in volume contribute little to changes in richness, with most (78%) lowland species occurring within the range of trait space occupied at high elevations. Taken together, our results suggest that high species richness is mainly associated with a denser occupation of functional trait space, implying an increased specialization or overlap of ecological niches, and supporting the view that niche packing is the dominant trend underlying gradients of increasing biodiversity towards the lowland tropics.

  10. Functional traits reveal the expansion and packing of ecological niche space underlying an elevational diversity gradient in passerine birds.

    PubMed

    Pigot, Alex L; Trisos, Christopher H; Tobias, Joseph A

    2016-01-13

    Variation in species richness across environmental gradients may be associated with an expanded volume or increased packing of ecological niche space. However, the relative importance of these alternative scenarios remains unknown, largely because standardized information on functional traits and their ecological relevance is lacking for major diversity gradients. Here, we combine data on morphological and ecological traits for 523 species of passerine birds distributed across an Andes-to-Amazon elevation gradient. We show that morphological traits capture substantial variation in species dietary (75%) and foraging niches (60%) when multiple independent trait dimensions are considered. Having established these relationships, we show that the 14-fold increase in species richness towards the lowlands is associated with both an increased volume and density of functional trait space. However, we find that increases in volume contribute little to changes in richness, with most (78%) lowland species occurring within the range of trait space occupied at high elevations. Taken together, our results suggest that high species richness is mainly associated with a denser occupation of functional trait space, implying an increased specialization or overlap of ecological niches, and supporting the view that niche packing is the dominant trend underlying gradients of increasing biodiversity towards the lowland tropics. PMID:26740616

  11. [Application of land economic ecological niche in landscape pattern analysis at county level: A case study of Jinghe County in Xinjiang, China].

    PubMed

    Yu, Hai-yang; Zhang, Fei; Wang, Juan; Zhou, Mei

    2015-12-01

    The theory of land economic ecological niche was used to analyze the regional landscape pattern in this article, with an aim to provide a new method for the characterization and representation of landscape pattern. The Jinghe County region, which is ecologically fragile, was selected as an example for the study, and the Landsat images of 1990, 1998, 2011 and 2013 were selected as remote sensing data. The land economic ecological niche of land use types calculated by ecostate-ecorole theory, combined with landscape ecology theory, was discussed in application of land economic ecological niche in county landscape pattern analysis. The results showed that, during the study period, the correlations between land economic ecological niche of farmland, construction land, and grassland with the parameters, including landscape patch number (NP), aggregated index (AI), fragmented index (FN) and fractal dimension (FD), were significant. Regional landscape was driven by the changes of land economic ecological niche, and the trend of economic development could be represented by land economic ecological niche change in Jinghe County. Land economic ecological niche was closely related with the land use types which could yield direct economic benefits, which could well explain the landscape pattern characteristics in Jinghe County when combined with the landscape indices.

  12. Extracellular Fibrils of Pathogenic Yeast Cryptococcus gattii Are Important for Ecological Niche, Murine Virulence and Human Neutrophil Interactions

    PubMed Central

    Springer, Deborah J.; Ren, Ping; Raina, Ramesh; Dong, Yimin; Behr, Melissa J.; McEwen, Bruce F.; Bowser, Samuel S.; Samsonoff, William A.; Chaturvedi, Sudha; Chaturvedi, Vishnu

    2010-01-01

    Cryptococcus gattii, an emerging fungal pathogen of humans and animals, is found on a variety of trees in tropical and temperate regions. The ecological niche and virulence of this yeast remain poorly defined. We used Arabidopsis thaliana plants and plant-derived substrates to model C. gattii in its natural habitat. Yeast cells readily colonized scratch-wounded plant leaves and formed distinctive extracellular fibrils (40–100 nm diameter ×500–3000 nm length). Extracellular fibrils were observed on live plants and plant-derived substrates by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and by high voltage- EM (HVEM). Only encapsulated yeast cells formed extracellular fibrils as a capsule-deficient C. gattii mutant completely lacked fibrils. Cells deficient in environmental sensing only formed disorganized extracellular fibrils as apparent from experiments with a C. gattii STE12α mutant. C. gattii cells with extracellular fibrils were more virulent in murine model of pulmonary and systemic cryptococcosis than cells lacking fibrils. C. gattii cells with extracellular fibrils were also significantly more resistant to killing by human polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN) in vitro even though these PMN produced elaborate neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). These observations suggest that extracellular fibril formation could be a structural adaptation of C. gattii for cell-to-cell, cell-to-substrate and/or cell-to- phagocyte communications. Such ecological adaptation of C. gattii could play roles in enhanced virulence in mammalian hosts at least initially via inhibition of host PMN– mediated killing. PMID:20539754

  13. The inverse niche model for food webs with parasites

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Warren, Christopher P.; Pascual, Mercedes; Lafferty, Kevin D.; Kuris, Armand M.

    2010-01-01

    Although parasites represent an important component of ecosystems, few field and theoretical studies have addressed the structure of parasites in food webs. We evaluate the structure of parasitic links in an extensive salt marsh food web, with a new model distinguishing parasitic links from non-parasitic links among free-living species. The proposed model is an extension of the niche model for food web structure, motivated by the potential role of size (and related metabolic rates) in structuring food webs. The proposed extension captures several properties observed in the data, including patterns of clustering and nestedness, better than does a random model. By relaxing specific assumptions, we demonstrate that two essential elements of the proposed model are the similarity of a parasite's hosts and the increasing degree of parasite specialization, along a one-dimensional niche axis. Thus, inverting one of the basic rules of the original model, the one determining consumers' generality appears critical. Our results support the role of size as one of the organizing principles underlying niche space and food web topology. They also strengthen the evidence for the non-random structure of parasitic links in food webs and open the door to addressing questions concerning the consequences and origins of this structure.

  14. Modelling the regenerative niche: a major challenge in biomaterials research.

    PubMed

    Kirkpatrick, C James

    2015-12-01

    By definition, biomaterials are developed for clinical application. In the field of regenerative medicine their principal function is to play a significant, and, if possible, an instructive role in tissue healing. In the last analysis the latter involves targeting the 'regenerative niche'. The present paper will address the problem of simulating this niche in the laboratory and adopts a life science approach involving the harnessing of heterotypic cellular communication to achieve this, that is, the ability of cells of different types to mutually influence cellular functions. Thus, co-culture systems using human cells are the methodological focus and will concern four exemplary fields of regeneration, namely, bone, soft tissue, lower respiratory tract and airway regeneration. The working hypothesis underlying this approach is that in vitro models of higher complexity will be more clinically relevant than simple monolayer cultures of transformed cell lines in testing innovative strategies with biomaterials for regeneration. PMID:26816650

  15. Latitudinal variation in ecological opportunity and intraspecific competition indicates differences in niche variability and diet specialization of Arctic marine predators.

    PubMed

    Yurkowski, David J; Ferguson, Steve; Choy, Emily S; Loseto, Lisa L; Brown, Tanya M; Muir, Derek C G; Semeniuk, Christina A D; Fisk, Aaron T

    2016-03-01

    Individual specialization (IS), where individuals within populations irrespective of age, sex, and body size are either specialized or generalized in terms of resource use, has implications on ecological niches and food web structure. Niche size and degree of IS of near-top trophic-level marine predators have been little studied in polar regions or with latitude. We quantified the large-scale latitudinal variation of population- and individual-level niche size and IS in ringed seals (Pusa hispida) and beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) using stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis on 379 paired ringed seal liver and muscle samples and 124 paired beluga skin and muscle samples from eight locations ranging from the low to high Arctic. We characterized both within- and between-individual variation in predator niche size at each location as well as accounting for spatial differences in the isotopic ranges of potential prey. Total isotopic niche width (TINW) for populations of ringed seals and beluga decreased with increasing latitude. Higher TINW values were associated with greater ecological opportunity (i.e., prey diversity) in the prey fish community which mainly consists of Capelin (Mallotus villosus) and Sand lance (Ammodytes sp.) at lower latitudes and Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida) at high latitudes. In beluga, their dietary consistency between tissues also known as the within-individual component (WIC) increased in a near 1:1 ratio with TINW (slope = 0.84), suggesting dietary generalization, whereas the slope (0.18) of WIC relative to TINW in ringed seals indicated a high degree of individual specialization in ringed seal populations with higher TINWs. Our findings highlight the differences in TINW and level of IS for ringed seals and beluga relative to latitude as a likely response to large-scale spatial variation in ecological opportunity, suggesting species-specific variation in dietary plasticity to spatial differences in prey resources and

  16. Latitudinal variation in ecological opportunity and intraspecific competition indicates differences in niche variability and diet specialization of Arctic marine predators.

    PubMed

    Yurkowski, David J; Ferguson, Steve; Choy, Emily S; Loseto, Lisa L; Brown, Tanya M; Muir, Derek C G; Semeniuk, Christina A D; Fisk, Aaron T

    2016-03-01

    Individual specialization (IS), where individuals within populations irrespective of age, sex, and body size are either specialized or generalized in terms of resource use, has implications on ecological niches and food web structure. Niche size and degree of IS of near-top trophic-level marine predators have been little studied in polar regions or with latitude. We quantified the large-scale latitudinal variation of population- and individual-level niche size and IS in ringed seals (Pusa hispida) and beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) using stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis on 379 paired ringed seal liver and muscle samples and 124 paired beluga skin and muscle samples from eight locations ranging from the low to high Arctic. We characterized both within- and between-individual variation in predator niche size at each location as well as accounting for spatial differences in the isotopic ranges of potential prey. Total isotopic niche width (TINW) for populations of ringed seals and beluga decreased with increasing latitude. Higher TINW values were associated with greater ecological opportunity (i.e., prey diversity) in the prey fish community which mainly consists of Capelin (Mallotus villosus) and Sand lance (Ammodytes sp.) at lower latitudes and Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida) at high latitudes. In beluga, their dietary consistency between tissues also known as the within-individual component (WIC) increased in a near 1:1 ratio with TINW (slope = 0.84), suggesting dietary generalization, whereas the slope (0.18) of WIC relative to TINW in ringed seals indicated a high degree of individual specialization in ringed seal populations with higher TINWs. Our findings highlight the differences in TINW and level of IS for ringed seals and beluga relative to latitude as a likely response to large-scale spatial variation in ecological opportunity, suggesting species-specific variation in dietary plasticity to spatial differences in prey resources and

  17. Ecological consequences of human niche construction: Examining long-term anthropogenic shaping of global species distributions

    PubMed Central

    Boivin, Nicole L.; Zeder, Melinda A.; Fuller, Dorian Q.; Crowther, Alison; Larson, Greger; Erlandson, Jon M.; Denham, Tim; Petraglia, Michael D.

    2016-01-01

    The exhibition of increasingly intensive and complex niche construction behaviors through time is a key feature of human evolution, culminating in the advanced capacity for ecosystem engineering exhibited by Homo sapiens. A crucial outcome of such behaviors has been the dramatic reshaping of the global biosphere, a transformation whose early origins are increasingly apparent from cumulative archaeological and paleoecological datasets. Such data suggest that, by the Late Pleistocene, humans had begun to engage in activities that have led to alterations in the distributions of a vast array of species across most, if not all, taxonomic groups. Changes to biodiversity have included extinctions, extirpations, and shifts in species composition, diversity, and community structure. We outline key examples of these changes, highlighting findings from the study of new datasets, like ancient DNA (aDNA), stable isotopes, and microfossils, as well as the application of new statistical and computational methods to datasets that have accumulated significantly in recent decades. We focus on four major phases that witnessed broad anthropogenic alterations to biodiversity—the Late Pleistocene global human expansion, the Neolithic spread of agriculture, the era of island colonization, and the emergence of early urbanized societies and commercial networks. Archaeological evidence documents millennia of anthropogenic transformations that have created novel ecosystems around the world. This record has implications for ecological and evolutionary research, conservation strategies, and the maintenance of ecosystem services, pointing to a significant need for broader cross-disciplinary engagement between archaeology and the biological and environmental sciences. PMID:27274046

  18. Ecological consequences of human niche construction: Examining long-term anthropogenic shaping of global species distributions.

    PubMed

    Boivin, Nicole L; Zeder, Melinda A; Fuller, Dorian Q; Crowther, Alison; Larson, Greger; Erlandson, Jon M; Denham, Tim; Petraglia, Michael D

    2016-06-01

    The exhibition of increasingly intensive and complex niche construction behaviors through time is a key feature of human evolution, culminating in the advanced capacity for ecosystem engineering exhibited by Homo sapiens A crucial outcome of such behaviors has been the dramatic reshaping of the global biosphere, a transformation whose early origins are increasingly apparent from cumulative archaeological and paleoecological datasets. Such data suggest that, by the Late Pleistocene, humans had begun to engage in activities that have led to alterations in the distributions of a vast array of species across most, if not all, taxonomic groups. Changes to biodiversity have included extinctions, extirpations, and shifts in species composition, diversity, and community structure. We outline key examples of these changes, highlighting findings from the study of new datasets, like ancient DNA (aDNA), stable isotopes, and microfossils, as well as the application of new statistical and computational methods to datasets that have accumulated significantly in recent decades. We focus on four major phases that witnessed broad anthropogenic alterations to biodiversity-the Late Pleistocene global human expansion, the Neolithic spread of agriculture, the era of island colonization, and the emergence of early urbanized societies and commercial networks. Archaeological evidence documents millennia of anthropogenic transformations that have created novel ecosystems around the world. This record has implications for ecological and evolutionary research, conservation strategies, and the maintenance of ecosystem services, pointing to a significant need for broader cross-disciplinary engagement between archaeology and the biological and environmental sciences. PMID:27274046

  19. [GROWTH OF MICROMYCETES FROM DIFFERENT ECOLOGICAL NICHES ON AGAR NUTRIENT MEDIA].

    PubMed

    Kurchenko, I M; Yurieva, E M; Voychuk, S I

    2015-01-01

    Radial growth rate of (K(r)) 153 strains 6 species of micromycetes from different ecological niches was studied on 7 agar media: three standard (malt extract agar, potato-dextrose agar, Czapek's agar), and on agar media with plant polymers (carboxymethylcellulose, xylan, soluble starch and apple pectin). Endophytic and plant pathogenic strains (biotrophs) of all studied species did not differ significantly in their ability to grow on nutrient media of different composition--average values of K(r) for these two groups were the same (0,200 and 0,199 mm/h, respectively). Soil micromycetes (saprophytes) characterized by the lowest average growth rate (0,169 mm/h) and significantly differed from the endophytic and plant pathogenic ones. Average of the radial growth rates of studied microscopic fungi were higher on standard nutrient media than with plant polymers ones. Growth parameters of endophytes and plant pathogens of all studied species on various agar media differed from the soil strains. High growth rate of endophytic and plant pathogenic strains of Fusarium poae, Alternaria alternata and Ceratocystis sp. provides them the rapid colonization of plants. Penicillium funiculosum strains equally can exist as saprophytes in soil and as endophytic plant symbionts. A wide range of K(r) variation of endophytic dark pigmented Mycelia sterilia indicates the presence in this group of different species of micromycetes, which have no sporulation.

  20. Ecological consequences of human niche construction: Examining long-term anthropogenic shaping of global species distributions.

    PubMed

    Boivin, Nicole L; Zeder, Melinda A; Fuller, Dorian Q; Crowther, Alison; Larson, Greger; Erlandson, Jon M; Denham, Tim; Petraglia, Michael D

    2016-06-01

    The exhibition of increasingly intensive and complex niche construction behaviors through time is a key feature of human evolution, culminating in the advanced capacity for ecosystem engineering exhibited by Homo sapiens A crucial outcome of such behaviors has been the dramatic reshaping of the global biosphere, a transformation whose early origins are increasingly apparent from cumulative archaeological and paleoecological datasets. Such data suggest that, by the Late Pleistocene, humans had begun to engage in activities that have led to alterations in the distributions of a vast array of species across most, if not all, taxonomic groups. Changes to biodiversity have included extinctions, extirpations, and shifts in species composition, diversity, and community structure. We outline key examples of these changes, highlighting findings from the study of new datasets, like ancient DNA (aDNA), stable isotopes, and microfossils, as well as the application of new statistical and computational methods to datasets that have accumulated significantly in recent decades. We focus on four major phases that witnessed broad anthropogenic alterations to biodiversity-the Late Pleistocene global human expansion, the Neolithic spread of agriculture, the era of island colonization, and the emergence of early urbanized societies and commercial networks. Archaeological evidence documents millennia of anthropogenic transformations that have created novel ecosystems around the world. This record has implications for ecological and evolutionary research, conservation strategies, and the maintenance of ecosystem services, pointing to a significant need for broader cross-disciplinary engagement between archaeology and the biological and environmental sciences.

  1. Predicted Distribution of Visceral Leishmaniasis Vectors (Diptera: Psychodidae; Phlebotominae) in Iran: A Niche Model Study.

    PubMed

    Hanafi-Bojd, A A; Rassi, Y; Yaghoobi-Ershadi, M R; Haghdoost, A A; Akhavan, A A; Charrahy, Z; Karimi, A

    2015-12-01

    Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is an important vector-borne disease in Iran. Till now, Leishmania infantum has been detected from five species of sand flies in the country including Phlebotomus kandelakii, Phlebotomus major s.l., Phlebotomus perfiliewi, Phlebotomus alexandri and Phlebotomus tobbi. Also, Phlebotomus keshishiani was found to be infected with Leishmania parasites. This study aimed at predicting the probable niches and distribution of vectors of visceral leishmaniasis in Iran. Data on spatial distribution studies of sand flies were obtained from Iranian database on sand flies. Sample points were included in data from faunistic studies on sand flies conducted during 1995-2013. MaxEnt software was used to predict the appropriate ecological niches for given species, using climatic and topographical data. Distribution maps were prepared and classified in ArcGIS to find main ecological niches of the vectors and hot spots for VL transmission in Iran. Phlebotomus kandelakii, Ph. major s.l. and Ph. alexandri seem to have played a more important role in VL transmission in Iran, so this study focuses on them. Representations of MaxEnt model for probability of distribution of the studied sand flies showed high contribution of climatological and topographical variables to predict the potential distribution of three vector species. Isothermality was found to be an environmental variable with the highest gain when used in isolation for Ph. kandelakii and Ph. major s.l., while for Ph. alexandri, the most effective variable was precipitation of the coldest quarter. The results of this study present the first prediction on distribution of sand fly vectors of VL in Iran. The predicted distributions were matched with the disease-endemic areas in the country, while it was found that there were some unaffected areas with the potential transmission. More comprehensive studies are recommended on the ecology and vector competence of VL vectors in the country. PMID:26032232

  2. Assessing environmental factors to the replacement of Neanderthals by modern humans in terms of eco-cultural niche modelling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kondo, Yasuhisa; Sano, Katsuhiro; Kadowaki, Seiji; Naganuma, Masaki; Omori, Takayuki; Yoneda, Minoru; Nishiaki, Yoshihiro

    2014-05-01

    Eco-cultural niche modelling (ECNM) is an application of ecological niche modelling (ENM) to estimate the human niche in response to environmental settings. The niche probability is calculated for each spatial pixel, based on (1) the location of known archaeological sites as occurrence data and (2) environmental factors such palaeoclimate (temperature and precipitation), palaeovegetation (biome) and palaeotopography (elevation, slope and aspect). Some ENM software packages, including MaxEnt (maximum entropy model), output the percentage of contribution for each environmental factor, and therefore it is possible to identify and evaluate environmental constraints to the geographic expansion of human populations. Based on this thought, the authors applied ECNM to Palaeolithic stone tool industries in Europe and Siberia at 50-46 kya, the time period during which the first anatomically modern humans (AMHs) are presumed to have appeared in those regions, under the assumption that stone tool groups may reflect different human groups in terms of subsistence strategy. The preliminary results suggested that the population using Emiran and related industries (Bohunician and Bachokirian) were likely to construct their niches in the geographic zones where the long-term variability of the coldest month temperature was larger than in those occupied by the populations using the Late Mousterian, Szeletian and Châtelperronean stone tool industries.

  3. Forest on the edge: Seasonal cloud forest in Oman creates its own ecological niche

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hildebrandt, Anke; Eltahir, Elfatih A. B.

    2006-06-01

    Cloud forests usually grow in the moist tropics where water is not a limiting factor to plant growth. Here, for the first time, we describe the hydrology of a water limited seasonal cloud forest in the Dhofar mountains of Oman. This ecosystem is under significant stress from camels feeding on tree canopies. The Dhofar forests are the remnants of a moist vegetation belt, which once spread across the Arabian Peninsula. According to our investigation the process of cloud immersion during the summer season creates within this desert a niche for moist woodland vegetation. Woodland vegetation survives in this ecosystem, sustained through enhanced capture of cloud water by their canopies (horizontal precipitation). Degraded land lacks this additional water source, which inhibits re-establishment of trees. Our modeling results suggest that cattle feeding may lead to irreversible destruction of one of the most diverse ecosystems in Arabia.

  4. Modelling the Meteorological Forest Fire Niche in Heterogeneous Pyrologic Conditions

    PubMed Central

    De Angelis, Antonella; Ricotta, Carlo; Conedera, Marco; Pezzatti, Gianni Boris

    2015-01-01

    Fire regimes are strongly related to weather conditions that directly and indirectly influence fire ignition and propagation. Identifying the most important meteorological fire drivers is thus fundamental for daily fire risk forecasting. In this context, several fire weather indices have been developed focussing mainly on fire-related local weather conditions and fuel characteristics. The specificity of the conditions for which fire danger indices are developed makes its direct transfer and applicability problematic in different areas or with other fuel types. In this paper we used the low-to-intermediate fire-prone region of Canton Ticino as a case study to develop a new daily fire danger index by implementing a niche modelling approach (Maxent). In order to identify the most suitable weather conditions for fires, different combinations of input variables were tested (meteorological variables, existing fire danger indices or a combination of both). Our findings demonstrate that such combinations of input variables increase the predictive power of the resulting index and surprisingly even using meteorological variables only allows similar or better performances than using the complex Canadian Fire Weather Index (FWI). Furthermore, the niche modelling approach based on Maxent resulted in slightly improved model performance and in a reduced number of selected variables with respect to the classical logistic approach. Factors influencing final model robustness were the number of fire events considered and the specificity of the meteorological conditions leading to fire ignition. PMID:25679957

  5. Modelling the meteorological forest fire niche in heterogeneous pyrologic conditions.

    PubMed

    De Angelis, Antonella; Ricotta, Carlo; Conedera, Marco; Pezzatti, Gianni Boris

    2015-01-01

    Fire regimes are strongly related to weather conditions that directly and indirectly influence fire ignition and propagation. Identifying the most important meteorological fire drivers is thus fundamental for daily fire risk forecasting. In this context, several fire weather indices have been developed focussing mainly on fire-related local weather conditions and fuel characteristics. The specificity of the conditions for which fire danger indices are developed makes its direct transfer and applicability problematic in different areas or with other fuel types. In this paper we used the low-to-intermediate fire-prone region of Canton Ticino as a case study to develop a new daily fire danger index by implementing a niche modelling approach (Maxent). In order to identify the most suitable weather conditions for fires, different combinations of input variables were tested (meteorological variables, existing fire danger indices or a combination of both). Our findings demonstrate that such combinations of input variables increase the predictive power of the resulting index and surprisingly even using meteorological variables only allows similar or better performances than using the complex Canadian Fire Weather Index (FWI). Furthermore, the niche modelling approach based on Maxent resulted in slightly improved model performance and in a reduced number of selected variables with respect to the classical logistic approach. Factors influencing final model robustness were the number of fire events considered and the specificity of the meteorological conditions leading to fire ignition.

  6. Genome sequence of the button mushroom Agaricus bisporus reveals mechanisms governing adaptation to a humic-rich ecological niche.

    PubMed

    Morin, Emmanuelle; Kohler, Annegret; Baker, Adam R; Foulongne-Oriol, Marie; Lombard, Vincent; Nagy, Laszlo G; Ohm, Robin A; Patyshakuliyeva, Aleksandrina; Brun, Annick; Aerts, Andrea L; Bailey, Andrew M; Billette, Christophe; Coutinho, Pedro M; Deakin, Greg; Doddapaneni, Harshavardhan; Floudas, Dimitrios; Grimwood, Jane; Hildén, Kristiina; Kües, Ursula; Labutti, Kurt M; Lapidus, Alla; Lindquist, Erika A; Lucas, Susan M; Murat, Claude; Riley, Robert W; Salamov, Asaf A; Schmutz, Jeremy; Subramanian, Venkataramanan; Wösten, Han A B; Xu, Jianping; Eastwood, Daniel C; Foster, Gary D; Sonnenberg, Anton S M; Cullen, Dan; de Vries, Ronald P; Lundell, Taina; Hibbett, David S; Henrissat, Bernard; Burton, Kerry S; Kerrigan, Richard W; Challen, Michael P; Grigoriev, Igor V; Martin, Francis

    2012-10-23

    Agaricus bisporus is the model fungus for the adaptation, persistence, and growth in the humic-rich leaf-litter environment. Aside from its ecological role, A. bisporus has been an important component of the human diet for over 200 y and worldwide cultivation of the "button mushroom" forms a multibillion dollar industry. We present two A. bisporus genomes, their gene repertoires and transcript profiles on compost and during mushroom formation. The genomes encode a full repertoire of polysaccharide-degrading enzymes similar to that of wood-decayers. Comparative transcriptomics of mycelium grown on defined medium, casing-soil, and compost revealed genes encoding enzymes involved in xylan, cellulose, pectin, and protein degradation are more highly expressed in compost. The striking expansion of heme-thiolate peroxidases and β-etherases is distinctive from Agaricomycotina wood-decayers and suggests a broad attack on decaying lignin and related metabolites found in humic acid-rich environment. Similarly, up-regulation of these genes together with a lignolytic manganese peroxidase, multiple copper radical oxidases, and cytochrome P450s is consistent with challenges posed by complex humic-rich substrates. The gene repertoire and expression of hydrolytic enzymes in A. bisporus is substantially different from the taxonomically related ectomycorrhizal symbiont Laccaria bicolor. A common promoter motif was also identified in genes very highly expressed in humic-rich substrates. These observations reveal genetic and enzymatic mechanisms governing adaptation to the humic-rich ecological niche formed during plant degradation, further defining the critical role such fungi contribute to soil structure and carbon sequestration in terrestrial ecosystems. Genome sequence will expedite mushroom breeding for improved agronomic characteristics. PMID:23045686

  7. Genome sequence of the button mushroom Agaricus bisporus reveals mechanisms governing adaptation to a humic-rich ecological niche

    SciTech Connect

    Morin, Emmanuelle; Kohler, Annegret; Baker, Adam R.; Foulongne-Oriol, Marie; Lombard, Vincent; Nagy, Laszlo G.; Ohm, Robin A.; Patyshakuliyeva, Aleksandrina; Brun, Annick; Aerts, Andrea L.; Bailey, Andrew M.; Billette, Christophe; Coutinho, Pedro M.; Deakin, Greg; Doddapaneni, Harshavardhan; Floudas, Dimitrios; Grimwood, Jane; Hilden, Kristiina; Kues, Ursula; LaButti, Kurt M.; Lapidus, Alla; Lindquist, Erika A.; Lucas, Susan M.; Murat, Claude; Riley, Robert W.; Salamov, Asaf A.; Schmutz, Jeremy; Subramanian, Venkataramanan; Wosten, Han A. B.; Xu, Jianping; Eastwood, Daniel C.; Foster, Gary D.; Sonnenberg, Anton S. M.; Cullen, Dan; de Vries, Ronald P.; Lundell, Taina; Hibbett, David S.; Henrissat, Bernard; Burton, Kerry S.; Kerrigan, Richard W.; Challen, Michael P.; Grigoriev, Igor V.; Martin, Francis

    2012-04-27

    Agaricus bisporus is the model fungus for the adaptation, persistence, and growth in the humic-rich leaf-litter environment. Aside from its ecological role, A. bisporus has been an important component of the human diet for over 200 y and worldwide cultivation of the button mushroom forms a multibillion dollar industry. We present two A. bisporus genomes, their gene repertoires and transcript profiles on compost and during mushroom formation. The genomes encode a full repertoire of polysaccharide-degrading enzymes similar to that of wood-decayers. Comparative transcriptomics of mycelium grown on defined medium, casing-soil, and compost revealed genes encoding enzymes involved in xylan, cellulose, pectin, and protein degradation are more highly expressed in compost. The striking expansion of heme-thiolate peroxidases and etherases is distinctive from Agaricomycotina wood-decayers and suggests a broad attack on decaying lignin and related metabolites found in humic acid-rich environment. Similarly, up-regulation of these genes together with a lignolytic manganese peroxidase, multiple copper radical oxidases, and cytochrome P450s is consistent with challenges posed by complex humic-rich substrates. The gene repertoire and expression of hydrolytic enzymes in A. bisporus is substantially different from the taxonomically related ectomycorrhizal symbiont Laccaria bicolor. A common promoter motif was also identified in genes very highly expressed in humic-rich substrates. These observations reveal genetic and enzymatic mechanisms governing adaptation to the humic-rich ecological niche formed during plant degradation, further defining the critical role such fungi contribute to soil structure and carbon sequestration in terrestrial ecosystems. Genome sequence will expedite mushroom breeding for improved agronomic characteristics.

  8. Genome sequence of the button mushroom Agaricus bisporus reveals mechanisms governing adaptation to a humic-rich ecological niche.

    PubMed

    Morin, Emmanuelle; Kohler, Annegret; Baker, Adam R; Foulongne-Oriol, Marie; Lombard, Vincent; Nagy, Laszlo G; Ohm, Robin A; Patyshakuliyeva, Aleksandrina; Brun, Annick; Aerts, Andrea L; Bailey, Andrew M; Billette, Christophe; Coutinho, Pedro M; Deakin, Greg; Doddapaneni, Harshavardhan; Floudas, Dimitrios; Grimwood, Jane; Hildén, Kristiina; Kües, Ursula; Labutti, Kurt M; Lapidus, Alla; Lindquist, Erika A; Lucas, Susan M; Murat, Claude; Riley, Robert W; Salamov, Asaf A; Schmutz, Jeremy; Subramanian, Venkataramanan; Wösten, Han A B; Xu, Jianping; Eastwood, Daniel C; Foster, Gary D; Sonnenberg, Anton S M; Cullen, Dan; de Vries, Ronald P; Lundell, Taina; Hibbett, David S; Henrissat, Bernard; Burton, Kerry S; Kerrigan, Richard W; Challen, Michael P; Grigoriev, Igor V; Martin, Francis

    2012-10-23

    Agaricus bisporus is the model fungus for the adaptation, persistence, and growth in the humic-rich leaf-litter environment. Aside from its ecological role, A. bisporus has been an important component of the human diet for over 200 y and worldwide cultivation of the "button mushroom" forms a multibillion dollar industry. We present two A. bisporus genomes, their gene repertoires and transcript profiles on compost and during mushroom formation. The genomes encode a full repertoire of polysaccharide-degrading enzymes similar to that of wood-decayers. Comparative transcriptomics of mycelium grown on defined medium, casing-soil, and compost revealed genes encoding enzymes involved in xylan, cellulose, pectin, and protein degradation are more highly expressed in compost. The striking expansion of heme-thiolate peroxidases and β-etherases is distinctive from Agaricomycotina wood-decayers and suggests a broad attack on decaying lignin and related metabolites found in humic acid-rich environment. Similarly, up-regulation of these genes together with a lignolytic manganese peroxidase, multiple copper radical oxidases, and cytochrome P450s is consistent with challenges posed by complex humic-rich substrates. The gene repertoire and expression of hydrolytic enzymes in A. bisporus is substantially different from the taxonomically related ectomycorrhizal symbiont Laccaria bicolor. A common promoter motif was also identified in genes very highly expressed in humic-rich substrates. These observations reveal genetic and enzymatic mechanisms governing adaptation to the humic-rich ecological niche formed during plant degradation, further defining the critical role such fungi contribute to soil structure and carbon sequestration in terrestrial ecosystems. Genome sequence will expedite mushroom breeding for improved agronomic characteristics.

  9. Genome sequence of the button mushroom Agaricus bisporus reveals mechanisms governing adaptation to a humic-rich ecological niche

    PubMed Central

    Morin, Emmanuelle; Kohler, Annegret; Baker, Adam R.; Foulongne-Oriol, Marie; Lombard, Vincent; Nagye, Laszlo G.; Ohm, Robin A.; Patyshakuliyeva, Aleksandrina; Brun, Annick; Aerts, Andrea L.; Bailey, Andrew M.; Billette, Christophe; Coutinho, Pedro M.; Deakin, Greg; Doddapaneni, Harshavardhan; Floudas, Dimitrios; Grimwood, Jane; Hildén, Kristiina; Kües, Ursula; LaButti, Kurt M.; Lapidus, Alla; Lindquist, Erika A.; Lucas, Susan M.; Murat, Claude; Riley, Robert W.; Salamov, Asaf A.; Schmutz, Jeremy; Subramanian, Venkataramanan; Wösten, Han A. B.; Xu, Jianping; Eastwood, Daniel C.; Foster, Gary D.; Sonnenberg, Anton S. M.; Cullen, Dan; de Vries, Ronald P.; Lundell, Taina; Hibbett, David S.; Henrissat, Bernard; Burton, Kerry S.; Kerrigan, Richard W.; Challen, Michael P.; Grigoriev, Igor V.; Martin, Francis

    2012-01-01

    Agaricus bisporus is the model fungus for the adaptation, persistence, and growth in the humic-rich leaf-litter environment. Aside from its ecological role, A. bisporus has been an important component of the human diet for over 200 y and worldwide cultivation of the “button mushroom” forms a multibillion dollar industry. We present two A. bisporus genomes, their gene repertoires and transcript profiles on compost and during mushroom formation. The genomes encode a full repertoire of polysaccharide-degrading enzymes similar to that of wood-decayers. Comparative transcriptomics of mycelium grown on defined medium, casing-soil, and compost revealed genes encoding enzymes involved in xylan, cellulose, pectin, and protein degradation are more highly expressed in compost. The striking expansion of heme-thiolate peroxidases and β-etherases is distinctive from Agaricomycotina wood-decayers and suggests a broad attack on decaying lignin and related metabolites found in humic acid-rich environment. Similarly, up-regulation of these genes together with a lignolytic manganese peroxidase, multiple copper radical oxidases, and cytochrome P450s is consistent with challenges posed by complex humic-rich substrates. The gene repertoire and expression of hydrolytic enzymes in A. bisporus is substantially different from the taxonomically related ectomycorrhizal symbiont Laccaria bicolor. A common promoter motif was also identified in genes very highly expressed in humic-rich substrates. These observations reveal genetic and enzymatic mechanisms governing adaptation to the humic-rich ecological niche formed during plant degradation, further defining the critical role such fungi contribute to soil structure and carbon sequestration in terrestrial ecosystems. Genome sequence will expedite mushroom breeding for improved agronomic characteristics. PMID:23045686

  10. No species is an island: testing the effects of biotic interactions on models of avian niche occupation.

    PubMed

    Morelli, Federico; Tryjanowski, Piotr

    2015-02-01

    Traditionally, the niche of a species is described as a hypothetical 3D space, constituted by well-known biotic interactions (e.g. predation, competition, trophic relationships, resource-consumer interactions, etc.) and various abiotic environmental factors. Species distribution models (SDMs), also called "niche models" and often used to predict wildlife distribution at landscape scale, are typically constructed using abiotic factors with biotic interactions generally been ignored. Here, we compared the goodness of fit of SDMs for red-backed shrike Lanius collurio in farmlands of Western Poland, using both the classical approach (modeled only on environmental variables) and the approach which included also other potentially associated bird species. The potential associations among species were derived from the relevant ecological literature and by a correlation matrix of occurrences. Our findings highlight the importance of including heterospecific interactions in improving our understanding of niche occupation for bird species. We suggest that suite of measures currently used to quantify realized species niches could be improved by also considering the occurrence of certain associated species. Then, an hypothetical "species 1" can use the occurrence of a successfully established individual of "species 2" as indicator or "trace" of the location of available suitable habitat to breed. We hypothesize this kind of biotic interaction as the "heterospecific trace effect" (HTE): an interaction based on the availability and use of "public information" provided by individuals from different species. Finally, we discuss about the incomes of biotic interactions for enhancing the predictive capacities on species distribution models.

  11. Complexity in models of cultural niche construction with selection and homophily.

    PubMed

    Creanza, Nicole; Feldman, Marcus W

    2014-07-22

    Niche construction is the process by which organisms can alter the ecological environment for themselves, their descendants, and other species. As a result of niche construction, differences in selection pressures may be inherited across generations. Homophily, the tendency of like phenotypes to mate or preferentially associate, influences the evolutionary dynamics of these systems. Here we develop a model that includes selection and homophily as independent culturally transmitted traits that influence the fitness and mate choice determined by another focal cultural trait. We study the joint dynamics of a focal set of beliefs, a behavior that can differentially influence the fitness of those with certain beliefs, and a preference for partnering based on similar beliefs. Cultural transmission, selection, and homophily interact to produce complex evolutionary dynamics, including oscillations, stable polymorphisms of all cultural phenotypes, and simultaneous stability of oscillation and fixation, which have not previously been observed in models of cultural evolution or gene-culture interactions. We discuss applications of this model to the interaction of beliefs and behaviors regarding education, contraception, and animal domestication.

  12. Emergence of complexity in evolving niche-model food webs.

    PubMed

    Guill, Christian; Drossel, Barbara

    2008-03-01

    We have analysed mechanisms that promote the emergence of complex structures in evolving model food webs. The niche model is used to determine predator-prey relationships. Complexity is measured by species richness as well as trophic level structure and link density. Adaptive dynamics that allow predators to concentrate on the prey species they are best adapted to lead to a strong increase in species number but have only a small effect on the number and relative occupancy of trophic levels. The density of active links also remains small but a high number of potential links allows the network to adjust to changes in the species composition (emergence and extinction of species). Incorporating effects of body size on individual metabolism leads to a more complex trophic level structure: both the maximum and the average trophic level increase. So does the density of active links. Taking body size effects into consideration does not have a measurable influence on species richness. If species are allowed to adjust their foraging behaviour, the complexity of the evolving networks can also be influenced by the size of the external resources. The larger the resources, the larger and more complex is the food web it can sustain. Body size effects and increasing resources do not change size and the simple structure of the evolving networks if adaptive foraging is prohibited. This leads to the conclusion that in the framework of the niche model adaptive foraging is a necessary but not sufficient condition for the emergence of complex networks. It is found that despite the stabilising effect of foraging adaptation the system displays elements of self-organised critical behaviour.

  13. [The correlation of the ecological niches of the common (Rana temporaria L.) and of the moor (Rana arvalis Nilss.) frogs (Anura, Amphibia)].

    PubMed

    Severtsov, A S; Liapkov, S M; Surova, G S

    1998-01-01

    During 25 years ecology and population dynamic of two brown frog species (Rana temporaria and R. arvalis) were studied in Moscow region, Solovki island and South Ural. We compared life cycles characteristics, namely biotope preferences, diet, migration, enemies, hibernation places using own and available literature data. Then we analyse how these parameters are changed among the species area and ecological niches were compared. We found that these two species do not compete in any stage of life cycle. Ecological niches are very closed and differences are determined generally by abiotic factors. So, R. temporaria prefers more wet biotope and more sensitive to acidity (low pH value). Differences in spawning time do not associate with interference in spawning places. We conclude that interspecific competition did not take place neither in the past nor in present and the reason of differences in ecological niches are determined by separate ways of evolutionary development of these species.

  14. Climate niches of tick species in the Mediterranean region: modeling of occurrence data, distributional constraints, and impact of climate change.

    PubMed

    Estrada-Peña, Agustín; Venzal, José M

    2007-11-01

    In this study, we used ecological niche factor analysis (ENFA) and principal components analysis (PCA) of climate variables to define the climate niches and areas of potential colonization of six species of ticks in the Mediterranean region: Dermacentor marginatus Sulzer, Rhipicephalus bursa Canestrini & Fanzago, Rhipicephalus turanicus Pomerantsev, Matikashvili & Lototsky, Hyalomma marginatum Koch, Hyalomma excavatum Koch, and Boophilus annulatus (Say). ENFA generated distribution models that varied in accuracy from high to very high (area under the curve [AUC] = 0.87-0.97), with the lowest AUC obtained for B. annulatus. PCA provided an adequate separation of the climate niches of different species in the reduced space of the variables. Climate scenarios and factorial consensus analysis were used to evaluate the geographic impact of climate change (as turnover in habitat suitability) on the niches of the ticks and net variations in habitat availability. The scenario that was most compatible with estimates of future climate in the Mediterranean region (increase in temperature and decrease in rainfall) was predicted to produce a sharp increase in the extent of suitable habitat for R. bursa, R. turanicus, and H. marginatum. This scenario would result in a northward expansion of suitable habitat areas for these three species. The highest impact (highest species turnover) would be recorded at the margin of the current distribution range of the three species. A sensitivity analysis of the ecological response of the ticks to the climate change scenarios showed that the response is statistically different in different regions of the PCA-derived niche. These results outline the need to further investigate the potential of bioclimate models to obtain accurate estimations of tick species turnover under conditions of climate change over wide areas.

  15. The influence of social niche on cultural niche construction: modelling changes in belief about marriage form in Taiwan.

    PubMed

    Lipatov, Mikhail; Brown, Melissa J; Feldman, Marcus W

    2011-03-27

    With introduction of social niche effects into a model of cultural change, the frequency of a practice cannot predict the frequency of its underlying belief. The combination of a general model with empirical data from a specific case illustrates the importance of collaboration between modellers and field researchers, and identifies the type of quantitative data necessary for analysing case studies. Demographic data from colonial-period household registers in Taiwan document a shift in marriage form within 40 years, from a mixture of uxorilocal marriages and virilocal marriages to the latter's dominance. Ethnographic data indicate marriage-related beliefs, costs, ethnic effects and colonial policies as well as the importance of horizontal cultural transmission. We present a formal model for the effects of moral beliefs about marriage and a population economic index on the decline of uxorilocal marriage. We integrate empirical marriage rates and an estimated economic index to produce five projections of the historical frequencies of one belief. These projections demonstrate how economic development may affect a cultural niche. They also indicate the need for future research on the relationship between wealth and cultural variability, the motivational force of cultural versus social factors, and the process of cultural niche construction.

  16. The influence of social niche on cultural niche construction: modelling changes in belief about marriage form in Taiwan

    PubMed Central

    Lipatov, Mikhail; Brown, Melissa J.; Feldman, Marcus W.

    2011-01-01

    With introduction of social niche effects into a model of cultural change, the frequency of a practice cannot predict the frequency of its underlying belief. The combination of a general model with empirical data from a specific case illustrates the importance of collaboration between modellers and field researchers, and identifies the type of quantitative data necessary for analysing case studies. Demographic data from colonial-period household registers in Taiwan document a shift in marriage form within 40 years, from a mixture of uxorilocal marriages and virilocal marriages to the latter's dominance. Ethnographic data indicate marriage-related beliefs, costs, ethnic effects and colonial policies as well as the importance of horizontal cultural transmission. We present a formal model for the effects of moral beliefs about marriage and a population economic index on the decline of uxorilocal marriage. We integrate empirical marriage rates and an estimated economic index to produce five projections of the historical frequencies of one belief. These projections demonstrate how economic development may affect a cultural niche. They also indicate the need for future research on the relationship between wealth and cultural variability, the motivational force of cultural versus social factors, and the process of cultural niche construction. PMID:21320903

  17. Ecological niche partitioning in the picoplanktonic green alga Micromonas pusilla: evidence from environmental surveys using phylogenetic probes.

    PubMed

    Foulon, Elodie; Not, Fabrice; Jalabert, Fabienne; Cariou, Thierry; Massana, Ramon; Simon, Nathalie

    2008-09-01

    Very few studies have analysed the niches of pelagic protist in details. This is because for most protists, both an accurate species definition and methods for routine detection and quantification of cells are lacking. The morphospecies Micromonas pusilla, a marine unicellular green alga, is the most ubiquitous and cosmopolitan picoeukaryote described to date. This species comprises several independent genetic lineages or clades, which are not currently distinguishable based on comparison of their morphology or biogeographical distribution. Molecular probes were used to detect and quantify the genetic clades of M. pusilla in samples from temperate, polar and tropical environments in order to assess potential ecological niche partitioning. The three clades were detected in all biogeographical regions studied and were commonly found in sympatry. Cell abundances recorded for clades A and B were high, especially at coastal stations. Clade C, when detected, was always at low abundances and is suggested to be a low-light clade. Shifts in the contribution of clades to total M. pusilla abundance were observed along environmental gradients, both at local and basin-wide scales. This suggests that the phylogenetic clades occupy specific niches and confirms the existence of cryptic species within the morphospecies M. pusilla. Parameters which can precisely explain the distribution of these cryptic species remain to be elucidated.

  18. Ecological niche of Neanderthals from Spy Cave revealed by nitrogen isotopes of individual amino acids in collagen.

    PubMed

    Naito, Yuichi I; Chikaraishi, Yoshito; Drucker, Dorothée G; Ohkouchi, Naohiko; Semal, Patrick; Wißing, Christoph; Bocherens, Hervé

    2016-04-01

    This study provides a refined view on the diet and ecological niche of Neanderthals. The traditional view is that Neanderthals obtained most of their dietary protein from terrestrial animals, especially from large herbivores that roamed the open landscapes. Evidence based on the conventional carbon and nitrogen isotopic composition of bulk collagen has supported this view, although recent findings based on plant remains in the tooth calculus, microwear analyses, and small game and marine animal remains from archaeological sites have raised some questions regarding this assumption. However, the lack of a protein source other than meat in the Neanderthal diet may be due to methodological difficulties in defining the isotopic composition of plants. Based on the nitrogen isotopic composition of glutamic acid and phenylalanine in collagen for Neanderthals from Spy Cave (Belgium), we show that i) there was an inter-individual dietary heterogeneity even within one archaeological site that has not been evident in bulk collagen isotopic compositions, ii) they occupied an ecological niche different from those of hyenas, and iii) they could rely on plants for up to ∼20% of their protein source. These results are consistent with the evidence found of plant consumption by the Spy Neanderthals, suggesting a broader subsistence strategy than previously considered. PMID:27086057

  19. Ecological niche of Neanderthals from Spy Cave revealed by nitrogen isotopes of individual amino acids in collagen.

    PubMed

    Naito, Yuichi I; Chikaraishi, Yoshito; Drucker, Dorothée G; Ohkouchi, Naohiko; Semal, Patrick; Wißing, Christoph; Bocherens, Hervé

    2016-04-01

    This study provides a refined view on the diet and ecological niche of Neanderthals. The traditional view is that Neanderthals obtained most of their dietary protein from terrestrial animals, especially from large herbivores that roamed the open landscapes. Evidence based on the conventional carbon and nitrogen isotopic composition of bulk collagen has supported this view, although recent findings based on plant remains in the tooth calculus, microwear analyses, and small game and marine animal remains from archaeological sites have raised some questions regarding this assumption. However, the lack of a protein source other than meat in the Neanderthal diet may be due to methodological difficulties in defining the isotopic composition of plants. Based on the nitrogen isotopic composition of glutamic acid and phenylalanine in collagen for Neanderthals from Spy Cave (Belgium), we show that i) there was an inter-individual dietary heterogeneity even within one archaeological site that has not been evident in bulk collagen isotopic compositions, ii) they occupied an ecological niche different from those of hyenas, and iii) they could rely on plants for up to ∼20% of their protein source. These results are consistent with the evidence found of plant consumption by the Spy Neanderthals, suggesting a broader subsistence strategy than previously considered.

  20. Modelling Niche Differentiation of Co-Existing, Elusive and Morphologically Similar Species: A Case Study of Four Macaque Species in Nakai-Nam Theun National Protected Area, Laos

    PubMed Central

    Coudrat, Camille N. Z.; Nekaris, K. Anne-Isola

    2013-01-01

    Simple Summary We investigated the niche separation of four macaque species (Macaca arctoides, M. assamensis, M. leonina, M. mulatta) occurring within Nakai-Nam Theun National Protected Area, central-eastern Laos using the environmental niche modelling software MaxEnt. The respective suitable habitat predicted for each species reveals niche segregation between the four species with a gradual geographical distribution following an environmental gradient of, notably, temperature, precipitation, elevation and slope within the study area. This means that the four species seem adapted to different ecological conditions within the area. This information has implications for future research on these species and for their management and conservation. Abstract Species misidentification often occurs when dealing with co-existing and morphologically similar species such as macaques, making the study of their ecology challenging. To overcome this issue, we use reliable occurrence data from camera-trap images and transect survey data to model their respective ecological niche and potential distribution locally in Nakai-Nam Theun National Protected Area (NNT NPA), central-Eastern Laos. We investigate niche differentiation of morphologically similar species using four sympatric macaque species in NNT NPA, as our model species: rhesus Macaca mulatta (Taxonomic Serial Number, TSN 180099), Northern pig-tailed M. leonina (TSN not listed); Assamese M. assamensis (TSN 573018) and stump-tailed M. arctoides (TSN 573017). We examine the implications for their conservation. We obtained occurrence data of macaque species from systematic 2006–2011 camera-trapping surveys and 2011–2012 transect surveys and model their niche and potential distribution with MaxEnt software using 25 environmental and topographic variables. The respective suitable habitat predicted for each species reveals niche segregation between the four species with a gradual geographical distribution following an

  1. Improved Predictions of the Geographic Distribution of Invasive Plants Using Climatic Niche Models.

    PubMed

    Ramírez-Albores, Jorge E; Bustamante, Ramiro O; Badano, Ernesto I

    2016-01-01

    Climatic niche models for invasive plants are usually constructed with occurrence records taken from literature and collections. Because these data neither discriminate among life-cycle stages of plants (adult or juvenile) nor the origin of individuals (naturally established or man-planted), the resulting models may mispredict the distribution ranges of these species. We propose that more accurate predictions could be obtained by modelling climatic niches with data of naturally established individuals, particularly with occurrence records of juvenile plants because this would restrict the predictions of models to those sites where climatic conditions allow the recruitment of the species. To test this proposal, we focused on the Peruvian peppertree (Schinus molle), a South American species that has largely invaded Mexico. Three climatic niche models were constructed for this species using high-resolution dataset gathered in the field. The first model included all occurrence records, irrespective of the life-cycle stage or origin of peppertrees (generalized niche model). The second model only included occurrence records of naturally established mature individuals (adult niche model), while the third model was constructed with occurrence records of naturally established juvenile plants (regeneration niche model). When models were compared, the generalized climatic niche model predicted the presence of peppertrees in sites located farther beyond the climatic thresholds that naturally established individuals can tolerate, suggesting that human activities influence the distribution of this invasive species. The adult and regeneration climatic niche models concurred in their predictions about the distribution of peppertrees, suggesting that naturally established adult trees only occur in sites where climatic conditions allow the recruitment of juvenile stages. These results support the proposal that climatic niches of invasive plants should be modelled with data of

  2. Improved Predictions of the Geographic Distribution of Invasive Plants Using Climatic Niche Models

    PubMed Central

    Ramírez-Albores, Jorge E.; Bustamante, Ramiro O.

    2016-01-01

    Climatic niche models for invasive plants are usually constructed with occurrence records taken from literature and collections. Because these data neither discriminate among life-cycle stages of plants (adult or juvenile) nor the origin of individuals (naturally established or man-planted), the resulting models may mispredict the distribution ranges of these species. We propose that more accurate predictions could be obtained by modelling climatic niches with data of naturally established individuals, particularly with occurrence records of juvenile plants because this would restrict the predictions of models to those sites where climatic conditions allow the recruitment of the species. To test this proposal, we focused on the Peruvian peppertree (Schinus molle), a South American species that has largely invaded Mexico. Three climatic niche models were constructed for this species using high-resolution dataset gathered in the field. The first model included all occurrence records, irrespective of the life-cycle stage or origin of peppertrees (generalized niche model). The second model only included occurrence records of naturally established mature individuals (adult niche model), while the third model was constructed with occurrence records of naturally established juvenile plants (regeneration niche model). When models were compared, the generalized climatic niche model predicted the presence of peppertrees in sites located farther beyond the climatic thresholds that naturally established individuals can tolerate, suggesting that human activities influence the distribution of this invasive species. The adult and regeneration climatic niche models concurred in their predictions about the distribution of peppertrees, suggesting that naturally established adult trees only occur in sites where climatic conditions allow the recruitment of juvenile stages. These results support the proposal that climatic niches of invasive plants should be modelled with data of

  3. Improved Predictions of the Geographic Distribution of Invasive Plants Using Climatic Niche Models.

    PubMed

    Ramírez-Albores, Jorge E; Bustamante, Ramiro O; Badano, Ernesto I

    2016-01-01

    Climatic niche models for invasive plants are usually constructed with occurrence records taken from literature and collections. Because these data neither discriminate among life-cycle stages of plants (adult or juvenile) nor the origin of individuals (naturally established or man-planted), the resulting models may mispredict the distribution ranges of these species. We propose that more accurate predictions could be obtained by modelling climatic niches with data of naturally established individuals, particularly with occurrence records of juvenile plants because this would restrict the predictions of models to those sites where climatic conditions allow the recruitment of the species. To test this proposal, we focused on the Peruvian peppertree (Schinus molle), a South American species that has largely invaded Mexico. Three climatic niche models were constructed for this species using high-resolution dataset gathered in the field. The first model included all occurrence records, irrespective of the life-cycle stage or origin of peppertrees (generalized niche model). The second model only included occurrence records of naturally established mature individuals (adult niche model), while the third model was constructed with occurrence records of naturally established juvenile plants (regeneration niche model). When models were compared, the generalized climatic niche model predicted the presence of peppertrees in sites located farther beyond the climatic thresholds that naturally established individuals can tolerate, suggesting that human activities influence the distribution of this invasive species. The adult and regeneration climatic niche models concurred in their predictions about the distribution of peppertrees, suggesting that naturally established adult trees only occur in sites where climatic conditions allow the recruitment of juvenile stages. These results support the proposal that climatic niches of invasive plants should be modelled with data of

  4. Ecological explanations to island gigantism: dietary niche divergence, predation, and size in an endemic lizard.

    PubMed

    Runemark, Anna; Sagonas, Kostas; Svensson, Erik I

    2015-08-01

    Although rapid evolution of body size on islands has long been known, the ecological mechanisms behind this island phenomenon remain poorly understood. Diet is an important selective pressure for morphological divergence. Here we investigate if selection for novel diets has contributed to the multiple independent cases of island gigantism in the Skyros wall lizard (Podarcis gaigeae) and if diet, predation, or both factors best explain island gigantism. We combined data on body size, shape, bite force, and realized and available diets to address this. Several lines of evidence suggest that diet has contributed to the island gigantism. The larger islet lizards have relatively wider heads and higher bite performance in relation to mainland lizards than would be expected from size differences alone. The proportions of consumed and available hard prey are higher on islets than mainland localities, and lizard body size is significantly correlated with the proportion of hard prey. Furthermore, the main axis of divergence in head shape is significantly correlated with dietary divergence. Finally, a model with only diet and one including diet and predation regime explain body size divergence equally well. Our results suggest that diet is an important ecological factor behind insular body size divergence, but could be consistent with an additional role for predation. PMID:26405734

  5. Ecological explanations to island gigantism: dietary niche divergence, predation, and size in an endemic lizard.

    PubMed

    Runemark, Anna; Sagonas, Kostas; Svensson, Erik I

    2015-08-01

    Although rapid evolution of body size on islands has long been known, the ecological mechanisms behind this island phenomenon remain poorly understood. Diet is an important selective pressure for morphological divergence. Here we investigate if selection for novel diets has contributed to the multiple independent cases of island gigantism in the Skyros wall lizard (Podarcis gaigeae) and if diet, predation, or both factors best explain island gigantism. We combined data on body size, shape, bite force, and realized and available diets to address this. Several lines of evidence suggest that diet has contributed to the island gigantism. The larger islet lizards have relatively wider heads and higher bite performance in relation to mainland lizards than would be expected from size differences alone. The proportions of consumed and available hard prey are higher on islets than mainland localities, and lizard body size is significantly correlated with the proportion of hard prey. Furthermore, the main axis of divergence in head shape is significantly correlated with dietary divergence. Finally, a model with only diet and one including diet and predation regime explain body size divergence equally well. Our results suggest that diet is an important ecological factor behind insular body size divergence, but could be consistent with an additional role for predation.

  6. Predicting ecological roles in the rhizosphere using metabolome and transportome modeling

    SciTech Connect

    Larsen, Peter E.; Collart, Frank R.; Dai, Yang; Blanchard, Jeffrey L.

    2015-09-02

    The ability to obtain complete genome sequences from bacteria in environmental samples, such as soil samples from the rhizosphere, has highlighted the microbial diversity and complexity of environmental communities. New algorithms to analyze genome sequence information in the context of community structure are needed to enhance our understanding of the specific ecological roles of these organisms in soil environments. We present a machine learning approach using sequenced Pseudomonad genomes coupled with outputs of metabolic and transportomic computational models for identifying the most predictive molecular mechanisms indicative of a Pseudomonad’s ecological role in the rhizosphere: a biofilm, biocontrol agent, promoter of plant growth, or plant pathogen. Computational predictions of ecological niche were highly accurate overall with models trained on transportomic model output being the most accurate (Leave One Out Validation F-scores between 0.82 and 0.89). The strongest predictive molecular mechanism features for rhizosphere ecological niche overlap with many previously reported analyses of Pseudomonad interactions in the rhizosphere, suggesting that this approach successfully informs a system-scale level understanding of how Pseudomonads sense and interact with their environments. The observation that an organism’s transportome is highly predictive of its ecological niche is a novel discovery and may have implications in our understanding microbial ecology. The framework developed here can be generalized to the analysis of any bacteria across a wide range of environments and ecological niches making this approach a powerful tool for providing insights into functional predictions from bacterial genomic data.

  7. Predicting Ecological Roles in the Rhizosphere Using Metabolome and Transportome Modeling.

    PubMed

    Larsen, Peter E; Collart, Frank R; Dai, Yang

    2015-01-01

    The ability to obtain complete genome sequences from bacteria in environmental samples, such as soil samples from the rhizosphere, has highlighted the microbial diversity and complexity of environmental communities. However, new algorithms to analyze genome sequence information in the context of community structure are needed to enhance our understanding of the specific ecological roles of these organisms in soil environments. We present a machine learning approach using sequenced Pseudomonad genomes coupled with outputs of metabolic and transportomic computational models for identifying the most predictive molecular mechanisms indicative of a Pseudomonad's ecological role in the rhizosphere: a biofilm, biocontrol agent, promoter of plant growth, or plant pathogen. Computational predictions of ecological niche were highly accurate overall with models trained on transportomic model output being the most accurate (Leave One Out Validation F-scores between 0.82 and 0.89). The strongest predictive molecular mechanism features for rhizosphere ecological niche overlap with many previously reported analyses of Pseudomonad interactions in the rhizosphere, suggesting that this approach successfully informs a system-scale level understanding of how Pseudomonads sense and interact with their environments. The observation that an organism's transportome is highly predictive of its ecological niche is a novel discovery and may have implications in our understanding microbial ecology. The framework developed here can be generalized to the analysis of any bacteria across a wide range of environments and ecological niches making this approach a powerful tool for providing insights into functional predictions from bacterial genomic data. PMID:26332409

  8. Predicting Ecological Roles in the Rhizosphere Using Metabolome and Transportome Modeling

    PubMed Central

    Larsen, Peter E.; Collart, Frank R.; Dai, Yang

    2015-01-01

    The ability to obtain complete genome sequences from bacteria in environmental samples, such as soil samples from the rhizosphere, has highlighted the microbial diversity and complexity of environmental communities. However, new algorithms to analyze genome sequence information in the context of community structure are needed to enhance our understanding of the specific ecological roles of these organisms in soil environments. We present a machine learning approach using sequenced Pseudomonad genomes coupled with outputs of metabolic and transportomic computational models for identifying the most predictive molecular mechanisms indicative of a Pseudomonad’s ecological role in the rhizosphere: a biofilm, biocontrol agent, promoter of plant growth, or plant pathogen. Computational predictions of ecological niche were highly accurate overall with models trained on transportomic model output being the most accurate (Leave One Out Validation F-scores between 0.82 and 0.89). The strongest predictive molecular mechanism features for rhizosphere ecological niche overlap with many previously reported analyses of Pseudomonad interactions in the rhizosphere, suggesting that this approach successfully informs a system-scale level understanding of how Pseudomonads sense and interact with their environments. The observation that an organism’s transportome is highly predictive of its ecological niche is a novel discovery and may have implications in our understanding microbial ecology. The framework developed here can be generalized to the analysis of any bacteria across a wide range of environments and ecological niches making this approach a powerful tool for providing insights into functional predictions from bacterial genomic data. PMID:26332409

  9. Spatial distribution and ecological niches of non-breeding planktivorous petrels

    PubMed Central

    Navarro, Joan; Cardador, Laura; Brown, Ruth; Phillips, Richard A.

    2015-01-01

    According to niche theory, mechanisms exist that allow co-existence of organisms that would otherwise compete for the same prey and other resources. How seabirds cope with potential competition during the non-breeding period is poorly documented, particularly for small species. Here we investigate for the first time the potential role of spatial, environmental (habitat) and trophic (isotopic) segregation as niche-partitioning mechanisms during the non-breeding season for four species of highly abundant, zooplanktivorous seabird that breed sympatrically in the Southern Ocean. Spatial segregation was found to be the main partitioning mechanism; even for the two sibling species of diving petrel, which spent the non-breeding period in overlapping areas, there was evidence from distribution and stable isotope ratios for differences in habitat use and diving depth. PMID:26165162

  10. Spatial distribution and ecological niches of non-breeding planktivorous petrels.

    PubMed

    Navarro, Joan; Cardador, Laura; Brown, Ruth; Phillips, Richard A

    2015-01-01

    According to niche theory, mechanisms exist that allow co-existence of organisms that would otherwise compete for the same prey and other resources. How seabirds cope with potential competition during the non-breeding period is poorly documented, particularly for small species. Here we investigate for the first time the potential role of spatial, environmental (habitat) and trophic (isotopic) segregation as niche-partitioning mechanisms during the non-breeding season for four species of highly abundant, zooplanktivorous seabird that breed sympatrically in the Southern Ocean. Spatial segregation was found to be the main partitioning mechanism; even for the two sibling species of diving petrel, which spent the non-breeding period in overlapping areas, there was evidence from distribution and stable isotope ratios for differences in habitat use and diving depth. PMID:26165162

  11. Modelling size structured food webs using a modified niche model with two predator traits.

    PubMed

    Klecka, Jan

    2014-01-01

    The structure of food webs is frequently described using phenomenological stochastic models. A prominent example, the niche model, was found to produce artificial food webs resembling real food webs according to a range of summary statistics. However, the size structure of food webs generated by the niche model and real food webs has not yet been rigorously compared. To fill this void, I use a body mass based version of the niche model and compare prey-predator body mass allometry and predator-prey body mass ratios predicted by the model to empirical data. The results show that the model predicts weaker size structure than observed in many real food webs. I introduce a modified version of the niche model which allows to control the strength of size-dependence of predator-prey links. In this model, optimal prey body mass depends allometrically on predator body mass and on a second trait, such as foraging mode. These empirically motivated extensions of the model allow to represent size structure of real food webs realistically and can be used to generate artificial food webs varying in several aspects of size structure in a controlled way. Hence, by explicitly including the role of species traits, this model provides new opportunities for simulating the consequences of size structure for food web dynamics and stability.

  12. Persistence of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 virus defined by agro-ecological niche

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hogerwerf, Lenny; Wallace, Rob G.; Ottaviani, Daniela; Slingenbergh, Jan; Prosser, Diann; Bergmann, Luc; Gilbert, Marius

    2010-01-01

    The highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 virus has spread across Eurasia and into Africa. Its persistence in a number of countries continues to disrupt poultry production, impairs smallholder livelihoods, and raises the risk a genotype adapted to human-to-human transmission may emerge. While previous studies identified domestic duck reservoirs as a primary risk factor associated with HPAI H5N1 persistence in poultry in Southeast Asia, little is known of such factors in countries with different agro-ecological conditions, and no study has investigated the impact of such conditions on HPAI H5N1 epidemiology at the global scale. This study explores the patterns of HPAI H5N1 persistence worldwide, and for China, Indonesia, and India includes individual provinces that have reported HPAI H5N1 presence during the 2004–2008 period. Multivariate analysis of a set of 14 agricultural, environmental, climatic, and socio-economic factors demonstrates in quantitative terms that a combination of six variables discriminates the areas with human cases and persistence: agricultural population density, duck density, duck by chicken density, chicken density, the product of agricultural population density and chicken output/input ratio, and purchasing power per capita. The analysis identifies five agro-ecological clusters, or niches, representing varying degrees of disease persistence. The agro-ecological distances of all study areas to the medoid of the niche with the greatest number of human cases are used to map HPAI H5N1 risk globally. The results indicate that few countries remain where HPAI H5N1 would likely persist should it be introduced.

  13. Persistence of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 virus defined by agro-ecological niche.

    PubMed

    Hogerwerf, Lenny; Wallace, Rob G; Ottaviani, Daniela; Slingenbergh, Jan; Prosser, Diann; Bergmann, Luc; Gilbert, Marius

    2010-06-01

    The highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 virus has spread across Eurasia and into Africa. Its persistence in a number of countries continues to disrupt poultry production, impairs smallholder livelihoods, and raises the risk a genotype adapted to human-to-human transmission may emerge. While previous studies identified domestic duck reservoirs as a primary risk factor associated with HPAI H5N1 persistence in poultry in Southeast Asia, little is known of such factors in countries with different agro-ecological conditions, and no study has investigated the impact of such conditions on HPAI H5N1 epidemiology at the global scale. This study explores the patterns of HPAI H5N1 persistence worldwide, and for China, Indonesia, and India includes individual provinces that have reported HPAI H5N1 presence during the 2004-2008 period. Multivariate analysis of a set of 14 agricultural, environmental, climatic, and socio-economic factors demonstrates in quantitative terms that a combination of six variables discriminates the areas with human cases and persistence: agricultural population density, duck density, duck by chicken density, chicken density, the product of agricultural population density and chicken output/input ratio, and purchasing power per capita. The analysis identifies five agro-ecological clusters, or niches, representing varying degrees of disease persistence. The agro-ecological distances of all study areas to the medoid of the niche with the greatest number of human cases are used to map HPAI H5N1 risk globally. The results indicate that few countries remain where HPAI H5N1 would likely persist should it be introduced.

  14. The FORCLIM Eco-Physiological Growth Model for Planktic Foraminifera: a new Tool to Reconstruct Ecological Niches, Abundance and Potential Depth and Season of Growth for Fossil Foraminifera Species in Ocean Sediment Records

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lombard, F.; Labeyrie, L.; Michel, E.; Lea, D.; Spero, H. J.; Forclim, M. O.

    2007-12-01

    Paleocean hydrological reconstructions derived from planktic foraminifera isotopic ratios (δ18O and δ13C) or trace element ratio (Mg/Ca) are poorly constrained, for lack of precise knowledge on seasonality and water depth of test formation. This is particularly limiting for reconstruction of the thermocline characteristics. Various calibrations have been published, based on statistical correlation with core tops fossil fauna, sediment traps or plankton net collection. We present here what we think is the first eco-physiological model reproducing the growth of different foraminifera species in function of environmental parameter. By reproducing the main physiological rates of foraminifera (nutrition, respiration, symbiotic photosynthesis), this model estimates their growth in function of temperature, light availability and food concentration. The model is now calibrated for the species Neogloboquadrina pachyderma (dextral and sinistral forms), Neogloboquadrina dutertrei, Globigerina bulloides, Globigerinoides ruber, Globigerinoides sacculifer, Globigerinella siphonifera and Orbulina universa. Most of the model parameters are derived from newly performed experimental observations or from published data and only the influence of food concentration (in a Chl a basis) was calibrated with field observations. Using satellite data, the model predict the seasonal distribution of dominant foraminifer species over 576 field observations worldwide with efficiency higher than 60%. Moreover, the growth rate estimated for each foraminifera species can be used as an abundance indicator which allows prediction of the season and water depth at which most of the population has developed. This offers larges perspectives for both actual understanding of foraminifera role in the carbon/carbonate ocean cycle and for better quantification of paleoceanographic proxies. Forclim is a program supported by the Agence Nationale pour la Recherche and Institut National des Sciences de l

  15. Phylogenetic patterns of climatic, habitat and trophic niches in a European avian assemblage

    PubMed Central

    Pearman, Peter B; Lavergne, Sébastien; Roquet, Cristina; Wüest, Rafael; Zimmermann, Niklaus E; Thuiller, Wilfried

    2014-01-01

    Aim The origins of ecological diversity in continental species assemblages have long intrigued biogeographers. We apply phylogenetic comparative analyses to disentangle the evolutionary patterns of ecological niches in an assemblage of European birds. We compare phylogenetic patterns in trophic, habitat and climatic niche components. Location Europe. Methods From polygon range maps and handbook data we inferred the realized climatic, habitat and trophic niches of 405 species of breeding birds in Europe. We fitted Pagel's lambda and kappa statistics, and conducted analyses of disparity through time to compare temporal patterns of ecological diversification on all niche axes together. All observed patterns were compared with expectations based on neutral (Brownian) models of niche divergence. Results In this assemblage, patterns of phylogenetic signal (lambda) suggest that related species resemble each other less in regard to their climatic and habitat niches than they do in their trophic niche. Kappa estimates show that ecological divergence does not gradually increase with divergence time, and that this punctualism is stronger in climatic niches than in habitat and trophic niches. Observed niche disparity markedly exceeds levels expected from a Brownian model of ecological diversification, thus providing no evidence for past phylogenetic niche conservatism in these multivariate niches. Levels of multivariate disparity are greatest for the climatic niche, followed by disparity of the habitat and the trophic niches. Main conclusions Phylogenetic patterns in the three niche components differ within this avian assemblage. Variation in evolutionary rates (degree of gradualism, constancy through the tree) and/or non-random macroecological sampling probably lead here to differences in the phylogenetic structure of niche components. Testing hypotheses on the origin of these patterns requires more complete phylogenetic trees of the birds, and extended ecological data on

  16. Development of potential ecological niches in impact-induced hydrothermal systems: The small-to-medium size impacts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Versh, Evelin; Kirsimäe, Kalle; Jõeleht, Argo

    2006-12-01

    Effect of meteorite impact on the biological evolution is usually considered by its catastrophic consequences. However, the impacts can create opportunity for other organisms and the structures themselves can serve as suitable ecological niches (oases) for life. In this contribution we present results of modeling of an impact-induced hydrothermal (IHT) system in a small-to-medium sized impact crater, where the development of zones habitable for primitive hydrothermal thermophilic and hypethermophilic microorganisms was studied. The impact and geothermal modeling was verified against the 4-km diameter Kärdla complex structure, Hiiumaa Island, Estonia. If there is an sufficient amount of water present in the target (e.g., sea cover, groundwater or permafrost resources) then the differential temperature fields created by the impact initiate a hydrothermal circulation system within the crater. The results of transient fluid flow and heat transfer simulations in Kärdla suggest that immediately after impact the temperatures in the central area, which contains the most hydrothermal alteration, were well above the boiling point. However, due to efficient heat loss at the groundwater vaporization front, the vapor-dominated area disappears within a few decades. In the central uplift area, the conditions favorable for thermophilic microorganisms (temperatures <100 °C) were reached in 500-1000 years after the impact. The overall cooling to ambient temperatures in the deeper parts of the central uplift lasted for thousands of years. In the crater depression and rim area the initial temperatures, suggested by the impact modeling, were much lower - from 150 °C to ambient temperatures, except locally in fracture zones and suevite pockets. Our data suggest that in small-to-medium size impact craters with insignificant melting, the suitable conditions for hydrothermal microbial communities are established shortly (tens to few hundreds of years as maximum) after the impact in

  17. To predict the niche, model colonization and extinction

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Yackulic, Charles B.; Nichols, James D.; Reid, Janice; Der, Ricky

    2015-01-01

    Ecologists frequently try to predict the future geographic distributions of species. Most studies assume that the current distribution of a species reflects its environmental requirements (i.e., the species' niche). However, the current distributions of many species are unlikely to be at equilibrium with the current distribution of environmental conditions, both because of ongoing invasions and because the distribution of suitable environmental conditions is always changing. This mismatch between the equilibrium assumptions inherent in many analyses and the disequilibrium conditions in the real world leads to inaccurate predictions of species' geographic distributions and suggests the need for theory and analytical tools that avoid equilibrium assumptions. Here, we develop a general theory of environmental associations during periods of transient dynamics. We show that time-invariant relationships between environmental conditions and rates of local colonization and extinction can produce substantial temporal variation in occupancy–environment relationships. We then estimate occupancy–environment relationships during three avian invasions. Changes in occupancy–environment relationships over time differ among species but are predicted by dynamic occupancy models. Since estimates of the occupancy–environment relationships themselves are frequently poor predictors of future occupancy patterns, research should increasingly focus on characterizing how rates of local colonization and extinction vary with environmental conditions.

  18. Multisensory Integration and Behavioral Plasticity in Sharks from Different Ecological Niches

    PubMed Central

    Gardiner, Jayne M.; Atema, Jelle; Hueter, Robert E.; Motta, Philip J.

    2014-01-01

    The underwater sensory world and the sensory systems of aquatic animals have become better understood in recent decades, but typically have been studied one sense at a time. A comprehensive analysis of multisensory interactions during complex behavioral tasks has remained a subject of discussion without experimental evidence. We set out to generate a general model of multisensory information extraction by aquatic animals. For our model we chose to analyze the hierarchical, integrative, and sometimes alternate use of various sensory systems during the feeding sequence in three species of sharks that differ in sensory anatomy and behavioral ecology. By blocking senses in different combinations, we show that when some of their normal sensory cues were unavailable, sharks were often still capable of successfully detecting, tracking and capturing prey by switching to alternate sensory modalities. While there were significant species differences, odor was generally the first signal detected, leading to upstream swimming and wake tracking. Closer to the prey, as more sensory cues became available, the preferred sensory modalities varied among species, with vision, hydrodynamic imaging, electroreception, and touch being important for orienting to, striking at, and capturing the prey. Experimental deprivation of senses showed how sharks exploit the many signals that comprise their sensory world, each sense coming into play as they provide more accurate information during the behavioral sequence of hunting. The results may be applicable to aquatic hunting in general and, with appropriate modification, to other types of animal behavior. PMID:24695492

  19. Multisensory integration and behavioral plasticity in sharks from different ecological niches.

    PubMed

    Gardiner, Jayne M; Atema, Jelle; Hueter, Robert E; Motta, Philip J

    2014-01-01

    The underwater sensory world and the sensory systems of aquatic animals have become better understood in recent decades, but typically have been studied one sense at a time. A comprehensive analysis of multisensory interactions during complex behavioral tasks has remained a subject of discussion without experimental evidence. We set out to generate a general model of multisensory information extraction by aquatic animals. For our model we chose to analyze the hierarchical, integrative, and sometimes alternate use of various sensory systems during the feeding sequence in three species of sharks that differ in sensory anatomy and behavioral ecology. By blocking senses in different combinations, we show that when some of their normal sensory cues were unavailable, sharks were often still capable of successfully detecting, tracking and capturing prey by switching to alternate sensory modalities. While there were significant species differences, odor was generally the first signal detected, leading to upstream swimming and wake tracking. Closer to the prey, as more sensory cues became available, the preferred sensory modalities varied among species, with vision, hydrodynamic imaging, electroreception, and touch being important for orienting to, striking at, and capturing the prey. Experimental deprivation of senses showed how sharks exploit the many signals that comprise their sensory world, each sense coming into play as they provide more accurate information during the behavioral sequence of hunting. The results may be applicable to aquatic hunting in general and, with appropriate modification, to other types of animal behavior. PMID:24695492

  20. Horizontal Transfers and Gene Losses in the Phospholipid Pathway of Bartonella Reveal Clues about Early Ecological Niches

    PubMed Central

    Zhu, Qiyun; Kosoy, Michael; Olival, Kevin J.; Dittmar, Katharina

    2014-01-01

    Bartonellae are mammalian pathogens vectored by blood-feeding arthropods. Although of increasing medical importance, little is known about their ecological past, and host associations are underexplored. Previous studies suggest an influence of horizontal gene transfers in ecological niche colonization by acquisition of host pathogenicity genes. We here expand these analyses to metabolic pathways of 28 Bartonella genomes, and experimentally explore the distribution of bartonellae in 21 species of blood-feeding arthropods. Across genomes, repeated gene losses and horizontal gains in the phospholipid pathway were found. The evolutionary timing of these patterns suggests functional consequences likely leading to an early intracellular lifestyle for stem bartonellae. Comparative phylogenomic analyses discover three independent lineage-specific reacquisitions of a core metabolic gene—NAD(P)H-dependent glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (gpsA)—from Gammaproteobacteria and Epsilonproteobacteria. Transferred genes are significantly closely related to invertebrate Arsenophonus-, and Serratia-like endosymbionts, and mammalian Helicobacter-like pathogens, supporting a cellular association with arthropods and mammals at the base of extant Bartonella spp. Our studies suggest that the horizontal reacquisitions had a key impact on bartonellae lineage specific ecological and functional evolution. PMID:25106622

  1. Horizontal transfers and gene losses in the phospholipid pathway of bartonella reveal clues about early ecological niches.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Qiyun; Kosoy, Michael; Olival, Kevin J; Dittmar, Katharina

    2014-08-01

    Bartonellae are mammalian pathogens vectored by blood-feeding arthropods. Although of increasing medical importance, little is known about their ecological past, and host associations are underexplored. Previous studies suggest an influence of horizontal gene transfers in ecological niche colonization by acquisition of host pathogenicity genes. We here expand these analyses to metabolic pathways of 28 Bartonella genomes, and experimentally explore the distribution of bartonellae in 21 species of blood-feeding arthropods. Across genomes, repeated gene losses and horizontal gains in the phospholipid pathway were found. The evolutionary timing of these patterns suggests functional consequences likely leading to an early intracellular lifestyle for stem bartonellae. Comparative phylogenomic analyses discover three independent lineage-specific reacquisitions of a core metabolic gene-NAD(P)H-dependent glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (gpsA)-from Gammaproteobacteria and Epsilonproteobacteria. Transferred genes are significantly closely related to invertebrate Arsenophonus-, and Serratia-like endosymbionts, and mammalian Helicobacter-like pathogens, supporting a cellular association with arthropods and mammals at the base of extant Bartonella spp. Our studies suggest that the horizontal reacquisitions had a key impact on bartonellae lineage specific ecological and functional evolution.

  2. Immigration rates and species niche characteristics affect the relationship between species richness and habitat heterogeneity in modeled meta-communities.

    PubMed

    Bar-Massada, Avi

    2015-01-01

    The positive relationship between habitat heterogeneity and species richness is a cornerstone of ecology. Recently, it was suggested that this relationship should be unimodal rather than linear due to a tradeoff between environmental heterogeneity and population sizes. Increased environmental heterogeneity will decrease effective habitat sizes, which in turn will increase the rate of local species extinctions. The occurrence of the unimodal richness-heterogeneity relationship at the habitat scale was confirmed in both empirical and theoretical studies. However, it is unclear whether it can occur at broader spatial scales, for meta-communities in diverse and patchy landscapes. Here, I used a spatially explicit meta-community model to quantify the roles of two species-level characteristics, niche width and immigration rates, on the type of the richness-heterogeneity relationship at the landscape scale. I found that both positive and unimodal richness-heterogeneity relationships can occur in meta-communities in patchy landscapes. The type of the relationship was affected by the interactions between inter-patch immigration rates and species' niche widths. Unimodal relationships were prominent in meta-communities comprising species with wide niches but low inter-patch immigration rates. In contrast, meta-communities consisting of species with narrow niches and high immigration rates exhibited positive relationships. Meta-communities comprising generalist species are therefore likely to exhibit unimodal richness-heterogeneity relationships as long as low immigration rates prevent rescue effects and patches are small. The richness-heterogeneity relationship at the landscape scale is dictated by species' niche widths and inter-patch immigration rates. These immigration rates, in turn, depend on the interaction between species dispersal capabilities and habitat connectivity, highlighting the roles of both species traits and landscape structure in generating the richness

  3. Explanative power of variables used in species distribution modelling: an issue of general model transferability or niche shift in the invasive Greenhouse frog ( Eleutherodactylus planirostris)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rödder, Dennis; Lötters, Stefan

    2010-09-01

    The use of species distribution models (SDMs) to predict potential distributions of species is steadily increasing. A necessary assumption when projecting models throughout space or time is that climatic niches are conservative, but recent findings of niche shifts during biological invasion of particular plant and animal species have indicated that this assumption is not categorically valid. One reason for observed shifts may relate to variable selection for modelling. In this study, we assess differences in climatic niches in the native and invasive ranges of the Greenhouse frog ( Eleutherodactylus planirostris). We analyze which variables are more ‘conserved’ in comparison to more ‘relaxed’ variables (i.e. subject to niche shift) and how they influence transferability of SDMs developed with Maxent on the basis of ten bioclimatic layers best describing the climatic requirements of the target species. We focus on degrees of niche similarity and conservatism using Schoener's index and Hellinger distance. Significance of results are tested with null models. Results indicate that the degrees of niche similarity and conservatism vary greatly among the predictive variables. Some shifts can be attributed to active habitat selection, whereas others apparently reflect variation in the availability of climate conditions or biotic interactions between the frogs' native and invasive ranges. Patterns suggesting active habitat selection also vary among variables. Our findings evoke considerable implications on the transferability of SDMs over space and time, which is strongly affected by the choice and number of predictors. The incorporation of ‘relaxed’ predictors not or only indirectly correlated with biologically meaningful predictors may lead to erroneous predictions when projecting SDMs. We recommend thorough assessments of invasive species' ecology for the identification biologically meaningful predictors facilitating transferability.

  4. Modelling the ecological-functional diversification of marine Metazoa on geological time scales.

    PubMed

    Bush, Andrew M; Novack-Gottshall, Philip M

    2012-02-23

    The ecological traits and functional capabilities of marine animals have changed significantly since their origin in the late Precambrian. These changes can be analysed quantitatively using multi-dimensional parameter spaces in which the ecological lifestyles of species are represented by particular combinations of parameter values. Here, we present models that describe the filling of this multi-dimensional 'ecospace' by ecological lifestyles during metazoan diversification. These models reflect varying assumptions about the processes that drove ecological diversification; they contrast diffusive expansion with driven expansion and niche conservatism with niche partitioning. Some models highlight the importance of interactions among organisms (ecosystem engineering and predator-prey escalation) in promoting new lifestyles or eliminating existing ones. These models reflect processes that were not mutually exclusive; rigorous analyses will continue to reveal their applicability to episodes in metazoan history. PMID:21813550

  5. Ecological niches of major soil types in Russia: Geographical aspects of the new Russian soil classification system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tonkonogov, V. D.; Lebedeva, I. I.; Gerasimova, M. I.; Khokhlov, S. F.

    2009-09-01

    The factors of soil formation are not directly taken into account in the new profile-genetic Russian soil classification system; they are not reflected in the names and diagnostics of the soils. At the same time, as well as in many other modern soil classification systems, including the American Soil Taxonomy and the WRB system, the choice of the diagnostic criteria, the establishment of the relationships between them, and the setting of the quantitative boundaries between the soil taxa are based on our perception of soil geneses with due account for the factors of soil formation. In contrast to the ecological-genetic soil classification system of 1977, information on the factors of soil formation in the new system is encoded in the properties of the soil horizons. In some cases, this is insufficient for the definite geographic localization of soils and complicates the practical application of the new classification system. In this context, information on the ecological niches of soil types was included in the field manual on soil correlation-an abridged version of the soil classification system published in 2008—in the form of special tables developed for native and agrogenic soils. The analysis of these tables made it possible to outline certain geographic regularities in the distribution of soil types belonging to the trunk of postlithogenic soils.

  6. No species is an island: testing the effects of biotic interactions on models of avian niche occupation

    PubMed Central

    Morelli, Federico; Tryjanowski, Piotr

    2015-01-01

    Traditionally, the niche of a species is described as a hypothetical 3D space, constituted by well-known biotic interactions (e.g. predation, competition, trophic relationships, resource–consumer interactions, etc.) and various abiotic environmental factors. Species distribution models (SDMs), also called “niche models” and often used to predict wildlife distribution at landscape scale, are typically constructed using abiotic factors with biotic interactions generally been ignored. Here, we compared the goodness of fit of SDMs for red-backed shrike Lanius collurio in farmlands of Western Poland, using both the classical approach (modeled only on environmental variables) and the approach which included also other potentially associated bird species. The potential associations among species were derived from the relevant ecological literature and by a correlation matrix of occurrences. Our findings highlight the importance of including heterospecific interactions in improving our understanding of niche occupation for bird species. We suggest that suite of measures currently used to quantify realized species niches could be improved by also considering the occurrence of certain associated species. Then, an hypothetical “species 1” can use the occurrence of a successfully established individual of “species 2” as indicator or “trace” of the location of available suitable habitat to breed. We hypothesize this kind of biotic interaction as the “heterospecific trace effect” (HTE): an interaction based on the availability and use of “public information” provided by individuals from different species. Finally, we discuss about the incomes of biotic interactions for enhancing the predictive capacities on species distribution models. PMID:25691996

  7. What explains patterns of species richness? The relative importance of climatic-niche evolution, morphological evolution, and ecological limits in salamanders.

    PubMed

    Kozak, Kenneth H; Wiens, John J

    2016-08-01

    A major goal of evolutionary biology and ecology is to understand why species richness varies among clades. Previous studies have suggested that variation in richness among clades might be related to variation in rates of morphological evolution among clades (e.g., body size and shape). Other studies have suggested that richness patterns might be related to variation in rates of climatic-niche evolution. However, few studies, if any, have tested the relative importance of these variables in explaining patterns of richness among clades. Here, we test their relative importance among major clades of Plethodontidae, the most species-rich family of salamanders. Earlier studies have suggested that climatic-niche evolution explains patterns of diversification among plethodontid clades, whereas rates of morphological evolution do not. A subsequent study stated that rates of morphological evolution instead explained patterns of species richness among plethodontid clades (along with "ecological limits" on richness of clades, leading to saturation of clades with species, given limited resources). However, they did not consider climatic-niche evolution. Using phylogenetic multiple regression, we show that rates of climatic-niche evolution explain most variation in richness among plethodontid clades, whereas rates of morphological evolution do not. We find little evidence that ecological limits explain patterns of richness among plethodontid clades. We also test whether rates of morphological and climatic-niche evolution are correlated, and find that they are not. Overall, our results help explain richness patterns in a major amphibian group and provide possibly the first test of the relative importance of climatic niches and morphological evolution in explaining diversity patterns.

  8. What explains patterns of species richness? The relative importance of climatic-niche evolution, morphological evolution, and ecological limits in salamanders.

    PubMed

    Kozak, Kenneth H; Wiens, John J

    2016-08-01

    A major goal of evolutionary biology and ecology is to understand why species richness varies among clades. Previous studies have suggested that variation in richness among clades might be related to variation in rates of morphological evolution among clades (e.g., body size and shape). Other studies have suggested that richness patterns might be related to variation in rates of climatic-niche evolution. However, few studies, if any, have tested the relative importance of these variables in explaining patterns of richness among clades. Here, we test their relative importance among major clades of Plethodontidae, the most species-rich family of salamanders. Earlier studies have suggested that climatic-niche evolution explains patterns of diversification among plethodontid clades, whereas rates of morphological evolution do not. A subsequent study stated that rates of morphological evolution instead explained patterns of species richness among plethodontid clades (along with "ecological limits" on richness of clades, leading to saturation of clades with species, given limited resources). However, they did not consider climatic-niche evolution. Using phylogenetic multiple regression, we show that rates of climatic-niche evolution explain most variation in richness among plethodontid clades, whereas rates of morphological evolution do not. We find little evidence that ecological limits explain patterns of richness among plethodontid clades. We also test whether rates of morphological and climatic-niche evolution are correlated, and find that they are not. Overall, our results help explain richness patterns in a major amphibian group and provide possibly the first test of the relative importance of climatic niches and morphological evolution in explaining diversity patterns. PMID:27547367

  9. Diversity and Habitat Niche Modeling of Candidate Archaeal Phylum Aigarchaeota

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alba, T. W.; Goertz, G.; Williams, A. J.; Cole, J. K.; Murugapiran, S. K.; Dodsworth, J. A.; Hedlund, B. P.

    2013-12-01

    ';Aigarchaeota' (formerly known as pSL4 and Hot Water Crenarchaeotic Group I (HWCGI)) is a candidate phylum of Archaea known only by 16S rRNA gene fragments from cultivation-independent microbial surveys and a single composite genome from Candidatus ';Caldiarchaeum subterraneum', an inhabitant of a subterranean gold mine in Japan. Sequences reported in various publications are found exclusively in geothermal settings, but a comprehensive assessment has not yet been performed. We mined public databases for 16S rRNA gene sequences related to known ';Aigarchaeota' and used a combination of approaches to rigorously define the phylogenetic boundaries of the phylum. The analyses supported the proposed relationship between ';Aigarchaeota', Thaumarchaeota, Crenarchaeota, and Korarchaeota in the so-called 'TACK superphylum' and identified ~200 16S rRNA genes and gene fragments belonging to ';Aigarchaeota', including those recovered from terrestrial geothermal systems on several continents (North America, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Oceania) and marine geothermal and subsurface samples in both the Atlantic and Pacific. ';Aigarchaeota' belonged to at least three family- to order-level groups and at least seven genus-level groups. All genus-level groups were recovered from geographically distant locations, suggesting a global distribution within amenable habitats. ';Aigarchaeota'-specific primers for the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of 16S rRNA genes were designed using SP-Designer and reviewed using the Ribosomal Database Project Probe Match tool. The primers will be used to determine the presence and abundance of ';Aigarchaeota' in a wide variety of samples from terrestrial geothermal systems in the western U.S. and Asia. These phylogenetic data, along with a large geochemical database, will be analyzed using multivariate statistics to develop biogeographic and habitat niche models for ';Aigarchaeota'. This study offers the first coherent view of the

  10. Altered niche of an ecologically significant urchin species, Centrostephanus rodgersii, in its extended range revealed using an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Perkins, Nicholas R.; Hill, Nicole A.; Foster, Scott D.; Barrett, Neville S.

    2015-03-01

    Poleward range shifts of species as a result of global climate change are being increasingly documented. As species extend into new ranges their ecological impacts and the niches that they occupy may be unpredictable. We use benthic imagery obtained from the broad-scale deployment of an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) to quantify the depth distribution of barrens habitat formed by a recent range extension of the sea urchin species, Centrostephanus rodgersii, a known ecosystem engineer. AUV transects covering similar depths from both the historical range of New South Wales, Australia, and from the range extension area of the east coast of Tasmania were examined for the presence of barrens. We find that C. rodgersii occupies a different realised niche in its extended range, with barrens habitat occurring significantly deeper in Tasmanian waters (16-58 m) compared to NSW waters (7-27 m). The expansion of barrens habitat has devastating impacts on biodiversity, with flow-on effects to ecosystem services and local fisheries, and in Tasmania this threat extends to deeper, invertebrate-dominated habitats. This finding has important management implications, in particular the need to incorporate deeper reef systems into planning, with increased barrens expected under future climate change predictions. One conservation management approach is the use of no-take Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to prevent barren establishment in representative habitats by rebuilding viable populations of urchin predators. We also examine the correlation between MPA status and the occurrence of barrens within a small, no-take Tasmanian reserve and adjacent control sites. We find that there is suggestive, but inconclusive, evidence for fewer barrens in the MPA (p = 0.07). Our study highlights the utility of a novel technology for conducting large-scale benthic surveys and monitoring the impacts of range extending species.

  11. Climate-driven diversification and Pleistocene refugia in Philippine birds: evidence from phylogeographic structure and paleoenvironmental niche modeling.

    PubMed

    Hosner, Peter A; Sánchez-González, Luis A; Peterson, A Townsend; Moyle, Robert G

    2014-09-01

    Avian diversification in oceanic archipelagos is largely attributed to isolation across marine barriers. During glacial maxima, lowered sea levels resulted in repeated land connections between islands joined by shallow seas. Consequently, such islands are not expected to show endemism. However, if climate fluctuations simultaneously caused shifts in suitable environmental conditions, limiting populations to refugia, then occurrence on and dispersal across periodic land bridges are not tenable. To assess the degree to which paleoclimate barriers, rather than marine barriers, drove avian diversification in the Philippine Archipelago, we produced ecological niche models for current-day, glacial maxima, and interglacial climate scenarios to infer potential Pleistocene distributions and paleoclimate barriers. We then tested marine and paleoclimate barriers for correspondence to geographic patterns of population divergence, inferred from DNA sequences from eight codistributed bird species. In all species, deep-water channels corresponded to zones of genetic differentiation, but six species exhibited deeper divergence associated with a periodic land bridge in the southern Philippines. Ecological niche models for these species identified a common paleoclimate barrier that coincided with deep genetic structure among populations. Although dry land connections joined southern Philippine islands during low sea level stands, unfavorable environmental conditions limited populations within landmasses, resulting in long-term isolation and genetic differentiation. These results highlight the complex nature of diversification in archipelagos: marine barriers, changes in connectivity due to sea level change, and climate-induced refugia acted in concert to produce great species diversity and endemism in the Philippines.

  12. The Multidimensional Nutritional Niche.

    PubMed

    Machovsky-Capuska, Gabriel E; Senior, Alistair M; Simpson, Stephen J; Raubenheimer, David

    2016-05-01

    The dietary generalist-specialist distinction plays a pivotal role in theoretical and applied ecology, conservation, invasion biology, and evolution and yet the concept remains poorly characterised. Diets, which are commonly used to define niche breadth, are almost exclusively considered in terms of foods, with little regard for the mixtures of nutrients and other compounds they contain. We use nutritional geometry (NG) to integrate nutrition with food-level approaches to the dietary niche and illustrate the application of our framework in the important context of invasion biology. We use an example that involves a model with four hypothetical nonexclusive scenarios. We additionally show how this approach can provide fresh theoretical insight into the ways nutrition and food choices impact trait evolution and trophic interactions.

  13. Character displacement and the evolution of niche complementarity in a model biofilm community

    PubMed Central

    Ellis, Crystal N; Traverse, Charles C; Mayo-Smith, Leslie; Buskirk, Sean W; Cooper, Vaughn S

    2015-01-01

    Colonization of vacant environments may catalyze adaptive diversification and be followed by competition within the nascent community. How these interactions ultimately stabilize and affect productivity are central problems in evolutionary ecology. Diversity can emerge by character displacement, in which selection favors phenotypes that exploit an alternative resource and reduce competition, or by facilitation, in which organisms change the environment and enable different genotypes or species to become established. We previously developed a model of long-term experimental evolution in which bacteria attach to a plastic bead, form a biofilm, and disperse to a new bead. Here, we focus on the evolution of coexisting mutants within a population of Burkholderia cenocepacia and how their interactions affected productivity. Adaptive mutants initially competed for space, but later competition declined, consistent with character displacement and the predicted effects of the evolved mutations. The community reached a stable equilibrium as each ecotype evolved to inhabit distinct, complementary regions of the biofilm. Interactions among ecotypes ultimately became facilitative and enhanced mixed productivity. Observing the succession of genotypes within niches illuminated changing selective forces within the community, including a fundamental role for genotypes producing small colony variants that underpin chronic infections caused by B. cenocepacia. PMID:25494960

  14. Character displacement and the evolution of niche complementarity in a model biofilm community.

    PubMed

    Ellis, Crystal N; Traverse, Charles C; Mayo-Smith, Leslie; Buskirk, Sean W; Cooper, Vaughn S

    2015-02-01

    Colonization of vacant environments may catalyze adaptive diversification and be followed by competition within the nascent community. How these interactions ultimately stabilize and affect productivity are central problems in evolutionary ecology. Diversity can emerge by character displacement, in which selection favors phenotypes that exploit an alternative resource and reduce competition, or by facilitation, in which organisms change the environment and enable different genotypes or species to become established. We previously developed a model of long-term experimental evolution in which bacteria attach to a plastic bead, form a biofilm, and disperse to a new bead. Here, we focus on the evolution of coexisting mutants within a population of Burkholderia cenocepacia and how their interactions affected productivity. Adaptive mutants initially competed for space, but later competition declined, consistent with character displacement and the predicted effects of the evolved mutations. The community reached a stable equilibrium as each ecotype evolved to inhabit distinct, complementary regions of the biofilm. Interactions among ecotypes ultimately became facilitative and enhanced mixed productivity. Observing the succession of genotypes within niches illuminated changing selective forces within the community, including a fundamental role for genotypes producing small colony variants that underpin chronic infections caused by B. cenocepacia. PMID:25494960

  15. Character displacement and the evolution of niche complementarity in a model biofilm community.

    PubMed

    Ellis, Crystal N; Traverse, Charles C; Mayo-Smith, Leslie; Buskirk, Sean W; Cooper, Vaughn S

    2015-02-01

    Colonization of vacant environments may catalyze adaptive diversification and be followed by competition within the nascent community. How these interactions ultimately stabilize and affect productivity are central problems in evolutionary ecology. Diversity can emerge by character displacement, in which selection favors phenotypes that exploit an alternative resource and reduce competition, or by facilitation, in which organisms change the environment and enable different genotypes or species to become established. We previously developed a model of long-term experimental evolution in which bacteria attach to a plastic bead, form a biofilm, and disperse to a new bead. Here, we focus on the evolution of coexisting mutants within a population of Burkholderia cenocepacia and how their interactions affected productivity. Adaptive mutants initially competed for space, but later competition declined, consistent with character displacement and the predicted effects of the evolved mutations. The community reached a stable equilibrium as each ecotype evolved to inhabit distinct, complementary regions of the biofilm. Interactions among ecotypes ultimately became facilitative and enhanced mixed productivity. Observing the succession of genotypes within niches illuminated changing selective forces within the community, including a fundamental role for genotypes producing small colony variants that underpin chronic infections caused by B. cenocepacia.

  16. Mycorrhizal hyphae as ecological niche for highly specialized hypersymbionts – or just soil free-riders?

    PubMed Central

    Jansa, Jan; Bukovská, Petra; Gryndler, Milan

    2013-01-01

    Mycorrhizal fungi interconnect two different kinds of environments, namely the plant roots with the surrounding soil. This widespread coexistence of plants and fungi has important consequences for plant mineral nutrition, water acquisition, carbon allocation, tolerance to abiotic and biotic stresses and interplant competition. Yet some current research indicates a number of important roles to be played by hyphae-associated microbes, in addition to the hyphae themselves, in foraging for and acquisition of soil resources and in transformation of organic carbon in the soil-plant systems. We critically review the available scientific evidence for the theory that the surface of mycorrhizal hyphae in soil is colonized by highly specialized microbial communities, and that these fulfill important functions in the ecology of mycorrhizal fungal hyphae such as accessing recalcitrant forms of mineral nutrients, and production of signaling and other compounds in the vicinity of the hyphae. The validity of another hypothesis will then be addressed, namely that the specific associative microbes are rewarded with exclusive access to fungal carbon, which would qualify them as hypersymbionts (i.e., symbionts of symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi). Thereafter, we ask whether recruitment of functionally different microbial assemblages by the hyphae is required under different soil conditions (questioning what evidence is available for such an effect), and we identify knowledge gaps requiring further attention. PMID:23720665

  17. Ecological niches and areas of overlap of the squat lobster ‘munida’ ( Pleuroncodes monodon) and anchoveta ( Engraulis ringens) off Peru

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gutiérrez, Mariano; Ramirez, Argiro; Bertrand, Sophie; Móron, Octavio; Bertrand, Arnaud

    2008-10-01

    The world’s largest mono-specific fishery, the Peruvian anchovy or anchoveta ( Engraulis ringens) fishery, has been the subject of many studies since the 1960s. Details of its relationship with other species have mainly focused on alternations with sardine, Sardinops sagax, and little effort has so far been paid to interactions with other species sharing the same ecosystem. This is the case for Pleuroncodes monodon, the crustacean squat lobster or ’munida’, which has become highly abundant along the Peruvian coast since the mid-1990s. Munida is now an important prey for seabirds, mammals and coastal predatory fish. Knowledge of patterns of distribution and ecological niche of munida is scarce however off Peru. Here we describe and compare spatial patterns of distribution of anchoveta and munida and their ecological niches based on data from 26 acoustic surveys performed along the Peruvian coast between 1998 and 2006. The results indicate that munida and anchoveta share ecological niches but that munida is restricted to the coldest part of the productive cold coastal waters whereas anchoveta do not present any temperature preference over a large range (14-23 °C). The recent increase in munida abundance off Peru is concomitant with colder conditions; with their onset munida extended its range from central Chile northwards. Off Peru the very shallow oxycline keeps munida from its usual bottom habitat and has forced it to adopt pelagic behaviour.

  18. Niche construction game cancer cells play

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bergman, Aviv; Gligorijevic, Bojana

    2015-10-01

    Niche construction concept was originally defined in evolutionary biology as the continuous interplay between natural selection via environmental conditions and the modification of these conditions by the organism itself. Processes unraveling during cancer metastasis include construction of niches, which cancer cells use towards more efficient survival, transport into new environments and preparation of the remote sites for their arrival. Many elegant experiments were done lately illustrating, for example, the premetastatic niche construction, but there is practically no mathematical modeling done which would apply the niche construction framework. To create models useful for understanding niche construction role in cancer progression, we argue that a) genetic, b) phenotypic and c) ecological levels are to be included. While the model proposed here is phenomenological in its current form, it can be converted into a predictive outcome model via experimental measurement of the model parameters. Here we give an overview of an experimentally formulated problem in cancer metastasis and propose how niche construction framework can be utilized and broadened to model it. Other life science disciplines, such as host-parasite coevolution, may also benefit from niche construction framework adaptation, to satisfy growing need for theoretical considerations of data collected by experimental biology.

  19. Niche construction game cancer cells play*

    PubMed Central

    Bergman, Aviv; Gligorijevic, Bojana

    2016-01-01

    Niche construction concept was originally defined in evolutionary biology as the continuous interplay between natural selection via environmental conditions and the modification of these conditions by the organism itself. Processes unraveling during cancer metastasis include construction of niches, which cancer cells use towards more efficient survival, transport into new environments and preparation of the remote sites for their arrival. Many elegant experiments were done lately illustrating, for example, the premetastatic niche construction, but there is practically no mathematical modeling done which would apply the niche construction framework. To create models useful for understanding niche construction role in cancer progression, we argue that a) genetic, b) phenotypic and c) ecological levels are to be included. While the model proposed here is phenomenological in its current form, it can be converted into a predictive outcome model via experimental measurement of the model parameters. Here we give an overview of an experimentally formulated problem in cancer metastasis and propose how niche construction framework can be utilized and broadened to model it. Other life science disciplines, such as host-parasite coevolution, may also benefit from niche construction framework adaptation, to satisfy growing need for theoretical considerations of data collected by experimental biology. PMID:27656339

  20. Salinity and Temperature Effects on Physiological Responses of Vibrio fischeri from Diverse Ecological Niches

    PubMed Central

    Soto, W.; Gutierrez, J.; Remmenga, M. D.; Nishiguchi, M. K.

    2009-01-01

    Vibrio fischeri is a bioluminescent bacterial symbiont of sepiolid squids (Cephalopoda: Sepiolidae) and monocentrid fishes (Actinopterygii: Monocentridae). V. fischeri exhibit competitive dominance within the allopatrically distributed squid genus Euprymna, which have led to the evolution of V. fischeri host specialists. In contrast, the host genus Sepiola contains sympatric species that is thought to have given rise to V. fischeri that have evolved as host generalists. Given that these ecological lifestyles may have a direct effect upon the growth spectrum and survival limits in contrasting environments, optimal growth ranges were obtained for numerous V. fischeri isolates from both free-living and host environments. Upper and lower limits of growth were observed in sodium chloride concentrations ranging from 0.0% to 9.0%. Sepiola symbiotic isolates possessed the least variation in growth throughout the entire salinity gradient, whereas isolates from Euprymna were the least uniform at <2.0% NaCl. V. fischeri fish symbionts (CG101 and MJ101) and all free-living strains were the most dissimilar at >5.0% NaCl. Growth kinetics of symbiotic V. fischeri strains were also measured under a range of salinity and temperature combinations. Symbiotic V. fischeri ES114 and ET101 exhibited a synergistic effect for salinity and temperature, where significant differences in growth rates due to salinity existed only at low temperatures. Thus, abiotic factors such as temperature and salinity have differential effects between free-living and symbiotic strains of V. fischeri, which may alter colonization efficiency prior to infection. PMID:18587609

  1. Niche explosion.

    PubMed

    Normark, Benjamin B; Johnson, Norman A

    2011-05-01

    The following syndrome of features occurs in several groups of phytophagous insects: (1) wingless females, (2) dispersal by larvae, (3) woody hosts, (4) extreme polyphagy, (5) high abundance, resulting in status as economic pests, (6) invasiveness, and (7) obligate parthenogenesis in some populations. If extreme polyphagy is defined as feeding on 20 or more families of hostplants, this syndrome is found convergently in several species of bagworm moths, tussock moths, root weevils, and 5 families of scale insects. We hypothesize that extreme polyphagy in these taxa results from "niche explosion", a positive feedback loop connecting large population size to broad host range. The niche explosion has a demographic component (sometimes called the "amplification effect" in studies of pathogens) as well as a population-genetic component, due mainly to the increased effectiveness of natural selection in larger populations. The frequent origins of parthenogenesis in extreme polyphages are, in our interpretation, a consequence of this increased effectiveness of natural selection and consequent reduced importance of sexuality. The niche explosion hypothesis makes detailed predictions about the comparative genomics and population genetics of extreme polyphages and related specialists. It has a number of potentially important implications, including an explanation for the lack of observed trade-offs between generalists and specialists, a re-interpretation of the ecological correlates of parthenogenesis, and a general expectation that Malthusian population explosions may be amplified by Darwinian effects.

  2. Predicting ecological roles in the rhizosphere using metabolome and transportome modeling

    DOE PAGES

    Larsen, Peter E.; Collart, Frank R.; Dai, Yang; Blanchard, Jeffrey L.

    2015-09-02

    The ability to obtain complete genome sequences from bacteria in environmental samples, such as soil samples from the rhizosphere, has highlighted the microbial diversity and complexity of environmental communities. New algorithms to analyze genome sequence information in the context of community structure are needed to enhance our understanding of the specific ecological roles of these organisms in soil environments. We present a machine learning approach using sequenced Pseudomonad genomes coupled with outputs of metabolic and transportomic computational models for identifying the most predictive molecular mechanisms indicative of a Pseudomonad’s ecological role in the rhizosphere: a biofilm, biocontrol agent, promoter ofmore » plant growth, or plant pathogen. Computational predictions of ecological niche were highly accurate overall with models trained on transportomic model output being the most accurate (Leave One Out Validation F-scores between 0.82 and 0.89). The strongest predictive molecular mechanism features for rhizosphere ecological niche overlap with many previously reported analyses of Pseudomonad interactions in the rhizosphere, suggesting that this approach successfully informs a system-scale level understanding of how Pseudomonads sense and interact with their environments. The observation that an organism’s transportome is highly predictive of its ecological niche is a novel discovery and may have implications in our understanding microbial ecology. The framework developed here can be generalized to the analysis of any bacteria across a wide range of environments and ecological niches making this approach a powerful tool for providing insights into functional predictions from bacterial genomic data.« less

  3. Range wide molecular data and niche modeling revealed the Pleistocene history of a global invader (Halyomorpha halys)

    PubMed Central

    Zhu, Geng-Ping; Ye, Zhen; Du, Juan; Zhang, Dan-Li; Zhen, Ya-hui; Zheng, Chen-guang; Zhao, Li; Li, Min; Bu, Wen-Jun

    2016-01-01

    Invasive species’ Pleistocene history contains much information on its present population structure, dispersability and adaptability. In this study, the Pleistocene history of a global invasive pest (Brown Marmorated Stink Bug BMSB, Halyomorpha halys) was unveiled using the coupled approach of phylogeography and ecological niche modelling. Rangewide molecular data suggests that the Taiwan and other native populations had diverged in mid-Pleistocene. In mainland China, the native BMSB did not experience population contraction and divergence during last glacial, but persisted in interconnected populations. Combined Bayesian Skyline Plot (BSP) and niche modelling revealed a rapid expansion occurred during the transition of Last Inter Glacial (LIG) to Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). High genetic diversity and multi-reticular haplotypes network exist in the original sources populations of BMSB invasion in northern China. They were speculated to be colonized from the central China, with many derived haplotypes evolved to adapt the novel environment. The ENM future prediction suggest that BMSB may expand northward to higher latitudes in the US and Europe, because of its high invasive ability, together with the available suitable climate space there. PMID:26996353

  4. Range wide molecular data and niche modeling revealed the Pleistocene history of a global invader (Halyomorpha halys).

    PubMed

    Zhu, Geng-Ping; Ye, Zhen; Du, Juan; Zhang, Dan-Li; Zhen, Ya-hui; Zheng, Chen-guang; Zhao, Li; Li, Min; Bu, Wen-Jun

    2016-01-01

    Invasive species' Pleistocene history contains much information on its present population structure, dispersability and adaptability. In this study, the Pleistocene history of a global invasive pest (Brown Marmorated Stink Bug BMSB, Halyomorpha halys) was unveiled using the coupled approach of phylogeography and ecological niche modelling. Rangewide molecular data suggests that the Taiwan and other native populations had diverged in mid-Pleistocene. In mainland China, the native BMSB did not experience population contraction and divergence during last glacial, but persisted in interconnected populations. Combined Bayesian Skyline Plot (BSP) and niche modelling revealed a rapid expansion occurred during the transition of Last Inter Glacial (LIG) to Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). High genetic diversity and multi-reticular haplotypes network exist in the original sources populations of BMSB invasion in northern China. They were speculated to be colonized from the central China, with many derived haplotypes evolved to adapt the novel environment. The ENM future prediction suggest that BMSB may expand northward to higher latitudes in the US and Europe, because of its high invasive ability, together with the available suitable climate space there. PMID:26996353

  5. Using Intact Iron Microbial Mats to Gain Insights Into Mat Ecology and Geochemical Niche at the Microbial Scale

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Glazer, B. T.; Chan, C. S. Y.; Mcallister, S.; Leavitt, A.; Emerson, D.

    2015-12-01

    Microbial mats are formed by microorganisms working in coordinated symbiosis, often benefitting the community by controlling the local geochemical or physical environment. Thus, the ecology of the mat depends on the individual roles of microbes organized into niches within a larger architecture. Chemolithotrophic Fe-oxidizing bacteria (FeOB) form distinctive Fe oxyhydroxide biominerals which constitute the building blocks of the mat. However, the majority of our progress has been in understanding the overall community structure. Understanding the physical mat structure on the microbial scale is important to unraveling FeOB evolution, the biogeochemistry and ecology of Fe-rich habitats, and ultimately interpreting FeOB biosignatures in the rock record. Mats in freshwater and marine environments contain strikingly similar biomineral morphologies, yet they are formed by phylogenetically distinct microorganisms. This suggests that the overall architecture and underlying genetics of freshwater and marine mats has evolved to serve particular roles specific to Fe oxidation. Thus, we conducted a comparative study of Fe seep freshwater mats and marine hydrothermal mats. We have developed a new approach to sampling Fe mats in order to preserve the delicate structure for analysis by confocal and scanning electron microscopy. Our analyses of these intact mats show that freshwater and marine mats are similarly initiated by a single type of structure-former. These ecosystem engineers form either a hollow sheath or a twisted stalk biomineral during mat formation, with a highly directional structure. These microbes appear to be the vanguard organisms that anchor the community within oxygen/Fe(II) gradients, further allowing for community succession in the mat interior as evidenced by other mineralized morphologies. Patterns in biomineral thickness and directionality were indicative of redox gradients and temporal changes in the geochemical environment. These observations show that

  6. Triadic (ecological, neural, cognitive) niche construction: a scenario of human brain evolution extrapolating tool use and language from the control of reaching actions.

    PubMed

    Iriki, Atsushi; Taoka, Miki

    2012-01-12

    Hominin evolution has involved a continuous process of addition of new kinds of cognitive capacity, including those relating to manufacture and use of tools and to the establishment of linguistic faculties. The dramatic expansion of the brain that accompanied additions of new functional areas would have supported such continuous evolution. Extended brain functions would have driven rapid and drastic changes in the hominin ecological niche, which in turn demanded further brain resources to adapt to it. In this way, humans have constructed a novel niche in each of the ecological, cognitive and neural domains, whose interactions accelerated their individual evolution through a process of triadic niche construction. Human higher cognitive activity can therefore be viewed holistically as one component in a terrestrial ecosystem. The brain's functional characteristics seem to play a key role in this triadic interaction. We advance a speculative argument about the origins of its neurobiological mechanisms, as an extension (with wider scope) of the evolutionary principles of adaptive function in the animal nervous system. The brain mechanisms that subserve tool use may bridge the gap between gesture and language--the site of such integration seems to be the parietal and extending opercular cortices.

  7. Triadic (ecological, neural, cognitive) niche construction: a scenario of human brain evolution extrapolating tool use and language from the control of reaching actions

    PubMed Central

    Iriki, Atsushi; Taoka, Miki

    2012-01-01

    Hominin evolution has involved a continuous process of addition of new kinds of cognitive capacity, including those relating to manufacture and use of tools and to the establishment of linguistic faculties. The dramatic expansion of the brain that accompanied additions of new functional areas would have supported such continuous evolution. Extended brain functions would have driven rapid and drastic changes in the hominin ecological niche, which in turn demanded further brain resources to adapt to it. In this way, humans have constructed a novel niche in each of the ecological, cognitive and neural domains, whose interactions accelerated their individual evolution through a process of triadic niche construction. Human higher cognitive activity can therefore be viewed holistically as one component in a terrestrial ecosystem. The brain's functional characteristics seem to play a key role in this triadic interaction. We advance a speculative argument about the origins of its neurobiological mechanisms, as an extension (with wider scope) of the evolutionary principles of adaptive function in the animal nervous system. The brain mechanisms that subserve tool use may bridge the gap between gesture and language—the site of such integration seems to be the parietal and extending opercular cortices. PMID:22106423

  8. Climate, niche, ticks, and models: what they are and how we should interpret them.

    PubMed

    Estrada-Peña, Agustín

    2008-12-01

    Ticks spend most of their life cycle in the environment, and all tick life cycle stages are dependent on a complex combination of climate variables. Furthermore, host availability and vegetation significantly modulate the dynamics of tick populations. Tick recruitment is dependent on successful reproduction, which in turn requires sufficient adult tick densities, available blood meal sources, and egg survival. Though many animals can serve as hosts, there are several determinants of host suitability. For example, host availability in time and space is an important determinant of tick bionomics. Shelter and protection from environmental extremes are critical to tick survival. Questing and diapausing ticks are vulnerable to extremes of temperature and humidity. There are concerns about how predicted climate change may alter several critical features of host-parasite relationships of ticks, the potential for invasion of new areas or alteration of patterns of pathogen transmission in particular. However, modeling approaches that relate known occurrences of tick species to climate (and/or landscape) features and predict geographic occurrences are not completely fulfilling our needs to understand how the "tick panorama" can change as a consequence of these climate trends. This is a short review about the concept of ecological niche as applied to ticks, as well as some raised concerns about its evaluation and strict definition, and its usefulness to map geographical suitability for ticks. Comments about how climate, hosts, and landscape configuration are briefly discussed regarding its applicability to tick mapping and with reference about their impact on tick abundance. I will further comment on already published observations about observed changes in the geographical range of ticks in parts of Europe. PMID:19030890

  9. Species Delimitation in the Continental Forms of the Genus Epicrates (Serpentes, Boidae) Integrating Phylogenetics and Environmental Niche Models

    PubMed Central

    Rivera, Paula C.; Di Cola, Valeria; Martínez, Juan J.; Gardenal, Cristina N.; Chiaraviglio, Margarita

    2011-01-01

    Until recently, the genus Epicrates (Boidae) presented only one continental species, Epicrates cenchria, distributed in Central and South America, but after a taxonomic revision using morphologic characters five species were recognized: E. cenchria, E. crassus, E. maurus, E. assisi, and E. alvarezi. We analyzed two independent data sets, environmental niche models and phylogeny based on molecular information, to explore species delimitation in the continental species of this genus. Our results indicated that the environmental requirements of the species are different; therefore there are not evidences of ecological interchangeability among them. There is a clear correlation between species distributions and the major biogeographic regions of Central and South America. Their overall distribution reveals that allopatry or parapatry is the general pattern. These evidences suggest that habitat isolation prevents or limits gene exchange among them. The phylogenetic reconstruction showed that the continental Epicrates are monophyletic, being E. alvarezi the sister species for the remaining two clades: E. crassus - E. assisi, and E. maurus - E. cenchria. The clade grouping the continental Epicrates is the sister taxon of the genus Eunectes and not of the Caribbean Epicrates clade, indicating that the genus is paraphyletic. There is a non-consistent pattern in niche evolution among continental Epicrates. On the contrary, a high variation and abrupt shifts in environmental variables are shown when ancestral character states were reconstructed on the sequence-based tree. The degree of genetic and ecological divergence among continental Epicrates and the phylogenetic analyses support the elevation to full species of E. cenchria, E. crassus, E. maurus, E. assisi, and E. alvarezi. PMID:21912634

  10. Species delimitation in the continental forms of the genus Epicrates (Serpentes, Boidae) integrating phylogenetics and environmental niche models.

    PubMed

    Rivera, Paula C; Di Cola, Valeria; Martínez, Juan J; Gardenal, Cristina N; Chiaraviglio, Margarita

    2011-01-01

    Until recently, the genus Epicrates (Boidae) presented only one continental species, Epicrates cenchria, distributed in Central and South America, but after a taxonomic revision using morphologic characters five species were recognized: E. cenchria, E. crassus, E. maurus, E. assisi, and E. alvarezi. We analyzed two independent data sets, environmental niche models and phylogeny based on molecular information, to explore species delimitation in the continental species of this genus. Our results indicated that the environmental requirements of the species are different; therefore there are not evidences of ecological interchangeability among them. There is a clear correlation between species distributions and the major biogeographic regions of Central and South America. Their overall distribution reveals that allopatry or parapatry is the general pattern. These evidences suggest that habitat isolation prevents or limits gene exchange among them. The phylogenetic reconstruction showed that the continental Epicrates are monophyletic, being E. alvarezi the sister species for the remaining two clades: E. crassus-E. assisi, and E. maurus-E. cenchria. The clade grouping the continental Epicrates is the sister taxon of the genus Eunectes and not of the Caribbean Epicrates clade, indicating that the genus is paraphyletic. There is a non-consistent pattern in niche evolution among continental Epicrates. On the contrary, a high variation and abrupt shifts in environmental variables are shown when ancestral character states were reconstructed on the sequence-based tree. The degree of genetic and ecological divergence among continental Epicrates and the phylogenetic analyses support the elevation to full species of E. cenchria, E. crassus, E. maurus, E. assisi, and E. alvarezi.

  11. Diatom Cooccurrence Shows Less Segregation than Predicted from Niche Modeling

    PubMed Central

    Soininen, Janne; Alard, Didier; Rosebery, Juliette

    2016-01-01

    Species cooccurrence patterns give significant insights into the processes shaping communities. While biotic interactions have been widely studied using cooccurrence analyses in animals and larger plants, studies about cooccurrences among micro-organisms are still relatively rare. We examined stream diatom cooccurrences in France through a national database of samples. In order to test the relative influence of environmental, biotic and spatial constraints on species’ incidence distribution, cooccurrence and nestedness patterns of real communities were compared with the patterns generated from a set of standard and environmentally constrained null models. Real communities showed a higher level of segregation than the most conservative standard null models, but a general aggregation of cooccurrences when compared to environmentally constrained null models. We did not find any evidence of limiting similarity between cooccurring species. Aggregations of species cooccurrences were associated with the high levels of nestedness. Altogether, these results suggested that biotic interactions were not structuring cooccurrences of diatom species at our study scale. Instead, the patterns were more likely to be related with colonization patterns, mass effect, and local temporal dynamics of diatom biofilms. We further highlight that the association of standard and environmentally constrained null models may give realistic insight into the cooccurrence patterns of microbial communities. PMID:27128737

  12. Modeling extreme risks in ecology.

    PubMed

    Burgman, Mark; Franklin, James; Hayes, Keith R; Hosack, Geoffrey R; Peters, Gareth W; Sisson, Scott A

    2012-11-01

    Extreme risks in ecology are typified by circumstances in which data are sporadic or unavailable, understanding is poor, and decisions are urgently needed. Expert judgments are pervasive and disagreements among experts are commonplace. We outline approaches to evaluating extreme risks in ecology that rely on stochastic simulation, with a particular focus on methods to evaluate the likelihood of extinction and quasi-extinction of threatened species, and the likelihood of establishment and spread of invasive pests. We evaluate the importance of assumptions in these assessments and the potential of some new approaches to account for these uncertainties, including hierarchical estimation procedures and generalized extreme value distributions. We conclude by examining the treatment of consequences in extreme risk analysis in ecology and how expert judgment may better be harnessed to evaluate extreme risks.

  13. Niche conservatism in Gynandropaa frogs on the southeastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau

    PubMed Central

    Hu, Junhua; Broennimann, Olivier; Guisan, Antoine; Wang, Bin; Huang, Yan; Jiang, Jianping

    2016-01-01

    The role of ecological niche in lineage diversification has been the subject of long-standing interest of ecologists and evolutionary biologists. Gynandropaa frogs diversified into three independent clades endemic to the southeastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Here, we address the question whether these clades kept the same niche after separation, and what it tells us about possible diversification processes. We applied predictions in geographical (G)-space and tests of niche conservatism in environmental (E)-space. Niche models in G-space indicate separate regions with high suitability for the different clades, with some potential areas of sympatry. While the pair of central and eastern clades displayed the largest niche overlap for most variables, and strict niche equivalency was rejected for all clade-pairs, we found no strong evidence for niche divergence, but rather the signature of niche conservatism compared to null models in E-space. These results suggest a common ancestral ecological niche, and as such give good support to divergence through allopatric speciation, but alternative explanations are also possible. Our findings illustrate how testing for niche conservatism in lineage diversification can provide insights into underlying speciation processes, and how this information may guide further research and conservation practices, as illustrated here for amphibians on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. PMID:27601098

  14. Niche conservatism in Gynandropaa frogs on the southeastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.

    PubMed

    Hu, Junhua; Broennimann, Olivier; Guisan, Antoine; Wang, Bin; Huang, Yan; Jiang, Jianping

    2016-01-01

    The role of ecological niche in lineage diversification has been the subject of long-standing interest of ecologists and evolutionary biologists. Gynandropaa frogs diversified into three independent clades endemic to the southeastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Here, we address the question whether these clades kept the same niche after separation, and what it tells us about possible diversification processes. We applied predictions in geographical (G)-space and tests of niche conservatism in environmental (E)-space. Niche models in G-space indicate separate regions with high suitability for the different clades, with some potential areas of sympatry. While the pair of central and eastern clades displayed the largest niche overlap for most variables, and strict niche equivalency was rejected for all clade-pairs, we found no strong evidence for niche divergence, but rather the signature of niche conservatism compared to null models in E-space. These results suggest a common ancestral ecological niche, and as such give good support to divergence through allopatric speciation, but alternative explanations are also possible. Our findings illustrate how testing for niche conservatism in lineage diversification can provide insights into underlying speciation processes, and how this information may guide further research and conservation practices, as illustrated here for amphibians on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. PMID:27601098

  15. Life History Traits and Niche Instability Impact Accuracy and Temporal Transferability for Historically Calibrated Distribution Models of North American Birds.

    PubMed

    Wogan, Guinevere O U

    2016-01-01

    A primary assumption of environmental niche models (ENMs) is that models are both accurate and transferable across geography or time; however, recent work has shown that models may be accurate but not highly transferable. While some of this is due to modeling technique, individual species ecologies may also underlie this phenomenon. Life history traits certainly influence the accuracy of predictive ENMs, but their impact on model transferability is less understood. This study investigated how life history traits influence the predictive accuracy and transferability of ENMs using historically calibrated models for birds. In this study I used historical occurrence and climate data (1950-1990s) to build models for a sample of birds, and then projected them forward to the 'future' (1960-1990s). The models were then validated against models generated from occurrence data at that 'future' time. Internal and external validation metrics, as well as metrics assessing transferability, and Generalized Linear Models were used to identify life history traits that were significant predictors of accuracy and transferability. This study found that the predictive ability of ENMs differs with regard to life history characteristics such as range, migration, and habitat, and that the rarity versus commonness of a species affects the predicted stability and overlap and hence the transferability of projected models. Projected ENMs with both high accuracy and transferability scores, still sometimes suffered from over- or under- predicted species ranges. Life history traits certainly influenced the accuracy of predictive ENMs for birds, but while aspects of geographic range impact model transferability, the mechanisms underlying this are less understood.

  16. Life History Traits and Niche Instability Impact Accuracy and Temporal Transferability for Historically Calibrated Distribution Models of North American Birds.

    PubMed

    Wogan, Guinevere O U

    2016-01-01

    A primary assumption of environmental niche models (ENMs) is that models are both accurate and transferable across geography or time; however, recent work has shown that models may be accurate but not highly transferable. While some of this is due to modeling technique, individual species ecologies may also underlie this phenomenon. Life history traits certainly influence the accuracy of predictive ENMs, but their impact on model transferability is less understood. This study investigated how life history traits influence the predictive accuracy and transferability of ENMs using historically calibrated models for birds. In this study I used historical occurrence and climate data (1950-1990s) to build models for a sample of birds, and then projected them forward to the 'future' (1960-1990s). The models were then validated against models generated from occurrence data at that 'future' time. Internal and external validation metrics, as well as metrics assessing transferability, and Generalized Linear Models were used to identify life history traits that were significant predictors of accuracy and transferability. This study found that the predictive ability of ENMs differs with regard to life history characteristics such as range, migration, and habitat, and that the rarity versus commonness of a species affects the predicted stability and overlap and hence the transferability of projected models. Projected ENMs with both high accuracy and transferability scores, still sometimes suffered from over- or under- predicted species ranges. Life history traits certainly influenced the accuracy of predictive ENMs for birds, but while aspects of geographic range impact model transferability, the mechanisms underlying this are less understood. PMID:26959979

  17. Life History Traits and Niche Instability Impact Accuracy and Temporal Transferability for Historically Calibrated Distribution Models of North American Birds

    PubMed Central

    Wogan, Guinevere O. U.

    2016-01-01

    A primary assumption of environmental niche models (ENMs) is that models are both accurate and transferable across geography or time; however, recent work has shown that models may be accurate but not highly transferable. While some of this is due to modeling technique, individual species ecologies may also underlie this phenomenon. Life history traits certainly influence the accuracy of predictive ENMs, but their impact on model transferability is less understood. This study investigated how life history traits influence the predictive accuracy and transferability of ENMs using historically calibrated models for birds. In this study I used historical occurrence and climate data (1950-1990s) to build models for a sample of birds, and then projected them forward to the ‘future’ (1960-1990s). The models were then validated against models generated from occurrence data at that ‘future’ time. Internal and external validation metrics, as well as metrics assessing transferability, and Generalized Linear Models were used to identify life history traits that were significant predictors of accuracy and transferability. This study found that the predictive ability of ENMs differs with regard to life history characteristics such as range, migration, and habitat, and that the rarity versus commonness of a species affects the predicted stability and overlap and hence the transferability of projected models. Projected ENMs with both high accuracy and transferability scores, still sometimes suffered from over- or under- predicted species ranges. Life history traits certainly influenced the accuracy of predictive ENMs for birds, but while aspects of geographic range impact model transferability, the mechanisms underlying this are less understood. PMID:26959979

  18. Toward an Ecological Evaluation Model.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Parker, Jackson; Patterson, Jerry L.

    1979-01-01

    The authors suggest that the aura of authority traditionally placed on educational research and evaluation has been based on an outdated understanding of the scientific enterprise. They outline an alternative view of science which is more ecological and provides more scope and power for evaluating educational programs. They propose a new framework…

  19. Modelling the multidimensional niche by linking functional traits to competitive performance.

    PubMed

    Maynard, Daniel S; Leonard, Kenneth E; Drake, John M; Hall, David W; Crowther, Thomas W; Bradford, Mark A

    2015-07-22

    Linking competitive outcomes to environmental conditions is necessary for understanding species' distributions and responses to environmental change. Despite this importance, generalizable approaches for predicting competitive outcomes across abiotic gradients are lacking, driven largely by the highly complex and context-dependent nature of biotic interactions. Here, we present and empirically test a novel niche model that uses functional traits to model the niche space of organisms and predict competitive outcomes of co-occurring populations across multiple resource gradients. The model makes no assumptions about the underlying mode of competition and instead applies to those settings where relative competitive ability across environments correlates with a quantifiable performance metric. To test the model, a series of controlled microcosm experiments were conducted using genetically related strains of a widespread microbe. The model identified trait microevolution and performance differences among strains, with the predicted competitive ability of each organism mapped across a two-dimensional carbon and nitrogen resource space. Areas of coexistence and competitive dominance between strains were identified,and the predicted competitive outcomes were validated in approximately 95% of the pairings. By linking trait variation to competitive ability, our work demonstrates a generalizable approach for predicting and modelling competitive outcomes across changing environmental contexts. PMID:26136444

  20. Modelling the multidimensional niche by linking functional traits to competitive performance

    PubMed Central

    Maynard, Daniel S.; Leonard, Kenneth E.; Drake, John M.; Hall, David W.; Crowther, Thomas W.; Bradford, Mark A.

    2015-01-01

    Linking competitive outcomes to environmental conditions is necessary for understanding species' distributions and responses to environmental change. Despite this importance, generalizable approaches for predicting competitive outcomes across abiotic gradients are lacking, driven largely by the highly complex and context-dependent nature of biotic interactions. Here, we present and empirically test a novel niche model that uses functional traits to model the niche space of organisms and predict competitive outcomes of co-occurring populations across multiple resource gradients. The model makes no assumptions about the underlying mode of competition and instead applies to those settings where relative competitive ability across environments correlates with a quantifiable performance metric. To test the model, a series of controlled microcosm experiments were conducted using genetically related strains of a widespread microbe. The model identified trait microevolution and performance differences among strains, with the predicted competitive ability of each organism mapped across a two-dimensional carbon and nitrogen resource space. Areas of coexistence and competitive dominance between strains were identified, and the predicted competitive outcomes were validated in approximately 95% of the pairings. By linking trait variation to competitive ability, our work demonstrates a generalizable approach for predicting and modelling competitive outcomes across changing environmental contexts. PMID:26136444

  1. [Ecology of nutrition and differentiation of the trophic niches of bats (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) in floodplain ecosystems of the Samara Bend].

    PubMed

    Smirnov, D G; Vekhnik, V P

    2014-01-01

    A complex analysis of the food range of 15 bat species inhabiting floodplain ecosystems of the Samara Bend has been performed. It is shown that, in bats, an important component of the structuring of their communities is the division of food resources. The guild structure and position of species in the trophic space are described. Seven food guilds consisting of nonspecialized and specialized species are distinguished. It is noted that most species are characterized by a wide overlapping of their trophic niches, which may be a consequence of their weak competition in an environment that is rich in food resources.

  2. Shape and evolution of the fundamental niche in marine Vibrio

    PubMed Central

    Materna, Arne C; Friedman, Jonathan; Bauer, Claudia; David, Christina; Chen, Sara; Huang, Ivy B; Gillens, April; Clarke, Sean A; Polz, Martin F; Alm, Eric J

    2012-01-01

    Hutchinson's fundamental niche, defined by the physical and biological environments in which an organism can thrive in the absence of inter-species interactions, is an important theoretical concept in ecology. However, little is known about the overlap between the fundamental niche and the set of conditions species inhabit in nature, and about natural variation in fundamental niche shape and its change as species adapt to their environment. Here, we develop a custom-made dual gradient apparatus to map a cross-section of the fundamental niche for several marine bacterial species within the genus Vibrio based on their temperature and salinity tolerance, and compare tolerance limits to the environment where these species commonly occur. We interpret these niche shapes in light of a conceptual model comprising five basic niche shapes. We find that the fundamental niche encompasses a much wider set of conditions than those strains typically inhabit, especially for salinity. Moreover, though the conditions that strains typically inhabit agree well with the strains' temperature tolerance, they are negatively correlated with the strains' salinity tolerance. Such relationships can arise when the physiological response to different stressors is coupled, and we present evidence for such a coupling between temperature and salinity tolerance. Finally, comparison with well-documented ecological range in V. vulnificus suggests that biotic interactions limit the occurrence of this species at low-temperature—high-salinity conditions. Our findings highlight the complex interplay between the ecological, physiological and evolutionary determinants of niche morphology, and caution against making inferences based on a single ecological factor. PMID:22832347

  3. Shape and evolution of the fundamental niche in marine Vibrio.

    PubMed

    Materna, Arne C; Friedman, Jonathan; Bauer, Claudia; David, Christina; Chen, Sara; Huang, Ivy B; Gillens, April; Clarke, Sean A; Polz, Martin F; Alm, Eric J

    2012-12-01

    Hutchinson's fundamental niche, defined by the physical and biological environments in which an organism can thrive in the absence of inter-species interactions, is an important theoretical concept in ecology. However, little is known about the overlap between the fundamental niche and the set of conditions species inhabit in nature, and about natural variation in fundamental niche shape and its change as species adapt to their environment. Here, we develop a custom-made dual gradient apparatus to map a cross-section of the fundamental niche for several marine bacterial species within the genus Vibrio based on their temperature and salinity tolerance, and compare tolerance limits to the environment where these species commonly occur. We interpret these niche shapes in light of a conceptual model comprising five basic niche shapes. We find that the fundamental niche encompasses a much wider set of conditions than those strains typically inhabit, especially for salinity. Moreover, though the conditions that strains typically inhabit agree well with the strains' temperature tolerance, they are negatively correlated with the strains' salinity tolerance. Such relationships can arise when the physiological response to different stressors is coupled, and we present evidence for such a coupling between temperature and salinity tolerance. Finally, comparison with well-documented ecological range in V. vulnificus suggests that biotic interactions limit the occurrence of this species at low-temperature-high-salinity conditions. Our findings highlight the complex interplay between the ecological, physiological and evolutionary determinants of niche morphology, and caution against making inferences based on a single ecological factor.

  4. Cellular population dynamics control the robustness of the stem cell niche

    PubMed Central

    MacLean, Adam L.; Kirk, Paul D. W.; Stumpf, Michael P. H.

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT Within populations of cells, fate decisions are controlled by an indeterminate combination of cell-intrinsic and cell-extrinsic factors. In the case of stem cells, the stem cell niche is believed to maintain ‘stemness’ through communication and interactions between the stem cells and one or more other cell-types that contribute to the niche conditions. To investigate the robustness of cell fate decisions in the stem cell hierarchy and the role that the niche plays, we introduce simple mathematical models of stem and progenitor cells, their progeny and their interplay in the niche. These models capture the fundamental processes of proliferation and differentiation and allow us to consider alternative possibilities regarding how niche-mediated signalling feedback regulates the niche dynamics. Generalised stability analysis of these stem cell niche systems enables us to describe the stability properties of each model. We find that although the number of feasible states depends on the model, their probabilities of stability in general do not: stem cell–niche models are stable across a wide range of parameters. We demonstrate that niche-mediated feedback increases the number of stable steady states, and show how distinct cell states have distinct branching characteristics. The ecological feedback and interactions mediated by the stem cell niche thus lend (surprisingly) high levels of robustness to the stem and progenitor cell population dynamics. Furthermore, cell–cell interactions are sufficient for populations of stem cells and their progeny to achieve stability and maintain homeostasis. We show that the robustness of the niche – and hence of the stem cell pool in the niche – depends only weakly, if at all, on the complexity of the niche make-up: simple as well as complicated niche systems are capable of supporting robust and stable stem cell dynamics. PMID:26453624

  5. An Interdisciplinary Model for Teaching Evolutionary Ecology.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Coletta, John

    1992-01-01

    Describes a general systems evolutionary model and demonstrates how a previously established ecological model is a function of its past development based on the evolution of the rock, nutrient, and water cycles. Discusses the applications of the model in environmental education. (MDH)

  6. The Homo habitat niche: using the avian fossil record to depict ecological characteristics of Palaeolithic Eurasian hominins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Finlayson, Clive; Carrión, José; Brown, Kimberly; Finlayson, Geraldine; Sánchez-Marco, Antonio; Fa, Darren; Rodríguez-Vidal, Joaquín; Fernández, Santiago; Fierro, Elena; Bernal-Gómez, Marco; Giles-Pacheco, Francisco

    2011-06-01

    Although hardly applied to human palaeoecology, bird fossils offer a unique opportunity for quantitative studies of the hominin habitat. Here we reconstruct the Homo habitat niche across a large area of the Palaearctic, based on a database of avian fauna for Pleistocene sites. Our results reveal a striking association between Homo and habitat mosaics. A mix of open savannah-type woodland, wetlands and rocky habitats emerges as the predominant combination occupied by Homo across a wide geographical area, from the earliest populations of the Lower Palaeolithic to the latest hunter-gatherer communities of the Upper Palaeolithic. This observation is in keeping with the view that such landscapes have had long standing selective value for hominins.

  7. Autocatalysis in cultural ecology: model ecosystems and the dynamics of biocultural evolution.

    PubMed

    Geiger, G

    1985-01-01

    Using a well-known mathematical model frequently applied in theoretical population dynamics, certain ecological mechanisms are investigated that are inherent in the organic evolution of cultural capacities in man. Culture is argued to involve ecological interactions exhibiting analogies to the interaction of chemical species in autocatalytic biomolecular reactions. In the model, biocultural evolution proceeds by more and more broadening ecological niches and, thus, releasing competitive selection pressure on the populations involved. This, in turn, facilitates the maintenance of polymorphism in these populations as well as the individual acquisition of organic traits through learning and cultural transmission. The result is that the genetic variance in phenotypic expressions decreases at an accelerated rate. PMID:3995164

  8. Morphological and niche divergence of pinyon pines.

    PubMed

    Ortiz-Medrano, Alejandra; Scantlebury, Daniel Patrick; Vázquez-Lobo, Alejandra; Mastretta-Yanes, Alicia; Piñero, Daniel

    2016-05-01

    The environmental variables that define a species ecological niche should be associated with the evolutionary patterns present in the adaptations that resulted from living in these conditions. Thus, when comparing across species, we can expect to find an association between phylogenetically independent phenotypic characters and ecological niche evolution. Few studies have evaluated how organismal phenotypes might mirror patterns of niche evolution if these phenotypes reflect adaptations. Doing so could contribute on the understanding of the origin and maintenance of phenotypic diversity observed in nature. Here, we show the pattern of niche evolution of the pinyon pine lineage (Pinus subsection Cembroides); then, we suggest morphological adaptations possibly related to niche divergence, and finally, we test for correlation between ecological niche and morphology. We demonstrate that niche divergence is the general pattern within the clade and that it is positively correlated with adaptation. PMID:27092235

  9. How to catch a parasite: Parasite Niche Modeler (PaNic) meets Fishbase

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Strona, Giovanni; Lafferty, Kevin D.

    2012-01-01

    Parasite Niche Modeler (PaNic) is a free online software tool that suggests potential hosts for fish parasites. For a particular parasite species from the major helminth groups (Acanthocephala, Cestoda, Monogenea, Nematoda, Trematoda), PaNic takes data from known hosts (maximum body length, growth rate, life span, age at first maturity, trophic level, phylogeny, and biogeography) and hypothesizes similar fish species that might serve as hosts to that parasite. Users can give varying weights to host attributes and create custom models. In addition to suggesting plausible hosts (with varying degrees of confidence), the models indicate known host species that appear to be outliers in comparison to other known hosts. These unique features make PaNic an innovative tool for addressing both theoretical and applied questions in fish parasitology. PaNic can be accessed at .

  10. Spatial and ecological population genetic structures within two island-endemic Aeonium species of different niche width.

    PubMed

    Harter, David E V; Thiv, Mike; Weig, Alfons; Jentsch, Anke; Beierkuhnlein, Carl

    2015-10-01

    The Crassulacean genus Aeonium is a well-known example for plant species radiation on oceanic archipelagos. However, while allopatric speciation among islands is documented for this genus, the role of intra-island speciation due to population divergence by topographical isolation or ecological heterogeneity has not yet been addressed. The aim of this study was to investigate intraspecific genetic structures and to identify spatial and ecological drivers of genetic population differentiation on the island scale. We analyzed inter simple sequence repeat variation within two island-endemic Aeonium species of La Palma: one widespread generalist that covers a large variety of different habitat types (Ae. davidbramwellii) and one narrow ecological specialist (Ae. nobile), in order to assess evolutionary potentials on this island. Gene pool differentiation and genetic diversity patterns were associated with major landscape structures in both species, with phylogeographic implications. However, overall levels of genetic differentiation were low. For the generalist species, outlier loci detection and loci-environment correlation approaches indicated moderate signatures of divergent selection pressures linked to temperature and precipitation variables, while the specialist species missed such patterns. Our data point to incipient differentiation among populations, emphasizing that ecological heterogeneity and topographical structuring within the small scales of an island can foster evolutionary processes. Very likely, such processes have contributed to the radiation of Aeonium on the Canary Islands. There is also support for different evolutionary mechanisms between generalist and specialist species.

  11. Tempo and mode of climatic niche evolution in Primates.

    PubMed

    Duran, Andressa; Pie, Marcio R

    2015-09-01

    Climatic niches have increasingly become a nexus in our understanding of a variety of ecological and evolutionary phenomena, from species distributions to latitudinal diversity gradients. Despite the increasing availability of comprehensive datasets on species ranges, phylogenetic histories, and georeferenced environmental conditions, studies on the evolution of climate niches have only begun to understand how niches evolve over evolutionary timescales. Here, using primates as a model system, we integrate recently developed phylogenetic comparative methods, species distribution patterns, and climatic data to explore primate climatic niche evolution, both among clades and over time. In general, we found that simple, constant-rate models provide a poor representation of how climatic niches evolve. For instance, there have been shifts in the rate of climatic niche evolution in several independent clades, particularly in response to the increasingly cooler climates of the past 10 My. Interestingly, rate accelerations greatly outnumbered rate decelerations. These results highlight the importance of considering more realistic evolutionary models that allow for the detection of heterogeneity in the tempo and mode of climatic niche evolution, as well as to infer possible constraining factors for species distributions in geographical space. PMID:26178157

  12. Tempo and mode of climatic niche evolution in Primates.

    PubMed

    Duran, Andressa; Pie, Marcio R

    2015-09-01

    Climatic niches have increasingly become a nexus in our understanding of a variety of ecological and evolutionary phenomena, from species distributions to latitudinal diversity gradients. Despite the increasing availability of comprehensive datasets on species ranges, phylogenetic histories, and georeferenced environmental conditions, studies on the evolution of climate niches have only begun to understand how niches evolve over evolutionary timescales. Here, using primates as a model system, we integrate recently developed phylogenetic comparative methods, species distribution patterns, and climatic data to explore primate climatic niche evolution, both among clades and over time. In general, we found that simple, constant-rate models provide a poor representation of how climatic niches evolve. For instance, there have been shifts in the rate of climatic niche evolution in several independent clades, particularly in response to the increasingly cooler climates of the past 10 My. Interestingly, rate accelerations greatly outnumbered rate decelerations. These results highlight the importance of considering more realistic evolutionary models that allow for the detection of heterogeneity in the tempo and mode of climatic niche evolution, as well as to infer possible constraining factors for species distributions in geographical space.

  13. Cosmic emergy based ecological systems modelling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, H.; Chen, G. Q.; Ji, X.

    2010-09-01

    Ecological systems modelling based on the unified biophysical measure of cosmic emergy in terms of embodied cosmic exergy is illustrated in this paper with ecological accounting, simulation and scenario analysis, by a case study for the regional socio-economic ecosystem associated with the municipality of Beijing. An urbanized regional ecosystem model with eight subsystems of natural support, agriculture, urban production, population, finance, land area, potential environmental impact, and culture is representatively presented in exergy circuit language with 12 state variables governing by corresponding ecodynamic equations, and 60 flows and auxiliary variables. To characterize the regional socio-economy as an ecosystem, a series of ecological indicators based on cosmic emergy are devised. For a systematic ecological account, cosmic exergy transformities are provided for various dimensions including climate flows, natural resources, industrial products, cultural products, population with educational hierarchy, and environmental emissions. For the urban ecosystem of Beijing in the period from 1990 to 2005, ecological accounting is carried out and characterized in full details. Taking 2000 as the starting point, systems modelling is realized to predict the urban evolution in a one hundred time horizon. For systems regulation, scenario analyses with essential policy-making implications are made to illustrate the long term systems effects of the expected water diversion and rise in energy price.

  14. Light and desiccation responses of some Hymenophyllaceae (filmy ferns) from Trinidad, Venezuela and New Zealand: poikilohydry in a light-limited but low evaporation ecological niche

    PubMed Central

    Proctor, Michael C. F.

    2012-01-01

    Background and Aims Hymenophyllaceae (filmy ferns) are typically plants of shady, constantly moist habitats. They attain greatest species diversity and biomass in humid tropical montane forests and temperate hyperoceanic climates. This paper presents ecophysiological data bearing on their worldwide ecological niche space and its limits. Methods Chlorophyll fluorescence was used to monitor recovery in desiccation experiments, and for measurements of 95 % saturating irradiance [photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD95 %)] of photosynthetic electron flow and other parameters, in the New Zealand Hymenophyllum sanguinolentum, and three species each of Hymenophyllum and Trichomanes from forests in Trinidad and Venezuela. Key Results Hymenophyllum sanguinolentum was comparable in desiccation tolerance and light responses with the European species. The more common species in the two tropical forests showed PPFD95 % >100 µmol m−2 s−1, and withstood moderate desiccation (–40 MPa) for several days. The four most shade-adapted species had PPFD95 % ≤51 µmol m−2 s−1, and were sensitive to even mild and brief desiccation (–22 MPa for 3 d). Conclusions Light and desiccation responses of filmy ferns can be seen as an integrated package. At low light and windspeed in humid forests, net radiation and saturation deficit are low, and diffusion resistance high. Water loss is slow and can be supported by modest conduction from the sub-stratum. With higher irradiance, selection pressure for desiccation tolerance increases progressively. With low light and high humidity, the filmy fern pattern of adaptation is probably optimal, and the vascular plant leaf with mesophyll and stomata offers no advantage in light capture, water economy or CO2 uptake. Trade-offs between light adaptation and desiccation tolerance, and between stem conduction and water absorption through the leaf surface, underlie adaptive radiation and niche differentiation of species within the family

  15. Methodological caveats in the environmental modelling and projections of climate niche for ticks, with examples for Ixodes ricinus (Ixodidae).

    PubMed

    Estrada-Peña, A; Estrada-Sánchez, A; Estrada-Sánchez, D

    2015-02-28

    Interest is increasing in inferring the climate niche of health-threatening arthropods and projecting such inferences onto a territory. This approach is intended to predict the range of tick distribution and to elucidate tick responses to climate scenarios, using so-called correlative models. However, some methodological gaps might prevent achieving an adequate background for hypothesis testing. We explore, describe, and illustrate these procedural inaccuracies with examples focused on the tick Ixodes ricinus and examine how these factors might affect modelling outcomes. Our aim was to develop a backdrop of rules for developing reliable models for these parasites. The use of partial sets of tick occurrences might produce unreliable associations with climate because the algorithms cannot capture the complete niche with which the tick is associated. Reliability measures of the model cannot detect these inaccuracies, and undesirable estimations of the niche will prevail in the chain of further calculations. The use of inadequate environmental variables (covariates) may lead to inflation of the results of the model through two statistical processes, autocorrelation and colinearity. We demonstrate the high colinearity existing in climate products derived from interpolation of climate recording stations. Our explicit advice is to focus on the training of climate models with satellite-derived information of climate, from which colinearity of the time series has been removed through a harmonic regression. We also emphasize the high uncertainty if inference about the climate niche is expanded into different time slices, like projected climate scenarios.

  16. Evaluating habitat suitability for the establishment of Monochamus spp. through climate-based niche modeling.

    PubMed

    Estay, Sergio A; Labra, Fabio A; Sepulveda, Roger D; Bacigalupe, Leonardo D

    2014-01-01

    Pine sawyer beetle species of the genus Monochamus are vectors of the nematode pest Bursaphelenchus xylophilus. The introduction of these species into new habitats is a constant threat for those regions where the forestry industry depends on conifers, and especially on species of Pinus. To obtain information about the potential risk of establishment of these insects in Chile, we performed climate-based niche modeling using data for five North American and four Eurasian Monochamus species using a Maxent approach. The most important variables that account for current distribution of these species are total annual precipitation and annual and seasonal average temperatures, with some differences between North American and Eurasian species. Projections of potential geographic distribution in Chile show that all species could occupy at least 37% of the area between 30° and 53°S, where industrial plantations of P. radiata are concentrated. Our results indicated that Chile seems more suitable for Eurasian than for North American species.

  17. Evaluating habitat suitability for the establishment of Monochamus spp. through climate-based niche modeling.

    PubMed

    Estay, Sergio A; Labra, Fabio A; Sepulveda, Roger D; Bacigalupe, Leonardo D

    2014-01-01

    Pine sawyer beetle species of the genus Monochamus are vectors of the nematode pest Bursaphelenchus xylophilus. The introduction of these species into new habitats is a constant threat for those regions where the forestry industry depends on conifers, and especially on species of Pinus. To obtain information about the potential risk of establishment of these insects in Chile, we performed climate-based niche modeling using data for five North American and four Eurasian Monochamus species using a Maxent approach. The most important variables that account for current distribution of these species are total annual precipitation and annual and seasonal average temperatures, with some differences between North American and Eurasian species. Projections of potential geographic distribution in Chile show that all species could occupy at least 37% of the area between 30° and 53°S, where industrial plantations of P. radiata are concentrated. Our results indicated that Chile seems more suitable for Eurasian than for North American species. PMID:25019408

  18. Evaluating Habitat Suitability for the Establishment of Monochamus spp. through Climate-Based Niche Modeling

    PubMed Central

    Estay, Sergio A.; Labra, Fabio A.; Sepulveda, Roger D.; Bacigalupe, Leonardo D.

    2014-01-01

    Pine sawyer beetle species of the genus Monochamus are vectors of the nematode pest Bursaphelenchus xylophilus. The introduction of these species into new habitats is a constant threat for those regions where the forestry industry depends on conifers, and especially on species of Pinus. To obtain information about the potential risk of establishment of these insects in Chile, we performed climate-based niche modeling using data for five North American and four Eurasian Monochamus species using a Maxent approach. The most important variables that account for current distribution of these species are total annual precipitation and annual and seasonal average temperatures, with some differences between North American and Eurasian species. Projections of potential geographic distribution in Chile show that all species could occupy at least 37% of the area between 30° and 53°S, where industrial plantations of P. radiata are concentrated. Our results indicated that Chile seems more suitable for Eurasian than for North American species. PMID:25019408

  19. Crisis in Context Theory: An Ecological Model

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Myer, Rick A.; Moore, Holly B.

    2006-01-01

    This article outlines a theory for understanding the impact of a crisis on individuals and organizations. Crisis in context theory (CCT) is grounded in an ecological model and based on literature in the field of crisis intervention and on personal experiences of the authors. A graphic representation denotes key components and premises of CCT,…

  20. Social Ecological Model Analysis for ICT Integration

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Zagami, Jason

    2013-01-01

    ICT integration of teacher preparation programmes was undertaken by the Australian Teaching Teachers for the Future (TTF) project in all 39 Australian teacher education institutions and highlighted the need for guidelines to inform systemic ICT integration approaches. A Social Ecological Model (SEM) was used to positively inform integration…

  1. Character displacement and niche shift analyzed using consumer-resource models of competition.

    PubMed

    Abrams, P A

    1986-02-01

    This paper analyzes the adaptive responses to competition (both character displacement and niche shift) in a two consumer-two resource model. The model includes density dependence that is unrelated to the resources that are explicit in the model. This could be due to another resource dimension, parasites, or interference competition. Competitors adapt by changing their relative consumption rate constants on the two resource types. This model can result in mutually divergent, parallel, or mutually convergent displacement of competitors. Parallel displacement may entail net divergence, net convergence, or no net change. Parallel change with net convergence is most likely when the competitors have similar constraints on the possible values of consumption rate constants, unequal allopatric abundances, and significant intraspecific density dependence. Numerical calculations of displacements are presented for several models and the effect of a number of different possible alterations of the model are discussed. The evolution of resource handling and processing efficiency, and displacement in the presence of additional selective pressures on the character are considered in detail. The results have implications for questions about maximization of population size, the relationship of character displacement and the competition coefficient, and "null" models in the study of competition. Differences between this and previous theoretical works are discussed. It is argued that conditions allowing parallel or convergent displacement are not biologically unlikely, and possible examples are discussed. Data on resource partitioning seem to be more consistent with the results reached here than with previous theory. PMID:3961709

  2. Prevalence and Diversity of Leptospires in Different Ecological Niches of Urban and Rural Areas of South Andaman Island

    PubMed Central

    Lall, Chandan; Kumar, K. Vinod; Raj, R. Vimal; Vedhagiri, K.; Vijayachari, P.

    2016-01-01

    Leptospirosis is an emerging disease around the globe. South Andaman Island is an endemic region for leptospirosis. We herein compared the prevalence of leptospires in urban and rural areas of South Andaman Island. The PCR detection and isolation of Leptospira revealed that pathogenic leptospires were prevalent in sewage water and household drainage water in urban areas and in paddy fields, vegetable field water, and stream water in rural areas. These results demonstrate that intermediates are ubiquitously present in the environment and may be responsible for asymptomatic infections, and also provide an insight into disease ecology. PMID:26936796

  3. Modelling macroevolutionary patterns: An ecological perspective

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Solé, R. V.

    Complex ecosystems display well-defined macroscopic regularities suggesting that some generic dynamical rules operate at the ecosystem level where the relevance of the single-species features is rather weak. Most evolutionary theory deals with genes/species as the units of selection operating on populations. However, the role of ecological networks and external perturbations seems to be at least as important as microevolutionary events based on natural selection operating at the smalle st levels. Here we review some of the recent theoretical approximations to ecosystem evolution based on network dynamics. It is suggested that the evolutionary dynamics of ecological networks underlie fundamental laws of ecology-level dynamics which naturally decouple micro from macroevolutionary dynamics. Using simple models of macroevolution, most of the available statistical information obtained from the fossil record is remarkably well reproduced and explained within a new theoretical framework.

  4. Ecological release and niche partitioning under stress: Lessons from dorvilleid polychaetes in sulfidic sediments at methane seeps

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Levin, Lisa A.; Ziebis, Wiebke; Mendoza, Guillermo F.; Bertics, Victoria J.; Washington, Tracy; Gonzalez, Jennifer; Thurber, Andrew R.; Ebbe, Brigitte; Lee, Raymond W.

    2013-08-01

    Organisms inhabiting methane seep sediments are exposed to stress in the form of high levels of hydrogen sulfide, which result mainly from sulfate reduction coupled to anaerobic methane oxidation. Dorvilleidae (Polychaeta) have successfully invaded this ecosystem, and multiple species in divergent genetic clades co-occur at high densities. At methane seeps in the NE Pacific off California and Oregon, the genera Ophryotrocha, Parougia and Exallopus are especially well represented. To test the hypothesis that dorvilleid coexistence is facilitated by niche partitioning through sulfide tolerance and trophic patterns, we examined dorvilleid species-specific patterns of occurrence and nutrition at methane seeps off Eel R. [ER] on the Californian continental slope and at Hydrate Ridge [HR] on the Oregon continental slope, and in two habitats (clam bed and microbial mat) characterized by lower and higher hydrogen sulfide levels, respectively. Microelectrode measurements of hydrogen sulfide enabled characterization of environmental sulfide levels for species sampled in background sediment cores and in colonization trays. Dorvilleids tolerated H2S levels from 10 μM to over 2.6 mM, with the majority of species inhabiting sediments with similar environmental H2S concentrations (median 85-100 μM). Dorvilleid species richness was greater at HR than ER, but did not differ between clam bed and microbial mat habitats. Species distribution patterns reflected preferences for ER clam bed (lower sulfide levels), ER mat and HR clam bed (moderate sulfide levels), or HR mat (very high sulfide levels). Nutritional patterns, including trophic diversity and functional similarity, were examined using community stable isotope metrics based on δ15N and δ13C. Within each region, dorvilleid species exhibited multiple trophic strategies. Co-existing congeners typically exhibited distinct isotope signatures, suggesting trophic partitioning. Trophic diversity and δ15N range for whole

  5. Step back! Niche dynamics in cave-dwelling predators

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mammola, Stefano; Piano, Elena; Isaia, Marco

    2016-08-01

    The geometry of the Hutchinson's hypervolume derives from multiple selective pressures defined, on one hand, by the physiological tolerance of the species, and on the other, by intra- and interspecific competition. The quantification of these evolutionary forces is essential for the understanding of the coexistence of predators in light of competitive exclusion dynamics. We address this topic by investigating the ecological niche of two medium-sized troglophile spiders (Meta menardi and Pimoa graphitica). Over one year, we surveyed several populations in four subterranean sites in the Western Italian Alps, monitoring monthly their spatial and temporal dynamics and the associated physical and ecological variables. We assessed competition between the two species by means of multi regression techniques and by evaluating the intersection between their multidimensional hypervolumes. We detected a remarkable overlap between the microclimatic and trophic niche of M. menardi and P. graphitica, however, the former -being larger in size- resulted the best competitor in proximity of the cave entrance, causing the latter to readjust its spatial niche towards the inner part, where prey availability is scarcer ("step back effect"). In parallel to the slight variations in the subterranean microclimatic condition, the niche of the two species was also found to be seasonal dependent, varying over the year. With this work, we aim at providing new insights about the relationships among predators, demonstrating that energy-poor environments such as caves maintain the potential for diversification of predators via niche differentiation and serve as useful models for theoretical ecological studies.

  6. A comparison of two global optimization algorithms with sequential niche technique for structural model updating

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shabbir, Faisal; Omenzetter, Piotr

    2014-04-01

    Much effort is devoted nowadays to derive accurate finite element (FE) models to be used for structural health monitoring, damage detection and assessment. However, formation of a FE model representative of the original structure is a difficult task. Model updating is a branch of optimization which calibrates the FE model by comparing the modal properties of the actual structure with these of the FE predictions. As the number of experimental measurements is usually much smaller than the number of uncertain parameters, and, consequently, not all uncertain parameters are selected for model updating, different local minima may exist in the solution space. Experimental noise further exacerbates the problem. The attainment of a global solution in a multi-dimensional search space is a challenging problem. Global optimization algorithms (GOAs) have received interest in the previous decade to solve this problem, but no GOA can ensure the detection of the global minimum either. To counter this problem, a combination of GOA with sequential niche technique (SNT) has been proposed in this research which systematically searches the whole solution space. A dynamically tested full scale pedestrian bridge is taken as a case study. Two different GOAs, namely particle swarm optimization (PSO) and genetic algorithm (GA), are investigated in combination with SNT. The results of these GOA are compared in terms of their efficiency in detecting global minima. The systematic search enables to find different solutions in the search space, thus increasing the confidence of finding the global minimum.

  7. How is the rate of climatic-niche evolution related to climatic-niche breadth?

    PubMed

    Fisher-Reid, M Caitlin; Kozak, Kenneth H; Wiens, John J

    2012-12-01

    The rate of climatic-niche evolution is important to many research areas in ecology, evolution, and conservation biology, including responses of species to global climate change, spread of invasive species, speciation, biogeography, and patterns of species richness. Previous studies have implied that clades with higher rates of climatic-niche evolution among species should have species with narrower niche breadths, but there is also evidence suggesting the opposite pattern. However, the relationships between rate and breadth have not been explicitly analyzed. Here, we examine the relationships between the rate of climatic-niche evolution and climatic-niche breadth using phylogenetic and climatic data for 250 species in the salamander family Plethodontidae, a group showing considerable variation in both rates of climatic-niche evolution and climatic-niche breadths. Contrary to some expectations, we find no general relationship between climatic-niche breadth and the rate of climatic-niche evolution. Climatic-niche breadths for some ecologically important climatic variables considered separately (temperature seasonality and annual precipitation) do show significant relationships with the rate of climatic-niche evolution, but rates are faster in clades in which species have broader (not narrower) niche breadths. In summary, our results show that narrower niche breadths are not necessarily associated with faster rates of niche evolution.

  8. Transfer of Multidrug-Resistant Bacteria between Intermingled Ecological Niches: The Interface between Humans, Animals and the Environment

    PubMed Central

    da Costa, Paulo Martins; Loureiro, Luís; Matos, Augusto J. F.

    2013-01-01

    The use of antimicrobial agents has been claimed to be the driving force for the emergence and spread of microbial resistance. However, several studies have reported the presence of multidrug-resistant bacteria in populations exposed to low levels of antimicrobial drugs or even never exposed. For many pathogens, especially those organisms for which asymptomatic colonization typically precedes infection (e.g., Enterococcus spp. and Escherichia coli), the selective effects of antimicrobial use can only be understood if we considerer all biological and environmental pathways which enable these bacteria, and the genes they carry, to spread between different biomes. This ecological framework provides an essential perspective for formulating antimicrobial use policies, precisely because it encompasses the root causes of these problems rather than merely their consequences. PMID:23343983

  9. Ecological niches of Arctic deep-sea copepods: Vertical partitioning, dietary preferences and different trophic levels minimize inter-specific competition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Laakmann, Silke; Kochzius, Marc; Auel, Holger

    2009-05-01

    The biodiversity of pelagic deep-sea ecosystems has received growing scientific interest in the last decade, especially in the framework of international marine biodiversity initiatives, such as Census of Marine Life (CoML). While a growing number of deep-sea zooplankton species has been identified and genetically characterized, little information is available on the mechanisms minimizing inter-specific competition and thus allowing closely related species to co-occur in the deep-sea pelagic realm. Focussing on the two dominant calanoid copepod families Euchaetidae and Aetideidae in Fram Strait, Arctic Ocean, the present study strives to characterize ecological niches of co-occurring species, with regard to vertical distribution, dietary composition as derived from lipid biomarkers, and trophic level on the basis of stable isotope signatures. Closely related species were usually restricted to different depth layers, resulting in a multi-layered vertical distribution pattern. Thus, vertical partitioning was an important mechanism to avoid inter-specific competition. Species occurring in the same depth strata usually belonged to different genera. They differed in fatty acid composition and trophic level, indicating different food preferences. Herbivorous Calanus represent major prey items for many omnivorous and carnivorous species throughout the water column. The seasonal and ontogenetic vertical migration of Calanus acts as a short-cut in food supply for pelagic deep-sea ecosystems in the Arctic.

  10. Interspecific Differences in Metabolic Rate and Metabolic Temperature Sensitivity Create Distinct Thermal Ecological Niches in Lizards (Plestiodon)

    PubMed Central

    Watson, Charles M.; Burggren, Warren W.

    2016-01-01

    Three congeneric lizards from the southeastern United States (Plestiodon fasciatus, P. inexpectatus, and P. laticeps) exhibit a unique nested distribution. All three skink species inhabit the US Southeast, but two extend northward to central Ohio (P. fasciatus and P. laticeps) and P. fasciatus extends well into Canada. Distinct interspecific differences in microhabitat selection and behavior are associated with the cooler temperatures of the more Northern ranges. We hypothesized that interspecific differences in metabolic temperature sensitivity locally segregates them across their total range. Resting oxygen consumption was measured at 20°, 25° and 30°C. Plestiodon fasciatus, from the coolest habitats, exhibited greatly elevated oxygen consumption compared to the other species at high ecologically-relevant temperatures (0.10, 0.17 and 0.83 ml O2. g-1. h-1 at 20°, 25° and 30°C, respectively). Yet, P. inexpectatus, from the warmest habitats, exhibited sharply decreased oxygen consumption compared to the other species at lower ecologically-relevant temperatures (0.09, 0.27 and 0.42 ml O2. g-1. h-1 at 20°, 25° and 30°C, respectively). Plestiodon laticeps, from both open and closed microhabitats and intermediate latitudinal range, exhibited oxygen consumptions significantly lower than the other two species (0.057, 0.104 and 0.172 ml O2. g-1. h-1 at 20°, 25° and 30°C, respectively). Overall, Plestiodon showed metabolic temperature sensitivities (Q10s) in the range of 2–3 over the middle of each species’ normal temperature range. However, especially P. fasciatus and P. inexpectatus showed highly elevated Q10s (9 to 25) at the extreme ends of their temperature range. While morphologically similar, these skinks are metabolically distinct across the genus’ habitat, likely having contributed to their current distribution. PMID:27760215

  11. An ecological process model of systems change.

    PubMed

    Peirson, Leslea J; Boydell, Katherine M; Ferguson, H Bruce; Ferris, Lorraine E

    2011-06-01

    In June 2007 the American Journal of Community Psychology published a special issue focused on theories, methods and interventions for systems change which included calls from the editors and authors for theoretical advancement in this field. We propose a conceptual model of systems change that integrates familiar and fundamental community psychology principles (succession, interdependence, cycling of resources, adaptation) and accentuates a process orientation. To situate our framework we offer a definition of systems change and a brief review of the ecological perspective and principles. The Ecological Process Model of Systems Change is depicted, described and applied to a case example of policy driven systems level change in publicly funded social programs. We conclude by identifying salient implications for thinking and action which flow from the Model. PMID:21203829

  12. Current and Future Niche of North and Central American Sand Flies (Diptera: Psychodidae) in Climate Change Scenarios

    PubMed Central

    Moo-Llanes, David; Ibarra-Cerdeña, Carlos N.; Rebollar-Téllez, Eduardo A.; Ibáñez-Bernal, Sergio; González, Camila; Ramsey, Janine M.

    2013-01-01

    Ecological niche models are useful tools to infer potential spatial and temporal distributions in vector species and to measure epidemiological risk for infectious diseases such as the Leishmaniases. The ecological niche of 28 North and Central American sand fly species, including those with epidemiological relevance, can be used to analyze the vector's ecology and its association with transmission risk, and plan integrated regional vector surveillance and control programs. In this study, we model the environmental requirements of the principal North and Central American phlebotomine species and analyze three niche characteristics over future climate change scenarios: i) potential change in niche breadth, ii) direction and magnitude of niche centroid shifts, iii) shifts in elevation range. Niche identity between confirmed or incriminated Leishmania vector sand flies in Mexico, and human cases were analyzed. Niche models were constructed using sand fly occurrence datapoints from Canada, USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. Nine non-correlated bioclimatic and four topographic data layers were used as niche components using GARP in OpenModeller. Both B2 and A2 climate change scenarios were used with two general circulation models for each scenario (CSIRO and HadCM3), for 2020, 2050 and 2080. There was an increase in niche breadth to 2080 in both scenarios for all species with the exception of Lutzomyia vexator. The principal direction of niche centroid displacement was to the northwest (64%), while the elevation range decreased greatest for tropical, and least for broad-range species. Lutzomyia cruciata is the only epidemiologically important species with high niche identity with that of Leishmania spp. in Mexico. Continued landscape modification in future climate change will provide an increased opportunity for the geographic expansion of NCA sand flys' ENM and human exposure to vectors of Leishmaniases. PMID:24069478

  13. Current and future niche of North and Central American sand flies (Diptera: psychodidae) in climate change scenarios.

    PubMed

    Moo-Llanes, David; Ibarra-Cerdeña, Carlos N; Rebollar-Téllez, Eduardo A; Ibáñez-Bernal, Sergio; González, Camila; Ramsey, Janine M

    2013-01-01

    Ecological niche models are useful tools to infer potential spatial and temporal distributions in vector species and to measure epidemiological risk for infectious diseases such as the Leishmaniases. The ecological niche of 28 North and Central American sand fly species, including those with epidemiological relevance, can be used to analyze the vector's ecology and its association with transmission risk, and plan integrated regional vector surveillance and control programs. In this study, we model the environmental requirements of the principal North and Central American phlebotomine species and analyze three niche characteristics over future climate change scenarios: i) potential change in niche breadth, ii) direction and magnitude of niche centroid shifts, iii) shifts in elevation range. Niche identity between confirmed or incriminated Leishmania vector sand flies in Mexico, and human cases were analyzed. Niche models were constructed using sand fly occurrence datapoints from Canada, USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. Nine non-correlated bioclimatic and four topographic data layers were used as niche components using GARP in OpenModeller. Both B2 and A2 climate change scenarios were used with two general circulation models for each scenario (CSIRO and HadCM3), for 2020, 2050 and 2080. There was an increase in niche breadth to 2080 in both scenarios for all species with the exception of Lutzomyia vexator. The principal direction of niche centroid displacement was to the northwest (64%), while the elevation range decreased greatest for tropical, and least for broad-range species. Lutzomyia cruciata is the only epidemiologically important species with high niche identity with that of Leishmania spp. in Mexico. Continued landscape modification in future climate change will provide an increased opportunity for the geographic expansion of NCA sand flys' ENM and human exposure to vectors of Leishmaniases.

  14. Current and future niche of North and Central American sand flies (Diptera: psychodidae) in climate change scenarios.

    PubMed

    Moo-Llanes, David; Ibarra-Cerdeña, Carlos N; Rebollar-Téllez, Eduardo A; Ibáñez-Bernal, Sergio; González, Camila; Ramsey, Janine M

    2013-01-01

    Ecological niche models are useful tools to infer potential spatial and temporal distributions in vector species and to measure epidemiological risk for infectious diseases such as the Leishmaniases. The ecological niche of 28 North and Central American sand fly species, including those with epidemiological relevance, can be used to analyze the vector's ecology and its association with transmission risk, and plan integrated regional vector surveillance and control programs. In this study, we model the environmental requirements of the principal North and Central American phlebotomine species and analyze three niche characteristics over future climate change scenarios: i) potential change in niche breadth, ii) direction and magnitude of niche centroid shifts, iii) shifts in elevation range. Niche identity between confirmed or incriminated Leishmania vector sand flies in Mexico, and human cases were analyzed. Niche models were constructed using sand fly occurrence datapoints from Canada, USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. Nine non-correlated bioclimatic and four topographic data layers were used as niche components using GARP in OpenModeller. Both B2 and A2 climate change scenarios were used with two general circulation models for each scenario (CSIRO and HadCM3), for 2020, 2050 and 2080. There was an increase in niche breadth to 2080 in both scenarios for all species with the exception of Lutzomyia vexator. The principal direction of niche centroid displacement was to the northwest (64%), while the elevation range decreased greatest for tropical, and least for broad-range species. Lutzomyia cruciata is the only epidemiologically important species with high niche identity with that of Leishmania spp. in Mexico. Continued landscape modification in future climate change will provide an increased opportunity for the geographic expansion of NCA sand flys' ENM and human exposure to vectors of Leishmaniases. PMID:24069478

  15. Implicit assimilation for marine ecological models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weir, B.; Miller, R.; Spitz, Y. H.

    2012-12-01

    We use a new data assimilation method to estimate the parameters of a marine ecological model. At a given point in the ocean, the estimated values of the parameters determine the behaviors of the modeled planktonic groups, and thus indicate which species are dominant. To begin, we assimilate in situ observations, e.g., the Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study, the Hawaii Ocean Time-series, and Ocean Weather Station Papa. From there, we estimate the parameters at surrounding points in space based on satellite observations of ocean color. Given the variation of the estimated parameters, we divide the ocean into regions meant to represent distinct ecosystems. An important feature of the data assimilation approach is that it refines the confidence limits of the optimal Gaussian approximation to the distribution of the parameters. This enables us to determine the ecological divisions with greater accuracy.

  16. Alien Invasive Slider Turtle in Unpredicted Habitat: A Matter of Niche Shift or of Predictors Studied?

    PubMed Central

    Rödder, Dennis; Schmidtlein, Sebastian; Veith, Michael; Lötters, Stefan

    2009-01-01

    Background Species Distribution Models (SDMs) aim on the characterization of a species' ecological niche and project it into geographic space. The result is a map of the species' potential distribution, which is, for instance, helpful to predict the capability of alien invasive species. With regard to alien invasive species, recently several authors observed a mismatch between potential distributions of native and invasive ranges derived from SDMs and, as an explanation, ecological niche shift during biological invasion has been suggested. We studied the physiologically well known Slider turtle from North America which today is widely distributed over the globe and address the issue of ecological niche shift versus choice of ecological predictors used for model building, i.e., by deriving SDMs using multiple sets of climatic predictor. Principal Findings In one SDM, predictors were used aiming to mirror the physiological limits of the Slider turtle. It was compared to numerous other models based on various sets of ecological predictors or predictors aiming at comprehensiveness. The SDM focusing on the study species' physiological limits depicts the target species' worldwide potential distribution better than any of the other approaches. Conclusion These results suggest that a natural history-driven understanding is crucial in developing statistical models of ecological niches (as SDMs) while “comprehensive” or “standard” sets of ecological predictors may be of limited use. PMID:19956684

  17. Niche evolution, trophic structure, and species turnover in model food webs.

    PubMed

    Ingram, Travis; Harmon, Luke J; Shurin, Jonathan B

    2009-07-01

    The features that govern the stability and persistence of species interaction networks, such as food webs, remain elusive, but recent work suggests that the distribution and strength of trophic links play an important role. Potential omnivory-stability relationships have been investigated and debated extensively, but we still have a relatively poor understanding of how levels of omnivory relate to the stability of diverse food webs. Here, we use an evolutionary assembly model to investigate how different trade-offs in resource use influence both food web structure and dynamic stability during the assembly process. We build on a previous model by allowing speciation along with the evolution of two traits: body size and feeding-niche width. Across a wide range of conditions, the level of omnivory in a food web is positively related to its dynamic instability (variability and species turnover). Parameter values favoring omnivory also allow a wider range of phenotypes to invade, often displacing existing species. This high species turnover leaves signatures in reconstructed phylogenies, with shorter branches connecting extant species in more omnivorous food webs. Our findings suggest that features of the environment may influence both trophic structure and dynamic stability, leading to emergent omnivory-stability relationships.

  18. Adaptive divergence in experimental populations of Pseudomonas fluorescens. V. Insight into the niche specialist fuzzy spreader compels revision of the model Pseudomonas radiation.

    PubMed

    Ferguson, Gayle C; Bertels, Frederic; Rainey, Paul B

    2013-12-01

    Pseudomonas fluorescens is a model for the study of adaptive radiation. When propagated in a spatially structured environment, the bacterium rapidly diversifies into a range of niche specialist genotypes. Here we present a genetic dissection and phenotypic characterization of the fuzzy spreader (FS) morphotype-a type that arises repeatedly during the course of the P. fluorescens radiation and appears to colonize the bottom of static broth microcosms. The causal mutation is located within gene fuzY (pflu0478)-the fourth gene of the five-gene fuzVWXYZ operon. fuzY encodes a β-glycosyltransferase that is predicted to modify lipopolysaccharide (LPS) O antigens. The effect of the mutation is to cause cell flocculation. Analysis of 92 independent FS genotypes showed each to have arisen as the result of a loss-of-function mutation in fuzY, although different mutations have subtly different phenotypic and fitness effects. Mutations within fuzY were previously shown to suppress the phenotype of mat-forming wrinkly spreader (WS) types. This prompted a reinvestigation of FS niche preference. Time-lapse photography showed that FS colonizes the meniscus of broth microcosms, forming cellular rafts that, being too flimsy to form a mat, collapse to the vial bottom and then repeatably reform only to collapse. This led to a reassessment of the ecology of the P. fluorescens radiation. Finally, we show that ecological interactions between the three dominant emergent types (smooth, WS, and FS), combined with the interdependence of FS and WS on fuzY, can, at least in part, underpin an evolutionary arms race with bacteriophage SBW25Φ2, to which mutation in fuzY confers resistance. PMID:24077305

  19. Northern glacial refugia and altitudinal niche divergence shape genome-wide differentiation in the emerging plant model Arabidopsis arenosa.

    PubMed

    Kolář, Filip; Fuxová, Gabriela; Záveská, Eliška; Nagano, Atsushi J; Hyklová, Lucie; Lučanová, Magdalena; Kudoh, Hiroshi; Marhold, Karol

    2016-08-01

    Quaternary climatic oscillations profoundly impacted temperate biodiversity. For many diverse yet undersampled areas, however, the consequences of this impact are still poorly known. In Europe, particular uncertainty surrounds the role of Balkans, a major hotspot of European diversity, in postglacial recolonization of more northerly areas, and the Carpathians, a debatable candidate for a northern 'cryptic' glacial refugium. Using genome-wide SNPs and microsatellites, we examined how the interplay of historical processes and niche shifts structured genetic diversity of diploid Arabidopsis arenosa, a little-known member of the plant model genus that occupies a wide niche range from sea level to alpine peaks across eastern temperate Europe. While the northern Balkans hosted one isolated endemic lineage, most of the genetic diversity was concentrated further north in the Pannonian Basin and the Carpathians, where it likely survived the last glaciation in northern refugia. Finally, a distinct postglacial environment in northern Europe was colonized by populations of admixed origin from the two Carpathian lineages. Niche differentiation along altitude-related bioclimatic gradients was the main trend in the phylogeny of A. arenosa. The most prominent niche shifts, however, characterized genetically only slightly divergent populations that expanded into narrowly defined alpine and northern coastal postglacial environments. Our study highlights the role of eastern central European mountains not only as refugia for unique temperate diversity but also sources for postglacial expansion into novel high-altitude and high-latitude niches. Knowledge of distinct genetic substructure of diploid A. arenosa also opens new opportunities for follow-up studies of this emerging model of evolutionary biology.

  20. Northern glacial refugia and altitudinal niche divergence shape genome-wide differentiation in the emerging plant model Arabidopsis arenosa.

    PubMed

    Kolář, Filip; Fuxová, Gabriela; Záveská, Eliška; Nagano, Atsushi J; Hyklová, Lucie; Lučanová, Magdalena; Kudoh, Hiroshi; Marhold, Karol

    2016-08-01

    Quaternary climatic oscillations profoundly impacted temperate biodiversity. For many diverse yet undersampled areas, however, the consequences of this impact are still poorly known. In Europe, particular uncertainty surrounds the role of Balkans, a major hotspot of European diversity, in postglacial recolonization of more northerly areas, and the Carpathians, a debatable candidate for a northern 'cryptic' glacial refugium. Using genome-wide SNPs and microsatellites, we examined how the interplay of historical processes and niche shifts structured genetic diversity of diploid Arabidopsis arenosa, a little-known member of the plant model genus that occupies a wide niche range from sea level to alpine peaks across eastern temperate Europe. While the northern Balkans hosted one isolated endemic lineage, most of the genetic diversity was concentrated further north in the Pannonian Basin and the Carpathians, where it likely survived the last glaciation in northern refugia. Finally, a distinct postglacial environment in northern Europe was colonized by populations of admixed origin from the two Carpathian lineages. Niche differentiation along altitude-related bioclimatic gradients was the main trend in the phylogeny of A. arenosa. The most prominent niche shifts, however, characterized genetically only slightly divergent populations that expanded into narrowly defined alpine and northern coastal postglacial environments. Our study highlights the role of eastern central European mountains not only as refugia for unique temperate diversity but also sources for postglacial expansion into novel high-altitude and high-latitude niches. Knowledge of distinct genetic substructure of diploid A. arenosa also opens new opportunities for follow-up studies of this emerging model of evolutionary biology. PMID:27288974

  1. Runaway cultural niche construction.

    PubMed

    Rendell, Luke; Fogarty, Laurel; Laland, Kevin N

    2011-03-27

    Cultural niche construction is a uniquely potent source of selection on human populations, and a major cause of recent human evolution. Previous theoretical analyses have not, however, explored the local effects of cultural niche construction. Here, we use spatially explicit coevolutionary models to investigate how cultural processes could drive selection on human genes by modifying local resources. We show that cultural learning, expressed in local niche construction, can trigger a process with dynamics that resemble runaway sexual selection. Under a broad range of conditions, cultural niche-constructing practices generate selection for gene-based traits and hitchhike to fixation through the build up of statistical associations between practice and trait. This process can occur even when the cultural practice is costly, or is subject to counteracting transmission biases, or the genetic trait is selected against. Under some conditions a secondary hitchhiking occurs, through which genetic variants that enhance the capability for cultural learning are also favoured by similar dynamics. We suggest that runaway cultural niche construction could have played an important role in human evolution, helping to explain why humans are simultaneously the species with the largest relative brain size, the most potent capacity for niche construction and the greatest reliance on culture.

  2. Indirect Energy Flows in Niche Model Food Webs: Effects of Size and Connectance.

    PubMed

    Shevtsov, Jane; Rael, Rosalyn

    2015-01-01

    Indirect interactions between species have long been of interest to ecologists. One such interaction type takes place when energy or materials flow via one or more intermediate species between two species with a direct predator-prey relationship. Previous work has shown that, although each such flow is small, their great number makes them important in ecosystems. A new network analysis method, dynamic environ approximation, was used to quantify the fraction of energy flowing from prey to predator over paths of length greater than 1 (flow indirectness or FI) in a commonly studied food web model. Web structure was created using the niche model and dynamics followed the Yodzis-Innes model. The effect of food web size (10 to 40 species) and connectance (0.1 to 0.48) on FI was examined. For each of 250 model realizations run for each pair of size and connectance values, the FI of every predator-prey interaction in the model was computed and then averaged over the whole network. A classification and regression tree (CART) analysis was then used to find the best predictors of FI. The mean FI of the model food webs is 0.092, with a standard deviation of 0.0279. It tends to increase with system size but peaks at intermediate connectance levels. Of 27 potential predictor variables, only five (mean path length, dominant eigenvalue of the adjacency matrix, connectance, mean trophic level and fraction of species belonging to intermediate trophic levels) were selected by the CART algorithm as best accounting for variation in the data; mean path length and the dominant eigenvalue of the adjacency matrix were dominant.

  3. How many studies are necessary to compare niche-based models for geographic distributions? Inductive reasoning may fail at the end.

    PubMed

    Terribile, L C; Diniz-Filho, J A F; De Marco jr, P

    2010-05-01

    The use of ecological niche models (ENM) to generate potential geographic distributions of species has rapidly increased in ecology, conservation and evolutionary biology. Many methods are available and the most used are Maximum Entropy Method (MAXENT) and the Genetic Algorithm for Rule Set Production (GARP). Recent studies have shown that MAXENT perform better than GARP. Here we used the statistics methods of ROC - AUC (area under the Receiver Operating Characteristics curve) and bootstrap to evaluate the performance of GARP and MAXENT in generate potential distribution models for 39 species of New World coral snakes. We found that values of AUC for GARP ranged from 0.923 to 0.999, whereas those for MAXENT ranged from 0.877 to 0.999. On the whole, the differences in AUC were very small, but for 10 species GARP outperformed MAXENT. Means and standard deviations for 100 bootstrapped samples with sample sizes ranging from 3 to 30 species did not show any trends towards deviations from a zero difference in AUC values of GARP minus AUC values of MAXENT. Ours results suggest that further studies are still necessary to establish under which circumstances the statistical performance of the methods vary. However, it is also important to consider the possibility that this empirical inductive reasoning may fail in the end, because we almost certainly could not establish all potential scenarios generating variation in the relative performance of models.

  4. The importance (or lack thereof) of niche divergence to the maintenance of a northern species complex: the case of the long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum Baird).

    PubMed

    Lee-Yaw, J A; Irwin, D E

    2015-04-01

    The relative importance of ecological vs. non-ecological factors for the origin and maintenance of species is an open question in evolutionary biology. Young lineages--such as the distinct genetic groups that make up the ranges of many northern species--represent an opportunity to study the importance of ecological divergence during the early stages of diversification. Yet, few studies have examined the extent of niche divergence between lineages in previously glaciated regions and the role of ecology in maintaining the contact zones between them. In this study, we used tests of niche overlap in combination with ecological niche models to explore the extent of niche divergence between lineages of the long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum Baird) species complex and to determine whether contact zones correspond to (divergent) niche limits. We found limited evidence for niche divergence between the different long-toed salamander lineages, substantial overlap in the predicted distribution of suitable climatic space for all lineages and range limits that are independent of niche limits. These results raise questions as to the importance of ecological divergence to the development of this widespread species complex and highlight the potential for non-ecological factors to play a more important role in the maintenance of northern taxa. PMID:25777044

  5. PREDICTIONS IN AN INVADED WORLD - PART II: USING NICHE MODELS TO PREDICT DISTRIBUTIONS OF MARINE/ESTUARINE SPECIES AT THE ESTUARY SCALE

    EPA Science Inventory

    To better understand the potential geographical distributions of nonindigenous species (NIS), we are evaluating the ability of niche models to predict the presence of existing native and NIS species within individual estuaries based on landscape characteristics. One model being ...

  6. Thermal niche for in situ seed germination by Mediterranean mountain streams: model prediction and validation for Rhamnus persicifolia seeds

    PubMed Central

    Porceddu, Marco; Mattana, Efisio; Pritchard, Hugh W.; Bacchetta, Gianluigi

    2013-01-01

    Background and Aims Mediterranean mountain species face exacting ecological conditions of rainy, cold winters and arid, hot summers, which affect seed germination phenology. In this study, a soil heat sum model was used to predict field emergence of Rhamnus persicifolia, an endemic tree species living at the edge of mountain streams of central eastern Sardinia. Methods Seeds were incubated in the light at a range of temperatures (10–25 and 25/10 °C) after different periods (up to 3 months) of cold stratification at 5 °C. Base temperatures (Tb), and thermal times for 50 % germination (θ50) were calculated. Seeds were also buried in the soil in two natural populations (Rio Correboi and Rio Olai), both underneath and outside the tree canopy, and exhumed at regular intervals. Soil temperatures were recorded using data loggers and soil heat sum (°Cd) was calculated on the basis of the estimated Tb and soil temperatures. Key Results Cold stratification released physiological dormancy (PD), increasing final germination and widening the range of germination temperatures, indicative of a Type 2 non-deep PD. Tb was reduced from 10·5 °C for non-stratified seeds to 2·7 °C for seeds cold stratified for 3 months. The best thermal time model was obtained by fitting probit germination against log °Cd. θ50 was 2·6 log °Cd for untreated seeds and 2·17–2·19 log °Cd for stratified seeds. When θ50 values were integrated with soil heat sum estimates, field emergence was predicted from March to April and confirmed through field observations. Conclusions Tb and θ50 values facilitated model development of the thermal niche for in situ germination of R. persicifolia. These experimental approaches may be applied to model the natural regeneration patterns of other species growing on Mediterranean mountain waterways and of physiologically dormant species, with overwintering cold stratification requirement and spring germination. PMID:24201139

  7. Evolutionary Responses to a Constructed Niche: Ancient Mesoamericans as a Model of Gene-Culture Coevolution

    PubMed Central

    Hünemeier, Tábita; Amorim, Carlos Eduardo Guerra; Azevedo, Soledad; Contini, Veronica; Acuña-Alonzo, Víctor; Rothhammer, Francisco; Dugoujon, Jean-Michel; Mazières, Stephane; Barrantes, Ramiro; Villarreal-Molina, María Teresa; Paixão-Côrtes, Vanessa Rodrigues; Salzano, Francisco M.; Canizales-Quinteros, Samuel; Ruiz-Linares, Andres; Bortolini, Maria Cátira

    2012-01-01

    Culture and genetics rely on two distinct but not isolated transmission systems. Cultural processes may change the human selective environment and thereby affect which individuals survive and reproduce. Here, we evaluated whether the modes of subsistence in Native American populations and the frequencies of the ABCA1*Arg230Cys polymorphism were correlated. Further, we examined whether the evolutionary consequences of the agriculturally constructed niche in Mesoamerica could be considered as a gene-culture coevolution model. For this purpose, we genotyped 229 individuals affiliated with 19 Native American populations and added data for 41 other Native American groups (n = 1905) to the analysis. In combination with the SNP cluster of a neutral region, this dataset was then used to unravel the scenario involved in 230Cys evolutionary history. The estimated age of 230Cys is compatible with its origin occurring in the American continent. The correlation of its frequencies with the archeological data on Zea pollen in Mesoamerica/Central America, the neutral coalescent simulations, and the FST-based natural selection analysis suggest that maize domestication was the driving force in the increase in the frequencies of 230Cys in this region. These results may represent the first example of a gene-culture coevolution involving an autochthonous American allele. PMID:22768049

  8. Evolutionary responses to a constructed niche: ancient Mesoamericans as a model of gene-culture coevolution.

    PubMed

    Hünemeier, Tábita; Amorim, Carlos Eduardo Guerra; Azevedo, Soledad; Contini, Veronica; Acuña-Alonzo, Víctor; Rothhammer, Francisco; Dugoujon, Jean-Michel; Mazières, Stephane; Barrantes, Ramiro; Villarreal-Molina, María Teresa; Paixão-Côrtes, Vanessa Rodrigues; Salzano, Francisco M; Canizales-Quinteros, Samuel; Ruiz-Linares, Andres; Bortolini, Maria Cátira

    2012-01-01

    Culture and genetics rely on two distinct but not isolated transmission systems. Cultural processes may change the human selective environment and thereby affect which individuals survive and reproduce. Here, we evaluated whether the modes of subsistence in Native American populations and the frequencies of the ABCA1*Arg230Cys polymorphism were correlated. Further, we examined whether the evolutionary consequences of the agriculturally constructed niche in Mesoamerica could be considered as a gene-culture coevolution model. For this purpose, we genotyped 229 individuals affiliated with 19 Native American populations and added data for 41 other Native American groups (n = 1905) to the analysis. In combination with the SNP cluster of a neutral region, this dataset was then used to unravel the scenario involved in 230Cys evolutionary history. The estimated age of 230Cys is compatible with its origin occurring in the American continent. The correlation of its frequencies with the archeological data on Zea pollen in Mesoamerica/Central America, the neutral coalescent simulations, and the F(ST)-based natural selection analysis suggest that maize domestication was the driving force in the increase in the frequencies of 230Cys in this region. These results may represent the first example of a gene-culture coevolution involving an autochthonous American allele. PMID:22768049

  9. Family routines within the ecological niche: an analysis of the psychological well-being of U.S. caregivers of children with disabilities

    PubMed Central

    Larson, Elizabeth; Miller-Bishoff, Thomas

    2014-01-01

    Using mixed methods, this study examined the relationship of caregivers of children with disabilities’ psychological well-being (PWB) and their orchestration of daily routines within their ecological niche. Thirty-nine U.S. caregivers completed in-depth interviews, PWB Scales, and Family Time and Routines Index (FTRI). We used a multi-step analysis. Interview data was coded and vignettes created without knowledge of PWB and FTRI ratings. Next, the relationship of quantitative measures was analyzed. Four groups were created using FTRI-extent and PWB means: (1) low routine-low PWB, (2) low routine-high PWB, (3) high routine-low PWB, and (4) high routine-high PWB. We examined qualitative differences in key features between groups. Findings: Total PWB and FTRI scores were not significantly correlated, PWB Purpose in Life and FTRI-extent scores were moderately positively correlated, and PWB Environmental Mastery and FTRI-extent correlation approached significance. Qualitative findings describe caregivers’ structuring of routines, intensity of oversight, support in routines, management of dinner, paid work, and needs for respite. The four groups differed in paid work, household support, degree the child could self-occupy, Environmental Mastery, and opportunities to recuperate. Caregivers with higher levels of well-being and more regular routines did paid work, had supportive spouses, had children who more often could follow routines, had higher Environmental Mastery, could orchestrate a family meal, and had breaks from care in either work or leisure. All Native American caregivers and Mexican American caregivers with spouses were in the high routine-high PWB group. Insight into this complex negotiation between family members within daily routines may provide practitioners a better understanding of how to work within family circles to foster therapeutic alliances, identify focused intervention targets, and promote positive family wide outcomes. PMID:24910625

  10. Body size and the small branch niche: using marsupial ontogeny to model primate locomotor evolution.

    PubMed

    Shapiro, Liza J; Young, Jesse W; VandeBerg, John L

    2014-03-01

    Recently proposed ancestral locomotor and morphological 'stages' leading to the evolution of primates have emphasized small body size, and a transition from a clawed non-grasping stage, to a clawed, grasping stage with clawless opposable hallux, to a fully-nailed primate with grasping extremities. This evolutionary transition was presumably associated with frequent use of the small branch niche. To model elements of these evolutionary transitions, we investigate how body size, substrate size, substrate orientation and grasping morphology interact to influence quadrupedal kinematics within and between ontogenetic samples of two small-bodied marsupials, one arboreal (Petaurus breviceps) and the other mainly terrestrial (Monodelphis domestica). Longitudinal morphometric and kinematic data were collected from four juvenile P. breviceps (33-75 g) and two juvenile M. domestica (18-95 g) walking across poles of three diameters (2.5, 1.0, and 0.5 cm) and three orientations (horizontal, 30° incline, 30° decline). The two species responded similarly to some substrate conditions, but diverged in response to others. Kinematic divergence between the two species reflects Monodelphis' relatively shorter digits, reduced grasping ability and greater need for stabilizing mechanisms on narrow substrates. At a given relative body size or pole orientation, Monodelphis used higher limb duty factors, more limbs in support per stride, lower limb phases, and in some conditions, faster speeds compared with Petaurus. Interspecific differences were the least distinct on declined poles, highlighting the particular challenge of this substrate condition, even for arboreally adapted species. Small-bodied, arboreal primate ancestors would likely have employed the kinematic mechanisms common to our model taxa, but those with enhanced grasping adaptations would most likely not have required the increased level of stabilizing mechanisms exhibited by Monodelphis. Thus, using these two species

  11. Microencapsulation of Neuroblastoma Cells and Mesenchymal Stromal Cells in Collagen Microspheres: A 3D Model for Cancer Cell Niche Study

    PubMed Central

    Yeung, Pan; Sin, Hoi Shun; Chan, Shing; Chan, Godfrey Chi Fung; Chan, Barbara Pui

    2015-01-01

    There is a growing trend for researchers to use in vitro 3D models in cancer studies, as they can better recapitulate the complex in vivo situation. And the fact that the progression and development of tumor are closely associated to its stromal microenvironment has been increasingly recognized. The establishment of such tumor supportive niche is vital in understanding tumor progress and metastasis. The mesenchymal origin of many cells residing in the cancer niche provides the rationale to include MSCs in mimicking the niche in neuroblastoma. Here we co-encapsulate and co-culture NBCs and MSCs in a 3D in vitro model and investigate the morphology, growth kinetics and matrix remodeling in the reconstituted stromal environment. Results showed that the incorporation of MSCs in the model lead to accelerated growth of cancer cells as well as recapitulation of at least partially the tumor microenvironment in vivo. The current study therefore demonstrates the feasibility for the collagen microsphere to act as a 3D in vitro cancer model for various topics in cancer studies. PMID:26657086

  12. WASP TRANSPORT MODELING AND WASP ECOLOGICAL MODELING

    EPA Science Inventory

    A combination of lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on excercises will be used to introduce pollutant transport modeling with the U.S. EPA's general water quality model, WASP (Water Quality Analysis Simulation Program). WASP features include a user-friendly Windows-based interfa...

  13. Alternative stable states in a stage-structured consumer-resource biomass model with niche shift and seasonal reproduction.

    PubMed

    Sun, Zepeng; de Roos, André M

    2015-08-01

    We formulate and analyze a stage-structured consumer-resource biomass model, in which consumers reproduce in a pulsed event at the beginning of a growing season and furthermore go through a niche shift during their life history. We show that the resulting semi-discrete model can exhibit two stable states that can be characterized as a development-controlled state and a reproduction-controlled state. Varying resource availabilities and varying the extent of the niche shift determines whether juveniles or adults are more limited by their resource(s) and can lead to switches between the alternative stable states. Furthermore, we quantify the persistence of the consumer population and the occurrence of the two alternative stable states as a function of resource availabilities and extent of the niche shift. All the results show that irrespective of the type of reproduction of the consumers (continuous or seasonal), the stage-structured model will exhibit alternative stable states as long as development of the juvenile stage and reproduction of the adult stage are both resource-dependent.

  14. Plant stem cell niches.

    PubMed

    Aichinger, Ernst; Kornet, Noortje; Friedrich, Thomas; Laux, Thomas

    2012-01-01

    Multicellular organisms possess pluripotent stem cells to form new organs, replenish the daily loss of cells, or regenerate organs after injury. Stem cells are maintained in specific environments, the stem cell niches, that provide signals to block differentiation. In plants, stem cell niches are situated in the shoot, root, and vascular meristems-self-perpetuating units of organ formation. Plants' lifelong activity-which, as in the case of trees, can extend over more than a thousand years-requires that a robust regulatory network keep the balance between pluripotent stem cells and differentiating descendants. In this review, we focus on current models in plant stem cell research elaborated during the past two decades, mainly in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. We address the roles of mobile signals on transcriptional modules involved in balancing cell fates. In addition, we discuss shared features of and differences between the distinct stem cell niches of Arabidopsis.

  15. Microbial ecology-based methods to characterize the bacterial communities of non-model insects.

    PubMed

    Prosdocimi, Erica M; Mapelli, Francesca; Gonella, Elena; Borin, Sara; Crotti, Elena

    2015-12-01

    Among the animals of the Kingdom Animalia, insects are unparalleled for their widespread diffusion, diversity and number of occupied ecological niches. In recent years they have raised researcher interest not only because of their importance as human and agricultural pests, disease vectors and as useful breeding species (e.g. honeybee and silkworm), but also because of their suitability as animal models. It is now fully recognized that microorganisms form symbiotic relationships with insects, influencing their survival, fitness, development, mating habits and the immune system and other aspects of the biology and ecology of the insect host. Thus, any research aimed at deepening the knowledge of any given insect species (perhaps species of applied interest or species emerging as novel pests or vectors) must consider the characterization of the associated microbiome. The present review critically examines the microbiology and molecular ecology techniques that can be applied to the taxonomical and functional analysis of the microbiome of non-model insects. Our goal is to provide an overview of current approaches and methods addressing the ecology and functions of microorganisms and microbiomes associated with insects. Our focus is on operational details, aiming to provide a concise guide to currently available advanced techniques, in an effort to extend insect microbiome research beyond simple descriptions of microbial communities.

  16. Microbial ecology-based methods to characterize the bacterial communities of non-model insects.

    PubMed

    Prosdocimi, Erica M; Mapelli, Francesca; Gonella, Elena; Borin, Sara; Crotti, Elena

    2015-12-01

    Among the animals of the Kingdom Animalia, insects are unparalleled for their widespread diffusion, diversity and number of occupied ecological niches. In recent years they have raised researcher interest not only because of their importance as human and agricultural pests, disease vectors and as useful breeding species (e.g. honeybee and silkworm), but also because of their suitability as animal models. It is now fully recognized that microorganisms form symbiotic relationships with insects, influencing their survival, fitness, development, mating habits and the immune system and other aspects of the biology and ecology of the insect host. Thus, any research aimed at deepening the knowledge of any given insect species (perhaps species of applied interest or species emerging as novel pests or vectors) must consider the characterization of the associated microbiome. The present review critically examines the microbiology and molecular ecology techniques that can be applied to the taxonomical and functional analysis of the microbiome of non-model insects. Our goal is to provide an overview of current approaches and methods addressing the ecology and functions of microorganisms and microbiomes associated with insects. Our focus is on operational details, aiming to provide a concise guide to currently available advanced techniques, in an effort to extend insect microbiome research beyond simple descriptions of microbial communities. PMID:26476138

  17. Size, shape, and the thermal niche of endotherms

    PubMed Central

    Porter, Warren P.; Kearney, Michael

    2009-01-01

    A key challenge in ecology is to define species' niches on the basis of functional traits. Size and shape are important determinants of a species' niche but their causal role is often difficult to interpret. For endotherms, size and shape define the thermal niche through their interaction with core temperature, insulation, and environmental conditions, determining the thermoneutral zone (TNZ) where energy and water costs are minimized. Laboratory measures of metabolic rate used to describe TNZs cannot be generalized to infer the capacity for terrestrial animals to find their TNZ in complex natural environments. Here, we derive an analytical model of the thermal niche of an ellipsoid furred endotherm that accurately predicts field and laboratory data. We use the model to illustrate the relative importance of size and shape on the location of the TNZ under different environmental conditions. The interaction between body shape and posture strongly influences the location of the TNZ and the expected scaling of metabolic rate with size at constant temperature. We demonstrate that the latter relationship has a slope of approximately ½ rather than the commonly expected surface area/volume scaling of ⅔. We show how such functional traits models can be integrated with spatial environmental datasets to calculate null expectations for body size clines from a thermal perspective, aiding mechanistic interpretation of empirical clines such as Bergmann's Rule. The combination of spatially explicit data with biophysical models of heat exchange provides a powerful means for studying the thermal niches of endotherms across climatic gradients. PMID:19846790

  18. Validation of a Mechanistic Model for Non-Invasive Study of Ecological Energetics in an Endangered Wading Bird with Counter-Current Heat Exchange in its Legs.

    PubMed

    Fitzpatrick, Megan J; Mathewson, Paul D; Porter, Warren P

    2015-01-01

    Mechanistic models provide a powerful, minimally invasive tool for gaining a deeper understanding of the ecology of animals across geographic space and time. In this paper, we modified and validated the accuracy of the mechanistic model Niche Mapper for simulating heat exchanges of animals with counter-current heat exchange mechanisms in their legs and animals that wade in water. We then used Niche Mapper to explore the effects of wading and counter-current heat exchange on the energy expenditures of Whooping Cranes, a long-legged wading bird. We validated model accuracy against the energy expenditure of two captive Whooping Cranes measured using the doubly-labeled water method and time energy budgets. Energy expenditure values modeled by Niche Mapper were similar to values measured by the doubly-labeled water method and values estimated from time-energy budgets. Future studies will be able to use Niche Mapper as a non-invasive tool to explore energy-based limits to the fundamental niche of Whooping Cranes and apply this knowledge to management decisions. Basic questions about the importance of counter-current exchange and wading to animal physiological tolerances can also now be explored with the model. PMID:26308207

  19. Validation of a Mechanistic Model for Non-Invasive Study of Ecological Energetics in an Endangered Wading Bird with Counter-Current Heat Exchange in its Legs

    PubMed Central

    Fitzpatrick, Megan J.; Mathewson, Paul D.; Porter, Warren P.

    2015-01-01

    Mechanistic models provide a powerful, minimally invasive tool for gaining a deeper understanding of the ecology of animals across geographic space and time. In this paper, we modified and validated the accuracy of the mechanistic model Niche Mapper for simulating heat exchanges of animals with counter-current heat exchange mechanisms in their legs and animals that wade in water. We then used Niche Mapper to explore the effects of wading and counter-current heat exchange on the energy expenditures of Whooping Cranes, a long-legged wading bird. We validated model accuracy against the energy expenditure of two captive Whooping Cranes measured using the doubly-labeled water method and time energy budgets. Energy expenditure values modeled by Niche Mapper were similar to values measured by the doubly-labeled water method and values estimated from time-energy budgets. Future studies will be able to use Niche Mapper as a non-invasive tool to explore energy-based limits to the fundamental niche of Whooping Cranes and apply this knowledge to management decisions. Basic questions about the importance of counter-current exchange and wading to animal physiological tolerances can also now be explored with the model. PMID:26308207

  20. Targeting the Biophysical Properties of the Myeloma Initiating Cell Niches: A Pharmaceutical Synergism Analysis Using Multi-Scale Agent-Based Modeling

    PubMed Central

    Su, Jing; Zhang, Le; Zhang, Wen; Choi, Dong Song; Wen, Jianguo; Jiang, Beini; Chang, Chung-Che; Zhou, Xiaobo

    2014-01-01

    Multiple myeloma, the second most common hematological cancer, is currently incurable due to refractory disease relapse and development of multiple drug resistance. We and others recently established the biophysical model that myeloma initiating (stem) cells (MICs) trigger the stiffening of their niches via SDF-1/CXCR4 paracrine; The stiffened niches then promote the colonogenesis of MICs and protect them from drug treatment. In this work we examined in silico the pharmaceutical potential of targeting MIC niche stiffness to facilitate cytotoxic chemotherapies. We first established a multi-scale agent-based model using the Markov Chain Monte Carlo approach to recapitulate the niche stiffness centric, pro-oncogenetic positive feedback loop between MICs and myeloma-associated bone marrow stromal cells (MBMSCs), and investigated the effects of such intercellular chemo-physical communications on myeloma development. Then we used AMD3100 (to interrupt the interactions between MICs and their stroma) and Bortezomib (a recently developed novel therapeutic agent) as representative drugs to examine if the biophysical properties of myeloma niches are drugable. Results showed that our model recaptured the key experimental observation that the MBMSCs were more sensitive to SDF-1 secreted by MICs, and provided stiffer niches for these initiating cells and promoted their proliferation and drug resistance. Drug synergism analysis suggested that AMD3100 treatment undermined the capability of MICs to modulate the bone marrow microenvironment, and thus re-sensitized myeloma to Bortezomib treatments. This work is also the first attempt to virtually visualize in 3D the dynamics of the bone marrow stiffness during myeloma development. In summary, we established a multi-scale model to facilitate the translation of the niche-stiffness centric myeloma model as well as experimental observations to possible clinical applications. We concluded that targeting the biophysical properties of stem

  1. Social niche specialization under constraints: personality, social interactions and environmental heterogeneity.

    PubMed

    Montiglio, Pierre-Olivier; Ferrari, Caterina; Réale, Denis

    2013-05-19

    Several personality traits are mainly expressed in a social context, and others, which are not restricted to a social context, can be affected by the social interactions with conspecifics. In this paper, we focus on the recently proposed hypothesis that social niche specialization (i.e. individuals in a population occupy different social roles) can explain the maintenance of individual differences in personality. We first present ecological and social niche specialization hypotheses. In particular, we show how niche specialization can be quantified and highlight the link between personality differences and social niche specialization. We then review some ecological factors (e.g. competition and environmental heterogeneity) and the social mechanisms (e.g. frequency-dependent, state-dependent and social awareness) that may be associated with the evolution of social niche specialization and personality differences. Finally, we present a conceptual model and methods to quantify the contribution of ecological factors and social mechanisms to the dynamics between personality and social roles. In doing so, we suggest a series of research objectives to help empirical advances in this research area. Throughout this paper, we highlight empirical studies of social niche specialization in mammals, where available.

  2. Stochastic ecological network occupancy (SENO) models: a new tool for modeling ecological networks across spatial scales

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lafferty, Kevin D.; Dunne, Jennifer A.

    2010-01-01

    Stochastic ecological network occupancy (SENO) models predict the probability that species will occur in a sample of an ecological network. In this review, we introduce SENO models as a means to fill a gap in the theoretical toolkit of ecologists. As input, SENO models use a topological interaction network and rates of colonization and extinction (including consumer effects) for each species. A SENO model then simulates the ecological network over time, resulting in a series of sub-networks that can be used to identify commonly encountered community modules. The proportion of time a species is present in a patch gives its expected probability of occurrence, whose sum across species gives expected species richness. To illustrate their utility, we provide simple examples of how SENO models can be used to investigate how topological complexity, species interactions, species traits, and spatial scale affect communities in space and time. They can categorize species as biodiversity facilitators, contributors, or inhibitors, making this approach promising for ecosystem-based management of invasive, threatened, or exploited species.

  3. Evidence for large-scale effects of competition: niche displacement in Canada lynx and bobcat.

    PubMed

    Peers, Michael J L; Thornton, Daniel H; Murray, Dennis L

    2013-12-22

    Determining the patterns, causes and consequences of character displacement is central to our understanding of competition in ecological communities. However, the majority of competition research has occurred over small spatial extents or focused on fine-scale differences in morphology or behaviour. The effects of competition on broad-scale distribution and niche characteristics of species remain poorly understood but critically important. Using range-wide species distribution models, we evaluated whether Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) or bobcat (Lynx rufus) were displaced in regions of sympatry. Consistent with our prediction, we found that lynx niches were less similar to those of bobcat in areas of sympatry versus allopatry, with a stronger reliance on snow cover driving lynx niche divergence in the sympatric zone. By contrast, bobcat increased niche breadth in zones of sympatry, and bobcat niches were equally similar to those of lynx in zones of sympatry and allopatry. These findings suggest that competitively disadvantaged species avoid competition at large scales by restricting their niche to highly suitable conditions, while superior competitors expand the diversity of environments used. Our results indicate that competition can manifest within climatic niche space across species' ranges, highlighting the importance of biotic interactions occurring at large spatial scales on niche dynamics.

  4. Evidence for large-scale effects of competition: niche displacement in Canada lynx and bobcat.

    PubMed

    Peers, Michael J L; Thornton, Daniel H; Murray, Dennis L

    2013-12-22

    Determining the patterns, causes and consequences of character displacement is central to our understanding of competition in ecological communities. However, the majority of competition research has occurred over small spatial extents or focused on fine-scale differences in morphology or behaviour. The effects of competition on broad-scale distribution and niche characteristics of species remain poorly understood but critically important. Using range-wide species distribution models, we evaluated whether Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) or bobcat (Lynx rufus) were displaced in regions of sympatry. Consistent with our prediction, we found that lynx niches were less similar to those of bobcat in areas of sympatry versus allopatry, with a stronger reliance on snow cover driving lynx niche divergence in the sympatric zone. By contrast, bobcat increased niche breadth in zones of sympatry, and bobcat niches were equally similar to those of lynx in zones of sympatry and allopatry. These findings suggest that competitively disadvantaged species avoid competition at large scales by restricting their niche to highly suitable conditions, while superior competitors expand the diversity of environments used. Our results indicate that competition can manifest within climatic niche space across species' ranges, highlighting the importance of biotic interactions occurring at large spatial scales on niche dynamics. PMID:24174116

  5. Spatial Uncertainty Analysis of Ecological Models

    SciTech Connect

    Jager, H.I.; Ashwood, T.L.; Jackson, B.L.; King, A.W.

    2000-09-02

    The authors evaluated the sensitivity of a habitat model and a source-sink population model to spatial uncertainty in landscapes with different statistical properties and for hypothetical species with different habitat requirements. Sequential indicator simulation generated alternative landscapes from a source map. Their results showed that spatial uncertainty was highest for landscapes in which suitable habitat was rare and spatially uncorrelated. Although, they were able to exert some control over the degree of spatial uncertainty by varying the sampling density drawn from the source map, intrinsic spatial properties (i.e., average frequency and degree of spatial autocorrelation) played a dominant role in determining variation among realized maps. To evaluate the ecological significance of landscape variation, they compared the variation in predictions from a simple habitat model to variation among landscapes for three species types. Spatial uncertainty in predictions of the amount of source habitat depended on both the spatial life history characteristics of the species and the statistical attributes of the synthetic landscapes. Species differences were greatest when the landscape contained a high proportion of suitable habitat. The predicted amount of source habitat was greater for edge-dependent (interior) species in landscapes with spatially uncorrelated(correlated) suitable habitat. A source-sink model demonstrated that, although variation among landscapes resulted in relatively little variation in overall population growth rate, this spatial uncertainty was sufficient in some situations, to produce qualitatively different predictions about population viability (i.e., population decline vs. increase).

  6. Combining physiological threshold knowledge to species distribution models is key to improving forecasts of the future niche for macroalgae.

    PubMed

    Martínez, Brezo; Arenas, Francisco; Trilla, Alba; Viejo, Rosa M; Carreño, Francisco

    2015-04-01

    Species distribution models (SDM) are a useful tool for predicting species range shifts in response to global warming. However, they do not explore the mechanisms underlying biological processes, making it difficult to predict shifts outside the environmental gradient where the model was trained. In this study, we combine correlative SDMs and knowledge on physiological limits to provide more robust predictions. The thermal thresholds obtained in growth and survival experiments were used as proxies of the fundamental niches of two foundational marine macrophytes. The geographic projections of these species' distributions obtained using these thresholds and existing SDMs were similar in areas where the species are either absent-rare or frequent and where their potential and realized niches match, reaching consensus predictions. The cold-temperate foundational seaweed Himanthalia elongata was predicted to become extinct at its southern limit in northern Spain in response to global warming, whereas the occupancy of southern-lusitanic Bifurcaria bifurcata was expected to increase. Combined approaches such as this one may also highlight geographic areas where models disagree potentially due to biotic factors. Physiological thresholds alone tended to over-predict species prevalence, as they cannot identify absences in climatic conditions within the species' range of physiological tolerance or at the optima. Although SDMs tended to have higher sensitivity than threshold models, they may include regressions that do not reflect causal mechanisms, constraining their predictive power. We present a simple example of how combining correlative and mechanistic knowledge provides a rapid way to gain insight into a species' niche resulting in consistent predictions and highlighting potential sources of uncertainty in forecasted responses to climate change. PMID:24917488

  7. Land Suitability Modeling using a Geographic Socio-Environmental Niche-Based Approach: A Case Study from Northeastern Thailand

    PubMed Central

    Heumann, Benjamin W.; Walsh, Stephen J.; Verdery, Ashton M.; McDaniel, Phillip M.; Rindfuss, Ronald R.

    2012-01-01

    Understanding the pattern-process relations of land use/land cover change is an important area of research that provides key insights into human-environment interactions. The suitability or likelihood of occurrence of land use such as agricultural crop types across a human-managed landscape is a central consideration. Recent advances in niche-based, geographic species distribution modeling (SDM) offer a novel approach to understanding land suitability and land use decisions. SDM links species presence-location data with geospatial information and uses machine learning algorithms to develop non-linear and discontinuous species-environment relationships. Here, we apply the MaxEnt (Maximum Entropy) model for land suitability modeling by adapting niche theory to a human-managed landscape. In this article, we use data from an agricultural district in Northeastern Thailand as a case study for examining the relationships between the natural, built, and social environments and the likelihood of crop choice for the commonly grown crops that occur in the Nang Rong District – cassava, heavy rice, and jasmine rice, as well as an emerging crop, fruit trees. Our results indicate that while the natural environment (e.g., elevation and soils) is often the dominant factor in crop likelihood, the likelihood is also influenced by household characteristics, such as household assets and conditions of the neighborhood or built environment. Furthermore, the shape of the land use-environment curves illustrates the non-continuous and non-linear nature of these relationships. This approach demonstrates a novel method of understanding non-linear relationships between land and people. The article concludes with a proposed method for integrating the niche-based rules of land use allocation into a dynamic land use model that can address both allocation and quantity of agricultural crops. PMID:24187378

  8. A simple model of bipartite cooperation for ecological and organizational networks.

    PubMed

    Saavedra, Serguei; Reed-Tsochas, Felix; Uzzi, Brian

    2009-01-22

    In theoretical ecology, simple stochastic models that satisfy two basic conditions about the distribution of niche values and feeding ranges have proved successful in reproducing the overall structural properties of real food webs, using species richness and connectance as the only input parameters. Recently, more detailed models have incorporated higher levels of constraint in order to reproduce the actual links observed in real food webs. Here, building on previous stochastic models of consumer-resource interactions between species, we propose a highly parsimonious model that can reproduce the overall bipartite structure of cooperative partner-partner interactions, as exemplified by plant-animal mutualistic networks. Our stochastic model of bipartite cooperation uses simple specialization and interaction rules, and only requires three empirical input parameters. We test the bipartite cooperation model on ten large pollination data sets that have been compiled in the literature, and find that it successfully replicates the degree distribution, nestedness and modularity of the empirical networks. These properties are regarded as key to understanding cooperation in mutualistic networks. We also apply our model to an extensive data set of two classes of company engaged in joint production in the garment industry. Using the same metrics, we find that the network of manufacturer-contractor interactions exhibits similar structural patterns to plant-animal pollination networks. This surprising correspondence between ecological and organizational networks suggests that the simple rules of cooperation that generate bipartite networks may be generic, and could prove relevant in many different domains, ranging from biological systems to human society.

  9. Diversity, dilemmas, and monopolies of niche construction.

    PubMed

    Krakauer, David C; Page, Karen M; Erwin, Douglas H

    2009-01-01

    The behavior of organisms can contribute to the transformation of their environments. When organismal impacts on the environment feed back to influence organismal density, viability, fertility, or persistence, the environment can be construed as an extension of the organism. This process of fitness-enhancing environmental transformation has been called niche construction. We focus on the relationship of niche construction with species or strain diversity and on the variability of investment in niche construction versus reproduction. We demonstrate a fundamental dilemma of niche construction, whereby the construction of a shared resource leads to a tragedy of the commons, with competition tending to eliminate niche construction strategies. The ability to monopolize a niche, either through spatial proximity or through preferential exploitation, can stabilize niche construction and promote ecological coexistence among polymorphic constructors. We consider both sympatric and allopatric origins of niche construction. Under a variety of different construction mechanisms, variability in the investment in niche construction versus reproduction suggests reproductive altruism but is fully consistent with selfish behavior. We discuss the implications of niche-construction theory on the evolution of life cycles and development, behavioral plasticity, the division of labor, and long-term macroevolutionary trends.

  10. Phylogenetic conservatism of environmental niches in mammals.

    PubMed

    Cooper, Natalie; Freckleton, Rob P; Jetz, Walter

    2011-08-01

    Phylogenetic niche conservatism is the pattern where close relatives occupy similar niches, whereas distant relatives are more dissimilar. We suggest that niche conservatism will vary across clades in relation to their characteristics. Specifically, we investigate how conservatism of environmental niches varies among mammals according to their latitude, range size, body size and specialization. We use the Brownian rate parameter, σ(2), to measure the rate of evolution in key variables related to the ecological niche and define the more conserved group as the one with the slower rate of evolution. We find that tropical, small-ranged and specialized mammals have more conserved thermal niches than temperate, large-ranged or generalized mammals. Partitioning niche conservatism into its spatial and phylogenetic components, we find that spatial effects on niche variables are generally greater than phylogenetic effects. This suggests that recent evolution and dispersal have more influence on species' niches than more distant evolutionary events. These results have implications for our understanding of the role of niche conservatism in species richness patterns and for gauging the potential for species to adapt to global change.

  11. Spatial analysis of plague in California: niche modeling predictions of the current distribution and potential response to climate change

    PubMed Central

    Holt, Ashley C; Salkeld, Daniel J; Fritz, Curtis L; Tucker, James R; Gong, Peng

    2009-01-01

    Background Plague, caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, is a public and wildlife health concern in California and the western United States. This study explores the spatial characteristics of positive plague samples in California and tests Maxent, a machine-learning method that can be used to develop niche-based models from presence-only data, for mapping the potential distribution of plague foci. Maxent models were constructed using geocoded seroprevalence data from surveillance of California ground squirrels (Spermophilus beecheyi) as case points and Worldclim bioclimatic data as predictor variables, and compared and validated using area under the receiver operating curve (AUC) statistics. Additionally, model results were compared to locations of positive and negative coyote (Canis latrans) samples, in order to determine the correlation between Maxent model predictions and areas of plague risk as determined via wild carnivore surveillance. Results Models of plague activity in California ground squirrels, based on recent climate conditions, accurately identified case locations (AUC of 0.913 to 0.948) and were significantly correlated with coyote samples. The final models were used to identify potential plague risk areas based on an ensemble of six future climate scenarios. These models suggest that by 2050, climate conditions may reduce plague risk in the southern parts of California and increase risk along the northern coast and Sierras. Conclusion Because different modeling approaches can yield substantially different results, care should be taken when interpreting future model predictions. Nonetheless, niche modeling can be a useful tool for exploring and mapping the potential response of plague activity to climate change. The final models in this study were used to identify potential plague risk areas based on an ensemble of six future climate scenarios, which can help public managers decide where to allocate surveillance resources. In addition, Maxent

  12. Functional traits, convergent evolution, and periodic tables of niches.

    PubMed

    Winemiller, Kirk O; Fitzgerald, Daniel B; Bower, Luke M; Pianka, Eric R

    2015-08-01

    Ecology is often said to lack general theories sufficiently predictive for applications. Here, we examine the concept of a periodic table of niches and feasibility of niche classification schemes from functional trait and performance data. Niche differences and their influence on ecological patterns and processes could be revealed effectively by first performing data reduction/ordination analyses separately on matrices of trait and performance data compiled according to logical associations with five basic niche 'dimensions', or aspects: habitat, life history, trophic, defence and metabolic. Resultant patterns then are integrated to produce interpretable niche gradients, ordinations and classifications. Degree of scheme periodicity would depend on degrees of niche conservatism and convergence causing species clustering across multiple niche dimensions. We analysed a sample data set containing trait and performance data to contrast two approaches for producing niche schemes: species ordination within niche gradient space, and niche categorisation according to trait-value thresholds. Creation of niche schemes useful for advancing ecological knowledge and its applications will depend on research that produces functional trait and performance datasets directly related to niche dimensions along with criteria for data standardisation and quality. As larger databases are compiled, opportunities will emerge to explore new methods for data reduction, ordination and classification. PMID:26096695

  13. Functional traits, convergent evolution, and periodic tables of niches.

    PubMed

    Winemiller, Kirk O; Fitzgerald, Daniel B; Bower, Luke M; Pianka, Eric R

    2015-08-01

    Ecology is often said to lack general theories sufficiently predictive for applications. Here, we examine the concept of a periodic table of niches and feasibility of niche classification schemes from functional trait and performance data. Niche differences and their influence on ecological patterns and processes could be revealed effectively by first performing data reduction/ordination analyses separately on matrices of trait and performance data compiled according to logical associations with five basic niche 'dimensions', or aspects: habitat, life history, trophic, defence and metabolic. Resultant patterns then are integrated to produce interpretable niche gradients, ordinations and classifications. Degree of scheme periodicity would depend on degrees of niche conservatism and convergence causing species clustering across multiple niche dimensions. We analysed a sample data set containing trait and performance data to contrast two approaches for producing niche schemes: species ordination within niche gradient space, and niche categorisation according to trait-value thresholds. Creation of niche schemes useful for advancing ecological knowledge and its applications will depend on research that produces functional trait and performance datasets directly related to niche dimensions along with criteria for data standardisation and quality. As larger databases are compiled, opportunities will emerge to explore new methods for data reduction, ordination and classification.

  14. Neutrality, niches, and dispersal in a temperate forest understory

    PubMed Central

    Gilbert, Benjamin; Lechowicz, Martin J.

    2004-01-01

    A fundamental goal of ecology is to understand what controls the distribution and abundance of species. Both environmental niches and trade-offs among species in dispersal and competitive ability have traditionally been cited as determinants of plant community composition. More recently, neutral models have shown that communities of species with identical life-history characteristics and no adaptation to environmental niches can form spatial distribution patterns similar to those found in nature, so long as the species have a limited dispersal distance. If there is a strong correlation between geographic distance and change in environmental conditions, however, such spatial patterns can arise through either neutral or niche-based processes. To test these competing theories, we developed a sampling design that decoupled distance and environment in the understory plant communities of an old-growth, temperate forest. We found strong evidence of niche-structuring but almost no support for neutral predictions. Dispersal limitation acted in conjunction with environmental gradients to determine species' distributions, and both functional and phylogenetic constraints appear to contribute to the niche differentiation that structures community assembly. Our results indicate that testing a neutral hypothesis without accounting for environmental gradients will at best cause unexplained variation in plant distributions and may well provide misleading support for neutrality because of a correlation between geographic distance and environment. PMID:15128948

  15. Southern marl prairies conceptual ecological model

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Davis, S.M.; Loftus, W.F.; Gaiser, E.E.; Huffman, A.E.

    2005-01-01

    About 190,000 ha of higher-elevation marl prairies flank either side of Shark River Slough in the southern Everglades. Water levels typically drop below the ground surface each year in this landscape. Consequently, peat soil accretion is inhibited, and substrates consist either of calcitic marl produced by algal periphyton mats or exposed limestone bedrock. The southern marl prairies support complex mosaics of wet prairie, sawgrass sawgrass (Cladium jamaicense), tree islands, and tropical hammock communities and a high diversity of plant species. However, relatively short hydroperiods and annual dry downs provide stressful conditions for aquatic fauna, affecting survival in the dry season when surface water is absent. Here, we present a conceptual ecological model developed for this landscape through scientific concensus, use of empirical data, and modeling. The two major societal drivers affecting the southern marl prairies are water management practices and agricultural and urban development. These drivers lead to five groups of ecosystem stressors: loss of spatial extent and connectivity, shortened hydroperiod and increased drought severity, extended hydroperiod and drying pattern reversals, introduction and spread of non-native trees, and introduction and spread of non-native fishes. Major ecological attributes include periphyton mats, plant species diversity and community mosaic, Cape Sable seaside sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus mirabilis), marsh fishes and associated aquatic fauna prey base, American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), and wading bird early dry season foraging. Water management and development are hypothesized to have a negative effect on the ecological attributes of the southern marl prairies in the following ways. Periphyton mats have decreased in cover in areas where hydroperiod has been significantly reduced and changed in community composition due to inverse responses to increased nutrient availability. Plant species diversity and

  16. The role of ecological models in linking ecological risk assessment to ecosystem services in agroecosystems.

    PubMed

    Galic, Nika; Schmolke, Amelie; Forbes, Valery; Baveco, Hans; van den Brink, Paul J

    2012-01-15

    Agricultural practices are essential for sustaining the human population, but at the same time they can directly disrupt ecosystem functioning. Ecological risk assessment (ERA) aims to estimate possible adverse effects of human activities on ecosystems and their parts. Current ERA practices, however, incorporate very little ecology and base the risk estimates on the results of standard tests with several standard species. The main obstacles for a more ecologically relevant ERA are the lack of clear protection goals and the inherent complexity of ecosystems that is hard to approach empirically. In this paper, we argue that the ecosystem services framework offers an opportunity to define clear and ecologically relevant protection goals. At the same time, ecological models provide the tools to address ecological complexity to the degree needed to link measurement endpoints and ecosystem services, and to quantify service provision and possible adverse effects from human activities. We focus on the ecosystem services relevant for agroecosystem functioning, including pollination, biocontrol and eutrophication effects and present modeling studies relevant for quantification of each of the services. The challenges of the ecosystem services approach are discussed as well as the limitations of ecological models in the context of ERA. A broad, multi-stakeholder dialog is necessary to aid the definition of protection goals in terms of services delivered by ecosystems and their parts. The need to capture spatio-temporal dynamics and possible interactions among service providers pose challenges for ecological models as a basis for decision making. However, we argue that both fields are advancing quickly and can prove very valuable in achieving more ecologically relevant ERA. PMID:21802704

  17. Transcriptome comparison of distinct osteolineage subsets in the hematopoietic stem cell niche using a triple fluorescent transgenic mouse model

    PubMed Central

    Yu, Vionnie W.C.; Lymperi, Stefania; Ferraro, Francesca; Scadden, David T.

    2015-01-01

    The bone marrow niche is recognized as a central player in maintaining and regulating the behavior of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. Specific gain-of and loss-of function experiments perturbing a range of osteolineage cells or their secreted proteins had been shown to affect stem cell maintenance (Calvi et al, 2003 [1]; Stier et al., 2005 [2]; Zhang et al., 2003 [3]; Nilsson et al., 2005 [4]; Greenbaum et al., 2013 [5]) and engraftment (Adam et al., 2006, 2009 [6], [7]). We used specific in vivo cell deletion approaches to dissect the niche cell-parenchymal cell dependency in a complex bone marrow microenvironment. Endogenous deletion of osteocalcin-expressing (Ocn+) cells led to a loss of T immune cells (Yu et al., 2015 [8]. Ocn+ cells express the Notch ligand DLL4 to communicate with T-competent progenitors, and thereby ensuring T precursor production and expression of chemotactic molecules on their cell surface for subsequent thymic seeding. In contrast, depletion of osterix-expressing (Osx+) osteoprogenitors led to reduced B immune cells. These distinct hematopoietic phenotypes suggest specific pairing of mesenchymal niche cells and parenchymal hematopoietic cells in the bone marrow to create unique functional units to support hematopoiesis. Here, we present the global gene expression profiles of these osteolineage subtypes utilizing a triple fluorescent transgenic mouse model (OsxCre+;Rosa-mCh+;Ocn:Topaz+) that labels Osx+ cells red, Ocn+ cells green, and Osx+ Ocn+ cells yellow. This system allows isolation of distinct osteolineage subsets within the same animal by flow cytometry. Array data that have been described in our study [8] are also publically available from NCBI Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) with the accession number GSE66042. Differences in gene expression may correlate with functional difference in supporting hematopoiesis. PMID:26484277

  18. Transcriptome comparison of distinct osteolineage subsets in the hematopoietic stem cell niche using a triple fluorescent transgenic mouse model.

    PubMed

    Yu, Vionnie W C; Lymperi, Stefania; Ferraro, Francesca; Scadden, David T

    2015-09-01

    The bone marrow niche is recognized as a central player in maintaining and regulating the behavior of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. Specific gain-of and loss-of function experiments perturbing a range of osteolineage cells or their secreted proteins had been shown to affect stem cell maintenance (Calvi et al, 2003 [1]; Stier et al., 2005 [2]; Zhang et al., 2003 [3]; Nilsson et al., 2005 [4]; Greenbaum et al., 2013 [5]) and engraftment (Adam et al., 2006, 2009 [6,7]). We used specific in vivo cell deletion approaches to dissect the niche cell-parenchymal cell dependency in a complex bone marrow microenvironment. Endogenous deletion of osteocalcin-expressing (Ocn(+)) cells led to a loss of T immune cells (Yu et al., 2015 [8]. Ocn(+) cells express the Notch ligand DLL4 to communicate with T-competent progenitors, and thereby ensuring T precursor production and expression of chemotactic molecules on their cell surface for subsequent thymic seeding. In contrast, depletion of osterix-expressing (Osx(+)) osteoprogenitors led to reduced B immune cells. These distinct hematopoietic phenotypes suggest specific pairing of mesenchymal niche cells and parenchymal hematopoietic cells in the bone marrow to create unique functional units to support hematopoiesis. Here, we present the global gene expression profiles of these osteolineage subtypes utilizing a triple fluorescent transgenic mouse model (OsxCre(+);Rosa-mCh(+);Ocn:Topaz(+)) that labels Osx(+) cells red, Ocn(+) cells green, and Osx(+) Ocn(+) cells yellow. This system allows isolation of distinct osteolineage subsets within the same animal by flow cytometry. Array data that have been described in our study [8] are also publically available from NCBI Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) with the accession number GSE66042. Differences in gene expression may correlate with functional difference in supporting hematopoiesis. PMID:26484277

  19. Oral Lactobacilli and Dental Caries: A Model for Niche Adaptation in Humans.

    PubMed

    Caufield, P W; Schön, C N; Saraithong, P; Li, Y; Argimón, S

    2015-09-01

    Lactobacilli have been associated with dental caries for over a century. Here, we review the pertinent literature along with findings from our own study to formulate a working hypothesis about the natural history and role of lactobacilli. Unlike most indigenous microbes that stably colonize a host, lactobacilli appear to be planktonic, opportunistic settlers that can gather and multiply only in certain restrictive niches of the host, at least within the oral cavity. We postulate that the following essential requirements are necessary for sustained colonization of lactobacilli in humans: 1) a stagnant, retentive niche that is mostly anaerobic; 2) a low pH milieu; and 3) ready access to carbohydrates. Three sites on the human body meet these specifications: caries lesions, the stomach, and the vagina. Only a handful of Lactobacillus species is found in caries lesions, but they are largely absent in caries-free children. Lactobacilli present in caries lesions represent both a major contributor to caries progression and a major reservoir to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. We extend the assertion from other investigators that lactobacilli found in the GI tract originate in the oral cavity by proposing that lactobacilli in the oral cavity arise from caries lesions. This, in turn, leads us to reflect on the health implications of the lactobacilli in the mouth and downstream GI and to ponder whether these or any of the Lactobacillus species are truly indigenous to the human GI tract or the oral cavity.

  20. Progress and Challenges in Coupled Hydrodynamic-Ecological Estuarine Modeling

    EPA Science Inventory

    Numerical modeling has emerged over the last several decades as a widely accepted tool for investigations in environmental sciences. In estuarine research, hydrodynamic and ecological models have moved along parallel tracks with regard to complexity, refinement, computational po...

  1. A Conceptual Framework for Evaluating the Domains of Applicability of Ecological Models and its Implementation in the Ecological Production Function Library - International Society for Ecological Modelling Conference

    EPA Science Inventory

    The use of computational ecological models to inform environmental management and policy has proliferated in the past 25 years. These models have become essential tools as linkages and feedbacks between human actions and ecological responses can be complex, and as funds for sampl...

  2. Neutral theory and the species abundance distribution: recent developments and prospects for unifying niche and neutral perspectives.

    PubMed

    Matthews, Thomas J; Whittaker, Robert J

    2014-06-01

    Published in 2001, The Unified Neutral Theory of Biodiversity and Biogeography (UNTB) emphasizes the importance of stochastic processes in ecological community structure, and has challenged the traditional niche-based view of ecology. While neutral models have since been applied to a broad range of ecological and macroecological phenomena, the majority of research relating to neutral theory has focused exclusively on the species abundance distribution (SAD). Here, we synthesize the large body of work on neutral theory in the context of the species abundance distribution, with a particular focus on integrating ideas from neutral theory with traditional niche theory. First, we summarize the basic tenets of neutral theory; both in general and in the context of SADs. Second, we explore the issues associated with neutral theory and the SAD, such as complications with fitting and model comparison, the underlying assumptions of neutral models, and the difficultly of linking pattern to process. Third, we highlight the advances in understanding of SADs that have resulted from neutral theory and models. Finally, we focus consideration on recent developments aimed at unifying neutral- and niche-based approaches to ecology, with a particular emphasis on what this means for SAD theory, embracing, for instance, ideas of emergent neutrality and stochastic niche theory. We put forward the argument that the prospect of the unification of niche and neutral perspectives represents one of the most promising future avenues of neutral theory research.

  3. Neutral theory and the species abundance distribution: recent developments and prospects for unifying niche and neutral perspectives.

    PubMed

    Matthews, Thomas J; Whittaker, Robert J

    2014-06-01

    Published in 2001, The Unified Neutral Theory of Biodiversity and Biogeography (UNTB) emphasizes the importance of stochastic processes in ecological community structure, and has challenged the traditional niche-based view of ecology. While neutral models have since been applied to a broad range of ecological and macroecological phenomena, the majority of research relating to neutral theory has focused exclusively on the species abundance distribution (SAD). Here, we synthesize the large body of work on neutral theory in the context of the species abundance distribution, with a particular focus on integrating ideas from neutral theory with traditional niche theory. First, we summarize the basic tenets of neutral theory; both in general and in the context of SADs. Second, we explore the issues associated with neutral theory and the SAD, such as complications with fitting and model comparison, the underlying assumptions of neutral models, and the difficultly of linking pattern to process. Third, we highlight the advances in understanding of SADs that have resulted from neutral theory and models. Finally, we focus consideration on recent developments aimed at unifying neutral- and niche-based approaches to ecology, with a particular emphasis on what this means for SAD theory, embracing, for instance, ideas of emergent neutrality and stochastic niche theory. We put forward the argument that the prospect of the unification of niche and neutral perspectives represents one of the most promising future avenues of neutral theory research. PMID:25360266

  4. Neutral theory and the species abundance distribution: recent developments and prospects for unifying niche and neutral perspectives

    PubMed Central

    Matthews, Thomas J; Whittaker, Robert J

    2014-01-01

    Published in 2001, The Unified Neutral Theory of Biodiversity and Biogeography (UNTB) emphasizes the importance of stochastic processes in ecological community structure, and has challenged the traditional niche-based view of ecology. While neutral models have since been applied to a broad range of ecological and macroecological phenomena, the majority of research relating to neutral theory has focused exclusively on the species abundance distribution (SAD). Here, we synthesize the large body of work on neutral theory in the context of the species abundance distribution, with a particular focus on integrating ideas from neutral theory with traditional niche theory. First, we summarize the basic tenets of neutral theory; both in general and in the context of SADs. Second, we explore the issues associated with neutral theory and the SAD, such as complications with fitting and model comparison, the underlying assumptions of neutral models, and the difficultly of linking pattern to process. Third, we highlight the advances in understanding of SADs that have resulted from neutral theory and models. Finally, we focus consideration on recent developments aimed at unifying neutral- and niche-based approaches to ecology, with a particular emphasis on what this means for SAD theory, embracing, for instance, ideas of emergent neutrality and stochastic niche theory. We put forward the argument that the prospect of the unification of niche and neutral perspectives represents one of the most promising future avenues of neutral theory research. PMID:25360266

  5. Modeling the ecological impact of heavy metals on aquatic ecosystems: a framework for the development of an ecological model.

    PubMed

    He, M; Wang, Z; Tang, H

    2001-02-01

    In this paper, an ecological model is proposed to predict the effects of heavy metals on aquatic ecosystems. The bioavailable concentration of metals and a concept of toxicity strength (TS) are combined. The integrated ecological model relates the transport, distribution and speciation of heavy metals and their toxicity, and the effect of environmental variability on metal toxicity. It also emphasizes the link between physical and chemical processes of heavy metals in rivers and ecological effects. Based on the data obtained from research in the CERP project (Co-operative Ecological Research Project), the ecological impact of heavy metals on the aquatic ecosystem of the Le An River (polluted by heavy metals from a copper mine) was predicted. The results show that the estimated values of toxicity strength for surface water are in agreement with the percentage inhibition for the test organism (P. phosphoreum) and that the predicted ecological effect of polluted sediment is consistent with natural variability in aquatic ecosystems. PMID:11258829

  6. A Complementary Ecological Model of the Coordinated School Health Program

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lohrmann, David K.

    2010-01-01

    Background: A complementary ecological model of the coordinated school health program (CSHP) reflecting 20 years of evolved changes is proposed. Ecology refers to the complex interrelationship between intrapersonal factors, interpersonal processes and primary groups, institutional factors, community factors, and public policy. Methods: Public…

  7. Analytically tractable model for community ecology with many species.

    PubMed

    Dickens, Benjamin; Fisher, Charles K; Mehta, Pankaj

    2016-08-01

    A fundamental problem in community ecology is understanding how ecological processes such as selection, drift, and immigration give rise to observed patterns in species composition and diversity. Here, we analyze a recently introduced, analytically tractable, presence-absence (PA) model for community assembly, and we use it to ask how ecological traits such as the strength of competition, the amount of diversity, and demographic and environmental stochasticity affect species composition in a community. In the PA model, species are treated as stochastic binary variables that can either be present or absent in a community: species can immigrate into the community from a regional species pool and can go extinct due to competition and stochasticity. Building upon previous work, we show that, despite its simplicity, the PA model reproduces the qualitative features of more complicated models of community assembly. In agreement with recent studies of large, competitive Lotka-Volterra systems, the PA model exhibits distinct ecological behaviors organized around a special ("critical") point corresponding to Hubbell's neutral theory of biodiversity. These results suggest that the concepts of ecological "phases" and phase diagrams can provide a powerful framework for thinking about community ecology, and that the PA model captures the essential ecological dynamics of community assembly. PMID:27627348

  8. Analytically tractable model for community ecology with many species

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dickens, Benjamin; Fisher, Charles K.; Mehta, Pankaj

    2016-08-01

    A fundamental problem in community ecology is understanding how ecological processes such as selection, drift, and immigration give rise to observed patterns in species composition and diversity. Here, we analyze a recently introduced, analytically tractable, presence-absence (PA) model for community assembly, and we use it to ask how ecological traits such as the strength of competition, the amount of diversity, and demographic and environmental stochasticity affect species composition in a community. In the PA model, species are treated as stochastic binary variables that can either be present or absent in a community: species can immigrate into the community from a regional species pool and can go extinct due to competition and stochasticity. Building upon previous work, we show that, despite its simplicity, the PA model reproduces the qualitative features of more complicated models of community assembly. In agreement with recent studies of large, competitive Lotka-Volterra systems, the PA model exhibits distinct ecological behaviors organized around a special ("critical") point corresponding to Hubbell's neutral theory of biodiversity. These results suggest that the concepts of ecological "phases" and phase diagrams can provide a powerful framework for thinking about community ecology, and that the PA model captures the essential ecological dynamics of community assembly.

  9. Disentangling nestedness from models of ecological complexity.

    PubMed

    James, Alex; Pitchford, Jonathan W; Plank, Michael J

    2012-07-12

    Complex networks of interactions are ubiquitous and are particularly important in ecological communities, in which large numbers of species exhibit negative (for example, competition or predation) and positive (for example, mutualism) interactions with one another. Nestedness in mutualistic ecological networks is the tendency for ecological specialists to interact with a subset of species that also interact with more generalist species. Recent mathematical and computational analysis has suggested that such nestedness increases species richness. By examining previous results and applying computational approaches to 59 empirical data sets representing mutualistic plant–pollinator networks, we show that this statement is incorrect. A simpler metric—the number of mutualistic partners a species has—is a much better predictor of individual species survival and hence, community persistence. Nestedness is, at best, a secondary covariate rather than a causative factor for biodiversity in mutualistic communities. Analysis of complex networks should be accompanied by analysis of simpler, underpinning mechanisms that drive multiple higher-order network properties.

  10. Boechera, a model system for ecological genomics

    PubMed Central

    Rushworth, Catherine A.; Song, Bao-Hua; Lee, Cheng-Ruei; Mitchell-Olds, Thomas

    2011-01-01

    The selection and development of a study system for evolutionary and ecological functional genomics (EEFG) depends on a variety of factors. Here we present the genus Boechera as an exemplary system with which to address ecological and evolutionary questions. Our focus on Boechera is based on several characteristics: 1) native populations in undisturbed habitats where current environments reflect historical conditions over several thousand years; 2) functional genomics benefitting from its close relationship to Arabidopsis thaliana; 3) inbreeding tolerance enabling development of recombinant inbred lines, near-isogenic lines, and positional cloning; 4) interspecific crosses permitting mapping for genetic analysis of speciation; 5) apomixis (asexual reproduction by seeds) in a genetically tractable diploid; and 6) broad geographic distribution in North America, permitting ecological genetics for a large research community. These characteristics, along with the current sequencing of three Boechera species by the Joint Genome Institute, position Boechera as a rapidly advancing system for EEFG studies. PMID:22059452

  11. Evolution of climate niches in European mammals?

    PubMed Central

    Dormann, Carsten F.; Gruber, Bernd; Winter, Marten; Herrmann, Dirk

    2010-01-01

    Our ability to predict consequences of climate change is severely impaired by the lack of knowledge on the ability of species to adapt to changing environmental conditions. We used distribution data for 140 mammal species in Europe, together with data on climate, land cover and topography, to derive a statistical description of their realized climate niche. We then compared climate niche overlap of pairs of species, selected on the basis of phylogenetic information. In contrast to expectations, related species were not similar in their climate niche. Rather, even species pairs that had a common ancestor less than 1 Ma already display very high climate niche distances. We interpret our finding as a strong interspecific competitive constraint on the realized niche, rather than a rapid evolution of the fundamental niche. If correct, our results imply a very limited usefulness of climate niche models for the prediction of future mammal distributions. PMID:19828492

  12. Evolution of climate niches in European mammals?

    PubMed

    Dormann, Carsten F; Gruber, Bernd; Winter, Marten; Herrmann, Dirk

    2010-04-23

    Our ability to predict consequences of climate change is severely impaired by the lack of knowledge on the ability of species to adapt to changing environmental conditions. We used distribution data for 140 mammal species in Europe, together with data on climate, land cover and topography, to derive a statistical description of their realized climate niche. We then compared climate niche overlap of pairs of species, selected on the basis of phylogenetic information. In contrast to expectations, related species were not similar in their climate niche. Rather, even species pairs that had a common ancestor less than 1 Ma already display very high climate niche distances. We interpret our finding as a strong interspecific competitive constraint on the realized niche, rather than a rapid evolution of the fundamental niche. If correct, our results imply a very limited usefulness of climate niche models for the prediction of future mammal distributions.

  13. Human niche construction in interdisciplinary focus

    PubMed Central

    Kendal, Jeremy; Tehrani, Jamshid J.; Odling-Smee, John

    2011-01-01

    Niche construction is an endogenous causal process in evolution, reciprocal to the causal process of natural selection. It works by adding ecological inheritance, comprising the inheritance of natural selection pressures previously modified by niche construction, to genetic inheritance in evolution. Human niche construction modifies selection pressures in environments in ways that affect both human evolution, and the evolution of other species. Human ecological inheritance is exceptionally potent because it includes the social transmission and inheritance of cultural knowledge, and material culture. Human genetic inheritance in combination with human cultural inheritance thus provides a basis for gene–culture coevolution, and multivariate dynamics in cultural evolution. Niche construction theory potentially integrates the biological and social aspects of the human sciences. We elaborate on these processes, and provide brief introductions to each of the papers published in this theme issue. PMID:21320894

  14. Human niche construction in interdisciplinary focus.

    PubMed

    Kendal, Jeremy; Tehrani, Jamshid J; Odling-Smee, John

    2011-03-27

    Niche construction is an endogenous causal process in evolution, reciprocal to the causal process of natural selection. It works by adding ecological inheritance, comprising the inheritance of natural selection pressures previously modified by niche construction, to genetic inheritance in evolution. Human niche construction modifies selection pressures in environments in ways that affect both human evolution, and the evolution of other species. Human ecological inheritance is exceptionally potent because it includes the social transmission and inheritance of cultural knowledge, and material culture. Human genetic inheritance in combination with human cultural inheritance thus provides a basis for gene-culture coevolution, and multivariate dynamics in cultural evolution. Niche construction theory potentially integrates the biological and social aspects of the human sciences. We elaborate on these processes, and provide brief introductions to each of the papers published in this theme issue.

  15. Spatial distribution of sand fly species (Psychodidae: Phlebtominae), ecological niche, and climatic regionalization in zoonotic foci of cutaneous leishmaniasis, southwest of Iran.

    PubMed

    Ebrahimi, Sahar; Bordbar, Ali; Rastaghi, Ahmad R Esmaeili; Parvizi, Parviz

    2016-06-01

    Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is a complex vector-borne disease caused by Leishmania parasites that are transmitted by the bite of several species of infected female phlebotomine sand flies. Monthly factor analysis of climatic variables indicated fundamental variables. Principal component-based regionalization was used for recognition of climatic zones using a clustering integrated method that identified five climatic zones based on factor analysis. To investigate spatial distribution of the sand fly species, the kriging method was used as an advanced geostatistical procedure in the ArcGIS modeling system that is beneficial to design measurement plans and to predict the transmission cycle in various regions of Khuzestan province, southwest of Iran. However, more than an 80% probability of P. papatasi was observed in rainy and temperate bio-climatic zones with a high potential of CL transmission. Finding P. sergenti revealed the probability of transmission and distribution patterns of a non-native vector of CL in related zones. These findings could be used as models indicating climatic zones and environmental variables connected to sand fly presence and vector distribution. Furthermore, this information is appropriate for future research efforts into the ecology of Phlebotomine sand flies and for the prevention of CL vector transmission as a public health priority. PMID:27232131

  16. Spatial distribution of sand fly species (Psychodidae: Phlebtominae), ecological niche, and climatic regionalization in zoonotic foci of cutaneous leishmaniasis, southwest of Iran.

    PubMed

    Ebrahimi, Sahar; Bordbar, Ali; Rastaghi, Ahmad R Esmaeili; Parvizi, Parviz

    2016-06-01

    Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is a complex vector-borne disease caused by Leishmania parasites that are transmitted by the bite of several species of infected female phlebotomine sand flies. Monthly factor analysis of climatic variables indicated fundamental variables. Principal component-based regionalization was used for recognition of climatic zones using a clustering integrated method that identified five climatic zones based on factor analysis. To investigate spatial distribution of the sand fly species, the kriging method was used as an advanced geostatistical procedure in the ArcGIS modeling system that is beneficial to design measurement plans and to predict the transmission cycle in various regions of Khuzestan province, southwest of Iran. However, more than an 80% probability of P. papatasi was observed in rainy and temperate bio-climatic zones with a high potential of CL transmission. Finding P. sergenti revealed the probability of transmission and distribution patterns of a non-native vector of CL in related zones. These findings could be used as models indicating climatic zones and environmental variables connected to sand fly presence and vector distribution. Furthermore, this information is appropriate for future research efforts into the ecology of Phlebotomine sand flies and for the prevention of CL vector transmission as a public health priority.

  17. An analytically tractable model for community ecology with many species

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dickens, Benjamin; Fisher, Charles; Mehta, Pankaj; Pankaj Mehta Biophysics Theory Group Team

    A fundamental problem in community ecology is to understand how ecological processes such as selection, drift, and immigration yield observed patterns in species composition and diversity. Here, we present an analytically tractable, presence-absence (PA) model for community assembly and use it to ask how ecological traits such as the strength of competition, diversity in competition, and stochasticity affect species composition in a community. In our PA model, we treat species as stochastic binary variables that can either be present or absent in a community: species can immigrate into the community from a regional species pool and can go extinct due to competition and stochasticity. Despite its simplicity, the PA model reproduces the qualitative features of more complicated models of community assembly. In agreement with recent work on large, competitive Lotka-Volterra systems, the PA model exhibits distinct ecological behaviors organized around a special (``critical'') point corresponding to Hubbell's neutral theory of biodiversity. Our results suggest that the concepts of ``phases'' and phase diagrams can provide a powerful framework for thinking about community ecology and that the PA model captures the essential ecological dynamics of community assembly. Pm was supported by a Simons Investigator in the Mathematical Modeling of Living Systems and a Sloan Research Fellowship.

  18. THE NICHE CONSTRUCTION PERSPECTIVE: A CRITICAL APPRAISAL*

    PubMed Central

    Scott-Phillips, Thomas C; Laland, Kevin N; Shuker, David M; Dickins, Thomas E; West, Stuart A

    2014-01-01

    Niche construction refers to the activities of organisms that bring about changes in their environments, many of which are evolutionarily and ecologically consequential. Advocates of niche construction theory (NCT) believe that standard evolutionary theory fails to recognize the full importance of niche construction, and consequently propose a novel view of evolution, in which niche construction and its legacy over time (ecological inheritance) are described as evolutionary processes, equivalent in importance to natural selection. Here, we subject NCT to critical evaluation, in the form of a collaboration between one prominent advocate of NCT, and a team of skeptics. We discuss whether niche construction is an evolutionary process, whether NCT obscures or clarifies how natural selection leads to organismal adaptation, and whether niche construction and natural selection are of equivalent explanatory importance. We also consider whether the literature that promotes NCT overstates the significance of niche construction, whether it is internally coherent, and whether it accurately portrays standard evolutionary theory. Our disagreements reflect a wider dispute within evolutionary theory over whether the neo-Darwinian synthesis is in need of reformulation, as well as different usages of some key terms (e.g., evolutionary process). PMID:24325256

  19. The niche construction perspective: a critical appraisal.

    PubMed

    Scott-Phillips, Thomas C; Laland, Kevin N; Shuker, David M; Dickins, Thomas E; West, Stuart A

    2014-05-01

    Niche construction refers to the activities of organisms that bring about changes in their environments, many of which are evolutionarily and ecologically consequential. Advocates of niche construction theory (NCT) believe that standard evolutionary theory fails to recognize the full importance of niche construction, and consequently propose a novel view of evolution, in which niche construction and its legacy over time (ecological inheritance) are described as evolutionary processes, equivalent in importance to natural selection. Here, we subject NCT to critical evaluation, in the form of a collaboration between one prominent advocate of NCT, and a team of skeptics. We discuss whether niche construction is an evolutionary process, whether NCT obscures or clarifies how natural selection leads to organismal adaptation, and whether niche construction and natural selection are of equivalent explanatory importance. We also consider whether the literature that promotes NCT overstates the significance of niche construction, whether it is internally coherent, and whether it accurately portrays standard evolutionary theory. Our disagreements reflect a wider dispute within evolutionary theory over whether the neo-Darwinian synthesis is in need of reformulation, as well as different usages of some key terms (e.g., evolutionary process).

  20. The niche construction perspective: a critical appraisal.

    PubMed

    Scott-Phillips, Thomas C; Laland, Kevin N; Shuker, David M; Dickins, Thomas E; West, Stuart A

    2014-05-01

    Niche construction refers to the activities of organisms that bring about changes in their environments, many of which are evolutionarily and ecologically consequential. Advocates of niche construction theory (NCT) believe that standard evolutionary theory fails to recognize the full importance of niche construction, and consequently propose a novel view of evolution, in which niche construction and its legacy over time (ecological inheritance) are described as evolutionary processes, equivalent in importance to natural selection. Here, we subject NCT to critical evaluation, in the form of a collaboration between one prominent advocate of NCT, and a team of skeptics. We discuss whether niche construction is an evolutionary process, whether NCT obscures or clarifies how natural selection leads to organismal adaptation, and whether niche construction and natural selection are of equivalent explanatory importance. We also consider whether the literature that promotes NCT overstates the significance of niche construction, whether it is internally coherent, and whether it accurately portrays standard evolutionary theory. Our disagreements reflect a wider dispute within evolutionary theory over whether the neo-Darwinian synthesis is in need of reformulation, as well as different usages of some key terms (e.g., evolutionary process). PMID:24325256

  1. Rooting Theories of Plant Community Ecology in Microbial Interactions

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

  2. Phylogeny and niche conservatism in North and Central American triatomine bugs (Hemiptera: Reduviidae: Triatominae), vectors of Chagas' disease.

    PubMed

    Ibarra-Cerdeña, Carlos N; Zaldívar-Riverón, Alejandro; Peterson, A Townsend; Sánchez-Cordero, Víctor; Ramsey, Janine M

    2014-10-01

    The niche conservatism hypothesis states that related species diverge in niche characteristics at lower rates than expected, given their lineage divergence. Here we analyze whether niche conservatism is a common pattern among vector species (Hemiptera: Reduviidae: Triatominae) of Trypanosoma cruzi that inhabit North and Central America, a highly heterogeneous landmass in terms of environmental gradients. Mitochondrial and nuclear loci were used in a multi-locus phylogenetic framework to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships among species and estimate time of divergence of selected clades to draw biogeographic inferences. Then, we estimated similarity between the ecological niche of sister species and tested the niche conservatism hypothesis using our best estimate of phylogeny. Triatoma is not monophyletic. A primary clade with all North and Central American (NCA) triatomine species from the genera Triatoma, Dipetalogaster, and Panstrongylus, was consistently recovered. Nearctic species within the NCA clade (T. p. protracta, T. r. rubida) diverged during the Pliocene, whereas the Neotropical species (T. phyllosoma, T. longipennis, T. dimidiata complex) are estimated to have diverged more recently, during the Pleistocene. The hypothesis of niche conservatism could not be rejected for any of six sister species pairs. Niche similarity between sister species best fits a retention model. While this framework is used here to infer niche evolution, it has a direct impact on spatial vector dynamics driven by human population movements, expansion of transportation networks and climate change scenarios. PMID:25356550

  3. Phylogeny and niche conservatism in North and Central American triatomine bugs (Hemiptera: Reduviidae: Triatominae), vectors of Chagas' disease.

    PubMed

    Ibarra-Cerdeña, Carlos N; Zaldívar-Riverón, Alejandro; Peterson, A Townsend; Sánchez-Cordero, Víctor; Ramsey, Janine M

    2014-10-01

    The niche conservatism hypothesis states that related species diverge in niche characteristics at lower rates than expected, given their lineage divergence. Here we analyze whether niche conservatism is a common pattern among vector species (Hemiptera: Reduviidae: Triatominae) of Trypanosoma cruzi that inhabit North and Central America, a highly heterogeneous landmass in terms of environmental gradients. Mitochondrial and nuclear loci were used in a multi-locus phylogenetic framework to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships among species and estimate time of divergence of selected clades to draw biogeographic inferences. Then, we estimated similarity between the ecological niche of sister species and tested the niche conservatism hypothesis using our best estimate of phylogeny. Triatoma is not monophyletic. A primary clade with all North and Central American (NCA) triatomine species from the genera Triatoma, Dipetalogaster, and Panstrongylus, was consistently recovered. Nearctic species within the NCA clade (T. p. protracta, T. r. rubida) diverged during the Pliocene, whereas the Neotropical species (T. phyllosoma, T. longipennis, T. dimidiata complex) are estimated to have diverged more recently, during the Pleistocene. The hypothesis of niche conservatism could not be rejected for any of six sister species pairs. Niche similarity between sister species best fits a retention model. While this framework is used here to infer niche evolution, it has a direct impact on spatial vector dynamics driven by human population movements, expansion of transportation networks and climate change scenarios.

  4. Phylogeny and Niche Conservatism in North and Central American Triatomine Bugs (Hemiptera: Reduviidae: Triatominae), Vectors of Chagas' Disease

    PubMed Central

    Ibarra-Cerdeña, Carlos N.; Zaldívar-Riverón, Alejandro; Peterson, A. Townsend; Sánchez-Cordero, Víctor; Ramsey, Janine M.

    2014-01-01

    The niche conservatism hypothesis states that related species diverge in niche characteristics at lower rates than expected, given their lineage divergence. Here we analyze whether niche conservatism is a common pattern among vector species (Hemiptera: Reduviidae: Triatominae) of Trypanosoma cruzi that inhabit North and Central America, a highly heterogeneous landmass in terms of environmental gradients. Mitochondrial and nuclear loci were used in a multi-locus phylogenetic framework to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships among species and estimate time of divergence of selected clades to draw biogeographic inferences. Then, we estimated similarity between the ecological niche of sister species and tested the niche conservatism hypothesis using our best estimate of phylogeny. Triatoma is not monophyletic. A primary clade with all North and Central American (NCA) triatomine species from the genera Triatoma, Dipetalogaster, and Panstrongylus, was consistently recovered. Nearctic species within the NCA clade (T. p. protracta, T. r. rubida) diverged during the Pliocene, whereas the Neotropical species (T. phyllosoma, T. longipennis, T. dimidiata complex) are estimated to have diverged more recently, during the Pleistocene. The hypothesis of niche conservatism could not be rejected for any of six sister species pairs. Niche similarity between sister species best fits a retention model. While this framework is used here to infer niche evolution, it has a direct impact on spatial vector dynamics driven by human population movements, expansion of transportation networks and climate change scenarios. PMID:25356550

  5. Climatic suitability of Aedes albopictus in Europe referring to climate change projections: comparison of mechanistic and correlative niche modelling approaches.

    PubMed

    Fischer, D; Thomas, S M; Neteler, M; Tjaden, N B; Beierkuhnlein, C

    2014-01-01

    The Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, is capable of transmitting a broad range of viruses to humans. Since its introduction at the end of the 20th century, it has become well established in large parts of southern Europe. As future expansion as a result of climate change can be expected, determining the current and projected future climatic suitability of this invasive mosquito in Europe is of interest. Several studies have tried to detect the potential habitats for this species, but differing data sources and modelling approaches must be considered when interpreting the findings. Here, various modelling methodologies are compared with special emphasis on model set-up and study design. Basic approaches and model algorithms for the projection of spatio-temporal trends within the 21st century differ substantially. Applied methods range from mechanistic models (e.g. overlay of climatic constraints based on geographic information systems or rather process-based approaches) to correlative niche models. We conclude that spatial characteristics such as introduction gateways and dispersal pathways need to be considered. Laboratory experiments addressing the climatic constraints of the mosquito are required for improved modelling results. However, the main source of uncertainty remains the insufficient knowledge about the species' ability to adapt to novel environments. PMID:24556349

  6. Climatic suitability of Aedes albopictus in Europe referring to climate change projections: comparison of mechanistic and correlative niche modelling approaches.

    PubMed

    Fischer, D; Thomas, S M; Neteler, M; Tjaden, N B; Beierkuhnlein, C

    2014-02-13

    The Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, is capable of transmitting a broad range of viruses to humans. Since its introduction at the end of the 20th century, it has become well established in large parts of southern Europe. As future expansion as a result of climate change can be expected, determining the current and projected future climatic suitability of this invasive mosquito in Europe is of interest. Several studies have tried to detect the potential habitats for this species, but differing data sources and modelling approaches must be considered when interpreting the findings. Here, various modelling methodologies are compared with special emphasis on model set-up and study design. Basic approaches and model algorithms for the projection of spatio-temporal trends within the 21st century differ substantially. Applied methods range from mechanistic models (e.g. overlay of climatic constraints based on geographic information systems or rather process-based approaches) to correlative niche models. We conclude that spatial characteristics such as introduction gateways and dispersal pathways need to be considered. Laboratory experiments addressing the climatic constraints of the mosquito are required for improved modelling results. However, the main source of uncertainty remains the insufficient knowledge about the species' ability to adapt to novel environments.

  7. Tracking niche variation over millennial timescales in sympatric killer whale lineages

    PubMed Central

    Foote, Andrew D.; Newton, Jason; Ávila-Arcos, María C.; Kampmann, Marie-Louise; Samaniego, Jose A.; Post, Klaas; Rosing-Asvid, Aqqalu; Sinding, Mikkel-Holger S.; Gilbert, M. Thomas P.

    2013-01-01

    Niche variation owing to individual differences in ecology has been hypothesized to be an early stage of sympatric speciation. Yet to date, no study has tracked niche width over more than a few generations. In this study, we show the presence of isotopic niche variation over millennial timescales and investigate the evolutionary outcomes. Isotopic ratios were measured from tissue samples of sympatric killer whale Orcinus orca lineages from the North Sea, spanning over 10 000 years. Isotopic ratios spanned a range similar to the difference in isotopic values of two known prey items, herring Clupea harengus and harbour seal Phoca vitulina. Two proxies of the stage of speciation, lineage sorting of mitogenomes and genotypic clustering, were both weak to intermediate indicating that speciation has made little progress. Thus, our study confirms that even with the necessary ecological conditions, i.e. among-individual variation in ecology, it is difficult for sympatric speciation to progress in the face of gene flow. In contrast to some theoretical models, our empirical results suggest that sympatric speciation driven by among-individual differences in ecological niche is a slow process and may not reach completion. We argue that sympatric speciation is constrained in this system owing to the plastic nature of the behavioural traits under selection when hunting either mammals or fish. PMID:23945688

  8. Tracking niche variation over millennial timescales in sympatric killer whale lineages.

    PubMed

    Foote, Andrew D; Newton, Jason; Ávila-Arcos, María C; Kampmann, Marie-Louise; Samaniego, Jose A; Post, Klaas; Rosing-Asvid, Aqqalu; Sinding, Mikkel-Holger S; Gilbert, M Thomas P

    2013-10-01

    Niche variation owing to individual differences in ecology has been hypothesized to be an early stage of sympatric speciation. Yet to date, no study has tracked niche width over more than a few generations. In this study, we show the presence of isotopic niche variation over millennial timescales and investigate the evolutionary outcomes. Isotopic ratios were measured from tissue samples of sympatric killer whale Orcinus orca lineages from the North Sea, spanning over 10 000 years. Isotopic ratios spanned a range similar to the difference in isotopic values of two known prey items, herring Clupea harengus and harbour seal Phoca vitulina. Two proxies of the stage of speciation, lineage sorting of mitogenomes and genotypic clustering, were both weak to intermediate indicating that speciation has made little progress. Thus, our study confirms that even with the necessary ecological conditions, i.e. among-individual variation in ecology, it is difficult for sympatric speciation to progress in the face of gene flow. In contrast to some theoretical models, our empirical results suggest that sympatric speciation driven by among-individual differences in ecological niche is a slow process and may not reach completion. We argue that sympatric speciation is constrained in this system owing to the plastic nature of the behavioural traits under selection when hunting either mammals or fish.

  9. Tracking niche variation over millennial timescales in sympatric killer whale lineages.

    PubMed

    Foote, Andrew D; Newton, Jason; Ávila-Arcos, María C; Kampmann, Marie-Louise; Samaniego, Jose A; Post, Klaas; Rosing-Asvid, Aqqalu; Sinding, Mikkel-Holger S; Gilbert, M Thomas P

    2013-10-01

    Niche variation owing to individual differences in ecology has been hypothesized to be an early stage of sympatric speciation. Yet to date, no study has tracked niche width over more than a few generations. In this study, we show the presence of isotopic niche variation over millennial timescales and investigate the evolutionary outcomes. Isotopic ratios were measured from tissue samples of sympatric killer whale Orcinus orca lineages from the North Sea, spanning over 10 000 years. Isotopic ratios spanned a range similar to the difference in isotopic values of two known prey items, herring Clupea harengus and harbour seal Phoca vitulina. Two proxies of the stage of speciation, lineage sorting of mitogenomes and genotypic clustering, were both weak to intermediate indicating that speciation has made little progress. Thus, our study confirms that even with the necessary ecological conditions, i.e. among-individual variation in ecology, it is difficult for sympatric speciation to progress in the face of gene flow. In contrast to some theoretical models, our empirical results suggest that sympatric speciation driven by among-individual differences in ecological niche is a slow process and may not reach completion. We argue that sympatric speciation is constrained in this system owing to the plastic nature of the behavioural traits under selection when hunting either mammals or fish. PMID:23945688

  10. History, development and characteristics of lake ecological models.

    PubMed

    Xu, Fu-liu; Tao, Shu; Dawson, Richard W; Lu, Xiao-yan

    2002-04-01

    This paper provides some introductory information on the history, development, and characteristics of various lake ecosystem models. The modeling of lake ecological processes began to gain importance in the early 1960s. There are a number of models available today, with varying levels of complexity to cope with the variety of environmental problems found in lake environments, e.g. eutrophication, acidification, oxygen depletion, wetland management, heavy metal and pesticide pollution, as well as hydrodynamic problems. In particular, this paper focuses on lake eutrophication and wetland models, as well as addressing strategies appropriate for the design and development of reliable lake ecological models.

  11. Delineating Ecological Boundaries of Hanuman Langur Species Complex in Peninsular India Using MaxEnt Modeling Approach

    PubMed Central

    Chetan, Nag; Praveen, Karanth K.; Vasudeva, Gururaja Kotambylu

    2014-01-01

    Hanuman langur is one of the widely distributed and extensively studied non-human diurnal primates in India. Until recently it was believed to be a single species - Semnopithecus entellus. Recent molecular and morphological studies suggest that the Hanuman langurs consists of at least three species S. entellus, S. hypoleucos and S. priam. Furthermore, morphological studies suggested that both S. hypoleucos and S. priam have at least three subspecies in each. We explored the use of ecological niche modeling (ENM) to confirm the validity of these seven taxa and an additional taxon S. johnii belonging to the same genus. MaxEnt modeling tool was used with 19 bioclimatic, 12 vegetation and 6 hydrological environmental layers. We reduced total environmental variables to 14 layers after testing for collinearity and an independent test for model prediction was done using ENMTools. A total of 196 non-overlapping data points from primary and secondary sources were used as inputs for ENM. Results showed eight distinct ecological boundaries, corroborating the eight taxa mentioned above thereby confirming validity of these eight taxa. The study, for the first time provided ecological variables that determined the ecological requirements and distribution of members of the Hanuman langur species complex in the Indian peninsula. PMID:24498377

  12. PREDICTIONS IN AN INVADED WORLD - PART I: USING NICHE MODELS TO PREDICT DISTRIBUTIONS OF MARINE/ESTUARINE SPECIES AT THE HABITAT SCALE

    EPA Science Inventory

    Niche models can be used to predict the distributions of marine/estuarine nonindigenous species (NIS) over three spatial scales. The goal at the biogeographic scale is to predict whether a species is likely to invade a geographic region. At the regional scale, the goal is to pr...

  13. Helium preconditioning protects the brain against hypoxia/ischemia injury via improving the neurovascular niche in a neonatal rat model.

    PubMed

    Li, Yi; Zhang, Peixi; Liu, Ying; Liu, Wenwu; Yin, Na

    2016-11-01

    This study aimed to investigate whether helium preconditioning (He-PC) is able to exert neuroprotective effects via improving focal neurovascular niche in a neonatal rat hypoxia/ischemia (HI) brain injury model. Seven day old rat pups were divided into control group, HI group and He-PC group. HI was induced by exposure to 8% oxygen for 90min one day after preconditioning with 70% helium-30% oxygen for three 5-min periods. At 3 and 7 days, the brain was collected for the detection of inflammation related factors (tumor necrosis factor α [TNF-α], interleukin-1β [IL-1β], IL-10) and growth/neurotrophic factors (brain-derived neurotrophic factor [BDNF], basic fibroblast growth factor [bFGF] and nerve growth factor [NGF]); at 7 days, neurobehaviors were evaluated, and the brain was collected for the detection of mRNA expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1) by PCR, protein expression of angiogenesis related molecules (VEGF, Ang-1, Tie-2 and Flt-1) by Western blotting and microvessel density (MCD) by immunohistochemistry for vWF. Results showed He-PC was able to reduce TNF-α and IL-1β, further increase IL-10, BDNF, bFGF and NGF, elevate the mRNA expression of VEGF and Ang-1, increase the protein expression of VEGF, Ang-1, Tie-2 and Flt-1, promote angiogenesis and improve neurobehaviors as compared to HI group. These findings suggest that He-PC may improve the post-stroke neurovascular niche to exert neuroprotective effects on neonatal HI brain injury. PMID:27515290

  14. Helium preconditioning protects the brain against hypoxia/ischemia injury via improving the neurovascular niche in a neonatal rat model.

    PubMed

    Li, Yi; Zhang, Peixi; Liu, Ying; Liu, Wenwu; Yin, Na

    2016-11-01

    This study aimed to investigate whether helium preconditioning (He-PC) is able to exert neuroprotective effects via improving focal neurovascular niche in a neonatal rat hypoxia/ischemia (HI) brain injury model. Seven day old rat pups were divided into control group, HI group and He-PC group. HI was induced by exposure to 8% oxygen for 90min one day after preconditioning with 70% helium-30% oxygen for three 5-min periods. At 3 and 7 days, the brain was collected for the detection of inflammation related factors (tumor necrosis factor α [TNF-α], interleukin-1β [IL-1β], IL-10) and growth/neurotrophic factors (brain-derived neurotrophic factor [BDNF], basic fibroblast growth factor [bFGF] and nerve growth factor [NGF]); at 7 days, neurobehaviors were evaluated, and the brain was collected for the detection of mRNA expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1) by PCR, protein expression of angiogenesis related molecules (VEGF, Ang-1, Tie-2 and Flt-1) by Western blotting and microvessel density (MCD) by immunohistochemistry for vWF. Results showed He-PC was able to reduce TNF-α and IL-1β, further increase IL-10, BDNF, bFGF and NGF, elevate the mRNA expression of VEGF and Ang-1, increase the protein expression of VEGF, Ang-1, Tie-2 and Flt-1, promote angiogenesis and improve neurobehaviors as compared to HI group. These findings suggest that He-PC may improve the post-stroke neurovascular niche to exert neuroprotective effects on neonatal HI brain injury.

  15. Single-cell and coupled GRN models of cell patterning in the Arabidopsis thaliana root stem cell niche

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Recent experimental work has uncovered some of the genetic components required to maintain the Arabidopsis thaliana root stem cell niche (SCN) and its structure. Two main pathways are involved. One pathway depends on the genes SHORTROOT and SCARECROW and the other depends on the PLETHORA genes, which have been proposed to constitute the auxin readouts. Recent evidence suggests that a regulatory circuit, composed of WOX5 and CLE40, also contributes to the SCN maintenance. Yet, we still do not understand how the niche is dynamically maintained and patterned or if the uncovered molecular components are sufficient to recover the observed gene expression configurations that characterize the cell types within the root SCN. Mathematical and computational tools have proven useful in understanding the dynamics of cell differentiation. Hence, to further explore root SCN patterning, we integrated available experimental data into dynamic Gene Regulatory Network (GRN) models and addressed if these are sufficient to attain observed gene expression configurations in the root SCN in a robust and autonomous manner. Results We found that an SCN GRN model based only on experimental data did not reproduce the configurations observed within the root SCN. We developed several alternative GRN models that recover these expected stable gene configurations. Such models incorporate a few additional components and interactions in addition to those that have been uncovered. The recovered configurations are stable to perturbations, and the models are able to recover the observed gene expression profiles of almost all the mutants described so far. However, the robustness of the postulated GRNs is not as high as that of other previously studied networks. Conclusions These models are the first published approximations for a dynamic mechanism of the A. thaliana root SCN cellular pattering. Our model is useful to formally show that the data now available are not sufficient to fully

  16. Niche evolution and adaptive radiation: Testing the order of trait divergence

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ackerly, D.D.; Schwilk, D.W.; Webb, C.O.

    2006-01-01

    In the course of an adaptive radiation, the evolution of niche parameters is of particular interest for understanding modes of speciation and the consequences for coexistence of related species within communities. We pose a general question: In the course of an evolutionary radiation, do traits related to within-community niche differences (?? niche) evolve before or after differentiation of macrohabitat affinity or climatic tolerances (?? niche)? Here we introduce a new test to address this question, based on a modification of the method of independent contrasts. The divergence order test (DOT) is based on the average age of the nodes on a tree, weighted by the absolute magnitude of the contrast at each node for a particular trait. The comparison of these weighted averages reveals whether large divergences for one trait have occurred earlier or later in the course of diversification, relative to a second trait; significance is determined by bootstrapping from maximum-likelihood ancestral state reconstructions. The method is applied to the evolution of Ceanothus, a woody plant group in California, in which co-occurring species exhibit significant differences in a key leaf trait (specific leaf area) associated with contrasting physiological and life history strategies. Co-occurring species differ more for this trait than expected under a null model of community assembly. This ?? niche difference evolved early in the divergence of two major subclades within Ceanothus, whereas climatic distributions (?? niche traits) diversified later within each of the subclades. However, rapid evolution of climate parameters makes inferences of early divergence events highly uncertain, and differentiation of the ?? niche might have taken place throughout the evolution of the group, without leaving a clear phylogenetic signal. Similar patterns observed in several plant and animal groups suggest that early divergence of ?? niche traits might be a common feature of niche evolution in

  17. The niche, biogeography and species interactions

    PubMed Central

    Wiens, John J.

    2011-01-01

    In this paper, I review the relevance of the niche to biogeography, and what biogeography may tell us about the niche. The niche is defined as the combination of abiotic and biotic conditions where a species can persist. I argue that most biogeographic patterns are created by niche differences over space, and that even ‘geographic barriers’ must have an ecological basis. However, we know little about specific ecological factors underlying most biogeographic patterns. Some evidence supports the importance of abiotic factors, whereas few examples exist of large-scale patterns created by biotic interactions. I also show how incorporating biogeography may offer new perspectives on resource-related niches and species interactions. Several examples demonstrate that even after a major evolutionary radiation within a region, the region can still be invaded by ecologically similar species from another clade, countering the long-standing idea that communities and regions are generally ‘saturated’ with species. I also describe the somewhat paradoxical situation where competition seems to limit trait evolution in a group, but does not prevent co-occurrence of species with similar values for that trait (called here the ‘competition–divergence–co-occurrence conundrum’). In general, the interface of biogeography and ecology could be a major area for research in both fields. PMID:21768150

  18. Pathogen evolution and the immunological niche

    PubMed Central

    Cobey, Sarah

    2014-01-01

    Host immunity is a major driver of pathogen evolution and thus a major determinant of pathogen diversity. Explanations for pathogen diversity traditionally assume simple interactions between pathogens and the immune system, a view encapsulated by the susceptible–infected–recovered (SIR) model. However, there is growing evidence that the complexity of many host–pathogen interactions is dynamically important. This revised perspective requires broadening the definition of a pathogen's immunological phenotype, or what can be thought of as its immunological niche. After reviewing evidence that interactions between pathogens and host immunity drive much of pathogen evolution, I introduce the concept of a pathogen's immunological phenotype. Models that depart from the SIR paradigm demonstrate the utility of this perspective and show that it is particularly useful in understanding vaccine-induced evolution. This paper highlights questions in immunology, evolution, and ecology that must be answered to advance theories of pathogen diversity. PMID:25040161

  19. On correct mathematical models of ecological LSS of high closure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bartsev, S. I.

    Usually mathematical models of natural ecological systems are implicitly based on the assumption of stoichiometrically rigid metabolism In most cases such assumption is applicable but in the case of ecological systems of high closure it can cause errors of forecast For completely closed ecological system the assumption of rigid metabolism results in completely incorrect forecast Since CELSS for long-duration missions have to be of high closure then using adequate mathematical description is of great importance for successfulness of a space mission Possible variants of non-rigid metabolism applicable to different type of biological components of CELSS are considered in the paper It is shown non-rigid models of metabolism not only eliminate incorrectness of mathematical description but as well allow to obtain more adequate estimation of stability of closed ecological systems

  20. Evolution of niche width and adaptive diversification.

    PubMed

    Ackermann, Martin; Doebeli, Michael

    2004-12-01

    Theoretical models suggest that resource competition can lead to the adaptive splitting of consumer populations into diverging lineages, that is, to adaptive diversification. In general, diversification is likely if consumers use only a narrow range of resources and thus have a small niche width. Here we use analytical and numerical methods to study the consequences for diversification if the niche width itself evolves. We found that the evolutionary outcome depends on the inherent costs or benefits of widening the niche. If widening the niche did not have costs in terms of overall resource uptake, then the consumer evolved a niche that was wide enough for disruptive selection on the niche position to vanish; adaptive diversification was no longer observed. However, if widening the niche was costly, then the niche widths remained relatively narrow, allowing for adaptive diversification in niche position. Adaptive diversification and speciation resulting from competition for a broadly distributed resource is thus likely if the niche width is fixed and relatively narrow or free to evolve but subject to costs. These results refine the conditions for adaptive diversification due to competition and formulate them in a way that might be more amenable for experimental investigations. PMID:15696740

  1. Niche evolution and thermal adaptation in the temperate species Drosophila americana.

    PubMed

    Sillero, N; Reis, M; Vieira, C P; Vieira, J; Morales-Hojas, R

    2014-08-01

    The study of ecological niche evolution is fundamental for understanding how the environment influences species' geographical distributions and their adaptation to divergent environments. Here, we present a study of the ecological niche, demographic history and thermal performance (locomotor activity, developmental time and fertility/viability) of the temperate species Drosophila americana and its two chromosomal forms. Temperature is the environmental factor that contributes most to the species' and chromosomal forms' ecological niches, although precipitation is also important in the model of the southern populations. The past distribution model of the species predicts a drastic reduction in the suitable area for the distribution of the species during the last glacial maximum (LGM), suggesting a strong bottleneck. However, DNA analyses did not detect a bottleneck signature during the LGM. These contrasting results could indicate that D. americana niche preference evolves with environmental change, and thus, there is no evidence to support niche conservatism in this species. Thermal performance experiments show no difference in the locomotor activity across a temperature range of 15 to 38 °C between flies from the north and the south of its distribution. However, we found significant differences in developmental time and fertility/viability between the two chromosomal forms at the model's optimal temperatures for the two forms. However, results do not indicate that they perform better for the traits studied here in their respective optimal niche temperatures. This suggests that behaviour plays an important role in thermoregulation, supporting the capacity of this species to adapt to different climatic conditions across its latitudinal distribution.

  2. Bacillus thuringiensis Is an Environmental Pathogen and Host-Specificity Has Developed as an Adaptation to Human-Generated Ecological Niches

    PubMed Central

    Argôlo-Filho, Ronaldo Costa; Loguercio, Leandro Lopes

    2013-01-01

    Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) has been used successfully as a biopesticide for more than 60 years. More recently, genes encoding their toxins have been used to transform plants and other organisms. Despite the large amount of research on this bacterium, its true ecology is still a matter of debate, with two major viewpoints dominating: while some understand Bt as an insect pathogen, others see it as a saprophytic bacteria from soil. In this context, Bt’s pathogenicity to other taxa and the possibility that insects may not be the primary targets of Bt are also ideas that further complicate this scenario. The existence of conflicting research results, the difficulty in developing broader ecological and genetics studies, and the great genetic plasticity of this species has cluttered a definitive concept. In this review, we gathered information on the aspects of Bt ecology that are often ignored, in the attempt to clarify the lifestyle, mechanisms of transmission and target host range of this bacterial species. As a result, we propose an integrated view to account for Bt ecology. Although Bt is indeed a pathogenic bacterium that possesses a broad arsenal for virulence and defense mechanisms, as well as a wide range of target hosts, this seems to be an adaptation to specific ecological changes acting on a versatile and cosmopolitan environmental bacterium. Bt pathogenicity and host-specificity was favored evolutionarily by increased populations of certain insect species (or other host animals), whose availability for colonization were mostly caused by anthropogenic activities. These have generated the conditions for ecological imbalances that favored dominance of specific populations of insects, arachnids, nematodes, etc., in certain areas, with narrower genetic backgrounds. These conditions provided the selective pressure for development of new hosts for pathogenic interactions, and so, host specificity of certain strains. PMID:26462580

  3. Progress and challenges in coupled hydrodynamic-ecological estuarine modeling

    PubMed Central

    Ganju, Neil K.; Brush, Mark J.; Rashleigh, Brenda; Aretxabaleta, Alfredo L.; del Barrio, Pilar; Grear, Jason S.; Harris, Lora A.; Lake, Samuel J.; McCardell, Grant; O’Donnell, James; Ralston, David K.; Signell, Richard P.; Testa, Jeremy M.; Vaudrey, Jamie M.P.

    2016-01-01

    Numerical modeling has emerged over the last several decades as a widely accepted tool for investigations in environmental sciences. In estuarine research, hydrodynamic and ecological models have moved along parallel tracks with regard to complexity, refinement, computational power, and incorporation of uncertainty. Coupled hydrodynamic-ecological models have been used to assess ecosystem processes and interactions, simulate future scenarios, and evaluate remedial actions in response to eutrophication, habitat loss, and freshwater diversion. The need to couple hydrodynamic and ecological models to address research and management questions is clear, because dynamic feedbacks between biotic and physical processes are critical interactions within ecosystems. In this review we present historical and modern perspectives on estuarine hydrodynamic and ecological modeling, consider model limitations, and address aspects of model linkage, skill assessment, and complexity. We discuss the balance between spatial and temporal resolution and present examples using different spatiotemporal scales. Finally, we recommend future lines of inquiry, approaches to balance complexity and uncertainty, and model transparency and utility. It is idealistic to think we can pursue a “theory of everything” for estuarine models, but recent advances suggest that models for both scientific investigations and management applications will continue to improve in terms of realism, precision, and accuracy. PMID:27721675

  4. Guide for developing conceptual models for ecological risk assessments

    SciTech Connect

    Suter, G.W., II

    1996-05-01

    Ecological conceptual models are the result of the problem formulation phase of an ecological risk assessment, which is an important component of the Remedial Investigation process. They present hypotheses of how the site contaminants might affect the site ecology. The contaminant sources, routes, media, routes, and endpoint receptors are presented in the form of a flow chart. This guide is for preparing the conceptual models; use of this guide will standardize the models so that they will be of high quality, useful to the assessment process, and sufficiently consistent so that connections between sources of exposure and receptors can be extended across operable units (OU). Generic conceptual models are presented for source, aquatic integrator, groundwater integrator, and terrestrial OUs.

  5. The bone marrow niche for haematopoietic stem cells.

    PubMed

    Morrison, Sean J; Scadden, David T

    2014-01-16

    Niches are local tissue microenvironments that maintain and regulate stem cells. Haematopoiesis provides a model for understanding mammalian stem cells and their niches, but the haematopoietic stem cell (HSC) niche remains incompletely defined and beset by competing models. Recent progress has been made in elucidating the location and cellular components of the HSC niche in the bone marrow. The niche is perivascular, created partly by mesenchymal stromal cells and endothelial cells and often, but not always, located near trabecular bone. Outstanding questions concern the cellular complexity of the niche, the role of the endosteum and functional heterogeneity among perivascular microenvironments.

  6. Adaptation and niche construction in human prehistory: a case study from the southern Scandinavian Late Glacial.

    PubMed

    Riede, Felix

    2011-03-27

    The niche construction model postulates that human bio-social evolution is composed of three inheritance domains, genetic, cultural and ecological, linked by feedback selection. This paper argues that many kinds of archaeological data can serve as proxies for human niche construction processes, and presents a method for investigating specific niche construction hypotheses. To illustrate this method, the repeated emergence of specialized reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) hunting/herding economies during the Late Palaeolithic (ca 14.7-11.5 kyr BP) in southern Scandinavia is analysed from a niche construction/triple-inheritance perspective. This economic relationship resulted in the eventual domestication of Rangifer. The hypothesis of whether domestication was achieved as early as the Late Palaeolithic, and whether this required the use of domesticated dogs (Canis familiaris) as hunting, herding or transport aids, is tested via a comparative analysis using material culture-based phylogenies and ecological datasets in relation to demographic/genetic proxies. Only weak evidence for sustained niche construction behaviours by prehistoric hunter-gatherer in southern Scandinavia is found, but this study nonetheless provides interesting insights into the likely processes of dog and reindeer domestication, and into processes of adaptation in Late Glacial foragers. PMID:21320895

  7. Adaptation and niche construction in human prehistory: a case study from the southern Scandinavian Late Glacial.

    PubMed

    Riede, Felix

    2011-03-27

    The niche construction model postulates that human bio-social evolution is composed of three inheritance domains, genetic, cultural and ecological, linked by feedback selection. This paper argues that many kinds of archaeological data can serve as proxies for human niche construction processes, and presents a method for investigating specific niche construction hypotheses. To illustrate this method, the repeated emergence of specialized reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) hunting/herding economies during the Late Palaeolithic (ca 14.7-11.5 kyr BP) in southern Scandinavia is analysed from a niche construction/triple-inheritance perspective. This economic relationship resulted in the eventual domestication of Rangifer. The hypothesis of whether domestication was achieved as early as the Late Palaeolithic, and whether this required the use of domesticated dogs (Canis familiaris) as hunting, herding or transport aids, is tested via a comparative analysis using material culture-based phylogenies and ecological datasets in relation to demographic/genetic proxies. Only weak evidence for sustained niche construction behaviours by prehistoric hunter-gatherer in southern Scandinavia is found, but this study nonetheless provides interesting insights into the likely processes of dog and reindeer domestication, and into processes of adaptation in Late Glacial foragers.

  8. Adaptation and niche construction in human prehistory: a case study from the southern Scandinavian Late Glacial

    PubMed Central

    Riede, Felix

    2011-01-01

    The niche construction model postulates that human bio-social evolution is composed of three inheritance domains, genetic, cultural and ecological, linked by feedback selection. This paper argues that many kinds of archaeological data can serve as proxies for human niche construction processes, and presents a method for investigating specific niche construction hypotheses. To illustrate this method, the repeated emergence of specialized reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) hunting/herding economies during the Late Palaeolithic (ca 14.7–11.5 kyr BP) in southern Scandinavia is analysed from a niche construction/triple-inheritance perspective. This economic relationship resulted in the eventual domestication of Rangifer. The hypothesis of whether domestication was achieved as early as the Late Palaeolithic, and whether this required the use of domesticated dogs (Canis familiaris) as hunting, herding or transport aids, is tested via a comparative analysis using material culture-based phylogenies and ecological datasets in relation to demographic/genetic proxies. Only weak evidence for sustained niche construction behaviours by prehistoric hunter–gatherer in southern Scandinavia is found, but this study nonetheless provides interesting insights into the likely processes of dog and reindeer domestication, and into processes of adaptation in Late Glacial foragers. PMID:21320895

  9. The Social-Ecological Model: A Framework for Violence Prevention

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2002

    2002-01-01

    The ultimate goal of the work of violence prevention is to stop violence before it begins. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) uses a four-level social-ecological model (SEM) to better understand and prevent violence. The four levels are: (1) Individual; (2) Relationship; (3) Community; and (4) Societal. This model considers the complex…

  10. Nonlinear Statistical Modeling and Model Discovery for Ecological Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Luchinsky, D. G.; Smelyanskiy, V. N.; Timucin, D. A.; Millonas, M. M.

    2005-12-01

    The search for dynamical models (dynamical inference) underlying time-varying phenomena is of fundamental importance for understanding and controlling complex systems in science and technology. Often, however, only part of the system's dynamics can be measured and the state of the dynamical system remains invisible (or hidden). Furthermore, the measurements are usually corrupted by noise and the dynamics is complicated by the interplay of nonlinearity and random perturbations. The problem of dynamical inference in these general settings is challenging researchers for decades. We demonstrate here a path-integral approach to this problem, in which measured data act effectively as a control force driving algorithm towards the most probable solution. The approach is semi-analytical; consequently, the resulting algorithm does not require an extensive global search for the model parameters, provides optimal compensation for the effects of dynamical noise, and is robust for a broad range of dynamical models [1,2]. The strengths of the algorithm are illustrated by inferring the parameters of the stochastic Lorenz system and comparing the results with those of earlier research. The efficiency of the algorithm is further demonstrated by solving an intensively studied problem from the population dynamics of predator-prey system [3] where the prey populations may be observed while the number of predators is difficult or impossible to estimate. We emphasize that the predator-prey dynamics is fully nonlinear, perturbed stochastically by environmental factors and is not known beforehand. We apply our approach to recover both the unknown dynamics of predators and model parameters (including parameters that are traditionally very difficult to estimate) directly from measurements of the prey dynamics The presented method can be further extended to encompass cases of colored noise and specially distributed systems. . It is hoped that techniques such as developed here may be very

  11. Individual-based models in ecology after four decades

    PubMed Central

    Grimm, Volker

    2014-01-01

    Individual-based models simulate populations and communities by following individuals and their properties. They have been used in ecology for more than four decades, with their use and ubiquity in ecology growing rapidly in the last two decades. Individual-based models have been used for many applied or “pragmatic” issues, such as informing the protection and management of particular populations in specific locations, but their use in addressing theoretical questions has also grown rapidly, recently helping us to understand how the sets of traits of individual organisms influence the assembly of communities and food webs. Individual-based models will play an increasingly important role in questions posed by complex ecological systems. PMID:24991416

  12. Rethinking adaptation: the niche-construction perspective.

    PubMed

    Day, Rachel L; Laland, Kevin N; Odling-Smee, F John

    2003-01-01

    Niche construction refers to the capacity of organisms to construct, modify, and select important components of their local environments, such as nests, burrows, pupal cases, chemicals, and nutrients. A small but increasing number of evolutionary biologists regard niche construction as an evolutionary process in its own right, rather than as a mere product of natural selection. Through niche construction organisms not only influence the nature of their world, but also in part determine the selection pressures to which they and their descendants are exposed, and they do so in a non-random manner. Mathematical population genetics analyses have revealed that niche construction is likely to be evolutionarily consequential because of the feedback that it generates in the evolutionary process. A parallel movement has emerged in ecosystem ecology, where researchers stress the utility of regarding organisms as ecosystem engineers, who partly control energy and matter flows. From the niche construction standpoint, the evolving complementary match between organisms and environments is the product of reciprocal interacting processes of natural selection and niche construction. This essay reviews the arguments put forward in favor of the niche-construction perspective.

  13. Multimodeling: new approaches for linking ecological models

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gross, Louis J.; DeAngelis, Donald L.; Scott, J. Michael; Heglund, Patricia J.; Morrison, Michael L.

    2006-01-01

    The Everglades region of South Florida presents one of the major natural system management challenges facing the United States. With its assortment of alligators, crocodiles, manatees, panthers, large mixed flocks of wading birds, highly diverse subtropical flora, and sea of sawgrass, the ecosystem is unique in this country (Davis and Ogden 1994). The region is also perhaps the largest human-controlled system on the planet in that the major environmental factor influencing the region is water, and water flows are managed on a daily basis--subject to the vagaries of rainfall--by a massive system of locks, pumps, canals, and levees constructed over the past century. The changes brought about by such control have led to extensive modifications of historical patterns and magnitudes of flow, causing large declines in many native species, extensive changes in nutrient cycling and vegetation across south Florida, and great increases in pollutants such as mercury. Constrained by the conflicting demands of agriculture, urban human populations, and wildlife for control of water resources, and the varying agendas of hosts of government agencies and nongovernmental organizations, there is now an ongoing effort to plan for major changes to the system with expenditure estimates of eight billion dollars or more over the next several decades (USACOE 1999). Carrying out such planning, particularly as it impacts the natural systems of the region, provides one of the major challenges to the new field of computational ecology.

  14. Defining fundamental niche dimensions of corals: synergistic effects of colony size, light, and flow.

    PubMed

    Hoogenboom, Mia O; Connolly, Sean R

    2009-03-01

    The "fundamental niche" is the range of conditions under which an organism can survive and reproduce, measured in the absence of biotic interactions. Niche measurements are often based on statistical relationships between species presence and measured environmental variables, or inferred from measured responses of species along hypothesized niche axes. In this study, we use novel, process-based models of how irradiance and gas diffusion influence photosynthesis and respiration to predict niche dimensions for three coral species: Acropora nasuta, Montipora foliosa, and Leptoria phrygia. We use a combination of mathematical modeling, laboratory experiments, and field observations to establish the link between energy acquisition and the dominant environmental gradients on reefs: light intensity and water flow velocity. Our approach allows us to quantify how the shape of the niche varies in response to light and flow conditions. The model predicts that, due to its higher photosynthetic capacity, the branching coral A. nasuta has a positive energy balance over awider range of conditions than both a massive species (L. phrygia) and a foliose species (M. foliosa). Moreover, colony size influences niche width, with larger colonies of all three species achieving a positive energy balance over a broader range of conditions than small colonies. Comparison of model predictions with field data demonstrated that tissue biomass and reproductive output are significantly and positively correlated with predicted energy acquisition. These results show how interactions between light and flow determine organism performance along environmental gradients on coral reefs. In addition, this study demonstrates the utility of process-based models for quantifying how physiology influences ecology, and for predicting the ecological consequences of varying environmental conditions. PMID:19341146

  15. Ecology.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    National Audubon Society, New York, NY.

    This set of teaching aids consists of nine Audubon Nature Bulletins, providing teachers and students with informational reading on various ecological topics. The bulletins have these titles: Schoolyard Laboratories, Owls and Predators, The Forest Community, Life in Freshwater Marshes, Camouflage in the Animal World, Life in the Desert, The…

  16. Including Overweight or Obese Students in Physical Education: A Social Ecological Constraint Model

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Li, Weidong; Rukavina, Paul

    2012-01-01

    In this review, we propose a social ecological constraint model to study inclusion of overweight or obese students in physical education by integrating key concepts and assumptions from ecological constraint theory in motor development and social ecological models in health promotion and behavior. The social ecological constraint model proposes…

  17. Untangling the fungal niche: the trait-based approach

    PubMed Central

    Crowther, Thomas W.; Maynard, Daniel S.; Crowther, Terence R.; Peccia, Jordan; Smith, Jeffrey R.; Bradford, Mark A.

    2014-01-01

    Fungi are prominent components of most terrestrial ecosystems, both in terms of biomass and ecosystem functioning, but the hyper-diverse nature of most communities has obscured the search for unifying principles governing community organization. In particular, unlike plants and animals, observational studies provide little evidence for the existence of niche processes in structuring fungal communities at broad spatial scales. This limits our capacity to predict how communities, and their functioning, vary across landscapes. We outline how a shift in focus, from taxonomy toward functional traits, might prove to be valuable in the search for general patterns in fungal ecology. We build on theoretical advances in plant and animal ecology to provide an empirical framework for a trait-based approach in fungal community ecology. Drawing upon specific characteristics of the fungal system, we highlight the significance of drought stress and combat in structuring free-living fungal communities. We propose a conceptual model to formalize how trade-offs between stress-tolerance and combative dominance are likely to organize communities across environmental gradients. Given that the survival of a fungus in a given environment is contingent on its ability to tolerate antagonistic competitors, measuring variation in combat trait expression along environmental gradients provides a means of elucidating realized, from fundamental niche spaces. We conclude that, using a trait-based understanding of how niche processes structure fungal communities across time and space, we can ultimately link communities with ecosystem functioning. Our trait-based framework highlights fundamental uncertainties that require testing in the fungal system, given their potential to uncover general mechanisms in fungal ecology. PMID:25400630

  18. The bone marrow niche for haematopoietic stem cells

    PubMed Central

    Morrison, Sean J.; Scadden, David T.

    2015-01-01

    Preface Niches are local tissue microenvironments that maintain and regulate stem cells. Haematopoiesis provides a paradigm for understanding mammalian stem cells and their niches, yet the haematopoietic stem cell (HSC) niche remains incompletely defined and beset by competing models. Here we review progress in elucidating the location and cellular components of the HSC niche in the bone marrow. The niche is perivascular, created partly by mesenchymal stromal cells and endothelial cells and often, but not always, located near trabecular bone. Outstanding questions concern the cellular complexity of the niche, the role of the endosteum, and functional heterogeneity among perivascular microenvironments. PMID:24429631

  19. Realized niche shift associated with the Eurasian charophyte Nitellopsis obtusa becoming invasive in North America

    PubMed Central

    Escobar, Luis E.; Qiao, Huijie; Phelps, Nicholas B. D.; Wagner, Carli K.; Larkin, Daniel J.

    2016-01-01

    Nitellopsis obtusa (starry stonewort) is a dioecious green alga native to Europe and Asia that has emerged as an aquatic invasive species in North America. Nitellopsis obtusa is rare across large portions of its native range, but has spread rapidly in northern-tier lakes in the United States, where it can interfere with recreation and may displace native species. Little is known about the invasion ecology of N. obtusa, making it difficult to forecast future expansion. Using ecological niche modeling we investigated environmental variables associated with invasion risk. We used species records, climate data, and remotely sensed environmental variables to characterize the species’ multidimensional distribution. We found that N. obtusa is exploiting novel ecological niche space in its introduced range, which may help explain its invasiveness. While the fundamental niche of N. obtusa may be stable, there appears to have been a shift in its realized niche associated with invasion in North America. Large portions of the United States are predicted to constitute highly suitable habitat for N. obtusa. Our results can inform early detection and rapid response efforts targeting N. obtusa and provide testable estimates of the physiological tolerances of this species as a baseline for future empirical research. PMID:27363541

  20. Realized niche shift associated with the Eurasian charophyte Nitellopsis obtusa becoming invasive in North America.

    PubMed

    Escobar, Luis E; Qiao, Huijie; Phelps, Nicholas B D; Wagner, Carli K; Larkin, Daniel J

    2016-01-01

    Nitellopsis obtusa (starry stonewort) is a dioecious green alga native to Europe and Asia that has emerged as an aquatic invasive species in North America. Nitellopsis obtusa is rare across large portions of its native range, but has spread rapidly in northern-tier lakes in the United States, where it can interfere with recreation and may displace native species. Little is known about the invasion ecology of N. obtusa, making it difficult to forecast future expansion. Using ecological niche modeling we investigated environmental variables associated with invasion risk. We used species records, climate data, and remotely sensed environmental variables to characterize the species' multidimensional distribution. We found that N. obtusa is exploiting novel ecological niche space in its introduced range, which may help explain its invasiveness. While the fundamental niche of N. obtusa may be stable, there appears to have been a shift in its realized niche associated with invasion in North America. Large portions of the United States are predicted to constitute highly suitable habitat for N. obtusa. Our results can inform early detection and rapid response efforts targeting N. obtusa and provide testable estimates of the physiological tolerances of this species as a baseline for future empirical research.

  1. Individual-based modeling of ecological and evolutionary processes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    DeAngelis, Donald L.; Mooij, Wolf M.

    2005-01-01

    Individual-based models (IBMs) allow the explicit inclusion of individual variation in greater detail than do classical differential-equation and difference-equation models. Inclusion of such variation is important for continued progress in ecological and evolutionary theory. We provide a conceptual basis for IBMs by describing five major types of individual variation in IBMs: spatial, ontogenetic, phenotypic, cognitive, and genetic. IBMs are now used in almost all subfields of ecology and evolutionary biology. We map those subfields and look more closely at selected key papers on fish recruitment, forest dynamics, sympatric speciation, metapopulation dynamics, maintenance of diversity, and species conservation. Theorists are currently divided on whether IBMs represent only a practical tool for extending classical theory to more complex situations, or whether individual-based theory represents a radically new research program. We feel that the tension between these two poles of thinking can be a source of creativity in ecology and evolutionary theory.

  2. Model Organisms Retain an “Ecological Memory” of Complex Ecologically Relevant Environmental Variation

    PubMed Central

    Beer, Karlyn D.; Wurtmann, Elisabeth J.; Pinel, Nicolás

    2014-01-01

    Although tractable model organisms are essential to characterize the molecular mechanisms of evolution and adaptation, the ecological relevance of their behavior is not always clear because certain traits are easily lost during long-term laboratory culturing. Here, we demonstrate that despite their long tenure in the laboratory, model organisms retain “ecological memory” of complex environmental changes. We have discovered that Halobacterium salinarum NRC-1, a halophilic archaeon that dominates microbial communities in a dynamically changing hypersaline environment, simultaneously optimizes fitness to total salinity, NaCl concentration, and the [K]/[Mg] ratio. Despite being maintained under controlled conditions over the last 50 years, peaks in the three-dimensional fitness landscape occur in salinity and ionic compositions that are not replicated in laboratory culturing but are routinely observed in the natural hypersaline environment of this organism. Intriguingly, adaptation to variations in ion composition was associated with differential regulation of anaerobic metabolism genes, suggesting an intertwined relationship between responses to oxygen and salinity. Our results suggest that the ecological memory of complex environmental variations is imprinted in the networks for coordinating multiple cellular processes. These coordination networks are also essential for dealing with changes in other physicochemically linked factors present during routine laboratory culturing and, hence, retained in model organisms. PMID:24413600

  3. MixSIAR: A Bayesian stable isotope mixing model for characterizing intrapopulation niche variation

    EPA Science Inventory

    Background/Question/Methods The science of stable isotope mixing models has tended towards the development of modeling products (e.g. IsoSource, MixSIR, SIAR), where methodological advances or syntheses of the current state of the art are published in parity with software packa...

  4. Probability bounds analysis for nonlinear population ecology models.

    PubMed

    Enszer, Joshua A; Andrei Măceș, D; Stadtherr, Mark A

    2015-09-01

    Mathematical models in population ecology often involve parameters that are empirically determined and inherently uncertain, with probability distributions for the uncertainties not known precisely. Propagating such imprecise uncertainties rigorously through a model to determine their effect on model outputs can be a challenging problem. We illustrate here a method for the direct propagation of uncertainties represented by probability bounds though nonlinear, continuous-time, dynamic models in population ecology. This makes it possible to determine rigorous bounds on the probability that some specified outcome for a population is achieved, which can be a core problem in ecosystem modeling for risk assessment and management. Results can be obtained at a computational cost that is considerably less than that required by statistical sampling methods such as Monte Carlo analysis. The method is demonstrated using three example systems, with focus on a model of an experimental aquatic food web subject to the effects of contamination by ionic liquids, a new class of potentially important industrial chemicals.

  5. Ecological Models: Family Systems and Beyond. A Symposium.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Jasnoski, M. L.; O'Connor, William A.

    There has been a resurgence of interest in human ecosystems, attributable to the growth of community mental health centers and public sector funding. The first of two papers discusses human ecology models based on this resurgence. Implications for future development of the mental health area are presented with the challenge to integrate…

  6. Development of stable isotope mixing models in ecology - Fremantle

    EPA Science Inventory

    More than 40 years ago, stable isotope analysis methods used in geochemistry began to be applied to ecological studies. One common application is using mathematical mixing models to sort out the proportional contributions of various sources to a mixture. Examples include contri...

  7. Development of stable isotope mixing models in ecology - Perth

    EPA Science Inventory

    More than 40 years ago, stable isotope analysis methods used in geochemistry began to be applied to ecological studies. One common application is using mathematical mixing models to sort out the proportional contributions of various sources to a mixture. Examples include contri...

  8. Development of stable isotope mixing models in ecology - Sydney

    EPA Science Inventory

    More than 40 years ago, stable isotope analysis methods used in geochemistry began to be applied to ecological studies. One common application is using mathematical mixing models to sort out the proportional contributions of various sources to a mixture. Examples include contri...

  9. Historical development of stable isotope mixing models in ecology

    EPA Science Inventory

    More than 40 years ago, stable isotope analysis methods used in geochemistry began to be applied to ecological studies. One common application is using mathematical mixing models to sort out the proportional contributions of various sources to a mixture. Examples include contri...

  10. ASSESSMENT OF SPATIAL AUTOCORRELATION IN EMPIRICAL MODELS IN ECOLOGY

    EPA Science Inventory

    Statistically assessing ecological models is inherently difficult because data are autocorrelated and this autocorrelation varies in an unknown fashion. At a simple level, the linking of a single species to a habitat type is a straightforward analysis. With some investigation int...

  11. Development of stable isotope mixing models in ecology - Dublin

    EPA Science Inventory

    More than 40 years ago, stable isotope analysis methods used in geochemistry began to be applied to ecological studies. One common application is using mathematical mixing models to sort out the proportional contributions of various sources to a mixture. Examples include contri...

  12. Back-end Science Model Integration for Ecological Risk Assessment

    EPA Science Inventory

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) relies on a number of ecological risk assessment models that have been developed over 30-plus years of regulating pesticide exposure and risks under Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Endangered Spe...

  13. Back-end Science Model Integration for Ecological Risk Assessment.

    EPA Science Inventory

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) relies on a number of ecological risk assessment models that have been developed over 30-plus years of regulating pesticide exposure and risks under Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Endangered Spe...

  14. A Novel Integrated Ecological Model for the study of Sustainability

    EPA Science Inventory

    In recent years, there has been a growing interest among various sections of the society in the study of sustainability. Recently, a generalized mathematical model depicting a combined economic-ecological-social system has been proposed to help in the formal study of sustainabili...

  15. A Model of Practice in Special Education: Dynamic Ecological Analysis

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hannant, Barbara; Lim, Eng Leong; McAllum, Ruth

    2010-01-01

    Dynamic Ecological Analysis (DEA) is a model of practice which increases a teams' efficacy by enabling the development of more effective interventions through collaboration and collective reflection. This process has proved to be useful in: a) clarifying thinking and problem-solving, b) transferring knowledge and thinking to significant parties,…

  16. INTEGRATION OF AN ECONOMIC WITH AN ECOLOGICAL MODEL

    EPA Science Inventory

    We summarize our work on integration of an economy under imperfect competition with a simple Lotka-Volterra type ecological model. Firms and households operate within a single period planning horizon, thus there is no savings or investment. Wages are set by a dominant employer. P...

  17. Migration and horizontal gene transfer divide microbial genomes into multiple niches.

    PubMed

    Niehus, Rene; Mitri, Sara; Fletcher, Alexander G; Foster, Kevin R

    2015-01-01

    Horizontal gene transfer is central to microbial evolution, because it enables genetic regions to spread horizontally through diverse communities. However, how gene transfer exerts such a strong effect is not understood. Here we develop an eco-evolutionary model and show how genetic transfer, even when rare, can transform the evolution and ecology of microbes. We recapitulate existing models, which suggest that asexual reproduction will overpower horizontal transfer and greatly limit its effects. We then show that allowing immigration completely changes these predictions. With migration, the rates and impacts of horizontal transfer are greatly increased, and transfer is most frequent for loci under positive natural selection. Our analysis explains how ecologically important loci can sweep through competing strains and species. In this way, microbial genomes can evolve to become ecologically diverse where different genomic regions encode for partially overlapping, but distinct, ecologies. Under these conditions ecological species do not exist, because genes, not species, inhabit niches. PMID:26592443

  18. Migration and horizontal gene transfer divide microbial genomes into multiple niches

    PubMed Central

    Niehus, Rene; Mitri, Sara; Fletcher, Alexander G.; Foster, Kevin R.

    2015-01-01

    Horizontal gene transfer is central to microbial evolution, because it enables genetic regions to spread horizontally through diverse communities. However, how gene transfer exerts such a strong effect is not understood. Here we develop an eco-evolutionary model and show how genetic transfer, even when rare, can transform the evolution and ecology of microbes. We recapitulate existing models, which suggest that asexual reproduction will overpower horizontal transfer and greatly limit its effects. We then show that allowing immigration completely changes these predictions. With migration, the rates and impacts of horizontal transfer are greatly increased, and transfer is most fre