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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. 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...

  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 Modelling of Bank Voles in Western Europe

    PubMed Central

    Amirpour Haredasht, Sara; Barrios, Miguel; Farifteh, Jamshid; Maes, Piet; Clement, Jan; Verstraeten, Willem W.; Tersago, Katrien; Van Ranst, Marc; Coppin, Pol; Berckmans, Daniel; Aerts, Jean-Marie

    2013-01-01

    The bank vole (Myodes glareolus) is the natural host of Puumala virus (PUUV) in vast areas of Europe. PUUV is one of the hantaviruses which are transmitted to humans by infected rodents. PUUV causes a general mild form of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) called nephropathia epidemica (NE). Vector-borne and zoonotic diseases generally display clear spatial patterns due to different space-dependent factors. Land cover influences disease transmission by controlling both the spatial distribution of vectors or hosts, as well as by facilitating the human contact with them. In this study the use of ecological niche modelling (ENM) for predicting the geographical distribution of bank vole population on the basis of spatial climate information is tested. The Genetic Algorithm for Rule-set Prediction (GARP) is used to model the ecological niche of bank voles in Western Europe. The meteorological data, land cover types and geo-referenced points representing the locations of the bank voles (latitude/longitude) in the study area are used as the primary model input value. The predictive accuracy of the bank vole ecologic niche model was significant (training accuracy of 86%). The output of the GARP models based on the 50% subsets of points used for testing the model showed an accuracy of 75%. Compared with random models, the probability of such high predictivity was low (χ2 tests, p < 10−6). As such, the GARP models were predictive and the used ecologic niche model indeed indicates the ecologic requirements of bank voles. This approach successfully identified the areas of infection risk across the study area. The result suggests that the niche modelling approach can be implemented in a next step towards the development of new tools for monitoring the bank vole’s population. PMID:23358234

  8. Ecologic Niche Modeling and Spatial Patterns of Disease Transmission

    PubMed Central

    2006-01-01

    Ecologic niche modeling (ENM) is a growing field with many potential applications to questions regarding the geography and ecology of disease transmission. Specifically, ENM has the potential to inform investigations concerned with the geography, or potential geography, of vectors, hosts, pathogens, or human cases, and it can achieve fine spatial resolution without the loss of information inherent in many other techniques. Potential applications and current frontiers and challenges are reviewed. PMID:17326931

  9. Genetically informed ecological niche models improve climate change predictions.

    PubMed

    Ikeda, Dana H; Max, Tamara L; Allan, Gerard J; Lau, Matthew K; Shuster, Stephen M; Whitham, Thomas G

    2017-01-01

    We examined the hypothesis that ecological niche models (ENMs) more accurately predict species distributions when they incorporate information on population genetic structure, and concomitantly, local adaptation. Local adaptation is common in species that span a range of environmental gradients (e.g., soils and climate). Moreover, common garden studies have demonstrated a covariance between neutral markers and functional traits associated with a species' ability to adapt to environmental change. We therefore predicted that genetically distinct populations would respond differently to climate change, resulting in predicted distributions with little overlap. To test whether genetic information improves our ability to predict a species' niche space, we created genetically informed ecological niche models (gENMs) using Populus fremontii (Salicaceae), a widespread tree species in which prior common garden experiments demonstrate strong evidence for local adaptation. Four major findings emerged: (i) gENMs predicted population occurrences with up to 12-fold greater accuracy than models without genetic information; (ii) tests of niche similarity revealed that three ecotypes, identified on the basis of neutral genetic markers and locally adapted populations, are associated with differences in climate; (iii) our forecasts indicate that ongoing climate change will likely shift these ecotypes further apart in geographic space, resulting in greater niche divergence; (iv) ecotypes that currently exhibit the largest geographic distribution and niche breadth appear to be buffered the most from climate change. As diverse agents of selection shape genetic variability and structure within species, we argue that gENMs will lead to more accurate predictions of species distributions under climate change. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  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. Activity-specific ecological niche models for planning reintroductions of California condors (Gymnogyps californianus)

    Treesearch

    Jesse D’Elia; Susan M. Haig; Matthew Johnson; Richard Young; Bruce G. Marcot

    2015-01-01

    Ecological niche models can be a useful tool to identify candidate reintroduction sites for endangered species but have been infrequently used for this purpose. In this paper, we (1) develop activity-specific ecological niche models (nesting, roosting, and feeding) for the critically endangered California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) to aid in...

  13. Using ecological niche models and niche analyses to understand speciation patterns: the case of sister neotropical orchid bees.

    PubMed

    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.

  14. 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

  15. Ecologic Niche Modeling and Potential Reservoirs for Chagas Disease, Mexico.

    PubMed Central

    Sánchez-Cordero, Victor; Ben Beard, C.; Ramsey, Janine M.

    2002-01-01

    Ecologic niche modeling may improve our understanding of epidemiologically relevant vector and parasite-reservoir distributions. We used this tool to identify host relationships of Triatoma species implicated in transmission of Chagas disease. Associations have been documented between the protracta complex (Triatoma: Triatominae: Reduviidae) with packrat species (Neotoma spp.), providing an excellent case study for the broader challenge of developing hypotheses of association. Species pairs that were identified coincided exactly with those in previous studies, suggesting that local interactions between Triatoma and Neotoma species and subspecies have implications at a geographic level. Nothing is known about sylvatic associates of T. barberi, which are considered the primary Chagas vector in Mexico; its geographic distribution coincided closely with that of N. mexicana, suggesting interaction. The presence of the species was confirmed in two regions where it had been predicted but not previously collected. This approach may help in identifying Chagas disease risk areas, planning vector-control strategies, and exploring parasite-reservoir associations for other emerging diseases. PMID:12095431

  16. 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

  17. Learning the ecological niche

    PubMed Central

    Slagsvold, Tore; Wiebe, Karen L

    2006-01-01

    A cornerstone of ecological theory is the ecological niche. Yet little is known about how individuals come to adopt it: whether it is innate or learned. Here, we report a cross-fostering experiment in the wild where we transferred eggs of blue tits, Cyanistes caeruleus, to nests of great tits, Parus major, and vice versa, to quantify the consequences of being reared in a different social context, but in an environment otherwise natural to the birds. We show that early learning causes a shift in the feeding niche in the direction of the foster species and that this shift lasts for life (foraging conservatism). Both species changed their feeding niches, but the change was greater in the great tit with its less specialized feeding behaviour. The study shows that cultural transmission through early learning is fundamental to the realization of ecological niches, and suggests a mechanism to explain learned habitat preference and sympatric speciation in animals. PMID:17015332

  18. Learning the ecological niche.

    PubMed

    Slagsvold, Tore; Wiebe, Karen L

    2007-01-07

    A cornerstone of ecological theory is the ecological niche. Yet little is known about how individuals come to adopt it: whether it is innate or learned. Here, we report a cross-fostering experiment in the wild where we transferred eggs of blue tits, Cyanistes caeruleus, to nests of great tits, Parus major, and vice versa, to quantify the consequences of being reared in a different social context, but in an environment otherwise natural to the birds. We show that early learning causes a shift in the feeding niche in the direction of the foster species and that this shift lasts for life (foraging conservatism). Both species changed their feeding niches, but the change was greater in the great tit with its less specialized feeding behaviour. The study shows that cultural transmission through early learning is fundamental to the realization of ecological niches, and suggests a mechanism to explain learned habitat preference and sympatric speciation in animals.

  19. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Drake, John M

    2015-06-06

    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.

  1. 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

  2. Conservatism of ecological niches in evolutionary time

    PubMed

    Peterson; Sober n J; Sanchez-Cordero

    1999-08-20

    Theory predicts low niche differentiation between species over evolutionary time scales, but little empirical evidence is available. Reciprocal geographic predictions based on ecological niche models of sister taxon pairs of birds, mammals, and butterflies in southern Mexico indicate niche conservatism over several million years of independent evolution (between putative sister taxon pairs) but little conservatism at the level of families. Niche conservatism over such time scales indicates that speciation takes place in geographic, not ecological, dimensions and that ecological differences evolve later.

  3. Maximum Entropy-Based Ecological Niche Model and Bio-Climatic Determinants of Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma americanum) Niche

    PubMed Central

    Raghavan, Ram K.; Goodin, Douglas G.; Hanzlicek, Gregg A.; Zolnerowich, Gregory; Dryden, Michael W.; Anderson, Gary A.; Ganta, Roman R.

    2016-01-01

    Abstract The potential distribution of Amblyomma americanum ticks in Kansas was modeled using maximum entropy (MaxEnt) approaches based on museum and field-collected species occurrence data. Various bioclimatic variables were used in the model as potentially influential factors affecting the A. americanum niche. Following reduction of dimensionality among predictor variables using principal components analysis, which revealed that the first two principal axes explain over 87% of the variance, the model indicated that suitable conditions for this medically important tick species cover a larger area in Kansas than currently believed. Soil moisture, temperature, and precipitation were highly correlated with the first two principal components and were influential factors in the A. americanum ecological niche. Assuming that the niche estimated in this study covers the occupied distribution, which needs to be further confirmed by systematic surveys, human exposure to this known disease vector may be considerably under-appreciated in the state. PMID:26824880

  4. 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

  5. Cognitive niches: an ecological model of strategy selection.

    PubMed

    Marewski, Julian N; Schooler, Lael J

    2011-07-01

    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 strategy a cognitive niche, that is, a limited number of situations in which the strategy can be applied, simplifying strategy selection. To illustrate our proposal, we consider selection in the context of 2 theories: the simple heuristics framework and the ACT-R (adaptive control of thought-rational) architecture of cognition. From the heuristics framework, we adopt the thesis that people make decisions by selecting from a repertoire of simple decision strategies that exploit regularities in the environment and draw on cognitive capacities, such as memory and time perception. ACT-R provides a quantitative theory of how these capacities adapt to the environment. In 14 simulations and 10 experiments, we consider the choice between strategies that operate on the accessibility of memories and those that depend on elaborate knowledge about the world. Based on Internet statistics, our model quantitatively predicts people's familiarity with and knowledge of real-world objects, the distributional characteristics of the associated speed of memory retrieval, and the cognitive niches of classic decision strategies, including those of the fluency, recognition, integration, lexicographic, and sequential-sampling heuristics. In doing so, the model specifies when people will be able to apply different strategies and how accurate, fast, and effortless people's decisions will be.

  6. Ecological niche modeling to determine potential niche of Vaccinia virus: a case only study.

    PubMed

    Quiner, Claire A; Nakazawa, Yoshinori

    2017-08-07

    Emerging and understudied pathogens often lack information that most commonly used analytical tools require, such as negative controls or baseline data; thus, new analytical strategies are needed to analyze transmission patterns and drivers of disease emergence. Zoonotic infections with Vaccinia virus (VACV) were first reported in Brazil in 1999, VACV is an emerging zoonotic Orthopoxvirus, which primarily infects dairy cattle and farmers in close contact with infected cows. Prospective studies of emerging pathogens could provide critical data that would inform public health planning and response to outbreaks. By using the location of 87-recorded outbreaks and publicly available bioclimatic data, we demonstrate one such approach. Using an ecological niche model (ENM) algorithm, we identify the environmental conditions under which VACV outbreaks have occurred, and determine additional locations in two affected countries that may be susceptible to transmission. Further, we show how suitability for the virus responds to different levels of various environmental factors and highlight the most important factors in determining its transmission. A literature review was performed and the geospatial coordinates of 87 molecularly confirmed VACV outbreaks in Brazil were identified. An ENM was generated using MaxENT software by combining principal component analysis results of 19 bioclim spatial layers, and 25 randomly selected subsets of the original list of 87 outbreaks. The final ENM predicted all areas where Brazilian outbreaks occurred, one out of five of the Colombian outbreak regions and identified new regions within Brazil that are suitable for transmission based on bioclimatic factors. Further, the most important factors in determining transmission suitability are precipitation of the wettest quarter, annual precipitation, mean temperature of the coldest quarter and mean diurnal range. The analyses here provide a means by which to study patterns of an emerging

  7. Ecological niche modeling of rabies in the changing Arctic of Alaska.

    PubMed

    Huettmann, Falk; Magnuson, Emily Elizabeth; Hueffer, Karsten

    2017-03-20

    Rabies is a disease of global significance including in the circumpolar Arctic. In Alaska enzootic rabies persist in northern and western coastal areas. Only sporadic cases have occurred in areas outside of the regions considered enzootic for the virus, such as the interior of the state and urbanized regions. Here we examine the distribution of diagnosed rabies cases in Alaska, explicit in space and time. We use a geographic information system (GIS), 20 environmental data layers and provide a quantitative non-parsimonious estimate of the predicted ecological niche, based on data mining, machine learning and open access data. We identify ecological correlates and possible drivers that determine the ecological niche of rabies virus in Alaska. More specifically, our models show that rabies cases are closely associated with human infrastructure, and reveal an ecological niche in remote northern wilderness areas. Furthermore a model utilizing climate modeling suggests a reduction of the current ecological niche for detection of rabies virus in Alaska, a state that is disproportionately affected by a changing climate. Our results may help to better inform public health decisions in the future and guide further studies on individual drivers of rabies distribution in the Arctic.

  8. 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. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. Ecological Niche Modelling of the Bacillus anthracis A1.a sub-lineage in Kazakhstan

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, is a globally distributed zoonotic pathogen that continues to be a veterinary and human health problem in Central Asia. We used a database of anthrax outbreak locations in Kazakhstan and a subset of genotyped isolates to model the geographic distribution and ecological associations of B. anthracis in Kazakhstan. The aims of the study were to test the influence of soil variables on a previous ecological niche based prediction of B. anthracis in Kazakhstan and to determine if a single sub-lineage of B. anthracis occupies a unique ecological niche. Results The addition of soil variables to the previously developed ecological niche model did not appreciably alter the limits of the predicted geographic or ecological distribution of B. anthracis in Kazakhstan. The A1.a experiment predicted the sub-lineage to be present over a larger geographic area than did the outbreak based experiment containing multiple lineages. Within the geographic area predicted to be suitable for B. anthracis by all ten best subset models, the A1.a sub-lineage was associated with a wider range of ecological tolerances than the outbreak-soil experiment. Analysis of rule types showed that logit rules predominate in the outbreak-soil experiment and range rules in the A1.a sub-lineage experiment. Random sub-setting of locality points suggests that models of B. anthracis distribution may be sensitive to sample size. Conclusions Our analysis supports careful consideration of the taxonomic resolution of data used to create ecological niche models. Further investigations into the environmental affinities of individual lineages and sub-lineages of B. anthracis will be useful in understanding the ecology of the disease at large and small scales. With model based predictions serving as approximations of disease risk, these efforts will improve the efficacy of public health interventions for anthrax prevention and control. PMID:22152056

  10. Endolithic biofilms: a model for extraterrestrial ecological niches?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pohl, Wolfhart; Hoppert, Michael; Flies, Christine; Gunzl, Bettina; Ruppert, Hans; Schneider, Juergen

    1999-12-01

    In natural ecosystems, bacteria, unicellular algae, filamentous and yeast-like fungi are often organized in thin films attached to or entrenched in substrata such as surfaces of solid rocks, minerals or larger organisms. Frequently the formation of a biofilm is the most successful survival strategy. Especially within endolithic biofilms micro-organisms actively create a safe niche to avoid extreme and thus harmful environmental conditions such as electromagnetic radiation, mechanical abrasion, water and temperature stress and hazardous chemical agents. Exemplary survival strategies are presented for bacteria, ascomycetes and green algae. On substrata without organic carbon sources, biofilms are composed of chemolithotrophic or phototrophic primary producers and heterotrophic organisms (including destruents).

  11. 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.

  12. mMWeb - An Online Platform for Employing Multiple Ecological Niche Modeling Algorithms

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    Background Predicting the ecological niche and potential habitat distribution of a given organism is one of the central domains of ecological and biogeographical research. A wide variety of modeling techniques have been developed for this purpose. In order to implement these models, the users must prepare a specific runtime environment for each model, learn how to use multiple model platforms, and prepare data in a different format each time. Additionally, often model results are difficult to interpret, and a standardized method for comparing model results across platforms does not exist. We developed a free and open source online platform, the multi-models web-based (mMWeb) platform, to address each of these problems, providing a novel environment in which the user can implement and compare multiple ecological niche model (ENM) algorithms. Methodology mMWeb combines 18 existing ENMs and their corresponding algorithms and provides a uniform procedure for modeling the potential habitat niche of a species via a common web browser. mMWeb uses Java Native Interface (JNI), Java R Interface to combine the different ENMs and executes multiple tasks in parallel on a super computer. The cross-platform, user-friendly interface of mMWeb simplifies the process of building ENMs, providing an accessible and efficient environment from which to explore and compare different model algorithms. PMID:22912854

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

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2007-07-01

    M. Papeş for GIS assistance, N. Nagle and M. Rosenberg for advice on spatial statistics, and J. Chave and C. Dick for their helpful comments on the...Adams JM (2001) A GIS -based Vegetation Map of the World at the Last Glacial Maximum (25,000–15,000 BP). Internet Archaeology 11: Download: http...Soricidae): past fragmentation and postglacial recolonization. Molecular Ecology 12: 1435–1449. 72. Stone KD, Flynn RW, Cook JA (2002) Post-glacial

  14. 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.

  15. Potential Distribution of Chagas Disease Vectors (Hemiptera, Reduviidae, Triatominae) in Colombia, Based on Ecological Niche Modeling.

    PubMed

    Parra-Henao, Gabriel; Suárez-Escudero, Laura C; González-Caro, Sebastián

    2016-01-01

    Ecological niche modeling of Triatominae bugs allow us to establish the local risk of transmission of the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas disease. This information could help to guide health authority recommendations on infection monitoring, prevention, and control. In this study, we estimated the geographic distribution of triatomine species in Colombia and identified the relationship between landscape structure and climatic factors influencing their occurrence. A total of 2451 records of 4 triatomine species (Panstrongylus geniculatus, Rhodnius pallescens, R. prolixus, and Triatoma maculata) were analyzed. The variables that provided more information to explain the ecologic niche of these vectors were related to precipitation, altitude, and temperature. We found that the species with the broadest potential geographic distribution were P. geniculatus, R. pallescens, and R. prolixus. In general, the models predicted the highest occurrence probability of these vectors in the eastern slope of the Eastern Cordillera, the southern region of the Magdalena valley, and the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta.

  16. Potential Distribution of Chagas Disease Vectors (Hemiptera, Reduviidae, Triatominae) in Colombia, Based on Ecological Niche Modeling

    PubMed Central

    Suárez-Escudero, Laura C.; González-Caro, Sebastián

    2016-01-01

    Ecological niche modeling of Triatominae bugs allow us to establish the local risk of transmission of the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas disease. This information could help to guide health authority recommendations on infection monitoring, prevention, and control. In this study, we estimated the geographic distribution of triatomine species in Colombia and identified the relationship between landscape structure and climatic factors influencing their occurrence. A total of 2451 records of 4 triatomine species (Panstrongylus geniculatus, Rhodnius pallescens, R. prolixus, and Triatoma maculata) were analyzed. The variables that provided more information to explain the ecologic niche of these vectors were related to precipitation, altitude, and temperature. We found that the species with the broadest potential geographic distribution were P. geniculatus, R. pallescens, and R. prolixus. In general, the models predicted the highest occurrence probability of these vectors in the eastern slope of the Eastern Cordillera, the southern region of the Magdalena valley, and the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta. PMID:28115946

  17. Harnessing the world's biodiversity data: promise and peril in ecological niche modeling of species distributions.

    PubMed

    Anderson, Robert P

    2012-07-01

    Recent advances allow harnessing enormous stores of biological and environmental data to model species niches and geographic distributions. Natural history museums hold specimens that represent the only information available for most species. Ecological niche models (sometimes termed species distribution models) combine such information with digital environmental data (especially climatic) to offer key insights for conservation biology, management of invasive species, zoonotic human diseases, and other pressing environmental problems. Five major pitfalls seriously hinder such research, especially for cross-space or cross-time uses: (1) incorrect taxonomic identifications; (2) lacking or inadequate databasing and georeferences; (3) effects of sampling bias across geography; (4) violation of assumptions related to selection of the study region; and (5) problems regarding model evaluation to identify optimal model complexity. Large-scale initiatives regarding data availability and quality, technological development, and capacity building should allow high-quality modeling on a scale commensurate with the enormous potential of and need for these techniques.

  18. 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…

  19. Modeling the Ecological Niche of Bacillus anthracis to Map Anthrax Risk in Kyrgyzstan.

    PubMed

    Blackburn, Jason K; Matakarimov, Saitbek; Kozhokeeva, Sabira; Tagaeva, Zhyldyz; Bell, Lindsay K; Kracalik, Ian T; Zhunushov, Asankadyr

    2017-03-01

    AbstractAnthrax, caused by the environmental bacterium Bacillus anthracis, is an important zoonosis nearly worldwide. In Central Asia, anthrax represents a major veterinary and public health concern. In the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, ongoing anthrax outbreaks have been reported in humans associated with handling infected livestock and contaminated animal by-products such as meat or hides. The current anthrax situation has prompted calls for improved insights into the epidemiology, ecology, and spatial distribution of the disease in Kyrgyzstan to better inform control and surveillance. Disease control for both humans and livestock relies on annual livestock vaccination ahead of outbreaks. Toward this, we used a historic database of livestock anthrax reported from 1932 to 2006 mapped at high resolution to develop an ecological niche model-based prediction of B. anthracis across Kyrgyzstan and identified spatial clusters of livestock anthrax using a cluster morphology statistic. We also defined the seasonality of outbreaks in livestock. Cattle were the most frequently reported across the time period, with the greatest number of cases in late summer months. Our niche models defined four areas as suitable to support pathogen persistence, the plateaus near Talas and Bishkek, the valleys of western Kyrgyzstan along the Fergana Valley, and the low-lying areas along the shore of Lake Isyk-Kul. These areas should be considered "at risk" for livestock anthrax and subsequent human cases. Areas defined by the niche models can be used to prioritize anthrax surveillance and inform efforts to target livestock vaccination campaigns.

  20. 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.

  1. Insights from ecological niche modeling on the taxonomic distinction and niche differentiation between the black-spotted and red-spotted tokay geckoes (Gekko gecko)

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Yueyun; Chen, Chongtao; Li, Li; Zhao, Chengjian; Chen, Weicai; Huang, Yong

    2014-01-01

    The black-spotted tokay and the red-spotted tokay are morphologically distinct and have largely allopatric distributions. The black-spotted tokay is characterized by a small body size and dark skin with sundry spots, while the red-spotted tokay has a relatively large body size and red spots. Based on morphological, karyotypic, genetic, and distribution differences, recent studies suggested their species status; however, their classifications remain controversial, and additional data such as ecological niches are necessary to establish firm hypotheses regarding their taxonomic status. We reconstructed their ecological niches models using climatic and geographic data. We then performed niche similarity tests (niche identity and background tests) and point-based analyses to explore whether ecological differentiation has occurred, and whether such differences are sufficient to explain the maintenance of their separate segments of environmental ranges. We found that both niche models of the black- and the red-spotted tokay had a good fit and a robust performance, as indicated by the high area under the curve (AUC) values (“black” = 0.982, SD = ± 0.002, “red” = 0.966 ± 0.02). Significant ecological differentiation across the entire geographic range was found, indicating that the involvement of ecological differentiation is important for species differentiation. Divergence along the environmental axes is highly associated with climatic conditions, with isothermality being important for the “black” form, while temperature seasonality, precipitation of warmest quarter, and annual temperature range together being important for the “red” form. These factors are likely important factors in niche differentiation between the two forms, which result in morphological replacement. Overall, beside morphological and genetic differentiation information, our results contribute to additional insights into taxonomic distinction and niche differentiation between the

  2. 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

  3. Ecological niche modelling of three pipistrelle bat species in semiarid Mediterranean landscapes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lisón, Fulgencio; Calvo, José F.

    2013-02-01

    Wetlands and aquatic habitats in Mediterranean environments are very scarce in general, representing a limiting resource for all species. For pipistrelle bats, such environments are essential and so those species living in sympatry have to develop mechanisms of niche partitioning to avoid direct competition. We used ecological niche models and habitat suitability maps (HSMs) to study the ecological requirements and possible interspecific interactions between three sympatric species of pipistrelles in semiarid Mediterranean landscapes. The results point to differences between the three species: Pipistrellus kuhlii has the largest proportion of optimal habitat (despite being the least common), Pipistrellus pygmaeus has the highest value of marginality and the most common, Pipistrellus pipistrellus, is a habitat-tolerant and generalist species. However, all three species show a strong preference for aquatic habitats and there is a high degree of overlapping between them, so that their coexistence must obey fine-scale mechanisms of niche partitioning. The profound alterations that have occurred in Mediterranean ecosystems as a result of substantial changes in the landscape uses (intensive agriculture and urbanization) may favour P. pipistrellus and be detrimental to the other two species, especially P. kuhlii.

  4. Ecological Niche Modeling of Potential West Nile Virus Vector Mosquito Species in Iowa

    PubMed Central

    Larson, Scott R.; DeGroote, John P.; Bartholomay, Lyric C.; Sugumaran, Ramanathan

    2010-01-01

    Ecological niche modeling (ENM) algorithms, Maximum Entropy Species Distribution Modeling (Maxent) and Genetic Algorithm for Rule-set Prediction (GARP), were used to develop models in Iowa for three species of mosquito — two significant, extant West Nile virus (WNV) vectors (Culex pipiens L and Culex tarsalis Coquillett (Diptera: Culicidae)), and the nuisance mosquito, Aedes vexans Meigen (Diptera: Culicidae), a potential WNV bridge vector. Occurrence data for the three mosquito species from a state-wide arbovirus surveillance program were used in combination with climatic and landscape layers. Maxent successfully created more appropriate niche models with greater accuracy than GARP. The three Maxent species' models were combined and the average values were statistically compared to human WNV incidence at the census block group level. The results showed that the Maxent-modeled species' niches averaged together were a useful indicator of WNV human incidence in the state of Iowa. This simple method for creating probability distribution maps proved useful for understanding WNV dynamics and could be applied to the study of other vector-borne diseases. PMID:20874412

  5. Ecological niche modeling of potential West Nile virus vector mosquito species in Iowa.

    PubMed

    Larson, Scott R; DeGroote, John P; Bartholomay, Lyric C; Sugumaran, Ramanathan

    2010-01-01

    Ecological niche modeling (ENM) algorithms, Maximum Entropy Species Distribution Modeling (Maxent) and Genetic Algorithm for Rule-set Prediction (GARP), were used to develop models in Iowa for three species of mosquito - two significant, extant West Nile virus (WNV) vectors (Culex pipiens L and Culex tarsalis Coquillett (Diptera: Culicidae)), and the nuisance mosquito, Aedes vexans Meigen (Diptera: Culicidae), a potential WNV bridge vector. Occurrence data for the three mosquito species from a state-wide arbovirus surveillance program were used in combination with climatic and landscape layers. Maxent successfully created more appropriate niche models with greater accuracy than GARP. The three Maxent species' models were combined and the average values were statistically compared to human WNV incidence at the census block group level. The results showed that the Maxent-modeled species' niches averaged together were a useful indicator of WNV human incidence in the state of Iowa. This simple method for creating probability distribution maps proved useful for understanding WNV dynamics and could be applied to the study of other vector-borne diseases.

  6. 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

  7. Postglacial species displacement in Triturus newts deduced from asymmetrically introgressed mitochondrial DNA and ecological niche models

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background If the geographical displacement of one species by another is accompanied by hybridization, mitochondrial DNA can introgress asymmetrically, from the outcompeted species into the invading species, over a large area. We explore this phenomenon using the two parapatric crested newt species, Triturus macedonicus and T. karelinii, distributed on the Balkan Peninsula in south-eastern Europe, as a model. Results We first delimit a ca. 54,000 km2 area in which T. macedonicus contains T. karelinii mitochondrial DNA. This introgression zone bisects the range of T. karelinii, cutting off a T. karelinii enclave. The high similarity of introgressed mitochondrial DNA haplotypes with those found in T. karelinii suggests a recent transfer across the species boundary. We then use ecological niche modeling to explore habitat suitability of the location of the present day introgression zone under current, mid-Holocene and Last Glacial Maximum conditions. This area was inhospitable during the Last Glacial Maximum for both species, but would have been habitable at the mid-Holocene. Since the mid-Holocene, habitat suitability generally increased for T. macedonicus, whereas it decreased for T. karelinii. Conclusion The presence of a T. karelinii enclave suggests that T. karelinii was the first to colonize the area where the present day introgression zone is positioned after the Last Glacial Maximum. Subsequently, we propose T. karelinii was outcompeted by T. macedonicus, which captured T. karelinii mitochondrial DNA via introgressive hybridization in the process. Ecological niche modeling suggests that this replacement was likely facilitated by a shift in climate since the mid-Holocene. We suggest that the northwestern part of the current introgression zone was probably never inhabited by T. karelinii itself, and that T. karelinii mitochondrial DNA spread there through T. macedonicus exclusively. Considering the spatial distribution of the introgressed mitochondrial DNA and

  8. Postglacial species displacement in Triturus newts deduced from asymmetrically introgressed mitochondrial DNA and ecological niche models.

    PubMed

    Wielstra, Ben; Arntzen, Jan W

    2012-08-30

    If the geographical displacement of one species by another is accompanied by hybridization, mitochondrial DNA can introgress asymmetrically, from the outcompeted species into the invading species, over a large area. We explore this phenomenon using the two parapatric crested newt species, Triturus macedonicus and T. karelinii, distributed on the Balkan Peninsula in south-eastern Europe, as a model. We first delimit a ca. 54,000 km(2) area in which T. macedonicus contains T. karelinii mitochondrial DNA. This introgression zone bisects the range of T. karelinii, cutting off a T. karelinii enclave. The high similarity of introgressed mitochondrial DNA haplotypes with those found in T. karelinii suggests a recent transfer across the species boundary. We then use ecological niche modeling to explore habitat suitability of the location of the present day introgression zone under current, mid-Holocene and Last Glacial Maximum conditions. This area was inhospitable during the Last Glacial Maximum for both species, but would have been habitable at the mid-Holocene. Since the mid-Holocene, habitat suitability generally increased for T. macedonicus, whereas it decreased for T. karelinii. The presence of a T. karelinii enclave suggests that T. karelinii was the first to colonize the area where the present day introgression zone is positioned after the Last Glacial Maximum. Subsequently, we propose T. karelinii was outcompeted by T. macedonicus, which captured T. karelinii mitochondrial DNA via introgressive hybridization in the process. Ecological niche modeling suggests that this replacement was likely facilitated by a shift in climate since the mid-Holocene. We suggest that the northwestern part of the current introgression zone was probably never inhabited by T. karelinii itself, and that T. karelinii mitochondrial DNA spread there through T. macedonicus exclusively. Considering the spatial distribution of the introgressed mitochondrial DNA and the signal derived from

  9. Validation of Ecological Niche Models for Potential Malaria Vectors in the Republic of Korea

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2010-06-01

    number. 1. REPORT DATE 2010 2. REPORT TYPE 3. DATES COVERED 00-00-2010 to 00-00-2010 4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE Validation of Ecological Niche...prediction of species’ distributions from occurrence data. Ecography 29:129–151. Foley DH, Klein TA, Kim HC, Sames WJ, Wilkerson RC, Rueda LM. 2009. The...character- istics on performance of different species distribution modeling methods. Ecography 29:773–785. Kho WG, Jang JY, Hong ST, Lee HW, Lee WJ, Lee JS

  10. Predicting geographic and ecological distributions of triatomine species in the southern Mexican state of Puebla using ecological niche modeling.

    PubMed

    Sandoval-Ruiz, C A; Zumaquero-Rios, J L; Rojas-Soto, O R

    2008-05-01

    We analyzed the geographic distribution using ecological niche modeling of three species of triatomines distributed in the Mexican state of Puebla. Punctual records were gathered for a period of 5 yr of fieldwork sampling. We used the genetic algorithm for rule-set production (GARP) to achieve the potential distribution of the ecological niche of triatomines. The models showed that Triatoma barberi and Meccus pallidipennis are sympatric and widely distributed in the central-southern part of the state, whereas T. dimidata is restricted to the northern mountains of the state with no overlapping among other species, M. bassolsae was not modeled because of the scarce number of locality records. We highlighted the warm and dry conditions in southern Puebla as important potential areas for triatomine presence. Finally, we correlated the species potential presence with the human population at risk of acquiring Chagas disease by vector-borne transmission; it is showed that M. pallidipennis presents the highest values of both ecological and poverty risk scenarios representing the main potential vector in the state.

  11. 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.

  12. 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 ...

  13. Estimating the geographic distribution of human Tanapox and potential reservoirs using ecological niche modeling.

    PubMed

    Monroe, Benjamin P; Nakazawa, Yoshinori J; Reynolds, Mary G; Carroll, Darin S

    2014-09-25

    Tanapox virus is a zoonotic infection that causes mild febrile illness and one to several nodular skin lesions. The disease is endemic in parts of Africa. The principal reservoir for the virus that causes Tanapox is unknown, but has been hypothesized to be a non-human primate. This study employs ecological niche modeling (ENM) to determine areas of tropical Africa suitable for the occurrence of human Tanapox and a list of hypothetical reservoirs. The resultant niche model will be a useful tool to guide medical surveillance activities in the region. This study uses the Desktop GARP software to predict regions where human Tanapox might be expected to occur based on historical human case locations and environmental data. Additional modeling of primate species, using occurrence data from museum records was performed to determine suitable disease reservoirs. The final ENM predicts a potential distribution of Tanapox over much of equatorial Africa, exceeding the borders of Kenya and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where it has been historically reported. Five genera of non-human primates were found to be potential reservoir taxa. Validity testing suggests the model created here is robust (p < 0.04). Several genera of primates were identified as having ENMs overlapping with that of Tanapox and are suggested as potential reservoirs, mainly members of the Genus Cercopithecus. The ENM modeling technique has several limitations and results should be interpreted with caution. This study may increase knowledge and engage further research in this neglected disease.

  14. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-06-16

    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.

  16. Mapping the Potential Risk of Mycetoma Infection in Sudan and South Sudan Using Ecological Niche Modeling

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    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

  17. 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).

  18. 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. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  19. Modeling the impact of climate change on wild Piper nigrum (Black Pepper) in Western Ghats, India using ecological niche models.

    PubMed

    Sen, Sandeep; Gode, Ameya; Ramanujam, Srirama; Ravikanth, G; Aravind, N A

    2016-11-01

    The center of diversity of Piper nigrum L. (Black Pepper), one of the highly valued spice crops is reported to be from India. Black pepper is naturally distributed in India in the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot and is the only known existing source of its wild germplasm in the world. We used ecological niche models to predict the potential distribution of wild P. nigrum in the present and two future climate change scenarios viz (A1B) and (A2A) for the year 2080. Three topographic and nine uncorrelated bioclim variables were used to develop the niche models. The environmental variables influencing the distribution of wild P. nigrum across different climate change scenarios were identified. We also assessed the direction and magnitude of the niche centroid shift and the change in niche breadth to estimate the impact of projected climate change on the distribution of P. nigrum. The study shows a niche centroid shift in the future climate scenarios. Both the projected future climate scenarios predicted a reduction in the habitat of P. nigrum in Southern Western Ghats, which harbors many wild accessions of P. nigrum. Our results highlight the impact of future climate change on P. nigrum and provide useful information for designing sound germplasm conservation strategies for P. nigrum.

  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. Interpreting the process behind endemism in China by integrating the phylogeography and ecological niche models of the Stachyridopsis ruficeps.

    PubMed

    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.

  2. 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

  3. Ecological release exposes genetically based niche variation.

    PubMed

    Emery, Nancy C; Ackerly, D D

    2014-09-01

    The evolutionary trajectories of ecological niches have profound impacts on community, population and speciation dynamics, yet the underlying causes of niche lability vs. stasis are poorly understood. Here, we conducted a field experiment to quantify the effects of competition and, conversely, competitive release on the microevolutionary processes driving microhabitat niche evolution in an annual plant population restricted to California vernal pool wetlands. Removing competitors generated a strong increase in mean fitness, the exposure of genetically based niche variation and directional selection for niche evolution in the experimental population. In contrast, genetic variation in the microhabitat niche and directional selection for niche evolution were not detected in individuals growing with competitors. These results indicate that ecological opportunity (here, the removal of competitors) can trigger the immediate expression of latent, heritable niche variation that is necessary for rapid evolutionary responses; conversely, competitors may restrict niche evolution, contributing to niche conservatism in saturated communities. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

  4. Ecological niche modelling of Rift Valley fever virus vectors in Baringo, Kenya

    PubMed Central

    Ochieng, Alfred O.; Nanyingi, Mark; Kipruto, Edwin; Ondiba, Isabella M.; Amimo, Fred A.; Oludhe, Christopher; Olago, Daniel O.; Nyamongo, Isaac K.; Estambale, Benson B. A.

    2016-01-01

    Background Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a vector-borne zoonotic disease that has an impact on human health and animal productivity. Here, we explore the use of vector presence modelling to predict the distribution of RVF vector species under climate change scenario to demonstrate the potential for geographic spread of Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV). Objectives To evaluate the effect of climate change on RVF vector distribution in Baringo County, Kenya, with an aim of developing a risk map for spatial prediction of RVF outbreaks. Methodology The study used data on vector presence and ecological niche modelling (MaxEnt) algorithm to predict the effect of climatic change on habitat suitability and the spatial distribution of RVF vectors in Baringo County. Data on species occurrence were obtained from longitudinal sampling of adult mosquitoes and larvae in the study area. We used present (2000) and future (2050) Bioclim climate databases to model the vector distribution. Results Model results predicted potential suitable areas with high success rates for Culex quinquefasciatus, Culex univitattus, Mansonia africana, and Mansonia uniformis. Under the present climatic conditions, the lowlands were found to be highly suitable for all the species. Future climatic conditions indicate an increase in the spatial distribution of Cx. quinquefasciatus and M. africana. Model performance was statistically significant. Conclusion Soil types, precipitation in the driest quarter, precipitation seasonality, and isothermality showed the highest predictive potential for the four species. PMID:27863533

  5. Ecological niche modelling of Rift Valley fever virus vectors in Baringo, Kenya.

    PubMed

    Ochieng, Alfred O; Nanyingi, Mark; Kipruto, Edwin; Ondiba, Isabella M; Amimo, Fred A; Oludhe, Christopher; Olago, Daniel O; Nyamongo, Isaac K; Estambale, Benson B A

    2016-01-01

    Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a vector-borne zoonotic disease that has an impact on human health and animal productivity. Here, we explore the use of vector presence modelling to predict the distribution of RVF vector species under climate change scenario to demonstrate the potential for geographic spread of Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV). To evaluate the effect of climate change on RVF vector distribution in Baringo County, Kenya, with an aim of developing a risk map for spatial prediction of RVF outbreaks. The study used data on vector presence and ecological niche modelling (MaxEnt) algorithm to predict the effect of climatic change on habitat suitability and the spatial distribution of RVF vectors in Baringo County. Data on species occurrence were obtained from longitudinal sampling of adult mosquitoes and larvae in the study area. We used present (2000) and future (2050) Bioclim climate databases to model the vector distribution. Model results predicted potential suitable areas with high success rates for Culex quinquefasciatus, Culex univitattus, Mansonia africana, and Mansonia uniformis. Under the present climatic conditions, the lowlands were found to be highly suitable for all the species. Future climatic conditions indicate an increase in the spatial distribution of Cx. quinquefasciatus and M. africana. Model performance was statistically significant. Soil types, precipitation in the driest quarter, precipitation seasonality, and isothermality showed the highest predictive potential for the four species.

  6. Evaluation of the impacts of climate change on disease vectors through ecological niche modelling.

    PubMed

    Carvalho, B M; Rangel, E F; Vale, M M

    2017-08-01

    Vector-borne diseases are exceptionally sensitive to climate change. Predicting vector occurrence in specific regions is a challenge that disease control programs must meet in order to plan and execute control interventions and climate change adaptation measures. Recently, an increasing number of scientific articles have applied ecological niche modelling (ENM) to study medically important insects and ticks. With a myriad of available methods, it is challenging to interpret their results. Here we review the future projections of disease vectors produced by ENM, and assess their trends and limitations. Tropical regions are currently occupied by many vector species; but future projections indicate poleward expansions of suitable climates for their occurrence and, therefore, entomological surveillance must be continuously done in areas projected to become suitable. The most commonly applied methods were the maximum entropy algorithm, generalized linear models, the genetic algorithm for rule set prediction, and discriminant analysis. Lack of consideration of the full-known current distribution of the target species on models with future projections has led to questionable predictions. We conclude that there is no ideal 'gold standard' method to model vector distributions; researchers are encouraged to test different methods for the same data. Such practice is becoming common in the field of ENM, but still lags behind in studies of disease vectors.

  7. Correlation between genetic diversity and environmental suitability: taking uncertainty from ecological niche models into account.

    PubMed

    Diniz-Filho, José Alexandre F; Rodrigues, Hauanny; Telles, Mariana Pires De Campos; Oliveira, Guilherme De; Terribile, Levi Carina; Soares, Thannya Nascimento; Nabout, João Carlos

    2015-09-01

    The hindcast of shifts in the geographical ranges of species as estimated by ecological niche modelling (ENM) has been coupled with phylogeographical patterns, allowing the inference of past processes that drove population differentiation and genetic variability. However, more recently, some studies have suggested that maps of environmental suitability estimated by ENM may be correlated to species' abundance, raising the possibility of using environmental suitability to infer processes related to population demographic dynamics and genetic variability. In both cases, one of the main problems is that there is a wide variation in ENM development methods and climatic models. In this study, we analyse the relationship between heterozygosity (He) and environmental suitability from multiple ENMs for 25 population estimates for Dipteryx alata, a widely distributed, endemic tree species of the Cerrado region of central Brazil. We propose a new approach for generating a statistical distribution of correlations under randomly generated ENM. The confidence intervals from these distributions indicate how model selection with different properties affects the ability to detect a correlation of interest (e.g. the correlation between He and suitability). Additionally, our approach allows us to explore which particular ensemble of ENMs produces the better result for finding an association between environmental suitability and He. Caution is necessary when choosing a method or a climatic data set for modelling geographical distributions, but the new approach proposed here provides a conservative way to evaluate the ability of ensembles to detect patterns of interest. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  8. The use of ecological niche modeling to infer potential risk areas of snakebite in the Mexican state of Veracruz.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

    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. 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. 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).

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. A tale of four "carp": invasion potential and ecological niche modeling.

    PubMed

    DeVaney, Shannon C; McNyset, Kristina M; Williams, Justin B; Peterson, A Townsend; Wiley, Edward O

    2009-01-01

    Invasive species are a serious problem in ecosystems, but are difficult to eradicate once established. Predictive methods can be key in determining which areas are of concern regarding invasion by such species to prevent establishment [1]. We assessed the geographic potential of four Eurasian cyprinid fishes (common carp, tench, grass carp, black carp) as invaders in North America via ecological niche modeling (ENM). These "carp" represent four stages of invasion of the continent (a long-established invader with a wide distribution, a long-established invader with a limited distribution, a spreading invader whose distribution is expanding, and a newly introduced potential invader that is not yet established), and as such illustrate the progressive reduction of distributional disequilibrium over the history of species' invasions. We used ENM to estimate the potential distributional area for each species in North America using models based on native range distribution data. Environmental data layers for native and introduced ranges were imported from state, national, and international climate and environmental databases. Models were evaluated using independent validation data on native and invaded areas. We calculated omission error for the independent validation data for each species: all native range tests were highly successful (all omission values <7%); invaded-range predictions were predictive for common and grass carp (omission values 8.8 and 19.8%, respectively). Model omission was high for introduced tench populations (54.7%), but the model correctly identified some areas where the species has been successful; distributional predictions for black carp show that large portions of eastern North America are at risk. ENMs predicted potential ranges of carp species accurately even in regions where the species have not been present until recently. ENM can forecast species' potential geographic ranges with reasonable precision and within the short screening time

  13. A Tale of Four “Carp”: Invasion Potential and Ecological Niche Modeling

    PubMed Central

    DeVaney, Shannon C.; McNyset, Kristina M.; Williams, Justin B.; Peterson, A. Townsend; Wiley, Edward O.

    2009-01-01

    Background Invasive species are a serious problem in ecosystems, but are difficult to eradicate once established. Predictive methods can be key in determining which areas are of concern regarding invasion by such species to prevent establishment [1]. We assessed the geographic potential of four Eurasian cyprinid fishes (common carp, tench, grass carp, black carp) as invaders in North America via ecological niche modeling (ENM). These “carp” represent four stages of invasion of the continent (a long-established invader with a wide distribution, a long-established invader with a limited distribution, a spreading invader whose distribution is expanding, and a newly introduced potential invader that is not yet established), and as such illustrate the progressive reduction of distributional disequilibrium over the history of species' invasions. Methodology/Principal Findings We used ENM to estimate the potential distributional area for each species in North America using models based on native range distribution data. Environmental data layers for native and introduced ranges were imported from state, national, and international climate and environmental databases. Models were evaluated using independent validation data on native and invaded areas. We calculated omission error for the independent validation data for each species: all native range tests were highly successful (all omission values <7%); invaded-range predictions were predictive for common and grass carp (omission values 8.8 and 19.8%, respectively). Model omission was high for introduced tench populations (54.7%), but the model correctly identified some areas where the species has been successful; distributional predictions for black carp show that large portions of eastern North America are at risk. Conclusions/Significance ENMs predicted potential ranges of carp species accurately even in regions where the species have not been present until recently. ENM can forecast species' potential geographic

  14. Early detection of emerging forest disease using dispersal estimation and ecological niche modeling.

    PubMed

    Meentemeyer, Ross K; Anacker, Brian L; Mark, Walter; Rizzo, David M

    2008-03-01

    Distinguishing the manner in which dispersal limitation and niche requirements control the spread of invasive pathogens is important for prediction and early detection of disease outbreaks. Here, we use niche modeling augmented by dispersal estimation to examine the degree to which local habitat conditions vs. force of infection predict invasion of Phytophthora ramorum, the causal agent of the emerging infectious tree disease sudden oak death. We sampled 890 field plots for the presence of P. ramorum over a three-year period (2003-2005) across a range of host and abiotic conditions with variable proximities to known infections in California, USA. We developed and validated generalized linear models of invasion probability to analyze the relative predictive power of 12 niche variables and a negative exponential dispersal kernel estimated by likelihood profiling. Models were developed incrementally each year (2003, 2003-2004, 2003-2005) to examine annual variability in model parameters and to create realistic scenarios for using models to predict future infections and to guide early-detection sampling. Overall, 78 new infections were observed up to 33.5 km from the nearest known site of infection, with slightly increasing rates of prevalence across time windows (2003, 6.5%; 2003-2004, 7.1%; 2003-2005, 9.6%). The pathogen was not detected in many field plots that contained susceptible host vegetation. The generalized linear modeling indicated that the probability of invasion is limited by both dispersal and niche constraints. Probability of invasion was positively related to precipitation and temperature in the wet season and the presence of the inoculum-producing foliar host Umbellularia californica and decreased exponentially with distance to inoculum sources. Models that incorporated niche and dispersal parameters best predicted the locations of new infections, with accuracies ranging from 0.86 to 0.90, suggesting that the modeling approach can be used to forecast

  15. High invasion potential of Hydrilla verticillata in the Americas predicted using ecological niche modeling combined with genetic data.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Jinning; Xu, Xuan; Tao, Qing; Yi, Panpan; Yu, Dan; Xu, Xinwei

    2017-07-01

    Ecological niche modeling is an effective tool to characterize the spatial distribution of suitable areas for species, and it is especially useful for predicting the potential distribution of invasive species. The widespread submerged plant Hydrilla verticillata (hydrilla) has an obvious phylogeographical pattern: Four genetic lineages occupy distinct regions in native range, and only one lineage invades the Americas. Here, we aimed to evaluate climatic niche conservatism of hydrilla in North America at the intraspecific level and explore its invasion potential in the Americas by comparing climatic niches in a phylogenetic context. Niche shift was found in the invasion process of hydrilla in North America, which is probably mainly attributed to high levels of somatic mutation. Dramatic changes in range expansion in the Americas were predicted in the situation of all four genetic lineages invading the Americas or future climatic changes, especially in South America; this suggests that there is a high invasion potential of hydrilla in the Americas. Our findings provide useful information for the management of hydrilla in the Americas and give an example of exploring intraspecific climatic niche to better understand species invasion.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. Predicting the current and future potential distributions of lymphatic filariasis in Africa using maximum entropy ecological niche modelling.

    PubMed

    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.

  19. Integrating Life Stages into Ecological Niche Models: A Case Study on Tiger Beetles

    PubMed Central

    Taboada, Angela; von Wehrden, Henrik; Assmann, Thorsten

    2013-01-01

    Detailed understanding of a species’ natural history and environmental needs across spatial scales is a primary requisite for effective conservation planning, particularly for species with complex life cycles in which different life stages occupy different niches and respond to the environment at different scales. However, niche models applied to conservation often neglect early life stages and are mostly performed at broad spatial scales. Using the endangered heath tiger beetle (Cicindela sylvatica) as a model species, we relate presence/absence and abundance data of locally dispersing adults and sedentary larvae to abiotic and biotic variables measured in a multiscale approach within the geographic extent relevant to active conservation management. At the scale of hundreds of meters, fine-grained abiotic conditions (i.e., vegetation structure) are fundamental determinants of the occurrence of both life stages, whereas the effect of biotic factors is mostly contained in the abiotic signature. The combination of dense heath vegetation and bare ground areas is thus the first requirement for the species’ preservation, provided that accessibility to the suitable habitat is ensured. At a smaller scale (centimetres), the influence of abiotic factors on larval occurrence becomes negligible, suggesting the existence of important additional variables acting within larval proximity. Sustained significant correlations between neighbouring larvae in the models provide an indication of the potential impact of neighbourhood crowding on the larval niche within a few centimetres. Since the species spends the majority of its life cycle in the larval stage, it is essential to consider the hierarchical abiotic and biotic processes affecting the larvae when designing practical conservation guidelines for the species. This underlines the necessity for a more critical evaluation of the consequences of disregarding niche variation between life stages when estimating niches and

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. Claims of potential expansion throughout the U.S. by invasive python species are contradicted by ecological niche models.

    PubMed

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

    2008-08-13

    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. 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. 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.

  7. 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

  8. Historical biogeography and ecological niche modelling of the Asimina-Disepalum clade (Annonaceae): role of ecological differentiation in Neotropical-Asian disjunctions and diversification in Asia.

    PubMed

    Li, Pui-Sze; Thomas, Daniel C; Saunders, Richard M K

    2017-08-14

    The Asimina-Disepalum clade (Annonaceae subfam. Annonoideae tribe Annoneae) includes a major Neotropical-Asian biogeographical disjunction. We evaluate whether this disjunction can be explained by the Eocene boreotropics hypothesis, which relies on the existence of extensive boreotropical forests during the Late Palaeocene-Early Eocene thermal maximum (52-50 Ma), followed by disruption of boreotropical vegetation during post-Eocene cooling. Molecular dating using an uncorrelated relaxed molecular clock (UCLD) model with two fossil calibrations, ancestral range estimation, and ecological niche modelling across evolutionary time were performed. Our focus was the geographical origin of Disepalum and general biogeographic patterns within this genus. Comparison of ecological tolerance among extant species and niche reconstructions at ancestral nodes within the clade enabled insights in likely migration routes of lineages, as well as evaluating the role of bioclimatic ecological differentiation in the diversification of Disepalum within Southeast Asia. The inferred vicariance event associated with the Asimina-Disepalum disjunction is estimated to have originated ca. 40 Mya [95% highest posterior density (HPD): 44.3-35.5 Mya]. The Disepalum crown lineage is estimated to have originated ca. 9 Mya (95% HPD: 10.6-7.6), either in western Malesia and continental Southeast Asia, or exclusively in western Malesia. Ecological niche modelling shows that seasonality of temperature and precipitation are major contributors determining the geographical range of species. Ancestral niche modelling furthermore indicates that the ancestor of the Asimina-Disepalum clade likely had bioclimatic preferences close to conditions found in current tropical and subtropical climates across Asia, whereas the ancestors of the Asimina and Disepalum crown groups are projected onto the more subtropical and tropical regions, respectively. The vicariance event associated with the Neotropical

  9. 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. © 2010 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2010 New Phytologist Trust.

  10. 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.

  11. Climatic niche divergence or conservatism? Environmental niches and range limits in ecologically similar damselflies.

    PubMed

    Wellenreuther, Maren; Larson, Keith W; Svensson, Erik I

    2012-06-01

    The factors that determine species' range limits are of central interest to biologists. One particularly interesting group comprises odonates (dragonflies and damselflies), which show large differences in secondary sexual traits and respond quickly to climatic factors, but often have minor interspecific niche differences, challenging models of niche-based species coexistence. We quantified the environmental niches at two geographic scales to understand the ecological causes of northern range limits and the coexistence of two congeneric damselflies (Calopteryx splendens and C. virgo). Using environmental niche modeling, we quantified niche divergence first across the whole geographic range in Fennoscandia, and second only in the sympatric part of this range. We found evidence for interspecific divergence along the environmental axes of temperature and precipitation across the northern range in Fennoscandia, suggesting that adaptation to colder and wetter climate might have allowed C. virgo to expand farther north than C. splendens. However, in the sympatric zone in southern Fennoscandia we found only negligible and nonsignificant niche differences. Minor niche differences in sympatry lead to frequent encounters and intense interspecific sexual interactions at the local scale of populations. Nevertheless, niche differences across Fennoscandia suggest that species differences in physiological tolerances limit range expansions northward, and that current and future climate could have large effects on the distributional ranges of these and ecologically similar insects.

  12. 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

  13. Overlooked habitat of a vulnerable gorgonian revealed in the Mediterranean and Eastern Atlantic by ecological niche modelling

    PubMed Central

    Boavida, Joana; Assis, Jorge; Silva, Inga; Serrão, Ester A.

    2016-01-01

    Factors shaping the distribution of mesophotic octocorals (30–200 m depth) remain poorly understood, potentially leaving overlooked coral areas, particularly near their bathymetric and geographic distributional limits. Yet, detailed knowledge about habitat requirements is crucial for conservation of sensitive gorgonians. Here we use Ecological Niche Modelling (ENM) relating thirteen environmental predictors and a highly comprehensive presence dataset, enhanced by SCUBA diving surveys, to investigate the suitable habitat of an important structuring species, Paramuricea clavata, throughout its distribution (Mediterranean and adjacent Atlantic). Models showed that temperature (11.5–25.5 °C) and slope are the most important predictors carving the niche of P. clavata. Prediction throughout the full distribution (TSS 0.9) included known locations of P. clavata alongside with previously unknown or unreported sites along the coast of Portugal and Africa, including seamounts. These predictions increase the understanding of the potential distribution for the northern Mediterranean and indicate suitable hard bottom areas down to >150 m depth. Poorly sampled habitats with predicted presence along Algeria, Alboran Sea and adjacent Atlantic coasts encourage further investigation. We propose that surveys of target areas from the predicted distribution map, together with local expert knowledge, may lead to discoveries of new P. clavata sites and identify priority conservation areas. PMID:27841263

  14. Overlooked habitat of a vulnerable gorgonian revealed in the Mediterranean and Eastern Atlantic by ecological niche modelling.

    PubMed

    Boavida, Joana; Assis, Jorge; Silva, Inga; Serrão, Ester A

    2016-11-14

    Factors shaping the distribution of mesophotic octocorals (30-200 m depth) remain poorly understood, potentially leaving overlooked coral areas, particularly near their bathymetric and geographic distributional limits. Yet, detailed knowledge about habitat requirements is crucial for conservation of sensitive gorgonians. Here we use Ecological Niche Modelling (ENM) relating thirteen environmental predictors and a highly comprehensive presence dataset, enhanced by SCUBA diving surveys, to investigate the suitable habitat of an important structuring species, Paramuricea clavata, throughout its distribution (Mediterranean and adjacent Atlantic). Models showed that temperature (11.5-25.5 °C) and slope are the most important predictors carving the niche of P. clavata. Prediction throughout the full distribution (TSS 0.9) included known locations of P. clavata alongside with previously unknown or unreported sites along the coast of Portugal and Africa, including seamounts. These predictions increase the understanding of the potential distribution for the northern Mediterranean and indicate suitable hard bottom areas down to >150 m depth. Poorly sampled habitats with predicted presence along Algeria, Alboran Sea and adjacent Atlantic coasts encourage further investigation. We propose that surveys of target areas from the predicted distribution map, together with local expert knowledge, may lead to discoveries of new P. clavata sites and identify priority conservation areas.

  15. Model application niche analysis: An approach for assessing the transferability and generalizability of ecological models

    EPA Science Inventory

    A 30-year review of predictive models used in regulatory decision-making, revealed that transferring models to contexts other than that for which the models were developed was one of the biggest vulnerabilities to their legal defensibility. The use and transfer of models by ecolo...

  16. 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.

  17. Modeling of the ecological niches of the anopheles spp in Ecuador by the use of geo-informatic tools.

    PubMed

    Padilla, Oswaldo; Rosas, Pablo; Moreno, Wilson; Toulkeridis, Theofilos

    2017-06-01

    Ecuador in the northwestern edge of South America is struggling by vector-borne diseases with an endemic-epidemic behavior leading to an enormous public health problem. Malaria, which has a cyclicality in its dynamics, is closely related to climatic, ecological and socio-economic phenomena. The main objective of this research has been to compare three different prediction species models, the so-called Maxent, logistic regression and multi criteria evaluation with fuzzy logic, in order to determine the model which best describes the ecological niche of the Anopheles spp species, which transmits malaria within Ecuador. After performing a detailed data collection and data processing, we applied the mentioned models and validated them with a statistical analysis in order to discover that the Maxent model has been the model that best defines the distribution of Anopheles spp within the territory. The determined sites, which are of high strategic value and important for the increasing national development, will now be able to initiate preventive countermeasures based on this study. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  18. Dangers of using global bioclimatic datasets for ecological niche modeling. Limitations for future climate projections

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bedia, Joaquín; Herrera, Sixto; Gutiérrez, José Manuel

    2013-08-01

    Global bioclimatic datasets are being widely used in ecological research to estimate the potential distribution of species using Climate Envelope Models (CEMs). These datasets are easily available and offer high resolution information for all land areas globally. However, they have not been tested rigorously in smaller regions, and their use in regional CEM studies may pose problems derived from their poor representation of local climate features. Moreover, these problems may be enhanced when using CEMs for future climate projections—a topic of current active research—due to the uncertainty derived from the future altered climate scenarios.

  19. Ecological niche model of Phlebotomus alexandri and P. papatasi (Diptera: Psychodidae) in the Middle East

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background The purpose of this study is to create distribution models of two sand fly species, Phlebotomus papatasi (Scopoli) and P. alexandri (Sinton), across the Middle East. Phlebotomus alexandri is a vector of visceral leishmaniasis, while P. papatasi is a vector of cutaneous leishmaniasis and sand fly fever. Collection records were obtained from literature reports from 1950 through 2007 and unpublished field collection records. Environmental layers considered in the model were elevation, precipitation, land cover, and WorldClim bioclimatic variables. Models were evaluated using the threshold-independent area under the curve (AUC) receiver operating characteristic analysis and the threshold-dependent minimum training presence. Results For both species, land cover was the most influential environmental layer in model development. The bioclimatic and elevation variables all contributed to model development; however, none influenced the model as strongly as land cover. Conclusion While not perfect representations of the absolute distribution of P. papatasi and P. alexandri, these models indicate areas with a higher probability of presence of these species. This information could be used to help guide future research efforts into the ecology of these species and epidemiology of the pathogens that they transmit. PMID:20089198

  20. Ecological niche model of Phlebotomus alexandri and P. papatasi (Diptera: Psychodidae) in the Middle East.

    PubMed

    Colacicco-Mayhugh, Michelle G; Masuoka, Penny M; Grieco, John P

    2010-01-21

    The purpose of this study is to create distribution models of two sand fly species, Phlebotomus papatasi (Scopoli) and P. alexandri (Sinton), across the Middle East. Phlebotomus alexandri is a vector of visceral leishmaniasis, while P. papatasi is a vector of cutaneous leishmaniasis and sand fly fever. Collection records were obtained from literature reports from 1950 through 2007 and unpublished field collection records. Environmental layers considered in the model were elevation, precipitation, land cover, and WorldClim bioclimatic variables. Models were evaluated using the threshold-independent area under the curve (AUC) receiver operating characteristic analysis and the threshold-dependent minimum training presence. For both species, land cover was the most influential environmental layer in model development. The bioclimatic and elevation variables all contributed to model development; however, none influenced the model as strongly as land cover. While not perfect representations of the absolute distribution of P. papatasi and P. alexandri, these models indicate areas with a higher probability of presence of these species. This information could be used to help guide future research efforts into the ecology of these species and epidemiology of the pathogens that they transmit.

  1. 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

  2. Predicting suitable habitat of the Chinese monal (Lophophorus lhuysii) using ecological niche modeling in the Qionglai Mountains, China

    PubMed Central

    2017-01-01

    Understanding the distribution and the extent of suitable habitats is crucial for wildlife conservation and management. Knowledge is limited regarding the natural habitats of the Chinese monal (Lophophorus lhuysii), which is a vulnerable Galliform species endemic to the high-montane areas of southwest China and a good candidate for being an umbrella species in the Qionglai Mountains. Using ecological niche modeling, we predicted current potential suitable habitats for the Chinese monal in the Qionglai Mountains with 64 presence points collected between 2005 and 2015. Suitable habitats of the Chinese monal were associated with about 31 mm precipitation of the driest quarter, about 15 °C of maximum temperature of the warmest month, and far from the nearest human residential locations (>5,000 m). The predicted suitable habitats of the Chinese monal covered an area of 2,490 km2, approximately 9.48% of the Qionglai Mountains, and was highly fragmented. 54.78% of the suitable habitats were under the protection of existing nature reserves and two conservation gaps were found. Based on these results, we provide four suggestions for the conservation management of the Chinese monal: (1) ad hoc surveys targeting potential suitable habitats to determine species occurrence, (2) more ecological studies regarding its dispersal capacity, (3) establishment of more corridors and green bridges across roads for facilitating species movement or dispersal, and (4) minimization of local disturbances. PMID:28695066

  3. Phylogeography and Ecological Niche Modeling of the Desert Iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis, Baird & Girard 1852) in the Baja California Peninsula.

    PubMed

    Valdivia-Carrillo, Tania; García-De León, Francisco J; Blázquez, Ma Carmen; Gutiérrez-Flores, Carina; González Zamorano, Patricia

    2017-09-01

    Understanding the factors that explain the patterns of genetic structure or phylogeographic breaks at an intraspecific level is key to inferring the mechanisms of population differentiation in its early stages. These topics have been well studied in the Baja California region, with vicariance and the dispersal ability of individuals being the prevailing hypothesis for phylogeographic breaks. In this study, we evaluated the phylogeographic patterns in the desert iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis), a species with a recent history in the region and spatial variation in life history traits. We analyzed a total of 307 individuals collected throughout 19 localities across the Baja California Peninsula with 15 microsatellite DNA markers. Our data reveal the existence of 3 geographically discrete genetic populations with moderate gene flow and an isolation-by-distance pattern presumably produced by the occurrence of a refugium in the Cape region during the Pleistocene Last Glacial Maximum. Bayesian methods and ecological niche modeling were used to assess the relationship between population genetic structure and present and past climatic preferences of the desert iguana. We found that the present climatic heterogeneity of the Baja California Peninsula has a marked influence on the population genetic structure of the species, suggesting that there are alternative explanations besides vicariance. The information obtained in this study provides data allowing a better understanding of how historical population processes in the Baja California Peninsula can be understood from an ecological perspective. © The American Genetic Association 2017. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  4. Ecological niche modeling of mosquito vectors of West Nile virus in St. John's County, Florida, USA.

    PubMed

    Sallam, Mohamed F; Xue, Rui-De; Pereira, Roberto M; Koehler, Phillip G

    2016-06-29

    The lack of available vaccines and consistent sporadic transmission of WNV justify the need for mosquito vector control and prediction of their geographic distribution. However, the distribution of WNV transmission is dependent on the mosquito vector and the ecological requirements, which vary from one place to another. Presence/density data of two WNV mosquito vectors, Culex nigripalpus and Cx. quinquefasciatus, was extracted within 5 km buffer zones around seropositive records of sentinel chickens in order to delineate their predicting variables and model the habitat suitability of probable infective mosquito using MaxEnt software. Different correlations between density data of the extracted mosquito vectors and 27 climate, land use-land cover, and land surface terrain variables were analyzed using linear regression analysis. Accordingly, the correlated predicting variables were used in building up habitat suitability model for the occurrence records of both mosquito vectors using MaxEnt. The density of both WNV mosquito vectors showed variation in their ecological requirements. Eight predicting variables, out of 27, had significant influence on density of Cx. nigripalpus. Precipitation of driest months was shown to be the best predicting variable for the density of this vector (R (2) = 41.70). Whereas, two variables were proven to predict the distribution of Cx. quinquefasciatus density. Vegetation showed the maximum predicting gain to the density of this mosquito vector (R (2) = 15.74), where nestling birds, in particular exotics, are found. Moreover, Jackknife analysis in MaxEnt demonstrated that urbanization and vegetation data layers significantly contribute in predicting habitat suitability of Cx. nigripalpus and Cx. quinquefasciatus occurrence, respectively, which justifies the contribution of the former in urban and the latter in epizootic transmission cycles of WNV. In addition, habitat suitability risk maps were produced for both vectors in

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-09-01

    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. 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. 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). 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 these characteristics.

  11. 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

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

    PubMed Central

    CHATFIELD, M. W. H.; KOZAK, K. H.; FITZPATRICK, B. M.; TUCKER, P. K.

    2017-01-01

    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

  13. Ecological Niche Model for Predicting Distribution of Disease-Vector Mosquitoes in Yucatán State, México.

    PubMed

    Baak-Baak, Carlos M; Moo-Llanes, David A; Cigarroa-Toledo, Nohemi; Puerto, Fernando I; Machain-Williams, Carlos; Reyes-Solis, Guadalupe; Nakazawa, Yoshinori J; Ulloa-Garcia, Armando; Garcia-Rejon, Julian E

    2017-03-07

    The majority of the Yucatán State, México, presents subtropical climate that is suitable for many species of mosquitoes that are known to be vectors of diseases, including those from the genera Aedes and Culex. The objective of this study is to identify the geographic distribution of five species from these two genera and estimate the human population at risk of coming in contact with them. We compiled distributional data for Aedes aegypti (L.), Aedes (Howardina) cozumelensis (Diaz Najera), Culex coronator Dyar and Knab, Culex quinquefasciatus Say, and Culex thriambus Dyar from several entomological studies in Yucatán between March 2010 and September 2014. Based on these data, we constructed ecological niche models to predict the spatial distribution of each species using the MaxEnt algorithm. Our models identified areas with suitable environments for Ae. aegypti in most of Yucatán. A similar percentage of urban (97.1%) and rural (96.5%) populations were contained in areas of highest suitability for Ae. aegypti, and no spatial pattern was found (Moran's I = 0.33, P = 0.38); however, we found an association of abundance of immature forms of this species with annual mean temperature (r = 0.19, P ≤ 0.001) and annual precipitation (r = 0.21, P ≤ 0.001). Aedes cozumelensis is also distributed in most areas of the Yucatán State; Cx. quinquefasciatus, Cx. coronator, and Cx. thriambus are restricted to the northwest. The information generated in this study can inform decision-making to address control measures in priority areas with presence of these vectors. © The Authors 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. Climate change and risk of leishmaniasis in north america: predictions from ecological niche models of vector and reservoir species.

    PubMed

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

    2010-01-19

    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. 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 reservoir species will see an

  17. 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).

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Species-specific ecological niche modelling predicts different range contractions for Lutzomyia intermedia and a related vector of Leishmania braziliensis following climate change in South America.

    PubMed

    McIntyre, Shannon; Rangel, Elizabeth F; Ready, Paul D; Carvalho, Bruno M

    2017-03-24

    Before 1996 the phlebotomine sand fly Lutzomyia neivai was usually treated as a synonym of the morphologically similar Lutzomyia intermedia, which has long been considered a vector of Leishmania braziliensis, the causative agent of much cutaneous leishmaniasis in South America. This report investigates the likely range changes of both sand fly species in response to a stabilisation climate change scenario (RCP4.5) and a high greenhouse gas emissions one (RCP8.5). Ecological niche modelling was used to identify areas of South America with climates currently suitable for each species, and then the future distributions of these climates were predicted based on climate change scenarios. Compared with the previous ecological niche model of L. intermedia (sensu lato) produced using the GARP algorithm in 2003, the current investigation modelled the two species separately, making use of verified presence records and additional records after 2001. Also, the new ensemble approach employed ecological niche modelling algorithms (including Maximum Entropy, Random Forests and Support Vector Machines) that have been widely adopted since 2003 and perform better than GARP, as well as using a more recent climate change model (HadGEM2) considered to have better performance at higher resolution than the earlier one (HadCM2). Lutzomyia intermedia was shown to be the more tropical of the two species, with its climatic niche defined by higher annual mean temperatures and lower temperature seasonality, in contrast to the more subtropical L. neivai. These different latitudinal ranges explain the two species' predicted responses to climate change by 2050, with L. intermedia mostly contracting its range (except perhaps in northeast Brazil) and L. neivai mostly shifting its range southwards in Brazil and Argentina. This contradicts the findings of the 2003 report, which predicted more range expansion. The different findings can be explained by the improved data sets and modelling methods. Our

  1. Niche dimensionality and the genetics of ecological speciation.

    PubMed

    Chevin, Luis-Miguel; Decorzent, Guillaume; Lenormand, Thomas

    2014-05-01

    Niche dimensionality is suggested to be a key determinant of ecological speciation ("multifarious selection" hypothesis), but genetic aspects of this process have not been investigated theoretically. We use Fisher's geometrical model to study how niche dimensionality influences the mean fitness of hybrids formed upon secondary contact between populations adapting in allopatry. Gaussian selection for an optimum generates two forms of reproductive isolation (RI): an extrinsic component due to maladaptation of the mean phenotype, and an intrinsic variance load resulting from what we term transgressive incompatibilities between mutations fixed in different populations. We show that after adaptation to a new environment, RI increases with (1) the mean initial maladaptation of diverging population, and (2) niche dimensionality, which increases the phenotypic variability of fixed mutations. Under mutation selection drift equilibrium in a constant environment, RI accumulates steadily with time, at a rate that also increases with niche dimensionality. A similar pattern can be produced by successive shifts in the optimum phenotype. Niche dimensionality thus has an effect per se on postzygotic isolation, beyond putative indirect effects (stronger selection, more genes). Our mechanism is consistent with empirical evidence about transgressive segregation in crosses between divergent populations, and with patterns of accumulation of RI with time in many taxa. © 2014 The Author(s). Evolution © 2014 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  2. 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. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. [Concept and connotation development of niche and its ecological orientation].

    PubMed

    Peng, Wen-jun; Wang, Xiao-ming

    2016-01-01

    Proceeding from the niche concept; the article commented the main points of each concept's connotation basing on a systematic review of development on niche concepts, and divided the process into four phases including germination, standardization, quantification and perfection, with two main academic schools. Questions and challenges during niche's development and advancement were presented to extract the characteristics and components of niche concept. On these bases, we explored the orientation of niche concept in ecology, and suggested to position it as a macro concept and detail it in specific applications. Further research points and application perspectives were stated in the end.

  7. 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.

  8. Overlap and partitioning of the ecological and isotopic niches

    Treesearch

    Elizabeth A. Flaherty; Merav Ben-David

    2010-01-01

    Recently, it was proposed that stable isotope patterns can be used to quantify the width of the ecological niche of animals. However, the potential effects of habitat use on isotopic patterns of consumers have not been fully explored and consequently isotopic patterns may yield deceptive estimates of niche width. Here, we simulated four different scenarios of a...

  9. 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.

  10. Ecological niche modeling in Maxent: the importance of model complexity and the performance of model selection criteria.

    PubMed

    Warren, Dan L; Seifert, Stephanie N

    2011-03-01

    Maxent, one of the most commonly used methods for inferring species distributions and environmental tolerances from occurrence data, allows users to fit models of arbitrary complexity. Model complexity is typically constrained via a process known as L1 regularization, but at present little guidance is available for setting the appropriate level of regularization, and the effects of inappropriately complex or simple models are largely unknown. In this study, we demonstrate the use of information criterion approaches to setting regularization in Maxent, and we compare models selected using information criteria to models selected using other criteria that are common in the literature. We evaluate model performance using occurrence data generated from a known "true" initial Maxent model, using several different metrics for model quality and transferability. We demonstrate that models that are inappropriately complex or inappropriately simple show reduced ability to infer habitat quality, reduced ability to infer the relative importance of variables in constraining species' distributions, and reduced transferability to other time periods. We also demonstrate that information criteria may offer significant advantages over the methods commonly used in the literature.

  11. Synergistic selection between ecological niche and mate preference primes diversification.

    PubMed

    Boughman, Janette W; Svanbäck, Richard

    2017-01-01

    The ecological niche and mate preferences have independently been shown to be important for the process of speciation. Here, we articulate a novel mechanism by which ecological niche use and mate preference can be linked to promote speciation. The degree to which individual niches are narrow and clustered affects the strength of divergent natural selection and population splitting. Similarly, the degree to which individual mate preferences are narrow and clustered affects the strength of divergent sexual selection and assortative mating between diverging forms. This novel perspective is inspired by the literature on ecological niches; it also explores mate preferences and how they may contribute to speciation. Unlike much comparative work, we do not search for evolutionary patterns using proxies for adaptation and sexual selection, but rather we elucidate how ideas from niche theory relate to mate preference, and how this relationship can foster speciation. Recognizing that individual and population niches are conceptually and ecologically linked to individual and population mate preference functions will significantly increase our understanding of rapid evolutionary diversification in nature. It has potential to help solve the difficult challenge of testing the role of sexual selection in the speciation process. We also identify ecological factors that are likely to affect individual niche and individual mate preference in synergistic ways and as a consequence to promote speciation. The ecological niche an individual occupies can directly affect its mate preference. Clusters of individuals with narrow, differentiated niches are likely to have narrow, differentiated mate preference functions. Our approach integrates ecological and sexual selection research to further our understanding of diversification processes. Such integration may be necessary for progress because these processes seem inextricably linked in the natural world. © 2016 The Author(s). Evolution

  12. Behavioural ecology: niche construction via grooming and extortion?

    PubMed

    Dall, Sasha R X

    2007-06-05

    A recent study shows that brood parasitic cowbirds employ Mafia-like tactics to discourage rejection of their broods by a common host. This may be a new example of animals adaptively 'constructing' key features of their ecological niches.

  13. Phylogeographic analysis and environmental niche modeling of the plain-bellied watersnake (Nerodia erythrogaster) reveals low levels of genetic and ecological differentiation

    PubMed Central

    Makowsky, Robert; Marshall, John C.; McVay, John; Chippindale, Paul T.; Rissler, Leslie J.

    2012-01-01

    Species that exhibit geographically defined phenotypic variation traditionally have been divided into subspecies. Subspecies based on phenotypic features may not comprise monophyletic groups due to selection, gene flow, and/or convergent evolution. In many taxonomic groups the number of species once designated as widespread is dwindling rapidly, and many workers reject the concept of subspecies altogether. We tested whether currently recognized subspecies in the plain-bellied watersnake Nerodia erythrogaster are concordant with relationships based on mitochondrial markers, and whether it represents a single widespread species. The range of this taxon spans multiple potential biogeographic barriers (especially the Mississippi and Apalachicola Rivers) that correspond with lineage breaks in many species, including other snakes. We sequenced three mitochondrialgenes (NADH-II, Cyt-b, Cox-I) from 156 geo-referenced specimens and developed ecological niche models using Maxent and spatially-explicit climate data to examine historical and ecological factors affecting variation in N. erythrogaster across its range. Overall, we found little support for the recognized subspecies as either independent evolutionary lineages or geographically circumscribed units and conclude that although some genetic and niche differentiation has occurred, most populations assigned to N. erythrogaster appear to represent a single, widespread species. However, additional sampling and application of nuclear markers are necessary to clarify the status of the easternmost populations. PMID:20302955

  14. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    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

  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. The probabilistic niche model reveals the niche structure and role of body size in a complex food web.

    PubMed

    Williams, Richard J; Anandanadesan, Ananthi; Purves, Drew

    2010-08-09

    The niche model has been widely used to model the structure of complex food webs, and yet the ecological meaning of the single niche dimension has not been explored. In the niche model, each species has three traits, niche position, diet position and feeding range. Here, a new probabilistic niche model, which allows the maximum likelihood set of trait values to be estimated for each species, is applied to the food web of the Benguela fishery. We also developed the allometric niche model, in which body size is used as the niche dimension. About 80% of the links in the empirical data are predicted by the probabilistic niche model, a significant improvement over recent models. As in the niche model, species are uniformly distributed on the niche axis. Feeding ranges are exponentially distributed, but diet positions are not uniformly distributed below the predator. Species traits are strongly correlated with body size, but the allometric niche model performs significantly worse than the probabilistic niche model. The best-fit parameter set provides a significantly better model of the structure of the Benguela food web than was previously available. The methodology allows the identification of a number of taxa that stand out as outliers either in the model's poor performance at predicting their predators or prey or in their parameter values. While important, body size alone does not explain the structure of the one-dimensional niche.

  18. A test of the central-marginal hypothesis using population genetics and ecological niche modelling in an endemic salamander (Ambystoma barbouri).

    PubMed

    Micheletti, Steven J; Storfer, Andrew

    2015-03-01

    The central-marginal hypothesis (CMH) predicts that population size, genetic diversity and genetic connectivity are highest at the core and decrease near the edges of species' geographic distributions. We provide a test of the CMH using three replicated core-to-edge transects that encompass nearly the entire geographic range of the endemic streamside salamander (Ambystoma barbouri). We confirmed that the mapped core of the distribution was the most suitable habitat using ecological niche modelling (ENM) and via genetic estimates of effective population sizes. As predicted by the CMH, we found statistical support for decreased genetic diversity, effective population size and genetic connectivity from core to edge in western and northern transects, yet not along a southern transect. Based on our niche model, habitat suitability is lower towards the southern range edge, presumably leading to conflicting core-to-edge genetic patterns. These results suggest that multiple processes may influence a species' distribution based on the heterogeneity of habitat across a species' range and that replicated sampling may be needed to accurately test the CMH. Our work also emphasizes the importance of identifying the geographic range core with methods other than using the Euclidean centre on a map, which may help to explain discrepancies among other empirical tests of the CMH. Assessing core-to-edge population genetic patterns across an entire species' range accompanied with ENM can inform our general understanding of the mechanisms leading to species' geographic range limits.

  19. 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

  20. Using ecological niche modelling to predict spatial and temporal distribution patterns in Chinese gibbons: lessons from the present and the past.

    PubMed

    Chatterjee, H J; Tse, J S Y; Turvey, S T

    2012-01-01

    Ecological niche modelling (ENM) is used to predict species' tolerance to changing environmental conditions. Understanding changes in the spatial distribution of species across time is essential in order to develop effective conservation strategies. Here we map the past and present distribution of gibbons across China, a country experiencing extensive anthropogenic habitat destruction and ongoing biodiversity loss. The distribution of gibbons across three time intervals is described based on fossil, historical and modern-day data, and ENM, implemented using DIVA-GIS, is used to predict how modern-day gibbon distributions might respond to future climate change. Predictions based on modern-day data alone fail to reveal patterns of environmental tolerance and geographical distribution shown by gibbons in the relatively recent historical period, emphasizing the need to incorporate past as well as present data in conservation analyses. Copyright © 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel.

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

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:19805104

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-11-17

    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.

  5. 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

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

    PubMed Central

    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

  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 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

  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

    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

  9. Niche breadth predicts geographical range size: a general ecological pattern.

    PubMed

    Slatyer, Rachel A; Hirst, Megan; Sexton, Jason P

    2013-08-01

    The range of resources that a species uses (i.e. its niche breadth) might determine the geographical area it can occupy, but consensus on whether a niche breadth-range size relationship generally exists among species has been slow to emerge. The validity of this hypothesis is a key question in ecology in that it proposes a mechanism for commonness and rarity, and if true, may help predict species' vulnerability to extinction. We identified 64 studies that measured niche breadth and range size, and we used a meta-analytic approach to test for the presence of a niche breadth-range size relationship. We found a significant positive relationship between range size and environmental tolerance breadth (z = 0.49), habitat breadth (z = 0.45), and diet breadth (z = 0.28). The overall positive effect persisted even when incorporating sampling effects. Despite significant variability in the strength of the relationship among studies, the general positive relationship suggests that specialist species might be disproportionately vulnerable to habitat loss and climate change due to synergistic effects of a narrow niche and small range size. An understanding of the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that drive and cause deviations from this niche breadth-range size pattern is an important future research goal.

  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. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Wogan, Guinevere O U; Richmond, Jonathan Q

    2015-10-01

    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.

  17. Molecular data and ecological niche modelling reveal the Pleistocene history of a semi-aquatic bug (Microvelia douglasi douglasi) in East Asia.

    PubMed

    Ye, Zhen; Zhu, Gengping; Chen, Pingping; Zhang, Danli; Bu, Wenjun

    2014-06-01

    This study investigated the Pleistocene history of a semi-aquatic bug, Microvelia douglasi douglasi Scott, 1874 (Hemiptera: Veliidae) in East Asia. We used M. douglasi douglasi as a model species to explore the effects of historical climatic fluctuations on montane semi-aquatic invertebrate species. Two hypotheses were developed using ecological niche models (ENMs). First, we hypothesized that M. douglasi douglasi persisted in suitable habitats in southern Guizhou, southern Yunnan, Hainan, Taiwan and southeast China during the LIG. After that, the populations expanded (Hypothesis 1). As the spatial prediction in the LGM was significantly larger than in the LIG, we then hypothesized that the population expanded during the LIG to LGM transition (Hypothesis 2). We tested these hypotheses using mitochondrial data (COI+COII) and nuclear data (ITS1+5.8S+ITS2). Young lineages, relatively deep splits, lineage differentiation among mountain ranges in central, south and southwest China and high genetic diversities were observed in these suitable habitats. Evidence of mismatch distributions and neutrality tests indicate that a population expansion occurred in the late Pleistocene. The Bayesian skyline plot (BSP) revealed an unusual population expansion that likely happened during the cooling transition between LIG and LGM. The results of genetic data were mostly consistent with the spatial predictions from ENM, a finding that can profoundly improve phylogeographic research. The ecological requirements of M. douglasi douglasi, together with the geographical heterogeneity and climatic fluctuations of Pleistocene in East Asia, could have shaped this unusual demographic history. Our study contributes to our knowledge of semi-aquatic bug/invertebrate responses to Pleistocene climatic fluctuations in East Asia.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. Elevation Shift in Abies Mill. (Pinaceae) of Subtropical and Temperate China and Vietnam-Corroborative Evidence from Cytoplasmic DNA and Ecological Niche Modeling.

    PubMed

    Shao, Yi-Zhen; Zhang, Xian-Chun; Phan, Loc Ke; Xiang, Qiao-Ping

    2017-01-01

    The "elevational shift" scenario has been proposed as a model to explain the response of cold-adapted organisms to Quaternary climatic fluctuations in Europe and North America. However, the elevational shift model has not been well-explored in eastern Asia, which is more topographically complex than the other Northern Hemisphere biogeographic regions. Here, we evaluated the role of elevational shift in the closely related firs, or Abies Mill., of subtropical and temperate China. These firs are typical alpine trees with sensitivity to climate change. We tested the elevational shift hypothesis in firs of China using phylogeographic methods and ecological niche models. Our phylogeographic analyses comprised mitochondrial and chloroplast polymorphisms surveyed across 479 individuals from 43 populations representing 11 species. M1 of the 11 mitotypes and C1 of the 25 chlorotypes were inferred as the ancestral haplotype, and they had the widest distribution. The results of our phylogeographic survey revealed multiple centers of genetic diversity in distinct geographic regions and no latitudinal trend. Moreover, our results showed range expansions for seven taxa during the last glacial (64.9-18.2 or 32.5-9.1 kya), and this was consistent with the Quaternary fossil record of Abies in China. Taken together, our findings support a historical biogeographic pattern in firs of glacial expansions, probably through corridors at lower elevation, and interglacial fragmentations, through isolation at higher elevation peaks. Therefore, Abies in China probably undergoes elevational shift in response to climate change. Facing the forecasting global warming, the risk of several critically endangered firs was further enhanced as these species would have little escape space in situ to higher altitudes. According to our ENMs, we proposed an ex situ conservation strategy in the southern Hengduan Mountains region of south western China.

  2. 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

  3. Predicting the current potential and future world wide distribution of the onion maggot, Delia antiqua using maximum entropy ecological niche modeling

    PubMed Central

    Feng, Jinian

    2017-01-01

    Climate change will markedly impact biology, population ecology, and spatial distribution patterns of insect pests because of the influence of future greenhouse effects on insect development and population dynamics. Onion maggot, Delia antiqua, larvae are subterranean pests with limited mobility, that directly feed on bulbs of Allium sp. and render them completely unmarketable. Modeling the spatial distribution of such a widespread and damaging pest is crucial not only to identify current potentially suitable climactic areas but also to predict where the pest is likely to spread in the future so that appropriate monitoring and management programs can be developed. In this study, Maximum Entropy Niche Modeling was used to estimate the current potential distribution of D. antiqua and to predict the future distribution of this species in 2030, 2050, 2070 and 2080 by using emission scenario (A2) with 7 climate variables. The results of this study show that currently highly suitable habitats for D.antiqua occur throughout most of East Asia, some regions of North America, Western Europe, and Western Asian countries near the Caspian sea and Black Sea. In the future, we predict an even broader distribution of this pest spread more extensively throughout Asia, North America and Europe, particularly in most of European countries, Central regions of United States and much of East Asia. Our present day and future predictions can enhance strategic planning of agricultural organizations by identifying regions that will need to develop Integrated Pest Management programs to manage the onion maggot. The distribution forecasts will also help governments to optimize economic investments in management programs for this pest by identifying regions that are or will become less suitable for current and future infestations. PMID:28158259

  4. Predicting the current potential and future world wide distribution of the onion maggot, Delia antiqua using maximum entropy ecological niche modeling.

    PubMed

    Ning, Shuoying; Wei, Jiufeng; Feng, Jinian

    2017-01-01

    Climate change will markedly impact biology, population ecology, and spatial distribution patterns of insect pests because of the influence of future greenhouse effects on insect development and population dynamics. Onion maggot, Delia antiqua, larvae are subterranean pests with limited mobility, that directly feed on bulbs of Allium sp. and render them completely unmarketable. Modeling the spatial distribution of such a widespread and damaging pest is crucial not only to identify current potentially suitable climactic areas but also to predict where the pest is likely to spread in the future so that appropriate monitoring and management programs can be developed. In this study, Maximum Entropy Niche Modeling was used to estimate the current potential distribution of D. antiqua and to predict the future distribution of this species in 2030, 2050, 2070 and 2080 by using emission scenario (A2) with 7 climate variables. The results of this study show that currently highly suitable habitats for D.antiqua occur throughout most of East Asia, some regions of North America, Western Europe, and Western Asian countries near the Caspian sea and Black Sea. In the future, we predict an even broader distribution of this pest spread more extensively throughout Asia, North America and Europe, particularly in most of European countries, Central regions of United States and much of East Asia. Our present day and future predictions can enhance strategic planning of agricultural organizations by identifying regions that will need to develop Integrated Pest Management programs to manage the onion maggot. The distribution forecasts will also help governments to optimize economic investments in management programs for this pest by identifying regions that are or will become less suitable for current and future infestations.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. Shifts in the ecological niche of Lutzomyia peruensis under climate change scenarios in Peru.

    PubMed

    Moo-Llanes, D A; Arque-Chunga, W; Carmona-Castro, O; Yañez-Arenas, C; Yañez-Trujillano, H H; Cheverría-Pacheco, L; Baak-Baak, C M; Cáceres, A G

    2017-02-02

    The Peruvian Andes presents a climate suitable for many species of sandfly that are known vectors of leishmaniasis or bartonellosis, including Lutzomyia peruensis (Diptera: Psychodidae), among others. In the present study, occurrences data for Lu. peruensis were compiled from several items in the scientific literature from Peru published between 1927 and 2015. Based on these data, ecological niche models were constructed to predict spatial distributions using three algorithms [Support vector machine (SVM), the Genetic Algorithm for Rule-set Prediction (GARP) and Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt)]. In addition, the environmental requirements of Lu. peruensis and three niche characteristics were modelled in the context of future climate change scenarios: (a) potential changes in niche breadth; (b) shifts in the direction and magnitude of niche centroids, and (c) shifts in elevation range. The model identified areas that included environments suitable for Lu. peruensis in most regions of Peru (45.77%) and an average altitude of 3289 m a.s.l. Under climate change scenarios, a decrease in the distribution areas of Lu. peruensis was observed for all representative concentration pathways. However, the centroid of the species' ecological niche showed a northwest direction in all climate change scenarios. The information generated in this study may help health authorities responsible for the supervision of strategies to control leishmaniasis to coordinate, plan and implement appropriate strategies for each area of risk, taking into account the geographic distribution and potential dispersal of Lu. peruensis.

  8. 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. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  9. Phylogeography of Thlaspi arvense (Brassicaceae) in China Inferred from Chloroplast and Nuclear DNA Sequences and Ecological Niche Modeling

    PubMed Central

    An, Miao; Zeng, Liyan; Zhang, Ticao; Zhong, Yang

    2015-01-01

    Thlaspi arvense is a well-known annual farmland weed with worldwide distribution, which can be found from sea level to above 4000 m high on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP). In this paper, a phylogeographic history of T. arvense including 19 populations from China was inferred by using three chloroplast (cp) DNA segments (trnL-trnF, rpl32-trnL and rps16) and one nuclear (n) DNA segment (Fe-regulated transporter-like protein, ZIP). A total of 11 chloroplast haplotypes and six nuclear alleles were identified, and haplotypes unique to the QTP were recognized (C4, C5, C7 and N4). On the basis of molecular dating, haplotypes C4, C5 and C7 have separated from others around 1.58 Ma for cpDNA, which corresponds to the QTP uplift. In addition, this article suggests that the T. arvense populations in China are a mixture of diverged subpopulations as inferred by hT/vT test (hT ≤ vT, cpDNA) and positive Tajima’s D values (1.87, 0.05 < p < 0.10 for cpDNA and 3.37, p < 0.01 for nDNA). Multimodality mismatch distribution curves and a relatively large shared area of suitable environmental conditions between the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) as well as the present time recognized by MaxEnt software reject the sudden expansion population model. PMID:26110380

  10. Phylogeography of Thlaspi arvense (Brassicaceae) in China Inferred from Chloroplast and Nuclear DNA Sequences and Ecological Niche Modeling.

    PubMed

    An, Miao; Zeng, Liyan; Zhang, Ticao; Zhong, Yang

    2015-06-11

    Thlaspi arvense is a well-known annual farmland weed with worldwide distribution, which can be found from sea level to above 4000 m high on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP). In this paper, a phylogeographic history of T. arvense including 19 populations from China was inferred by using three chloroplast (cp) DNA segments (trnL-trnF, rpl32-trnL and rps16) and one nuclear (n) DNA segment (Fe-regulated transporter-like protein, ZIP). A total of 11 chloroplast haplotypes and six nuclear alleles were identified, and haplotypes unique to the QTP were recognized (C4, C5, C7 and N4). On the basis of molecular dating, haplotypes C4, C5 and C7 have separated from others around 1.58 Ma for cpDNA, which corresponds to the QTP uplift. In addition, this article suggests that the T. arvense populations in China are a mixture of diverged subpopulations as inferred by hT/vT test (hT ≤ vT, cpDNA) and positive Tajima's D values (1.87, 0.05 < p < 0.10 for cpDNA and 3.37, p < 0.01 for nDNA). Multimodality mismatch distribution curves and a relatively large shared area of suitable environmental conditions between the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) as well as the present time recognized by MaxEnt software reject the sudden expansion population model.

  11. Horizontally Transmitted Symbionts and Host Colonization of Ecological Niches

    PubMed Central

    Henry, Lee M.; Peccoud, Jean; Simon, Jean-Christophe; Hadfield, Jarrod D.; Maiden, Martin J.C.; Ferrari, Julia; Godfray, H. Charles J.

    2014-01-01

    Summary Facultative or “secondary” symbionts are common in eukaryotes, particularly insects. While not essential for host survival, they often provide significant fitness benefits [1-5]. It has been hypothesized that secondary symbionts form a “horizontal gene pool” shuttling adaptive genes among host lineages in an analogous manner to plasmids and other mobile genetic elements in bacteria [6, 7]. However, we do not know whether the distributions of symbionts across host populations reflect random acquisitions followed by vertical inheritance or whether the associations have occurred repeatedly in a manner consistent with a dynamic horizontal gene pool. Here we explore these questions using the phylogenetic and ecological distributions of secondary symbionts carried by 1,104 pea aphids, Acyrthosiphon pisum. We find that not only is horizontal transfer common, but it is also associated with aphid lineages colonizing new ecological niches, including novel plant species and climatic regions. Moreover, aphids that share the same ecologies worldwide have independently acquired related symbiont genotypes, suggesting significant involvement of symbionts in their host’s adaptation to different niches. We conclude that the secondary symbiont community forms a horizontal gene pool that influences the adaptation and distribution of their insect hosts. These findings highlight the importance of symbiotic microorganisms in the radiation of eukaryotes. PMID:23993843

  12. Average niche breadths of species in lake macrophyte communities respond to ecological gradients variably in four regions on two continents.

    PubMed

    Alahuhta, Janne; Virtala, Antti; Hjort, Jan; Ecke, Frauke; Johnson, Lucinda B; Sass, Laura; Heino, Jani

    2017-03-14

    Different species' niche breadths in relation to ecological gradients are infrequently examined within the same study and, moreover, species niche breadths have rarely been averaged to account for variation in entire ecological communities. We investigated how average environmental niche breadths (climate, water quality and climate-water quality niches) in aquatic macrophyte communities are related to ecological gradients (latitude, longitude, altitude, species richness and lake area) among four distinct regions (Finland, Sweden and US states of Minnesota and Wisconsin) on two continents. We found that correlations between the three different measures of average niche breadths and ecological gradients varied considerably among the study regions, with average climate and average water quality niche breadth models often showing opposite trends. However, consistent patterns were also found, such as widening of average climate niche breadths and narrowing of average water quality niche breadths of aquatic macrophytes along increasing latitudinal and altitudinal gradients. This result suggests that macrophyte species are generalists in relation to temperature variations at higher latitudes and altitudes, whereas species in southern, lowland lakes are more specialised. In contrast, aquatic macrophytes growing in more southern nutrient-rich lakes were generalists in relation to water quality, while specialist species are adapted to low-productivity conditions and are found in highland lakes. Our results emphasise that species niche breadths should not be studied using only coarse-scale data of species distributions and corresponding environmental conditions, but that investigations on different kinds of niche breadths (e.g., climate vs. local niches) also require finer resolution data at broad spatial extents.

  13. Ecological niches in sequential generations of eastern North American monarch butterflies (Lepidoptera: Danaidae): the ecology of migration and likely climate change implications.

    PubMed

    Batalden, Rebecca V; Oberhauser, Karen; Peterson, A Townsend

    2007-12-01

    Eastern North American monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus L.) show a series of range shifts during their breeding season. Using ecological niche modeling, we studied the environmental context of these shifts by identifying the ecological conditions that monarchs use in successive summer months. Monarchs use a consistent ecological regimen through the summer, but these conditions contrast strikingly with those used during the winter. Hence, monarchs exhibit niche-following among sequential breeding generations but niche-switching between the breeding and overwintering stages of their annual cycle. We projected their breeding ecological niche onto monthly future climate scenarios, which indicated northward shifts, particularly at the northern extreme of their summer movements, over the next 50 yrs; if both monarchs and their milkweed host plants cannot track these changing climates, monarchs could lose distributional area during critical breeding months.

  14. 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

  15. 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."

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

    PubMed Central

    Chase, Jonathan M.; Myers, Jonathan A.

    2011-01-01

    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. PMID:21768151

  17. 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.

  18. [Study on medicinal plant allelopathy and soil sickness based on ecological niche].

    PubMed

    Sun, Hao; Huang, Lu-ming; Huang, Lu-qi; Guo, Lan-ping; Zhou, Jie; Lv, Dong-mei; Zeng, Yan

    2008-09-01

    Based on the conception and theory of ecological niche, authors analyzed the cause of the allelopathy and soil sickness of medicinal plants and the relationship between them. Methods to resolve problems in the cultivating medicinal plant was found, that is to construct the ecological niche based on allelopathy theory and avoid the soil sickness.

  19. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2004-06-07

    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.

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

    PubMed

    Ayala, Diego; Costantini, Carlo; Ose, Kenji; Kamdem, Guy C; Antonio-Nkondjio, Christophe; Agbor, Jean-Pierre; Awono-Ambene, Parfait; Fontenille, Didier; Simard, Frédéric

    2009-12-23

    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. 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. 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. 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 settings being among the best

  2. [Ecological niche breadth and niche overlap of dominant species of fish assemblage in Yangtze river estuary and its adjacent waters].

    PubMed

    Li, Xian-sen; Yu, Zhen-hai; Sun, Shan; Jin, Xian-shi

    2013-08-01

    Based on the fishery resources data from the bottom trawl surveys conducted on the R/V Beidou in the Yangtze River estuary and its adjacent waters in June, August and October of 2006, the index of relative importance (IRI) was measured to determine the dominant species of fish assemblage, and the niche indicators and their seasonal variations of the dominant species were analyzed. A total of 10 dominant species in the 3 survey cruises were recorded, which were divided into two groups by the Bray-curtis similarity clustering and non-metric multidimensional scaling (MDS) analysis, with a significant seasonal variation of niche breadth and niche overlap. One group included Engraulis japonicus, Champsodon capensis, and Acropoma japonicum, whose niche breadth and niche overlap were larger in summer than in autumn, with a migration from the Yangtze River estuary and its adjacent waters to outer deeper waters, while the other group included Trichiurus haumela, Chaeturichthys stigmatias, Apogon lineatus, Larimichthys polyactis, Psenopsis anomala, Argyrosomus argentatus, and Benthosema pterotum, whose niche breadth and niche overlap were larger in autumn than in summer, with a reverse migration from southern Yellow Sea and northern East China Sea to the Yangtze River estuary and its adjacent waters. The different migration direction of the two groups was related to their ecological habits and environmental factors.

  3. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  4. Ecological niche modeling for conservation planning of an endemic snail in the verge of becoming a pest in cardamom plantations in the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot.

    PubMed

    Sen, Sandeep; Shivaprakash, Kadukothanahally Nagaraju; Aravind, Neelavara A; Ravikanth, Gudasalamani; Dayanandan, Selvadurai

    2016-09-01

    Conservation managers and policy makers are often confronted with a challenging dilemma of devising suitable strategies to maintain agricultural productivity while conserving endemic species that at the early stages of becoming pests of agricultural crops. Identification of environmental factors conducive to species range expansion for forecasting species distribution patterns will play a central role in devising management strategies to minimize the conflict between the agricultural productivity and biodiversity conservation. Here, we present results of a study that predicts the distribution of Indrella ampulla, a snail endemic to the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot, which is becoming a pest in cardamom (Ellettaria cardamomum) plantations. We determined the distribution patterns and niche overlap between I. ampulla and Ellettaria cardamomum using maximum entropy (MaxEnt) niche modeling techniques under current and future (2020-2080) climatic scenarios. The results showed that climatic (precipitation of coldest quarter and isothermality) and soil (cation exchange capacity of soil [CEC]) parameters are major factors that determine the distribution of I. ampulla in Western Ghats. The model predicted cardamom cultivation areas in southern Western Ghats are highly sensitive to invasion of I. ampulla under both present and future climatic conditions. While the land area in the central Western Ghats is predicted to become unsuitable for I. ampulla and Ellettaria cardamomum in future, we found 71% of the Western Ghats land area is suitable for Ellettaria cardamomum cultivation and 45% suitable for I. ampulla, with an overlap of 35% between two species. The resulting distribution maps are invaluable for policy makers and conservation managers to design and implement management strategies minimizing the conflicts to sustain agricultural productivity while maintaining biodiversity in the region.

  5. Predicting the Distribution of Phlebotomus papatasi (Diptera: Psychodidae), the Primary Vector of Zoonotic Cutaneous Leishmaniasis, in Golestan Province of Iran Using Ecological Niche Modeling: Comparison of MaxEnt and GARP Models.

    PubMed

    Sofizadeh, Aioub; Rassi, Yavar; Vatandoost, Hassan; Hanafi-Bojd, Ahmad Ali; Mollalo, Abolfazl; Rafizadeh, Sayena; Akhavan, Amir Ahmad

    2017-03-01

    Zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis (ZCL) is a prevalent vector-borne disease in the Golestan province of Iran, with Phlebotomus papatasi (Scopoli, 1786) serving as the main vector. The aim of this study was to model the probability of presence of this species in the study area, and to determine the underlying factors affecting its distribution. Three villages were selected from each county of the province and visited monthly for investigating ZCL. Sticky paper traps were used for collecting the sand flies to determine the species present. The presence of Ph. papatasi was modeled using genetic algorithm for rule-set production (GARP) and maximum entropy (MaxEnt) techniques. Both models showed the central and northern parts of the province with lowland areas were more vulnerable to Ph. papatasi propagation, in comparison with the southern parts with mountainous and forest areas. The area under curve (AUC) of MaxEnt model for the training points was calculated as 0.90, indicating excellent performance of the model in predicting Ph. papatasi distribution. Jackknife test showed that the factors with the greatest influence in vector distribution were slope, vegetation cover, annual mean temperature, and altitude. By using ecological niche models, it is possible to identify areas with higher probability of presence of Ph. papatasi, which guides public health policy makers for planning better vector control interventions.

  6. Mutualistic mimicry enhances species diversification through spatial segregation and extension of the ecological niche space.

    PubMed

    Aubier, Thomas G; Elias, Marianne; Llaurens, Violaine; Chazot, Nicolas

    2017-01-27

    Species richness varies among clades, yet the drivers of diversification creating this variation remain poorly understood. While abiotic factors likely drive some of the variation in species richness, ecological interactions may also contribute. Here, we examine one class of potential contributors to species richness variation that is particularly poorly understood: mutualistic interactions. We aim to elucidate large-scale patterns of diversification mediated by mutualistic interactions using a spatially-explicit population-based model. We focus on mutualistic Müllerian mimicry between conspicuous toxic prey species, where convergence in colour patterns emerges from predators' learning process. To investigate the effects of Müllerian mimicry on species diversification, we assume that some speciation events stem from shifts in ecological niches, and can also be associated with shift in mimetic colour pattern. Through the emergence of spatial mosaics of mimetic colour patterns, Müllerian mimicry constrains the geographical distribution of species and allows different species with similar ecological niches to exist simultaneously in different regions. Müllerian mimicry and the resulting spatial segregation of mimetic colour patterns thus generate more balanced phylogenetic trees and increase overall species diversity. Our study sheds light on complex effects of Müllerian mimicry on ecological, spatial and phylogenetic diversification. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    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

  8. Biomechanics meets the ecological niche: the importance of temporal data resolution.

    PubMed

    Kearney, Michael R; Matzelle, Allison; Helmuth, Brian

    2012-03-15

    The emerging field of mechanistic niche modelling aims to link the functional traits of organisms to their environments to predict survival, reproduction, distribution and abundance. This approach has great potential to increase our understanding of the impacts of environmental change on individuals, populations and communities by providing functional connections between physiological and ecological response to increasingly available spatial environmental data. By their nature, such mechanistic models are more data intensive in comparison with the more widely applied correlative approaches but can potentially provide more spatially and temporally explicit predictions, which are often needed by decision makers. A poorly explored issue in this context is the appropriate level of temporal resolution of input data required for these models, and specifically the error in predictions that can be incurred through the use of temporally averaged data. Here, we review how biomechanical principles from heat-transfer and metabolic theory are currently being used as foundations for mechanistic niche models and consider the consequences of different temporal resolutions of environmental data for modelling the niche of a behaviourally thermoregulating terrestrial lizard. We show that fine-scale temporal resolution (daily) data can be crucial for unbiased inference of climatic impacts on survival, growth and reproduction. This is especially so for species with little capacity for behavioural buffering, because of behavioural or habitat constraints, and for detecting temporal trends. However, coarser-resolution data (long-term monthly averages) can be appropriate for mechanistic studies of climatic constraints on distribution and abundance limits in thermoregulating species at broad spatial scales.

  9. 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

  10. Modeling Renal Progenitors – Defining the Niche

    PubMed Central

    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

  11. Wild populations of Triatoma infestans: Compilation of positive sites and comparison of their ecological niche with domestic population niche.

    PubMed

    Brenière, Simone Frédérique; Buitrago, Rosio; Waleckx, Etienne; Depickère, Stéphanie; Sosa, Victor; Barnabé, Christian; Gorla, David

    2017-12-01

    For several years, the wild populations of Triatoma infestans, main vector of Trypanosoma cruzi causing Chagas disease, have been considered or suspected of being a source of reinfestation of villages. The number of sites reported for the presence of wild T. infestans, often close to human habitats, has greatly increased, but these data are scattered in several publications, and others obtained by our team in Bolivia have not been published yet. Herein is compiled the largest number of wild sites explored for the presence of T. infestans collected with two methods The standardized methods aimed to determine the relationship between wild T. infestans and the ecoregion, and the directed method help to confirm the presence/absence of triatomines in the ecoregions. Entomological indices were compared between ecoregions and an environmental niche modelling approach, based on bioclimatic variables, was applied. The active search for wild T. infestans in Bolivia suggests a discontinuous distribution from the Andean valleys to the lowlands (Chaco), while the models used suggest a continuous distribution between the two regions and very large areas where wild populations remain to be discovered. The results compile the description of different habitats where these populations were found, and we demonstrate that the environmental niches of wild and domestic populations, defined by climatic variables, are similar but not equivalent, showing that during domestication, T. infestans has conquered new spaces with wider ranges of temperature and precipitation. The great diversity of wild T. infestans habitats and the comparison of their ecological niches with that of domestic populations confirm the behavioural plasticity of the species that increase the possibility of contact with humans. The result of the geographical distribution model of the wild populations calls for more entomological vigilance in the corresponding areas in the Southern Cone countries and in Bolivia. The

  12. Ecological speciation in a generalist consumer expands the trophic niche of a dominant predator.

    PubMed

    Thomas, Stephen M; Harrod, Chris; Hayden, Brian; Malinen, Tommi; Kahilainen, Kimmo K

    2017-08-18

    Ecological speciation - whereby an ancestral founder species diversifies to fill vacant niches - is a phenomenon characteristic of newly formed ecosystems. Despite such ubiquity, ecosystem-level effects of such divergence remain poorly understood. Here, we compared the trophic niche of European whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus) and their predators in a series of contrasting subarctic lakes where this species had either diversified into four ecomorphologically distinct morphs or instead formed monomorphic populations. We found that the trophic niche of whitefish was almost three times larger in the polymorphic than in the monomorphic lakes, due to an increase in intraspecific specialisation. This trophic niche expansion was mirrored in brown trout (Salmo trutta), a major predator of whitefish. This represents amongst the first evidence for ecological speciation directly altering the trophic niche of a predator. We suggest such mechanisms may be a common and important - though presently overlooked - factor regulating trophic interactions in diverse ecosystems globally.

  13. Ecological niche modeling for visceral leishmaniasis in the state of Bahia, Brazil, using genetic algorithm for rule-set prediction and growing degree day-water budget analysis.

    PubMed

    Nieto, Prixia; Malone, John B; Bavia, Maria E

    2006-11-01

    Two predictive models were developed within a geographic information system using Genetic Algorithm Rule-Set Prediction (GARP) and the growing degree day (GDD)-water budget (WB) concept to predict the distribution and potential risk of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in the State of Bahia, Brazil. The objective was to define the environmental suitability of the disease as well as to obtain a deeper understanding of the eco-epidemiology of VL by associating environmental and climatic variables with disease prevalence. Both the GARP model and the GDDWB model, using different analysis approaches and with the same human prevalence database, predicted similar distribution and abundance patterns for the Lutzomyia longipalpis-Leishmania chagasi system in Bahia. High and moderate prevalence sites for VL were significantly related to areas of high and moderate risk prediction by: (i) the area predicted by the GARP model, depending on the number of pixels that overlapped among eleven annual model years, and (ii) the number of potential generations per year that could be completed by the Lu. longipalpis-L. chagasi system by GDD-WB analysis. When applied to the ecological zones of Bahia, both the GARP and the GDD-WB prediction models suggest that the highest VL risk is in the interior region of the state, characterized by a semi-arid and hot climate known as Caatinga, while the risk in the Bahia interior forest and the Cerrado ecological regions is lower. The Bahia coastal forest was predicted to be a low-risk area due to the unsuitable conditions for the vector and VL transmission.

  14. Spatially Correlated Time Series and Ecological Niche Analysis of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in Afghanistan

    PubMed Central

    Adegboye, Oyelola A.; Adegboye, Majeed

    2017-01-01

    Leishmaniasis is the third most common vector-borne disease and a very important protozoan infection. Cutaneous leishmaniasis is one of the most common types of leishmaniasis infectious diseases with up to 1.2 million occurrences of new cases each year worldwide. A dynamic transmission multivariate time series model was applied to the data to account for overdispersion and evaluate the effects of three environmental layers as well as seasonality in the data. Furthermore, ecological niche modeling was used to study the geographically suitable conditions for cutaneous leishmaniasis using temperature, precipitation and altitude as environmental layers, together with the leishmaniasis presence data. A retrospective analysis of the cutaneous leishmaniasis spatial data in Afghanistan between 2003 and 2009 indicates a steady increase from 2003 to 2007, a small decrease in 2008, and then another increase in 2009. An upward trend and regularly repeating patterns of highs and lows were observed related to the months of the year, which suggests seasonality effect in the data. Two peaks were observed in the disease occurrence—January to March and September to December—which coincide with the cold period. Ecological niche modelling indicates that precipitation has the greatest contribution to the potential distribution of leishmaniasis. PMID:28304356

  15. Spatially Correlated Time Series and Ecological Niche Analysis of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in Afghanistan.

    PubMed

    Adegboye, Oyelola A; Adegboye, Majeed

    2017-03-17

    Leishmaniasis is the third most common vector-borne disease and a very important protozoan infection. Cutaneous leishmaniasis is one of the most common types of leishmaniasis infectious diseases with up to 1.2 million occurrences of new cases each year worldwide. A dynamic transmission multivariate time series model was applied to the data to account for overdispersion and evaluate the effects of three environmental layers as well as seasonality in the data. Furthermore, ecological niche modeling was used to study the geographically suitable conditions for cutaneous leishmaniasis using temperature, precipitation and altitude as environmental layers, together with the leishmaniasis presence data. A retrospective analysis of the cutaneous leishmaniasis spatial data in Afghanistan between 2003 and 2009 indicates a steady increase from 2003 to 2007, a small decrease in 2008, and then another increase in 2009. An upward trend and regularly repeating patterns of highs and lows were observed related to the months of the year, which suggests seasonality effect in the data. Two peaks were observed in the disease occurrence-January to March and September to December-which coincide with the cold period. Ecological niche modelling indicates that precipitation has the greatest contribution to the potential distribution of leishmaniasis.

  16. 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

    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. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  17. 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.

  18. Detecting spatial ontogenetic niche shifts in complex dendritic ecological networks

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fields, William R.; Grant, Evan; Lowe, Winsor H.

    2017-01-01

    Ontogenetic niche shifts (ONS) are important drivers of population and community dynamics, but they can be difficult to identify for species with prolonged larval or juvenile stages, or for species that inhabit continuous habitats. Most studies of ONS focus on single transitions among discrete habitat patches at local scales. However, for species with long larval or juvenile periods, affinity for particular locations within connected habitat networks may differ among cohorts. The resulting spatial patterns of distribution can result from a combination of landscape-scale habitat structure, position of a habitat patch within a network, and local habitat characteristics—all of which may interact and change as individuals grow. We estimated such spatial ONS for spring salamanders (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus), which have a larval period that can last 4 years or more. Using mixture models to identify larval cohorts from size frequency data, we fit occupancy models for each age class using two measures of the branching structure of stream networks and three measures of stream network position. Larval salamander cohorts showed different preferences for the position of a site within the stream network, and the strength of these responses depended on the basin-wide spatial structure of the stream network. The isolation of a site had a stronger effect on occupancy in watersheds with more isolated headwater streams, while the catchment area, which is associated with gradients in stream habitat, had a stronger effect on occupancy in watersheds with more paired headwater streams. Our results show that considering the spatial structure of habitat networks can provide new insights on ONS in long-lived species.

  19. Evaluating how species niche modelling is affected by partial distributions with an empirical case

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carretero, Miguel A.; Sillero, Neftalí

    2016-11-01

    Ecological niche models (ENMs) will successfully identify a species' ecological niche, provided that important assumptions are fulfilled, namely environment equilibrium and niche equality across the distribution. Violations may seriously affect ENM reliability, leading to erroneous biogeographic conclusions and inappropriate conservation prioritisation. We evaluate the robustness of ENMs against incomplete knowledge of distribution with a real example, the threatened Iberian lizard Podarcis carbonelli, whose distribution was gradually discovered over a long time period. We used several ENM methods for presence-only data (Maxent, ENFA, Bioclim, and Domain) to infer the realised ecological niche at two spatial resolutions (1 km and 200 m). The distribution data were split into four partial datasets corresponding to separate subranges: Central System (CS); Viseu-Aveiro (VA); Atlantic coast (AC); and Doñana (DO). We then accumulated the datasets following the species discovery sequence: CS + VA, CS + VA + AC, and CS + VA + AC + DO. Niche equivalence and similarity between partial models were compared using Ecospat. ENMs were strongly affected by the violation of niche equilibrium; only the VA subrange forecasts the complete species range. ENMs were also sensitive to the violation of niche equality: only VA models were similar to the Iberian model, altitude being the most important variable followed by annual precipitation, maximum temperature in July, and annual radiation. When the ENMs were applied only to the first subrange discovered (CS), only the VA area was predicted, while the other subranges might have remained unknown, thus compromising conservation strategies. As assumptions of niche equilibrium and equality were violated, likely owing to the species' ecological multimodality, the models generated were biased and of limited predictive value. ENMs are useful tools in biogeography and conservation, but only if their basal assumptions are achieved. Partial

  20. Ecological and physiological thermal niches to understand distribution of Chagas disease vectors in Latin America.

    PubMed

    DE LA Vega, G J; Schilman, P E

    2017-08-30

    In order to assess how triatomines (Hemiptera, Reduviidae), Chagas disease vectors, are distributed through Latin America, we analysed the relationship between the ecological niche and the limits of the physiological thermal niche in seven species of triatomines. We combined two methodological approaches: species distribution models, and physiological tolerances. First, we modelled the ecological niche and identified the most important abiotic factor for their distribution. Then, thermal tolerance limits were analysed by measuring maximum and minimum critical temperatures, upper lethal temperature, and 'chill-coma recovery time'. Finally, we used phylogenetic independent contrasts to analyse the link between limiting factors and the thermal tolerance range for the assessment of ecological hypotheses that provide a different outlook for the geo-epidemiology of Chagas disease. In triatomines, thermo-tolerance range increases with increasing latitude mainly due to better cold tolerances, suggesting an effect of thermal selection. In turn, physiological analyses show that species reaching southernmost areas have a higher thermo-tolerance than those with tropical distributions, denoting that thermo-tolerance is limiting the southern distribution. Understanding the latitudinal range along its physiological limits of disease vectors may prove useful to test ecological hypotheses and improve strategies and efficiency of vector control at the local and regional levels. © 2017 The Royal Entomological Society.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-02-01

    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.

  2. 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

  3. Commodifying snow, taming the waters. Socio-ecological niche construction in an Alpine village.

    PubMed

    Gross, Robert; Winiwarter, Verena

    White belts of snow clad mountains all over the world each winter. Even if there is no snow, the tourism industry is able to produce the white finery at the push of the button, thereby consuming large amounts of water. Studying Damüls, a well-known ski resort in Austria's westernmost province Vorarlberg, we can show that the development of a service sector within agro-pastoral landscapes was connected with novel water uses and massive interventions into Alpine landscapes. Human niche construction theory offers a unique avenue for studying the development of Alpine communities, but also highlights side effects accompanying the change from agrarian to tourism livelihoods. One aim of this paper is to broaden the scope of human niche construction theory. Inceptive, counteractive and relocational niche construction activities were coupled to the differentiation of actor groups. To incorporate social dynamics, indispensable for studies in environmental history, we propose the concept of socio-ecological niche construction. The paper investigates how villagers balanced resource limitations typical for an agrarian society with the differentiation of sub-niches, mediating selective forces on the population. When the valleys were industrialized, Damüls was almost given up as a permanent settlement. Then, tourists entered the stage, by and by turning the wheel of local development into a different direction. A tourism niche based on natural snow evolved from the 1930s onwards. While the socio-ecological niches of agriculture and tourism coexisted in the interwar years, this changed when ski lifts were built, embedded into a debt-based economy that made the tourism niche vulnerable to snow availability. Snow-dependency became a powerful selective force. It was mediated by the ski lift companies through a range of niche construction activities that turned water into an important resource of snowmaking systems.

  4. 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.

  5. Ecological niche and potential distribution of Anopheles arabiensis in Africa in 2050.

    PubMed

    Drake, John M; Beier, John C

    2014-06-03

    The future distribution of malaria in Africa is likely to be much more dependent on environmental conditions than the current distribution due to the effectiveness of indoor and therapeutic anti-malarial interventions, such as insecticide-treated nets (ITNs), indoor residual spraying for mosquitoes (IRS), artemisinin-combination therapy (ACT), and intermittent presumptive treatment (IPT). Future malaria epidemiology is therefore expected to be increasingly dominated by Anopheles arabiensis, which is the most abundant exophagic mosquito competent to transmit Plasmodium falciparum and exhibits a wide geographic range. To map the potential distribution of An. arabiensis in Africa, ecological niche models were fit to 20th century collection records. Many common species distribution modelling techniques aim to discriminate species habitat from the background distribution of environments. Since these methods arguably result in unnecessarily large Type I and Type II errors, LOBAG-OC was used to identify the niche boundary using only data on An. arabiensis occurrences. The future distribution of An. arabiensis in Africa was forecasted by projecting the fit model onto maps of simulated climate change following three climate change scenarios. Ecological niche modelling revealed An. arabiensis to be a climate generalist in the sense that it can occur in most of Africa's contemporary environmental range. Under three climate change scenarios, the future distribution of An. arabiensis is expected to be reduced by 48%-61%. Map differences between baseline and projected climate suggest that habitat reductions will be especially extensive in Western and Central Africa; portions of Botswana, Namibia, and Angola in Southern Africa; and portions of Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, and Kenya in East Africa. The East African Rift Valley and Eastern Coast of Africa are expected to remain habitable. Some modest gains in habitat are predicted at the margins of the current range in South Sudan

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. A strong ‘filter’ effect of the East China Sea land bridge for East Asia’s temperate plant species: inferences from molecular phylogeography and ecological niche modelling of Platycrater arguta (Hydrangeaceae)

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background In East Asia, an increasing number of studies on temperate forest tree species find evidence for migration and gene exchange across the East China Sea (ECS) land bridge up until the last glacial maximum (LGM). However, it is less clear when and how lineages diverged in this region, whether in full isolation or in the face of post-divergence gene flow. Here, we investigate the effects of Quaternary changes in climate and sea level on the evolutionary and demographic history of Platycrater arguta, a rare temperate understorey shrub with disjunct distributions in East China (var. sinensis) and South Japan (var. arguta). Molecular data were obtained from 14 P. arguta populations to infer current patterns of molecular structure and diversity in relation to past (Last Interglacial and Last Glacial Maximum) and present distributions based on ecological niche modelling (ENM). A coalescent-based isolation-with-migration (IM) model was used to estimate lineage divergence times and population demographic parameters. Results Combining information from nuclear/chloroplast sequence data with nuclear microsatellites, our IM analyses identify the two varieties as genetically distinct units that evolved in strict allopatry since the mid-Pleistocene, c. 0.89 (0.51–1.2) Ma. Together with Bayesian Skyeline Plots, our data further suggest that both lineages experienced post-divergence demographic growth, followed by refugial isolation, divergence, and in the case of var. arguta post-glacial admixture. However, past species distribution modelling indicates that the species’ overall distribution has not greatly changed over the last glacial cycles. Conclusions Our findings highlight the important influence of ancient sea-level changes on the diversification of East Asia’s temperate flora. Implicitly, they challenge the notion of general temperate forest expansion across the ECS land bridge, demonstrating instead its ‘filter’ effect owing to an unsuitable environment

  9. A strong 'filter' effect of the East China Sea land bridge for East Asia's temperate plant species: inferences from molecular phylogeography and ecological niche modelling of Platycrater arguta (Hydrangeaceae).

    PubMed

    Qi, Xin-Shuai; Yuan, Na; Comes, Hans Peter; Sakaguchi, Shota; Qiu, Ying-Xiong

    2014-03-04

    In East Asia, an increasing number of studies on temperate forest tree species find evidence for migration and gene exchange across the East China Sea (ECS) land bridge up until the last glacial maximum (LGM). However, it is less clear when and how lineages diverged in this region, whether in full isolation or in the face of post-divergence gene flow. Here, we investigate the effects of Quaternary changes in climate and sea level on the evolutionary and demographic history of Platycrater arguta, a rare temperate understorey shrub with disjunct distributions in East China (var. sinensis) and South Japan (var. arguta). Molecular data were obtained from 14 P. arguta populations to infer current patterns of molecular structure and diversity in relation to past (Last Interglacial and Last Glacial Maximum) and present distributions based on ecological niche modelling (ENM). A coalescent-based isolation-with-migration (IM) model was used to estimate lineage divergence times and population demographic parameters. Combining information from nuclear/chloroplast sequence data with nuclear microsatellites, our IM analyses identify the two varieties as genetically distinct units that evolved in strict allopatry since the mid-Pleistocene, c. 0.89 (0.51-1.2) Ma. Together with Bayesian Skyeline Plots, our data further suggest that both lineages experienced post-divergence demographic growth, followed by refugial isolation, divergence, and in the case of var. arguta post-glacial admixture. However, past species distribution modelling indicates that the species' overall distribution has not greatly changed over the last glacial cycles. Our findings highlight the important influence of ancient sea-level changes on the diversification of East Asia's temperate flora. Implicitly, they challenge the notion of general temperate forest expansion across the ECS land bridge, demonstrating instead its 'filter' effect owing to an unsuitable environment for certain species and their biological

  10. Authoritative Parenting and Adolescent Adjustment across Varied Ecological Niches.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Steinberg, Laurence; And Others

    This study examined whether the widely reported positive relation between "authoritative" parenting and adolescent adjustment is moderated by the ecological context in which adolescents live. A socioeconomically and ethnically diverse sample of approximately 10,000 high school students provided information about their parents' behavior…

  11. Respiration and ecological niche influence bacterial membrane lipid compositions.

    PubMed

    Bay, Denice C; Booth, Sean C; Turner, Raymond J

    2015-05-01

    Bacterial membrane compositions vary widely between phyla and within related species. The types of lipids within membranes are as diverse as the selective pressures that influence bacterial lifestyles such as their mode of respiration and habitat. This study has examined the extent that respiration and habitat affect bacterial fatty acid (FA) and polar lipid (PL) compositions. To accomplish this, over 300 FA and PL profiles from 380 previously characterized species were assembled and subjected to multivariate statistical analyses in order to determine lipid to habitat/respiration associations. It was revealed that PL profiles showed a slight advantage over FA profiles for discriminating taxonomic relationships between species. FA profiles showed greater correlation with respiration and habitat than PL. This study identified that respiration did not consistently favour uniform FA or PL changes when lipid profiles were compared between examined phyla. This suggests that although phyla may adopt similar respiration methods, it does not result in consistent lipid attributes within one respiration state. Examination of FA and PL compositions were useful to identify taxonomic relationships between related species and provides insight into lipid variations influenced by the niche of its host.

  12. Evaluating correlative and mechanistic niche models for assessing the risk of pest establishment

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Ecological niche modeling was used to assess the risk of establishment of western cherry fruit fly, Rhagoletis indifferens Curran (Diptera: Tephritidae), in sweet cherry, Prunus avium (L.) L., in the commercial cherry-growing areas of California. We integrated species occurrence records and spatial...

  13. Niche divergence facilitated by fine‐scale ecological partitioning in a recent cichlid fish adaptive radiation

    PubMed Central

    Ford, Antonia G. P.; Rüber, Lukas; Newton, Jason; Dasmahapatra, Kanchon K.; Balarin, John D.; Bruun, Kristoffer; Day, Julia J.

    2016-01-01

    Ecomorphological differentiation is a key feature of adaptive radiations, with a general trend for specialization and niche expansion following divergence. Ecological opportunity afforded by invasion of a new habitat is thought to act as an ecological release, facilitating divergence, and speciation. Here, we investigate trophic adaptive morphology and ecology of an endemic clade of oreochromine cichlid fishes (Alcolapia) that radiated along a herbivorous trophic axis following colonization of an isolated lacustrine environment, and demonstrate phenotype‐environment correlation. Ecological and morphological divergence of the Alcolapia species flock are examined in a phylogenomic context, to infer ecological niche occupation within the radiation. Species divergence is observed in both ecology and morphology, supporting the importance of ecological speciation within the radiation. Comparison with an outgroup taxon reveals large‐scale ecomorphological divergence but shallow genomic differentiation within the Alcolapia adaptive radiation. Ancestral morphological reconstruction suggests lake colonization by a generalist oreochromine phenotype that diverged in Lake Natron to varied herbivorous morphologies akin to specialist herbivores in Lakes Tanganyika and Malawi. PMID:27659769

  14. Quaternary range and demographic expansion of Liolaemus darwinii (Squamata: Liolaemidae) in the Monte Desert of Central Argentina using Bayesian phylogeography and ecological niche modelling.

    PubMed

    Camargo, Arley; Werneck, Fernanda P; Morando, Mariana; Sites, Jack W; Avila, Luciano J

    2013-08-01

    Until recently, most phylogeographic approaches have been unable to distinguish between demographic and range expansion processes, making it difficult to test for the possibility of range expansion without population growth and vice versa. In this study, we applied a Bayesian phylogeographic approach to reconstruct both demographic and range expansion in the lizard Liolaemus darwinii of the Monte Desert in Central Argentina, during the Late Quaternary. Based on analysis of 14 anonymous nuclear loci and the cytochrome b mitochondrial DNA gene, we detected signals of demographic expansion starting at ~55 ka based on Bayesian Skyline and Skyride Plots. In contrast, Bayesian relaxed models of spatial diffusion suggested that range expansion occurred only between ~95 and 55 ka, and more recently, diffusion rates were very low during demographic expansion. The possibility of population growth without substantial range expansion could account for the shared patterns of demographic expansion during the Last Glacial Maxima (OIS 2 and 4) in fish, small mammals and other lizards of the Monte Desert. We found substantial variation in diffusion rates over time, and very high rates during the range expansion phase, consistent with a rapidly advancing expansion front towards the southeast shown by palaeo-distribution models. Furthermore, the estimated diffusion rates are congruent with observed dispersal rates of lizards in field conditions and therefore provide additional confidence to the temporal scale of inferred phylogeographic patterns. Our study highlights how the integration of phylogeography with palaeo-distribution models can shed light on both demographic and range expansion processes and their potential causes.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. The evolutionary convergence of avian lifestyles and their constrained coevolution with species' ecological niche

    PubMed Central

    Laiolo, Paola; Seoane, Javier; Illera, Juan Carlos; Bastianelli, Giulia; Carrascal, Luis María; Obeso, José Ramón

    2015-01-01

    The fit between life histories and ecological niche is a paradigm of phenotypic evolution, also widely used to explain patterns of species co-occurrence. By analysing the lifestyles of a sympatric avian assemblage, we show that species' solutions to environmental problems are not unbound. We identify a life-history continuum structured on the cost of reproduction along a temperature gradient, as well as habitat-driven parental behaviour. However, environmental fit and trait convergence are limited by niche filling and by within-species variability of niche traits, which is greater than variability of life histories. Phylogeny, allometry and trade-offs are other important constraints: lifetime reproductive investment is tightly bound to body size, and the optimal allocation to reproduction for a given size is not established by niche characteristics but by trade-offs with survival. Life histories thus keep pace with habitat and climate, but under the limitations imposed by metabolism, trade-offs among traits and species' realized niche. PMID:26674945

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

    PubMed

    Lloyd-Smith, James O

    2013-08-05

    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.

  19. 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

  20. Comparisons of infant Escherichia coli isolates link genomic profiles with adaptation to the ecological niche

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Despite being one of the most intensely studied model organisms, many questions still remain about the evolutionary biology and ecology of Escherichia coli. An important step toward achieving a more complete understanding of E.coli biology entails elucidating relationships between gene content and adaptation to the ecological niche. Results Here, we present genome comparisons of 16 E.coli strains that represent commensals and pathogens isolated from infants during a specific time period in Trondheim, Norway. Using differential gene content, we characterized enrichment profiles of the collection of strains relating to phylogeny, early vs. late colonization, pathogenicity and growth rate. We found clear gene content distinctions relating to the various grouping criteria. We also found that different categories of strains use different genetic elements for similar biological processes. The sequenced genomes included two pairs of strains where each pair was isolated from the same infant at different time points. One pair, in which the strains were isolated four months apart, showed maintenance of an early colonizer genome profile but also gene content and codon usage changes toward the late colonizer profile. Lastly, we placed our sequenced isolates into a broader genomic context by comparing them with 25 published E.coli genomes that represent a variety of pathotypes and commensal strains. This analysis demonstrated the importance of geography in shaping strain level gene content profiles. Conclusions Our results indicate a general pattern where alternative genetic pathways lead toward a consistent ecological role for E.coli as a species. Within this framework however, we saw selection shaping the coding repertoire of E.coli strains toward distinct ecotypes with different phenotypic properties. PMID:23384204

  1. 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

  2. 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. © 2011 Society for Applied Microbiology and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  3. Quantifying Inter- and Intra-Population Niche Variability Using Hierarchical Bayesian Stable Isotope Mixing Models

    PubMed Central

    Moore, Jonathan W.; Darimont, Chris T.

    2009-01-01

    Variability in resource use defines the width of a trophic niche occupied by a population. Intra-population variability in resource use may occur across hierarchical levels of population structure from individuals to subpopulations. Understanding how levels of population organization contribute to population niche width is critical to ecology and evolution. Here we describe a hierarchical stable isotope mixing model that can simultaneously estimate both the prey composition of a consumer diet and the diet variability among individuals and across levels of population organization. By explicitly estimating variance components for multiple scales, the model can deconstruct the niche width of a consumer population into relevant levels of population structure. We apply this new approach to stable isotope data from a population of gray wolves from coastal British Columbia, and show support for extensive intra-population niche variability among individuals, social groups, and geographically isolated subpopulations. The analytic method we describe improves mixing models by accounting for diet variability, and improves isotope niche width analysis by quantitatively assessing the contribution of levels of organization to the niche width of a population. PMID:19587790

  4. Quantifying inter- and intra-population niche variability using hierarchical bayesian stable isotope mixing models.

    PubMed

    Semmens, Brice X; Ward, Eric J; Moore, Jonathan W; Darimont, Chris T

    2009-07-09

    Variability in resource use defines the width of a trophic niche occupied by a population. Intra-population variability in resource use may occur across hierarchical levels of population structure from individuals to subpopulations. Understanding how levels of population organization contribute to population niche width is critical to ecology and evolution. Here we describe a hierarchical stable isotope mixing model that can simultaneously estimate both the prey composition of a consumer diet and the diet variability among individuals and across levels of population organization. By explicitly estimating variance components for multiple scales, the model can deconstruct the niche width of a consumer population into relevant levels of population structure. We apply this new approach to stable isotope data from a population of gray wolves from coastal British Columbia, and show support for extensive intra-population niche variability among individuals, social groups, and geographically isolated subpopulations. The analytic method we describe improves mixing models by accounting for diet variability, and improves isotope niche width analysis by quantitatively assessing the contribution of levels of organization to the niche width of a population.

  5. Consensus Forecasting of Species Distributions: The Effects of Niche Model Performance and Niche Properties

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Lei; Liu, Shirong; Sun, Pengsen; Wang, Tongli; Wang, Guangyu; Zhang, Xudong; Wang, Linlin

    2015-01-01

    Ensemble forecasting is advocated as a way of reducing uncertainty in species distribution modeling (SDM). This is because it is expected to balance accuracy and robustness of SDM models. However, there are little available data regarding the spatial similarity of the combined distribution maps generated by different consensus approaches. Here, using eight niche-based models, nine split-sample calibration bouts (or nine random model-training subsets), and nine climate change scenarios, the distributions of 32 forest tree species in China were simulated under current and future climate conditions. The forecasting ensembles were combined to determine final consensual prediction maps for target species using three simple consensus approaches (average, frequency, and median [PCA]). Species’ geographic ranges changed (area change and shifting distance) in response to climate change, but the three consensual projections did not differ significantly with respect to how much or in which direction, but they did differ with respect to the spatial similarity of the three consensual predictions. Incongruent areas were observed primarily at the edges of species’ ranges. Multiple stepwise regression models showed the three factors (niche marginality and specialization, and niche model accuracy) to be related to the observed variations in consensual prediction maps among consensus approaches. Spatial correspondence among prediction maps was the highest when niche model accuracy was high and marginality and specialization were low. The difference in spatial predictions suggested that more attention should be paid to the range of spatial uncertainty before any decisions regarding specialist species can be made based on map outputs. The niche properties and single-model predictive performance provide promising insights that may further understanding of uncertainties in SDM. PMID:25786217

  6. Modeling dynamics of mutants in heterogeneous stem cell niche

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shahriyari, L.; Mahdipour-Shirayeh, A.

    2017-02-01

    Studying the stem cell (SC) niche architecture is a crucial step for investigating the process of oncogenesis and obtaining an effective stem cell therapy for various cancers. Recently, it has been observed that there are two groups of SCs in the SC niche collaborating with each other to maintain tissue homeostasis: border stem cells (BSCs), which are responsible in controlling the number of non-stem cells as well as stem cells, and central stem cells (CeSCs), which regulate the SC niche. Here, we develop a bi-compartmental stochastic model for the SC niche to study the spread of mutants within the niche. The analytic calculations and numeric simulations, which are in perfect agreement, reveal that in order to delay the spread of mutants in the SC niche, a small but non-zero number of SC proliferations must occur in the CeSC compartment. Moreover, the migration of BSCs to CeSCs delays the spread of mutants. Furthermore, the fixation probability of mutants in the SC niche is independent of types of SC division as long as all SCs do not divide fully asymmetrically. Additionally, the progeny of CeSCs have a much higher chance than the progeny of BSCs to take over the entire niche.

  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. Identifying early modern human ecological niche expansions and associated cultural dynamics in the South African Middle Stone Age.

    PubMed

    d'Errico, Francesco; Banks, William E; Warren, Dan L; Sgubin, Giovanni; van Niekerk, Karen; Henshilwood, Christopher; Daniau, Anne-Laure; Sánchez Goñi, María Fernanda

    2017-07-24

    The archaeological record shows that typically human cultural traits emerged at different times, in different parts of the world, and among different hominin taxa. This pattern suggests that their emergence is the outcome of complex and nonlinear evolutionary trajectories, influenced by environmental, demographic, and social factors, that need to be understood and traced at regional scales. The application of predictive algorithms using archaeological and paleoenvironmental data allows one to estimate the ecological niches occupied by past human populations and identify niche changes through time, thus providing the possibility of investigating relationships between cultural innovations and possible niche shifts. By using such methods to examine two key southern Africa archaeological cultures, the Still Bay [76-71 thousand years before present (ka)] and the Howiesons Poort (HP; 66-59 ka), we identify a niche shift characterized by a significant expansion in the breadth of the HP ecological niche. This expansion is coincident with aridification occurring across Marine Isotope Stage 4 (ca. 72-60 ka) and especially pronounced at 60 ka. We argue that this niche shift was made possible by the development of a flexible technological system, reliant on composite tools and cultural transmission strategies based more on "product copying" rather than "process copying." These results counter the one niche/one human taxon equation. They indicate that what makes our cultures, and probably the cultures of other members of our lineage, unique is their flexibility and ability to produce innovations that allow a population to shift its ecological niche.

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-12-02

    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. Mutualistic Interactions Drive Ecological Niche Convergence in a Diverse Butterfly Community

    PubMed Central

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

    2008-01-01

    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. PMID:19055316

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. Ecological Segregation in Space, Time and Trophic Niche of Sympatric Planktivorous Petrels

    PubMed Central

    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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. Microbial Ecological Niche Partitioning Affects N2 gas Production in the Largest Marine Oxygen Minimum Zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fuchsman, C. A.; Penn, J. L.; Devol, A.; Palevsky, H. I.; Deutsch, C. A.; Keil, R.; Ward, B. B.; Rocap, G.

    2016-02-01

    Up to half of oceanic N2 production occurs in oxygen minimum zones (OMZs). In the Eastern Tropical North Pacific OMZ in April 2012, we measured a nine station coast to open ocean transect of N2 gas in the heart of the ETNP OMZ. Depth profiles of excess N2 gas had dual maxima located at the top of the OMZ and at 300m. An ecosystem biogeochemical model of the ETNP was also found to produce dual maxima at stations with a shallow OMZ. The model indicated that high N2 production rates caused the upper N2 maxima while long water residence time caused the deeper maxima. At a low productivity open ocean station where dual N2 maxima were observed, we obtained a depth profile of metagenomic sequences from both free living and >30 μm fractions to determine which N2 producing microbes were living in these three ecological niches. We use a phylogenetically-aware approach to identify metagenomic sequences by placing them on reference trees, which allows us to utilize them in a semi-quantitative manner. Overall, genes for denitrification (napA, nirS, nirK, qnor, nosZ) were enriched on particles while anammox was free-living. However, separation of genes into phylotypes indicated that the system is more complicated. For example, 4 out of 5 N2O reductase denitrifier phylotypes were actually free-living, while the fifth, most abundant phylotype was particle-attached. In the water column, denitrifier and anammox genes were spatially separated with depth with denitrifiers focused on the top section of the OMZ and with anammox becoming abundant slightly deeper and being more dominant at the deep N2 maxima. Interestingly, different phylotypes of denitrifiers have different depth profiles, implying individual adaptations and niches. The presence of measurable ammonia (>200 nM) at the top 20m of the OMZ along with the very low numbers of anammox bacteria is consistent with recent shoaling of the OMZ at the time of sampling. Thus the spatial separation of denitrifiers and anammox at the

  18. [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.

  19. 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. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    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 Saccharomyces 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 x 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

  1. Genomic basis of ecological niche divergence among cryptic sister species of non-biting midges

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background There is a lack of understanding the evolutionary forces driving niche segregation of closely related organisms. In addition, pinpointing the genes driving ecological divergence is a key goal in molecular ecology. Here, larval transcriptome sequences obtained by next-generation-sequencing are used to address these issues in a morphologically cryptic sister species pair of non-biting midges (Chironomus riparius and C. piger). Results More than eight thousand orthologous open reading frames were screened for interspecific divergence and intraspecific polymorphisms. Despite a small mean sequence divergence of 1.53% between the sister species, 25.1% of 18,115 observed amino acid substitutions were inferred by α statistics to be driven by positive selection. Applying McDonald-Kreitman tests to 715 alignments of gene orthologues identified eleven (1.5%) genes driven by positive selection. Conclusions Three candidate genes were identified as potentially responsible for the observed niche segregation concerning nitrite concentration, habitat temperature and water conductivity. Additionally, signs of positive selection in the hydrogen sulfide detoxification pathway were detected, providing a new plausible hypothesis for the species’ ecological differentiation. Finally, a divergently selected, nuclear encoded mitochondrial ribosomal protein may contribute to reproductive isolation due to cytonuclear coevolution. PMID:23758757

  2. Niche conservatism as an emerging principle in ecology and conservation biology.

    PubMed

    Wiens, John J; Ackerly, David D; Allen, Andrew P; Anacker, Brian L; Buckley, Lauren B; Cornell, Howard V; Damschen, Ellen I; Jonathan Davies, T; Grytnes, John-Arvid; Harrison, Susan P; Hawkins, Bradford A; Holt, Robert D; McCain, Christy M; Stephens, Patrick R

    2010-10-01

    The diversity of life is ultimately generated by evolution, and much attention has focused on the rapid evolution of ecological traits. Yet, the tendency for many ecological traits to instead remain similar over time [niche conservatism (NC)] has many consequences for the fundamental patterns and processes studied in ecology and conservation biology. Here, we describe the mounting evidence for the importance of NC to major topics in ecology (e.g. species richness, ecosystem function) and conservation (e.g. climate change, invasive species). We also review other areas where it may be important but has generally been overlooked, in both ecology (e.g. food webs, disease ecology, mutualistic interactions) and conservation (e.g. habitat modification). We summarize methods for testing for NC, and suggest that a commonly used and advocated method (involving a test for phylogenetic signal) is potentially problematic, and describe alternative approaches. We suggest that considering NC: (1) focuses attention on the within-species processes that cause traits to be conserved over time, (2) emphasizes connections between questions and research areas that are not obviously related (e.g. invasives, global warming, tropical richness), and (3) suggests new areas for research (e.g. why are some clades largely nocturnal? why do related species share diseases?).

  3. The ecological niche and reciprocal prediction of the disjunct distribution of an invasive species: the example of Ailanthus altissima

    Treesearch

    Thomas P. Albright; Hao Chen; Lijun Chen; Qinfeng Guo

    2010-01-01

    Knowledge of the ecological niches of invasive species in native and introduced ranges can inform management as well as ecological and evolutionary theory. Here, we identified and compared factors associated with the distribution of an invasive tree, Ailanthus altissima, in both its native Chinese and introduced US ranges and predicted potential US...

  4. 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

  5. [Ecological niches of sucking lice (Phthiraptera: Anoplura) and their coevolution relationship with small mammal hosts in Yunnan, China].

    PubMed

    Meng, Yan-Fen; Guo, Xian-Guo; Men, Xing-Yuan; Wu, Dian

    2008-02-28

    To investigate the ecological niches of sucking lice (Phthiraptera: Anoplura) on the body surface of small mammal hosts and the co-evolutionary relationship between lice and mammal hosts in Yunnan Province. Thirty species of small mammals were captured and used as 30 resource sequences. The distribution and composition of the dominant 22 species of sucking lice on the body surface of the 30 species small mammal hosts were analyzed as the utilization proportion for each resource sequence. The niche breadth and proportional similarity were measured. SPSS 13.0 statistical software was used for analyzing the niche overlap matrix of sucking lice by hierarchical clustering analysis, and a dendrogram was made. The niche breadth was narrow for most species of sucking louse. Among the detected species, Hoplopleura pacifica showed the widest niche breadth, but only 0.1536. Indices of niche proportional similarity of most sucking lice were relatively small from 0.0005 to 0.4695. The 22 species of sucking lice were classified into 16 niche overlap groups, by lambda = 5.5, through a hierarchical clustering analysis for the niche overlaps, and the clustering process of most sucking lice was late. The sucking lice have a high specificity for hosts, of which different species show an apparent niche divergence on host selection. The results reveal a high coevolution between sucking lice and the mammal hosts.

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

    PubMed

    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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. Identifying early modern human ecological niche expansions and associated cultural dynamics in the South African Middle Stone Age

    PubMed Central

    Banks, William E.; Warren, Dan L.; Sgubin, Giovanni; van Niekerk, Karen; Henshilwood, Christopher; Daniau, Anne-Laure

    2017-01-01

    The archaeological record shows that typically human cultural traits emerged at different times, in different parts of the world, and among different hominin taxa. This pattern suggests that their emergence is the outcome of complex and nonlinear evolutionary trajectories, influenced by environmental, demographic, and social factors, that need to be understood and traced at regional scales. The application of predictive algorithms using archaeological and paleoenvironmental data allows one to estimate the ecological niches occupied by past human populations and identify niche changes through time, thus providing the possibility of investigating relationships between cultural innovations and possible niche shifts. By using such methods to examine two key southern Africa archaeological cultures, the Still Bay [76–71 thousand years before present (ka)] and the Howiesons Poort (HP; 66–59 ka), we identify a niche shift characterized by a significant expansion in the breadth of the HP ecological niche. This expansion is coincident with aridification occurring across Marine Isotope Stage 4 (ca. 72–60 ka) and especially pronounced at 60 ka. We argue that this niche shift was made possible by the development of a flexible technological system, reliant on composite tools and cultural transmission strategies based more on “product copying” rather than “process copying.” These results counter the one niche/one human taxon equation. They indicate that what makes our cultures, and probably the cultures of other members of our lineage, unique is their flexibility and ability to produce innovations that allow a population to shift its ecological niche. PMID:28739910

  10. 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

  11. Models of Cultural Niche Construction with Selection and Assortative Mating

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:22905167

  12. 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.

  13. 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…

  14. Ecological factors influencing tetraploid speciation in snow buttercups (Ranunculus Adoneus): niche differentiation and tetraploid establishment.

    PubMed

    Baack, Eric J; Stanton, Maureen L

    2005-09-01

    Chromosome doubling plays an important role in generating new species of flowering plants. However, reproductive incompatibilities between newly formed tetraploid plants and their diploid progenitors are expected to create a significant barrier to the persistence and establishment of neopolyploid populations. Ecological differentiation can reduce this barrier via prezygotic isolation arising from spatial separation. Alternatively, superior viability or fecundity of neotetraploid plants might compensate for the reproductive cost of incompatible pollen from diploid neighbors. The performance of plants of both cytotypes can be assessed in their respective habitats through reciprocal transplants, although such experiments have not been used previously in the study of tetraploid speciation. We used a series of seed and seedling transplant experiments to assess ecological differentiation and competitive ability during early establishment phases for tetraploid and diploid forms of the snow buttercup (Ranunculus adoneus). At two sites, seeds from diploids and tetraploids had similar germination probabilities. Tetraploid snow buttercup seedlings had a significant growth advantage in a controlled environment chamber experiment. However, in the field diploid and tetraploid buttercup seedlings did not differ consistently in survival or growth, nor did the two cytotypes show reciprocal advantages in performance, as expected if ecological differentiation has occurred. At the seed and seedling stages, neither niche differentiation nor tetraploid competitive superiority appears sufficient to explain neotetraploid success in the presence of their diploid progenitors.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. Age-associated changes in the ecological niche: implications for mesenchymal stem cell aging.

    PubMed

    Asumda, Faizal Z

    2013-05-14

    Adult stem cells are critical for organ-specific regeneration and self-renewal with advancing age. The prospect of being able to reverse tissue-specific post-injury sequelae by harvesting, culturing and transplanting a patient's own stem and progenitor cells is exciting. Mesenchymal stem cells have emerged as a reliable stem cell source for this treatment modality and are currently being tested in numerous ongoing clinical trials. Unfortunately, the fervor over mesenchymal stem cells is mitigated by several lines of evidence suggesting that their efficacy is limited by natural aging. This article discusses the mechanisms and manifestations of age-associated deficiencies in mesenchymal stem cell efficacy. A consideration of recent experimental findings suggests that the ecological niche might be responsible for mesenchymal stem cell aging.

  18. Age-associated changes in the ecological niche: implications for mesenchymal stem cell aging

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Adult stem cells are critical for organ-specific regeneration and self-renewal with advancing age. The prospect of being able to reverse tissue-specific post-injury sequelae by harvesting, culturing and transplanting a patient’s own stem and progenitor cells is exciting. Mesenchymal stem cells have emerged as a reliable stem cell source for this treatment modality and are currently being tested in numerous ongoing clinical trials. Unfortunately, the fervor over mesenchymal stem cells is mitigated by several lines of evidence suggesting that their efficacy is limited by natural aging. This article discusses the mechanisms and manifestations of age-associated deficiencies in mesenchymal stem cell efficacy. A consideration of recent experimental findings suggests that the ecological niche might be responsible for mesenchymal stem cell aging. PMID:23673056

  19. Mechanistic species distribution modeling reveals a niche shift during invasion.

    PubMed

    Chapman, Daniel S; Scalone, Romain; Štefanić, Edita; Bullock, James M

    2017-04-02

    Niche shifts of non-native plants can occur when they colonize novel climatic conditions. However, the mechanistic basis for niche shifts during invasion is poorly understood and has rarely been captured within species distribution models. We quantified the consequence of between-population variation in phenology for invasion of common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.) across Europe. Ragweed is of serious concern because of its harmful effects as a crop weed and because of its impact on public health as a major aeroallergen. We developed a forward mechanistic species distribution model based on responses of ragweed development rates to temperature and photoperiod. The model was parameterized and validated from the literature and by re-analyzing data from a reciprocal common garden experiment in which native and invasive populations were grown within and beyond the current invaded range. It could therefore accommodate between-population variation in the physiological requirements for flowering, and predict the potentially-invaded ranges of individual populations. Northern-origin populations that were established outside the generally-accepted climate envelope of the species had lower thermal requirements for bud development, suggesting local adaptation of phenology had occurred during the invasion. The model predicts that this will extend the potentially-invaded range northwards and increase the average suitability across Europe by 90% in the current climate and 20% in the future climate. Therefore, trait variation observed at the population scale can trigger a climatic niche shift at the biogeographic scale. For ragweed, earlier flowering phenology in established northern populations could allow the species to spread beyond its current invasive range, substantially increasing its risk to agriculture and public health. Mechanistic species distribution models offer the possibility to represent niche shifts by varying the traits and niche responses of individual

  20. On the dangers of model complexity without ecological justification in species distribution modeling

    Treesearch

    David M. Bell; Daniel R. Schlaepfer

    2016-01-01

    Although biogeographic patterns are the product of complex ecological processes, the increasing com-plexity of correlative species distribution models (SDMs) is not always motivated by ecological theory,but by model fit. The validity of model projections, such as shifts in a species’ climatic niche, becomesquestionable particularly during extrapolations, such as for...

  1. Bacteriophage PhiX174's Ecological Niche and the Flexibility of Its Escherichia coli Lipopolysaccharide Receptor▿

    PubMed Central

    Michel, Alix; Clermont, Olivier; Denamur, Erick; Tenaillon, Olivier

    2010-01-01

    To determine bacteriophage PhiX174's ecological niche, 783 Escherichia coli isolates were screened for susceptibility. Sensitive strains are diverse regarding their phylogenies and core lipopolysaccharides (LPS), but all have rough phenotypes. Further analysis of E. coli K-12 LPS mutants revealed that PhiX174 can use a wide diversity of LPS structures to initiate its infectious process. PMID:20833781

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    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

  3. 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. © 2016 The Author(s).

  4. Competition models with niche for squirrel population dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    De Rossi, Alessandra; Ferrua, Ilaria; Perracchione, Emma; Ruatta, Giulia; Venturino, Ezio

    2013-10-01

    In this paper we investigate squirrel competition models. More precisely, at first we consider a competition model between red native and grey exotic squirrels, then a model with competition among red native, red indigenous and grey exotic squirrels. We assume that a part of red squirrels can hide in a niche. By adding this hypothesis, we analize if, independently from initial conditions, the grey exotic squirrel population could be prevented from invading the ecosystem and displacing the native populations.

  5. [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.

  6. Growth of Coccolithophores Controlled by Internal Nutrient Stores in Light- and Nutrient-Limited Batch Reactors: Relevance for the BIOSOPE Deep Ecological Niche of Coccolithophores.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Laura, P.; Probert, I.; Langer, G.; Aloisi, G.

    2016-02-01

    Coccolithophores are unicellular, calcifying marine algae that play a fundamental role in the oceanic carbon cycle. Recent research has focused on investigating the effect of ocean acidification on cellular calcification. However, the success of this important phytoplankton group in the future ocean will depend on how cellular growth reacts to changes in a combination of environmental variables. We carried out batch culture experiments in conditions of light- and nutrient- (nitrate and phosphate) limitation that reproduce the in situ conditions of a deep ecological niche of coccolithophores in the South Pacific Gyre (BIOSOPE cruise, 2004). We modelled nutrient acquisition and cellular growth in our batch experiments using a Droop internal-stores model. We show that nutrient acquisition and growth are decoupled in coccolithophores; this ability may be key in making life possible in oligotrophic conditions such as the deep BIOSOPE biological niche. Combining the results of our culture experiments with those of Langer et al. (2013), we used the model to obtain estimates of fundamental physiological parameters such as the Monod constant for nutrient uptake, the maximum growth rate and the minimum cellular nutrient quota. These parameters are characteristic of different phytoplankton groups and are needed to simulate phytoplankton growth in biogeochemical models. Our results suggest that growth of coccolithophores in the BIOSOPE deep ecological niche is light-limited rather than nutrient-limited. Our work also shows that simple batch experiments and straightforward numerical modelling are capable of providing estimates of physiological parameters usually obtained in more costly and complicated chemostat experiments.

  7. Combining niche and dispersal in a simple model (NDM) of species distribution.

    PubMed

    Génard, Michel; Lescourret, Françoise

    2013-01-01

    Predicting the distribution of species has become a crucial issue in biodiversity research. Two kinds of model address this question: niche models, which are usually based on static approaches linking species distribution to habitat characteristics, and dispersal models, which are usually dynamic and process-based. We propose a model (NDM: niche and dispersal model) that considers the local presence of a species to result from a dynamic balance between extinction (based on the niche concept) and immigration (based on the dispersal concept), at a given moment in time, in a spatially explicit context. We show that NDM correctly predicts observed bird species and community distributions at different scales. NDM helps to reconcile the contrasting paradigms of metacommunity theory. It shows that sorting and mass effects are the factors determining bird species distribution. One of the most interesting features of NDM is its ability to predict well known properties of communities, such as decreasing species richness with decreasing patch size and increasing distance to the mainland, and the mid-domain effect at the regional scale, contrasting with predictions of much smaller effects at the local scale. NDM shows that habitat destruction in the matrix around patches of forest can affect the forest bird community, principally by decreasing the occurrence of typical matrix birds within the forest. This model could be used as the starting point for applied ecological studies on the management of species and community distributions.

  8. The inverse niche model for food webs with parasites.

    PubMed

    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.

  9. 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.

  10. The Genotypic Structure of a Multi-Host Bumblebee Parasite Suggests a Role for Ecological Niche Overlap

    PubMed Central

    Salathé, Rahel M.; Schmid-Hempel, Paul

    2011-01-01

    The genotypic structure of parasite populations is an important determinant of ecological and evolutionary dynamics of host-parasite interactions with consequences for pest management and disease control. Genotypic structure is especially interesting where multiple hosts co-exist and share parasites. We here analyze the natural genotypic distribution of Crithidia bombi, a trypanosomatid parasite of bumblebees (Bombus spp.), in two ecologically different habitats over a time period of three years. Using an algorithm to reconstruct genotypes in cases of multiple infections, and combining these with directly identified genotypes from single infections, we find a striking diversity of infection for both data sets, with almost all multi-locus genotypes being unique, and are inferring that around half of the total infections are resulting from multiple strains. Our analyses further suggest a mixture of clonality and sexuality in natural populations of this parasite species. Finally, we ask whether parasite genotypes are associated with host species (the phylogenetic hypothesis) or whether ecological factors (niche overlap in flower choice) shape the distribution of parasite genotypes (the ecological hypothesis). Redundancy analysis demonstrates that in the region with relatively high parasite prevalence, both host species identity and niche overlap are equally important factors shaping the distribution of parasite strains, whereas in the region with lower parasite prevalence, niche overlap more strongly contributes to the distribution observed. Overall, our study underlines the importance of ecological factors in shaping the natural dynamics of host-parasite systems. PMID:21853023

  11. Effects of simulated acid rain on soil fauna community composition and their ecological niches.

    PubMed

    Wei, Hui; Liu, Wen; Zhang, Jiaen; Qin, Zhong

    2017-01-01

    Acid rain is one of the severest environmental issues globally. Relative to other global changes (e.g., warming, elevated atmospheric [CO2], and nitrogen deposition), however, acid rain has received less attention than its due. Soil fauna play important roles in multiple ecological processes, but how soil fauna community responds to acid rain remains less studied. This microcosm experiment was conducted using latosol with simulated acid rain (SAR) manipulations to observe potential changes in soil fauna community under acid rain stress. Four pH levels, i.e., pH 2.5, 3.5, 4.5, and 5.5, and a neutral control of pH 7.0 were set according to the current pH condition and acidification trend of precipitation in southern China. As expected, we observed that the SAR treatments induced changes in soil fauna community composition and their ecological niches in the tested soil; the treatment effects tended to increase as acidity increased. This could be attributable to the environmental stresses (such as acidity, porosity and oxygen supply) induced by the SAR treatments. In addition to direct acidity effect, we propose that potential changes in permeability and movability of water and oxygen in soils induced by acid rain could also give rise to the observed shifts in soil fauna community composition. These are most likely indirect pathways of acid rain to affect belowground community. Moreover, we found that nematodes, the dominating soil fauna group in this study, moved downwards to mitigate the stress of acid rain. This is probably detrimental to soil fauna in the long term, due to the relatively severer soil conditions in the deep than surface soil layer. Our results suggest that acid rain could change soil fauna community and the vertical distribution of soil fauna groups, consequently changing the underground ecosystem functions such as organic matter decomposition and greenhouse gas emissions. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  12. Towards Defining the Ecological Niches of Novel Coastal Gulf of Mexico Bacterial Isolates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Henson, M. W.; Thrash, C.; Nall, E.

    2016-02-01

    The study of microbial contributions to biogeochemistry is critical to understanding the cycles of fundamental compounds and gain predictive capabilities in a changing environment. Such study requires observation of microbial communities and genetics in nature, coupled with experimental testing of hypotheses both in situ and in laboratory settings. This study combines dilution-to-extinction based high-throughput culturing (HTC) with cultivation-independent and geochemical measurements to define potential ecological niches of novel bacterial isolates from the coastal northern Gulf of Mexico (cnGOM). Here we report findings from the first of a three-year project. In total, 43 cultures from seven HTC experiments were capable of being repeatedly transferred. Sanger sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene identified these isolates as belonging to the phyla Gammaproteobacteria, Alphaproteobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Betaproteobacteria. Eight are being genome sequenced, with two selected for further physiological characterization due to their phylogenic novelty and potential ecological significance. Strain LSUCC101 likely represents a novel family of Gammaproteobacteria (best blast hit to a cultured representative showed 91% sequence identity) and strain LSUCC96 belongs to the OM252 clade, with the Hawaiian isolate HIMB30 as its closest relative. Both are small (0.3-0.5 µm) cocci. The environmental importance of both LSUCC101 and LSUCC96 was illustrated by their presence within the top 30 OTU0.03 of cnGOM 16S rRNA gene datasets as well as within clone libraries from coastal regions around the world. Ongoing work is determining growth efficiencies, substrate utilization profiles, and metabolic potential to elucidate the roles of these organisms in the cnGOM. Comparative genomics will examine the evolutionary divergence of these organisms from their closest neighbors, and metagenomic recruitment to genomes will help identify strain-based variation from different coastal regions.

  13. Linking niche theory to ecological impacts of successful invaders: insights from resource fluctuation-specialist herbivore interactions.

    PubMed

    Gidoin, Cindy; Roques, Lionel; Boivin, Thomas

    2015-03-01

    Theories of species coexistence and invasion ecology are fundamentally connected and provide a common theoretical framework for studying the mechanisms underlying successful invasions and their ecological impacts. Temporal fluctuations in resource availability and differences in life-history traits between invasive and resident species are considered as likely drivers of the dynamics of invaded communities. Current critical issues in invasion ecology thus relate to the extent to which such mechanisms influence coexistence between invasive and resident species and to the ability of resident species to persist in an invasive-dominated ecosystem. We tested how a fluctuating resource, and species trait differences may explain and help predict long-term impacts of biological invasions in forest specialist insect communities. We used a simple invasion system comprising closely related invasive and resident seed-specialized wasps (Hymenoptera: Torymidae) competing for a well-known fluctuating resource and displaying divergent diapause, reproductive and phenological traits. Based on extensive long-term field observations (1977-2010), we developed a combination of mechanistic and statistical models aiming to (i) obtain a realistic description of the population dynamics of these interacting species over time, and (ii) clarify the respective contributions of fluctuation-dependent and fluctuation-independent mechanisms to long-term impact of invasion on the population dynamics of the resident wasp species. We showed that a fluctuation-dependent mechanism was unable to promote coexistence of the resident and invasive species. Earlier phenology of the invasive species was the main driver of invasion success, enabling the invader to exploit an empty niche. Phenology also had the greatest power to explain the long-term negative impact of the invasive on the resident species, through resource pre-emption. This study provides strong support for the critical role of species

  14. [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.

  15. 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

  16. Evolution of the chitin synthase gene family correlates with fungal morphogenesis and adaption to ecological niches

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Ran; Xu, Chuan; Zhang, Qiangqiang; Wang, Shiyi; Fang, Weiguo

    2017-01-01

    The fungal kingdom potentially has the most complex chitin synthase (CHS) gene family, but evolution of the fungal CHS gene family and its diversification to fulfill multiple functions remain to be elucidated. Here, we identified the full complement of CHSs from 231 fungal species. Using the largest dataset to date, we characterized the evolution of the fungal CHS gene family using phylogenetic and domain structure analysis. Gene duplication, domain recombination and accretion are major mechanisms underlying the diversification of the fungal CHS gene family, producing at least 7 CHS classes. Contraction of the CHS gene family is morphology-specific, with significant loss in unicellular fungi, whereas family expansion is lineage-specific with obvious expansion in early-diverging fungi. ClassV and ClassVII CHSs with the same domain structure were produced by the recruitment of domains PF00063 and PF08766 and subsequent duplications. Comparative analysis of their functions in multiple fungal species shows that the emergence of ClassV and ClassVII CHSs is important for the morphogenesis of filamentous fungi, development of pathogenicity in pathogenic fungi, and heat stress tolerance in Pezizomycotina fungi. This work reveals the evolution of the fungal CHS gene family, and its correlation with fungal morphogenesis and adaptation to ecological niches. PMID:28300148

  17. 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. © 2015 Blackwell

  18. 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.

  19. Growth of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi in light- and nutrient-limited batch reactors: relevance for the BIOSOPE deep ecological niche of coccolithophores

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Perrin, Laura; Probert, Ian; Langer, Gerald; Aloisi, Giovanni

    2016-11-01

    Coccolithophores are unicellular calcifying marine algae that play an important role in the oceanic carbon cycle via their cellular processes of photosynthesis (a CO2 sink) and calcification (a CO2 source). In contrast to the well-studied, surface-water coccolithophore blooms visible from satellites, the lower photic zone is a poorly known but potentially important ecological niche for coccolithophores in terms of primary production and carbon export to the deep ocean. In this study, the physiological responses of an Emiliania huxleyi strain to conditions simulating the deep niche in the oligotrophic gyres along the BIOSOPE transect in the South Pacific Gyre were investigated. We carried out batch culture experiments with an E. huxleyi strain isolated from the BIOSOPE transect, reproducing the in situ conditions of light and nutrient (nitrate and phosphate) limitation. By simulating coccolithophore growth using an internal stores (Droop) model, we were able to constrain fundamental physiological parameters for this E. huxleyi strain. We show that simple batch experiments, in conjunction with physiological modelling, can provide reliable estimates of fundamental physiological parameters for E. huxleyi that are usually obtained experimentally in more time-consuming and costly chemostat experiments. The combination of culture experiments, physiological modelling and in situ data from the BIOSOPE cruise show that E. huxleyi growth in the deep BIOSOPE niche is limited by availability of light and nitrate. This study contributes more widely to the understanding of E. huxleyi physiology and behaviour in a low-light and oligotrophic environment of the ocean.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. Metabolism and ecological niche of Tetrasphaera and Ca. Accumulibacter in enhanced biological phosphorus removal.

    PubMed

    Marques, Ricardo; Santos, Jorge; Nguyen, Hien; Carvalho, Gilda; Noronha, J P; Nielsen, Per Halkjær; Reis, Maria A M; Oehmen, Adrian

    2017-10-01

    Tetrasphaera and Candidatus Accumulibacter are two abundant polyphosphate accumulating organisms in full-scale enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) systems. However, little is known about the metabolic behaviour and ecological niche that each organism exhibits in mixed communities. In this study, an enriched culture of Tetrasphaera and Ca. Accumulibacter was obtained using casein hydrolysate as sole carbon source. This culture was able to achieve a high phosphorus removal efficiency (>99%), storing polyphosphate while consuming amino acids anaerobically. Microautoradiography and fluorescence in situ hybridisation confirmed that more than 90% Tetrasphaera cells were responsible for amino acid consumption while Ca. Accumulibacter likely survived on fermentation products. Tetrasphaera performed the majority of the P removal (approximately 80%) in this culture, and batch tests showed that the metabolism of some carbon sources could actually lead to anaerobic orthophosphate (Pi) uptake (9.0 ± 2.1 mg-P/L) through energy generated by fermentation of glucose and amino acids. This anaerobic Pi uptake may lead to lower net Pi release to C uptake ratios and reduce the Pi needed to be removed aerobically in WWTPs. Intracellular metabolites such as amino acids, sugars, volatile fatty acids and small amines were observed as potential storage products, which may serve as energy sources in the aerobic phase. Evidence of the urea cycle was found, which could be involved in reducing the intracellular nitrogen content. This study improves our understanding of how phosphorus is removed in EBPR systems and can enable novel process optimisation strategies. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Nitrite oxidation kinetics of two Nitrospira strains: The quest for competition and ecological niche differentiation.

    PubMed

    Ushiki, Norisuke; Jinno, Masaru; Fujitani, Hirotsugu; Suenaga, Toshikazu; Terada, Akihiko; Tsuneda, Satoshi

    2017-05-01

    Nitrite oxidation is an aerobic process of the nitrogen cycle in natural ecosystems, and is performed by nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB). Also, nitrite oxidation is a rate-limiting step of nitrogen removal in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). Although Nitrospira is known as dominant NOB in WWTPs, information on their physiological properties and kinetic parameters is limited. Here, we report the kinetic parameters and inhibition of nitrite oxidation by free ammonia in pure cultures of Nitrospira sp. strain ND1 and Nitrospira japonica strain NJ1, which were previously isolated from activated sludge in a WWTP. The maximum nitrite uptake rate ( [Formula: see text] ) and the half-saturation constant for nitrite uptake ( [Formula: see text] ) of strains ND1 and NJ1 were 45 ± 7 and 31 ± 5 (μmol NO2(-)/mg protein/h), and 6 ± 1 and 10 ± 2 (μM NO2(-)), respectively. The [Formula: see text] and [Formula: see text] of two strains indicated that they adapt to low-nitrite-concentration environments like activated sludge. The half-saturation constants for oxygen uptake ( [Formula: see text] ) of the two strains were 4.0±2.5 and 2.6±1.1 (μM O2), respectively. The [Formula: see text] values of the two strains were lower than those of other NOB, suggesting that Nitrospira in activated sludge could oxidize nitrite in the hypoxic environments often found in the interiors of biofilms and flocs. The inhibition thresholds of the two strains by free ammonia were 0.85 and 4.3 (mg-NH3 l(-1)), respectively. Comparing the physiological properties of the two strains, we suggest that tolerance for free ammonia determines competition and partitioning into ecological niches among Nitrospira populations. Copyright © 2017 The Society for Biotechnology, Japan. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  4. Temporal and spatial differentiation in microhabitat use: Implications for reproductive isolation and ecological niche specification.

    PubMed

    Borzée, Amaël; Kim, Jun Young; DA Cunha, Marina Andrade Martins; Lee, Donggeun; Sin, Eunchong; Oh, Sunmin; Yi, Yoonjung; Jang, Yikweon

    2016-09-01

    Niche differentiation enables ecologically similar species to coexist by lessening competition over food and/or shelters and may be critical for reproductive isolation between closely related species in close proximity. Because no extra traits need to evolve, spatial and temporal differentiation may readily take place to complement other isolating mechanisms. Two closely related treefrog species occur together in Korea: the endangered Hyla suweonensis and the widespread Hyla japonica. Advertisement calls are differentiated, but it is unclear whether call difference is sufficient for reproductive isolation. We tracked individuals of both species to study fine-scale differentiation in microhabitat use in the diel cycle of the breeding season using a harmonic direction finder. tracking male movement patterns of both species revealed spatial and temporal differentiation in microhabitat use for calling and resting during the breeding season. Males of both H. suweonensis and H. japonica occurred in all 5 microhabitats identified in this study: rice paddy, ground, buried, grass and bush. Both treefrog species showed general similarities in calling from rice paddies and resting in grass and bush. However, H. suweonensis moved into rice paddies and produced advertisement calls 3 h earlier than H. japonica. These differences likely minimize contact between the species and provide an additional isolating mechanism. In addition, the activity of H. suweonensis may be contributing to the decline of this species, as resting in grass would increase dangers from predatory birds and habitat disturbance. © 2016 International Society of Zoological Sciences, Institute of Zoology/Chinese Academy of Sciences and John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.

  5. Novel trophic niches drive variable progress towards ecological speciation within an adaptive radiation of pupfishes.

    PubMed

    Martin, Christopher H; Feinstein, Laura C

    2014-04-01

    Adaptive radiation is recognized by a rapid burst of phenotypic, ecological and species diversification. However, it is unknown whether different species within an adaptive radiation evolve reproductive isolation at different rates. We compared patterns of genetic differentiation between nascent species within an adaptive radiation of Cyprinodon pupfishes using genotyping by sequencing. Similar to classic adaptive radiations, this clade exhibits rapid morphological diversification rates and two species are novel trophic specialists, a scale-eater and hard-shelled prey specialist (durophage), yet the radiation is <10 000 years old. Both specialists and an abundant generalist species all coexist in the benthic zone of lakes on San Salvador Island, Bahamas. Based on 13 912 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), we found consistent differences in genetic differentiation between each specialist species and the generalist across seven lakes. The scale-eater showed the greatest genetic differentiation and clustered by species across lakes, whereas durophage populations often clustered with sympatric generalist populations, consistent with parallel speciation across lakes. However, we found strong evidence of admixture between durophage populations in different lakes, supporting a single origin of this species and genome-wide introgression with sympatric generalist populations. We conclude that the scale-eater is further along the speciation-with-gene-flow continuum than the durophage and suggest that different adaptive landscapes underlying these two niche environments drive variable progress towards speciation within the same habitat. Our previous measurements of fitness surfaces in these lakes support this conclusion: the scale-eating fitness peak may be more distant than the durophage peak on the complex adaptive landscape driving adaptive radiation. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  6. Origins of house mice in ecological niches created by settled hunter-gatherers in the Levant 15,000 y ago.

    PubMed

    Weissbrod, Lior; Marshall, Fiona B; Valla, François R; Khalaily, Hamoudi; Bar-Oz, Guy; Auffray, Jean-Christophe; Vigne, Jean-Denis; Cucchi, Thomas

    2017-04-18

    Reductions in hunter-gatherer mobility during the Late Pleistocene influenced settlement ecologies, altered human relations with animal communities, and played a pivotal role in domestication. The influence of variability in human mobility on selection dynamics and ecological interactions in human settlements has not been extensively explored, however. This study of mice in modern African villages and changing mice molar shapes in a 200,000-y-long sequence from the Levant demonstrates competitive advantages for commensal mice in long-term settlements. Mice from African pastoral households provide a referential model for habitat partitioning among mice taxa in settlements of varying durations. The data reveal the earliest known commensal niche for house mice in long-term forager settlements 15,000 y ago. Competitive dynamics and the presence and abundance of mice continued to fluctuate with human mobility through the terminal Pleistocene. At the Natufian site of Ain Mallaha, house mice displaced less commensal wild mice during periods of heavy occupational pressure but were outcompeted when mobility increased. Changing food webs and ecological dynamics in long-term settlements allowed house mice to establish durable commensal populations that expanded with human societies. This study demonstrates the changing magnitude of cultural niche construction with varying human mobility and the extent of environmental influence before the advent of farming.

  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 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

  9. 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.

  10. An ecological planning model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Riet, W. F.; Cooks, J.

    1990-05-01

    In this article a model is proposed that could be used as a basis for ecological planning of natural resources. The role of people as part of the ecosystem is emphasized, and the various factors that should be considered in such planning are discussed. An understanding of ecological planning is dependent on the study of human activities in, and the nature of, natural ecosystems. It also depends on the fact that people are a part of nature, and as a result nature is of value to humans. Realizing the importance of this principle is a prerequisite to studying nature and also for an understanding of the various steps in the ecological planning approach. Realization of these values is often through a series of activities that may result in a negative environmental impact. Nature is described as an interacting group of natural features and processes. In this study both the features and processes are described as natural resources. The use of these natural resources obviously affects them, and if this use is to continue over a long period, both the activity and the resource must be understood if they are to be maintained in a productive state. In order to limit impact and maintain value, a planning aid called zoning is used to assist in the understanding of the processes involved.

  11. Signal Correlations in Ecological Niches Can Shape the Organization and Evolution of Bacterial Gene Regulatory Networks

    PubMed Central

    Dufour, Yann S.; Donohue, Timothy J.

    2015-01-01

    Transcriptional regulation plays a significant role in the biological response of bacteria to changing environmental conditions. Therefore, mapping transcriptional regulatory networks is an important step not only in understanding how bacteria sense and interpret their environment but also to identify the functions involved in biological responses to specific conditions. Recent experimental and computational developments have facilitated the characterization of regulatory networks on a genome-wide scale in model organisms. In addition, the multiplication of complete genome sequences has encouraged comparative analyses to detect conserved regulatory elements and infer regulatory networks in other less well-studied organisms. However, transcription regulation appears to evolve rapidly, thus, creating challenges for the transfer of knowledge to nonmodel organisms. Nevertheless, the mechanisms and constraints driving the evolution of regulatory networks have been the subjects of numerous analyses, and several models have been proposed. Overall, the contributions of mutations, recombination, and horizontal gene transfer are complex. Finally, the rapid evolution of regulatory networks plays a significant role in the remarkable capacity of bacteria to adapt to new or changing environments. Conversely, the characteristics of environmental niches determine the selective pressures and can shape the structure of regulatory network accordingly. PMID:23046950

  12. Leapfrogging into new territory: How Mascarene ridged frogs diversified across Africa and Madagascar to maintain their ecological niche.

    PubMed

    Zimkus, Breda M; Lawson, Lucinda P; Barej, Michael F; Barratt, Christopher D; Channing, Alan; Dash, Katrina M; Dehling, J Maximilian; Du Preez, Louis; Gehring, Philip-Sebastian; Greenbaum, Eli; Gvoždík, Václav; Harvey, James; Kielgast, Jos; Kusamba, Chifundera; Nagy, Zoltán T; Pabijan, Maciej; Penner, Johannes; Rödel, Mark-Oliver; Vences, Miguel; Lötters, Stefan

    2017-01-01

    The Mascarene ridged frog, Ptychadena mascareniensis, is a species complex that includes numerous lineages occurring mostly in humid savannas and open forests of mainland Africa, Madagascar, the Seychelles, and the Mascarene Islands. Sampling across this broad distribution presents an opportunity to examine the genetic differentiation within this complex and to investigate how the evolution of bioclimatic niches may have shaped current biogeographic patterns. Using model-based phylogenetic methods and molecular-clock dating, we constructed a time-calibrated molecular phylogenetic hypothesis for the group based on mitochondrial 16S rRNA and cytochrome b (cytb) genes and the nuclear RAG1 gene from 173 individuals. Haplotype networks were reconstructed and species boundaries were investigated using three species-delimitation approaches: Bayesian generalized mixed Yule-coalescent model (bGMYC), the Poisson Tree Process model (PTP) and a cluster algorithm (SpeciesIdentifier). Estimates of similarity in bioclimatic niche were calculated from species-distribution models (maxent) and multivariate statistics (Principal Component Analysis, Discriminant Function Analysis). Ancestral-area reconstructions were performed on the phylogeny using probabilistic approaches implemented in BioGeoBEARS. We detected high levels of genetic differentiation yielding ten distinct lineages or operational taxonomic units, and Central Africa was found to be a diversity hotspot for these frogs. Most speciation events took place throughout the Miocene, including "out-of-Africa" overseas dispersal events to Madagascar in the East and to São Tomé in the West. Bioclimatic niche was remarkably well conserved, with most species tolerating similar temperature and rainfall conditions common to the Central African region. The P. mascareniensis complex provides insights into how bioclimatic niche shaped the current biogeographic patterns with niche conservatism being exhibited by the Central African

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

    PubMed Central

    Creanza, Nicole; Feldman, Marcus W.

    2014-01-01

    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. PMID:25024189

  14. Global thermal niche models of two European grasses show high invasion risks in Antarctica.

    PubMed

    Pertierra, Luis R; Aragón, Pedro; Shaw, Justine D; Bergstrom, Dana M; Terauds, Aleks; Olalla-Tárraga, Miguel Ángel

    2017-07-01

    The two non-native grasses that have established long-term populations in Antarctica (Poa pratensis and Poa annua) were studied from a global multidimensional thermal niche perspective to address the biological invasion risk to Antarctica. These two species exhibit contrasting introduction histories and reproductive strategies and represent two referential case studies of biological invasion processes. We used a multistep process with a range of species distribution modelling techniques (ecological niche factor analysis, multidimensional envelopes, distance/entropy algorithms) together with a suite of thermoclimatic variables, to characterize the potential ranges of these species. Their native bioclimatic thermal envelopes in Eurasia, together with the different naturalized populations across continents, were compared next. The potential niche of P. pratensis was wider at the cold extremes; however, P. annua life history attributes enable it to be a more successful colonizer. We observe that particularly cold summers are a key aspect of the unique Antarctic environment. In consequence, ruderals such as P. annua can quickly expand under such harsh conditions, whereas the more stress-tolerant P. pratensis endures and persist through steady growth. Compiled data on human pressure at the Antarctic Peninsula allowed us to provide site-specific biosecurity risk indicators. We conclude that several areas across the region are vulnerable to invasions from these and other similar species. This can only be visualized in species distribution models (SDMs) when accounting for founder populations that reveal nonanalogous conditions. Results reinforce the need for strict management practices to minimize introductions. Furthermore, our novel set of temperature-based bioclimatic GIS layers for ice-free terrestrial Antarctica provide a mechanism for regional and global species distribution models to be built for other potentially invasive species. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  15. [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.

  16. Hydrological-niche models predict water plant functional group distributions in diverse wetland types.

    PubMed

    Deane, David C; Nicol, Jason M; Gehrig, Susan L; Harding, Claire; Aldridge, Kane T; Goodman, Abigail M; Brookes, Justin D

    2017-03-06

    Human use of water resources threatens environmental water supplies. If resource managers are to develop policies that avoid unacceptable ecological impacts, some means to predict ecosystem response to changes in water availability is necessary. This is difficult to achieve at spatial-scales relevant for water resource management because of the high natural variability in ecosystem hydrology and ecology. Water plant functional groups classify species with similar hydrological niche preferences together, allowing a qualitative means to generalise community responses to changes in hydrology. We tested the potential for functional groups in making quantitative prediction of water-plant-functional-group distributions across diverse wetland types over a large geographical extent. We sampled wetlands covering a broad range of hydrogeomorphic and salinity conditions in South Australia, collecting both hydrological and floristic data from 697 quadrats across 28 wetland hydrological gradients. We built hydrological-niche models for eight water plant functional groups using a range of candidate models combining different surface inundation metrics. We then tested the predictive performance of top-ranked individual and averaged models for each functional group. Cross validation showed models achieved acceptable predictive performance, with correct classification rates in the range 0.68 - 0.95. Model predictions can be made at any spatial scale that hydrological data are available and could be implemented in a geographical information system. We show the response of water plant functional groups to inundation is consistent enough across diverse wetland types to quantify the probability of hydrological impacts over regional spatial scales. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

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

    PubMed Central

    Kirkpatrick, C. James

    2015-01-01

    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

  20. Visualization of adult stem cells within their niches using the Drosophila germline as a model system.

    PubMed

    König, Annekatrin; Shcherbata, Halyna R

    2013-01-01

    The germaria of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster present an excellent model to study germline stem cell-niche interactions. Two to three adult stem cells are surrounded by a number of somatic cells that form the niche. Here we describe how Drosophilae germaria can be dissected and specifically immuno-stained to allow for identification and analysis of both the adult stem cells and their somatic niche cells.

  1. Ecological Niche of the 2003 West Nile Virus Epidemic in the Northern Great Plains of the United States

    PubMed Central

    Wimberly, Michael C.; Hildreth, Michael B.; Boyte, Stephen P.; Lindquist, Erik; Kightlinger, Lon

    2008-01-01

    Background The incidence of West Nile virus (WNv) has remained high in the northern Great Plains compared to the rest of the United States. However, the reasons for the sustained high risk of WNv transmission in this region have not been determined. To assess the environmental drivers of WNv in the northern Great Plains, we analyzed the county-level spatial pattern of human cases during the 2003 epidemic across a seven-state region. Methodology/Principal Findings County-level data on WNv cases were examined using spatial cluster analysis, and were used to fit statistical models with weather, climate, and land use variables as predictors. In 2003 there was a single large cluster of elevated WNv risk encompassing North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska along with portions of eastern Montana and Wyoming. The relative risk of WNv remained high within the boundaries of this cluster from 2004–2007. WNv incidence during the 2003 epidemic was found to have a stronger relationship with long-term climate patterns than with annual weather in either 2002 or 2003. WNv incidence increased with mean May–July temperature and had a unimodal relationship with total May–July precipitation. WNv incidence also increased with the percentage of irrigated cropland and with the percentage of the human population living in rural areas. Conclusions/Significance The spatial pattern of WNv cases during the 2003 epidemic in the northern Great Plains was associated with both climatic gradients and land use patterns. These results were interpreted as evidence that environmental conditions across much of the northern Great Plains create a favorable ecological niche for Culex tarsalis, a particularly efficient vector of WNv. Further research is needed to determine the proximal causes of sustained WNv transmission and to enhance strategies for disease prevention. PMID:19057643

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. Potential for spread of the white-nose fungus (Pseudogymnoascus destructans) in the Americas: use of Maxent and NicheA to assure strict model transference.

    PubMed

    Escobar, Luis E; Lira-Noriega, Andrés; Medina-Vogel, Gonzalo; Townsend Peterson, A

    2014-11-01

    Emerging infectious diseases can present serious threats to wildlife, even to the point of causing extinction. Whitenose fungus (Pseudogymnoascus destructans) is causing an epizootic in bats that is expanding rapidly, both geographically and taxonomically. Little is known of the ecology and distributional potential of this intercontinental pathogen. We address this gap via ecological niche models that characterise coarse resolution niche differences between fungus populations on different continents, identifying areas potentially vulnerable to infection in South America. Here we explore a novel approach to identifying areas of potential distribution across novel geographic regions that avoids perilious extrapolation into novel environments. European and North American fungus populations show differential use of environmental space, but rather than niche differentiation, we find that changes are best attributed to climatic differences between the two continents. Suitable areas for spread of the pathogen were identified across southern South America; however caution should be taken to avoid underestimating the potential for spread of this pathogen in South America.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-07-13

    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.

  8. 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

  9. A Model for Teaching Ecology.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Coletta, John; Bradley, James

    1981-01-01

    Presents a method which organizes concepts and relates different phenomena to a single model of ecology. Describes how this model is used to explain the overall significance of biological and ecological cycles and its usefulness in helping students to understand the various dangers to and remedies available for an ecosystem. (CS)

  10. A Model for Teaching Ecology.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Coletta, John; Bradley, James

    1981-01-01

    Presents a method which organizes concepts and relates different phenomena to a single model of ecology. Describes how this model is used to explain the overall significance of biological and ecological cycles and its usefulness in helping students to understand the various dangers to and remedies available for an ecosystem. (CS)

  11. 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.

  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. 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.

  14. Modelling Size Structured Food Webs Using a Modified Niche Model with Two Predator Traits

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:25119999

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. Spatio-Temporal Distribution of Vector-Host Contact (VHC) Ratios and Ecological Niche Modeling of the West Nile Virus Mosquito Vector, Culex quinquefasciatus, in the City of New Orleans, LA, USA

    PubMed Central

    Michaels, Sarah R.; Riegel, Claudia; Pereira, Roberto M.; Zipperer, Wayne; Lockaby, B. Graeme; Koehler, Philip G.

    2017-01-01

    The consistent sporadic transmission of West Nile Virus (WNV) in the city of New Orleans justifies the need for distribution risk maps highlighting human risk of mosquito bites. We modeled the influence of biophysical and socioeconomic metrics on the spatio-temporal distributions of presence/vector-host contact (VHC) ratios of WNV vector, Culex quinquefasciatus, within their flight range. Biophysical and socioeconomic data were extracted within 5-km buffer radii around sampling localities of gravid female Culex quinquefasciatus. The spatio-temporal correlations between VHC data and 33 variables, including climate, land use-land cover (LULC), socioeconomic, and land surface terrain were analyzed using stepwise linear regression models (RM). Using MaxEnt, we developed a distribution model using the correlated predicting variables. Only 12 factors showed significant correlations with spatial distribution of VHC ratios (R2 = 81.62, p < 0.01). Non-forested wetland (NFWL), tree density (TD) and residential-urban (RU) settings demonstrated the strongest relationship. The VHC ratios showed monthly environmental resilience in terms of number and type of influential factors. The highest prediction power of RU and other urban and built up land (OUBL), was demonstrated during May–August. This association was positively correlated with the onset of the mosquito WNV infection rate during June. These findings were confirmed by the Jackknife analysis in MaxEnt and independently collected field validation points. The spatial and temporal correlations of VHC ratios and their response to the predicting variables are discussed. PMID:28786934

  18. Spatio-Temporal Distribution of Vector-Host Contact (VHC) Ratios and Ecological Niche Modeling of the West Nile Virus Mosquito Vector, Culex quinquefasciatus, in the City of New Orleans, LA, USA.

    PubMed

    Sallam, Mohamed F; Michaels, Sarah R; Riegel, Claudia; Pereira, Roberto M; Zipperer, Wayne; Lockaby, B Graeme; Koehler, Philip G

    2017-08-08

    The consistent sporadic transmission of West Nile Virus (WNV) in the city of New Orleans justifies the need for distribution risk maps highlighting human risk of mosquito bites. We modeled the influence of biophysical and socioeconomic metrics on the spatio-temporal distributions of presence/vector-host contact (VHC) ratios of WNV vector, Culex quinquefasciatus, within their flight range. Biophysical and socioeconomic data were extracted within 5-km buffer radii around sampling localities of gravid female Culex quinquefasciatus. The spatio-temporal correlations between VHC data and 33 variables, including climate, land use-land cover (LULC), socioeconomic, and land surface terrain were analyzed using stepwise linear regression models (RM). Using MaxEnt, we developed a distribution model using the correlated predicting variables. Only 12 factors showed significant correlations with spatial distribution of VHC ratios (R² = 81.62, p < 0.01). Non-forested wetland (NFWL), tree density (TD) and residential-urban (RU) settings demonstrated the strongest relationship. The VHC ratios showed monthly environmental resilience in terms of number and type of influential factors. The highest prediction power of RU and other urban and built up land (OUBL), was demonstrated during May-August. This association was positively correlated with the onset of the mosquito WNV infection rate during June. These findings were confirmed by the Jackknife analysis in MaxEnt and independently collected field validation points. The spatial and temporal correlations of VHC ratios and their response to the predicting variables are discussed.

  19. 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.

  20. Predicting Ecological Roles in the Rhizosphere using Metabolome and Transportome Modeling

    SciTech Connect

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

    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. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. Molecular, morphological, and ecological niche differentiation of sympatric sister oak species, Quercus virginiana and Q. geminata (Fagaceae).

    PubMed

    Cavender-Bares, Jeannine; Pahlich, Annette

    2009-09-01

    The genus Quercus (the oaks) is notorious for interspecific hybrization, generating questions about the mechanisms that permit coexistence of closely related species. Two sister oak species, Quercus virginiana and Q. geminata, occur in sympatry in Florida and throughout the southeastern United States. In 11 sites from northern and southeastern regions of Florida, we used a leaf-based morphological index to identify individuals to species. Eleven nuclear microsatellite markers significantly differentiated between the species with a high correspondence between molecular and morphological typing of specimens. Nevertheless, Bayesian clustering analysis indicates interspecific gene flow, and six of 109 individuals had mixed ancestry. The identity of several individuals also was mismatched using molecular markers and morphological characters. In a common environment, the two species performed differently in terms of photosynthetic performance and growth, corresponding to their divergent ecological niches with respect to soil moisture and other edaphic properties. Our data support earlier hypotheses that divergence in flowering time causes assortative mating, allowing these ecologically distinct sister species to occur in sympatry. Limited gene flow that permits ecological differentiation helps to explain the overdispersion of oak species in local communities.

  4. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis shows high genetic diversity and ecological niche specificity among haplotypes in the Maya Mountains of Belize.

    PubMed

    Kaiser, Kristine; Pollinger, John

    2012-01-01

    The amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has been implicated in amphibian declines around the globe. Although it has been found in most countries in Central America, its presence has never been assessed in Belize. We set out to determine the range, prevalence, and diversity of Bd using quantitative PCR (qPCR) and sequencing of a portion of the 5.8 s and ITS1-2 regions. Swabs were collected from 524 amphibians of at least 26 species in the protected areas of the Maya Mountains of Belize. We sequenced a subset of 72 samples that had tested positive for Bd by qPCR at least once; 30 samples were verified as Bd. Eight unique Bd haplotypes were identified in the Maya Mountains, five of which were previously undescribed. We identified unique ecological niches for the two most broadly distributed haplotypes. Combined with data showing differing virulence shown in different strains in other studies, the 5.8 s - ITS1-2 region diversity found in this study suggests that there may be substantial differences among populations or haplotypes. Future work should focus on whether specific haplotypes for other genomic regions and possibly pathogenicity can be associated with haplotypes at this locus, as well as the integration of molecular tools with other ecological tools to elucidate the ecology and pathogenicity of Bd.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. To predict the niche, model colonization and extinction

    Treesearch

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

    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...

  8. Niche conservatism and the invasive potential of the wild boar.

    PubMed

    Sales, Lilian Patrícia; Ribeiro, Bruno R; Hayward, Matt Warrington; Paglia, Adriano; Passamani, Marcelo; Loyola, Rafael

    2017-09-01

    Niche conservatism, i.e. the retention of a species' fundamental niche through evolutionary time, is cornerstone for biological invasion assessments. The fact that species tend to maintain their original climate niche allows predictive maps of invasion risk to anticipate potential invadable areas. Unravelling the mechanisms driving niche shifts can shed light on the management of invasive species. Here, we assessed niche shifts in one of the world's worst invasive species: the wild boar Sus scrofa. We also predicted potential invadable areas based on an ensemble of three ecological niche modelling methods, and evaluated the performance of models calibrated with native vs. pooled (native plus invaded) species records. By disentangling the drivers of change on the exotic wild boar population's niches, we found strong evidence for niche conservatism during biological invasion. Ecological niche models calibrated with both native and pooled range records predicted convergent areas. Also, observed niche shifts are mostly explained by niche unfilling, i.e. there are unoccupied areas in the exotic range where climate is analogous to the native range. Niche unfilling is expected as result of recent colonization and ongoing dispersal, and was potentially stronger for the Neotropics, where a recent wave of introductions for pig-farming and game-hunting has led to high wild boar population growth rates. The invasive potential of wild boar in the Neotropics is probably higher than in other regions, which has profound management implications if we are to prevent their invasion into species-rich areas, such as Amazonia, coupled with expansion of African swine fever and possibly great economic losses. Although the originally Eurasian-wide distribution suggests a pre-adaptation to a wide array of climates, the wild boar world-wide invasion does not exhibit evidence of niche evolution. The invasive potential of the wild boar therefore probably lies on the reproductive, dietary and

  9. The geography and ecology of plant speciation: range overlap and niche divergence in sister species

    PubMed Central

    Anacker, Brian L.; Strauss, Sharon Y.

    2014-01-01

    A goal of evolutionary biology is to understand the roles of geography and ecology in speciation. The recent shared ancestry of sister species can leave a major imprint on their geographical and ecological attributes, possibly revealing processes involved in speciation. We examined how ecological similarity, range overlap and range asymmetry are related to time since divergence of 71 sister species pairs in the California Floristic Province (CFP). We found that plants exhibit strikingly different age-range correlation patterns from those found for animals; the latter broadly support allopatric speciation as the primary mode of speciation. By contrast, plant sisters in the CFP were sympatric in 80% of cases and range sizes of sisters differed by a mean of 10-fold. Range overlap and range asymmetry were greatest in younger sisters. These results suggest that speciation mechanisms broadly grouped under ‘budding’ speciation, in which a larger ranged progenitor gives rise to a smaller ranged derivative species, are probably common. The ecological and reproductive similarity of sisters was significantly greater than that of sister–non-sister congeners for every trait assessed. However, shifts in at least one trait were present in 93% of the sister pairs; habitat and soil shifts were especially common. Ecological divergence did not increase with range overlap contrary to expectations under character displacement in sympatry. Our results suggest that vicariant speciation is more ubiquitous in animals than plants, perhaps owing to the sensitivity of plants to fine-scale environmental heterogeneity. Despite high levels of range overlap, ecological shifts in the process of budding speciation may result in low rates of fine-scale spatial co-occurrence. These results have implications for ecological studies of trait evolution and community assembly; despite high levels of sympatry, sister taxa and potentially other close relatives, may be missing from local communities

  10. The geography and ecology of plant speciation: range overlap and niche divergence in sister species.

    PubMed

    Anacker, Brian L; Strauss, Sharon Y

    2014-03-07

    A goal of evolutionary biology is to understand the roles of geography and ecology in speciation. The recent shared ancestry of sister species can leave a major imprint on their geographical and ecological attributes, possibly revealing processes involved in speciation. We examined how ecological similarity, range overlap and range asymmetry are related to time since divergence of 71 sister species pairs in the California Floristic Province (CFP). We found that plants exhibit strikingly different age-range correlation patterns from those found for animals; the latter broadly support allopatric speciation as the primary mode of speciation. By contrast, plant sisters in the CFP were sympatric in 80% of cases and range sizes of sisters differed by a mean of 10-fold. Range overlap and range asymmetry were greatest in younger sisters. These results suggest that speciation mechanisms broadly grouped under 'budding' speciation, in which a larger ranged progenitor gives rise to a smaller ranged derivative species, are probably common. The ecological and reproductive similarity of sisters was significantly greater than that of sister-non-sister congeners for every trait assessed. However, shifts in at least one trait were present in 93% of the sister pairs; habitat and soil shifts were especially common. Ecological divergence did not increase with range overlap contrary to expectations under character displacement in sympatry. Our results suggest that vicariant speciation is more ubiquitous in animals than plants, perhaps owing to the sensitivity of plants to fine-scale environmental heterogeneity. Despite high levels of range overlap, ecological shifts in the process of budding speciation may result in low rates of fine-scale spatial co-occurrence. These results have implications for ecological studies of trait evolution and community assembly; despite high levels of sympatry, sister taxa and potentially other close relatives, may be missing from local communities.

  11. Diverse capacity for 2-methylhopanoid production correlates with a specific ecological niche

    PubMed Central

    Ricci, Jessica N; Coleman, Maureen L; Welander, Paula V; Sessions, Alex L; Summons, Roger E; Spear, John R; Newman, Dianne K

    2014-01-01

    Molecular fossils of 2-methylhopanoids are prominent biomarkers in modern and ancient sediments that have been used as proxies for cyanobacteria and their main metabolism, oxygenic photosynthesis. However, substantial culture and genomic-based evidence now indicates that organisms other than cyanobacteria can make 2-methylhopanoids. Because few data directly address which organisms produce 2-methylhopanoids in the environment, we used metagenomic and clone library methods to determine the environmental diversity of hpnP, the gene encoding the C-2 hopanoid methylase. Here we show that hpnP copies from alphaproteobacteria and as yet uncultured organisms are found in diverse modern environments, including some modern habitats representative of those preserved in the rock record. In contrast, cyanobacterial hpnP genes are rarer and tend to be localized to specific habitats. To move beyond understanding the taxonomic distribution of environmental 2-methylhopanoid producers, we asked whether hpnP presence might track with particular variables. We found hpnP to be significantly correlated with organisms, metabolisms and environments known to support plant–microbe interactions (P-value<10−6); in addition, we observed diverse hpnP types in closely packed microbial communities from other environments, including stromatolites, hot springs and hypersaline microbial mats. The common features of these niches indicate that 2-methylhopanoids are enriched in sessile microbial communities inhabiting environments low in oxygen and fixed nitrogen with high osmolarity. Our results support the earlier conclusion that 2-methylhopanoids are not reliable biomarkers for cyanobacteria or any other taxonomic group, and raise the new hypothesis that, instead, they are indicators of a specific environmental niche. PMID:24152713

  12. Niches and distributional areas: concepts, methods, and assumptions.

    PubMed

    Soberón, Jorge; Nakamura, Miguel

    2009-11-17

    Estimating actual and potential areas of distribution of species via ecological niche modeling has become a very active field of research, yet important conceptual issues in this field remain confused. We argue that conceptual clarity is enhanced by adopting restricted definitions of "niche" that enable operational definitions of basic concepts like fundamental, potential, and realized niches and potential and actual distributional areas. We apply these definitions to the question of niche conservatism, addressing what it is that is conserved and showing with a quantitative example how niche change can be measured. In this example, we display the extremely irregular structure of niche space, arguing that it is an important factor in understanding niche evolution. Many cases of apparently successful models of distributions ignore biotic factors: we suggest explanations to account for this paradox. Finally, relating the probability of observing a species to ecological factors, we address the issue of what objects are actually calculated by different niche modeling algorithms and stress the fact that methods that use only presence data calculate very different quantities than methods that use absence data. We conclude that the results of niche modeling exercises can be interpreted much better if the ecological and mathematical assumptions of the modeling process are made explicit.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. Ecological reality and model validation

    SciTech Connect

    Cale, Jr, W. G.; Shugart, H. H.

    1980-01-01

    Definitions of model realism and model validation are developed. Ecological and mathematical arguments are then presented to show that model equations which explicitly treat ecosystem processes can be systematically improved such that greater realism is attained and the condition of validity is approached. Several examples are presented.

  17. 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.

  18. Genomic evidence for distinct carbon substrate preferences and ecological niches of Bathyarchaeota in estuarine sediments.

    PubMed

    Lazar, Cassandre Sara; Baker, Brett J; Seitz, Kiley; Hyde, Andrew S; Dick, Gregory J; Hinrichs, Kai-Uwe; Teske, Andreas P

    2016-04-01

    Investigations of the biogeochemical roles of benthic Archaea in marine sediments are hampered by the scarcity of cultured representatives. In order to determine their metabolic capacity, we reconstructed the genomic content of four widespread uncultured benthic Archaea recovered from estuary sediments at 48% to 95% completeness. Four genomic bins were found to belong to different subgroups of the former Miscellaneous Crenarcheota Group (MCG) now called Bathyarchaeota: MCG-6, MCG-1, MCG-7/17 and MCG-15. Metabolic predictions based on gene content of the different genome bins indicate that subgroup 6 has the ability to hydrolyse extracellular plant-derived carbohydrates, and that all four subgroups can degrade detrital proteins. Genes encoding enzymes involved in acetate production as well as in the reductive acetyl-CoA pathway were detected in all four genomes inferring that these Archaea are organo-heterotrophic and autotrophic acetogens. Genes involved in nitrite reduction were detected in all Bathyarchaeota subgroups and indicate a potential for dissimilatory nitrite reduction to ammonium. Comparing the genome content of the different Bathyarchaeota subgroups indicated preferences for distinct types of carbohydrate substrates and implicitly, for different niches within the sedimentary environment.

  19. 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.

  20. Climate niche differentiation between two passerines despite ongoing gene flow.

    PubMed

    Shaner, Pei-Jen L; Tsao, Tzu-Hsuan; Lin, Rong-Chien; Liang, Wei; Yeh, Chia-Fen; Yang, Xiao-Jun; Lei, Fu-Min; Zhou, Fang; Yang, Can-Chao; Hung, Le Manh; Hsu, Yu-Cheng; Li, Shou-Hsien

    2015-05-01

    Niche evolution underpins the generation and maintenance of biological diversity, but niche conservatism, in which niches remain little changed over time in closely related taxa, and the role of ecology in niche evolution are continually debated. To test whether climate niches are conserved in two closely related passerines in East Asia - the vinous-throated (Paradoxornis webbianus) and ashy-throated (P. alphonsianus) parrotbills - we established their potential allopatric and sympatric regions using ecological niche models and compared differences in their climate niches using niche overlap indices in background tests and multivariate statistical analyses. We also used polymorphism data on 44 nuclear genes to infer their divergence demography. We found that these two parrotbills occupy different climate niches, in both their allopatric and potential sympatric regions. Because the potential sympatric region is the area predicted to be suitable for both parrotbills based on the ecological niche models, it can serve as a natural common garden. Therefore, their observed niche differences in this potential sympatry were not simply rendered by phenotypic plasticity and probably had a genetic basis. Our genetic analyses revealed that the two parrotbills are not evolutionarily independent for the most recent part of their divergence history. The two parrotbills diverged c. 856,000 years ago and have had substantial gene flow since a presumed secondary contact c. 290,000 years ago. This study provides an empirical case demonstrating that climate niches may not be homogenized in nascent species in spite of substantial, ongoing gene flow, which in turn suggests a role for ecology in promoting and maintaining diversification among incipient species.

  1. Dissecting the stem cell niche with organoid models: an engineering-based approach.

    PubMed

    Murrow, Lyndsay M; Weber, Robert J; Gartner, Zev J

    2017-03-15

    For many tissues, single resident stem cells grown in vitro under appropriate three-dimensional conditions can produce outgrowths known as organoids. These tissues recapitulate much of the cell composition and architecture of the in vivo organ from which they derive, including the formation of a stem cell niche. This has facilitated the systematic experimental manipulation and single-cell, high-throughput imaging of stem cells within their respective niches. Furthermore, emerging technologies now make it possible to engineer organoids from purified cellular and extracellular components to directly model and test stem cell-niche interactions. In this Review, we discuss how organoids have been used to identify and characterize stem cell-niche interactions and uncover new niche components, focusing on three adult-derived organoid systems. We also describe new approaches to reconstitute organoids from purified cellular components, and discuss how this technology can help to address fundamental questions about the adult stem cell niche. © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

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

    Treesearch

    Emmanuelle Morin; Annegret Kohler; Adam R. Baker; Marie Foulongne-Oriol; Vincent Lombard; Laszlo G. Nagy; Robin A. Ohm; Aleksandrina Patyshakuliyeva; Annick Brun; Andrea L. Aerts; Andrew M. Bailey; Christophe Billette; Pedro M. Coutinho; Greg Deakin; Harshavardhan Doddapaneni; Dimitrios Floudas; Jane Grimwood; Kristiina Hild& #233; n; Ursula K& #252; es; Kurt M. LaButti; Alla Lapidus; Erika A. Lindquist; Susan M. Lucas; Claude Murat; Robert W. Riley; Asaf A. Salamov; Jeremy Schmutz; Venkataramanan Subrananian; Han A.B. W& #246; sten; Jianping Xu; Daniel C. Eastwood; Gary D. Foster; Anton S.M. Sonnenberg; Daniel Cullen; Ronald P. de Vries; Taina Lundell; David S. Hibbett; Bernard Henrissat; Kerry S. Burton; Richard W. Kerrigan; Michael P. Challen; Igor V. Grigoriev; Francis. Martin

    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...

  10. Genotypic distribution of a specialist model microorganism, Methanosaeta, along an estuarine gradient: does metabolic restriction limit niche differentiation potential?

    PubMed

    Carbonero, Franck; Oakley, Brian B; Hawkins, Robert J; Purdy, Kevin J

    2012-05-01

    A reductionist ecological approach of using a model genus was adopted in order to understand how microbial community structure is driven by metabolic properties. The distribution along an estuarine gradient of the highly specialised genus Methanosaeta was investigated and compared to the previously determined distribution of the more metabolically flexible Desulfobulbus. Methanosaeta genotypic distribution along the Colne estuary (Essex, UK) was determined by DNA- and RNA-based denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and 16S rRNA gene sequence analyses. Methanosaeta distribution was monotonic, with a consistently diverse community and no apparent niche partitioning either in DNA or RNA analyses. This distribution pattern contrasts markedly with the previously described niche partitioning and sympatric differentiation of the model generalist, Desulfobulbus. To explain this difference, it is hypothesised that Methanosaeta's strict metabolic needs limit its adaptation potential, thus populations do not partition into spatially distinct groups and so do not appear to be constrained by gross environmental factors such as salinity. Thus, at least for these two model genera, it appears that metabolic flexibility may be an important factor in spatial distribution and this may be applicable to other microbes.

  11. Niche divergence and lineage diversification among closely related Sistrurus rattlesnakes.

    PubMed

    Wooten, J A; Gibbs, H L

    2012-02-01

    Comparing niche divergence among closely related taxa can yield important insights into the ecological distinctiveness of genetically similar forms, and identify the processes that are responsible for diversification in such organisms. Here, we apply newly developed techniques for analysing niche divergence to assess how ecologically distinct a group of closely related rattlesnakes (Sistrurus sp.) are and to explore the role that niche divergence may have played in their diversification. We find that all taxa even the most recently evolved subspecies (approximately 100,000 years old) are now ecologically distinct, implying a role for ecology in the diversification process. Statistical analysis based on comparisons with null models show that niche divergence between forms is more common than niche conservation. Finally, there is nonlinear relationship between phylogenetic and niche divergence in this group whereby niche divergence develops more rapidly between recently diverged subspecies than more distantly related forms. Overall, our results argue that ecology may play an important role in the diversification process in these snakes. © 2011 The Authors. Journal of Evolutionary Biology © 2011 European Society For Evolutionary Biology.

  12. Functional analysis of Agaricus bisporus serine proteinase 1 reveals roles in utilization of humic rich substrates and adaptation to the leaf‐litter ecological niche

    PubMed Central

    Heneghan, Mary N.; Burns, Claire; Costa, Ana M. S. B.; Burton, Kerry S.; Challen, Michael P.

    2016-01-01

    Summary Agaricus bisporus is a secondary decomposer fungus and an excellent model for the adaptation, persistence and growth of fungi in humic‐rich environments such as soils of temperate woodland and pastures. The A. bisporus serine proteinase SPR1 is induced by humic acids and is highly expressed during growth on compost. Three Spr1 gene silencing cassettes were constructed around sense, antisense and non‐translatable‐stop strategies (pGRsensehph, pGRantihph and pGRstophph). Transformation of A. bisporus with these cassettes generated cultures showing a reduction in extracellular proteinase activity as demonstrated by the reduction, or abolition, of a clearing zone on plate‐based bioassays. These lines were then assessed by detailed enzyme assay, RT‐qPCR and fruiting. Serine proteinase activity in liquid cultures was reduced in 83% of transformants. RT‐qPCR showed reduced Spr1 mRNA levels in all transformants analysed, and these correlated with reduced enzyme activity. When fruiting was induced, highly‐silenced transformant AS5 failed to colonize the compost, whilst for those that did colonize the compost, 60% gave a reduction in mushroom yield. Transcriptional, biochemical and developmental observations, demonstrate that SPR1 has an important role in nutrient acquisition in compost and that SPR1 is a key enzyme in the adaptation of Agaricus to the humic‐rich ecological niche formed during biomass degradation. PMID:27113919

  13. 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

  14. 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

    2016-03-21

    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.

  15. 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

  16. Spatial uncertainty and ecological models

    SciTech Connect

    Jager, Yetta; King, Anthony Wayne

    2004-07-01

    Applied ecological models that are used to understand and manage natural systems often rely on spatial data as input. Spatial uncertainty in these data can propagate into model predictions. Uncertainty analysis, sensitivity analysis, error analysis, error budget analysis, spatial decision analysis, and hypothesis testing using neutral models are all techniques designed to explore the relationship between variation in model inputs and variation in model predictions. Although similar methods can be used to answer them, these approaches address different questions. These approaches differ in (a) whether the focus is forward or backward (forward to evaluate the magnitude of variation in model predictions propagated or backward to rank input parameters by their influence); (b) whether the question involves model robustness to large variations in spatial pattern or to small deviations from a reference map; and (c) whether processes that generate input uncertainty (for example, cartographic error) are of interest. In this commentary, we propose a taxonomy of approaches, all of which clarify the relationship between spatial uncertainty and the predictions of ecological models. We describe existing techniques and indicate a few areas where research is needed.

  17. Plant-fungal ecology. Niche engineering demonstrates a latent capacity for fungal-algal mutualism.

    PubMed

    Hom, Erik F Y; Murray, Andrew W

    2014-07-04

    Mutualistic symbioses shape the evolution of species and ecosystems and catalyze the emergence of biological complexity, yet how such symbioses first form is unclear. We show that an obligate mutualism between the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii--two model eukaryotes with very different life histories--can arise spontaneously in an environment requiring reciprocal carbon and nitrogen exchange. This capacity for mutualism is phylogenetically broad, extending to other Chlamydomonas and fungal species. Furthermore, we witnessed the spontaneous association of Chlamydomonas algal cells physically interacting with filamentous fungi. These observations demonstrate that under specific conditions, environmental change induces free-living species to become obligate mutualists and establishes a set of experimentally tractable, phylogenetically related, synthetic systems for studying the evolution of symbiosis.

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

    DOE PAGES

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

    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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. [Evolvement of ecological footprint model representing ecological carrying capacity].

    PubMed

    Cao, Shu-yan; Xie, Gao-di

    2007-06-01

    Ecological footprint (EF) is an important index of ecological carrying capacity. The original EF model is excellent in simplicity, aggregation, comparability, and lifelikeness in presenting results, but short in predictability, configuration, and applicability. To overcome these shortcomings, many researches were conducted to modify and promote the EF model, and developed it from static with single time scale to diversified ones, which included: 1) time series EF model, 2) input-output analysis based EF model, 3) integrated assessment incorporated EF model, 4) land disturbance degree based EF model, and 5) life cycle analysis based EF model, or component EF model. The function of EF as a measurement of ecological carrying capacity was significantly improved, but its accuracy and integrality still need to be advanced.

  3. Species radiation by niche shifts in New Zealand's rockcresses (Pachycladon, Brassicaceae).

    PubMed

    Joly, Simon; Heenan, Peter B; Lockhart, Peter J

    2014-03-01

    Adaptive radiations such as the Darwin finches in the Galapagos or the cichlid fishes from the Eastern African Great Lakes have been a constant source of inspiration for biologists and a stimulus for evolutionary thinking. A central concept behind adaptive radiation is that of evolution by niche shifts, or ecological speciation. Evidence for adaptive radiations generally requires a strong correlation between phenotypic traits and the environment. But adaptive traits are often cryptic, hence making this phenotype-environment approach difficult to implement. Here we propose a procedure for detecting adaptive radiation that focuses on species' ecological niche comparisons. It evaluates whether past ecological disparity in a group fits better a neutral Brownian motion model of ecological divergence or a niche shift model. We have evaluated this approach on New Zealand rockcresses (Pachycladon) that recently radiated in the New Zealand Alps. We show that the pattern of ecological divergence rejects the neutral model and is consistent with that of a niche shift model. Our approach to detect adaptive radiation has the advantage over alternative approaches that it focuses on ecological niches, a key concept behind adaptive radiation. It also provides a way to evaluate the importance of ecological speciation in adaptive radiations and will have general application in evolutionary studies. In the case of Pachycladon, the high estimated diversification rate, the distinctive ecological niches of species, and the evidence for ecological speciation suggest a remarkable example of adaptive radiation.

  4. Adaptation of proteases and carbohydrates of saprophytic, phytopathogenic and entomopathogenic fungi to the requirements of their ecological niches.

    PubMed

    St Leger, R J; Joshi, L; Roberts, D W

    1997-06-01

    -Phe-Val-Arg-NA. V. albo-atrum and V. dahliae also produced low levels of neutral (pI ca 7) and basic (pI ca 9.5) subtilisin-like proteases active against a chymotrypsin substrate (Succinyl-Ala2-Pro-Phe-NA) and insect cuticle. In contrast, subtilisins comprised the major protease component secreted by V. lecanii and V. fungicola. Both V. lecanii and V. albo-atrum produced the highest levels of subtilisin and trypsin-like activities during growth on collagen or insect cuticle. Results are discussed in terms of the adaptation of fungi to the requirements of their ecological niches.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. On a mathematical model of bone marrow metastatic niche.

    PubMed

    Munoz, Ana Isabel; Tello, J Ignacio

    2017-02-01

    We propose a mathematical model to describe tumor cells movement towards a metastasis location into the bone marrow considering the influence of chemotaxis inhibition due to the action of a drug. The model considers the evolution of the signaling molecules CXCL-12 secreted by osteoblasts (bone cells responsible of the mineralization of the bone) and PTHrP (secreted by tumor cells) which activates osteoblast growth. The model consists of a coupled system of second order PDEs describing the evolution of CXCL-12 and PTHrP, an ODE of logistic type to model the Osteoblasts density and an extra equation for each cancer cell. We also simulate the system to illustrate the qualitative behavior of the solutions. The numerical method of resolution is also presented in detail.

  8. 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

  9. Temporal definition of haematopoietic stem cell niches in a large animal model of in utero stem cell transplantation.

    PubMed

    Jeanblanc, Christine; Goodrich, Angelina Daisy; Colletti, Evan; Mokhtari, Saloomeh; Porada, Christopher D; Zanjani, Esmail D; Almeida-Porada, Graça

    2014-07-01

    The fetal sheep model has served as a biologically relevant and translational model to study in utero haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (IUHSCT), yet little is known about the ontogeny of the bone marrow (BM) niches in this model. Because the BMmicroenvironment plays a critical role in the outcome of haematopoietic engraftment, we have established the correlation between the fetal-sheep and fetal-human BM niche ontogeny, so that studies addressing the role of niche development at the time of IUHSCT could be accurately performed. Immunofluorescence confocal microscopic analysis of sheep fetal bone from gestational days (gd) 25-68 showed that the BM microenvironment commences development with formation of the vascular niche between 25 and 36 gd in sheep; correlating with the events at 10-11 gestational weeks (gw) in humans. Subsequently, between 45 and 51 gd in sheep (c. 14 gw in humans), the osteoblastic/endosteal niche started developing, the presence of CD34(+)  CD45(+) cells were promptly detected, and their number increased with gestational age. IUHSCT, performed in sheep at 45 and 65 gd, showed significant haematopoietic engraftment only at the later time point, indicating that a fully functional BM microenvironment improved engraftment. These studies show that sheep niche ontogeny closely parallels human, validating this model for investigating niche influence/manipulation in IUHSCT engraftment.

  10. Phylogeography and niche modelling of the relict plant Amborella trichopoda (Amborellaceae) reveal multiple Pleistocene refugia in New Caledonia.

    PubMed

    Poncet, Valérie; Munoz, François; Munzinger, Jérôme; Pillon, Yohan; Gomez, Céline; Couderc, Marie; Tranchant-Dubreuil, Christine; Hamon, Serge; de Kochko, Alexandre

    2013-12-01

    Amborella trichopoda Baill. (Amborellaceae, Amborellales), the sole living member of the sister group to all other extant angiosperms, is endemic to New Caledonia. We addressed the intraspecific phylogeography of Amborella by investigating whether its present population genetic structure could be related to its current and past habitats. We found moderate range-wide genetic diversity based on nuclear microsatellite data and detected four well-differentiated, geographically distinct genetic groups using Bayesian clustering analyses. We modelled the ecological niche of Amborella based on the current climatic and environmental conditions. The predictive ability of the model was very good throughout the Central East mainland zone, but Amborella was predicted in the northern part of the island where this plant has not been reported. Furthermore, no significant barrier was detected based on habitat suitability that could explain the genetic differentiation across the area. Conversely, we found that the main genetic clusters could be related to the distribution of the suitable habitat at the last glacial maximum (LGM, c. 21,000 years BP), when Amborella experienced a dramatic 96.5% reduction in suitable area. At least two lineages survived in distinct putative refugia located in the Massif des Lèvres and in the vicinity of Mount Aoupinié. Our findings finally confirmed the importance of LGM rainforest refugia in shaping the current intra- and interspecific diversity in New Caledonian plants and revealed the possibility of an as yet unreported refugium. The combination of niche modelling and population genetics thereby offered novel insight into the biogeographical history of an emblematic taxon.

  11. Ecological modeling for applied science

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Melton, Forrest; Lobitz, Brad; Turner, Woody; Sheffner, Edwin; Haynes, John

    Ecological modeling is becoming an increasingly important tool for uniting biological observations with remote sensing and ground-based data networks to develop predictive tools for resource management and human health.The availability of over three petabytes of data from the NASA Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) alone provides an unprecedented opportunity to develop Earth science applications for decision support. In combination with data networks such as the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climate Data Center, the nonprofit NatureServe's network of biological inventories, the National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and many others, there is a vast wealth of Earth observation data on parameters as diverse as land cover, sea surface temperature, precipitation, species distribution, and disease occurrence.

  12. Isotopic paleoecology of the Pleistocene megamammals from the Brazilian Intertropical Region: Feeding ecology (δ13C), niche breadth and overlap

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dantas, Mário André Trindade; Cherkinsky, Alexander; Bocherens, Hervé; Drefahl, Morgana; Bernardes, Camila; França, Lucas de Melo

    2017-08-01

    The extinct megamammals Eremotherium laurillardi (weight 6550 kg), Notiomastodon platensis (w = 6000 kg), Toxodon platensis (w = 3090 kg), Valgipes bucklandi (w = 980 kg) and Equus (Amerhippus) neogaeus (w = 370 kg) are recorded for the late Pleistocene of the Brazilian Intertropical Region. In order to evaluate the isotopic paleoecology (feeding diet, niche breadth and overlap) of these species, 14C dates, δ13C and δ18O analyzes were performed. Our results suggest that E. laurillardi (μδ13C = -4.35 ± 2.87‰; μBA = 0.77 ± 0.25), T. platensis (μδ13C = -5.74 ± 4.80‰; μBA = 0.57 ± 0.40) and N. platensis (μδ13C = -1.17 ± 2.76‰; μBA = 0.56 ± 0.20) were mixed feeders with a wide niche breadth, while E. (A.) neogaeus (μδ13C = 0.73 ± 1.19‰; μBA = 0.38 ± 0.22) was a grazer, and V. bucklandi (δ13C = -10.17‰; BA = 0.13) was a specialist browser. A narrow niche overlap occurred between V. bucklandi and the species that fed principally on C4 plants (>70%; O = 0.24-0.43). In contrast, there was a high niche overlap between E. neogaeus and N. platensis (O = 0.75) and between E. laurillardi and T. platensis (O = 0.86). Therefore, E. laurillardi was probably a key species in this Pleistocene community due to its high body weight and wide niche breadth, suggesting that E. laurillardi was a great competitor for resources in the BIR.

  13. Premetastatic niche formation in the liver: emerging mechanisms and mouse models.

    PubMed

    Krüger, Achim

    2015-11-01

    The liver is recognized as the target organ of metastases of almost all prominent malignancies. Its unique biology renders this organ particularly susceptible to circulating disseminated tumour cells (DTCs), and it can be assumed that very early metastasis occurs in the liver. The premetastatic niche concept may explain very early metastasis, as it defines priming of a future target organ of metastasis by factors that may already be secreted from premalignant lesions. This review shows that comprehensive knowledge on mechanisms of premetastatic niche formation in the liver is based on pre-clinical models only and still rather rare, mostly due to the scarcity of mouse liver metastasis models displaying a tumour cell-free period in the liver or lack of liver-tropic syngeneic tumour cells to probe for the niche. Attentive re-assessment of previous studies and reviews was undertaken revealing only two clearly identified tumour-derived secreted factors (TDSFs), both inducing infiltration of the liver by bone marrow-derived cells and increased liver metastasis, namely tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-1 (TIMP-1) and macrophage-inducing factor (MIF). Future directions of this research area will comprise elucidation of the impact of TDSFs on regulation and activity of myeloid-derived suppressor cells and/or the specific architecture and homeostasis of the liver, as well as development of prognostic TDSF detection in patients at risk of liver metastasis.

  14. Habitat suitability modelling reveals a strong niche overlap between two poorly known species, the broom hare and the Pyrenean grey partridge, in the north of Spain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Acevedo, Pelayo; Alzaga, Vanesa; Cassinello, Jorge; Gortázar, Christian

    2007-03-01

    In the present work, we derive a habitat suitability model of the broom hare and the Pyrenean grey partridge in the Cantabrian Mountains by using the Ecological Niche Factor Analysis. Both species are endemic to the northern of Iberian mountains, and because of the vulnerability of the hare to endangerment or extinction and because of the great interest in the partridge, this habitat requires specific conservation measures. Literature on these animals' biology and ecology is practically nonexistent. Habitat suitability analyses show that the hare and partridge occupy very similar ecological niches, characterized by a high percentage of broom and heather scrublands, high altitude and slope, and limited human accessibility. We have identified differences in habitat selection between the Pyrenean grey partridge and other subspecies of partridge present in central-northern Europe. Our results indicate a probable metapopulation structure for both the hare and partridge; however, according to our predictive maps, there is a high connectivity between suitable habitats. Current decline of traditional rural activities, such as mountain livestock, are affecting the mosaic landscape. This, in turn, enhances biodiversity in the area and, particularly, the viability of these valuable animal populations.

  15. Cancer stem cell niche models and contribution by mesenchymal stroma/stem cells.

    PubMed

    Melzer, Catharina; von der Ohe, Juliane; Lehnert, Hendrik; Ungefroren, Hendrik; Hass, Ralf

    2017-02-01

    The initiation and progression of malignant tumors is driven by distinct subsets of tumor-initiating or cancer stem-like cells (CSCs) which develop therapy/apoptosis resistance and self-renewal capacity. In order to be able to eradicate these CSCs with novel classes of anti-cancer therapeutics, a better understanding of their biology and clinically-relevant traits is mandatory. Several requirements and functions of a CSC niche physiology are combined with current concepts for CSC generation such as development in a hierarchical tumor model, by stochastic processes, or via a retrodifferentiation program. Moreover, progressive adaptation of endothelial cells and recruited immune and stromal cells to the tumor site substantially contribute to generate a tumor growth-permissive environment resembling a CSC niche. Particular emphasis is put on the pivotal role of multipotent mesenchymal stroma/stem cells (MSCs) in supporting CSC development by various kinds of interaction and cell fusion to form hybrid tumor cells. A better knowledge of CSC niche physiology may increase the chances that cancer stemness-depleting interventions ultimately result in arrest of tumor growth and metastasis.

  16. Complex life cycles in a pond food web: effects of life stage structure and parasites on network properties, trophic positions and the fit of a probabilistic niche model.

    PubMed

    Preston, Daniel L; Jacobs, Abigail Z; Orlofske, Sarah A; Johnson, Pieter T J

    2014-03-01

    Most food webs use taxonomic or trophic species as building blocks, thereby collapsing variability in feeding linkages that occurs during the growth and development of individuals. This issue is particularly relevant to integrating parasites into food webs because parasites often undergo extreme ontogenetic niche shifts. Here, we used three versions of a freshwater pond food web with varying levels of node resolution (from taxonomic species to life stages) to examine how complex life cycles and parasites alter web properties, the perceived trophic position of organisms, and the fit of a probabilistic niche model. Consistent with prior studies, parasites increased most measures of web complexity in the taxonomic species web; however, when nodes were disaggregated into life stages, the effects of parasites on several network properties (e.g., connectance and nestedness) were reversed, due in part to the lower trophic generality of parasite life stages relative to free-living life stages. Disaggregation also reduced the trophic level of organisms with either complex or direct life cycles and was particularly useful when including predation on parasites, which can inflate trophic positions when life stages are collapsed. Contrary to predictions, disaggregation decreased network intervality and did not enhance the fit of a probabilistic niche model to the food webs with parasites. Although the most useful level of biological organization in food webs will vary with the questions of interest, our results suggest that disaggregating species-level nodes may refine our perception of how parasites and other complex life cycle organisms influence ecological networks.

  17. Beyond the continuum: a multi-dimensional phase space for neutral–niche community assembly

    PubMed Central

    Latombe, Guillaume; McGeoch, Melodie A.

    2015-01-01

    Neutral and niche processes are generally considered to interact in natural communities along a continuum, exhibiting community patterns bounded by pure neutral and pure niche processes. The continuum concept uses niche separation, an attribute of the community, to test the hypothesis that communities are bounded by pure niche or pure neutral conditions. It does not accommodate interactions via feedback between processes and the environment. By contrast, we introduce the Community Assembly Phase Space (CAPS), a multi-dimensional space that uses community processes (such as dispersal and niche selection) to define the limiting neutral and niche conditions and to test the continuum hypothesis. We compare the outputs of modelled communities in a heterogeneous landscape, assembled by pure neutral, pure niche and composite processes. Differences in patterns under different combinations of processes in CAPS reveal hidden complexity in neutral–niche community dynamics. The neutral–niche continuum only holds for strong dispersal limitation and niche separation. For weaker dispersal limitation and niche separation, neutral and niche processes amplify each other via feedback with the environment. This generates patterns that lie well beyond those predicted by a continuum. Inferences drawn from patterns about community assembly processes can therefore be misguided when based on the continuum perspective. CAPS also demonstrates the complementary information value of different patterns for inferring community processes and captures the complexity of community assembly. It provides a general tool for studying the processes structuring communities and can be applied to address a range of questions in community and metacommunity ecology. PMID:26702047

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-09-07

    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.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. Behavioural manipulation of insect hosts by Baculoviridae as a process of niche construction

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Niche construction has received increasing attention in recent years as a vital force in evolution and examples of niche construction have been identified in a wide variety of taxa, but viruses are conspicuously absent. In this study we explore how niche construction can lead to viruses engineering their hosts (including behavioural manipulation) with feedback on selective pressures for viral transmission and virulence. To illustrate this concept we focus on Baculoviridae, a family of invertebrate viruses that have evolved to modify the feeding behaviour of their lepidopteran hosts and liquefy their cadavers as part of the course of infection. Results We present a mathematical model showing how niche construction leads to feedback from the behavioural manipulation to the liquefaction of the host, linking the evolution of both of these traits, and show how this association arises from the action of niche construction. Model results show that niche construction is plausible in this system and delineates the conditions under which niche construction will occur. Niche construction in this system is also shown to be sensitive to parameter values that reflect ecological forces. Conclusions Our model demonstrates that niche construction can be a potent force in viral evolution and can lead to the acquisition and maintenance of the behavioural manipulation and liquefaction traits in Baculoviridae via the niche constructing effects on the host. These results show the potential for niche construction theory to provide new insights into viral evolution. PMID:23953199

  4. Are howler monkey species ecologically equivalent? Trophic niche overlap in syntopic Alouatta guariba clamitans and Alouatta caraya.

    PubMed

    Agostini, Ilaria; Holzmann, Ingrid; Di Bitetti, Mario S

    2010-02-01

    According to the principle of competitive exclusion, niche differentiation allows the stable coexistence of closely related species. We analyzed dietary profile and diversity, and dietary overlap between syntopic brown howlers (BR; Alouatta guariba clamitans) and black and gold howlers (BLG; A. caraya) in the Atlantic Forest of NE Argentina, with the objective of evaluating the degree of trophic niche overlap and potential interspecific competition for food. During 12 months, we collected data on feeding behavior of two groups of each howler species using the scan sampling method, together with data on food availability. Both at the group- and species-level, we analyzed feeding behavior in terms of monthly percentages of time spent feeding on each food type and specific food item, dietary diversity (Shannon index H'), and we estimated dietary overlap using the percentage index and the Morisita-Horn index (C(H)). Across months, both howlers showed species-specific preferences for certain food items, and BLG had a more diverse diet (mean+/-SE, H'=2.77+/-0.08) than BR (H'=2.39+/-0.09). However, diets of both species overlapped extensively (percentage index=45.64+/-2.97%; C(H)=0.6+/-0.05) and diets of conspecific groups did not overlap more than diets of groups of different species. Given their high degree of trophic overlap, syntopic BR and BLG meet one of the conditions necessary for interspecific food competition to occur. Although at present we lack direct evidence for interspecific competition in these howler species, we conclude that high levels of niche overlap may have an important role in maintaining the essentially parapatric distribution of howler species throughout the Neotropics.

  5. [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.

  6. DYNAMIC LANDSCAPES, STABILITY AND ECOLOGICAL MODELING

    EPA Science Inventory

    The image of a ball rolling along a series of hills and valleys is an effective heuristic by which to communicate stability concepts in ecology. However, the dynamics of this landscape model have little to do with ecological systems. Other landscape representations, however, are ...

  7. Integrated Spatio-Temporal Ecological Modeling System

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1998-07-01

    11 Hierarchy Theory The predictability of ecological systems is inherently limited and is dependent on the scales (May 1986; Levin 1989; Vasconcelos ...and associates (1987) advocate a hierarchical paradigm to better understand the patterns in landscape ecology. Vasconcelos , Zeigler, and associates...modeling system is hierarchical and includes individuals, patch, and the whole landscape (Perestrello de Vasconcelos , Zeigler, et al. 1993). These are but

  8. Spatial Autocorrelation And Autoregressive Models In Ecology

    Treesearch

    Jeremy W. Lichstein; Theodore R. Simons; Susan A. Shriner; Kathleen E. Franzreb

    2003-01-01

    Abstract. Recognition and analysis of spatial autocorrelation has defined a new paradigm in ecology. Attention to spatial pattern can lead to insights that would have been otherwise overlooked, while ignoring space may lead to false conclusions about ecological relationships. We used Gaussian spatial autoregressive models, fit with widely available...

  9. DYNAMIC LANDSCAPES, STABILITY AND ECOLOGICAL MODELING

    EPA Science Inventory

    The image of a ball rolling along a series of hills and valleys is an effective heuristic by which to communicate stability concepts in ecology. However, the dynamics of this landscape model have little to do with ecological systems. Other landscape representations, however, are ...

  10. Dynamics of gene duplication in the genomes of chlorophyll d-producing cyanobacteria: implications for the ecological niche.

    PubMed

    Miller, Scott R; Wood, A Michelle; Blankenship, Robert E; Kim, Maria; Ferriera, Steven

    2011-01-01

    Gene duplication may be an important mechanism for the evolution of new functions and for the adaptive modulation of gene expression via dosage effects. Here, we analyzed the fate of gene duplicates for two strains of a novel group of cyanobacteria (genus Acaryochloris) that produces the far-red light absorbing chlorophyll d as its main photosynthetic pigment. The genomes of both strains contain an unusually high number of gene duplicates for bacteria. As has been observed for eukaryotic genomes, we find that the demography of gene duplicates can be well modeled by a birth-death process. Most duplicated Acaryochloris genes are of comparatively recent origin, are strain-specific, and tend to be located on different genetic elements. Analyses of selection on duplicates of different divergence classes suggest that a minority of paralogs exhibit near neutral evolutionary dynamics immediately following duplication but that most duplicate pairs (including those which have been retained for long periods) are under strong purifying selection against amino acid change. The likelihood of duplicate retention varied among gene functional classes, and the pronounced differences between strains in the pool of retained recent duplicates likely reflects differences in the nutrient status and other characteristics of their respective environments. We conclude that most duplicates are quickly purged from Acaryochloris genomes and that those which are retained likely make important contributions to organism ecology by conferring fitness benefits via gene dosage effects. The mechanism of enhanced duplication may involve homologous recombination between genetic elements mediated by paralogous copies of recA.

  11. 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.

  12. Modeling pre-metastatic lymphvascular niche in the mouse ear sponge assay

    PubMed Central

    García-Caballero, Melissa; Van de Velde, Maureen; Blacher, Silvia; Lambert, Vincent; Balsat, Cédric; Erpicum, Charlotte; Durré, Tania; Kridelka, Frédéric; Noel, Agnès

    2017-01-01

    Lymphangiogenesis, the formation of new lymphatic vessels, occurs in primary tumors and in draining lymph nodes leading to pre-metastatic niche formation. Reliable in vivo models are becoming instrumental for investigating alterations occurring in lymph nodes before tumor cell arrival. In this study, we demonstrate that B16F10 melanoma cell encapsulation in a biomaterial, and implantation in the mouse ear, prevents their rapid lymphatic spread observed when cells are directly injected in the ear. Vascular remodeling in lymph nodes was detected two weeks after sponge implantation, while their colonization by tumor cells occurred two weeks later. In this model, a huge lymphangiogenic response was induced in primary tumors and in pre-metastatic and metastatic lymph nodes. In control lymph nodes, lymphatic vessels were confined to the cortex. In contrast, an enlargement and expansion of lymphatic vessels towards paracortical and medullar areas occurred in pre-metastatic lymph nodes. We designed an original computerized-assisted quantification method to examine the lymphatic vessel structure and the spatial distribution. This new reliable and accurate model is suitable for in vivo studies of lymphangiogenesis, holds promise for unraveling the mechanisms underlying lymphatic metastases and pre-metastatic niche formation in lymph nodes, and will provide new tools for drug testing. PMID:28128294

  13. Modeling pre-metastatic lymphvascular niche in the mouse ear sponge assay

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    García-Caballero, Melissa; van de Velde, Maureen; Blacher, Silvia; Lambert, Vincent; Balsat, Cédric; Erpicum, Charlotte; Durré, Tania; Kridelka, Frédéric; Noel, Agnès

    2017-01-01

    Lymphangiogenesis, the formation of new lymphatic vessels, occurs in primary tumors and in draining lymph nodes leading to pre-metastatic niche formation. Reliable in vivo models are becoming instrumental for investigating alterations occurring in lymph nodes before tumor cell arrival. In this study, we demonstrate that B16F10 melanoma cell encapsulation in a biomaterial, and implantation in the mouse ear, prevents their rapid lymphatic spread observed when cells are directly injected in the ear. Vascular remodeling in lymph nodes was detected two weeks after sponge implantation, while their colonization by tumor cells occurred two weeks later. In this model, a huge lymphangiogenic response was induced in primary tumors and in pre-metastatic and metastatic lymph nodes. In control lymph nodes, lymphatic vessels were confined to the cortex. In contrast, an enlargement and expansion of lymphatic vessels towards paracortical and medullar areas occurred in pre-metastatic lymph nodes. We designed an original computerized-assisted quantification method to examine the lymphatic vessel structure and the spatial distribution. This new reliable and accurate model is suitable for in vivo studies of lymphangiogenesis, holds promise for unraveling the mechanisms underlying lymphatic metastases and pre-metastatic niche formation in lymph nodes, and will provide new tools for drug testing.

  14. Contemporary perspectives on the niche that can improve models of species range shifts under climate change.

    PubMed

    Morin, Xavier; Lechowicz, Martin J

    2008-10-23

    Pioneering efforts to predict shifts in species distribution under climate change used simple models based on the correlation between contemporary environmental factors and distributions. These models make predictions at coarse spatial scales and assume the constancy of present correlations between environment and distribution. Adaptive management of climate change impacts requires models that can make more robust predictions at finer spatio-temporal scales by accounting for processes that actually affect species distribution on heterogeneous landscapes. Mechanistic models of the distribution of both species and vegetation types have begun to emerge to meet these needs. We review these developments and highlight how recent advances in our understanding of relationships among the niche concept, species diversity and community assembly point the way towards more effective models for the impacts of global change on species distribution and community diversity.

  15. 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…

  16. 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…

  17. An introduction to niche construction theory.

    PubMed

    Laland, Kevin; Matthews, Blake; Feldman, Marcus W

    Niche construction refers to the modification of selective environments by organisms. Theoretical and empirical studies of niche construction are increasing in importance as foci in evolutionary ecology. This special edition presents theoretical and empirical research that illustrates the significance of niche construction to the field. Here we set the scene for the following papers by (1) discussing the history of niche construction research, (2) providing clear definitions that distinguish niche construction from related concepts such as ecosystem engineering and the extended phenotype, (3) providing a brief summary of the findings of niche construction research, (4) discussing the contribution of niche construction and ecological inheritance to (a) expanded notions of inheritance, and (b) the extended evolutionary synthesis, and (5) briefly touching on some of the issues that underlie the controversies over niche construction.

  18. 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.

  19. 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 .

  20. A Quiescent, Regeneration-Responsive Tissue Engineered Mesenchymal Stem Cell Bone Marrow Niche Model via Magnetic Levitation.

    PubMed

    Lewis, Emily Elizabeth Louise; Wheadon, Helen; Lewis, Natasha; Yang, Jingli; Mullin, Margaret; Hursthouse, Andrew; Stirling, David; Dalby, Matthew John; Berry, Catherine Cecilia

    2016-09-27

    The bone marrow niche represents a specialized environment that regulates mesenchymal stem cell quiescence and self-renewal, yet fosters stem cell migration and differentiation upon demand. An in vitro model that embodies these features would open up the ability to perform detailed study of stem cell behavior. In this paper we present a simple bone marrow-like niche model, which comprises of nanomagnetically levitated stem cells cultured as multicellular spheroids within a type I collagen gel. The stem cells maintained are nestin positive and remain quiescent until regenerative demand is placed upon them. In response to coculture wounding, they migrate and appropriately differentiate upon engraftment. This tissue engineered regeneration-responsive bone marrow-like niche model will allow for greater understanding of stem cell response to injury and also facilitate as a testing platform for drug candidates in a multiwell plate format.

  1. 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.

  2. Saccharomyces cerevisiae: a nomadic yeast with no niche?

    PubMed Central

    Goddard, Matthew R.; Greig, Duncan

    2015-01-01

    Different species are usually thought to have specific adaptations, which allow them to occupy different ecological niches. But recent neutral ecology theory suggests that species diversity can simply be the result of random sampling, due to finite population sizes and limited dispersal. Neutral models predict that species are not necessarily adapted to specific niches, but are functionally equivalent across a range of habitats. Here, we evaluate the ecology of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, one of the most important microbial species in human history. The artificial collection, concentration and fermentation of large volumes of fruit for alcohol production produce an environment in which S. cerevisiae thrives, and therefore it is assumed that fruit is the ecological niche that S. cerevisiae inhabits and has adapted to. We find very little direct evidence that S. cerevisiae is adapted to fruit, or indeed to any other specific niche. We propose instead a neutral nomad model for S. cerevisiae, which we believe should be used as the starting hypothesis in attempting to unravel the ecology of this important microbe. PMID:25725024

  3. 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)

  4. 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)

  5. 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

  6. A privileged intraphagocyte niche is responsible for disseminated infection of Staphylococcus aureus in a zebrafish model.

    PubMed

    Prajsnar, Tomasz K; Hamilton, Ruth; Garcia-Lara, Jorge; McVicker, Gareth; Williams, Alexander; Boots, Michael; Foster, Simon J; Renshaw, Stephen A

    2012-10-01

    The innate immune system is the primary defence against the versatile pathogen, Staphylococcus aureus. How this organism is able to avoid immune killing and cause infections is poorly understood. Using an established larval zebrafish infection model, we have shown that overwhelming infection is due to subversion of phagocytes by staphylococci, allowing bacteria to evade killing and found foci of disease. Larval zebrafish coinfected with two S. aureus strains carrying different fluorescent reporter gene fusions (but otherwise isogenic) had bacterial lesions, at the time of host death, containing predominantly one strain. Quantitative data using two marked strains revealed that the strain ratios, during overwhelming infection, were often skewed towards the extremes, with one strain predominating. Infection with passaged bacterial clones revealed the phenomenon not to bedue to adventitious mutations acquired by the pathogen. After infection of the host, all bacteria are internalized by phagocytes and the skewing of population ratios is absolutely dependent on the presence of phagocytes. Mathematical modelling of pathogen population dynamics revealed the data patterns are consistent with the hypothesis that a small number of infected phagocytes serve as an intracellular reservoir for S. aureus, which upon release leads to disseminated infection. Strategies to specifically alter neutrophil/macrophage numbers were used to map the potential subpopulation of phagocytes acting as a pathogen reservoir, revealing neutrophils as the likely 'niche'. Subsequently in a murine sepsis model, S. aureus abscesses in kidneys were also found to be predominantly clonal, therefore likely founded by an individual cell, suggesting a potential mechanism analogous to the zebrafish model with few protected niches. These findings add credence to the argument that S. aureus control regimes should recognize both the intracellular as well as extracellular facets of the S. aureus life

  7. Thermal niche for in situ seed germination by Mediterranean mountain streams: model prediction and validation for Rhamnus persicifolia seeds.

    PubMed

    Porceddu, Marco; Mattana, Efisio; Pritchard, Hugh W; Bacchetta, Gianluigi

    2013-12-01

    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. 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. 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. 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.

  8. Assessment of the in vitro bioactive properties of lactic acid bacteria isolated from native ecological niches of Ecuador.

    PubMed

    Benavides, Ana B; Ulcuango, Mario; Yépez, Lucía; Tenea, Gabriela N

    Lactic acid bacteria are known for their biotechnological potential. In various regions of Ecuador numerous indigenous biological resources are largely undocumented. In this study, we evaluated the potential probiotic characteristics and antagonistic in vitro properties of some lactic acid bacteria from native niches of the subtropical rain forests of Ecuador. These isolates were identified according to their morphological properties, standard API50CH fermentation profile and RAPD-DNA polymorphism pattern. The selected isolates were further evaluated for their probiotic potential. The isolates grew at 15°C and 45°C, survived at a pH ranging from 2.5 to 4.5 in the presence of 0.3% bile (>90%) and grew under sodium chloride conditions. All selected isolates were sensitive to ampicillin, amoxicillin and cefuroxime and some showed resistance to gentamicin, kanamycin and tetracycline. Moreover, the agar well diffusion assay showed that the supernatant of each strain at pH 3.0 and pH 4.0, but not at pH 7.0 exhibited increased antimicrobial activity (inhibition zone >15mm) against two foodborne pathogens, Escherichia coli and Salmonella spp. To our knowledge, this is the first report describing the antagonistic activity against two foodborne pathogens and the probiotic in vitro potential of lactic acid bacteria isolated from native biota of Ecuador. Copyright © 2016 Asociación Argentina de Microbiología. Publicado por Elsevier España, S.L.U. All rights reserved.

  9. Comparing niche- and process-based models to reduce prediction uncertainty in species range shifts under climate change.

    PubMed

    Morin, Xavier; Thuiller, Wilfried

    2009-05-01

    Obtaining reliable predictions of species range shifts under climate change is a crucial challenge for ecologists and stakeholders. At the continental scale, niche-based models have been widely used in the last 10 years to predict the potential impacts of climate change on species distributions all over the world, although these models do not include any mechanistic relationships. In contrast, species-specific, process-based predictions remain scarce at the continental scale. This is regrettable because to secure relevant and accurate predictions it is always desirable to compare predictions derived from different kinds of models applied independently to the same set of species and using the same raw data. Here we compare predictions of range shifts under climate change scenarios for 2100 derived from niche-based models with those of a process-based model for 15 North American boreal and temperate tree species. A general pattern emerged from our comparisons: niche-based models tend to predict a stronger level of extinction and a greater proportion of colonization than the process-based model. This result likely arises because niche-based models do not take phenotypic plasticity and local adaptation into account. Nevertheless, as the two kinds of models rely on different assumptions, their complementarity is revealed by common findings. Both modeling approaches highlight a major potential limitation on species tracking their climatic niche because of migration constraints and identify similar zones where species extirpation is likely. Such convergent predictions from models built on very different principles provide a useful way to offset uncertainties at the continental scale. This study shows that the use in concert of both approaches with their own caveats and advantages is crucial to obtain more robust results and that comparisons among models are needed in the near future to gain accuracy regarding predictions of range shifts under climate change.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. Long-term homeostasis and wound healing in an in vitro epithelial stem cell niche model

    PubMed Central

    Miyashita, Hideyuki; Niwano, Hiroko; Yoshida, Satoru; Hatou, Shin; Inagaki, Emi; Tsubota, Kazuo; Shimmura, Shigeto

    2017-01-01

    Cultures of epithelial cells are limited by the proliferative capacity of primary cells and cell senescence. Herein we show that primary human epithelial cell sheets cultured without dermal equivalents maintained homeostasis in vitro for at least 1 year. Transparency of these sheets enabled live observation of pigmented melanocytes and Fluorescent Ubiquitination-based Cell Cycle Indicator (FUCCI) labeled epithelial cells during wound healing. Cell turn over and KRT15 expression pattern stabilized within 3 months, when KRT15 bright clusters often associated with niche-like melanocytes became apparent. EdU labels were retained in a subset of epithelial cells and melanocytes after 6 months chasing, suggesting their slow cell cycling property. FUCCI-labeling demonstrated robust cell migration and proliferation following wounding. Transparency and long-term (1 year) homeostasis of this model will be a powerful tool for the study of wound healing and cell linage tracing. PMID:28233843

  13. Niche logging

    Treesearch

    Robert B. Rummer

    1997-01-01

    Logging is facing a world of change. A logger?s niche can be defined by terrain, climate, location, timber and product, local government, Federal government, landowners, and mills. The author offers strategies for survival and successful competition.

  14. 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.

  15. Estimating niche width using stable isotopes in the face of habitat variability: a modelling case study in the marine environment.

    PubMed

    Cummings, David O; Buhl, Jerome; Lee, Raymond W; Simpson, Stephen J; Holmes, Sebastian P

    2012-01-01

    Distributions of stable isotopes have been used to infer an organism's trophic niche width, the 'isotopic niche', and examine resource partitioning. Spatial variation in the isotopic composition of prey may however confound the interpretation of isotopic signatures especially when foragers exploit resources across numerous locations. In this study the isotopic compositions from marine assemblages are modelled to determine the role of variation in the signature of prey items and the effect of dietary breadth and foraging strategies on predator signatures. Outputs from the models reveal that isotopic niche widths can be greater for populations of dietary specialists rather than for generalists, which contravenes what is generally accepted in the literature. When a range of different mixing models are applied to determine if the conversion from δ to p-space can be used to improve model accuracy, predator signature variation is increased rather than model precision. Furthermore the mixing models applied failed to correctly identify dietary specialists and/or to accurately estimate diet contributions that may identify resource partitioning. The results presented illustrate the need to collect sufficiently large sample sizes, in excess of what is collected under most current studies, across the complete distribution of a species and its prey, before attempts to use stable isotopes to make inferences about niche width can be made.

  16. 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

  17. Models of Financial Market Information Ecology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Challet, Damien

    I discuss a new simple framework that allows a more realistic modelling of speculation. The resulting model features expliciting position holding, contagion between predictability patterns, allows for an explicit measure of market inefficiency and substantiates the use of the minority game to study information ecology in financial markets.

  18. Ecological Misconceptions.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Munson, Bruce H.

    1994-01-01

    Presents a summary of the research literature on students' ecological conceptions and the implications of misconceptions. Topics include food webs, ecological adaptation, carrying capacity, ecosystem, and niche. (Contains 35 references.) (MKR)

  19. Ecological Misconceptions.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Munson, Bruce H.

    1994-01-01

    Presents a summary of the research literature on students' ecological conceptions and the implications of misconceptions. Topics include food webs, ecological adaptation, carrying capacity, ecosystem, and niche. (Contains 35 references.) (MKR)

  20. 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.

  1. A novel 3D mesenchymal stem cell model of the multiple myeloma bone marrow niche: biologic and clinical applications

    PubMed Central

    Jakubikova, Jana; Cholujova, Danka; Hideshima, Teru; Gronesova, Paulina; Soltysova, Andrea; Harada, Takeshi; Joo, Jungnam; Kong, Sun-Young; Szalat, Raphael E.; Richardson, Paul G.; Munshi, Nikhil C.; Dorfman, David M.; Anderson, Kenneth C.

    2016-01-01

    Specific niches within the tumor bone marrow (BM) microenvironment afford a sanctuary for multiple myeloma (MM) clones due to stromal cell-tumor cell interactions, which confer survival advantage and drug resistance. Defining the sequelae of tumor cell interactions within the MM niches on an individualized basis may provide the rationale for personalized therapies. To mimic the MM niche, we here describe a new 3D co-culture ex-vivo model in which primary MM patient BM cells are co-cultured with mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) in a hydrogel 3D system. In the 3D model, MSC with conserved phenotype (CD73+CD90+CD105+) formed compact clusters with active fibrous connections, and retained lineage differentiation capacity. Extracellular matrix molecules, integrins, and niche related molecules including N-cadherin and CXCL12 are expressed in 3D MSC model. Furthermore, activation of osteogenesis (MMP13, SPP1, ADAMTS4, and MGP genes) and osteoblastogenic differentiation was confirmed in 3D MSC model. Co-culture of patient-derived BM mononuclear cells with either autologous or allogeneic MSC in 3D model increased proliferation of MM cells, CXCR4 expression, and SP cells. We carried out immune profiling to show that distribution of immune cell subsets was similar in 3D and 2D MSC model systems. Importantly, resistance to novel agents (IMiDs, bortezomib, carfilzomib) and conventional agents (doxorubicin, dexamethasone, melphalan) was observed in 3D MSC system, reflective of clinical resistance. This 3D MSC model may therefore allow for studies of MM pathogenesis and drug resistance within the BM niche. Importantly, ongoing prospective trials are evaluating its utility to inform personalized targeted and immune therapy in MM. PMID:27764795

  2. A novel 3D mesenchymal stem cell model of the multiple myeloma bone marrow niche: biologic and clinical applications.

    PubMed

    Jakubikova, Jana; Cholujova, Danka; Hideshima, Teru; Gronesova, Paulina; Soltysova, Andrea; Harada, Takeshi; Joo, Jungnam; Kong, Sun-Young; Szalat, Raphael E; Richardson, Paul G; Munshi, Nikhil C; Dorfman, David M; Anderson, Kenneth C

    2016-11-22

    Specific niches within the tumor bone marrow (BM) microenvironment afford a sanctuary for multiple myeloma (MM) clones due to stromal cell-tumor cell interactions, which confer survival advantage and drug resistance. Defining the sequelae of tumor cell interactions within the MM niches on an individualized basis may provide the rationale for personalized therapies. To mimic the MM niche, we here describe a new 3D co-culture ex-vivo model in which primary MM patient BM cells are co-cultured with mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) in a hydrogel 3D system. In the 3D model, MSC with conserved phenotype (CD73+CD90+CD105+) formed compact clusters with active fibrous connections, and retained lineage differentiation capacity. Extracellular matrix molecules, integrins, and niche related molecules including N-cadherin and CXCL12 are expressed in 3D MSC model. Furthermore, activation of osteogenesis (MMP13, SPP1, ADAMTS4, and MGP genes) and osteoblastogenic differentiation was confirmed in 3D MSC model. Co-culture of patient-derived BM mononuclear cells with either autologous or allogeneic MSC in 3D model increased proliferation of MM cells, CXCR4 expression, and SP cells. We carried out immune profiling to show that distribution of immune cell subsets was similar in 3D and 2D MSC model systems. Importantly, resistance to novel agents (IMiDs, bortezomib, carfilzomib) and conventional agents (doxorubicin, dexamethasone, melphalan) was observed in 3D MSC system, reflective of clinical resistance. This 3D MSC model may therefore allow for studies of MM pathogenesis and drug resistance within the BM niche. Importantly, ongoing prospective trials are evaluating its utility to inform personalized targeted and immune therapy in MM.

  3. Geographic Distribution and Niche Divergence of Two Stinkbugs, Parastrachia japonensis and Parastrachia nagaensis

    PubMed Central

    Zhu, Gengping; Liu, Guoqing; Bu, Wenjun; Lis, Jerzy A.

    2013-01-01

    Parastrachiidae is a small stinkbug family containing only one genus and two species, Parastrachia japonensis (Scott) (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Pentatomoidea) and Parastrachia nagaensis Distant. The geographic distribution of the genus has been poorly studied. Niche conservatism refers to that idea that closely related species are more ecologically similar than would be expected, whereas niche divergence predicts they occupy distinct niche spaces. The existence of only two species within one genus suggests niche conservatism or differentiation might exist among them. Herein, the distribution of the genus was mapped, potential distributions were predicted using ecological niche modeling, and climate spaces occupied by the two species were identified and compared. Our outlined map supports the general spreading route proposed by Schaefer et al. The potential distributions suggest that the genus’ range could extend beyond its presently known distribution, and further investigation into this area could aid in their conservation, particularly P. nagaensis. The niche space inferred by ecological niche modeling suggests the two species do not occupy identical habitat, but the differences between their models could simply be due to the differential availability of habitat in the different regions that they occupy. PMID:24738857

  4. 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. © 2012 The Author(s). Evolution© 2012 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  5. Immigration, local dispe